Bell answers call for Sens

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

The first star of Tuesday's win waved up to his old junior coach as he took the ceremonial post-game twirl.

"It was just a little something," Brendan Bell shrugged yesterday of the gesture he made towards 67's coach Brian Kilrea, who, along with his assistant and pal, Bert O'Brien, was in attendance as a guest of the Senators. "It was a special night for Killer and Bert, and I haven't seen them much in the last little while. I'm sure that was the first game they've been to in a long time."

Asked if he'd like to find Kilrea in the crowd more often, considering the night's events, Bell smiled.

"If he was the good luck charm, the luck of the Irish, then he's welcome any time. He can have my tickets."

The offer could have an expiry date of April 9 -- the Senators' last home game of the season. That's because Bell could very well be elsewhere in 2009-10.

Invited to play in 40 of the Senators' 69 games after starting the season in Binghamton, Bell has chipped in nicely with six goals and nine assists.

"In certain areas, he's been very good for us. Case in point, (Tuesday) night on the power play," said coach Cory Clouston. "But there are areas he has to get better at. He's improving each game. He's had some ups and downs. But overall, his play has come a long way, even from the start of this year down in Binghamton.

"You can't get complacent. You can't sit back and relax. You've got to always try to work to get better. Obviously he's got talent, he's got skills, he's got strengths that he has to keep using. But he's got to always look to improve his game."

Bell, who is currently pulling in the $500,000 (all terms US) NHL salary he gets on a two-way contract, will be involved in the team's off-season numbers game.

He likes playing in his home town, of course, and the home-town team likes what he has done for it. Whether Anita Ward's Ring My Bell remains in the Scotiabank Place music man's rotation -- and whether Kilrea will have access to an extra pair -- is one of the many questions to be answered in an interesting off-season.

Light load for Elliott

G Brian Elliott's sixth consecutive win was unlike any he's ever had before. He only made 11 saves in a 60-minute shift.

"Those games are one of the toughest you can have, when you're not seeing a lot of shots and you try to keep your head in it," Elliott, who improved his record to 13-4-3, said yesterday. "That's the hardest part. Keeping yourself from looking in the stands or just having empty thoughts come into your head and ruin your confidence. The guys did an awesome job to come back from the slow start in the first and shut them down the rest of the way."

Further on the topic of fans, the rookie was asked his thoughts on the atmosphere at NHL games and if he was prepared to have just as many fans cheering against him as for him tonight, with Montreal faithful invading SBP.

Elliott said he's familiar with a rambunctious crowd from his days at the University of Wisconsin.

"In college, they get right on you," he said. "They know your mother's name and they chant it in the stands. It's almost worse in college. I've had to deal with stuff like that. It's a fun atmosphere to play in. That's what everybody dreams of, the NHL, to be around the whole league, and the fans are great. Hopefully, our fans can come (tonight) and support us like that."

This and that

Winger Jarkko Ruutu, a Hab agitator in the past, will take no extra satisfaction by putting a dent in Montreal's post-season plans. "I don't really care who makes the playoffs if we don't make it," said Ruutu. "That's the bottom line." In a jovial mood like the rest of his mates at yesterday's practice, Ruutu explained why. "Winning," he said. "Is a hundred times more fun than losing." ... Fellow veteran Shean Donovan agreed with Ruutu that tonight's should be a "great" game. "It's fun when you're playing like this," Donovan said. "Obviously, guys are just taking it one game at a time. I know that's a cliche, but that's all you can do. You just keep truckin' along."


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