Lee: 'I should have just kept quiet'

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Brian Lee learned his lesson the hard way.

The young defenceman was sent down to the Senators' AHL affiliate in Binghamton yesterday, less than 24 hours after he received a double-minor for mouthing off at referee Paul Devorski in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks Thursday night at Scotiabank Place.

Lee's four-minute minor in the second period, which included an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, resulted in goals by Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau on the ensuing power play.

That's not the only reason Lee will spend the weekend in Binghamton. The Senators also need to clear a roster spot after all 29 teams passed on goalie Martin Gerber on re-entry waivers yesterday.

Coach Cory Clouston said he wasn't happy with Lee's actions in the second period Thursday night.

"I know what he said," said Clouston. "He's wrong. He shouldn't have said what he said. But, in all honesty, if you're going to get an extra two minutes for what he said, then every penalty would just about be a double minor.

"He's got to learn from it, and the rest of the team is going to learn from it. I've seen the guys rally behind him and support him and I think they need to do that, but I think we all have to realize what he said has been said 100 times without a penalty. The timing was unfortunate."

Clouston said Lee has to earn the respect of the officials.

"He has to understand he's a young guy," said Clouston. "You have to earn your stripes. He's got to make sure in that situation, whether you agree or disagree (with the official's call), you've got to bite your tongue. You aren't a 10-year veteran who maybe has a little bit more of a rapport with the officials and maybe get away with a bit more."

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson had a talk with Lee after the club's 40-minute practice yesterday.

"I argued the call a bit and I should have just kept my mouth shut and gone to the box," said Lee.

"I don't know exactly what was called, but I'm sure in his eyes it was a penalty, so I should have just kept quiet."

Centre of attention

Clouston had a long chat with C Jason Spezza at the end of practice, but he doesn't have any issues with the way the club's top centre is playing. "I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page," said Clouston. "I think he's playing very well. I told him that I felt that the last 10 minutes of the game might have been the best 10 minutes he played for us. Unfortunately, he didn't score, but he sure tried and he showed that he really dug down to help this team win. I wanted him to know that, and I think it's important that he understands what he did well and the things we need to work on."

Off the glass

Senators D Chris Campoli is looking forward to his first taste of the Battle of Ontario tonight. Acquired from the Isles last Friday, Campoli grew up in Mississauga and admits he cheered for the Leafs as a youngster. "There was many times I was cheering for the Blue and White, but I'm happy to be on the other side," said Campoli. "I'm really excited. I've never been part of the Canadian atmosphere. It's going to be fun to be involved in a really intense battle." Campoli said his teammates have told him there will be a lot of Toronto fans at Scotiabank Place. "I'm used to it because when we played the Rangers, there were a lot more Rangers fans in the building than Islanders fans." ... Matthew Spezza, Jason's younger brother, was in the net for practice yesterday because G Alex Auld was off with the flu. "It was fun to have Matt out there" said the elder Spezza. "He's a few years younger than me, so by default he got stuck in the net, and I got to shoot on him quite a bit every day in the basement. We still get to skate together in the summer. It was fun to have him in a real practice."

BRUCE.GARRIOCH@SUNMEDIA.CA


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