Looking for a trade dance partner ain't as easy as it sounds ... Sundin is talking, but will he be playing?

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Senators GM Bryan Murray has been working the phones diligently as his club struggles to find some consistency.

The Senators may be close to the point where Murray has to make a change just to shake things up, but finding a dance partner to make that happen has proven to be a lot more difficult than it was in the pre-salary cap era.

While no team is ever completely happy with its personnel and the Senators are not alone in looking to make moves, Murray doesn't want to give up most of the players that other teams covet.

But indications are that he will rejig his roster if it means being able to bring in a puck-moving defenceman to add to the mix.

Murray, who met with the players, said he still has confidence in this group.

"We've got lots of talent here, we've just had a hard time scoring goals," said Murray.

"If everybody just plays the way we're capable of playing, we've got the right people here."

PAY FOR SHOTS

The NHL has sent a stern warning about head shots. After handing Isles D Thomas Pock a five-game suspension for his elbow to the head of Senators callup Ryan Shannon Thursday in Ottawa, NHL VP Colin Campbell sent an e-mail to GMs indicating the punishments handed down last week will be the standard. While Pock received a stiffer suspension because Shannon suffered a concussion as a result of the elbow, Senators W Jarkko Ruutu will return to the lineup tomorrow against the Rangers after sitting out his two-game ban for an elbow on Montreal's Maxim Lapierre. "They have to start cracking down on stuff like that," said Isles W Bill Guerin. "I heard somebody say the other night they're looking for the (NHLPA) to step in. Well, the (union) won't step in. They're not going to suspend players. They're not going to jump in and take money out of guys pockets. It's up to the league to step in and start handing out the stiffer penalties. Whether it's a mistake or not, and I know (Poker) didn't mean to do it, but he did it and he's going to pay the price. That's what has to start happening. The league has got to take the leadership here and crack down on all the head shots." Guerin, a former union VP, said the NHLPA has been talking about respect on the ice for the last eight years. "It just doesn't seem to be clicking in, so you have to look to the league to step in and make it happen," said Guerin. "The game is so much faster now that things happen in a split second. There's things that happen by reaction and they're not done on purpose. But, still, you have to be held accountable. The players are bigger, faster and stronger than ever before. You don't like to see one of your teammates get suspended for five games, but if it's for the better health of the players, then so be it." ... Sens RW Chris Neil had a good tussle with New York D Tim Jackman in the first and wrestled him to the ice.

CHIPPING IT IN

Called up from the Baby Sens after the injury to Shannon, LW Ilja Zubov was given a huge opportunity. He played on the second line with C Mike Fisher and RW Daniel Alfredsson. "He's been a good offensive player. That's what he is at every level. That's what he is," said coach Craig Hartsburg. "To me, just like we did with Shannon, you've got to give the guy a chance to show what he can do. You've got to put players in a position where they can show us their strengths and help us with their strengths." If Zubov was nervous, he didn't sound like it. "I'm pretty excited just like I am before every game. It's amazing. I can't feel any pressure. I just have to go out there and play," said Zubov, who has eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points in 13 games with Binghamton. Zubov spent last summer working out with Neil and Fisher. "I was in the gym at 7 a.m. and I saw those guys working hard," said Zubov.

BLUE-LINE NOTES

Pock, who played against Shannon in college, spoke with him Friday and apologized. "It was a bad play for me. I've got to accept it. I know for sure I'm not going to do that again," said Pock. "I talked to Ryan and he feels better. That's good. It was a reaction and I didn't mean to do it. We talked for a couple of minutes and I just wanted to make sure there are no hard feelings." Shannon is recovering from the concussion in Ottawa ... Hartsburg is going to keep using Fisher on the point on the power play. "He played it in junior. He's quick, he makes really good plays and he can shoot. He just gives us some things back there, that maybe we're lacking right now," said Hartsburg.

MORNING SKATE

UFA C Mats Sundin continues to work out in Los Angeles and is expected to start skating next week. His equipment has arrived from Toronto and the 37-year-old has pushed back his return date to the NHL to mid-December. Ten teams -- including the Senators, Flyers, Canucks, Rangers, Leafs, Ducks and Lightning -- have held talks with his agent J.P. Barry ... Isles coach Scott Gordon isn't sure what the timetable for injured G Rick DiPietro will be. He had surgery on his knee two weeks ago and the best-case scenario was four weeks. DiPietro hasn't resumed skating yet.


Videos

Photos