Injuries push Sens to limit

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

Senators GM Bryan Murray could be on the hunt for some Boxing Day specials.

While the NHLís Christmas roster freeze is in effect until tomorrow, the Senators could be forced to make a deal once the ban on trades is lifted after the devastating news that captain Daniel Alfredsson is going to be out for an extended length of time with a shoulder injury.

Already missing centre Jason Spezza (knee) until after the Olympic break and winger Nick Foligno (knee) for another 10 days, the Senators are expected to call up centre Josh Hennessy from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton to try to fill the void, but heís hardly a solution.

After missing the playoffs last spring for the first time in 12 years, the Senators donít want to be on the outside looking in for the second straight year, which means Murray might try to add some depth at forward to keep the club in the post-season hunt.

Making a trade isnít easy in a salary-capped world, but league sources say a few teams are trying to peddle some underachieving talent:

LOS ANGELES: The Kings are in the hunt for a playoff spot, but want to move underachieving Russian W Alexander Frolov. The Senators had a chance to acquire him in the summer but didnít show much interest. Ottawa already has Alexei Kovalev not living up to expectations.

NY RANGERS: New York has been trying to move potential UFA W Chris Higgins, who only has four goals and six assists in 36 games this season. The Rangers donít have any complaints about his effort, but heís just not scoring. He is making $2.25 million (all terms US) this season. The club is also trying to move RW Ales Kotalik, who has been a healthy scratch for four straight games.

ďAll these guys can be had pretty easily,Ē said a league executive. ďBut thereís a reason theyíre available: They make too much money and arenít playing well.Ē

The issue, as always, is salary cap space. The Senators donít have a lot of money to play with under the $56.7-million cap.

Murray leaves Monday for the world junior championship in Saskatchewan and every NHL GM will be on hand, so trade talks could intensify.

Kovalev shut out

Kovalev told the Sun he expected to be passed over for the Russian Olympic team and thatís the case. The 23-man roster was announced yesterday and D Anton Volchenkov was the only Senator selected. Kovalev has just 20 points in 33 games. ďYou guys keep talking about the points that Iíve put up so far and the way Iíve been playing. I would hope Iíd be playing better by now, so Iím sure theyíre going to pick the guys who have more points and are playing better,Ē he said before the announcement.


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