Sens' rookie roughed up in debut

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Ryan Shannon spent most of his first game in an Ottawa Senators uniform on a line with the team's best-paid forwards.

He spent the end of it being looked at by a rich doctor.

Shannon, a diminutive winger who ironically enough was called up from Binghamton to fill in for the suspended Jarkko Ruutu, left last night's loss to the (ahem) New York Islanders after being drilled in the head by the elbow of defenceman Thomas Pock.

Shannon was unavailable for post-game interviews. The extent of his injury will be revealed after further examination.

"I didn't mean to hit him like that," said Pock, who has known Shannon since their days playing against each other in the NCAA.

"I'm going to give him a call later. I feel bad about it. It was a bad play, that's all I can say about it."

Given the sentence handed Ruutu for his elbow to the head of Montreal's Max Lapierre, the Senators will be counting on punishment.

"(Ruutu) got two games. I'm not sure what that's going to be worth," said coach Craig Hartsburg.

"I see no need for that in the game," said defenceman Chris Phillips. "Yeah, I expect something to happen."

In 15 shifts and 12:59 of ice time mostly beside Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, Shannon's only marks on the scoresheet were his two shots on goal and one hit. That's a far cry from the numbers he has posted in Bingo.

Playing with Smith and Zubov on the Senators' AHL farm team, Shannon was part of a threesome that combined for 42 points in the first 12 games. The 5-foot-9, 178-pounder from Darien, Conn., counted 14 of them on five goals and nine assists.

"We've been complementing each other pretty well," Shannon said during the day.

"We get excited to play with one another and I think that goes a long way. The scheduling is tough. There's a lot of travel down there. I think if every day you don't bring any baggage to the rink and you're excited to play with one another, it's the key for success."

The Heatley-Spezza-Shannon line was about as bad as Ottawa's other three combinations last night. In fact, nobody on the home team could have left the rink feeling very proud of themselves.

"You can't get a better opportunity," said Shannon, who had a clear chance in the second but opted against shooting for a pass to Spezza that was broken up. "Hopefully I can complement them well, get my feet moving, keep good energy and get some goals.

"They're great players, obviously. There's not enough time to get mind chemistry, so you just kind of roll the dice, play my game and hopefully it fits with theirs."

Alas, these days the sorry Senators can't roll anything but snake eyes.

STARTS AND STOPS

Spezza shouldn't be taking all the heat for the Senators' struggles. It doesn't appear Heatley has exactly been the all-around player he planned on being coming out of training camp. Other than his team-leading nine goals, Heatley has been merely average. "It hasn't been great all around for any of us," he said before the game. "I think defensively we've been trying to get better, especially our line. At times we've played better and at times we haven't. But I think we're learning. The one area, other than the first couple of games, is killing penalties. We haven't had a real opportunity to do that, but that said, our PK is one of the tops in the league, so me and Spez sit in on the PK meetings and if we get a chance to do that, we'll be ready." ... I could have played goal against the Senators in the first period last night. Ottawa didn't get its first even-strength shot on goal until the 13:34 mark, and with four minutes left in the opening 20 they were being outshot 15-3. Yup, there's something seriously wrong with this team.

IT MAKES YOU GO HMMM...

Following the morning skate, Chris Kelly was again asked about his heated exchange with Heatley during practice the previous day. "Most of the guys have had bigger fights with their wives than Heater and I had (Wednesday)," he said. "It's just something that we do. Sure it will happen again and it will all be good after practice." When one reporter pointed out that he usually kisses and makes up with his wife after an argument, Kelly chuckled. "We don't do that," he said. That's a relief, isn't it? ... Daniel Alfredsson said he didn't attend the Ottawa Sports Celebrity Dinner Wednesday intent on buying a Steve Yzerman Detroit Red Wings jersey. It just happened. "I saw it and I liked it," said Alfredsson, who spent $1,600 on the sweater. "I'm a big fan of his." Was it autographed? "I think it was signed, I hope it was signed," Alfredsson said. "Otherwise, I might as well go to Sport Chek and get a Detroit jersey for 100 bucks."

BETWEEN PERIODS

Playing in the Islanders dressing room after their morning twirl was The Little River Band's Lady, which was a hit almost 30 years ago. Responsible for the selection was Bill Guerin. "This is just my only chance to play what I like, in the morning when most of the young guys are not around," Guerin said. "They don't know what this is. Last time this was probably played in an NHL locker room was probably right in the middle of the Islanders' heyday. I should get their playlist, but they're all on vinyl." Asked if any Hilary Duff tunes were ever on in the room, Guerin shook his head. "Mike put it against the rules." That would be injured Islanders centre Mike Comrie, who dates Duff.


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