ATLANTA -- Funny guy, that Bryan Murray.
As the 3 p.m. trade deadline rolled around yesterday, the Senators coach left the ice to take a cellphone call.
It was noticed by everybody, of course, including the players who have been on eggshells for the last week or so.
Murray returned to the ice and skated right over to forward Antoine Vermette, who was seated on the bench, and everyone immediately assumed Vermette had been dealt.
"I told him I had bad news," said Murray. Vermette's shoulders slouched as Murray spoke to him.
"I told him, 'you have to stay here (with the Senators).' "
Laughs all around, except for Vermette.
"I knew he wasn't going to ask me if I had a good dinner last night," said Vermette as Murray approached. "I didn't find it funny at that point. I was hoping he was joking. I didn't want to get traded."
The Senators obtained centre Tyler Arnason from Chicago for minor-league prospect Brandon Bochenski and a second-round draft pick.
The players were glad none of their current teammates had to leave in the deal.
"I don't know much about Arnason, but I like the way (Senators GM John Muckler) kept the team together," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "After the (Olympic) break, we're settling in to find out who's going to kill penalties, who's going to be on the power play. I like us sticking together and moving forward."
"Everyone is glad they kept the group here, first and foremost," said Senators winger Dany Heatley.