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Friday Wakeup Call: Ottawa’s bag empty?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> There’s no Friday column because it’s pushed back to tomorrow to cover Game 2.

>> There is, however, a chat transcript from yesterday that pretty much run the gamut. This was my favorite one in a long while, actually, entirely because of the caliber of questions.

>> One of the best questions was about what the Senators can bring to Game 2 that was missing in Game 1, and I’m not sure I answered it all that well. Heck, I’m not sure there is an answer, which might be the point.

Don’t misunderstand: I’m not knocking Ottawa. That roster and system are both strong enough that they could take Game 2 by a three-goal margin without it looking even remotely fluky.

Rather, the point is that I don’t know if the Senators have a second gear.

The only real news from either camp yesterday was that Guillaume Latendresse probably will be inserted into Paul MacLean’s lineup to add a physical presence. Oh, and that Eric Gryba, a big, strong defenseman, almost surely won’t play after Brooks Orpik’s Richter-scale hit in Game 1.

That’s it.

The Ottawa press continues to buzz about Jason Spezza skating back in Ontario, but the man’s been on the ice for all of a week after major back surgery — no such thing as minor back surgery — and has yet to have someone so much as breathe near him toward preparing for physical contact. Anyone who thinks Spezza’s coming back for this series is dreaming.

Overall, the Senators you saw in Game 1 are mostly the Senators you’ll get, except for some better execution with the puck and maybe another big save or two from Craig Anderson.

Contrast that to the Penguins, who have Jussi Jokinen, Beau Bennett and Simon Despres watching from the press box. All three, if inserted, could completely change the style and look of how the team attacks.

We’ll know soon enough if the home side capitalizes on its edge without having to turn to Plan B.

>> Here’s our full team coverage of Pens-Sens Game 2. I’ll be up at the rink all day.

>> I’ll check in from the skates with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. One click does the trick.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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