Power play puzzles Paddock

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Senators' power play has seen better days.

And it has become a sore spot for Ottawa coach John Paddock, whose power play is ranked 14th in the NHL with a 17.9% success rate.

Paddock is so perplexed by the team's lack of scoring on the man advantage, he was trying out new units yesterday during practice at Scotiabank Place.

Centre Mike Fisher replaced Jason Spezza on the No. 1 unit, practising with Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson. Spezza had Antoine Vermette and Randy Robitaille on his wings.

"I think our power-play percentage is better than it deserves to be," said Paddock. "I looked at the stats a couple of weeks ago and our power-play percentage is higher than (it was) at this time last year and it's higher than we finished at in the regular season last year.

"But it really hasn't been worth a crap. In saying that, it has scored a lot of key goals in the third period. It got the winner (Friday) night in Dallas, but for most of the game it wasn't that good. I would say we have five- or six-game winning goals in the third period."

Paddock believes the players have to do a better job shooting the puck and getting more traffic to the front of the net if they are going to score more on the man advantage.

"We don't put enough constant pressure on the opposition's penalty killing," said Paddock. "It's for different reasons: We don't outwork the penalty killers. Joe Corvo shoots the puck as hard as anybody from the point, but he doesn't always want to shoot it. He gets sucked in by some of these skill guys wanting it on the side and wanting (the puck) to go through them. When he does shoot it, there isn't always someone in front.

"(The power play) can be substantially better and, at least, give us some momentum. It's not right and it's not good enough, that's for sure."

Paddock sounded annoyed with Spezza and Heatley, too, but added he also wants Wade Redden and Corvo more involved on the power play.

"We need to include everybody on it. Spezza doesn't have to always look for (Heatley)," said Paddock. "Wade and Joe need to move their feet across the blue line. There's lots of things that can be better."

ON THE MEND: Ottawa W Patrick Eaves, who suffered a shoulder injury in a collision with Buffalo D Brian Campbell Nov. 21, spoke to the media yesterday for the first time since suffering the injury. Eaves isn't ready to start travelling with the team again, but resumed skating four days ago and is out of a brace. Eaves won't be able to return to the lineup until next month, but is starting to feel better. "Even from a couple of days ago, it's really improved a lot," said Eaves. "It just takes time." Eaves has been skating with D Anton Volchenkov, who is out also until January with a broken right index finger.

OFF THE GLASS: The mood has sure changed in the Ottawa camp. The Senators have regained some confidence following last week's road wins in Florida and Dallas. "We just scored more. We buried our chances," said Spezza. "We kept the pedal on in Florida. In Dallas, we played a pretty smart and simple game and we got some goals from guys (who) have been struggling. We played well defensively and we got the job done." ... Senators G Ray Emery won't discard the mask featuring former Canadian champion boxer George Chuvalo. Emery plans to hold onto it as a backup and eventually send it to his father in Cayuga. "He has about six of my masks. I usually just give them to him," said Emery. His new mask, featuring Muhammad Ali, was designed by Brockville's Frank Cipra. "Ali was a guy who was great in the sport," said Emery.


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