Chins up ladies

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

To all the nubile young Ottawa women we yesterday caused despair, this morning we bring hope for the future.

Yes, Wade Redden is getting married to Sudbury's Danica Topolnisky this August. But Mike Fisher remains single and available.

Apparently, the Senators No. 12 is considered a pretty decent catch, too.

"I'm the bachelor (of the team)!" Fisher proclaimed playfully when asked his feelings about news hitting the streets of Redden's impending matrimony.

Actually, Fisher is not the only player in the Senators dressing room currently without so much as a steady date. Seems Ray Emery and Brian McGrattan are also unrestricted free agents.

"And then there were three," Fisher joked.

But for how long?

Interestingly, in an April 6, 2003 interview with Cheapseats, Redden said he wanted to get married one day, and that "30 is a good age, I think."

He's 30 now, although the big day is set for a couple of months after his next birthday.

Fisher is also interested in tying the knot at some point, though he's not quite ready to call his shot.

"Thirty is the new 20, eh?" he said. "And I'm 27, so that means I'm only 17."

And that would be called cradle robbing, girls. But hey, it also gives you time to formulate a plan of attack.

STARTS AND STOPS: Luke Richardson's assist on Jason Spezza's goal was the 193rd point of his career and first as a Senator ... Richardson was goal hunting when Fisher sent him in on a partial breakaway at the end of the second, but a diving Mark Eaton knocked the puck away from him ... An early Brian McGrattan-Georges Laraque square off had plenty of promise. McGrattan held his own in the boxing portion of it, ducking the hardest looking left thrown, but did not fare well as a wrestler. The fight ended with Big Georges throwing him into the boards and both winding up in a heap ... Alexander Nikulin didn't have to wait long before leaving his blood on an NHL rink surface. He was hit in the face by a puck during warmup ... Jarkko Louganis, uh, Ruttu took two diving penalties before the game was 10 minutes old ... Best hit of the night belonged to Dany Heatley, who sent Sidney Crosby airborne inside the Ottawa line in the second period.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Attended a morning skate yesterday, and a Russian comedy routine broke out.

Recalled from Binghamton to fill for the injured Patrick Eaves, Nikulin was speechless when approached by reporters after his first practice. Probably had something to do with the fact he didn't understand a word they were saying. Enter interpreter Anton Volchenkov, who many thought still didn't speak much English, despite this being his sixth season in North America.

"Ask him how he feels about playing his first NHL game," someone requested of Volchenkov.

"He's probably nervous," Volchenkov replied immediately, before being reminded we were interested in his countryman's thoughts on the matter, not his.

To that, Volchenkov began to laugh, and Nikulin, shrugged and walked away in I-guess-you-don't-need-me fashion ... Nikulin was asked, through Volchenkov again, about the difference between playing in the Russian league and in North America. "Small arenas here," he said. "And it's 80% more physical." Who knew? ... And finally, who was your idol growing up, Alexander? "Malkin and Crosby," the 22-year-old Senator said of the 21 and 20-year-old Penguins. "And Volchenkov." Naturally.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM ...: Chris Kelly looked up from undoing his skates yesterday morning to see Chris Phillips had already changed and was doing a couple of media interviews before going home for lunch. The Big Rig appeared to be a tad overdressed, wearing his big heavy coat and winter mukluks. "Did he walk to the rink?" wondered Kelly .... Paddock's response (through a grin) to a "good morning" at his pre-game press conference? "What's so good about it? We lost and it's snowing." ... A second period wrist shot by Crosby hit the post behind Gerber and rebounded all the way to inside the Pittsburgh blue line before it was touched. Must've had a little zip on it, we deduced ...

LINE CHANGES: Phillips' power play goal was his first since 2002-03 ... Three goals in three games -- it would seem Heatley is officially out of his slump ... The initial prognosis on Patrick Eaves' separated shoulder isn't great. "It's not a mild separation," said Paddock. "We're looking at quite a period of time here (for his return). Not soon. He was playing really good. I was probably shortchanging him by not using him as a Top 6 (forward). We're going to miss him." ... Paddock isn't fooled by the Penguins slow start to the season. "The Stanley Cup (playoffs) are not played until April," he said. "I'm pretty sure they'll be in the mix of eight (conference) teams in it." ... Joe Corvo double-faulted on Pittsburgh's third goal. First he turned away rather than skate to the guy in possession along the boards, then when the puck did get to him, he was stripped of it, but he did play well on the power play ...


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