Senators raising 'Canes

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Somehow managing to keep a straight face, Bryan Murray made a statement after completing the first significant trade of what should be a busy moving month around the NHL. That being, the future is now.

"I think it's a message again to the community that this team wants to win a Stanley Cup," the Senators GM said after sending defenceman Joe "Uh Oh" Corvo and winger Patrick Eaves to the Carolina Hurricanes for productive winger Cory Stillman and brawny defenceman Mike Commodore. "Does this put us closer? I believe so."

As does his coach, John Paddock.

"It sends a message to the league, besides the fans here, that we're serious," said Paddock. "Teams that are really after players that have got Stanley Cup rings ... I think the message is clear, what the objective of this team is."

Stillman and Commodore were with the Hurricanes in Boston yesterday and, upon learning of the deal, had to return to Raleigh to pick up their passports. They are expected to be in the lineup tonight when the Senators take on the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place, with Stillman's No. 61 available for the taking as the jersey hasn't been occupied here since last season's deadline acquisition, Oleg Saprykin.

But make no mistake, Stillman is no freakin' Saprykin.

The 34-year-old won championships in consecutive seasons, with Tampa in 2003-04 and then, after the lockout year, with Carolina in 2005-06, when he had 26 points (nine goals) in 25 playoff games.

Stillman will be put on a line with fellow Peterborough product Mike Fisher, while the immediate plan for Commodore is to pair him with Wade Redden in an all-Western Canadian tandem.

Commodore, a 28-year-old who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 lbs., also won a Cup with Carolina and made it to the finals against Stillman's Lightning four years ago as a member of the Calgary Flames. You may remember his big red afro and the legions of fans along the Red Mile who wore flamboyant wigs in his honour.

"We've wanted a more physical presence in the back end, and I think he's a real competitive player with size," Paddock said of Commodore. "We said last year after the playoffs size matters, and we've got a bigger imposing figure back there ... when there are scrums around the net he'll be the aggressor or equal of (those in the) scrums."

Corvo wasn't that guy. A wreckless player with offensive skills and defensive shortcomings, he makes $2.5 million this season and was on the hook for two more seasons at $2.75.

"Without a doubt, I think it opens different doors for me this summer," Murray said when asked about relieving the team of Corvo's stipend. "It opens an opportunity to make a deal with one of our restricted people (Andrej Meszaros, Antoine Vermette, Brian McGrattan) or go shopping for a different type of defenceman. Bottom line is, we have a little flexibility."

The move was made 15 days prior to the trade deadline, but Murray said he hopes he's not done.

"We have a heck of a hockey team now," said Murray. "I would like to see more than three guys getting all the points."

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BY THE NUMBERS ... HOW THEY STACK UP

JOE CORVO

Born: Oak Park, Ill.

Stats: 6 goals, 21 assists, 18 PIMs

Contract: $2.5M, two more years at $2.75M

PATRICK EAVES

Born: Calgary

Stats: 4 goals, 6 assists, 6 PIMS

Contract: $942,000, RFA after this year

MIKE COMMODORE

Born: Fort Sask., Alta.

Stats: 3 goals, 9 assists, 74 PIMs

Contract: $1.3M, UFA after this year

CORY STILLMAN

Born: Peterborough

Stats: 21 goals, 25 assists, 14 PIMs

Contract: $1.75M, UFA after this year


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