Wayne's world suits Muckler

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

NEW YORK -- The Great One is ready to bring John Muckler out of his forced retirement from the NHL.

League sources confirmed to Sun Media yesterday the Senators have given the Phoenix Coyotes permission to speak with the 74-year-old Muckler, who is expected to act in a role as a consultant to GM Don Maloney and coach Wayne Gretzky.

While the deal hasn't been completed, Muckler, who has been out of the NHL since he was fired by Senators owner Eugene Melnyk after a trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2007, is expected to be signed by the Coyotes in the next couple of days.

DEEP RESPECT

This does not mean that any decision-making power in the Phoenix organization would rest with Muckler. He would be there to advise Maloney and Gretzky.

Muckler and Gretzky have a relationship that stretches back to 1982-83, when the former joined the Edmonton Oilers coaching staff. Muckler was also coach of the New York Rangers when Gretzky suited up for his final game in April 1999.

Maloney was also a longtime assistant GM for the Rangers.

Sources say Gretzky has always had a lot of respect for Muckler. He was out of hockey last year, but did speak to Boston about a possible role as a consultant to former Ottawa assistant GM Peter Chiarelli, who is now in the Bruins post.

LOVING NEW YORK: Former Senators D Wade Redden is enjoying his new life in Manhattan. Not only did he get a chance to attend the second-last game at Yankee Stadium Saturday, he's also got some pretty fancy digs within close proximity of Central Park. Redden, who is making $6.5 million (all terms US) this season with the Rangers after signing a six-year, $30-million deal in the off-season, met with a few former teammates Sunday after the Senators arrived in the city. According to them, the building he's renting an apartment in also includes Sting as one of its tenants. "I've heard there are some (stars), but I haven't seen any," said Redden. On the ice, Redden is being counted on to play a big role this season. "He moves the puck really well. We've got a quick team and we've got a team that wants to play a good tranisition game. We believe he's a great transition defenceman," said Rangers assistant coach Perry Pearn. "We've got some young defencemen, like (Dan) Girardi and (Marc) Staal, that will be well-served by having a guy like Redden around. They can see how he gets back to the puck and how he's able to make that good first pass. We think he's still a very, very good defenceman and, from that standpoint, I'm sure he's going to play top two minutes for us. We've solidified our defence with him."

CUTS COMING: Senators coach Craig Hartsburg said the club will likely make some roster decisions this morning. With 37 players in camp and only three more pre-season games before the Senators pack their bags to head for Sweden to begin the season, Hartsburg would like to have most of the club's lineup in place before the Montreal Canadiens visit Scotiabank Place Saturday. "Some guys are only going to get one game," said Hartsburg. "It may not be totally fair for everybody, but you know what, the guys that we are trying to make real decisions on are obviously going to get more than one game. It just means that some of the young guys are going to only have one game to open our eyes." Hartsburg added that with the club starting the season earlier than most teams that decisions have to made quickly. "It just shortens everything and everything happens quicker. I don't think it complicates things," said Hartsburg.

GETTING BETTER: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will make his pre-season debut tomorrow vs. the Flyers at home. Alfredsson, who was bothered by a sore hip/groin that kept him out of Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Rangers, has skated for the last couple of days and is feeling better. "He's good. It looks like he will be ready to play without any problem," said Hartsburg. D Alex Picard, who has a groin problem, hasn't been on the ice for the last couple of days and is going to need more time.


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