Needing a turning point, the Senators are taking a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror.
And deciding not to shave their upper lips.
From an idea that sounds like it originated with Dany Heatley and perpetuated by Antoine Vermette, the players are growing moustaches.
"It's just for fun," said Luke Richardson. "You can't be thinking 24-7 about your struggles. It's a team togetherness sort of thing."
After yesterday's morning skate, Nick Foligno jokingly fancied himself as a Ron Burgundy (Anchorman) look-alike. Jason Spezza thought Antoine Vermette resembled Pepe Le Pew, which is kind of funny because the Looney Tunes character didn't even have a moustache. Come to think of it, Vermette isn't exactly Lanny McDonald, either.
"I think it's distinguished and classic," said Vermette. "I think we're starting something here."
Daniel Alfredsson agrees.
"Maybe this is something we can rally around," said the captain.
Maybe. After starting the moustache movement, Heatley started the Senators on the right foot with the game's first goal. But Vermette's woes continued when he was robbed by Carey Price in the second period, first on a great glove save, then by the goalie's right pad on a clear-cut chance.
"Right now," Vermette said after the game, "I'm not getting the bounces."
Right now, he's missing by a whisker.
STARTS AND STOPS
Cody Bass was delivering American Thanksgiving turkeys donated to the less fortunate by generous Binghamton townfolk when he was summoned to Ottawa yesterday. "It's awesome to get another opportunity here," Bass said after the morning skate. "Hopefully, I can do something with it." The knuckles on Bass' right hand were a mess from the most recent scrap of the three he was in while with the Baby Sens, but that didn't stop him from dropping the gloves with Steve Begin in the second period. Bass was going strong, too, until Begin caught Bass with an unsuspecting left. Asked if he feels he has a responsibility with Chris Neil out of the lineup, Bass replied: "I don't think I have the responsibility to fight. I think I have the responsibility to play tough, and play my game, to be aggressive, a prick to play against ... I think that's the way Neiler plays, too. Neiler plays tough, and if it comes at him, he's ready for it. But I'm definitely not Chris Neil. Neiler's probably the toughest guy in the league that can play the game. There's lots of guys in this room I want to play like. Between (Mike) Fisher, (Chris) Kelly, Neiler. Those are guys I look up to, and with two of them hurt I just want to come in and help out." ... Near as we can figure, it took 359 shots before Alex Auld gave up his first "soft" goal as a Senator. (Saku Koivu's five-hole stuff shot in the first period). What team wouldn't take that ratio? ... Brendan Bell saw significant ice time, including a regular turn on the first power-play unit, and handled himself well in his first game as a Senator in his hometown. He received a rough welcome from big Georges Laraque, who drilled Bell into the end boards in the second period. Bell was unfazed.
If Jarkko Ruutu wasn't earning a living as a thorn in the side of NHLers, he'd like to wrestle reptiles. "I'd want to be a crocodile hunter, like (the late) Steve Irwin," Ruutu revealed. "But I don't think I have the balls for it. It's interesting, all the energy (Irwin) had. The stuff he was doing and he was so excited about it." Ruutu, who hates heights but thoroughly enjoyed the two-metre-long constrictor he owned for seven years, claims to also have a lot of energy. "I'm kind of like an adrenaline junkie," he said. "It keeps me alive." As for the image he portrays, Ruutu smiled and said: "A lot of people think I am screwed up ... but I am." ... You had to like the new fourth line of Ilya Zubov, Bass and Foligno. They took the play to the Habs in the first period.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...
Upon hearing that Habs C Maxim Lapierre was a healthy scratch, Curtis Lemire of Pine Falls, Man., e-mailed Cheapseats with a possible explanation: "Please Carbo, don't put me in," he wrote, referring to coach Guy Carbonneau. "I can not play duu tuu the Ruutu Fluu." ... With the Blueshirts taking on the Blackshirts at Scotiabank Place tomorrow afternoon, it's interesting to note this observation from recently inducted Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson at the Ottawa Sports Celebrity Dinner: "You know who is playing great for the Rangers?" he asked while breaking some bread. "Wade Redden. Boy, the Senators shouldn't have let that guy go." ... Whatever happened to the fun and innocent Kiss Cam? It's been replaced on the videoboard by a Dentyne-sponsored contest between tonsil-hockey players.