April 18, 2012
Butler's big effort a plus for Sens
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - If Daniel Alfredsson is unable to play Wednesday, Bobby Butler will be needed to put up his second strong game in a row.
He should go into it with some more confidence, at least.
A healthy scratch for 11 of the team’s final 17 regular season games and the first two of the playoffs, Butler was a last-minute fill-in for Alfredsson Monday, when the captain suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion.
Butler responded with five shots on goal — tying him with Erik Karlsson for the team high — and even recorded a couple of hits in an effective 14:09 of ice time.
His chances were such that, had Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist not been so sharp, Butler might have had a couple of goals.
“Definitely could have had one, maybe,” he said Tuesday. “I was just trying to shoot the puck and create things. That was the plan. They just didn’t go in.”
After the morning skate, Butler was told that Alfredsson was likely going to play, but that he should participate in the pre-game warmup, just in case.
He didn’t find out he was actually in the lineup until about 75 minutes before the opening faceoff.
“I took a nap, and did what I would normally do before a game,” he said. “I knew Alfie was out when I got to the rink, but I didn’t know if I’d be going. (Kaspars) Daugavins was warming up too.
“After the (team) meeting (coach Paul MacLean) told me I was in, so I just grabbed a coffee, got a little nervous and got ready to play.”
It has been a disappointing season for Butler, who scored just six times and added 10 assists in 56 games. The former NCAA sniper managed just one goal in his final 23 games.
In 23 games for Binghamton during last spring’s playoffs, he notched 13, so there had to be some hope he could again rise to the occasion.
In a sense, he did.
“I thought Bobby skated real hard, played with a lot of energy,” said MacLean. “He got after the puck, shot the puck. It was a good game for him.”
Hard to imagine MacLean won’t go back to him again, perhaps even if Alfredsson can play.
“I think first period I kind of played on adrenalin,” said Butler. “I just tried to get my legs moving, create a little energy.
“It’s definitely hard, coming from watching the game to playing, but I took it as a chance.”
Butler said the energy produced by the crowd was inspiring.
“Definitely it helped me get through the heavy legs and just have fun,” he said.
Hopeful of getting another shot and proving he belongs in the team’s future, Butler is taking nothing for granted as far as Game 4 is concerned.
“Obviously, it’s coach’s decision,” he said. “We’ll see. Whatever the team needs.”