Senators defenceman Joe Corvo has found himself in an unaccustomed place.
With blueliner Wade Redden out with a groin injury, Corvo led the Senators in ice time in Tuesday night's loss to the Bruins, clocking 22 minutes, 29 seconds spread over a team-high 27 shifts.
It is the most ice time Corvo has had in 43 games, since he clocked 24:39 in a Dec. 10 loss to Columbus.
That was about the time Corvo was slotted into the third pairing after routinely topping 20 minutes (a high of 28:23) in the first two months of the season.
Corvo certainly wasn't brought in here as a big free-agent signing to be a fifth or sixth defenceman, but that's the way it has turned out.
His withering self-evaluations have made for an interesting glimpse into his personality. He's brutally frank about the fragility of his confidence, but a new attitude is apparently having the desired effect because he has been playing some of his steadiest hockey lately.
"I've just decided to let it go. I've said to myself, 'What's the worst thing that can happen on the ice?' I think I have pretty much seen the worst thing that can happen and the sun still came up the next day," he said yesterday.
Corvo's low moment might have come on New Year's Day when he got beat by Thrashers forward Slava Kozlov for what turned out to be the winning goal in overtime.
That led to him baring his soul in what was a refreshing bit of frankness.
"I've just kind of stopped worrying about it," he said. "I'm just playing."
THE SOPRANOS: Senators W Patrick Eaves tried to skate yesterday, but was forced to take the day off after taking a shot in the nether regions Tuesday night. The club called it "an injury to the groin area." While the media moans about injury descriptions not being specific enough, that probably does just fine. Eaves' availability for tomorrow night's game will be a game-time decision. "He went on the ice for 10 seconds and didn't feel very good," coach Bryan Murray. said "We told him to relax and get away from the building." When he was asked to el-aborate on Eaves' injury, Murray said: "It's better if I don't."
MORE INFIRMARY NEWS: Also missing practice yesterday was the Senators' top line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. All are expected to play tomorrow night. Heatley apparently tweaked his ankle trying to break up a 2-on-1, but finished the game against the Bruins. Spezza and Alfredsson were just given rest days, as Murray said he would down the stretch.
MINOR HOCKEY MESS: Murray said he's disappointed his grand-nephew, Jared Murray, has become embroiled in the middle of a minor hockey mess in Shawville. Jared has been banned from a tournament because the eight-year-old is bigger and stronger than the competition. Other Shawville teams are now boycotting in support of him. Jared is playing in the highest level available for him (Novice B) in Shawville. "You make the choice to play at eight years of age in your hometown with your friends. You're not allowed to play in tournaments and everybody has to pull out to support you. I think it's pretty sad," said Murray. "You can say what you want, but you can never justify affecting young people the way they've been affected."
HEAR AND THERE: The Senators' loss to Boston was just their sixth in regulation time since Dec. 21, a span of 41 games. They are 28-6-7 ... After losing four games in a row from Feb. 27-March 8, the Canadiens looked like they had pretty much done themselves in when it came to a playoff spot. But tomorrow night's visitors to Scotiabank Place will now come in having won five in a row and seven of their last eight to get themselves back into a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference going into last night's games. Rookie G Jaroslav Halak has started every game of the winning streak.