Thornton buzz continues

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:42 PM ET

The biggest question left in the Joe Thornton trade is just how many teams were involved in the trade discussions.

Bruins GM Mike O'Connell claimed at one press conference that five teams were involved, then said there were six in a later interview. Nobody is sure if it was either.

Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon said he received a call from O'Connell on Wednesday indicating that all Boston players -- including Thornton -- were available. Tallon told O'Connell to decide what he wanted off Chicago's roster and then they'd hold further talks.

A couple of hours later, Thornton was dealt to the Sharks in exchange for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau.

Sources say Phoenix, the Islanders, Vancouver and Florida also received calls, but there were never any serious talks.

Why is everybody so upset?

Because nobody is sure O'Connell explored the market and got his best deal.

If O'Connell gets fired -- and that's a possibility -- a name that has surfaced as a replacement is Senators assistant GM Peter Chiarelli. He is a former captain of the Harvard hockey team and would be a good fit in Boston.

AROUND THE BOARDS: Ex-Senators winger Magnus Arvedson, who retired after last season, is in Sweden looking for an NHL scouting job ... Another former Sen, Patrick Lalime, is back as the No. 1 netminder in St. Louis. Hope it works ... The Penguins have given coach Ed Olczyk a second vote of confidence. That can't be good news ... Former Leafs winger Owen Nolan is continuing to work out in California and is preparing to come back late this month. First, he has to get his situation with Toronto sorted out. The NHL Players Association has filed a grievance on his behalf, and agent J.P. Barry of IMG Hockey is waiting to find out what direction this whole mess is going to take. Nolan was scheduled to make $5.6 million (all terms US) this season, but the Leafs claim they don't owe it because his injury was not hockey related. Don't rule out the Flames signing Nolan once the issues are settled ... Nashville G Tomas Vokoun is pushing Ottawa's Dominik Hasek for the No. 1 job for the Czech Olympic team in Turin. Predators coach Barry Trotz doesn't envy the Czech staff who have to make a choice. "I'd hate to be the Czech national coach and have to decide between (Vokoun) and Dominik Hasek," said Trotz. "But I know who'd get my vote."

RUMOURS DU JOUR: The Canucks are listening to offers for RW Todd Bertuzzi. He makes $5.2 million but hasn't lived up to expectations. Bertuzzi is tough to deal because he has another year left on his rich contract and hasn't been the force he has been in the past ... The Avs aren't happy with G David Aebischer and they'd love to make a move. He's playing well of late but that's the best time to trade him, although Colorado hasn't been able to find a dance partner. There's talk the Oilers might be interested ... Don't think the Bruins are done dealing. The word is LW Sergei Samsonov will be next to go and he could be headed to the Flyers in exchange for C Michal Handzus. Samsonov is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season ... There are whispers the Oilers wouldn't mind moving RW Jani Rita ... Habs GM Bob Gainey is looking for a blueliner with a two-way contract who can be shuttled between AHL Hamilton and Montreal. Good luck finding that kind of deal ... The Islanders are shopping D Janne Niinimaa and winger Oleg Kvasha. Oddly enough, nobody wants them. GM Mike Milbury has put everybody on alert, which means nobody is safe. "I'm not content with anybody, but that doesn't mean I'm pointing the finger at the coach (Steve Stirling)," said Milbury ... The Coyotes may show interest in Ottawa LW Vaclav Varada after losing pest Tyson Nash with an abdominal muscle strain. He could be gone for six weeks if he needs surgery ... There's a strong belief that Boston F Glen Murray will seek a trade, although he insisted that's not the case. "I love Boston. I love the fans and the city," said Murray. He also loved playing with traded linemate Thornton.

Have a nice Sunday.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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