Hasek still isn't ready to help Sens

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:28 PM ET

Finally, Dominik Hasek is helping the Senators in the playoffs.

He's helping them cover their heads.

The injured goalie passed out ball caps from his very own clothing line yesterday. On the front is the word Dominator. On the back, the catch phrase "Courage that Fits."

Inside, the tag reads Made in Cambodia.

There's not a Czech town called that too, is there?

As for Hasek's comeback bid, it remains short of complete. He practised with the team's Black Aces at the Bell Sensplex yesterday, but there are no plans for him to suit up in any capacity for Game 5 against the Sabres tonight.

"He hasn't said anything to me, so it's all up in the air until he indicates he's ready to go," Senators coach Bryan Murray said yesterday. "I had a conversation with him (Thursday) at lunch time, we talked about different scenarios. I can't imagine they changed much in one day.

"I asked him about backing up. I asked him about possibly getting ready to play or being able to play. He didn't think he was at that level yet. There was a question, if he had to go in, whether he could really perform properly ... so I made the decision not to dress him. I guess if I said to him, 'You have to dress,' which I'm not going to do, he would do that. But I'm not expecting that to be the case."

With Ray Emery performing admirably, the entire issue would be on the backburner had Hasek not said he was "very close" to returning after a morning skate dripping with drama Wednesday.

It's difficult to comprehend that, while he has miraculously reached such a stage in his progress, he still isn't offering his services in a do-or-die situation -- especially when others around him are playing through obvious pain.

What about the courage slogan?

"I think we're just talking about something that's not worthwhile talking about at the moment," said Murray. "I think we're set where we are, in spite of the story it might give you for tomorrow, I think we should just talk about the guys that are going to play."

CUT BACKS: Whoever would have thought that, in a potential elimination game, Jason Spezza (11:35) and Dany Heatley (12:32) would play as little as they did Thursday?

"We certainly have to get them to play the same time they're able to play normally, and that's 17 or so minutes," said Murray. "And they have to be a real positive group with the puck."

ROLLED FOUR LINES

Murray added that he rolled four lines up until the game's final three minutes.

"It's a tight-checking series out there," said Heatley, who has only one goal in the four games and has had troubles hitting the net with his shot.

Asked about turning his play up a gear or two, he replied: "A gear or two? You want to win games, that's the bottom line."

Fact is, the list of slumping Ottawa players remains long. With Brian Pothier and Wade Redden collecting the goals in Thursday's 2-1 win, Spezza is the only Senators forward to score in the past three games.

Meanwhile, Spezza shrugged off his lack of playing time in Game 4.

"It's circumstance," he said. "A lot of it was trying to keep (Chris) Drury's line off the ice. We respect the coach and his decisions. The other night when we were down, we played 24, 25 minutes. We were pretty much rolling four lines, and then we got into penalty trouble. Me and Heats don't kill too many penalties ... it doesn't bug us at all."

THIS AND THAT: With the Senators hoping to duplicate the Boston Red Sox' comeback against the New York Yankees a couple of years ago, Pothier emerged as their very own Tim Wakefield, if only for a night. "I got good wood on it ... it was just rolling," Pothier said of his first-period goal -- the first time the Sabres have watched someone other than one of their own open the scoring in a playoff game this season. " It was a knuckle ball that dropped about a foot. That's why it's so important to get pucks at the net, even if you don't think you have a great chance. Throw it at the net, you never know. It could hit a stick, tip, who knows, redirection, knuckleball. Whatever. The more pucks you get at him, the more traffic we have, makes it more difficult on them. If we continue to have traffic and get shots through, they're going to find their way in, eventually." ... Murray plans no changes for tonight, which means Christoph Schubert will remain in the lineup as a fourth-line winger and Vaclav Varada will again be a healthy scratch ... Anton Volchenkov bounced back from being a goat in Game 1 and suffering a head injury that knocked him out of the lineup for Game 3 to turn in a solid effort in Game 4. His sprawling breakup of a 2-on-1 in the third might have saved the victory.

QUOTABLE: "Everybody made a commitment to not being the reason we didn't win."

-- Murray on his team's attitude in Game 4.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos