Asking prices are sky-high in trade talks

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The prices have gone up for Senators GM Bryan Murray.

League sources say Murray has been among the NHL's most active GMs with the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaching, but he's been rebuffed in his attempts to land a forward and a depth defencemen.

It's believed Murray has held talks with the Kings, Lightning and Coyotes to see who they will make available if they become sellers once the deadline arrives.

But with the Senators struggling, teams are trying to squeeze Murray for more, which means if Ottawa makes a deal, it might be forced to overpay.

The Senators might be willing to dangle prospects Brian Lee, Ilja Zubov and Nick Foligno as part of a deal.

OFF THE GLASS: The Habs are a rare exception among NHL teams: They have no interest in free-agent C Peter Forsberg. As Forsberg prepares to make his comeback, Habs GM Bob Gainey won't be making a call to Forsberg's agent, Don Baizley. Instead, it's believed the Habs have held several discussions with Atlanta GM Don Waddell about W Marian Hossa and have been working on a deal since last summer. A report last night said the Habs have been given permission to talk contract with Hossa, whose agent, Ritch Winter, denied that. "Not true," said Winter in an e-mail. "It's just bizarre where this stuff comes from." If the Thrashers do make a deal, the Habs will have to compete with the Bruins, Senators and Wings. The asking price from the Habs is expected to be W Chris Higgins, a prospect and No. 1 pick in 2008.

AROUND THE BOARDS: Habs C Bryan Smolinski, who spent more than three years in Ottawa, is well aware what captain Daniel Alfredsson means to the Senators. "He's the heartbeat of the team," said Smolinski. "He's the guy that makes it go. He's the captain. He's the ultimate leader. I learned that firsthand being there what a great leader he is because he works hard." In fact, Smolinski said Alfredsson is getting better with age. "He's older (35), but he's gotten 10 times better," said Smolinski. "It looks like the game has gotten slower for him. He's one of the elite players in the league and he's always been, but I think he's made some real leaps." ... Senators D Luke Richardson took a good penalty at 10:41 of the first period. After D Andrej Meszaros got burned, Richardson took a holding penalty to keep Guillaume Latendresse from getting a shot on a breakaway.

SLAP SHOTS: Ottawa G Ray Emery was holding court before the game and indicated that tiffs like the one with W Chris Neil in practice are going to happen on a team. "You hang out with the same guys every day," said Emery, who was the first goalie off the ice. "It's like a family situation. I'm not sure you're not going to go the whole year without arguing with them. That's how I see it. It's not like I have bad relationships with any of the guys. If you're with the same people every day, you're bound to get in an argument once in a while." ... Senators coach John Paddock is getting asked about his "win and you're in" scenario with G Martin Gerber and Emery everywhere he goes now. "It can be changed at any time," said Paddock. "They weren't initially happy with alternating, so that's what (the staff) thought might work."

THE MORNING SKATE: Senators W Brian McGrattan came off the ice with his glove over his mouth following the morning skate. While McGrattan was trying to claim innocence after screaming obscenities at photographers following a meeting Monday at Scotiabank Place, Paddock didn't find the incident -- which included D Wade Redden barking at the same group -- very funny. Paddock told the players they need to be professional because they're under the microscope at all times ... Smolinski's four-year-old son Max has his own stall in the Habs dressing room. "It's pretty neat, eh," said Smolinski.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE: It didn't take long for former Senators scout Frank Jay to resurface. As reported by the Sun, he agreed to mutually part ways with the club earlier this month and has accepted a scouting post with the Habs ... If


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