Doing the line dance

DON BRENNAN, CHRIS STEVENSON, TIM BAINES AND BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

4 on 1: Ottawa Sun hockey experts debate the issues of the day

Don Brennan

Better off? They're better off because their coach is actually stepping up and addressing a situation he doesn't like. It's a long season. He's trying something different. On what other team do two players stay together all season, every season?

Chris Stevenson

Will they be better off? Can't be worse than it was against the Bruins, can it? When they aren't scoring and the Senators aren't winning, Spezza and Heatley should expect to be split up. One of the reasons Bryan Murray brought Craig Hartsburg in was to shake this team out of its complacent comfort zone. Hartsburg is doing that. Like other people, I thought Heatley played his best hockey when Spezza was injured two seasons ago. He was more aggressive in his pursuit of the puck, he carried it more. With Spezza, I could see falling into the trap of waiting for a set-up pass. Why not? I say Heatley has his best game of the season tonight.

Tim Baines

The question has long been there that are the Senators better off putting all their eggs in one basket, or should they divide and conquer? Spezza and Heatley have developed a chemistry, but it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Bruce Garrioch

Is it me or is this a monthly story? Seriously, we talk about it all the time. Enough already.

Tim Baines

Bruce, we talk about this so we get paid every two weeks. That's what we do. Talk and write. And in Don's case, get yelled at because he writes about huge defencemen who have less recent hits than Adam Sandler.

Don Brennan

At least Adam Sandler hit Bob Barker.

Tim Baines

Yeah, but Barker hit him back. Remember. "The price is wrong, b----."

Bruce Garrioch

If they are indeed broken up (tonight), and I think they will be, I'm willing to bet Don a beer (or six) that they'll be back together on the first power play the Senators get.

Don Brennan

Uh, no, Bruce. I can't take that bet. Of course, they're going to be playing together on the power play. They make $18 million between them. They're going to be on the ice together when the goalie is pulled and the Senators are trying to tie the game in the last minute, too. This move is being made to get something going with even-strength line combinations.

Tim Baines

For the record, Heatley and Spezza are saying the right things. Does it bother them to be split up? Should we care?

Chris Stevenson

Like you said, Tim, if you want your cheque every two weeks, you care.

Don Brennan

Do they care if they stay together? They're not married. They like each other, but they're not in love. I think that Heatley will be just as happy if Mike Fisher sets him up for the winning goal as he would be if Spezza did. And they'd both be happier if Dean McAmmond scored the winning goal while they sat on the bench than if Nathan Horton gets it.

Bruce Garrioch

It won't matter who they put together because somebody has to be willing to go to the front of the net.

Chris Stevenson

All the talk about the line shuffling doesn't hide the fact Nick Foligno just might have been their most consistent forward so far. Good for him, but there's something wrong with that picture.

Don Brennan

There's something wrong with a first-round pick being one of their top forwards at the five-game mark, Chris? I say it's a problem if young Nick is still their best forward at the 20-game mark ...

Chris Stevenson

In his second full year behind guys making $8-$10 million? Five games, 10 games, yes. Spezza needs to show he can be effective without Heatley. I'll be interested to see how he does with Foligno and Winchester.

Tim Baines

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have great success together, too. And the Detroit Red Wings aren't afraid to separate them for long periods of time. Roster flexibility is a great thing ... it's something the Senators haven't always had.

Chris Stevenson

Roster flexibility, Tim? The coach is having trouble finding 18 skaters who will work and compete for 60 minutes at this point. That's the problem.

Bruce Garrioch

The issue this team will always have is that these two go well together. They always have and they always will. We haven't seen the last of the Dynamic Duo.

Don Brennan

Bruce, are you sure you want to go out on that limb and say this isn't the last we have seen of the dynamic duo together? Really?


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