February 15, 2012
Foligno's father knows best
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
TAMPA - Only one of the 17 guests on the Senators' annual "Fathers Trip" has had to appease autograph-seekers so far this week, and that's Nick Foligno's dad Mike.
Between jobs since being fired from his assistant coach's post with the Ducks earlier this season, the veteran of 1,018 NHL games played has also been giving his oldest boy some fatherly advice on how to get out of a slump.
Nick arrived in Tampa fifth on the team points list, but also in a 15-game goal-scoring slump.
"He knows the game so well, so it obviously comes up in conversation, just what I can do better," Nick said after Tuesday's morning skate. "Sometimes you just get into droughts. But it's that one bounce, or that one shot you don't think you can take but you do, and it goes in, and you start rolling again."
It's agreed that Foligno -- who has fallen to the fourth line if you consider that Zack Smith is ahead of Jim O'Brien on the depth chart -- needs to start pulling the trigger more. In the 15 games, he has put the puck on net just 24 times. But in his case, it's more a matter of when than how often.
"Maybe I just (need to) take that quick shot," said Foligno, who is stuck at 12 goals. "Sometimes I get a pass and you're looking for that extra step around a guy, instead of trying to shoot it maybe through the defenceman and catch the goalie by surprise. Those are little things you don't really pick up on when you're struggling and trying to find that open lane to shoot it.
"Those are the ones that usually go in."
Meanwhile, in what seems like a totally unrelated matter, Foligno and his wife Janelle's first Valentine's Day as a married couple was spent apart, but Nick was romantic before hitting the road on a business trip.
"I cooked her dinner the Wednesday before we left, because I couldn't cook her dinner (Tuesday night), obviously," he said. "I bought her some nice earrings, from Melanie Auld, that's a plug for Melanie Auld. She has beautiful stuff. All you people in Ottawa, check out Melanie Auld Design."
Melanie Auld is the wife of Senators goalie Alex Auld, whose father Bob was out with Mike Foligno Monday night.
Somehow, I feel there's a connection to all of this. Let me get back to you.
STARTS AND STOPS
NHL commish Gary Bettman spoke to reporters during the first intermission at the Senators-Lightning game. All that really jumped out to me was him shooting down Tampa's chances of getting a winter classic. "It doesn't work in warmer temperatures," he said. Okiedokie. I asked Bettman if he got his sunburned face here Tuesday afternoon. It was a beauty day. "I never kiss and tell," he said with a laugh. Come to think of it, this item belongs in Things That Make You Go Hmmm. I'm just too lazy to move it ... Steve Stamkos learned something while in Ottawa for the all-star game. He learned how big Daniel Alfredsson is in the nation's capital. "Just the amount of respect he has from everybody, the fans, the players ... you don't realize how long he's been there, and the career he's had has obviously been unbelievable," the NHL's leading sniper said. "Just the way he goes about. He's a really nice person, great player and he deserves all the accolades he gets." Stamkos was five when Alfredsson broke into the league. So yeah, he's still new ...
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
Still don't get why Paul MacLean uses Chris Phillips on the point of a power play, beside Sergei Gonchar, when Erik Karlsson and Filip Kuba are catching a breather. Phillips is a defensive defenceman with a soft shot. Alfredsson is the better option -- unless you're concerned about protecting a one-goal lead in the first period of a game against Tampa ... The Bolts had Elton John songs playing in their dressing room after the morning skate. Caught Stamkos singing along to one of them, so I asked him if he was in charge of the CD player. "Not me," he said. "I won't throw anyone under the bus, but it's not me." I asked Dominic Moore if he was at the musical controls. "No, I wasn't, but I didn't mind it," he said. "I liked it. Nice and ... chill, you know?" Moore is 31. Stamkos, remember, is still new.
Just wanted to point out that in my online update Tuesday afternoon, I wrote that it was a Beautiful Day in Florida and that, because U2's Beautiful Day is also Alfredsson's goal song, it would be no surprise if the Senators captain notched his 20th of the season that night. He did, and it wasn't ... Wait, they gave that second goal to Spezza? Sure looked like it was deflected by No. 11 ... Happy retirement to former Senator Mike Comrie, who was called Lord Farquaad by teammates because of his resemblance to the character from the Shrek movies.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM ...
Scotty Bowman was rather loudly making a point to someone while sitting behind us in the Tampa pressbox. And all I could think of is how can it be that this 78-year-old who many consider to be the best coach of all time doesn't have a single grey hair on his head? ... MacLean said Stamkos is "arguably the best player in the NHL." And to think he's still new.