Deal or no deal?

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

With Twitter-palooza running amok as the clock ticks down to Wednesday afternoon’s NHL trade deadline, the misinformation is oozing hot and heavy.

Given the wild rumours that run rampant this time of year, can anyone really be surprised?

The Florida Panthers’ Tomas Vokoun is Exhibit No. 1 in this argument. The veteran goalie told Panthers beat scribes Tuesday that no, he had NOT refused to waive his no-trade clause as has been reported by various sources.

Having arrived back in south Florida after his stint with the Czech team at the Olympics, Vokoun returned to south Florida to meet with Panthers GM Randy Sexton.

“No I didn’t,” Vokoun said when asked if he told Sexton he was unwilling to be moved.

“We agreed we wouldn’t make public any of the details. But I didn’t. It’s more like, if there’s a deal in place, he’ll let me know. Ultimately it’s my decision, yes or no.”

The moving of Vokoun would add some much-needed spice to a trade deadline day that is in danger of lacking any significant sizzle.

Would the Chicago Blackhawks, whose only question mark appears to be a lack of stability between the pipes, be a potential landing spot?

Starter Antti Niemi was pulled Tuesday night after allowing three goals on nine shots and was replaced by Cristobal Huet. Huet, ironically, was linked in a potential deal earlier in the day that would have sent him to the Maple Leafs for overpriced defenceman Jeff Finger, a scenario the Leafs quickly dismissed.

With Ray Emery undergoing season-ending surgery Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers also are in the market for a goaltender. There was an erroneous report that the Islanders’ Dwayne Roloson had been dealt to Philly, a suggestion that evaporated when Roloson was the Isles’ starter versus Chicago.

If the likes of Vokoun and Huet don’t move, the chances of any blockbusters being pulled off appear slim.

Paul Kariya, a big name with a modest point total, reportedly does not want to waive his no-trade clause. Fellow St. Louis Blue Keith Tkachuk also is said to be reluctant to move.

That might open the door for the engimatic Brad Boyes to be shipped out of St. Louis, a concept that appears to be gaining momentum as the deadline approaches. But the Blues, like many other teams, might be reluctant to be sellers because they find themselves in no-man’s land — too close to a playoff spot to be sellers.

While Colorado’s Wojtek Wolski and Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis are garnering significant interest, some GMs did not want to take chances with players they were looking to move. Neither the Leafs’ Alexei Ponikarovsky nor the Carolina Hurricanes Aaron Ward dressed for the Toronto-Carolina game Tuesday, opting to protect the health of their assets prior to moving them.

In Ponikarovsky’s case, a deal sending him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a package that included prospect Luca Caputi was getting closer and closer during the Leafs’ 5-1 loss to the Canes.

Meanwhile, veteran forward Ray Whitney, one of the top forward candidates to be moved, did suit up for the ’Canes, collecting an assist. Whitney is looking for an extension wherever he lands, which may scare off some potential suitors.

Earlier in the day, the Ottawa Senators beefed up their blue line by picking up 6-foot-6 Andy Sutton from the New York Islanders for a second-round pick. Sutton has eight points this season and is second in the NHL in blocked shots with 153.

The Blackhawks did make one minor move, acquiring defenceman Nick Boynton for future considerations.

A year ago, trade deadline day featured a record 47 players changing addresses. Only time will tell if that number will be exceeded on Wednesday.

Either way, the tweeters and bloggers will be going bonkers with their rumours.

Like it or not, it’s part of what trade deadline day has become.


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