BUFFALO -- It might be a little early to suggest it, but Ray Emery and Dominik Hasek are on a Stanley Cup final collision course.
Sure, a trip to the final is still a ways off for either the Senators or Red Wings, but if they get there, the most intriguing story line will be the battle between the former goaltending teammates.
Ottawa coach Bryan Murray was asked yesterday about Emery's relationship with Hasek when the two played together last season.
"I think (Emery) had great respect for the work ethic of (Hasek)," said Murray, who noted the 17-year age difference between the two made it hard for them to find much in common off the ice.
An adductor muscle injury to Hasek allowed Emery to take over the No. 1 job after the Olympics last season.
Emery then established himself as the true No. 1 this season when Martin Gerber struggled after signing a lucrative free-agent contract.
RUFF STUFF: Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff supports the NHL's decision to crack down on hooking and holding, but he's not sure if the league hasn't gone a little too far. "I have liked the fact that the game has gotten cleaned up," said Ruff. "There could be a happy medium somewhere. Old school? I've watched a little bit of old-school games that I (played) in and I'm embarrassed about myself. I'm being dead serious, I'm embarrassed. I brought a (tape of a) game in when James Patrick and I played with the Rangers against Quebec. I maybe played 10 minutes and I could have had 15 hooking penalties. You could just latch onto guys and there was no speed in the game. (Now) we've got great speed. We've got great execution. The rule is there. Don't put your stick on him. I'm okay with that. What they've done with the game has been tremendous. Has there been some tough calls? Yes, there has. But you want to see how easy it is, go put a striped jersey on and try to officiate (for one) second. I get to put my computer on, watch it again and say, 'Damn, that's a bad call.' He's got one second to make that call." Murray agreed with Ruff. "I don't want to go back to what it was, either," said Murray. "The hooking, holding and interference that went on really took away from the talent level of the skill players. There's got to be a happy medium. We're always going to complain about calls. I'm always going to ask, 'How come our goaltender gets bumped and you don't make a call on that?' That's what we are. Coaches are complainers. We are supposed to be demanding on the referees and our own players. Then, we hope it works out at the end."
NO CHANGES: W Oleg Saprykin was in the lineup last night. Murray had the option of using W Patrick Eaves last night in Game 2, but decided not to make any lineup changes. While there was a chance Saprykin was going to come out of the lineup with Eaves fully recovered from a concussion he suffered in Game 3 of Round 1 against the Penguins, Saprykin's spot was safe after scoring the winner in Game 1 against the Sabres on Thursday. "Right now, I'm doing the best I can for the team," said Saprykin. "There's nothing I can do to control that situation about the lineup. I just want to play my best and help the team."