Senators coach John Paddock has had enough.
Paddock isn't sure why the Senators have been so inconsistent lately, but he wants to put the brakes on it now.
Paddock simply wants the Senators to play their roles, instead, of expecting Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley to carry the ball offensively.
"I told the team before (Wednesday's 3-2 OT loss to the Devils) that guys just can't sit around and wait for the three that have done a lot of the scoring all year to do it," said Paddock.
"I was referring to the (5-1 loss to the Sabres on Tuesday) when I spoke about that. (The players) just can't expect that 'The Big Three' can go out and score like they did against Montreal (last Saturday).
"It doesn't work that way. It seems to me we're still looking for that right combination to help us produce on a regular (basis) here."
Paddock broke up his top trio against the Devils, placing Alfredsson on the right side of Cory Stillman and Mike Fisher. Dean McAmmond played on the right side of Heatley and Spezza. Don't be surprised if it's centre Chris Kelly who takes that spot tomorrow when New Jersey pays a return visit to Ottawa.
"It's not only winning, but it's the way that you play that's most important," said Alfredsson. "You're not going to win every game. It's too close these days. Everybody beats everybody.
"We need more consistency in the way we play. When we've played well, we've played really well and when we've played poor, we've played really poor. We just want to get to be more consistent."
In voting by the local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, Senators D Luke Richardson is the nominee for Masterton Trophy, which is awarded by the NHL for perseverance and dedication to hockey. The 38-year-old Richardson, an Ottawa native, signed as a free agent and wasn't expected to play on a regular basis. After being used as an on-ice assistant coach last year in Tampa, Richardson has made it tough for Paddock to take him out of the lineup. "On a talented team, you just want to add the little parts here and there," said Richardson. "Whether it's on the ice or off the ice helping guys with their situations or just lending experiences you've gone through to help them. Things have gone pretty good this year. I'm just trying to keep my game simple as a defensive guy." The Senators have appreciated the contribution that Richardson has made. "Luke has been the consummate professional," said Paddock. "He has put in his time to have a lengthy, effective career and he's still able to do it. He brings a lot to the team in a lot of different areas and not always what you see. He's a real smart player."
OFF THE GLASS
Senators G Martin Gerber said he wasn't given any explanation by the officials as to why he was given a delay of game penalty in the third period Wednesday after making a save. While it looked like Gerber got his stick on the puck that flew into the netting, he may have actually just kicked it there. "I was going to talk to the referee, but there was no point because one of the guys was convinced," said Gerber. "He's not going to reverse the call. I thought it was weird." ... Fisher wasn't on the ice for practice yesterday, but said he plans to suit up against the Devils tomorrow. It's believed he is still bothered by the groin injury that he suffered during the Stanley Cup final and has to make sure he gets the proper amount of rest so that he can be in the lineup on a nightly basis. "The guys are calling me Allen Iverson now," Fisher said with a smile as he referred to the NBA star's famous rant about practice. W Chris Neil and Richardson didn't practise either ... The word is free-agent C Peter Forsberg's agent, Don Baizley, was in Vancouver yesterday and may have met with Minnesota GM Doug Risebrough. The Wild was recently purchased by former Predators owner Craig Leipold. Forsberg finished last season in Nashville. There's talk in Philadelphia now that Forsberg might be waiting to see what W Simon Gagne's future holds after Gagne, who was Forsberg's linemate with the Flyers, suffered his third concussion of the season last week. Sources say the Senators remain on Forsberg's radar if he returns.