SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers GM goes Fish-ing for Sens centreman

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 2:20 PM ET

The Oilers are eyeing the Senators for help at centre, but their No.-1 choice might not be Jason Spezza.

While league sources say the Oilers have a mild interest in Ottawa's top centre, the man Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini really wants in the middle is Mike Fisher.

Fisher has been struggling this season with only three goals in 35 games going into last night, after scoring 23 last season.

But the 28-year-old Fisher isn't one of the players the Senators are looking to move -- despite his struggles and contract, an average of $4.2 million (all terms US) for the next five seasons.

The Oilers wouldn't rule out bringing in Spezza, but his seven-year, $49-million contract is tough to take on. Plus, Edmonton would like to add a hard-nosed player, like Fisher.

Senators GM Bryan Murray, who was scheduled to return from scouting meetings in Fort Lauderdale, is willing to move anybody on a team sitting 29th in the league heading into yesterday, but Fisher has a no-movement clause until the end of the 2009-10 season.

Besides, Fisher is one of the pieces the Senators would like to keep in place.

OFF THE GLASS

The Penguins are playing like a team that has had enough of coach Michel Therrien. Oddly enough, the Blues also look the same way with Andy Murray behind the bench ... With Paul Maurice behind the Hurricanes bench on an interim basis, there's a lot of speculation about who might take over full-time next year. There's a lot of belief Kevin Dineen, coach of the AHL's Portland Pirates and a former Hurricanes' captain, will get a shot behind an NHL bench sooner or later. He could be the No.-1 choice in Carolina. The speculation about Ron Francis, currently an assistant with the Hurricanes, doesn't make sense ... The knee injury suffered by Canadiens G Carey Price might be worse than is being let on, even putting in doubt his participation at the all-star weekend in Montreal Jan. 24-25 ... Flyers GM Paul Holmgren hasn't been thrilled with the development of LW James vanRiemsdyk after getting a chance to see the 19-year-old at the world junior championship in Ottawa. A first-round pick (No. 2 overall) in 2007, vanRiemsdyk plays at the University of New Hampshire. Holmgren thinks it's time for a higher education. "(VanRiemsdyk) would have been better off if he came out last year," Holmgren told Comcast's Tim Panaccio.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Now that Leafs D Tomas Kaberle has made it official he's willing to waive his no-movement clause, expect teams to line up. It's believed the Senators, Canucks, Habs and Kings are all going to make a pitch for Kaberle. Unlike his predecessors, Leafs GM Brian Burke won't be afraid to make a trade with the Senators or Habs. The Leafs should also receive plenty of interest for RW Nik Antropov, C Matt Stajan, LW Alexei Ponikarovsky and C Dominic Moore before the March 4 trade deadline ... A team that would love Spezza is Columbus. The word is Ken Hitchcock believes he can transform the struggling centre into the next Steve Yzerman. Hitchcock worked with Spezza at the world championship in Quebec City last spring ... Speaking of the Jackets, they're trying to move D Rostislav Klesla. No takers ... Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford can't give away D Frantisek Kaberle ... It would appear G Martin Gerber's days with the Senators are close to being over. While Brian Elliott was recalled from Binghamton to make the start, he took the pre-game skate with backup Alex Auld yesterday at Scotiabank Place. Gerber had been out earlier with goaltending coach Eli Wilson, but the veteran netminder is expected to be placed on waivers in the next couple of days if the club can't deal him. It's believed there was mild interest from the Canucks earlier this season, but they passed ... Talk won't go away the Tampa Bay Lightning are shopping everybody -- including C Vinny Lecavalier, RW Martin St. Loius and, if the club got the right offer, the Bolts might even move rookie C Steve Stamkos.


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