Sens try to ignore trade rumours

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

While Mike Fisher is already in a new home, other Senators are trying to stay focused and not worry about what may or may not happen in the next two weeks.

With the NHL’s Feb. 28 trade deadline looming, the Senators have their sights set on the New York Islanders, here for a game Tuesday night.

After GM Bryan Murray shook the foundation of the dressing room by dealing Mike Fisher to Nashville, the Senators are aware just about anything can happen between now and the deadline.

“It’s part of the business. You don’t have any control over it. You’ve just got to go out and play,” said rugged winger Chris Neil, who has been drawing interest from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens.

“We’ve said behind closed doors that we aren’t in control here. We’ve just got to go out and play hockey and play for one another in here and try to get some wins.

“We’ve got to put the rest behind us. We don’t know who is coming or going or what, but we don’t control that, so we’ve just got to move on.”

In trade talks with other teams, Murray is focused on upcoming free agents Chris Phillips, Jarkko Ruutu and Alex Kovalev.

But the likes of Chris Kelly, Matt Carkner, Filip Kuba and Neil are drawing interest. Opponents are willing to give up draft picks, knowing that the Senators are trying to cut cost and are willing to deal just about anyone.

“The whole trade rumours and the trade deadline is kind of out of our control,” said Kelly. “That’s management’s decision.

“They’re going to do what’s best for this organization. You’ve just got to come with the mindset that ‘I’m going to work today and be my best.’ ”

Kelly wants to stay.

“I love Ottawa. I think this is a great organization,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent here. I think we can be contenders soon. I don’t think this is a team that needs to be at the bottom for very long.

“We’re a great team and for whatever reason, we haven’t shown that this year. I want to be part of this organization going forward.”

A guy facing a lot of questions is Phillips.

He was asked two weeks ago by Murray whether he’d waive his no-movement clause. He hasn’t given Murray the green light. The Sharks, Bruins, Habs and Rangers are interested.

Phillips, who wants to stay, won’t shed much light on his situation.

“I haven’t spoken to Bryan in a little bit,” said Phillips. “There have been some communications and there’s been no decision made on anything yet. It’s day-to-day and when there is a breakthrough, I’m sure everyone will know about it one way or another.”

For now, all the Senators can do is continue playing.

“We have to try to make strides as a team here in the next two months,” said centre Jason Spezza. “Our focus just has to be on every day. If there are guys moving in and out, we just have to work around it.

“There may be nothing happens if Bryan doesn’t get the right trade. You can’t just sit around and wait.”


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