BUFFALO — It’s time for Craig Anderson to get his act together.
The Senators didn’t waste any time yanking their No. 1 goalie Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres, after he allowed two goals on two horrible rebounds in a stretch of 16 seconds and was replaced by Alex Auld just 2:25 into the game.
You’d have to think he’ll get a chance for redemption in the Battle of Ontario, however, Anderson carried an .886 save-percentage into this game which had him ranked No. 39 in the league.
That has to improve.
While coach Paul MacLean had planned to give Auld work during this stretch, the coach couldn’t have anticipated it would come so early. But Anderson struggled, and there was no sense in leaving him in the net to get shelled.
Signed to a four-year deal last spring, Anderson had been better lately until the disastrous performance against the Sabres.
He’s got to start stealing some games if this team is going to have a chance of making the playoffs.
The Senators were given a glimpse of what the future may hold. The Senators had their Fall Tour meeting with Donald Fehr, the new executive director of the NHLPA, after they arrived Thursday to get an update and find out what’s going to happen in negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement. With the CBA set to expire in September 2012, Fehr outlined for the players when he plans to start negotiations, the route he might take in talks and prepared the Sens for what could happen if there’s no new agreement in place. “As far as we know, nothing has started,” said D Chris Phillips, the team’s alternate rep to Auld. “Certainly there are no major issues right now. We talked about scenarios and different things, but, as far as talks go, there’s nothing right now.” So, is Phillips confident the hockey world won’t be sitting through a work stoppage next season? “You see what is happening in basketball and I’m certainly hopeful that we can come to an agreement before that happens,” said Phillips ... Can somebody please explain what exactly David Rundblad was trying to do by taking out Nathan Gerbe — and missing completely in the first? ... The Zenon Konopka Fan Club was in attendance in Buffalo. They were lucky enough to see him give Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth a little nudge in the second.
THIS N’ THAT
RW Chris Neil has a sprained ankle. He won’t play this weekend and it’s questionable if he’ll join the team in Western Canada. That’s not good news for Neil, who suffered the injury after getting kneed by New York’s Brandon Dubinsky Wednesday. “Breaks can be better in some cases, I don’t know if that’s the case here,” said MacLean ... Ottawa D Erik Karlsson and Buffalo’s Enroth are familiar with each other, but aren’t close friends. They played junior together for two months in Sweden, however, they haven’t kept in touch since. “We don’t know each other very well. We see each other and we have things to talk about, but not very much,” said Karlsson. “I know he’s a great goalie and a good guy, but that’s pretty much where we are.”
OFF THE GLASS
The Sabres dressing room has undergone an impressive facelift with in excess of $10 million spent by new owner Terry Pegula. Sabres C Derek Roy said the players were thrilled with the changes when they arrived back after starting the season in Europe. “We came back to a new locker room, the guys were appreciative of it and very respectful of it,” said Roy. “It’s been great. They have a lot of gadgets here that are trying to help us become better.” The Sabres even have their own chef to make sure they keep a proper diet, a fireplace in the players’ lounge and theatre seating to watch video.
AROUND THE BOARDS
The Sabres have undergone big changes on the ice as well: C Ville Leino and D Christian Erhoff signed as UFA’s after Pegula took over. “His involvement and his emotion with the team, he’s been a fan for a long time,” said Roy. “He wants to see this organization win the Stanley Cup ... He’s just done a great job.” ... At 5-foot-10 and 166 lbs., Enroth is the shortest and lightest goalie to play in the NHL this season.
THE LAST WORD
Not sure if it was the quickest decision to pull a goalie in Sens’ history, but only the hook on Pascal Leclaire by Cory Clouston five minutes into a game two years ago in Carolina comes to mind.