Could Sens fit the Bill?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

Bill Guerin's days with the Blues are down to single digits.

And while the winger will have a say in where he winds up by the NHL's Feb. 27 trade deadline, his choices won't include Ottawa or Vancouver, according to a report yesterday in the New York Post.

However, a source close to Guerin denied the Post report yesterday.

The rumour mill has the Hurricanes, Canadiens, Stars, Ducks, Sharks, Rangers, Red Wings and Leafs all showing interest in Guerin, who is talking all the chatter in stride.

"I've been in plenty of trade rumours in my career ... never at the deadline, but, hey, that's the way the game is right now," Guerin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "There's a lot of players being put out there as rentals. Hey, you know what? You have to deal with it. You can let it affect you or you could just roll with it. I'm rolling with it."

A lot of teams like Guerin because he's a "high character" individual who could help make the difference in any race.

"If we miss the playoffs and (Guerin's) here and we didn't re-sign him, we'd be caught with nothing," said Blues president John Davidson. "That's not a good thing for the future of the St. Louis Blues."

INCREASED CONTACT?: Senators coach Bryan Murray isn't happy with the amount of crease-crashing that's been going on and he is particularly upset with the way the Thrashers ran G Martin Gerber during Ottawa's 5-3 win on Saturday. The Senators lost G Ray Emery to a three-game suspension after he whacked Montreal F Maxim Lapierre across the head with his stick following an incident in the crease at the Bell Centre on Feb. 10. "More and more as we play without (Emery), you see the contact and why the goaltenders in this league have to be somewhat worried about what's happening," said Murray. The Senators weren't happy Atlanta C Jim Slater went to the net and made no effort to stop before cross-checking Gerber. Slater got a roughing penalty.

BACK TO WORK: After playing three games in nine days, the Senators will return to a semi-regular schedule with three games this week: Edmonton (tomorrow at home), then a home-and-home series with the Sabres (Thursday in Buffalo and Saturday in Ottawa). Murray said the recent inactivity has hurt the club's ability to come out strong at the start of games. "We gotta play more games. You could see it in the first period (against Atlanta). We weren't an energy team," said Murray. "Our skates in practice have been very good and quick, but it's not the same. They sat back for some part of the game and we didn't have the sharpness that we normally have. We turned the puck over more than usual. Playing more games, you get into a rhythm. You saw in the third period, we just started putting the puck behind the defencemen and we went in and made plays. That's the way we have to play." Senators C Jason Spezza said not coming out strong is tough because the level of urgency in games has increased dramatically. "It's a playoff-type hockey right now," said Spezza. "The intensity has definitely gone up a notch."

AROUND THE BOARDS: Habs GM Bob Gainey is frantically searching for a goaltender. Don't be surprised if the club acquires G Robert Esche from the Flyers before the deadline ... Murray has been impressed with veteran Dean McAmmond. "What Dean McAmmond has been from Day 1 is a very good skater, probably one of the quickest guys on our team," said Murray. "He's a responsible player. He's got real good sense around the net and I know that he can help us with his speed and checking on whatever line I put him on. That's why I like him at centre to play a fourth line. I know I can put him in different situations and being the veteran that he is, he just handles it." ... If the Senators beat the Oilers tomorrow, it will be the 600th victory in Murray's NHL coaching career.


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