October 21, 2009
GM looks to lock up Volchenkov
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA
Next up: Anton Volchenkov.
Now that GM Bryan Murray has signed defenceman Matt Carkner to a two-year extension, the Senators will work on locking up Volchenkov, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him an average of $2.5 million per season.
After a down season, the 27-year-old has returned to the form that has made him one of the club’s top blueliners.
Murray plans to soon hold talks with Volchenkov’s agent, Jay Grossman.
“Anton is going to be different (from Carkner) because he’s got the security of playing in the league for a lot of years,” said Murray. “We are going to talk to him soon. I haven’t done that, at this point in time, because I wanted to see our team play a little bit more.
“We had some people that didn’t have some great years last year and I want to see them now as we go forward that they continue to play at a good level, but we would like to do something with Anton.”
Murray can offer Volchenkov the security of a longer contract, although money could be an issue.
“I hope he’s looking for a term. I don’t think we’re in the position to give a monster raise by any means,” said Murray. “This type of player will get some offers if he goes to free agency. We’d like to think Anton likes Ottawa, having been here, and is comfortable here and knows he has a role on this hockey team.”
With C Peter Regin (shoulder) ready to return tomorrow against the Predators, coach Cory Clouston has some “tough” lineup decisions to make. Look for RW Shean Donovan to be scratched and C Ryan Shannon shifted back to the wing on the fourth line.
“It is tough, but it’s a good tough,” said Clouston. “I’d rather have that than the opposite, ‘Geez, I want to take three or four guys out, type of thing.’ It’s healthy competition. It pushes guys.
“You don’t want to get injured and if you do get injured, you want to be back as quick as you possibly can because the team is moving forward. Those are good decisions to make.”
Shannon, slow to recover from a head injury suffered in the opener, hasn’t looked comfortable in the middle.
“He’s been inconsistent. He got hurt in the first game and sitting out for (three) games didn’t help him,” said Clouston. “He’s been playing centre and I don’t think he’s as effective (because he’s not) as familiar with that position.
“(With Regin out) he’s had to be in a situation where he hasn’t been as comfortable. He’s a better winger than he is in the middle.”
Off the glass
D Filip Kuba, who has missed six games with a groin injury, skated on his own again yesterday. He is expected to return to practice with the team today. But he won’t play against the Predators ... C Jesse Winchester (knee) has also been ruled out for tomorrow. Winchester was on the ice with the club, but suffered a setback ... Regin said he is feeling good. “(The injury) doesn’t bother me on the ice, so I’m back to 100%,” he said. “It’s tough. You want to be out there, especially with the team winning. I felt good before the injury and I am confident about getting back.” ... The Senators officially loaned C Ilya Zubov to the KHL. He left AHL Binghamton earlier this month because he wasn’t happy with his role ... Expect G Brian Elliott to start vs. Nashville. The Senators would like to get him work — Elliott has started just one game this season, a 4-2 win over Atlanta on Oct. 10. It would also make more sense to save Pascal Leclaire to face Boston Saturday.