White in fight to stick with Rangers

BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 PM ET

NEW YORK — Todd White is in a fight to save his NHL career.

The New York Rangers centre wasn’t in the lineup Friday to face his former Senators teammates at Madison Square Garden, but White’s situation is going to be interesting to watch with final cuts coming.

Slated to make $2.6 million (all terms US) this season, White has been used in a fourth-line role in exhibition games and some observers think he could be joining Wade Redden riding the buses in the AHL.

White will get a chance to play with offensive-minded teammates in the club’s final pre-season game Saturday. He has two assists and is minus-3 in three games.

“Todd is one of those guys that is on the bubble as far as where he fits with the team,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “He’ll play (Saturday) and I want to give him a chance with some offensive people.

“By no means am I saying, ‘He’s outta here.’ He’s OK. By no means has he been great.”

Sources say the Rangers took White as part of a deal with the Atlanta Thrashers last summer because they wanted to get Donald Brashear’s $1.4-million cap hit off the books.

Brashear, 38, couldn’t be sent down to the AHL without counting against the cap because he’s over 35 and Atlanta could afford to take on the contract.

White, an Ottawa native, would likely clear waivers if New York GM Glen Sather decides to send him down. It’s unthinkable that the Rangers would have $9.1 million buried in the minors — Redden’s hit is $6.5 million — but the possibility exists.

“The Rangers don’t care. Doesn’t bother them one bit,” said one league executive.

D-DAY APPROACHING

It’s getting down to crunch time for Ottawa D Jared Cowen, who has had a solid camp, but still has junior eligibility left. Cowen is in a battle for a roster spot with veteran David Hale and prospect Patrick Wiercioch, and the Senators are mulling whether to send Cowen back to the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for the season. “Once he’s gone, he’s gone, so we just have to make sure it’s the right thing,” said assistant GM Tim Murray. Still, another year of junior wouldn’t be the worst situation for Cowen. “If he does go (back), it’s going to be good for him,” said Murray. “He’s going to play a lot, he’s going to refine his puck skills and he’s going to get a chance to play in a role he can’t really play here right now. Plus, the world junior (tournament). So, it’s all positive. The only negative is he has to go back and is gone for the year. That’s the question we’re looking at right now: Do we send him back? And if we do, we have to make sure we’re comfortable sending him back.” Cowen showed some guts in the first period Friday night. He crosschecked pest Sean Avery in the back when he snowed Ottawa G Brian Elliott.

THIS ’N’ THAT

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson was sorry to see former Leafs agitator Darcy Tucker retire Friday. “He was a big part of the rivalry we had with Toronto for quite a few years,” said Alfredsson. “He stirred it up once in a while. He’s had a good career. He battled hard. I don’t think he’s a guy people thought would last that long because of his size, but he played really hard.” Alfredsson’s hit on Tucker in Game 5 of Ottawa’s playoff series against the Leafs in 2002 is legendary. “A lot of incidents happened and he was often involved,” said Alfredsson, who scored the winner on the same shift. “I think it got bigger because we scored a big goal to win the game.” ... The Senators will hold an open practice at 10:30 a.m. on Monday in Petawawa for the public with their final roster. They will hold team-building activities at CFB Petawawa on the weekend and then have a practice at Silver Dart Arena. Coach Cory Clouston said the club will likely discuss cuts after Saturday’s game. “There might be a decision we have to sleep on,” said Clouston.

THE BIG APPLE

The Rangers are concerned they may have to start the season without C Vaclav Prospal. The right knee he had arthroscopic surgery on last season has been giving him trouble and Prospal hasn’t been able to suit up for an exhibition game. “It is a concern. I’m not going to lie,” Tortorella said. “It flares up after he skates. It’s aggravating to him and it’s a concern for me, but right now we’ll have to see where it goes.” ... Took a walk in Times Square during the short stay in New York and was a little surprised to see a Tim Hortons tucked among all the coffee shops ... The best player in Rangers camp: Free agent tryout Ruslan Fedotenko. There haven’t been any contract talks, but there should be ... Expect to see G Martin Biron start for the Rangers Saturday night in Ottawa.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Senators C Mike Fisher (sore neck) could be in the lineup Saturday. He’ll meet with the club’s medical staff and then a decision will be made. “We want to make sure we evaluate him properly as well,” said Clouston. “All indications are he’ll play.” ... Senators C Jesse Winchester owes the linesmen a drink. He got tied up with Derek Boogaard early in the first and the officials jumped in to make sure nothing happened.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos