The heat has been turned up in Tampa Bay.
While Lightning GM Jay Feaster and coach John Tortorella are getting pressure to get this club back on track, they aren't the only ones.
Sources say unless the Bolts can get this ship turned around quick, the Lightning might start dumping payroll because the situation took an ugly turn with a 4-2 loss to Colorado Friday.
It reached another low in Tampa last week when centre Vaclav Prospal got into a shouting match with coach Tortorella on the bench Tuesday in Montreal.
They kissed and made up but what Prospal doesn't understand is the Lightning have been trying to trade him all season with no success.
The Bolts have identified the problem: Goaltending.
Neither Marc Denis (acquired from Columbus for Frederik Modin) or Johan Holmqvist have done the job well. The options are limited but there's a sense the Sharks are getting ready to move Vesa Toskala.
What would Tampa have to give up to make that kind of deal? Sources say San Jose GM Doug Wilson has been pretty consistent all year, he wants an offensive blueliner which means it's almost a certainty Dan Boyle would have to be part of the deal.
OFF THE GLASS:
The Bruins are expected to have C Phil Kessel back in the lineup Tuesday against the Senators. Kessel, recovering from testicular cancer surgery, was assigned to the club's AHL affiliate in Providence for conditioning Friday and will rejoin the Bruins today ... It's doubtful the Flyers are going to be able to deal C Peter Forsberg at the deadline because the injury risk might be too high. He suffered a groin injury last week and blamed it on the foot problem which has plagued him all season ... Kings' GM Dean Lombardi sent members of the club's scouting staff packing Friday. He fired director of amateur scouting Al Murray, an Ottawa native who has been with the Kings 18 years, along with top assistant Grant Sonier and several other area scouts.
AROUND THE BOARDS:
The NHL's board of governors will meet at the all-star break to discuss re-alignment and the future of the Penguins ... The Leafs haven't made any decisions on what they're going to do with C Mats Sundin. He has an option for US$6.4 million next season and the club would like to sign him to an extension. They have to convince the NHL they shouldn't be on the hook for that kind of cap hit if he signs an extension for a lower amount. Oddly enough, the NHL is not buying that argument ... The Blackhawks are feeling sick. They lost RW Martin Havlat with a groin injury and there's whispers he could be out for an extended period.
RUMOURS DU JOUR:
Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe has cranked up his search for a blueliner with the club struggling. It's believed he'd like to get Boston D Brad Stuart, who will be a UFA this summer, but the Bruins have opened talks with his agents. The Oilers will have to get in line because the Sharks, Avs and Wings have all called to see what the Bruins want ... The reason Phoenix C Mike Comrie was dealt to the Senators? As reported last week, the Coyotes need to shed salary because they're not going to make the playoffs. Ownership wanted Comrie and his $3 million salary off the books. There's a strong belief LW Ladislav Nagy ($3 million), D Nick Boynton ($2.95 million) and D Dennis Seidenberg ($750,000) could be next. The Coyotes have insisted they won't trade F Shane Doan but they haven't done anything to try to sign him either ... The Flames wouldn't mind moving RW Chuck Kobasew, who is out right now with a head injury. A possible fit is Pittsburgh where the club is listening to offers for LW Ryan Malone.
Have a nice Sunday.