The buzz on Beantown's Muzz

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

Veteran W Glen Murray is causing a dilemma for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.

As the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline gets closer, Murray, 34, will be a sought-after commodity for any playoff-bound team looking to add a second-line winger.

The problem for Chiarelli is that the Bruins are right in thick of a post-season race in the Eastern Conference.

The guess here is that most teams think Boston will fall out of playoff contention before the deadline, thus the inquiries about Murray.

After a terrible start to the season that saw Murray score only one goal in his first 17 games, he scored nine goals in his next 17 games before suffering a hip injury that will keep him sidelined until at least mid-January.

Murray, or "Muzz" to his teammates, has another year to go on his contract at $4.15 million (all terms US), which would be an affordable cap hit for most teams if the deals free agents got last summer are taken into consideration.

Several teams -- including Vancouver, Ottawa, Nashville, Detroit, Montreal and Pittsburgh -- are believed to have made inquiries about Murray's availability.

AROUND THE BOARDS: Some NHL insiders are speculating that if the Flames offer D Dion Phaneuf a 10-year, $60-million deal, it will keep him in the fold ... Don't be surprised if NHL plays on Christmas Day in 2008. While the NHLPA has always had a mandated two-day break, commissioner Gary Bettman has been closely watching the success the NBA has on Christmas. It's believed the league has approached the NHLPA about playing one game in the East and one in the West next Dec. 25 ... Three players who have moved up on scouts' lists with their stellar play at the world junior championship: F Mikkel Boedker, Denmark (Kitchener, OHL); D Luke Schenn, Canada (Kelowna, WHL); and F Colin Wilson, U.S. (Boston University). All three will now likely be first-round picks when the draft is held in June in Ottawa... Chicago W Martin Havlat is getting close to returning from a groin injury he suffered Dec. 22. He has resumed skating and is listed as day-to-day.

OFF THE GLASS: Former Islanders C Alexei Yashin is enjoying some success with Yaroslavl Lokamotiv in the Russian Elite League, scoring 11 goals and adding 19 assists in his first 38 games. "There was an adjustment period, but he has been on fire lately," said Yashin's agent Todd Diamond. "He's really enjoying himself over there and he's been one of the top players in the league." While Yashin will be finished playing in Yaroslavl by the time the NHL playoffs start, Diamond ruled out the ex-Senator returning in the spring, noting that the Isles tried to bring in Deron Quint and Todd Simpson for the playoffs last year after they spent the season in Europe, but they were ruled ineligible ... By most accounts, last week's Winter Classic in Buffalo was a success, but there are indications NHLPA officials weren't happy the NHL rushed to put in the ice at Ralph Wilson Stadium in less than a week. While NBC, which broadcast the game in the U.S., would like to make the Classic an annual event, the NHLPA will insist that the league take two weeks to ensure the ice is better than is was in Buffalo. There is talk the next stop will be Soldier Field in Chicago.

RUMOURS DU JOUR: Sources say Senators GM Bryan Murray has talked to a few teams regarding G Ray Emery, but the market is thin. The indications are the Lightning was interested earlier in the season, but the Bolts are somewhat hamstrung by the fact the team is for sale. Besides Tampa, the Penguins could be looking for goaltending help before the trade deadline ... By dealing D Shane Hnidy to the Bruins for W Brandon Bochenski, Ducks GM Brian Burke can start negotiating a new deal with W Corey Perry, who can become a restricted free agent on July 1. Burke needed to get the $760,000 Hnidy is scheduled to make next season off the books in order to have enough money under the cap to make Perry an offer. Bochenski is an unrestricted free agent after this season, so his status is moot. Before dealing Hnidy, Burke also took offers for D Sean O'Donnell. The Flyers were close to making a deal ... The Avs, now without Fs Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, have turned up their search for a front-line forward. The talk is Colorado is dangling potential UFA D John-Michael Liles. "With all the teams looking for a forward, it just shows you how little depth their is in the league," an NHL executive said last week ... Nothing new to report on former Nashville C Peter Forsberg. He is Sweden after having a procedure on his foot, but he hasn't resumed skating ... Two teams have called UFA G Curtis Joseph after his splendid Spengler Cup. Neither of them was the Senators ... The Flames are facing a difficult situation with W Kristian Huselius, who has played well with W Jarome Iginla, but he can become a UFA on July 1. The talk is the Flames might threaten to deal Huselius at the trade deadline if he fails to sign a new contract ... This can't be true: The Penguins would consider trading C Jordan Staal? Nah. Doesn't make sense. Yes, he's struggled, but this is not the time to make that drastic a move -- even if GM Ray Shero could get a goalie in return.

Have a nice Sunday.


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