February 20, 2012
NHLers take notice of underrated Sens
By Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Even the Senators’ opponents are surprised they’re in the hunt for a playoff spot.
In a poll conducted for Hockey Night in Canada with the NHL Players Association, the Senators were tied with the Panthers as the third-most underrated team with 11% of the vote. Both were behind the No. 1-ranked Blues (28%) and No. 2 Predators (21%).
“What they were forecasting in the beginning of the season, nobody had us in a playoff spot, especially at this time of the year,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “Ourselves, we just played it like, let’s go in as an underdog and see what we can do. We’ve done a good job pushing ourselves. We haven’t been satisfied by winning and we haven’t been accepting losing. We’ve just been coming to work every day and the coaching staff has been a leading force behind that.”
A GOOD BREAK
Relaxed and ready. After a four-day break in the schedule, the Senators go back to work Monday afternoon against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Ottawa players hope they can pick up where they left off.
With the battle for playoff spots heating up in the East, the Senators were fortunate they didn’t fall back from their No. 6 ranking while they spent the weekend watching everybody around them play.
So, after coming out of a seven-game losing skid, why are the Senators suddenly firing on all cylinders?
“We’ve rediscovered our identity of what we had before the all-star break: A hard-working team that can play 60 or 65 minutes and 200 feet,” said coach Paul MacLean. “We learned that if we’re going to have success that’s the way we’re going to have to play and we need everybody doing it on a consistent basis.”
FOOT IN MOUTH
Senators prospect Andre Petersson has gotten himself in hot water in Binghamton. Presented with the player-of-the-month award Saturday, Petersson was booed by the faithful at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena after comments he made to Swedish newspaper Sportbladet were translated and reprinted.
Apparently, Petersson can’t stand the place.
“Just Google Binghamton. Have you been there? Don’t go there,” he was quoted as saying.
The 21-year-old was forced to issue a mea culpa after a 6-2 victory over Portland. One section chanted: “Go home!” “I’d like to say I’m really, really sorry,” Petersson told the Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin. “I said some really stupid stuff, but I really, really regret it. It probably wasn’t exactly the words I used, either, twisted in some weird way. I really like the crowd here. I like the team we have, and all the guys. It’s fun playing here.”
C Zenon Konopka, who will be a scratch for the third straight game, said it’s not easy sitting, especially against his old team on Long Island.
“It’s really tough,” he said. “You see a lot of people and everybody asks the same question, ‘Why aren’t you playing?’ We’re professionals, so we deal with it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it doesn’t suck not playing.”
Konopka said he is confident he’ll get back in.
“We’ve got to figure out what kind of pieces we have. It’s something where I will be ready when I’m called on,” said Konopka.
There won’t be any changes, which means D Matt Carkner also sits.