OTTAWA Â– Chris Neil of the Senators had a lot more on his mind than his team's 2-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup final yesterday.
The rugged left winger and his wife welcomed their first child into the world yesterday. Hailey Neil was born after a long period of labor.
Â“It was an excellent day, a lot of patience and a lot of sitting around. Your wife does all the work,Â” Neil said. Â“Watching her be born, there are no words for it. It's a miracle, it's amazing.Â”Â…
It was announced Friday that recording star Alanis Morissette, a native of Ottawa, will sing both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems before Game 4 Monday night. After hearing Canadian recording artist Holly Cole and her brutal rendition of O Canada prior to Game 2, there's no way Morissette could do a worse job than Cole, or Stephen Stills, who butchered The Star Spangled Banner prior to Game 1.
Apparently, the Senators are undefeated when Morissette sings the national anthem, which guarantees the series will go at least five gamesÂ…
Senators coach Bryan Murray put the pressure squarely on his star players going into Game 3. He acknowledged that his top line of Jason Spezza between Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley has to be better.
Â“Jason and Dany and Alfie have to be doing what they do all playoffs with the exception of a game or two,Â” Murray said.
Of Alfredsson, who was the Senators leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy going into the series, Murray said, Â“(Alfredsson must) get the puck in scoring position once in a while and put pucks to the net. I think it becomes, in particular this time of the year when everybody is playing great defense and working real hard, you've got to have a line going. And then you have a chance to be productive.Â”
As for Wade Redden, who has struggled along with defense partner Andrej Meszaros in the final, Murray said he thought Redden was better in Game 1 than Game 2.
Â“He's got to play as well as he can play,Â” Murray said. Â“But that goes for our team. I think if you went through the list of players on our team, we had a number of guys who played OK. And we had a number of guys who didn't play the way they had played earlier in the playoffs.Â”Â…
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Samuel Pahlsson's contribution as the center of the checking line has been invaluable.
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Â“The playoffs are about people coming outside the norm and the Samuel Pahlsson, (Travis) Moen and (Rob) Niedermayer group has stepped out of that,Â” Carlyle said. Â“We felt they were a very precious commodity right from the beginning of the year for our group. And, again, as we've stated before, the playoffs allow people to separate themselves and, at this point, these players have been able to play to a higher level.Â”