Bell rings up 'pizza' order

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

The Senators already have a Pizza Line. They don't need a Pizza Defenceman.

Yet just seven minutes into his first game at Scotiabank Place as a member of his very own hometown team, Brendan Bell was claiming that title as his own with an errant clearing attempt that led to the Philadelphia Flyers' lone goal in a 3-1 Senators pre-season win last night.

Bell's shot up the boards was intercepted by Flyers rookie Darroll Powe, who beat goalie Martin Gerber with a slapper from the top of the faceoff circle.

It was the only shot on goal Philadelphia had until the 3:42 mark of the second period.

"I didn't start the way I would have liked, throwing that pizza up along the boards," said Bell, the former 67's captain who is still very much in the running to claim one of what Bryan Murray figures might be eight seats reserved for defenceman on the team charter Sunday when it heads to Sweden and the start of the NHL season. "Those always have a way of finding the back of the net.

"But after that, I was happy with the way things went."

Bell saw 23:12 of ice time, second on the Senators after Filip Kuba's 23:48. He took a regular shift alongside Anton Volchenkov and was on Ottawa's first power play unit. He did nothing spectacular -- Bell was credited with two blocked shots and one hit along with the giveaway -- but did the little things that are being asked of him.

Coach Craig Hartsburg shrugged off Bell's mistake.

"I thought his game improved over the course of the night," said Hartsburg.

Bell called the early gaffe a "brain cramp."

"That's as stupid as it gets, really," he said. "You just have to try to forget about it, and hopefully everybody else forgets about it, too."

Next test will be against the Montreal Canadiens. Brendan should do okay at the Bell Centre.

STARTS AND STOPS: Murray refuses to make comparisons when asked if 19-year-old Zack Smith reminds him of anybody, saying only that his third round pick is a "big strong kid, a decent skater and a real competitive guy." Said Murray: "We call him the Regina Pats Killer," in reference to Smith's playoff heroics as the underdog Swift Current Broncos upset a Pats team coached by now-Senators assistant Curtis Hunt last spring. Smith, who saw minimal ice time in his NHL debut last night, said Mike Fisher has always been one of his favourite players. "He's one guy I'd like to play like some day," said the native of Maple Creek, Sask. "But obviously, I have a ways to go." The Senators have determined Smith will be better off playing for Binghamton. "He's a good prospect," said Murray. "He's just going to have to get him some experience." ...The Ernest Hemingway pairing on the Senators blue line had 20-year veteran Luke Richardson alongside 21-year-old Brian Lee. That's right, The Old Man And The Lee ...

BETWEEN PERIODS: Winchester's Matt Carkner pummelled Powe, a Kanata CJHL alumnus, in a second-period fight. Unimpressed by the 6-foot-4 vs. 5-foot-11 matchup was Flyers fan "Biffy," whose text to Cheapseats read: "Maybe Carkner will fight (Daniel) Briere next." Flyers coach John Stevens loves Powe. "He doesn't score for us much yet, but I think he will because he skates so well," Stevens said. "And he's a great kid. If you get a chance to meet him ... he's a great character kid. He's been tremendous." ... Under the NHL's new mums-the-word policy regarding injuries, clubs "no longer are required to disclose the specific nature of player injuries," but only whether a player is expected to return or will miss a game. So now when a guy limps off the ice, you'll have to guess if he's suffering from an upper or lower body problem .... Cody Bass, who had a team-high five hits last night, could handle a centre spot between Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu. This way, Fisher's on the second line where he belongs.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: There's six minutes left in the first period and the Senators are trailing 1-0 despite a 7-1 edge in shots on goal. The pressbox wiseacres are already in mid-season form. "Keep 'em talking about your mask and not your save percentage, Gerbs," says one. "If he's smart, he'll have 82 new masks this season," says another. This crowd is only gonna get tougher.

DON.BRENNAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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