Sens' Phillips nears contract decision

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:13 AM ET

BUFFALO Chris Phillips could decide about his future as early as Saturday, and that future may still be here in Ottawa.

J.P. Barry, the Kelowna-based agent for the Senators veteran defenceman, held discussions with GM Bryan Murray Friday in an attempt to halt the stalemate in their discussions on a new contract.

Barry said in a text message to the Sun he planned to speak with Phillips after Fridays game here and on Saturday morning.

As reported Friday by the Sun, a contract extension is quite possible.

We know where they are now so we will have to make a decision this weekend, said Barry.

This could still go either way.

If Phillips, 32, who has spent his whole career in an Ottawa Senators uniform, wants to stay here, hes going to have to do so for less and hope Murray can wipe cash off the books.

Im sure hes at a crossroads a little bit whether he wants to move or stay, said centre and long-time teammate Jason Spezza.

Hes been around a long time and any decision he makes is going to be really well thought out. Its not going to be rash.

Im sure hes not in a position he wanted to be in or thought he would be in coming to this point.

If Phillips decides to stay, then Murray will likely have to deal either Chris Campoli or Filip Kuba. Should Phillips reject the offer, then hell lift his no move clause and be dealt to a contender.

The decision could come Saturday, and if Phillips is dealt then the Chicago Blackhawks are a possibility. Theyve had scout Dennis Bonvie following Ottawa.

Theres a hockey side in the fact that hes played all his games here, theres a life side with his family having roots here and having been here a long time, said Spezza.

Hes got kids. The decision is tougher.

Hes not an older guy who has only got a couple of years left. Because hes so mature, with a family with older kids, I think people sometimes think hes older than he is.

Hes got a lot of hockey left in him. Hes got to make sure hes putting himself in the right position, whether its here or somewhere else, said Spezza.

As one of the Senators core players, Spezza would like Phillips to stay.

Hes a great guy in the room, hes a great player who has always raised his game in the playoffs, said Spezza.

We want to see him around. Wed like to see him figure something out to keep him here.

WICK EXCITED

Winger Roman Wick, a second round pick in 2004, was recalled from Binghamton to make his debut, while centre Corey Locke came up to the big club for a second stint.

Wick, 25, who signed in the summer after a long career in Switzerland, has 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points in his first 53 games in the AHL.

He said the adjustment to North American hockey was difficult for him at first.

Im excited, but Im a little bit nervous, said Wick before Fridays game.

I had problems at the start (of the season). I felt a little bit out of place to be honest, especially in the AHL, its north/south hockey.

The last couple of months have been better. I had to get used to the system.

I feel really comfortable in the system. I dont have to think as much, I just react and do my things, Wick said of the adjustment needed to get used to North American-style play.

DEJA VU

Marek Svatos was on a line with Nick Foligno Friday night at the HSBC Arena.

Its not the first time the duo have been together.

Sitting side by side in the dressing room before facing the Buffalo Sabres, the newest Senators winger realized he had a history with Foligno from Svatos days with the AHLs Hershey Bears.

Thats because Svatos played for Folignos father Mike, when he was coach of Hershey and Svatos was a member of the Avalanche organization from 2002-04.

We were having a laugh because its been 10 years since weve seen each other. It goes by quick. I was 12 years old. I remember him being a really skilled guy with great speed and hands, said Foligno.

After signing in the KHL, where things didnt work out, Svatos agreed to a two-way deal with the St. Louis Blues. They had to put him on waivers. He was picked off by the Predators. Now, hes in Ottawa.Ive got to prove myself as an NHL player, said Svatos. Ive been all over the place this season so my plan is to have a strong finish to the season and go from there.

THINGS I THINK I THINK

There were 17 scouts from 14 different teams at the HSBC Arena Friday night. Makes me wonder if the Sabres arent trying to do some selling before the deadline as well. They are closing in on a playoff spot, but need to add scoring ... D Erik Karlsson should have had his butt stapled to the bench after he allowed Buffalo LW Thomas Vanek to skate in untouched in the first period ... A guy who likely wont be moved: Ottawa RW Chris Neil. The Senators have to keep some of their veterans and he is part of the future. Out with a hip flexor injury he suffered on Wednesday, Neil has two years left at $2 million per-season, but has attracted interest from the Lightning, Rangers, Canucks and Penguins ... By dealing C Mike Fisher, C Chris Kelly, RW Alexei Kovalev and G Brian Elliott, the teams average age has dropped to 26.9 from 28.4.

C'EST WHAT?

Theyre going to try to catch it online ... in the worst case on the radio. Roman Wick on his parents trying to see or hear the game in Switzerland, with broadcasters Dave Schreiber and Gord Wilson on hand.


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