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Jacques Martin


C - Alexei Yashin, Vaclav Prospal, Radek Bonk, Shaun Van Allen, Bruce Gardiner, Steve Martins. LW - Shawn McEachern, Marian Hossa, Magnus Arvedson, Andreas Johansson. RW - Daniel Alfredsson, Andreas Dackell, Chris Murray, Bill Berg. D - Lance Pitlick, Patrick Traverse, Chris Phillips, Sami Salo, Wade Redden, Jason York, Janne Laukkanen, Igor Kravchuk. G - Damian Rhodes, Ron Tugnutt.


Dec 12 - Lance Pitlick, bruised hip, athroscopic surgery, 8-10 weeks; Jan 16 - Chris Murray, sprained left knee/MCL, 8-10 weeks; Feb 20 - Chris Phillips, sprained right ankle, 6 weeks; Feb 20 - Patrick Travese, separated shoulder, 4-6 weeks; Feb 23 - Steve Martins, hip flexor, Day-to-day; Mar 04 - Wade Redden, right shoulder, 1 week.


Feb 22 Radim Bicanek Emergency recall from Grand Rapids (IHL); Feb 25 Radim Bicanek Emergency recall cancelled and re-assigned to Grand Rapids (IHL); Feb 25 John Gruden Emergency recall from Detroit (IHL); Feb 27 John Gruden Emergency recall cancelled and re-assigned to Detroit (IHL); Mar 05 John Gruden Emergency recall from Detroit (IHL); Mar 05 Yves Sarault Emergency recall cancelled and re-assigned to Detroit (IHL).


02/23 at Boston       L 5-2
02/25 Montreal        W 3-1
02/27 at Montreal     L 4-1
03/02 at NY Islanders W 4-2   
03/04 at Philadelphia W 5-0   
03/06 Toronto         W 3-1 


Northeast Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA  
  Ottawa            63  37  18   8    82  191  134
  Toronto           64  35  24   5    75  203  187  
  Buffalo           64  29  22  13    71  170  143  
  Boston            63  27  26  10    64  163  148 
  Montreal          65  25  31   9    59  155  174


by The Nosebleeders, Ottawa Correspondents

With an 8-2 record over their last 10 games and riding a three- game winning streak, the Senators surged into first place overall in the Eastern conference. In their last 29 games they are 20-5-4. This period, the Senators avenged their 5-0 home loss to Philadelphia with a 5-0 victory in Philadelphia. When combined with their convincing victory against Toronto, the Senators are starting to look like the team to beat in the Eastern conference. A cautionary note to this type of thinking may be the Montreal and Boston losses where both teams avenged recent defeats to the Senators.

The big off ice Senator news this period continued to be the issue of team taxation and fair play in the hockey market place for Canadian teams. Rod Bryden continued to alert fans and Canadian citizens with his public message campaign about the plight of Canadian hockey teams. Overtaxed and unable to get a fair deal, Bryden has threatened that he may have to move the team to greener pastures south of the 49th parallel (to the USA).

A team press release this period provided some data as to what has changed since the June 20th, 1992 date on which Alexei Yashin was drafted. Both Bryden and the report concur that there are two main issues.

Firstly, the Canadian dollar has declined significantly; from 1.20 Canadian to the US dollar in June 1992, to 1.52 Canadian to the US dollar. On today's team payroll of Cdn$ 34.2 million that represents an increase of Cdn$ 7.2 million (enough to afford say... one or two serious players).

The second main issue is taxation and public funding of sport facilities. Estimated taxation on the Senators' Kanata home (Corel Centre) was 1.2 million in 1992. Tax assessment for 1998 is some $7.4 million (up from $4.3 million the year before). Don't ask the Nosebleeders where all this extra money is going - it's not like Kanata has fancier sidewalks or something. In addition to paying some serious tax, Bryden estimates that the total tax bill (including real estate, amusement, provincial surcharges for the highway off ramp, etc) for the team will exceed payroll (taxes $36 million, payroll $34 million), public funding of new sports facilities in the US makes the idea of moving south sound interesting. Quoting the press release "A total of four new buildings have been built in Canada within the last five years and all four were financed with private capital; while in the United States, 10 new facilities have been constructed with partial or total public funding. A further six NHL facilities are currently being built in the United States. The breakdown of six of the 10 new buildings in the U.S. reveals that Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington were privately funded, while Florida and Nashville are examples of facilities built with public funds. The difference between each of these publicly-funded buildings compared to the Corel Centre based on an interest rate of only 8% is $16 million dollars Cdn a year."

Under circumstances where a team fan support is low or team expenses are high, Bryden's points could be easily negated. However, fan support is high (average attendance is over 16,000 a game and all suites are sold out for the remainder of the season), and controllable team expenses (salaries) are low. The Senators have the league's second lowest payroll (first is the expansion Nashville Predators). Overall the team, which owns its facility and derives revenue from concessions and non-hockey events, is struggling just to break even.

Bryden's comments and suggestion of change seems to be gaining ground. Local radio and news surveys have the general population, including non-hockey fans, thinking that perhaps this is a problem to be solved by government. Senior politicians including Canada's industry minister and party leaders have given Bryden an audience - particularly on the tax issues and the impact of the Senators, and other Canadian teams, leaving the country. We'll see where this one goes folks, but in the short all the Nosebleeders ask is that we start getting paid in US dollars (uh...we could buy like two big beers at the game instead of the one small one we can now afford).

Dudley ready to make some moves?

GM Rick Dudley has to consider making some moves. With the playoffs around the corner, expect the Senators to make moves to not only shore up the team in preparation, but to prepare the team for the impact of the summer expansion draft. Teams must expose a goaltender who played at least 10 NHL games this season and they must expose a defensemen and two forwards who have played in either 40 NHL games this year, or 80 NHL games over the last two.

Lack of emotion causes loss to Bruins

Returning from a five-game road trip, the Boston Bruins were tasked with facing the red hot (winners of four games in a row) Ottawa Senators. Maybe it was the fact that they were travelling for the first time in a while (the Senators had just completed a six-game homestand) but the Nosebleeders are not sure just what got into the Senators' Wheaties. They did not come to game ready to play. A lackluster first period resulted in Boston outshooting them 14-6 and ending the period with a 3-1 lead. In an effort to put a spark back into the team, coach Martin pulled goalie Ron Tugnutt, 9-1-4 in his previous 14 decisions, in favor of Damian Rhodes. It did not work.

* This was only the second time this season that Ron Tugnutt has been pulled from a game.

* Senator frustrations boiled over in the dying minutes of the second period as a wild skirmish ended with Vaclav Prospal (6'2") in a scrap with Hal Gill (6'7"). Daniel Alfredsson intervened but referee Bill McCreary, seemingly agreeing the matchup was uneven, did not call what would normally be a third man in penalty.

* The Senators had two goals called back in the game but it was the Bruins' fifth goal that caused coach Martin, convinced that a Bruin was in the crease, to become upset with the refereeing. One of the Senator goals called back was a Daniel Alfredsson slap shot where Alexei Yashin was called for being in the crease.

Montreal times deux

Any Ottawa-Montreal game is of big interest to Montreal Canadiens fans (who are we kidding, any Montreal game at all is of big interest to Montreal fans) but Montreal-Ottawa games hold special meaning to Ottawa fans. Up until a few years ago, the two-hour commute to Montreal was the easiest way to see live NHL hockey (we won't mention beer prices in Montreal). As reports from both local papers had each team taking three or the possible four points you just knew that things would be interesting.

A sellout Corel Centre crowd witnessed an Andreas Johansson effort that included two goals and a collision with Stephane Quintal that resulted in him being carried off the ice. The Senators showed a restored confidence as they soundly danced around the Canadiens defence to take the easy victory. Luckily for the Senators, the Johansson injury turned out to be no more than a minor hamstring pull.

The return matchup in Montreal was also a sellout but was a different game. Pre-game expectations on both sides were that Montreal was playing lousy hockey and Ottawa was playing great hockey and we could expect another Ottawa domination. Another Montreal loss would really put their chances of making the playoffs at risk. Pre-game expectations do not always match reality. Another lackluster road effort for the Senators resulted in an unexpected loss. The only good news for the team was the return to the lineup of Lance Pitlick (after missing 32 games because of a hip injury).

Finally a road win

There was a time where "finally a road win" really meant finally a road win (in the team's first season, their first road win came in the last road game of the season vs. the Islanders). After road losses to Boston and Montreal, the Senators visited Long Island to feast on some Islander ice.

A tight game was broken open by a Daniel Alfredsson go-ahead goal midway through the third period. The win extended Ottawa's unbeaten streak against the Islanders to 13 games (10-0-3 in the series since January 6, 1996).

The Islanders failed to capitalize on four third-period power plays and were 1-for-7 with the man-advantage.

Flying into Philadelphia

After taking just three of the first 22 meetings against the Philadelphia Flyers, the 5-0 Sens' victory increased their record this season against the Flyers to 4-1. Damian Rhodes had relatively easy night, stopping 19 shots, and Daniel Alfredsson scored a goal and an assist.

Flyers rookie goalie Jean-Marc Pelletier made his NHL debut on his 21st birthday. The 6-3 Pelletier performed well, allowing just one goal over the first 40 minutes before the roof caved in in the third period.

* The game marked a franchise record 35th victory.

* Alexei Yashin recorded his fifth career hat trick.

* Damian Rhodes posted his second shutout of the season.

* Yashin netted his 30th goal.

Go Tugger Go - Quiz Time

Although being pulled against Boston, Ron Tugnutt is poised to challenge the modern GAA record of 1.77. Tugnutt, who had posted a GAA under 3.00 just twice in his 11-year career before this season, currently sports a 1.64 average. The record is held by two different goalies (71-72 and 50-51). Name one or both.

National TV Win

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of this year's surprise teams. Up until a few weeks ago the Leafs had led the Northeast Division for most of this season. An important Saturday night matchup against the Senators would either propel the Leafs back into the first place hunt or put them deeper into the pack.

Ron Tugnutt played a great game, stoning Toronto center Steve Sullivan a number of times, including once on a penalty shot. With 12:53 left in the first period, Sullivan was hooked down from behind by defensemen John Gruden. On the penalty shot, Sullivan deked backhand to forehand but Tugger did not bite. After the game, the Tugger claimed he has recently seen a highlight film of a Sullivan breakaway and he was hoping that Sullivan would do the same move - he did. The Senators came away with a convincing 3-1 win.

* The Senators have won three straight and six in a row at home.

* The Senators moved four points ahead of New Jersey for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Looking ahead - road trip

After a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (featuring the return of Alexandre Daigle), the Senators embark on a 12-day road trip. With less than two months left in the regular season, this trip could be good to further bond the team together as it gears up for the playoffs.

Modern day quiz answer

When talking about modern day hockey, the 1943-44 season is the cutoff point. It was that season that the red line was invented and thus modern day hockey was born. Tony Esposito (1971-72) and Al Rollins (1950-51) share the modern day GAA record at a very impressive 1.77.

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