Ruutu looks to feed on Sabres

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Jarkko Ruutu isn't shy about sinking his teeth into a challenge.

Or putting his foot in a meat grinder.

"You try to do things to win the game," said the Senators agitating winger.

Ruutu will face the Sabres tonight at Scotiabank Place for the first time since he was suspended for a couple of games for biting the hand that kneads him, specifically the thumb of Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters, which found its way into Ruutu's mouth during a scrum Jan. 6.

"I didn't really remember who we were playing (tonight)," said Ruutu, who missed practice yesterday after getting hit by a shot in Thursday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the first-place Bruins. "I haven't really thought about (the biting incident) and I won't think about it. It's just the way I play. It's nothing new. I don't look back, but I know it's pretty natural (to bring it up). You've got to get a story. It's a long year and you've got to look for stuff like that. It brings some excitement."

Ruutu said he will be good to go tonight and isn't worried about having the 6-foot-4, 247-lb. Peters on the menu. If Peters wants to break bread or heads, Ruutu said it doesn't matter to him.

"Any time," he said. "I like it ... every game is different. I like a lot of physical contact and when the emotions are going, that's when I play my best. You want every game to be like that. When the emotions are running high, it's fun for the players and fun for the fans."

There wasn't anything fun about the way Ruutu got nailed Thursday night.

Ruutu wasn't picking his spots when it came to blocking shots when the Senators' Antoine Vermette received a double minor for high-sticking Boston's Michael Ryder late in the game.

The Senators were leading 3-2 at the time, but Boston's Chuck Kobasew scored on the power play to send the game into overtime.

There's blocking shots and there's blocking shots off the stick of hulking Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara.

He won the hardest-shot competition at the all-star game in Montreal with a record blast of 105.4 mph, breaking the 16-year-old record of Al Iafrate.

Chara got the puck at the point while Vermette was off, wound up and rifled it off Ruutu, who went down like the Canadian dollar.

"You don't look at who's shooting," said Ruutu, "but he's got a pretty good shot."

Ya think?

Ruutu said he was in some difficulty right away because it felt like the shot hit a nerve, but he shook it off and returned to the game.

Despite the soreness yesterday, Ruutu said, "I'll be good to go."

Tonight's game will be the third under new Senators coach Cory Clouston. The Senators lost their first game under Clouston 1-0 to the Kings and got a point out of Thursday night's shootout loss, which saw the Senators rally from a 2-0 deficit to take that 3-2 lead.

Clouston said he saw some encouraging things in the game against the Bruins.

"I thought when we got down 2-0 there was a little bit of a lull. You could almost see some things falling back into bad habits. In my opinion, they had something to fall back on and what that was a game plan that they are starting to believe in," Clouston said.

"When we got back to that game plan, we generated some more offensive opportunities. We spent less time in our zone running around and capitalized on our chances."


Videos

Photos