For reasons that included not wanting to get himself fined, John Paddock refused to name names.
The Senators coach said "two or three guys were just terrible" in Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Islanders. Later, you would learn that to mean three or four.
From his own team, Paddock was probably referring to Wade Redden, who Mike Comrie made look like a statue on the visitors' third goal as well as for making the inexcusable pass that Jason Spezza paid for with his well-being.
Paddock couldn't have been too enamoured with the play of Randy Robitaille and Antoine Vermette, either.
But there was another guy Paddock thought had a brutal game, too. A guy in a different jersey. With stripes. Paddock didn't call him out completely, but he sure did narrow the choices.
"I thought guys like (Christoph) Schubert and (Chris) Neil did a good job again, I thought they were finishing checks," said Paddock. "I thought Chris Neil got one penalty in the first period probably because it was the third time he tried to hit somebody through the boards. That's just disgusting by the referee. You're supposed to hit them through the boards."
The Senators went through the boards often -- right into the box. The Senators were short-handed nine times against the Islanders and killed all but two of the penalties. They were awarded just three power plays of their own and converted one.
Afterward, Paddock claimed he was in "shock of how the game was officiated." His opinion came on the heels of Steve Yzerman's comments Saturday about inconsistent work by the men with whistles.
"I think it's sometimes an issue," Paddock said yesterday. "To soften that, everybody sees things different, has a different opinion. And we're all biased to some extent towards our own team.
"I was disappointed in (Sunday's) game. There was a completely different standard than we've seen, maybe all year. And it wasn't by both referees."
The guess is Paddock was most perturbed with veteran ref Dan Marouelli.
"I think the good referees have a little bit of communication," said Paddock. "Rob Shick in Pittsburgh, when we played there, there was an obvious, to us, hooking penalty in the first period. Our bench was up in arms and roaring at him and as he skated by we were still yelling and he said 'stop' and 'relax,' so we talked, and he said 'it's all about angles, if I see it, I'll call it.' And in the third period, when he's by our bench, he said, 'are you guys still mad at me?'
"That's how it's supposed to be. There's supposed to be communication. That's how the old referees did it. You don't have to go around with a chip on your shoulder, and you don't have to think you run the blasted show out there. There's a big difference between some of the officials."
Paddock said the Islanders had a good game plan and it involved taking advantage of the Senators after their emotionally charged showdown with the Red Wings.
Paddock said the Islanders targeted Daniel Alfredsson.
"They have a bunch of 6- foot defencemen running around and they ran at Alfie early," said Paddock. "We couldn't do anything about it because of the closeness of the game and us being behind. I don't think Bruno Gervais should get away with the liberties he got away with on Alfredsson.
"We couldn't do anything about it because of the way the game was going. David Clarkson was fooling around with (Dany) Heatley in New Jersey this year. Chris Neil came out and played left wing and it stopped. We always take care of these things. But (Sunday) we couldn't."
Paddock had no problem with the Freddy Meyer hit on Spezza.
"I'm more concerned about Bruno Gervais getting involved in a 1-on-1 with Alfie having to cross-check him back in front of the net," added Paddock. "(The Meyer hit) is like when Chris Neil hit Chris Drury last year. It was a clean hit. You've got to take clean hits sometimes. It doesn't mean you're not going to deliver a clean hit back. If a guy's got a chance to hit somebody, you hit him. And if you hurt him, you hurt him. That's hockey. It's just good it wasn't Scott Stevens hitting him."
POINTS OF INTEREST: Senators W Patrick Eaves will return to the lineup tonight wearing a Fu Manchu moustache. "I just thought I'd switch it up a little," he said of his appearance ... After what was probably his best weekend of the season, Alfredsson received another MVP plug from his coach. "I don't think he can lift his game any more," Paddock said when asked if the captain was picking up the slack left by the absence of Heatley. "I mean, he's clearly the best player we have, and he's probably clearly best all-around player in the East. I know you guys don't believe it, but he is." ... While Alfredsson is riding a 10-game point scoring streak, Mike Fisher saw his nine-game run come to an end Sunday. Fisher has eight goals in his last 10 games. "I don't know if I've had (a stretch) like that before," he said. "Not that I can remember." ... The number of players to score 50 goals three seasons in a row is actually 13, not 12 as we wrote yesterday. John LeClair is the one we missed, and he, not Brett Hull, was also the most recent. LeClair had seasons of 51, 50 and 51 goals while playing on the Flyers' Legion of Doom 1995-1998 ... Bruins C and Ottawa native Marc Savard will replace Heatley on the Eastern Conference all-star team.