Senators no longer Nick-ed off

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby elbows Senators forward Nick Foligno at the CONSOL Energy Center in...

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby elbows Senators forward Nick Foligno at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Penn., Nov. 25, 2011. (JASON COHN/Reuters)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:45 AM ET

OTTAWA - Unlike Reggie Dunlop in Slapshot, the Senators won’t have ambulances circling the building on Friday night when the Penguins come to town.

The muzzle has been put on the war of words.

While the Senators and Penguins traded verbal jabs for almost three days after Pittsburgh scored a 6-3 victory over Ottawa Nov. 25, there was barely a peep from either side as they prepared for the rematch at Scotiabank Place.

Both sides threw water on the firestorm that erupted after Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby elbowed Nick Foligno in the head because the Penguins claimed the Senators winger tried to take out goalie Marc-Andre Fleury by going hard to the net.

But with Crosby sidelined indefinitely — again — with concussion-like symptoms, if there were any hard feelings, they were tough to find in either dressing room.

“I think it’s over and done with. That was a long time ago,” said Foligno, who told reporters he was “disappointed” with Crosby’s actions after the November game, following practice Thursday. “I said what I said. (The Penguins) had their answer. It’s over with.

“I’m not expecting anything. We’ve got to try to win that game.”

In fact, Foligno said he’ll miss Crosby not being there.

“I feel bad. You don’t want to see anybody out with a concussion, especially when it’s the best player in the game. It’s not good to see,” said Foligno.

The Penguins weren’t biting, either.

Though coach Dan Bylsma was quick to defend Crosby’s actions after Foligno took a verbal jab at the game’s top player, the Pittsburgh coach wasn’t delivering any bulletin-board material for Ottawa.

'NOT CONCERNED'

“I’m not really concerned with some of the quotes and so forth in the papers,” said Bylsma. “It was a heated game. It was a game where after we got up there (were) some antics on the ice and certainly some talking after.

“We are going into Ottawa and we are more concerned with playing our game and getting in the win column than we are about other things. Possibly with Sidney not being in the lineup, there’s a different tone to the game, but I’m more expecting to get back to playing our way.”

The Senators are delivering on one promise made by GM Bryan Murray after the incident — the muscle will be in the lineup: Chris Neil, Zenon Konopka and Matt Carkner will all play vs. the Penguins.

Neil didn’t suit up in Pittsburgh because he was nursing an ankle injury and Carkner was still not in the lineup following knee surgery. They’ll be there this time around.

Konopka said he doesn’t anticipate any funny business.

“To be quite honest, without Crosby it does change a bit,” said Konopka.

“We’re always going to back our family and our players here. We’re going to stick together as a team and make sure that everybody is taken care of on and off the ice.

“We don’t want people taking shots at our players through the media or on the ice. We’re going to stand up for each other.”

The Senators aren’t concerned with the Penguins.

“We care about what’s happening in here,” said Konopka. “With all due respect, we don’t care about the Pittsburgh Penguins. We care about Nick Foligno. What I do know is he’s a terrific hockey player and probably even a better guy.

“He plays the game the right way. That’s all that matters to us. If they have their opinions, that’s their opinions. It doesn’t have any bearing on what happens in this dressing room.”

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @sungarrioch


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