Unhappy Senators winger Vaclav Varada could be on the move soon.
Two league sources told the Sun yesterday Ottawa GM John Muckler has been trying to trade Varada and his $1.2 million US contract. But there haven't been any takers so far.
Varada, who's averaged just under seven minutes in ice time since coach Bryan Murray arrived in Ottawa, hasn't asked to be dealt. But the Senators aren't going to keep a player with his salary on the fourth line.
It's believed the Senators are simply looking for a draft pick in return for Varada, who has seen his role slip with the emergence of Chris Neil up front. Varada also suffered a knee injury in training camp.
Varada, who was acquired in 2003 to add grit for the playoff run, and his agent Ritch Winter met with Muckler last week in Ottawa and were told he had to earn his ice time.
Since then, Varada has played a little bit more under Murray, but nothing close to what he's been used to in the past. He's most effective as a pest, but hasn't played that role this season.
Ideally, Varada would like to stay and win a Stanley Cup in Ottawa. But the Senators might decide they'd be better off promoting winger Patrick Eaves from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
BIG NIGHT FOR EMERY: Ray Emery couldn't help smiling as he left the dressing room yesterday. The Senators goalie is unbeaten this season, and now he's going to get a chance to measure himself against one of the best netminders in the world, with Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in town tonight. While nobody is billing this as an Emery vs. Brodeur showdown at the Corel Centre, coach Bryan Murray as much as admitted he's giving his rookie the start over Dominik Hasek with the hope Brodeur is playing. "This is a good chance for Ray Emery and I'm sure he's going to get excited about getting to play at home," said Murray. "I've been wanting to get him a start at home. He has played well for us and he deserves the chance to play (in this game)." Emery, 7-0-0 in the Senators net this season, considered Brodeur one of his idols while growing up. "I was kind of hoping I might get the chance to play against Martin Brodeur," said Emery. "He was a guy I grew up watching a lot and he's a guy who I respect a lot. If he's in the net, that would be big for me. It's a competitive situation and of course, I want to beat Martin Brodeur. But it's not just about him, it's about getting the win for the team. Of course, you want to play well in this situation. It's no different than (Jason) Spezza growing up idolizing Mario Lemieux. Well, when we play against the Penguins, he wants to perform well." The only way Brodeur won't play is if coach Larry Robinson decides not to put him in a back-to-back situation (the Devils hosted the Montreal Canadiens last night in East Rutherford). That seems doubtful, since Brodeur has only seen limited action because of a knee sprain.
AROUND THE BOARDS: New Jersey RW Alexander Mogilny isn't expected to be in the lineup tonight. He's still recovering from a concussion and hasn't been given clearance by club doctors yet ... The Devils have seven blueliners, which means Robinson has been platooning them all season. That meant D Richard Matvichuk was in the lineup last night against the Habs and Hawkesbury native Dan McGillis will suit up against the Senators ... The players were having a good laugh yesterday at practice during a rapid-fire shooting drill on Hasek. Nobody was having much success scoring, so one player suggested the 14 shooters move from close to the blueline to the faceoff circle. Only one player was successful in beating Hasek ... A crew from MuchMusic interviewed Spezza, Dany Heatley and Wade Redden at practice yesterday.