Senators ring up Bell

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

NEW YORK -- As the Senators fall faster than the price of gas, GM Bryan Murray finally added a puck-moving defenceman yesterday.

No, it wasn't Mattias Ohlund, nor was it Jay Bouwmeester.

Murray reached into Ottawa's past and recalled former 67's captain Brendan Bell from Binghamton of the AHL in hopes of infusing some life into the Senators' power play with the team mired in a four-game losing streak heading into tonight's game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

What the move means is that Murray is still trying to find answers from within, but if it doesn't work, bigger changes will be coming.

Murray confirmed yesterday that he's spoken to a number of his counterparts around the NHL and is possibly looking to make a big deal.

He could give up a roster player -- possibly Antoine Vermette or Christoph Schubert -- but if Murray is going make a trade, it is likely going to be more significant than that.

For now, Murray's message is directed at his blueliners as one of the regulars (likely Alex Picard or Schubert) will be benched tonight in favour of Bell.

"We've got to try to get a little more off the power play," Murray said yesterday. "I've been told (Bell's) done a good job in that area (in the AHL)."

Recalling Bell, who is second in scoring on Binghamton with five goals and nine assists, is just a small part of the big picture Murray is looking at with Ottawa sitting only one point ahead of the last-place Panthers in the East.

"I've talked to quite a number of GMs," said Murray. "Everybody is in the same boat. If you're winning, you don't want to trade and if you're losing, they're offering guys that are probably a little bit of an upgrade, but not really that big, especially (on defence).

"I don't want to just to dump a player that we've seen at a good level without making sure that we're right with what we're getting back. But I am going to continue to pursue some options that might be out there."

Sources say Murray would like to add an impact defenceman like Vancouver's Ohlund or Florida's Bouwmeester. Both can become UFAs on July 1 and are being shopped. There is talk the Canucks, Blue Jackets, Blackhawks and Oilers are interested in centre Jason Spezza.

"I'd be willing to pay a price for (an impact player)," said Murray. "Certainly, I've had those discussions with those people, but nobody is in a hurry and rightly so, if your team is okay. They'll eventually do something with the particular player, but the price will go up. You have to be a little bit careful.

"If I thought that this team didn't have the ability to play better than it has, I guess I'd be more urgent and probably pay too much. I do think we have a good group. I do think we should score more goals and I do think we should be winning some of these games. (Coach) Craig (Hartsburg) is as frustrated as I am with the performance of some guys that we know can be considerably better."

The players realize Murray's patience is wearing thin.

"I really believe in this group and we're capable of better things than we've been showing," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "I've been around long enough that I know changes will happen, but we can't worry. At the same time, we look at the standings and it's a long year, but we don't want to keep (losing). We want to put ourselves in a good position going into the playoffs. We want to do everything we can to turn this around."


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