January 11, 2006
Ready to roll out welcome Matt?'Hawks ready to deal, Sens like Barnaby
By BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun
The Senators are sniffing around with Dale Tallon ready to hold a fire sale in the Windy City.
League sources told the Sun yesterday the Chicago Blackhawks GM is trying to make a deal of any kind with his club was mired in a 10-game losing streak going into last night's 4-3 overtime win over Washington.
And, sources say Senators GM John Muckler is one of several teams that has talked to the Hawks. The club is believed to be trying to move several veterans -- including Matthew Barnaby, Curtis Brown, Martin Lapointe, Jaroslav Spacek, Jassen Cullimore, Jim Vandemeer, Todd Simpson and Kyle Calder.
While Muckler has always been a big fan of Barnaby and was outbid by the Hawks for Lapointe in the summer, there also might be a mild interest in Brown, who moved to Chicago from Buffalo.
Sources say either Barnaby or youngster Tyler Arnason would be a perfect fit for the Senators. Arnason, the club's leading scorer with 10 goals and 20 assists, would add depth. But one source insisted Arnason and former 67's winger Mark Bell are the only players Tallon would prefer not to trade.
If that's the case, keep an eye on Barnaby, Lapointe or Cullimore. Barnaby, making $1.33 million (all figures US) this season, has always wanted to play for the Senators. Lapointe started with coach Bryan Murray in Detroit, but has a massive three-year, $7.5 million deal. Cullimore received a lot of credit in Tampa for the role he played on the club's blueline in the Stanley Cup run.
The Senators are in no hurry to deal, but Muckler won't pass up a chance to upgrade. Tallon won't fire coach Trent Yawney, who is in his first season behind the bench. So changes will have to be made elsewhere.
The Hawks would love to get rid of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin as well, but they probably won't find any takers.
A GREAT ONE: Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky doesn't have the best record in the NHL, but nobody is doubting his abilities behind the bench. "He's been excellent," said Coyotes assistant Rick Bowness, the first coach of the Senators in 1992. "He's got a good feel for what is happening with the team and he brings great insight every night." Bowness said Gretzky's toughest decision was sitting C Mike Comrie earlier in the season. "Gretzky is close friends with his father (Bill) and he's known Mike since he was a kid. There were 14 people there that night to watch (Comrie), but instead of thinking with his heart, (Gretzky) used his head because he had to do what was right for the team," said Bowness.
AROUND THE BOARDS: The taxi squad at the Olympics -- Jason Spezza, Eric Staal (Carolina) and Bryan McCabe (Toronto) -- have been cleared to practice with Team Canada, but they won't be allowed to stay in the village in Turin. "We'll have to stay in hotel, but it's good we'll be able to practise with the team," said Spezza. As for Spezza, he is expected to return tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks. "I'm feeling a lot better and I just want to make sure I don't rush back especially at this time of the season," said Spezza ... While he returned to the lineup last night, captain Daniel Alfredsson was fitted with a special piece of protective gear to cover his cracked rib. "I wouldn't have come back this early if I thought there was going to be any risk or chance to make it worse," said Alfredsson.