Coyotes getting ready for a firesale in the desert.

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

TORONTO -- They are getting ready to unload salary and players in the desert.

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

The Coyotes have too much ground to make up, even if they have a long winning streak 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 the likes of wingers Shane Doan and Ladislav Nagy.

It's believed Doan, the final remaining link from the Winnipeg Jets, is seeking more than $5 million a year to stay in Phoenix.

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

The Coyotes and agent J.P. Barry of Calgary 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.

You can bet Doan will be at the top of everybody's list.

BIG NIGHT FOR STEVIE Y: They are planning quite a ceremony to retire Steve Yzerman's No. 19 before the Red Wings' game against Anaheim in Detroit on Tuesday. The Wings have confirmed Gordie Howe (No. 9), Alex Delvecchio (No. 10) and Ted Lindsay (No. 7) will be on hand for the ceremony as Yzerman becomes the sixth Wings player to have his number retired. "It will be a special night and I am looking forward to it," said Yzerman.

CLEARING THE PUCK: A lot of eyes are on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Suddenly, the heat has been turned up on 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 the Tampa players want a change from Tortorella's coaching style, but Feaster isn't going to let the inmates run the asylum. The whispers are if Feaster doesn't do something, then the finger might soon point in his direction ... Florida RW Todd Bertuzzi continues to rehab after back surgery, but won't be back before mid-February. The talk is Bertuzzi is determined to come back and play because he's an unrestricted free agent July 1 and wants to make sure he drives 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." ... If the Rangers are going to get out of their funk, they need more from captain Jaromir Jagr. But they're not convinced it's a big problem to fix. "We just need him to shoot the puck more," said assistant Perry Pearn. "He's got a great shot and he hasn't been using it as much as he can. He's the guy that makes us tick. We've just got to find a way to get him going." One question: Is it tough for Jagr to be a good captain with LW Brendan Shanahan in the same room? ... 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: Don't be surprised if the Lightning make cost-cutting measures if they keep Feaster and Tortorella. The owners of the Bolts 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. If the Bolts make a move, there are a variety of players who could be on the move. 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, who is also a natural centre. The Hawks, Rangers, Islanders, Wild, Bruins and Canucks have all made calls about Fedotenko. Trying to clear cap space, the club waived LW Dmitry Afanasenkov and C Andreas Karlsson Friday. Afanasenkov was picked up by Philly ... There was talk the Panthers might move C Olli Jokinen, but that's not the case. Florida has already lost one franchise player in G Roberto Luongo and is not likely to give up another ... The Senators were serious about signing free agent C Yanic Perreault before he went to Phoenix. But Ottawa backed off after an 8-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 21 ... OK, here's the list of teams looking for a centre as the Feb. 27 deadline approaches: Atlanta, Ottawa, Dallas, Montreal, Chicago, Calgary, Toronto and the Rangers. Are there enough to go around? It's slim pickings. Los Angeles' Craig Conroy and Philly's Peter Forsberg are two centres who could be had from a less-than-stellar crop. Forsberg hasn't been healthy all year and Philly might decide he needs to be moved ... The Oilers are looking for a puck-moving blue-liner. Naturally, the 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 ... Phoenix wants to move D Nick Boynton, but there's little interest.

Have a nice Sunday and a Happy New Year.


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