If nothing else, and so far, it really has been close to nothing, defenceman Mike Commodore has brought some levity to the Ottawa Senators dressing room.
Since being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 11 with Cory Stillman for Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves, Commodore had no points and was minus-9 in 18 games with the Sens before last night.
"It has been awkward," said Commodore, whose infamous red Afro-style coif is getting into playoff shape.
"Not through a lack of effort, but for whatever reason, the system change has been a struggle for me. In Carolina it was always get up the ice when you can, make the play and go. Here it is more back off, let the forward do the work.
"It's not that I don't like it, I'm just not used to it. Moral of the story? 18 games, minus-9, no points. If I sign a contract to stay I could end up at minus-300."
Senators coach/general manager Bryan Murray was honest when asked about Commodore.
"He does not have a great deal of skill, but he tries hard," Murray said. "People like that can bring intangibles in the playoffs."
Commodore and Stillman are slated to be unrestricted free agents this summer, and both said they want to stay in Ottawa.
When he beat Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller from the slot with a wrist shot on Friday night, Jason Blake couldn't help but think of his career-best 40-goal campaign with the New York Islanders in 2006-07.
The goal was just Blake's 14th with the Leafs after signing with the team as a free agent. But as one of only four NHL players with more than 300 shots on goal this season -- Alexander Ovechkin, Henrik Zetterberg and Olli Jokinen were the others -- Blake said it was good to score what might be referred to as a goal-scorer's goal.
"It gives you a bit more confidence," Blake said. "It was one of those that kind of reminded me of last year, where you get the puck and you get a half-second and make sure you put it in. I was fortunate to get it."