While it may not have brought back memories of Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier during Game Three of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, it was refreshing to see two high-level players scrap in the heat of the moment during last night's Ottawa Senators-Calgary Flames game -- unlike the continued practice of contrived fights we saw when Eric Godard and David Koci dropped the gloves in Tampa Bay last night.
When Dion Phaneuf leveled Dany Heatley early in the second period, Jason Spezza (of all people!) came to the aid of his fallen teammate and was later ejected for instigating with the Calgary defensemen.
The hit was questionable, but looks as if Phaneuf's elbow went into Heatley's chest and not his head. If anything, Phaneuf's shoulder seems to deflect off of Heatley's chest and make contact with his head. As we've learned all season, the National Hockey League tends to hand out punishment based on the aftermath of a play, and Heatley did return to the game. Also keep in mind is that discipline czar Colin Campbell is on a five-game suspension kick for using your elbows. Just ask Brendan Witt and Derek Boogaard.
Spezza will surely get his props in the Ottawa locker room for sticking up for Heatley, but if you're a Senators fan, it sure would have been nice to have Chris Neil out there to do the dirty work. Neil, who's currently nursing an injured leg ... ahem, lower-body injury ... could be on the move today, as his agent and Senators General Manager Bryan Murray were still negotiating a deal to keep the pending UFA in Ottawa.
With the 6-3 loss against Calgary last night and with Toronto picking up an overtime point while losing to New Jersey, the Senators increased their chances to be the lone Ontario representative in the John Tavares sweepstakes.