Sens officially disgusted

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Senators' frustration with NHL officiating is reaching the boiling point.

Coach Cory Clouston was steaming after Wednesday night's 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, while GM Bryan Murray made his feelings known to veteran referee Kerry Fraser after the game.

“How many games is that without a power play? Three?” Clouston asked no one in particular as his post-game media scrum broke up.

Officially, the Senators have had only one game without a power play, at home against the Edmonton Oilers Nov. 10. There have been three other games in which they had only one and some of those were of a very short duration.

Murray emerged from his meeting with Fraser with a look of exasperation.

“I was very unhappy with several calls,” said Murray. “I think there was an obvious hit to the head (on an Andrew Peters check on Senators defenceman Alexandre Picard) and a second one on (Jarkko) Ruutu in front of the net. (Forward Peter) Regin got his legs cut out from under him and there was no call.

“It’s very upsetting in a close, hard-fought road game.”

Peters levelled Picard six minutes into the second period, knocking him to the ice. Picard left the game, but returned.

Ruutu was hit with a high stick after a great scoring chance in the third. He lay on the ice bleeding after the hit by Devils defenceman Bryce Salvador.

“He got me right in the chops,” said Ruutu, “but I guess the ref didn’t see it. I’m still bleeding from it.”

The Devils had four power plays. There have been only five games this season in which the Senators have had more power plays than their opponents.

Of course, the Senators aren’t doing themselves any favours.

They went into Wednesday’s game as the most-penalized team in the league at 17.5 minutes a game.

HEAR AND THERE

Nice to see a familar smiling face in the Devils dressing room: Former Senator Dean McAmmond. He admitted the thought of his career being over crossed his mind as there was no interest from NHL teams over the summer. “I don’t have enough money to go buy my own team to play on,” he said. Must be getting close, though, huh? “I’m Dean ... McAmmond,” he leaned in to say. “I meant an NHL team, not midget AAA.” Then, while he was elk hunting in northern Alberta in early October, the call came from Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. After a few games in Lowell of the AHL, McAmmond was back in the NHL. The man can still skate ... I’m not saying it’s a sparse crowd here at The Rock, but the game just started and there are three people sitting in section 125 and it’s got about 14 rows of 20 seats a row. Hey, at least it’s easy to get out to go to the bathroom or get a beer.

REVELATIONS

After spending a couple of years playing in Finland, Ryan Keller signed with the Binghamton Senators to chase his dream of playing in the NHL. He got his shot Wednesday night as he made his NHL debut with the Senators after Mike Fisher hurt himself in practice Tuesday. “I loved very minute of it,” he said of his time overseas, “and I’d go back in a heartbeat. But its every player’s dream to play in the NHL. I kind of feel like I made the right decision because I’m getting this opportunity.” Keller, 25, has been having a great season in Bingo, leading the team in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists in 20 games. It was a whirlwind for him after the getting the callup Monday night. “I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet,” he said. “It’s a game played between the boards. I’m just going to forget everything else...it’s the same game you played as a kid.” ... Keller’s dad, Mark, managed to make it in from Saskatoon to see his son’s debut. Good for him.

SPECULATIONS

Defenceman Anton Volchenkov skated back in Ottawa Wednesday and is expected to return from his dislocated elbow Saturday in Boston against the Bruins ... Ottawa’s Brian Lee and New Jersey’s Travis Zajac took turns missing open nets in the second period. The key for Lee might be to shoot easier (remember his goal on Martin Brodeur in Ottawa?)

THE BUZZ

The normally chatty Brodeur disappeared quickly after the morning skate. Might have had something to do with his second wife, Genivieve, giving birth to a son Monday. Maxime-Philippe Brodeur already has his initial on the back of dad’s mask along with those of his other four kids.

JUST WONDERING

I guess they won’t schedule a game here on U.S. Thanksgiving eve again. There couldn’t have been more than 6,000 people in the building, though they’re up to 22 people in section 125 now.

JUST SAYING

The new Prudential Center is nice, but all the hallways and doors make it harder to get around than the neutral zone when the Devils are on the ice ... Everybody in the building wanted to see Ottawa’s Matt Carkner go with Peters after latter smacked Picard, but that would have been a bad tradeoff for the Senators, especially with it looking like they were about to go down another defenceman.

PARTING SHOT

Sam, our driver who took us between the hotel and rink yesterday, has driven some famous people. Good tippers? Not necessarily. “The biggest chickens,” said Sam, “lay the smallest eggs.”


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