TORONTO – Mark Stone should be used to landing in just in time for big games.
The last time he suited up for the Senators, it was Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs in Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. On his first NHL shift, Stone set up Jason Spezza for a goal that helped launch the Senators to a 2-0 win.
“Last year I wasn’t really expecting a callup (during the playoffs),” said Stone, who had 41 goals and 123 points for the WHL Brandon Wheat Kings last season. “To have a little bit of a taste (last spring), is good. Now I can’t keep the smile off my face I’m so excited to play.”
Stone broke the index finger of his left hand on Jan. 26 while playing for Binghamton of the AHL. In 38 games, he has eight goals and 21 points, including two assists while returning to action for three B-Sens games on the weekend. The Senators hope he can boost the scoring of a Senators club that hasn’t produced four goals in a game since Feb. 4 versus the Buffalo Sabres.
“I don’t know if Im the solution but I’ll try and help,” Stone said. “They brought me in here to see if I can help with it a little bit so I’ll just play the way I play.”
LATENDRESSE BATTLES MIGRAINES
Guillaume Latendresse feels much better knowing not all of his injury problems are in his neck. They’re in his head, too.
Latendresse, who skated with the Senators on Tuesday but did not accompany the team on the road trip, recently visited University of Michigan neurologist Jeffrey Kutcher, who helped him determine that some of Latendresse’s concussion sensation could be attributed to migraine headaches.
“Even last year, when we were talking about concussion, it might have been a migraine,” said Latendresse. “You feel all the symptoms of a concussion but it’s really migraine.”
Latendresse says his high pain tolerance has kept him from using headache medication in the past. His neck and headache issues stem from a hit he took from Colby Armstrong of the Montreal Canadiens, he said.
Latendresse has one assist in six games played since signing a one-year contract with Ottawa as a free agent in the off-season.
“Now it’s more of a conditioning thing,” Latendresse said. “I haven’t skated for four weeks, so I will stay back and work out here. Get the lungs going, get the legs going.”
MICHALEK MAY NEED SURGERY
While Milan Michalek is expected to return to Ottawa’s lineup against Toronto, he may need surgery again soon. He had major knee repair done three years ago, and has experienced swelling in the same knee.
“If I had surgery, it would be the end of the season for me so we decided to go this way,” Michalek said. “We’ll see how it goes with the games and hopefully it’s good so I can play the (rest of the) season.
B of O REBUILD
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson doesn’t think the Battle of Ontario is what it used to be.
“For those of us that have been through and seen it, we can say it’s not the same rivalry,” said Alfredsson, one of the few remaining survivors of the four playoff series against the Maple Leafs. Chris Neil and Chris Phillips also have war stories.
“It didn’t really get going till we played in the playoffs (between 2000 and 2004), and we haven’t done that in a while,” Alfredsson said. “You could say the same for Montreal. It’s a good rivalry but it’s not heated, where we really dislike each other, because we haven’t had those playoff series where those things happen.”
Alfredsson doesn’t know how many more Battles of Ontario he’ll experience, but he thinks the future looks bright as both teams improve.
“That’s what you really want, for all the Canadian teams to be up there,” Alfredsson said. “It’s one thing to say, ‘it’s tough and nasty,’ it’s another thing if it’s two teams are actually fighting for first place, making it important. I think that’s what everyone wants to see.”
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson hasn’t had a heart to heart talk with general manager Bryan Murray on the subject of deadline additions. And he may not need to.
“Bryan knows what to do,” Alfredsson said. “I haven’t talked to him personally so far, its been so busy, too. They evaluate pretty much after every game. They do everything they can to help out, so I have no doubt if he finds something that will improve this team or whatever he’ll do it, no question.”