Harper, an avid hockey fan, told reporters in Calgary on Friday that the Senators need to use their legs more against a physical Anaheim team.
“I shouldn’t pretend it’s my specialty, but I think they’ve got to not be bothered by the hitting of the Ducks and skate hard and try to take it to them through skating and strong offence,” said Harper.
“Keep the passes short, too. That would be my advice, but Don Cherry would know better than me.”
Ottawa coach Bryan Murray had much the same message on Friday, particularly about avoiding attempts at “home run” passes against the Ducks’ gifted defence.
CANADA DUCKS: For the record, 20 of the 29 players the Ducks brought to Ottawa are Canadian born, including stars Chris Pronger, Scott and Rob Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Only 14 of Ottawa’s 23 players are Canadian.
COMRIE’S CORNER: Getting a chance to play in the Stanley Cup final has given Ottawa Senators forward Mike Comrie a different perspective on hockey’s biggest event.
He remembers watching Edmonton and Calgary participate in the past two Stanley Cups and thinking about how special it must have been for those players.
“I thought that it would feel totally different,” said Comrie, a former Oiler. “When you get here yourself you’re so focused on the next game and your opponent that you don’t really have time to take everything in.”
One major difference is the Stanley Cup logo that is stamped on memorabilia all over the Senators dressing room – like the hat Comrie was wearing backwards after practice on Friday.
Another change is an intensity level unlike any the 26-year-old Comrie has ever seen.
“You don’t want to use the term ‘war’ because of what’s going on, but it’s a hard-fought battle out on the ice,” he said. “It’s not just one play, it’s every play.
“It’s every single play.”
BRING ‘EM ON: The Ottawa Senators will have the last line change in Games 3 and 4, but that doesn’t mean their scoring line will see much less of Anaheim’s checkers.
Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza have been completely shut down by the Ducks grind line of Samuel Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen so far in the series.
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle loves to match lines so Heatley doesn’t think the checkers can be avoided even though they’ll be playing at Scotiabank Place.
“It will give us a little advantage here and there, but I think eventually we’re going to have to play against that line,” said Heatley. “No matter who we’re playing against, we’re going to have to win that match.”
KUNITZ DOUBTFUL: Ducks forward Chris Kunitz is still a long shot to return to the lineup after breaking a bone in his right hand May 11.
Coach Randy Carlyle said it’s doubtful he’ll be back.
“I saw him in the training room trying to get some adjustment made and whatnot,” Carlyle said. “So I would still say until we get clearance from a doctor, and that’s first and foremost, then the decision has to be whether he’s in game shape . . . but at this point we’re nowhere near that.”
Kunitz, a first-line left-winger, had 25 goals and 35 assists for 60 points in 81 regular season games. He had six points (1-5) in 11 playoff games before the injury.
TOUGH GUY: The Ducks out-muscled and out-hit Ottawa in the first two games at Anaheim but the Sens still have one more option if they want to add some toughness to their lineup.
Enforcer Brian McGrattan has yet to see the ice in the post-season. Coach Bryan Murray isn’t ruling out the possibility of dressing him in this series.
“There’s a scenario where that could happen,” Murray said.
McGrattan, a six-foot-four 231-pound forward, had two assists and 100 penalty minutes in 45 regular season games.