Cheapseats: Phaneuf hit a cheapshot?
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Maple Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf levels Senators forward Stephane Da Costa with an open-ice hit at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont., Oct. 8, 2011. (Abelimages/Getty Images/AFP)
TORONTO - Not all the fireworks have disappeared from the Battle of Ontario.
Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf sparked trouble in the second period Saturday night by nailing rookie centre Stephane Da Costa with an open-ice hit that will be hotly debated by all those who want NHL VP Brendan Shanahan to lay down the law.
While it looked like Phaneuf may have gotten his elbow up on Da Costa at 3:14, there was no call and nobody on the ice really took the Toronto captain to task for the incident.
While Da Costa was slow getting up, he didn’t leave the game. That sparked Chris Neil to fight Luke Schenn later and the Senators winger was given 19 minutes in penalties.
This rivalry can still have hatred.
BUTLER DOESN’T DO IT
Firing blanks has earned Bobby Butler a spot in the press box.
Butler finished with 10-11-21 points in 36 games for the Senators last spring, while mostly riding shotgun on centre Jason Spezza’s wing.
Counted on to be a big contributor after winning a Calder Cup with the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton last spring, Butler was a healthy scratch Saturday night.
Butler’s spot on the roster was taken by Zenon Konopka.
“It’s not working for him, but he’s still a young player and he’s still learning,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean Saturday morning. “He had success last year and he’s going through a point right now where he’s not having success.”
AROUND THE BOARDS
Toronto D John-Michael Liles, a former teammate of Craig Anderson in Colorado, was handing out praise for the Ottawa goalie before the game.
“He was huge for us that year we went to the playoffs (2009-10). He was a big part of our team,” said Liles. “He was still that last year. I’m not really sure what went on, but the team thought they were going in a different direction.
“He’s a big goaltender. He reads the play well and anticipates plays. He’s just a good teammate and a great competitor.”
Liles said Anderson is the kind of netminder that can get on a roll.
“When he’s at his best, he’s squaring up to pucks and he makes a lot of saves look easy.”
The Senators had better see that kind of play soon or they’re in big trouble ... You have to like the way LW Colin Greening has been going to the net for the Senators.
AROUND THE BOARDS
It didn’t take long for Konopka to get involved. He dropped the gloves with Toronto’s Mike Brown at 5:42 of the first. There were not a lot of punches thrown ... With Toronto media not giving the Senators much of a chance, G James Reimer was trying to keep everybody’s expectations in check. “They’re in a rebuilding mode, but at the same time they have NHL players and they’re an NHL team,” said Reimer. “It’s not like we’re playing an East Coast team. They’re still in this league for a reason. They have good players. Just because they’re rebuilding it doesn’t mean you can take them lightly.” ... Daniel Alfredsson got booed as much Saturday as Dany Heatley will Tuesday in Ottawa.
OFF THE GLASS
MacLean won’t be in Winnipeg Sunday for the return of the Jets, but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm. “Part of me is (there),” said MacLean. “My son (David) was born in Winnipeg,” said MacLean, who played seven seasons with the Jets. “He’s a pro scout for the Phoenix Coyotes. He’s going to be at the game so we’re going to be represented. He’s excited to be there and, personally, I’m excited what Mark Chipman and True North have done to bring hockey back.” ... Senators C Mika Zibanejad got a nice welcome to Toronto by taking a punch in the face from Schenn, who went off for roughing ... Why was D Jared Cowen so low in the Toronto zone when he took the double-minor for high sticking Colby Armstrong?
THE LAST WORD
A Battle of Ontario just isn’t the same without a Colton Orr-Matt Carkner tussle.