Sens chasing Big Bert

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

The Senators have become serious players in the hunt for Vancouver Canucks winger Todd Bertuzzi.

Sources say the Senators are among four teams that have held talks with the Canucks about Bertuzzi. Vancouver is said to want a goalie and defenceman in return for the controversial forward.

With the trade deadline set for Thursday at 3 p.m., Senators GM John Muckler is trying to put the final pieces in place for the stretch run.

It's believed the Philadelphia Flyers are also among the contenders for Bertuzzi.

But if the Senators are indeed serious about Bertuzzi, that could mean one of their soon-to-be free agent defencemen, Zdeno Chara or Wade Redden, won't be brought back. Bertuzzi is scheduled to make $5.5 million US next season, but would bring a hard-hitting style to the club.

Bertuzzi has struggled this season in his return from a year-long suspension handed out by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after the Canucks' power forward broke Colorado Avalanche winger Steve Moore's neck with a vicious hit from behind in the 2003-04 season.

He is still facing a multi-million dollar civil suit, filed last month by the Moore family in Ontario superior court.

TRADE WINDS QUIET

Meanwhile, there is great debate around the league about just how busy the first trade deadline of the salary cap era will be.

The busiest trade deadline day was in March 2003, when 46 players changed teams in 24 transactions. There were 20 deals involving 32 players at the last deadline in March 2004. A lower number of deals is expected this time around, which is what the league wanted.

"It's probably a good thing that we moved (the deadline) up," said Bruins GM Mike O'Connell yesterday. "The teams that play in the regular season are now the teams that you'll see in the playoffs. Before there were drastic changes and teams could change their whole teams."


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