Leaf hurdle too much to climb

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 3:01 PM ET


 TORONTO -- A large funeral wreath sat in the lobby of the Air Canada Centre yesterday morning. It was addressed to Zdeno Chara, Ottawa Senators Dressing Room.

 A "Go Sens Go" banner stretched through its middle.

 The lady at the flower shop would only say it cost more than $100. It was sent from an out-of-town Senators supporter and it was meant to be funny.

 Maybe, then, the idea was for Chara to deliver it to the Maple Leafs, after he and his teammates followed through with their owner's promise from two days earlier.

 However, the Senators did not "kill" the Maple Leafs in Game 7, like Eugene Melnyk said they would.

 No, once again it was they who were shot down in the Battle of Ontario as -- for the fourth time in four such tries -- the Senators had their season end early by their arch-enemies down the 401.

 Yes, once again, the gun backfired.

 'THEY FIND A WAY'

 "That was probably the hurdle we didn't get over," Wade Redden said, when asked if beating the Leafs has become a mental obstacle. "You look at the injuries they have, and what they go through, I mean ... they find a way to get it done. And that's something we didn't do."

 After the best of seasons, changes are made within an organization. After the most disappointing -- and this has to rank right up there in that category as the Senators were Stanley Cup favourites at the onset -- some drastic moves will be expected.

 "I don't know what's going to happen," said Redden. "Obviously, we've had a nucleus here a number of years and we haven't put it together yet. We've got a great nucleus of guys here, but like I said, it's a hurdle getting over these guys ... and the grind of it, getting through, is something that hasn't come for us."

 The wait could be much longer, too, as long as the Leafs remain in the same conference.

 There just seem to be paranormal influences at work.

 "Demons?" Chris Neil said yesterday morning, repeating the question with a quiet chuckle and furrowed brow. "I don't think there are any demons.

 "That's kind of comical."

 He's young. He'll learn.


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