Could Mario help Canada?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

NOTEBOOK

Don't be surprised if Super Mario Lemieux has a role with Team Canada in Turin.

He might be retired, but executive director Wayne Gretzky indicated last week Lemieux will play a role with Canada at some point down the road.

He's an excellent leader and would help just being around the players.

"Hopefully, he's around Team Canada in a different capacity as we move forward here," said Gretzky.

BEST THRASHER: Thrashers GM Don Waddell isn't complaining about the deal that sent RW Dany Heatley to the Senators in exchange for RW Marian Hossa and D Greg de Vries. Waddell told the Sun last week he believes Hossa has been the club's best player this season. "I guess I didn't realize the power this guy had and the jump he has when he skates," said Waddell from his Atlanta office. "He has been excellent. He's smart with the puck, he's got great jump and he's got such a tremendous shot. I really feel that when we look back on this trade down the road, it's going to be a deal that works out for both sides. I'm glad to see that (Heatley) is having success in Ottawa and I know we've been really pleased with Hossa."

AROUND THE BOARDS: Don't expect the Senators to sign free-agent winger Owen Nolan. He is skating, working out and getting ready to get clearance to play, but the club has only a mild interest. Instead, Nolan is expected to sign with San Jose, Calgary or Phoenix. Sources say all three clubs have shown interest once Nolan is given the go-ahead to start skating again ... The Leafs don't want to move D Bryan McCabe or D Tomas Kaberle, who are both unrestricted free agents, but sources confirm management has discussed the option. They don't want to lose them for nothing and if the team is out of the playoff race, it remains a possibility ... Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson has confirmed a Sun report he could join the Vancouver Canucks as president after the Olympics.

RUMOURS DU JOUR: There's plenty of talk in Minny that G Manny Fernandez isn't going to re-sign with the club next season and expects to be the No. 1 goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. An unrestricted free agent, Fernandez will be able to go where he wants and might be a nice fit if the Habs deal Jose Theodore. Montreal would prefer Roberto Luongo if it can sign him ... The Bruins are expected to move D Hal Gill before the deadline. He will be an unrestricted free agent ... The St. Louis Blues haven't approached C Doug Weight to ask him to waive his no-trade clause -- which means they'll likely hang onto him until the trade deadline. There's talk Carolina has a mild interest, while the Senators remain a top contender. If the Blues hope to rob the Senators of young talent, there likely won't be a deal here ... Habs GM Bob Gainey is working hard to make a deal and he'd like to add a depth defenceman. The Oilers would love to get rid of D Igor Ulanov ... The Senators have shopped around W Vaclav Varada, who is back to playing six minutes a game, but finding a dance partner has been tough because he makes $1.2 million ... The Hawks would love to move RW Martin Lapointe and they are listening to offers for C Tyler Arnason, who the Habs would love to have ... Any truth to the talk the Oilers are shopping C Michael Peca? ... The Caps haven't decided what they're going to do with D Brendan Witt and G Olaf Kolzig yet. Witt has already asked to be dealt while it's believed Kolzig is in contract talks. The Lightning, Oilers, Canucks and Habs have all shown interest in Kolzig, who has to decide if he wants to be traded in the first place ... The Predators and Senators are both interested in New York C Steve Rucchin ... The six-year, $31- million deal signed by New Jersey G Martin Brodeur might suggest to Luongo he should sign with the Panthers immediately.

Have a nice Sunday.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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