Hair today, gone tomorrow?

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

BUFFALO -- Tom Preissing has spit in the face of superstition. The Senators defenceman has not only had his hair cut but also (gasp!) trimmed his beard.

Such practices are considered taboo during playoff time -- even moreso when your team is sporting a wonderful 8-2 won-loss record.

Yet Preissing felt he simply had to defy the tradition players have of letting themselves go at this time of the year.

"At some point, it gets ridiculous, I think," he said of his pre-cleanup appearance. "I was at that point.

"I wanted to get a hair cut, and I don't like to get a hair cut, so I just said 'Shave it'. I was looking at my head and my beard hair was longer, so I thought it would be okay to shave it.

"I don't think I was going to be allowed back in the house if I didn't do something."

Preissing, who teammates decided had turned into a Chuck Norris lookalike, has played well in the 10 post-season games to date. His two goals and four assists have him fourth in team scoring, behind only the big three of Dany Heatley (14 points), Jason Spezza (12) and Daniel Alfredsson (11).

Preissing also has a game winner and a plus-3 rating to his credit, while averaging 15:52 of ice time.

All of which leads to the question -- is the 28-year-old Pressing pricing himself out of the Senators' market? Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, he is certainly in for a significant raise on his $600,000 salary. But will it be more than the Ottawa budget can handle?

"To be honest, I don't even know what my market value would be," he said. "I don't think it would be $600,000 ... that's probably the best conclusion I have come to.

"Do you just compare numbers? Or styles of play? It's not arbitrary, but it's almost so arbitrary. Some teams might see a plus rating (he was plus-40 on the season) and think they have a need for that. Another team might see a need for a great team guy and might be willing to pay for that. Another might not think I'm strong enough defensively, another might like the offence I can bring.

"It's not something I would even concern myself with in the playoffs. If they want to negotiate, I'd want it to be just between the Senators and my agent. Obviously, I'm very interested if the Senators want me. I'm very interested in staying."

Preissing said he had a "mixed bag" of emotions watching his old team, the San Jose Sharks, lose to Detroit.

"On one hand, I know it's a good team and it's good to see them gone," he said. "But I still have a lot of friends on that team and I'm kind of saddened that they're not going on.

"On a selfish note, the fact that we are still playing and a team that didn't want me anymore is not, is not hurting my feelings too much."


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