SUN Hockey Pool

Done in the desert

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

OTTAWA -- They're getting ready to unload salary in the desert.

Phoenix Coyotes GM Mike Barnett and coach Wayne Gretzky are going to have to face the grim reality their struggling club won't make the playoffs.

The Coyotes have too much ground to make up in the tightly grouped Western Conference.

Already trying to deal centres Mike Comrie and Dave Scatchard, the Coyotes will soon start listening to offers for wingers Shane Doan and Ladislav Nagy.

It's believed Doan is seeking more than $5 million a year to stay in Phoenix.

He might settle for less elsewhere if that team is a Stanley Cup contender.

The Coyotes and Calgary agent J.P. Barry talked about a contract extension before the season but put aside those discussions so Doan could concentrate on playing.

There will be a bidding war if the Coyotes decide to move Doan.

The Coyotes still have an outside shot at the playoffs but it would take more than a minor miracle for them to advance ... and the sooner they come to that realization, the quicker the fire sale can begin.

CLEARING THE PUCK:

Suddenly, the heat has been turned up on Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster and coach John Tortorella. While Feaster has been threatening to make changes since mid-December, he has refused to consider firing Tortorella. There's a strong belief around the NHL Tampa players want a change but Feaster isn't going to let the inmates run the asylum. Whispers are if Feaster doesn't do something, the finger might soon point in his direction ... Florida RW Todd Bertuzzi continues to rehab after back surgery but won't return before February. Bertuzzi is unrestricted July 1 and wants to drive up his value ... The reason nobody has signed C Jason Allison, according to one league executive: "He can't play anymore. He's just awful. Nobody is going to touch him."

AROUND THE BOARDS:

The Hawks have improved dramatically under coach Denis Savard but he's giving credit where credit is due. "Getting Martin Havlat back was the big thing," said Savard. "We're in the right place, right spot, right direction. I strongly believe that." ... It's been 10 weeks since the Wild announced RW Marian Gaborik would be out 10-14 days with a groin injury. Anybody else wonder what's going on?

RUMOURS DU JOUR:

Tampa Bay owners were counting on playoff revenues and there are whispers they're ready to throw in the towel, which means players could be packing their bags. The most often-mentioned names are LW Vaclav Prospal and RW Ruslan Fedotenko and there's plenty of interest in both. There are whispers Chicago, Dallas, Calgary and Ottawa have asked about Prospal, a natural centre. The Hawks, Rangers, Islanders, Wild, Bruins and Canucks have all made calls about Fedotenko ... The Oilers are looking for a puck-moving blueliner. Options are limited but they might think about bringing back D Eric Brewer from St. Louis. He hasn't been the same since he left Edmonton.


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