Monday, January 14, 2008

By Default, Alfie Is The New Sens Enforcer

That wasn't the Zamboni that broke free from the bowels of the arena and rampaged over Jason Spezza in the first period. It was 5'10, 192 pound Islander defenseman Freddy Meyer. Not surprisingly, Brian McGrattan wasn't on the ice at the time and the only retribution Meyer got on the play was some spirited shoving by the amped up Daniel Alfredsson. What was surprising however, was that McGrattan wasn't put on the ice again and finished with exactly 1:23 of ice time for the game.

Never mind the fact that one member of Ottawa's prized top line was out of the lineup with a freak shoulder injury. But to have your number one centre be hit like that and put out of the lineup with a possible concussion and have no member of the team have anything to say about it is downright puzzling. No one is saying that the hit was illegal and no one is saying that Meyer should have been jumped and pummelled in front of 19,000 Sunday night fans.

But Paddock is saying something, not with his words (where he goes out of his way to sound like a thug, even admiring Steve Downie publicly after Downie injured one of his own players!) but with his actions. The message is clear.

Opposing teams can run Ottawa's best players and not have to fight because of it. You can bulldoze Ottawa's number one centre and there is no consequence. In fact, you might even get a compliment from Ottawa's head coach. McGrattan was in the lineup just to provide a warm body and fill out a lineup sheet. Paddock had no intention of using McGrattan's best skill and what he is paid to do every night, which is protect his teammates through the fear of reprisal.

Paddock has now taken away that fear of reprisal and all of you Senators fans better get used to seeing your best players sprawled out across the blueline while the little guys like Alfredsson and Randy Robitaille do the policing.

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