January 22, 2011
'Frustrated' Phillips relishes day off
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
Defenceman Chris Phillips appreciated the day off — even if, by stepping outside or listening to a weather report, he could get a chilling reminder of a number he’d like to forget.
Phillips was a minus-2 in the Senators’ 7-1 loss to Montreal Friday, leaving him a numbing minus-22 on the season. As of Saturday afternoon, only New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk (minus-26) had a worse rating of the 804 skaters in the NHL.
“There’s a lot of frustration right now ... I’ll gladly take (the off-day),” said Phillips, who, along with his teammates, didn’t have to report back to work until Sunday morning’s practice at the Bell Sensplex.
“(The chance) to reflect on my own game ... and have an opportunity just to think what I’ve got to do to be better. I think we can all do that. Just look in the mirror, and figure out to a man what we have to do to be better personally. “If we all do that a little bit, the team is going to look better.”
While they are the second-lowest scoring team in the league, the Senators have now surrendered 157 goals — second most after Edmonton’s 159, before Saturday’s action.
“At times we’re playing great (but) having a hard time putting the puck in the net,” said Phillips. “And then the goals against ... you can just about look at every goal, and it’s usually a mental mistake on our part. We’re just handing it to teams.”
The Senators returned RW Bobby Butler and G Mike Brodeur to Binghamton Saturday. They’ll have to recall either Brodeur or Robin Lehner for Tuesday’s game vs. Buffalo ... RW Chris Neil had a scare when he was hit by a stick in the face in the third period on Friday. “I think he’s going to be okay,” said coach Cory Clouston. “It caught him kind of just across the eye.”