Monday, February 04, 2008

Sens finally showing a bit of toughness, in practice…

If only some of this intensity could make its way onto the ice at game time.

The Battlin’ Sens were at it again on Sunday, as Ray Emery found himself involved in yet another disruption, this time with Chris Neil.

The Sens who were forced to practice after Saturday’s lackluster effort against the Toronto Marlies, didn’t seem to enjoy having their Super Bowl preparations interrupted by the skating session organized by a frustrated John Paddock.

As the practice continued, Neil and Emery engaged in some heated banter and almost a few punches before team mates stepped in to separate the two combatants.

It’s the second incident in a couple of weeks for Emery who seems to have become a bit of a lightning rod for the Sens frustrations, mainly through his less than enthused practice intentions.
Last week, the recalcitrant goaltender was assessed a 14 thousand dollar fine for arriving late for yet another Sens practice, a message that the Sens management probably had hoped would register with him and bring a bit of focus to the team as they head for a playoff run.

As things seem to have turned out, there still seem to be some underlying issues percolating in that Senators dressing room, perhaps a contributing factor in the Sens slide down from the penthouse of the East, to a point now where the Montreal Canadiens are but three points away from claiming the Sens real estate.

With a Tuesday match up between the two on the horizon now, the time for bickering among the ranks isn’t timely. While injuries to key players have contributed to the slide of late, the fact that the remaining players in the line up have not been able to step up and give a bit more on the ice must be a worrisome sign for both coach Paddock and GM Bryan Murray.

Team chemistry is always an important part of any run for a Stanley Cup, while they need not love one another like brothers, there probably isn’t much room for them to be fighting like a brawling clan either.

Murray is going to have to make some decisions in very quick order about whether this group can get back on track with their hockey, otherwise the phones into the Ottawa war room leading up to and on trade deadline day may be very, very busy ones.

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