Not even a Ray of hope

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Never mind a second-line centre, the Senators might need a No. 2 goalie.

Taking some extra shots at the end of practice yesterday, Senators goalie Ray Emery suffered what is believed to be a wrist or hand injury on his catching hand, ruling him out from tonight's game against the Thrashers and, according to a report on TSN, possibly for an extended period of time.

The indications are Emery, who stayed out after practice to take extra shots, batted a puck away and was in pain as he left the ice.

The club wouldn't confirm Emery's injury, only saying it was an upper body injury and that Binghamton goalie Kelly Guard had been recalled.

Coach Bryan Murray is expected to update reporters on the status of Emery, who was sent for further tests, following the morning skate today.

If Emery's out for an extended period, it will only add to the woes of GM John Muckler, whose quest for a No. 2 centre might have to switch gears in search of a goalie.

Muckler was en route to Atlanta after attending the GMs' meetings in Toronto, while Murray couldn't be reached for comment.

This means Martin Gerber, who has struggled, will make the start tonight against the Thrashers as the Ottawa tries to end its four-game losing skid.

"You play for winning and when you don't win that's the worst," said Gerber, who has a 2-6 record and a 3.02 GAA in the first year of a three-year, $11.1-million US contract with the club.

LOOKING FOR HELP: Muckler got a chance talk trade with his 29 counterparts yesterday in Toronto and, according to Senators president Roy Mlakar, teams are lining up. "John explores (changes) on a regular basis, anyway," said Mlakar. "When things are in a position like they are right now for an elite team like Ottawa for so many years, the vultures come out of the woodwork for John Muckler. That's the nature of the business. He's a lot more busy now than if we were 26-3-1. That doesn't mean he never was active. If there's a way he can better his team, that's his job." The possible options include Kings C Craig Conroy, Vancouver C Brendan Morrison and Philly C Petr Nedved, who is available for $750,000 after being recalled by the Flyers from their AHL affiliate on re-entry waivers.

League sources told the Sun that the Senators have held discussions with Canucks GM Dave Nonis about a possible deal which would have send D Anton Volchenkov to Vancouver in exchange for Morrison. The word is the deal was rejected because the Canucks need help up front if they move Morrison. Meanwhile, Conroy remains available, but it's not known what the Kings want in return, although some believe he is the guy Muckler is focused on at the moment. As for Nedved, the Senators have a shot at him, but there's concerns about how he might fit in the Ottawa dressing room.

SHUFFLING THE DECK: Trying to get his offence going, Murray shook up the lines in practice. Captain Daniel Alfredsson returned to a line with Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza while Peter Schaefer, Mike Fisher and Chris Neil were reunited. Dean McAmmond went from the second to fourth line with Denis Hamel and Brian McGrattan and Antoine Vermette, Chris Kelly and Patrick Eaves made up the third unit.


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