"They're a good hockey team," Bryan Murray said yesterday morning of the Islanders. "And they'll be a scary team come playoff time."
The Senators coach must have a gut feeling about the order of finish in the Eastern Conference.
And he has to be hoping his squad can somehow line up against that frightening team. They beat them badly in the Jason Spezza and Zdeno Chara for Alexei Yashin trade, and the Senators have very rarely lost to the Islanders since.
OLEG OR GARY?: For those scoring at home, the team that acquired Gary Roberts is now 6-2-1 since making such a bold move. And last night, the Senators deadline acquisition, Oleg Saprykin, was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Discuss among yourselves.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Guys I sit between thought Ray Emery was guilty of embellishment. I was surprised the Ottawa 'tender' was able to get up -- and that no Senator took issue with Jason Blake -- after the little Islander rammed him at full throttle in the first. Good thing one of us is paying attention so as to get you the true and accurate facts, huh? ... Islanders coach Ted Nolan looked dapper in his bright sweater yesterday morning, but didn't know or seemingly care what its record is this season. "I love pink colours," he said. Funny, John Muckler wears a pullover of similar shade. Wonder if they used to shop at the same Buffalo mall? ... The joys of listening to a California-based radio show piped into Ottawa as you leave a morning skate -- you get to hear some "expert" tell everyone he knows that "Ricky Pinball Clemons" played in the Canadian Football League ... You could almost hear the air seep from Antoine Vermette's lungs when he took a hit by Chris Campoli to set up Kelly's second period goal ... Seconds later Marc-Andre Bergeron could only feel the breeze created by Spezza as the Ottawa centre dangled him dandily inside the Isles zone ... Fanshawe College in London should start mentioning in its brochures the fact that Chris Kelly spent a year there. After all, he is the smartest man on the Senators, isn't he? ... Who was Nolan referring to with the following? "When called upon, he's really stepped up. He's well liked by his teammates. When you're well liked, and play the way he plays, guys are going to play hard for him." If you said Yashin, before he went up against his former team, you're wrong. The answer is Mike Dunham, who faced 50 shots in picking up the team's first win of the season, but was unable to have similar success against the Sens last night.
BETWEEN PERIODS: The Team 1200's Steve "Plumb" Lloyd says he understands Nolan-speak in the coach's reference to Rick DiPietro's "general body soreness." Said Lloyd: "You know what it stands for: general B.S." ... You can stop kissing her any time now, fellas. In-arena hostess Kathy Mueller now has a steady boyfriend. Lucky guy ... For a guy that has long hair and so many tattoos, wouldn't you expect Islanders defenceman Brendan Witt to play a little harder than he did last night? ... Asked who his emergency goalie would have been if Dunham had been injured after DiPietro was in Montreal the other night, Nolan thought for a second and then said Sean Hill. Think the ex-Senators defenceman knows that? ... Hill was a last-minute scratch from the Isles lineup last night with a "lower body injury." He either had something sore or found out he was on the goaltending depth chart ... The Senators will use sticks painted pink at least in warmup for tomorrow's game against the Flyers. Afterwards the sticks get auctioned off, with the money being used in the fight against breast cancer. Spezza tried his stick yesterday, but its unlikely he'll be using it in the game, as some players might. "I'm guessing it has three coats of paint," said Spezza. "It's a log."
BOTTOM SHELF: Joe "Uh Oh" Corvo presented Dany Heatley with a sweet pass that appeared to be just a little too deep for the winger to pop home for his 43rd of the season. When Uh Oh did the job himself -- banking a shot off Bergeron's skate -- he picked up Mike Comrie and bounced him off the ice in celebration. And no wonder. The goal ended Uh Oh's drought at 25 games ... In between coaching the Islanders, Nolan is helping battle poverty. He raised a banner and brought some awareness to the First Nation's crusade against hunger and other such injustices in Canada after the morning skate. "I'll fight it until my fighting days are over," said Nolan ... Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber has always enjoyed Cheapseats and couldn't wait to pick up this morning's paper to read it. Consider that nothing more than a 20-word commercial for the column.