Sens plotting a bigger move?

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

NEW YORK -- The big one landed by John Muckler six months ago shrugged when asked about the dandy Ottawa's GM chose not to reel in Monday.

"That's the way it usually happens ... when there's a lot of talk about a player going somewhere, he usually doesn't go there," Senators sniper Dany Heatley said.

"So (Doug Weight) went to Carolina. It's news in this room, I guess, but I don't think it really affects us much one way or the other."

Heatley would have seen an empty stall beside him, and another very close by, while speaking after yesterday's practice had Muckler given in to the demands of St. Louis and dealt Antoine Vermette plus Anton Volchenkov plus a first-round pick for Weight.

Muckler confirmed yesterday that all he offered Blues GM Larry Pleau for the veteran centre was a first- round pick.

"A few guys were talking about it, and the thought is there might be a better player out there (Muckler covets)," said Mike Fisher. "It sounds like they wanted a lot for Weight, and I'm glad it didn't happen.

"John Muckler has been around a long time, and everybody in here has faith in him to make the right move when the time is right. There will be better players he'll probably look at when he decides to make something happen."

Muckler would prefer to add a player that becomes part of the team's longer term future than a "rental," but did say he will bring in a guy just for the rest of this season if the compensation is fair.

And given what he was offering the Blues, he expects the price for a rental should not exceed a draft pick.

"Right now, we don't have any hot irons in the fire," Muckler said yesterday. "Have we been talking to teams? Yes. Do we want to make a move? Only if it betters our hockey club. And we don't want to do it by subtraction, only addition."

The Senators are coming off what for them was an abysmal January that saw them win seven of 13 games.

"If I was a betting man, I'd have to say it was complacency," Muckler said of the team's struggles.

"When you play 82 games, there are times you're going to become complacent, tired. When I was a coach we called January the dog days. That's when it gets really tough. You're like, 'oh my God, we still have 40 or 50 games left in the season.' You start getting bored. It all enters the equation.

"When you play 82 games, you're going to have your downs with your good times, as well. (Monday) was unexpected, but it happens. We'll get over it."

POINT, COUNTER POINT: During an interview with Three Guys On The Radio early yesterday morning, Muckler was succinct in his assessment of Jason Spezza's play against the Bruins. He said his No. 1 centre had a "poor" performance and that Spezza has to improve his defensive play and become more consistent. Later, when informed of the comments, Spezza didn't exactly agree with Muckler's opinion, nor the complacency theory. "I think we won five of six before (the Boston game) and nobody was talking about complacency then," said Spezza. "We're still working hard ... if we would have scored on a couple of early chances (against the B's), I think it would have been a different game. I think we were bad in the first period, but we did have 16 shots at the net, so it wasn't that bad," Spezza said, referring to he and line-mates Daniel Alfredsson and Heatley, when asked if he had a "poor" game Monday. "And I don't think I've struggled too, too much. I was injured there for awhile, and I think some people thought I was in a slump, but I didn't play. I did have one bad stretch there (pointless for three games in early December?) but other than that I think I've been fairly consistent."

SHAKING THE SHADOW: Coach Bryan Murray said he didn't bother to try and get Alfredsson away from P.J. Axelsson, the Bruins winger who trailed him everywhere Monday. Nor did Anton Volchenkov get benched, as it appeared. "We just worry about getting (Zdeno) Chara and his defence partner on against the other team's good line," Murray said of his line matching philosophy. "With Axelsson on Alfie all the time, I just told Alfie to go at the end of the crease at one point. I thought we did a good job of freeing up the right point. That's why we got (Andrej) Meszaros out there (with Redden, instead of Volchenkov). He carries the puck and shoots it well, and is better off the point than Volchenkov. We missed the net nine times off the point with open chances. But we didn't bench Volchenkov. There were other guys we would have (benched) before him."

THIS HOUR HAS OTTAWA SENATORS: You'll want to watch CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes Friday (8:30 p.m.) for some very entertaining moments in the Senators dressing room. Raj Binder, the show's slippery 'Sports Beat' reporter, yesterday conducted humorous interviews with the likes of Muckler, Chara, Alfredsson, Heatley, Fisher, Dominik Hasek and Brian McGrattan. The players clearly enjoyed the visit.


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