Senators too young to keep up with B's

Bruins players celebrate a goal against the Senators at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Dec. 14,...

Bruins players celebrate a goal against the Senators at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Dec. 14, 2011. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:29 AM ET

OTTAWA - Of all the reasons the Bruins won at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday night, here’s one suggested with tongue only slightly implanted in cheek.

The Senators were too young to keep up to them.

Both teams played elsewhere Tuesday, then flew into Ottawa airport after their games. It was late before the players fell asleep. Not for lack of trying, though. Senators forward Jesse Winchester tossed and turned until after 2 a.m.

If you’ve had a late time slot in your beer league, you know the feeling. You also know that young people need more shut-eye time than the elderly.

“You just get wired ... it’s so exciting to be part of a game that fast,” said Winchester. “You’re so in-the-moment when you’re playing ... it takes a while for you to come off that high.”

Winchester’s dad was in his 30s when made a huge sacrifice for his future NHLer.

“He had to give up beer league hockey,” said Winchester. “He’d be playing Friday nights in our hometown when I was starting hockey, and when you start you play at 6:30 or 7 ... he’d play at 10 or 11, in the late slot, then you go for a beer with the guys, and he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until 3 or 4 in the morning, and he’d have to be up at 6 to take me to hockey ... Finally he was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.' ”

The Senators were all over the Bruins early in Wednesday’s game, outshooting them at different stages 9-2, 12-4, 13-6. But if they did get tired as the night wore on, it wasn’t for lack of conditioning.

Maybe they were just sleepy.

STARTS AND STOPS

The youthful Senators are both exciting to watch and prone to “fatal errors," as coach Paul MacLean has called their breakdowns. You witnessed both Wednesday ... Is there a team that’s having more fun than the Senators? When Erik Karlsson was forced to take a faceoff in overtime Tuesday, his teammates weren’t exactly hoping for a positive result. “He keeps telling us how easy it is,” said Jason Spezza. “When the puck was just snapped away from, everybody on the bench was cheering. Maybe that’ll shut him up.” Not likely. “They can’t chirp me about it, it’s my first one,” said Karlsson. “We’ll see about the next one.” ... The TSN panel debated whether Karlsson was the most dynamic offensive-minded defenceman in the game. Of course he is. “Last time I saw a player dominate in overtime like that it was Scott Niedermayer, when I played with him in Anaheim,” Zenon Konopka said of Karlsson’s performance Tuesday in Buffalo. “It was like everyone else was in fourth, and he was in fifth gear. As a player he reminds me a lot of Scott Niedermayer. But not as a person. Niedermayer never talked. He was quiet, confident ... But on the ice, the way they can recover ... you’ve got to realize, Niedermayer got beat on the ice, but his gap would be so tight ... if he didn’t get beat a couple of times you knew his gap wasn’t tight enough. But with his speed and smarts, he would be able to recover. Now we’re working on his shot. Niedermayer had a good shot but not a great shot, and Karlsson has a good shot but not a great shot ... it’s the consistency we’re working on.”

STUFF I THINK I THUNK

Matt Carkner and Milan Lucic were tossing them so good, it’s a surprise three concussions didn’t come out of that first-period fight ... Clearly, Brad Marchand just doesn’t like Swedes. He took a couple of runs at Daniel Alfredsson in the first, but stopped short of embarrassing Alfredsson the way he did the Sedin sisters last spring ... Not sure which was more impressive — the move Jason Spezza made to get around Daniel Alfredsson or the pass he gave him for Ottawa’s first goal ... After finishing with nine shots on net Tuesday, Colin Greening had one dandy in the first 30 seconds against the Bruins. But the quickness of Tim Thomas prevented him from converting the Alfredsson setup. “I think I had the shooter mentality,” he said of his game in Buffalo. Last time he had nine shots on goal? “I don’t know ... atom,” said Greening ... Jared Cowen played forward a few times in junior last season. “When we were playing (bad),” he said. "I’d just go and run guys ... or play in front of the net on the power play.” The Senators might want to try putting him in the goalie's face during their man-advantage opportunities. Cowen wouldn’t complain. “I love it in front,” he said. “It’s nice because when you’re on the point, you know where you want the guys in front, so when you’re in front you know where to be.” ... Senators had five right-handed shots on the ice during their late-game power play.

BETWEEN PERIODS

If he’s not reading or chatting to his seatmate Greening, Winchster watches TV series on his computer during flights. “I just finished Breaking Bad, season two,” he said. “I can’t stop watching it, but I don’t know how much I love it. It’s kind of disturbing to me. I’ve watched every episode of Californication, which is why I switched to Breaking Bad. Californication will go down as the best TV show of all time.” ... Another reason to like Cowen — he didn’t hesitate one second before dropping the gloves and looking to fight Adam McQuaid after the Bruins D-man stuck his knee out on Nick Foligno. Cowen likely doesn’t know or care that McQuaid is one of the toughest heavyweights in the league ... In the house was MacLean’s old high school team, the Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional Royals from Antigonish, N.S. They’re on their way to the Canadian Cup hockey tournament slated for Lake Placid, N.Y., Dec. 15-18. “I played junior hockey with their coach, Bernie Gillis, back in the day,” said MacLean. “They’re a real good group of kids. I know a lot of their dads, obviously. It’s exicting to have them around.”

SWEET TWEET

“I’m thinking (Clint) Benedict would have stopped that one” -- @rickc565, after Rich Peverley’s wrist shot from high in the slot beat Craig Anderson.

KONOPKA KORNER

Cheaps: As a former Ottawa 67’s captain, what did you think about Tyler Toffoli and Cody Ceci getting cut by Hockey Canada?

Konopka: “I know Ceci, he’s a great kid. You feel for him. But I’ll tell you, there’s an awful long list of players on that cut list that are superstars in the NHL. So I hope both use it as a motivation to prove Hockey Canada wrong, and dominate and win a championship in Ottawa this year, then go on to a long NHL career.”

Cheaps: Did you know Toffoli has scored 83 goals in his last 90 OHL games? I heard my buddy Lever Sage say that on the Team 1200.

Konopka: “Wow, that’s pretty impressive. I’m impressed, and I don’t impress easily.”

Cheaps: You don’t?

Konopka: “No. Hey, are those black shoes? Wow. Those black shoes are impressive.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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