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Senators won't retreat from goals

Friday, 19.10.2007 / 3:49 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Senators won\'t retreat from goals
They’ve got a well-earned break staring them right in the face.

And the Ottawa Senators know what they want most of all to make it an enjoyable three-day retreat to cottage country starting Sunday.

“We just have to focus on playing the way we know we can and the way we’ve been playing recently,” centre Mike Fisher said with an eye toward Saturday’s matchup with the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). “We’re having fun doing it and after that (game), we can worry about our time off.”

Ray Emery is still waiting to make his first start of the season, but whether it'll happen Saturday against the Florida Panthers remains a secret.
Head coach John Paddock admitted last week he has concerns about how his hot team will handle the next two weeks. After Saturday’s game, the Senators won’t play again for a week, travelling to New Jersey on Oct. 27 for the grand-opening game at the Devils’ new Prudential Center in Newark. After that, it’s another four days off before the Atlanta Thrashers come to the capital on Nov. 1.

An eighth victory on Saturday would go a long way toward keeping everyone in a positive frame of mind during the relatively blank schedule that follows. They’ll spend three days after the Panthers in game in the Muskokas region of central Ontario, an area popular with summer vacationers.

“We’ll emphasize the point that this has been a real good start and stretch, and we really don’t want to have a week off with a sour taste in our mouths,” said Paddock. “So let’s put our best foot forward here (against Florida).”

Added Fisher: “We’ve got to have a good game (Saturday) because we’ve got a light schedule and some time off coming up … We’ve got to make sure we stay on top of our game. Sometimes, when you don’t have games, you get into practice mode and can mentally kind of lose it.

“We came out strong (Thursday, in a 4-3 win over Montreal) and that’s what we want to do again (Saturday). We want to set ourselves up for a fun break.”

The Senators’ penalty-killing unit will likely be missing one of its key components against the Panthers. Paddock said Antoine Vermette, who was forced out of Thursday’s game by back spasms, "probably won't play" against the Panthers.

Paddock called on the likes of Shean Donovan, Dany Heatley and Christoph Schubert to fill the penalty-killing void against the Habs and said he’ll likely choose from that group and perhaps Patrick Eaves on Saturday night.

Donovan said he’s up for the added challenge.

“I’ve usually filled in penalty killing everywhere I’ve been (in the NHL),” he said. “There’s a good kill here so whenever you fill in, it’s good fun.”

What will remain under wraps, at least until Saturday’s game-day morning skate, is the identity of the Senators’ starting goaltender. Paddock wouldn’t budge on the subject Friday, and both Martin Gerber and Ray Emery weren’t saying, either.

“I’m just waiting to see when they want me in there,” said Emery, who’s itching to make his first start of the season after recovering from off-season wrist surgery. “I’m sure I’ll get a game in the next week or two. Whenever it is, I’ll be ready.”

In one roster move announced Friday, the Senators assigned defenceman Matt Carkner to their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., but he must first clear waivers on Monday.

Less than 350 tickets remain for Saturday’s game.




1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
3 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
6 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
7 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
8 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43


E. Karlsson 60 15 32 3 47
B. Ryan 56 15 30 8 45
K. Turris 60 15 28 -4 43
M. Hoffman 57 23 16 23 39
M. Stone 58 15 24 11 39
M. Zibanejad 58 15 18 2 33
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 55 11 14 -1 25
D. Legwand 58 8 14 -3 22
A. Chiasson 54 9 12 -8 21
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02