Sens not intimidated

Senators forwards Jason Spezza (left) and Dany Heatley joke around as they skate laps during...

Senators forwards Jason Spezza (left) and Dany Heatley joke around as they skate laps during practice at Scotiabank Place on Monday. (Sun Media/Blair Gable)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

If the Senators are going to win a Stanley Cup, they are going to have to step over the body of a Norris Trophy winner to do it.

Not that that should intimidate them.

So far, the Senators have beaten arguably the best player in hockey (Sidney Crosby of the Penguins), arguably the best goaltender (Martin Brodeur of the Devils) and the best team in the regular season, the Sabres.

So, why not the game's best defenceman, too?

WON LAST SIX

Heading into last night's Game 6 of the Western Conference final, this year's three Norris Trophy-nominated defencemen were still in position to have a chance to stand between the Senators and their first Stanley Cup of the modern era.

Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer of the Ducks and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings -- who have won the last six Norris Trophies and have four runner-up finishes among them -- had the potential to give the Senators a challenge they hadn't faced from the Penguins, Devils or Sabres.

One of them will add to the group's Norris Trophy haul next month.

So far, the Senators' top line of centre Jason Spezza and wingers Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson have faced the Crosby line, the John Madden line from New Jersey and a unit centred by Chris Drury of the Sabres.

They were backed up by blue lines that were nothing much more than average at best and didn't have a player that was anywhere near close to the calibre of Pronger, Niedermayer or Lidstrom.

"Every round has had a different challenge. This one is no different. The challenge gets harder. Now it's going to be a Norris Trophy defenceman," said Spezza, whose big line will likely draw the attention of the Norris guys.

"We've played the three best teams in the East and whoever we play is going to be the best team in the West. That's the best way to go, to beat the best."

1-2-3 IN SCORING

Whatever has been thrown up against the Senators' top line so far, they have overcome. Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson are ranked 1-2-3 in playoff scoring.

The Senators are going to have plenty of time to get ready to meet that next challenge and coach Bryan Murray is now contemplating how best to do that.

As expected, the NHL announced yesterday the Stanley Cup final won't get under way until Monday in the home of the Western Conference champion.

That means the Senators will be off for eight days after eliminating the Sabres in five games Saturday.

Murray was the GM of the Ducks in 2003 when they had an 11-day break before playing New Jersey in the final.

The Ducks had lost their taste for the heavy going by then and were shut out in the first two games in New Jersey. They rebounded to tie the series at home, but wound up losing in seven games.

That layoff and the slow start cost them the Cup.

"You think you learn something," said Murray of that experience.

After giving his players Sunday and yesterday off, Murray will have a regular practice today and likely have some sort of structured scrimmage tomorrow to try and keep some edge on the Senators' game.

An intra-squad game at night was considered, but now it sounds like it will be held during the Senators' regular practice time.

"We're trying to give them a couple of days off early in the week. I think (tomorrow) we'll have a game-like situation, let them get back on the ice and be a little competitive.

"We have to hope we work them hard enough and pat them hard enough on the back that'll they'll be ready to start."


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