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Slapshots

DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published January 11, 2004

Getting the shaft

Was Daniel Alfredsson just having fun at a fellow Swede's expense, or was the Senators captain rubbing it in the face of a heated rival? Whatever, it was fun watching Alfredsson appear to fake throwing his stick into the stands in Toronto after he broke it taking a shot.

Leafs captain Mats Sundin was suspended for Thursday's game - a 7-1 Ottawa victory - after he threw his broken stick shaft into the stands Tuesday against the Predators.

"When you get a good chance and your stick breaks, it's frustrating," Alfredsson said. "It wasn't meant to be anything bad."

"He was probably just rubbing it in the face of his good buddy, Mats," Ottawa's Wade Redden said.

The Maple Leafs, routed in the Battle of Ontario, were livid.

"If he meant to do it, he was classless," Tom Fitzgerald said.

Said Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn: "The kid does that sort of thing. It's not the first time. I guess he thinks it's funny."

Mr. Zero

With a shutout streak of 325 minutes, 45 seconds, Coyotes goalie Brian Boucher is in the record book. But he almost was out of a job.

Boucher, 27, started No. 3 on the depth chart and did not elevate to backup until November, when Zac Bierk hurt his groin. Boucher, who has stopped 143 consecutive shots, also was on waivers.

"The main thing is to keep believing in yourself," he said. "Careers have ups and downs. Fortunately, I was able to get another opportunity."

Five Questions With Senators center Todd White:

Q: How much pressure do you feel playing for your hometown team?

A: Some might view it as added pressure, but I don't see it like that. I love it. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Q: Even though you're from Kanata, where the arena is located?

A: Pressure is what you put on yourself. I don't feel any from the people. It's great my friends and family can see me play on a regular basis.

Q: Do you get a lot of ticket requests?

A: It hasn't been too bad. It'd be different if I was coming to town only once or twice a year.

Q: Were you always a Senators fan?

A: When the team came (1992), I was in high school. I was a Detroit Red Wings fan, but as soon as Ottawa came in, I was partial to both teams.

Q: So playing with the Red Wings would have been as big a thrill?

A: My dream was to play in the NHL. To play for my hometown is a dream come true.

Around the league

Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek (groin) will be out at least two weeks. As a result, GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News Curtis Joseph is off the market. Hasek said he is confident he will recover and would be "comfortable" sharing duties with Joseph and Manny Legace. ... Atlanta GM Don Waddell was wise in 2001 to keep the top pick in the draft instead of trading for players such as Michael Peca and Martin Biron. Waddell instead picked Ilya Kovalchuk, who led the league this season with 145,380 All-Star votes. ... Florida got its first sellout of the season Dec. 29 when it accepted Canadian money for tickets to a game with the Maple Leafs. ... Ottawa right wing Martin Havlat was suspended two games last week for kicking the Islanders' Eric Cairns. He was fined $1,000 the week before for hitting Florida's Byron Ritchie with his stick. ... The Kings are paying Ziggy Palffy (shoulder), Jason Allison (whiplash) and Adam Deadmarsh (post-concussion syndrome) a combined $19.5-million, less some insurance reimbursements. Each is out for the season.

Quotable

"Never wore one and I never will. The only shield I'm using is on my car."

- Flyers center Jeremy Roenick on wearing a visor; he needed 27 stitches after a puck hit him near his right eye at practice.

- Compiled by staff writer Damian Cristodero, using personal interviews and information from other news organizations.

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