Uncle's gift lifts Shannon

DON BRENNAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

Ryan Shannon revealed that he received some solid words of wisdom from his uncle John over the Christmas break.

And they were?

“Don’t suck,” said the Senators winger. “Keep it simple.”

So far, the Shannon “family adviser” is looking like Connecticut’s very own Dr. Phil. After the first 29 games without a goal, Shannon scored his second in two games.

His second-period power-play marker vs. the Canadiens Monday night was like the slump-buster in Buffalo in that it went in off an opposing player. Only this time, he actually shot the puck toward the net rather than have it deflect off his stick first.

Not that anybody cares how they go in, right?

“It was obviously the monkey on my back, the whole season,” Shannon said of his Boxing Day beauty. “It had been a long time since I scored. I had one goal in the pre-season, and there were times I thought I’d never score again.

“I was getting chances. When I was playing a lot, I was getting a lot of good chances. I had a couple of open nets, hit posts ... I just felt like I was snakebit.

“Now hopefully the floodgates will open.”

The Senators have their fingers crossed. They are without their top four goal scorers from last season — the dearly departed Dany Heatley and the injured Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno. The 2008-09 edition was 23rd in league scoring, and that foursome accounted for 108-of-217 goals.

Can some of the slack be picked up by Shannon, who was promoted to the first line alongside Mike Fisher and Alex Kovalev when Alfredsson separated his shoulder?

“He’s going to have to,” said coach Cory Clouston. “I’m not saying he’s going to score every night, but he’s going to have to at least generate that momentum, that energy, his speed for sure.”

Shannon had eight goals in 35 games for the Senators last season. Upon signing a new one-way contract, he expected to pick up where he left off.

“Last year I was able to (put up consistent numbers) for the last two months,” he said. “Over the summer, that’s what I thought this season was going to be about. It wasn’t in the first half. Maybe this is my chance.”

Starts and stops

How long has Kerry Fraser been an NHL referee? Two periods too long, at least. He should have picked Monday night’s first intermission to hang them up. That he missed Chris Kelly getting high-sticked wasn’t so bad, even though it happened right in front of him and he had to skate through Kelly’s trail of blood to follow the play. But waving off the Mike Fisher goal is unforgivable. There was “incidental contact” by Chris Neil on Jaroslav Halak — after the puck was in the net ... All those who bought tickets to the game as a Christmas present should be feeling good about the idea. From the wild and wacky first period throughout, that was a fun one to watch .... Just when you’re thinking a backup goaltender could never break a cheekbone while sitting on a Scotiabank Place bench again, Carey Price leaves his seat early in the first after appearing to take a puck in the face. Price returned a half-period later, seemingly none the worse for wear.

Between periods

Seems Chris Neil has been in the middle of everything since his return from a knee injury last week. Monday night, he went down hard after being hit by a Chris Campoli slap shot, just before Peter Regin scored. Then he came back to be the central figure on both the controversial goal that counted and the one that didn’t. Neil also continues to hit everything in sight, as well as agitate opponents. In the third period, Scott Gomez followed Neil right into the Senators bench to cross check him in the back. No penalty was called ... Jacques Martin and his Habs continue to get away with holding their morning skate at Carleton University the same time the Senators are doing so at Scotiabank Place, making it impossible for media to cover both teams and help generate some extra, late interest in the game. The league really should figure out a way to penalize such arrogance ... Pascal Leclaire was outstanding, but he didn’t have to do a thing to stop a 2-on-0 shorthanded breakaway by Gomez and Sergei Kostitsyn in the second. The puck rolled off Gomez’ stick and harmlessly into the corner.

Things that make you go hmmm...

Of all the first periods Chris Phillips has played in an Ottawa sweater, Monday night's was one to forget. Phillips was charged with three of the Senators' five giveaways, which was one more than the entire Montreal team made ... Worth repeating is the fact that, once again, it sounded like there were more Habs fans than Senators fans at Scotiabank Place. What an embarrassment ... This time it was the Senator's opponents who didn’t get a power play all night. They deserved at least a couple, too ... Shannon was impressed with the aeronautical abilities of Kovalev, who flew him home for Christmas on his small plane, but decided against it being a round-trip flight because of the dicey weather in Ottawa. What was the in-flight service like? “I grabbed a water bottle from the back seat,” said Shannon.

Just saying'

Management and coaching staff have to get on the same page when it comes to Erik Karlsson. If the kid is going to be a healthy scratch, like he has been for the last two games, wouldn’t he be better off playing at the world junior championship?


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