Senators home for Richardsons

Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson's (above) 14-year-old daughter, Daron, has died. (ERROL...

Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson's (above) 14-year-old daughter, Daron, has died. (ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:50 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA — The Senators didn’t debate the decision to come home.

In the midst of a four-game road trip, the Senators flew home after Monday night’s game against the Flyers instead of heading to Raleigh so they can be here for assistant coach Luke Richardson, whose 14-year-old daughter Daron died Saturday.

The Senators, who will practise Tuesday in Ottawa, wanted to show their support for Richardson, his wife Stephanie and daughter Morgan and will attend a celebration of Daron’s life Wednesday at Scotiabank Place.

“It was a short conversation when we were presented with the opportunity (to go home),” said defenceman Chris Phillips. “It was something, if they didn’t come to us (the players), we were going to go to them and see what we could do.

“We’re happy (the organization) stepped up to want to bring everyone home. We feel it’s important to be able to show our support to the family.”

The Senators got the approval they needed from the NHL to fly into Raleigh to play the Hurricanes the day of the game, which wasn’t a problem under the circumstances.

“All the players want to do this,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Coach Cory Clouston said changing the schedule is not going to bother anybody.

“The players are all for it. We’re a team. We need to show support and to a man, everybody wants to be there,” said Clouston. “We have to realize that hockey just is a game. We do it for our livelihood, we do it for our job, but in the big scheme of things there are more important things and this is a situation where definitely it is more important for us to be there.”

In a nice touch, the Flyers observed a moment of silence for the Richardson family before the game.

Richardson played five seasons in Philadelphia.

The morning skate

The historic Philadelphia Spectrum will face the wrecking ball next Tuesday. The rink officially closed with a Pearl Jam concert on Oct. 31, 2009. Philly greats like Bobby Clarke, Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Bernie Parent will be on hand to say their goodbyes. A guy who has a lot of memorable nights from the Spectrum is Senators colour commentator Denis Potvin. One of his favourites was Game 1 of the Islanders semi-final against the Flyers in 1975. Trying to end the curse of legendary singer Kate Smith (To that point, Philly had won every game she sang Gold Bless America), the Isles pooled their money and bought “her four dozen roses. The place was going nuts, so at the end of the anthem our captain Ed Westfall grabbed the roses, gave them to Kate and then we all shook her hand. We wanted to break the case,” said Potvin. “Then, (Gary) Dornhoefer scored about 30 seconds into the game and we lost the series (4-3). It didn’t work ... ”

It makes you go hmmm

Flyers C Claude Giroux is pleased with the three-year, $11.25-million US contract extension he signed last week. “This is a great organization,” said Giroux. “They take care of their players.” The former Olympiques star took the NHL by storm in the playoffs last spring and has been solid this season. He isn’t, however, on the NHL all-star ballot. “Whether I’m surprised or not, he’s not on there,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. “That shouldn’t in any way, shape or form say to anybody that he’s not an elite player, he is an elite player.” ... The Senators have three players on the ballot for the game Jan. 28 in Raleigh: Captain Daniel Alfredsson, C Jason Spezza and D Sergei Gonchar. Voting started online Monday.

The bottom line

Spezza, a student of the game, didn’t know much about Flyers Russian G Sergei Bobrovsky. Spezza saw the Flyers’ first game of the season and then made sure he watched Philly last week to get a read on Bobrovsky. “I don’t really know him at all,” Spezza said before the game. He went five-hole for his fifth goal of the season in the first period Monday night. Must have been the homework ... Senators W Alex Kovalev got an assist on Spezza’s goal for career point No. 999, but it sure looked like he lost the puck and it landed on Spezza’s stick ... Senators W Jarkko Ruutu fought Flyers W Scott Hartnell late in the second period. Hartnell landed a couple of punches, but Ruutu landed some jabs and scored a takedown.

The last word

Senators D Erik Karlsson took three minor penalties in the second period. At this rate, they can give him the Wells Fargo penalty box when they close the building.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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