SUN Hockey Pool

The Oilers getting close to a blueliner

BRUCE GARRIOCH, OTTAWA SUN

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe has turned 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 representatives.

The Oilers will have to get in line because the Sharks, Avs and Wings have all called to see what the Bruins might want. Desperate earlier this season, Lowe may have called the Senators to see if they'd trade D Wade Redden. It's believed the club just told Lowe that Redden isn't going anywhere ... The heat has been turned on high in Tampa Bay. While I reported last week that 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 another ugly turn with a 4-2 loss to Colorado Friday. It reached another low in Tampa last week when centre Vaclav Prospal - who has had an issue with coaches before (see Jacques Martin for details) - got into a shouting match with coach John Tortorella on the bench Tuesday in Montreal. Yes, they kissed and made up between periods, but what Prospal doesn't get is the Lightning have been trying to trade him all season with no success because nobody wants him. And these kinds of incidents don't usually do anything for a player's future in the organization. The Bolts have identified the problem: Goaltending. Neither Marc Denis (acquired from Columbus for Frederik Modin) or Johan Holmqvist have gotten the job done. The options are limited, but there's a sense the San Jose 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 that Dan Boyle would have to be part of the deal. The Lightning spent a lot of money on forwards Brad Richards, Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, but the club is finding out the hard way you can't win with mediocre goaltending.

OFF THE GLASS: The Boston Bruins are expected to have C Phil Kessel back in the lineup Tuesday against the Senators at Scotiabank Place. 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 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. But Forsberg has had 17 people examine his right foot - including a doctor in Boston and not one of them can find anything wrong. The club hasn't won a game without him ... 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. Sources say Lombardi has been concerned about the scouting department since he arrived last summer.

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 Pittsburgh Penguins. There has been talk of the league going to four divisions and the Atlanta Thrashers moving to the Western Conference. But the Thrashers are vehemently opposed to the idea. "For me, it doesn't make any sense," said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley ... The Maple Leafs haven't made any decisions on what they're going to do with C Mats Sundin. He has an option for $6.4 million (all figures US) next season and the club would like to sign him to an extension. But they've got to convince the NHL that 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. Sundin would like to finish his career with the Leafs, but if he makes it to the unrestricted free agent market next summer he'll be a valuable commodity ... The Hawks are feeling sick. They've lost RW Martin Havlat with a groin injury indefinitely and there's whispers in the Windy City he could be out for an extended period.

RUMOURS DU JOUR: Talk around the league is the Bruins have been actively working the phones looking for a blueliner. There aren't a lot available, but Kings D Lubomir Visnovsky remains an option ... The reason Phoenix C Mike Comrie was dealt to the Senators? As reported last week, the Coyotes need to get money off the books because they're not going to make the playoffs. Ownership wanted Comrie and his $3 million salary gone. There's a strong belief that LW Ladislav Nagy ($3 million), D Nick Boynton ($2.95 million) and D Dennis Seidenberg ($750,000) could be next. It's believed the Habs, Hawks, Canucks, Rangers and Flames had all made calls to check on Comrie's availability. The Coyotes have insisted they won't trade F Shane Doan, but they haven't done anything to try to sign him either. It's believed the Flames, Canucks, Oilers, Senators and Leafs have all inquired about Doan's availability ... The Flames want to move RW Chuck Kobasew, who is out with a head injury. A possible fit is Pittsburgh where the club is listening to offers for LW Ryan Malone ... The more likely fit for the Oilers and Bruins is Blues D Eric Brewer. President John Davidson is getting ready to clean house in St. Louis ... If Kansas City doesn't get the Penguins will they make a pitch for another NHL team? How long are the Florida Panthers going to stay in Sunrise?


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