She's missing teeth, too

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Nothing could wipe the smile from Chris Neil's face before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final last night.

The Senators winger was a little tired, but happy his wife Caitlin gave birth to the couple's first child -- a girl named Hailey Jean, weighing six pounds, 10 ounces -- late Friday at the Queensway-Carleton hospital.

While there were reports around town at 6 p.m. Friday that Neil already was a father, he was sitting at the hospital laughing at the "scoop" because Hailey didn't come into the world until 11:05 p.m. after Caitlin was induced.

"It was an exciting day. You just have to have patience because you sit around all day and your wife does all the work. I didn't have to do too much. (Caitlin) was unbelievable," Neil said with his toothy grin before another battle with the Anaheim Ducks.

"Watching (Hailey) being born was amazing. It's a miracle. Yes, having kids changes your life, but I was just glad I was able to be there and be a part of it."

Neil said having a baby won't be a distraction.

"You don't need anything to give you a lift, you're playing in the Stanley Cup final," Neil said. "I'm just fortunate enough to have two exciting things going on in my life at the same time.

"It's hard to juggle them and my wife's made it very easy for me to do that. She knows I've got to be here and she's been very supportive. She's given me time to rest and she's been a real trooper."

While Caitlin wasn't due until June 19, the decision was made to induce her late Thursday. It worked out well for Neil because he was able to be in town for the birth.

That being said, Neil was glad he wasn't forced into the decision of having to miss a game trying to get back from Anaheim because Caitlin was giving birth.

"That would have been a hard choice to make. It's a decision I didn't have to make. I'm just glad it came on a day off," Neil said.

Manny on the move?

The Willam M. Jennings Trophy was presented to Minnesota Wild goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Manny Fernandez yesterday during a luncheon at the Brookstreet Hotel.

The two goalies were honoured by the NHL for allowing a league-low 191 goals during the regular season, but it might be the last time the two are teammates.

There is a lot of talk Fernandez, who lost his job as starter in Minnesota, will be on the move before the June 21 NHL draft in Columbus. The Phoenix Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues are looking for goaltending help.

Asked if he had been thinking about being moved, Fernandez said: "That's endless. And the bottom line is I don't make that kind of decision. You can buy a lottery ticket and believe that you're going to win, but it's maybe not going to happen. So I stopped the thinking. I'm sure in time we'll sit down with the team and know exactly what the future holds."

But it's a tough ticket for teams to stomach because Fernandez has two years and $9.25 million US remaining on his contract.

Of course, before the Wild can move Fernandez it has to re-sign Backstrom, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Wild general manager Doug Risebrough held three separate meetings with Backstrom's agent, Don Baizley, on Friday during the NHL scouting combine in Toronto.

OFF THE GLASS

The NHL's 30 GMs will gather in Ottawa tomorrow for an all-day meeting. Among the topics that will be discussed are bigger nets and goaltending equipment ... The Flyers are going to make an offer for Buffalo Sabres centre Daniel Briere when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but they won't be alone. The word is the Montreal Canadiens also will make a pitch and Briere, a Gatineau, Que., native, wouldn't mind playing close to his home town.


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