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Senators sick of Scary Gary?

| Friday, April 11, 2008

He would have fought all four of 'em.

Know that much about 'Scary' Gary Roberts, official tormentor of the Ottawa Senators.

With 12 seconds left in Game 1, and the Penguins leading, 4-0, the 41-year-old Roberts decided to go Bass fishing. He hammered Ottawa rookie Cody Bass from behind, sparking a mini melee.

As defenseman Mike Commodore pinned Roberts face-first to the glass, Bass fired punches at the back of the old man's head.

But then 'Scary' Gary broke free.

Can you say, Silence of the Lambs?

Four Senators players - Bass, Chris Neil, Shean Donovan and Christoph Schubert - surrounded a frothing Roberts at the entrance to the Penguins' tunnel.

In recounting the incident Thursday, Roberts said Schubert threatened to hurt him as a linesman held Roberts back.

"I said, 'OK, I've had enough, if you want to hurt me, take that visor off,' " Roberts said.

Nothing came of it, and Roberts walked back to the dressing room as frenzied cheers of "GAR-EE! GAR-EE!" rang through Mellon Arena.

"And there he goes," said play-by-play man Paul Steigerwald on the FSN Pittsburgh broadcast, "back to his cage."

During the melee, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik suggested to Bass he might want to steer clear of Roberts. Can you imagine if the poor kid had been left alone to fight him?

I mean, credit Bass for his brass, but a Hannibal Lecter quote comes to mind when I think of what Roberts' mind-set might have been:

"Remarkable boy. I do admire your courage. I think I'll eat your heart."

Roberts' teammates are convinced he would have fought all four Senators.

"Knowing Gary, having played against Gary, yeah, he would have," defenseman Darryl Sydor said.

Rookie winger Tyler Kennedy seconded that opinion and spoke of the classic Roberts look, the one that says, "I think I'll eat your heart."

"He's got that look most of the time -- even in practice," Kennedy said. "He's a very intense man."

He's also so far into the Senators' heads they'd need the Jaws of Life to pry him loose. Game 1 marked Roberts' fourth two-goal playoff game against the Senators. Fourteen of his 32 postseason goals have come at their expense.

In addition to netting the game-winner Wednesday, Roberts became the oldest player in NHL history to record a multiple-goal playoff game.

The Senators have to be sick of Roberts by now. They accused him of taking cheap shots in last year's series, and they didn't appreciate the hit on Bass.

"I don't know what his point was," Schubert said. "You should ask him what was going on in his head. He should have been a happy man, scoring two goals."

Does Roberts sometimes cross the lines of legality?

"We all know he's a physical player," Schubert said. "But if your own fans have a sign up that says, 'Dirty Gary,' that should say something."

Two reporters waited for Bass to come off the ice yesterday, long after most of his teammates were finished practice. When he entered the dressing room, an irritated teammate loudly proclaimed, "I know (what the reporters will say), 'Good game, Cody. How about Gary Roberts?' "

They're sick of Roberts, all right.

Credit Penguins coach Michel Therrien for unleashing his fourth line on the second shift of the game. Roberts said he had no idea Therrien would use the line so early.

It worked. The puck went behind the net, where Roberts mauled defenseman Wade Redden, who has become his personal piƱata. Georges Laraque grabbed the loose puck and fired it on goal. Roberts backhanded the rebound past Martin Gerber.

Pretty good start for a guy who'd played one game in the previous three months.

Does Roberts believe he's in the Senators' heads?

"I have way too much on my mind to think about that kind of stuff," he said.

Don't be surprised if the late-game skirmish spills into Game 2, though Senators coach Bryan Murray pooh-poohed the possibility yesterday.

Roberts won't care if he is targeted. Heck, the entire Senators' team could corner him, and he wouldn't blink.

He'd fight 'em all.

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