Sunday, February 01, 2004

Arranging the dinner guests for Pat Quinn.

After Saturday Night's game between the Sens and the Leafs, one thing is certain. Don't expect Pat Quinn to be sending a Valentine's Day card to Daniel Alfredsson, let alone sitting down to dinner with him any time soon. In his post game press conference Quinn, spent a large portion of his time condemning the Senators captain. Quinn focused in on Alfredsson, after being advised that Alfredsson had commented that Tie Domi's actions in the game were an embarrassment, Alfredsson said that at the end of the game Domi had tried to gouge out Shaun Van Allens eye.

Quinn, never one to mince his words, basically accused Alfredsson of being one of the dirtiest players in the league, claiming he purposely tried to injure Mats Sundin in the game Saturday night and that Alfredsson was responsible for an injury to Darcy Tucker two year's ago in a playoff round. He also singled out Marian Hossa for his stick work as someone who is a dirty type of player. Quinn said he was tired at how the Sens are perceived as "squeaky clean", claiming the refs give them a free ride most nights. He also no doubt has links to the Sens and the Kennedy assasination, the Bay of Pigs Invasion and those arms for cash deals of the 80's, wasn't Ollie North an assistant GM of a Sens farm club a few years ago?

All the verbal jousting came about because of ahard hitting, sometimes violent affair between the two Ontario rivals, this one ending in a 5-1 victory for Toronto. The game got off to a crashing start when Owen Nolan mixed things up behind the Senators net in the first period, Nolan who was playing in his first game since his eye injury, certainly wasn't going to ease into things. He crashed the net, banged the opposition and was physical throughout the game. Penalties filled the affair with Ottawa getting 14 power plays through the night, able to convert only one of them. An unusual situation for a team that normally thrives on the power play. Toronto put four of their five goals into the Sens net while on power plays.

Some suspect goaltending by Patrick Lalime contributed to the Ottawa downfall on Saturday, he gave the puck up in his own end to Leaf attackers and was out of position on a couple of the Leaf goals. A lack of backchecking and occasional lapses in the defence rounded out the Ottawa effort for the night. On the Toronto side of the ice, a spectacular game by Ed Belfour pretty well won the night. Belfour stared down the Senator power play opportunities and took care of Senator forwards in front of the net with his well placed whacks to the ankes, keeping them off their game all night long.

Saturday nights win was the Leaf answer to the embarrassing loss to Ottawa three weeks ago, the game where Daniel Alfredsson became public enemy number one for his harmless pantomime of tossing a stick to the crowd. That gesture seems to have won him the eternal hatred of the fans, the coach and the Toronto media, and will stoke the hot fire of this rivalry for a while.

There were some key injuries during the game Saturday, Jason Spezza, Zdano Chara and Radek Bonk all left the game for Ottawa, with various maladies. Spezza's appeared to be potentially the most costly. On the Leaf's side Joe Nieuwendyk left the proceedings early with an undisclosed back injury.

With the barrage of verbal abuse after the game setting the tone, Leafs and Sens fans await eagerly the next installment of the Ontario Civil War. The battle is joined again Thursday night at the Corel Centre, there won't be an empty seat in the house!

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