Prickly Paddock on players' ice-time gripes

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Senators coach John Paddock doesn't want to hear any more whining after the holidays.

Just before the Rangers game and the two-day break, Paddock confirmed that Ottawa players have been complaining about their role and ice time.

Paddock's had enough.

"Obviously there's players, and everybody should want to do more, but they think that they should contribute more offensively or think they can play with certain players or they deserve more ice time," said Paddock.

"They should just be satisfied that we're in first place at Christmastime and take their individual things and shove 'em."

The coach didn't name names, but winger Antoine Vermette is one player who's been vocal about wanting a bigger offensive role.

Paddock said the players who are complaining could learn from the way captain Daniel Alfredsson conducts himself.

"He puts the team before himself," said Paddock. "If he was to put himself before the team, he'd be wanting to play with (Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley) all the time.

"You just have to look at the last half of the last two games (vs. Atlanta and Chicago), (Alfredsson) has nothing going and they go play together and they have four or five scoring chances in the third period alone. If Alfie was concerned about himself, he'd come to me and say, 'Why don't I just play with Jason and Heater all the time?' "

Paddock also wants goalie Ray Emery to work harder.

Paddock wasn't pleased with Emery's performance in the 4-3 OT home loss to the 'Hawks on Saturday.

"He has to be better. He's a better goaltender than he played," said Paddock, adding that Emery "wasn't terrible."

Paddock said the wrist surgery Emery had in June that forced him to miss training camp has kept last season's No. 1 netminder from getting back on track.

"That's the old adage that players, and I understand a little bit, play better when they play more and I'm not just talking about him.

"But you have to have your game to play better. It's a product of a screwed-up season from missing training camp and stuff like that," said Paddock.

"(Emery) hasn't been able to get into a rhythm and you don't into a rhythm by playing games. This isn't the house league. This is our livelihood, so you just can't go get your rhythm.

"Everything is too important, so I don't think he's there. I don't think he's terrible and I don't think he's bad."

Paddock added that Emery could help himself by working hard in practice.

"You're going to get your game back in practice," the coach said. "It doesn't mean you have to practise more times ... That doesn't mean he has to be out there two hours.

"You guys (the media) are dwelling on the time (Emery spends on the ice) and I'm not blind to that and I'm about the effort. (The work) is there, but it's not an overnight thing. He has, at times, worked harder."

INJURY PARADE: The Senators summoned D Lawrence Nycholat to the Big Apple from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton after Joe Corvo suffered a groin injury. Corvo was hurt on a Martin Havlat breakaway in the second period Saturday. The 'Hawks' Havlat, playing his first game in Ottawa since being dealt in July 2006, also suffered a groin injury on the play. Both Corvo and Havlat are day-to-day ... The Senators didn't have any update on the status of RW Patrick Eaves (shoulder) and D Anton Volchenkov (broken finger). Both are 7-10 days from returning to game action, but first need to return to practice. "I know Volchie is a little tired of skating," said Paddock.

ALFIE IN THE SPIRIT: Alfredsson is looking forward to spending the break with his family. His wife Bibbi's parents are in town from Sweden and children Hugo, 4, and Loui, 18 months, are looking forward to Christmas. "The kids are getting older and they realize the Christmas traditions," said Alfredsson with a smile. "It's a busy time of the year and I know the break is only two days, but I'm going to do everything I can to try not to look at a stick, puck or television. I just want to enjoy the holidays and eat a lot of good (food)."

TRADE TALK: A note in the New York Post yesterday indicated the Penguins might be willing to move D Brooks Orpik, who has been a healthy scratch the last two games. Several teams are looking for blueliners, but Orpik could be a fit for the Rangers.

CHARMIN FACILITIES: Went for a stroll in Times Square yesterday to do some last-minute shopping. Might have found a dream job. There was a guy standing outside the "Charmin Restrooms" banging a bugle and screaming: "No lineup for the ladies room here." The best part is they're free, but remember: "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin." ... Have a safe and happy holiday season.


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