In Bingo, it is hoped, he’ll find both his scoring touch and a level of compete that satisfies the Senators.
Filatov is a “scorer” who has yet to score for the organization. With prime time, he had three assists in six pre-season games and one in the first two of the regular season. More worrisome than his inability to bulge twine is that Filatov didn’t appear desperate enough to hold on to a job that was all but given to him at camp.
The Senators want the Russian winger to start battling a little harder for pucks.
“He wasn’t playing and the indication from the coaches was that he wasn’t going to be playing over the weekend,” said GM Bryan Murray, who could easily demote Filatov because he is on a two-way contract. “He’s a young player, he has to play. If he’s going to be a player on our team, we want him to be a Top 6 forward. Skill level indicates that’s what he should be.
“He has to (go down) and work real hard, develop his game, be a little more competitive and hopefully score some points. If he does all that, obviously then we’ll keep a close eye on him.”
That it cost them only a third-round pick to acquire the former sixth overall draft choice makes it hard for the Senators to be too disappointed in Filatov’s start. Still, they were hoping he would hold on tight to this new lease on life instead of letting it slip away like he did.
Some Senators didn’t like the suggestion by one columnist that fans should boo an Ottawa player (in this case, Sergei Gonchar) when he plays like a dog. MacLean, it seems, sees nothing wrong with it. “I’ve been booed,” said MacLean, who spent 10 years of his life as an NHL winger. “I think it’s a motivator. You have to show people. If your fans aren’t happy about your play, they should express that they’re not happy. Conversely, if you play better, they should appreciate that you play better. To me, it’s just a signal that you need to play better.” ... Sending Filatov down means there’s one less tough decision for MacLean to make. “It’s the hardest thing you have to do as a coach, to tell a player he’s not playing,” said MacLean, who against the Avs went with seven defenceman and made healthy scratches of Erik Condra and Zenon Konopka. MacLean didn’t much like the other end of it, either. “I sat out five games in a row my first year in Winnipeg, and I flew my dad out from Antiguinish to watch me play,” he said. “So we had a good time watching the game together.” It was also the last time MacLean would be a healthy scratch in his career.
STARTS AND STOPS
It’s not just lip service to pump up merchandise sales when the Senator players speak of their fondness for the team’s new heritage jersey, which they wore in a game for the first time. “I think it’s the best one we’ve had yet,” Jason Spezza said after the morning skate. “Unanimously, the guys love them. We’re excited to wear them. Hopefully, we’ll get a good record going with them on.” As sharp as they are, there was something stinky about the sweaters Thursday night. Ah yes, it was the guys wearing them .... Yes, the Senators are going to have their troubles this season, but rested and playing their second home game of the season, they should be better than they were against a team that might just wind up with a lottery pick at the next draft. The Avs, who were also coming off a game the night before in Columbus, held the punch-less Senators to eight shots on goal through two periods and 10 in the first 48. MacLean went with seven “D” because he wanted to keep the minutes played by individuals down and “to get out of our zone better.” As it turned out, the Zamboni didn’t really need to do Colorado’s end at all.
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
Konopka wasn’t exactly a “healthy” scratch. He’d been suffering from a stiff neck ever since fighting Minnesota’s Matt Kassien Tuesday. No surprise, really. He should have had a stiff neck just looking up at the 6-foot-5, 240-pound giant. Still, Konopka has played with broken bones, and after having his face shattered by a puck in the East Coast League. He wouldn’t have wanted to miss this one.
Peter Regin’s mom Lene is in town from Denmark for the next week and a half or so, and that is something that pleases Peter Regin’s stomach to no end. Asked what dish he’s looking forward to mom making for him most, Regin didn’t bother to look at the menu in his mind. “Just home cooked meals,” he said with a grin.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM
Zack Smith was penalized for an “illegal check to the head.” There’s a legal one? ... Would things have turned out differently had Stephane Da Costa scored into a yawning cage with his team down 2-1 late in the first? Probably not ... Like the way Colin Greening plays, but when he has the most ice time of any Senator at this stage of his career, it’s not a good thing.