BODY CHECKS: There is a lot of speculation Florida GM/coach Jacques Martin might step down from his role as bench boss at the end of the season.
You have to score goals to win and there's some belief that Martin's philosophy of playing the game isn't working anymore. That's backed by the fact the club didn't score in three games last week. Should Martin decide to move upstairs or get moved out, a strong possibility as a replacement is Randy Cunneyworth, coach of the AHL's Rochester Amerks. The former Senators captain is one of the most well-respected, successful coaches waiting to move up to the NHL. Cunneyworth's contract with the Amerks is up at the end of the season. There's talk the Florida dressing room is a mess. An insider suggested "morale is extremely low" and owner Alan Cohen isn't happy with the job Martin is doing ... Carolina G Cam Ward, who led the club to a Stanley Cup in June, unveiled a new mask Thursday against the Habs. It features the images of his friends with the Vancouver-based band Nickelback ... Trent Yawney didn't listen three weeks ago when Chicago GM Dale Tallon warned him to change his style. Last week, he was fired. There's talk former Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk, a longtime Hawk, could end up in the Chicago organization.
AROUND THE BOARDS: Another item on the agenda for the board of governors is the approval of the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Jim Balsillie. There's still no guarantee the Penguins will stay in Pittsburgh. Houston remains the No. 1 candidate if the franchise decides to move ... Did the Flyers even consider Carolina associate coach Kevin McCarthy when they fired Ken Hitchcock last month? Instead of selecting McCarthy, who has a Stanley Cup ring, they brought in John Stevens, who boasts an AHL championship. No wonder they're in last place ... Buffalo C Tim Connolly, signed to a three-year, $8.7-million contract, still hasn't resumed skating from post-concussion syndrome and there's no timetable for his return. After a hit from Ottawa LW Peter Schaefer in last year's playoffs, the Sabres said Connolly would be out more than five months That would have meant a return next month, but it won't happen ... The Blues are going to retire Brett Hull's No. 16 Tuesday ... The Wild are worried about RW Marian Gaborik. He has resumed skating, but continues to be troubled by a sore groin and there's talk he may have suffered a setback last week.
RUMOURS DU JOUR: Vancouver GM Dave Nonis has been busy working the phones trying to get scoring help for his club. It's believed Nonis talked to the Senators about C Antoine Vermette, but the Canucks were politely told he's not going anywhere. Maybe the Canucks can bring in Philly C Peter Forsberg, if his health is good, for a playoff run ... Habs GM Bob Gainey has also been calling around the league to see if he can get a centre. Oddly enough, nobody wants D Janne Niinimaa. Instead, rival GMS are asking for D Sheldon Souray, but the Habs aren't ready to make that move. When he becomes a free agent after this season, Souray could be looking for as much as the $6.5 million that D Wade Redden is pulling down with Ottawa ... If Gainey does want a man in the middle, he could always call his old buddy Doug Armstrong in Dallas. The indications are he's trying to move C Mike Ribieiro, who the Habs dealt to the Stars for Niinimaa in September ... Nashville LW Scott Hartnell is a strong candidate to get moved before the deadline. After turning down a three-year deal last summer, he scored 30 goals. It's believed the Rangers, Kings, Bruins, Canadians and Islanders have all called to check on the availability of Hartnell, an unrestricted free agent on July 1 ... The Hawks continue to shop for help up front and there are whispers they may have held discussions with the Habs about LW Sergei Samsonov ... Unable to trade D Ric Jackman, the Panthers placed him on waivers yesterday ... The Kings are looking for a goalie. Would they make a pitch for G Martin Gerber if he gets his game back in order? ... The Pens recalled F John LeClair yesterday hoping someone takes him on re-entry at $750,000. The desperate Flyers might be tempted to take a chance. Have a nice Sunday.