BOSTON - Twenty-seven shopping days to the NHL trade deadline.
The next time the Senators face the Bruins at TD Garden, it will be a day after the Feb. 27 deadline.
A lot will have happened by then. For the Senators, GM Bryan Murray will have decided if he’s going to be a buyer. Much will depend on price tags.
The shopping is about to get serious. There’s a belief that Toronto GM Brian Burke could strike as early as this week. If that’s the case, he may be forced to pay a higher price than most, but he badly wants a forward.
Murray, meanwhile, is going to spend some time evaluating before he decides whether he needs to add depth to help the Senators return to the playoffs.
It’s believed the club is interested in Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu, but indications are GM Jim Rutherford’s asking price is high.
“You inquire with several teams about what they might be looking for or doing, but nothing in any detail,” said Murray. “Any team in our spot has needs.
“If there’s an upgrade available in a couple of spots, we would really look at it. But I do like the energy our team has and the chemistry our team has.”
Chemistry is a major concern for the Senators.
“We’ve got a really good group,” said Murray. “They’ve all done a great job. Our veterans (Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza) have all done a terrific job, including everybody in the group of young players.
“I think there’s a really great feeling, not a great feeling, in the room. I think they all believe in each other, so I’ve got to be aware of that (factor).”
AROUND THE BOARDS
Apparently, there is a Bring Back Chris Kelly campaign on the Internet. I don’t think it’s trending on Twitter, but the former Senators centre is poised to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and he hasn’t been re-signed yet by the Bruins. “You guys must be starting that? Did it just start (Tuesday)?” asked Kelly, who still makes his off-season home in Ottawa. “That is a tough question. Right now, I’m happy in Boston and my family is happy. We’ve got a group of guys, team and coaching staff. I’ve been treated extremely well since I’ve been here ... I’m thinking of the present, as opposed to the future. Who knows what the future holds? All I know is I’ve played for two great organizations.”
THIS ’N’ THAT
Even Bruins captain Zdeno Chara himself was surprised at his record 108.8-mph blast to win the hardest-shot title at all-star weekend. He doesn’t have his shot clocked regularly, but shattered his old mark of 105.9 set last year. “The only time I really do it is at the all-star game,” said Chara, who fired the blast using a Warrior stick that will likely be auctioned off for charity. “Was I surprised? A little bit, yes. My first shot was already past the record and I didn’t see the (readout) on my second one until everybody else saw it. That was a hell of a number. Yeah, I was pleased.” ... Asked if he’d try to block a Chara slap shot, Senators LW Nick Foligno didn’t flinch. “Not a chance in hell ... and you can write that,” said Foligno. “There’s not a chance in hell. I feel for the guys who do jump in front of it.”
AROUND THE BOARDS
The Senators were without Brian Lee vs. the Bruins, but the blueliner has resumed skating after missing the past five games before the break because of a lower-body injury. He should be ready to play by the weekend ... If there was any concern about the reaction of Boston fans to seeing G Tim Thomas for the first time since he didn’t go to the White House last week with the rest of the Bruins, there shouldn’t have been. Thomas might have been cheered louder than normal by the Boston faithful ... Bobby Butler was back on the Senators’ fourth line. He had a chance on the top unit, but didn’t score. “He’s been really good defensively,” said coach Paul MacLean. “But we need him to score more goals.”
THE LAST WORD
Dan O’Rourke, best known in Ottawa as the referee who called Erik Karlsson a diver in Anaheim, also officiated this game. Shouldn’t the Senators be able to avoid him for a while? ... There were a couple of bouts late in the first period which should build up the hatred down the road. First, Chris Neil and Scott Thornton went toe-to-toe. Moments later, Zenon Konopka and Adam McQuaid had a dance. Here’s to old-time hockey.