Cole for Havlat deal was oh, so close

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- If he were to be truthful, there's one trade former Senators GM John Muckler regrets not making.

The deal in September 2004 was supposed to look like this: Hurricanes winger Erik Cole for Senators winger Martin Havlat.

Straight up.

It was a done deal, but Muckler pulled out of the trade with Carolina counterpart Jim Rutherford at the last minute, deciding to hold onto Havlat until after the lockout and then wound up giving him away to Chicago.

Had the Senators made the deal for Cole or at the very least not dealt Havlat to the Blackhawks for what has turned out to be only minor-league prospect Josh Hennessy, Senators GM Bryan Murray might not be looking for a top-six forward.

So, could Cole be had now?

The Hurricanes would love to get a puck-moving defencemen before the trade deadline and there's talk Carolina has an interest in Ottawa blueliner Joe Corvo, but Rutherford likely wouldn't deal Cole for Corvo.

Then there's the $4 million US Cole is pulling down and the fact that Carolina coach Peter Laviolette is a huge fan of the rugged winger.

FAMILIAR FACE: The 'Canes have hired former Senators G Tom Barrasso as their full-time goalie coach. The move was made after assistant goalie coach Greg Stefan left Monday to become coach the OHL's Plymouth Whalers, who are also owned by Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos. Laviolette is happy to have Barrasso on board to give a hand to Gs Cam Ward and John Grahame. "We were fortunate to have (Barrasso) in the organization when they asked Greg Stefan to go be the coach of the OHL team," said Laviolette. "It's important (to have a full-time goalie coach). If you asked me to help our goaltenders, then our goaltenders would be in big trouble. I haven't played the position. I don't know a whole lot about it and I don't claim to, either. We really need somebody." Barrasso, who played 19 NHL seasons, said he knows his role. "I have a pretty good idea what's going on in their minds and the difficulties they face on a daily basis," said Barrasso, who had a short stint with the Senators, which included the 2000 playoffs. "They have a very stressful job." Barrasso lays claim to one of the greatest quotes in Ottawa sports history. Asked by CBC's Dan Seguin after a playoff victory against the Leafs if he got lucky that a couple of shots hit the post, Barrasso barked back: "What ... do you want me to stop the ones that go wide, too?"

VERY OBSERVANT: Just as I was asking Team 1200 play-by-play man Dean Brown if Carolina D Mike Commodore was in the lineup after the morning skate, a figure with red hair and a Carolina T-shirt came running toward us from the parking lot. "I guess not," said Brown, not letting anything get by him, "there he is coming back from a run." Commodore missed his ninth straight game with a finger injury. He had a short conversation with Laviolette, but it appears he's having trouble gripping his stick.

NO WORRIES: Senators coach John Paddock wasn't bothered by the fact G Ray Emery was a few minutes late for the club's morning skate yesterday. Paddock explained part of Emery's pre-skate ritual is getting his wrist, which still bothers him despite off-season surgery, taped before taking the ice. "If he was late for a 7 or 7:30 (p.m.) start, then I might be concerned about him, especially if he missed the national anthem," Paddock said with a laugh.

OFF THE GLASS: Went to a place called the Carolina Ale House after we arrived Tuesday to watch hockey. Caught the third period and OT of the Montreal-Tampa game, does anybody have better facial expressions than Lightning coach John Tortorella? ... TSN's Glenn Healy, a former NHL goalie, is getting used to doing games between the benches. He took a puck in the head last year during a game, but says he feels pretty safe ... A note to the Senators: They have no problem walking all over the logo on the carpet in the Carolina dressing room. During a 30-minute visit, I watched D Tim Gleason and a few others step all over it a few times after coming off the ice. Any staff member or player who walks on the logo in the Ottawa room gets fined ... The Senators will try to shut down Pittsburgh C Sidney Crosby tonight without D Anton Volchenkov in the lineup. That will be a first. "He'll get either (Mike) Fisher or (Jason) Spezza against him up front," said Paddock. "We'll have (Chris) Phillips and whoever (his partner is) against him. We'll try to get that matchup." Volchenkov isn't due back from his broken finger until after Christmas.


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