COLUMBUS - When Bryan Murray decided to do some work in his office at Canadian Tire Centre rather than travel with the Senators for their game against the Blue Jackets, almost immediately the detectives among us assumed he was closing in on the trade he'd like to make before the Olympic break.
When Chris Phillips wasn't on the ice at Nationwide Arena for the morning skate after he had practiced the day before in Ottawa, we thought it possible the veteran defenceman with the expiring contract was on the move.
Later, we discovered Phillips has what for now is being called a minor injury he suffered Saturday in Carolina, and coach Paul MacLean was trying to "manage" the situation so it doesn't get any worse.
Phillips, who is now listed as day-to-day, was replaced Tuesday in the lineup by Patrick Wiercioch.
Meanwhile, we can assume Murray is still working furiously to seal a deal that will see him land a forward who can either help the team offensively or in the Department of Physicality. As bait, he is likely dangling a minor league prospect or from a position of strength on the current roster, or both.
Everyone expects the Senators to trade a defenceman, since they are carrying eight of NHL calibre, or two more than they play every night. And because the demand wouldn't figure to be too great for veteran Joe Corvo, and because the 23-year-old Wiercioch appears to be dripping with potential, everyone expects Eric Gryba is the most likely candidate for relocation.