Stuck in the 'O' zone

TIM BAINES, DON BRENNAN, BRUCE GARRIOCH AND CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDI

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

BRUCE GARRIOCH: I can't resist: Score more goals than the other team.

DON BRENNAN: Did you hear crickets after you typed that, Bruce?

GARRIOCH: Yes. I did. I thought it was funny. Oh well. Get Brad Fritsch back here if you don't like what I am saying.

TIM BAINES: Geez, we've sunk to this? I wonder if Craig Hartsburg has informed the players that they must score more goals than the other team. Maybe that's the problem. Lack of communication. Fritschie's in the bullpen warming up ... if any of us slip up, he's in. At the rate we're going, we're all going to be subbed out.

BRENNAN: Because I'm always a positive, half-full guy, I would suggest they fix the offence by doing nothing. The pieces are in place. The slumpers are going to snap out of it. And the Pizza Line is still among the most potent in the league. Sometimes the best move is to stand still, or something like that.

GARRIOCH: I really think they need to go harder to the net. You have to have guys getting their noses dirty and fishing for rebounds.

CHRIS STEVENSON: How long do you wait for that to happen, Bruce? Doesn't seem it was that long ago John Paddock was saying the same thing. I agree with Don to a certain extent. Most of these guys have been 20-goal scorers. They have to get some goals at some point, don't they?

BAINES: It just seems ironic that early in the year we harped on the suspect defence and shaky goaltending. Alex Auld has been great and the Sens' defence has held up very well. I believe the offence will come around ... and it's still the defence I worry about. They really don't have that one guy on the back end who kickstarts the offence. Maybe our expectations of this team are too high.

STEVENSON: What's too high, Tim? That they compete every night, which they haven't? That they go to the net, which they haven't?

GARRIOCH: I think they would be helped by a puck-moving defenceman, but if they are waiting for help, they are making a mistake. What's mystifying about this is they have never had an issue scoring goals.

BRENNAN: To agree with Bruce, an offensive defenceman would help. Their top six blueliners are on pace for a total of less than 20 goals. Remember the 2003-04 season? Redden and Chara had 33 between them. To disagree with Bruce, they have had big trouble scoring dating back to the halfway mark (or so) of last season. But I still think the pieces are in place.

BAINES: The pieces are in place for what? It's like a big jigsaw puzzle that doesn't seem to fit, dating back to last year. Is it the offence or is it chemistry? I'm sure Eugene Melnyk is occupied right now, worrying about the plummeting Canadian dollar and other financial things that moneymen fret about, but I'm sure he's not going to put up with his team sitting barely out of the basement. If there's not a substantial improvement in results, you can bet there will be a major shakeup.

STEVENSON: I hope Eugene has the unlimited data plan. I know he's got lots of dollars, but in these tough economic times, he should be trying to save where he can.

GARRIOCH: Yawn about the record from last season, Don. Let it go. That team doesn't exist anymore.

BRENNAN: Let it go? You said you're mystified because they've never had a problem scoring goals. I just pointed out you're wrong. I like what my good friend Ian "Lenny" Mendes said about the Senators on the radio (yesterday). If anybody says they can tell you what's wrong with the Senators, they're lying through their teeth. The same can be said in the question of what's wrong with the offence. I don't know what's wrong with our newsroom, either. (Assistant managing editor) Drew McAnulty is watching Question Period. Talk about bad TV.

GARRIOCH: I'm watching QP at home, Don, and it's more exciting than some of the performances from this team. It would appear to me the prime minister is sideways.

BAINES: At least we can watch Question Period on TV. What about the Sens' game next Wednesday in Chicago, on TSN2. If you subscribe to Rogers, like many of us do, you're out of luck. They don't have a deal with TSN2 yet. So you're S.O.L.

STEVENSON: Tim, break down and go to a fine establishment like Local Heroes or The Clocktower, buy a beer and watch the game there. There's a peeing war between some big media companies and the Senators and their fans are caught in the middle. That's news? The fans always take it in the teeth with these things.

BRENNAN: Going to a bar to watch hockey is never a bad idea. Clocktower, Local Heroes, Marshys, Boston Pizza ... all great places with great food and icy cold beverages.

BAINES: Great, let's plug all our favourite bars. We need Rick's Cantina back, too. Shameless plugs ... shameless.

GARRIOCH: Guys, Local Heroes is the sponsor on this page with Colonnade. You've got to stop mentioning other places.

BRENNAN: The boys at Local Heroes know there are other places in the city, Bruce ... And if we're flashing back, let us not forget the good old Villa Deli. I miss Joe and Terri and Dallas.

BAINES: This is how it's going to end? Nobody picked on Don? Nobody ribbed Claude (er, Chris), the cerebral assassin, for his love of the Habs? Nobody picked on me for standom stupid comments and topics?

BRENNAN: What's standom?

BAINES: I meant to say random.

BRENNAN: Some reader sent me an e-mail the other day calling me unctuous. What's that? Have they come up with a new vocabulary and forgotten to tell me about it?

STEVENSON: Hey, be happy you have a reader who made it to the "u's" in the dictionary, Don. A few who write me never get past "f."

BAINES: Don, the word unctuous means "having an oily manner" or "greasy."

BRENNAN: I have dry skin. I have to put lotion on it. Not grease.


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