World championship play beckons Senators stars

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:19 PM ET

OTTAWA -- Pride, jobs and, in some cases, Doug Armstrong's affection.

That's all the golf course-bound Senators are left playing for in the last five games on their schedule, a stretch that starts tonight at Scotiabank Place against the Flyers, who put the boots to the Leafs last night in Philly for an 8-5 win.

Armstrong, the GM for Team Canada's entry at the world championship in Switzerland (April 24-May 10), will be at Scotiabank Place for Tuesday's game against Boston.

He won't be there to scout the first-place Bruins.

"I definitely enjoy playing with different guys and going over and playing internationally," said Dany Heatley, a star of previous world championships. "I'd love to go again."

Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips and Mike Fisher also expressed a desire yesterday to extend a disappointing NHL season by representing their country.

"Definitely, I'd be interested if that was an opportunity for me," said Phillips. "Especially with Olympics coming up pretty soon. It's a way to show the new management of Team Canada what you can do on that ice against other (world-class) competition.

"Yeah, if I get that phone call I think that I would take that opportunity."

In the meantime, the Senators also have games against the Habs in Montreal Monday, the Devils here Thursday and a season finale next Saturday in Toronto surrounding their meetings with the Flyers and Bruins.

They've played just once -- Thursday's 2-1 loss in Beantown -- since officially being eliminated from the post-season tournament after an 11-season run as participants.

"It'll be a challenge," coach Cory Clouston, acknowledging the emotional letdown of failing to maintain the franchise streak, said of keeping the players motivated.

"We talked to our guys, that they're going to have to show their character because of that, because of not being involved in the playoffs after this club has been in the playoffs for so many years in a row."


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