Talk won't be cheap for Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN -- They call them "ryktena" over here and no matter the language, what we call rumours are always welcome.

Ryktet No. 1: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and agent J.P. Barry are expected to make the first move when it comes to talks on a new deal -- a meeting between Barry and Senators GM Bryan Murray is in the offing here -- with the Alfredsson camp putting a suggestion on the table to kickstart things. There won't be much in the way of posturing that usually happens in these kinds of negotiations where both sides wait for the other to make a move in case either side has over or underestimated its position.

Alfredsson, Barry and Murray all know what Alfredsson is worth.

It's expected Alfredsson will be looking for at least a two-year deal, maybe three, with the value tied to the length of the contract. Given the market (the market for NHL players is considerably better than for banks right now), Alfredsson could modestly command somewhere in the neighbourhood of $20-$25 million on a three-year deal.

Alfredsson's current contract expires at the end of this season with three options attached. If he plays in 70 games and has 70 points, he can become an unrestricted free agent. If he doesn't do the 70-70, the Senators can have him for another season for $3.8 million.

A deal will get done, sooner rather than later.

Getting Alfredsson signed won't be the tough part. Finding a way to make it work under the salary cap will be, but that's why Murray gets the big bucks, right?

Ryktet No. 2: Is it possible the City of Ottawa is making the terms to lease the baseball stadium so onerous because they have a large retail outlet poised to buy the land upon which the stadium sits? Would that retailer know how to translate "ryktena" without the handy Swedish phrase book I have right here?

REVELATIONS

Senators coach Craig Hartsburg put his players through a very brisk workout yesterday which emphasised one-on-one battles and puck movement. Alfredsson said he likes what he's seen so far from the new coach. "He's very enthusiastic. He's emotional and he wants everybody to bring emotion to the rink. He wants you to work hard, but with a purpose. Work hard because it's going to make you have the puck more and make it more fun to play. I think he's going to raise our work ethic a bit higher than it has been, I think." ... Hartsburg said goalie Martin Gerber will get the start against the Frolunda Indians tomorrow night.

SPECULATIONS

The other three teams who are starting the season in Europe (the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning will play in Prague and the Senators face the Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholm) came over a day or two earlier. "If we had been here a couple of days earlier, we probably would have been out on the golf course for one day. Now it's pretty squeezed in," said Alfredssson ... Senators forward Dean McAmmond could be doubtful for tomorrow's exhibition game because of a cut he sustained in the game against Montreal Saturday night.

THE BUZZ

More than a few of the Senators have had problems dealing with the time change (it's six hours later here than in Ottawa). Forward Antoine Vermette said he had no trouble falling asleep after he found an episode of Seinfeld on the TV (it was the one where Jerry shaved his chest and also had the story about the muffin tops). Chris Kelly got to sleep and then was awakened by a text message from somebody at 5 a.m. Bad enough, but he got the message three times. "I wasn't too happy about that," he said ... Forward Jarkko Ruutu is on the fourth line right now, but Hartsburg will get him more than fourth-line minutes. "Ruutu is a guy who I think will play in lots of situations for us. We'll move him up in the lineup at times. He'll kill penalties and he'll be a very important part, as well," said the coach.

JUST WONDERING

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin cleared waivers. "He makes $6.7 million and top goalie or not, we just couldn't bring him in," said Senators GM Bryan Murray.

PARTING SHOT

Senators centre Jason Spezza took the bus downtown yesterday. "I've taken the subway in New York. I'm not afraid of public transit," he said. "Though I do prefer a driver." Way to get down and gritty with the peeps, Jason.


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