‘Noth­ing per­sonal’

Kingston Whig-Standard - - SPORTS - KEN WARREN

With friends like this, who needs ememies?

Just in case you didn’t no­tice Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors de­fence­man Dion Pha­neuf hit­ting Pitts­burgh Pen­guins winger Phil Kes­sel over and over again, their off-ice friend­ship has been put on hold dur­ing the length of the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nal. The two have also been jaw­ing back and forth.

“It’s just that he’s on that team, I’m on this team, and we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble that we can for our teams,” Pha­neuf said be­fore the puck dropped for Game 4 Fri­day. “I’m proud to be on this team and there is noth­ing per­sonal. It’s just about com­pet­ing for your ice, com­pet­ing against a skilled guy. He’s one of their top skilled guys, you’ve got to play him hard and play them hon­est. He’s go­ing to compete, as am I.”

Pha­neuf has been all busi­ness, with 34 hits in 15 play­off games. He knocked Bryan Rust out of Game 2, and pos­si­bly the se­ries, with a crush­ing open ice hit.

“I’m like ev­ery­one else in our room is,” he said. “We’re here to compete. We’re here to play and it’s about try­ing to out­com­pete the guy on the other side.”

While fel­low de­fence­man Mark Borowiecki is inch­ing to­wards a re­turn from his lower body in­jury, Pha­neuf ac­knowl­edges he’s try­ing to be a tad more phys­i­cal with him out of the lineup.

“He plays on the edge and he’s a tough guy to play against,” he said. “You don’t try and re­place him, but you do have to up your phys­i­cal style of play a bit.”

Fel­low Sen­a­tors de­fence­men Fredrik Claes­son, who played his sixth straight game Fri­day, says he is also try­ing to be more phys­i­cal.

“Boro has been play­ing for most of the year,” said Claes­son. “I know what role he plays. I think I can take that into my style a lit­tle bit.”

GRE­GORY SHAMUS/GETTY IM­AGES

Ot­tawa’s Dion Pha­neuf fights for the puck with PItts­burgh’s Phil Kes­sel in Game 1 of the Eastern Con­fer­ence Fi­nal. The for­mer team­mates have put their off-ice friend­ship on hold while bat­tling for a spot in the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal.

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