Sen blasts officiating on Pens' winner

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:22 PM ET

PITTSBURGH — Erik Karlsson was strong on the rebound Friday.

He was pretty good with the shots, too.

Not only did Karlsson take the point blast that led to Ottawa’s only goal in the 2-1 loss to the Penguins, the 20-year-old defenceman bounced back from two games as a healthy scratch to be his team’s best player — with the exception of goalie Pascal Leclaire.

Karlsson put a game-leading seven shots on goal and made at least one particularly fine defensive play, breaking up a Sidney Crosby pass in the second period that would have become a great scoring chance for the Penguins.

When it was over, he had some critical comments about both the officiating and Penguins pest Matt Cooke, who was penalized for boarding Karlsson in the second.

“I think we played a great game,” said Karlsson. “Everybody was really on the same page. We did everything right to win ... Pascal in the net was unbelievably good.

“It’s tough to play against a team and the refs sometime. They won on their power play ... That’s the way it is sometimes.”

Like most everybody else in the visitors room, Karlsson believed there should have been a penalty on Chris Conner for interfering with Mike Fisher on the winning goal.

The Senators’ Chris Kelly was in the box serving a very rare (as in, have you ever seen it before?) double minor for hooking and holding and, with Fisher sprawled on the ice, Alex Goligoski was allowed a clear path for the decisive shot.

“That’s why they have two refs out there, to see stuff like that,” said Karlsson. “We get two penalties on the same guy, on the same shift ... if they make that call, they can’t miss an interference like that.

“I understand everybody can have a bad day and all. No hard feelings now. But it’s just tough to see both referees miss it.”

Karlsson was none-too-impressed, either, with Cooke, who left him gasping for air on foul the officials did catch.

“I think it’s a cheap hit,” said Karlsson, who was later spotted pointing at Cooke in a payback-will-be-sweet fashion. “He’s the second guy in from behind. I just took a hit, I have no idea what’s going on, and he hits me from behind, then tells me to keep my head up. If that’s a two-minute penalty, and the same thing when I pulled Crosby on the shoulder for the interference call, that’s two different situations and it sucks it’s two minutes for both of them.”

And then, as if suddenly thinking he had said too much, Karlsson added: “That’s the way it is sometimes. You’ve just got to respect that and accept that. Nothing you can do about it. It’s the way of the game. The game of life.”

BETWEEN PERIODS

Cory Clouston made a bold, unpopular and potentially dangerous decision Friday. He sat out the Senators’ big brother. Clouston made Matt Carkner a healthy scratch to get Karlsson in the lineup. Clouston limited Carkner to less than 11 minutes of ice time Wednesday, and said Carkner sat Friday partly because of limited offensive skills. Never mind that David Hale is also no scoring threat — and lacks Carkner’s intimidating presence. “At times. yeah,” Clouston said when asked if his defence already was short of a physical players — as is his entire team. “But right now our biggest concern is we’re not scoring. It’s not necessarily the other end of the rink that we’re concerned about. That is an issue we talked about, and right now Matt, the way he’s playing ... it’s not the wrong time to do it. He’s a big part of our team. He’s a big brother to our guys, but for this game we feel, this is the lineup we need.” For as hard as he works, Carkner’s shift in the pressbox would not be a popular one with teammates.

THINGS I THINK I THINK

The rare, 1 p.m. start time threw a few of us off our game, at least temporarily. One Ottawa wag tweeted before opening puck drop that Marc-Andre Fleury would be starting in goal for Ottawa. Legendary broadcaster Dave “The Voice” Schreiber accidentally (and understandably, given that he calls games for both teams) referred to the Senators defence as the 67’s defence in his “keys to victory.” Texted buddy Biffy: “He’s not far off, though.” Ouch ... Okay, there’s birds flying by our heads in the pressbox here. And no, I’ve only been drinking diet Snapple and Dr. Pepper ... The Senators were in an especially foul mood after Friday’s loss. Just what you like to see.

POINT BLANK

Hall of Fame defenceman Denis Potvin is now a veteran colour commentator, and a very good one. But he’s still a rookie to the Senators broadcast booth, and as such it’s only right that he picks up a tab for the rest of the Ottawa media at the same kind of “rookie dinner” as players hold. “So Denis, are you taking us out tonight,” Cheapseats asked Potvin on the bus to our Pittsburgh hotel Friday. “I’ll take you out, all right,” Potvin cracked, raising a meaty right paw. “One by one.” It’s funny how one can lose his appetite in such a hurry ... Apparently, the pretzel machine in the Consol Energy Center pressbox is a lot like a PDF document. I don’t know how to open, either ... It’s an unlikely pair to feud, but something exists between Chris Neil and Evgeni Malkin. It’s been going for years, and it continued Friday.


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