Restless Varada eager for action

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

For now, Vaclav Varada will just have to be patient.

Accompanied by his Edmonton-based agent Ritch Winter, the Senators winger huddled with GM John Muckler yesterday at the Corel Centre to discuss his slipping role and his future in Ottawa, the Sun has learned.

While the 29-year-old Varada didn't demand a trade, he was able to voice his concerns to Muckler after watching his ice time fall to only five minutes a game under new coach Bryan Murray.

Muckler told Varada he will get a chance to play an increased role, but Murray hasn't had an opportunity to get to know the veteran because of the knee injury he suffered in training camp.

Winter also represents Senators goalie Dominik Hasek and defenceman Andrej Meszaros, but he confirmed he travelled to Ottawa so that Varada's situation could be discussed in a face-to-face meeting.

"The subject of a trade was never brought up," Winter said last night. "We all recognized the difficult challenge that is facing Vaclav Varada right now. (Murray) really hasn't had the chance to find out what Vaclav Varada is all about. That's part of the problem.

"John Muckler knows what Varada can bring to a team. He has traded for him twice (once in Buffalo and again in Ottawa) and they have a good relationship. Varada knows the challenge ahead for him and sometimes you just have to hear it from somebody to find out exactly where you stand."

Winter said Varada's focus remains winning a Stanley Cup.

"You're not going to win a Stanley Cup just anywhere and (Varada) feels this is a good opportunity for him. He doesn't want to a win a Stanley Cup anywhere. He wants to be part of what is happening here," said Winter.

After suffering a knee injury in the first pre-season game Oct. 18 against the Maple Leafs, Varada worked hard to return to action by mid-October, but he's been playing with Chris Kelly and Brian McGrattan.

KNEE INJURY

Varada's previous linemates, Radek Bonk and Marian Hossa, were traded since the last NHL season, and the firing of coach Jacques Martin meant Varada had to prove himself all over again this fall. That didn't happen because of the injury.

"John Muckler has a lot of experience and a lot of things were discussed," said Winter. "We left that meeting with a good feeling. I would think what we're going to do is just see how it goes.

"Vaclav Varada knows that he can contribute and he's going to get his opportunity. The team has only lost two games and there hasn't been any need to make any changes."

Varada, who is making $1.2 million US, couldn't be reached for comment at his Kanata home last night.

Murray said he expects Varada will get a chance to contribute, but Chris Neil's solid performance has taken away ice time from him.

"I hope (Varada) can contribute and I hope he can remain comfortable with the situation," said Murray. "I know he's not happy with his ice time and he knows he wants more ice time."


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