Senators notebook: Roy rips Giguere, Neil improves and Spezza feels blue for St.Louis

Clearly, it isn’t easy playing goal for a Hall of Fame goaltender turned coach.

DENVER – Clearly, it isn’t easy playing goal for a Hall of Fame goaltender turned coach.

Just ask Colorado Avalanche netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who received an earful – actually two ears full – from coach Patrick Roy following Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames.

After Giguere suggested the Flames were “hungrier” around the nets, Roy let loose.

“It was a game that should (have) finished 2-1 for us,” Roy told reporters after the game. “We should not have given up more than one goal.

“I think Jiggy should have played better tonight. We’re not going to look at our team. We might not have had the jump we should have, but Jiggy needs to be better. He hasn’t played well in the last four or five games. He should stand up and say ‘I’m not playing up to what I should’. And he did not. He needs to be better and we need him playing better. Period.”

Ouch.

Expect Semyon Varlamov to start Wednesday against the Senators. Varlamov, who is searching for his 20th win of the season, was named to Russia’s Olympic team Tuesday.

NEIL STAYS FOR WORKOUT: Chris Neil continues to take bigger strides in his rehabilitation of his hamstring injury. Neil took part in the entire practice Tuesday as the Senators worked out at the Big Bear Arena, converted from an old airport hangar. He won’t play Wednesday against Colorado, but playing against old friend Mike Fisher and the Nashville Predators Saturday isn’t entirely out of the question. “It all depends on what (coach Paul MacLean) wants to do,” Neil said. “A couple more days of skating will definitely help it. For me, it’s staying active, keeping it moving and not letting it tighten up on me.” Neil has been doing extra skating work with assistant coach Jason Smith, but he says it’s hard to practice what he does best. “I want to get right back to where I left off and that’s being a physical player, good on the forecheck. For me, that’s my game. In practice, you’re not really doing that, so that will be a test. I will have to run Jason Smith out there a couple of times.”

MacLean says he is still toying with lineup combinations against Colorado, both at forward and on defence and wouldn’t say who the healthy scratches might be.

FREAK INJURIES: The Avalanche, meanwhile, are keeping their fingers crossed that Ryan O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon will be able to play against Ottawa. O’Reilly jammed his shoulder when – get this – he extended his left arm in a group hug while celebrating Colorado’s third goal against Calgary. He didn’t practice Tuesday. Nathan MacKinnon, who scored a pair of power play goals in the loss to Calgary, also didn’t skate Tuesday. He left late in Monday’s game, after taking a shot off the foot.

SPEZZA PRAISES ST. LOUIS: As much as Jason Spezza wanted to be on the Canadian Olympic team, he’s realistic enough to know that his chances were slim because of his slow start and the fact he’s never played on the wing. He was disappointed for Tampa Bay’s Marty St. Louis, who didn’t crack the roster. “He’s heart and soul, great person, great guy, veteran guy, he’s a guy I feel for,” Spezza said. “Leading scorer in the league last year. He’s a guy who I have a lot of respect for, that I know it will hit home hard. When you come close to those things, it’s tough.”

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