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McKenzie: Morris trade to carry though to Wednesday

Bob McKenzie
3/3/2009 9:00:49 PM
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(10:34pm et) - Well, kids, as usual, it's hurry up and wait.

The word out of Phoenix was that the Derek Morris trade was likely to go down tonight, but now it looks as though it will carry over to tomorrow.

As for Tom Poti, originally listed as a healthy scratch in Washington, he missed tonight's game with a groin pull.

Stand down, for now.

Of course, that probably means as soon as we all go to bed, it gets done.

Isn't that how it works?

Tomorrow should be interesting.

Lots of talk suggests there will be lots of action – not necessarily high end, mind you – but the three big factors working against that are: 1) salary cap considerations; 2) global economic crisis and general doom and gloom; 3) high acquisition prices.

By the time it's all said and done, rentals will rule the day and how interesting it all gets depends on whether Jay Bouwmeester and Chris Pronger get moved.

Not holding my breath, to tell you the truth.

Good night.

MORRIS ON THE MOVE TONIGHT?

(8:56pm et) -  The word on the street is that the Phoenix Coyotes may trade Derek Morris as early as this evening.

We have heard this before, but obviously the clock is ticking and there are some other signs that allow us to get creative.

Boston, Philadelphia and Washington have been the supposed front-runners since the beginning of the Morris sweepstakes. It was interesting when the Capitals made Tom Poti a healthy scratch in tonight's Caps' game against Carolina.

Could there be a connection?

Perhaps. Maybe Washington is just protecting its asset.

Phoenix GM Don Maloney was with the New York Rangers when Poti was a Ranger.

That could be a plus or a minus. Funny how that works sometimes.

Mind you, Poti has had some groin problems so maybe that's the issue here. And to be honest, I've always thought the Caps really appreciated Poti's ability to move the puck.

In any case, the Morris deal is reportedly getting done tonight.

GERBER TO TORONTO NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION

(8:00pm et) - It's funny how things go.

If anyone had suggested a week ago that the Toronto Maple Leafs would consider putting in a claim on Ottawa netminder Marty Gerber, who is on re-entry waivers, it would have been greeted with much skepticism if not laughter.

Now?

Maybe not so much.

There is much uncertainty about the health of Toronto netminder Vesa Toskala and speculation that he may shut it down for the balance of the season because of his ailing hip/groin. If so, the Leafs may put in a waiver claim on Gerber.

We will see, but it's not out of the question.

ROBERTS LOOKING FOR ONE MORE CHANCE

(2:40pm et.) - Gary Roberts is hoping his NHL career isn't over, that it doesn't end like this, perhaps going unclaimed on the waiver wire.

But the 42-year-old veteran left winger has been around long enough to know that if he isn't claimed by an NHL team by noon Wednesday there are no guarantees.

"I've never been on waivers before," the Tampa Bay Lightning forward said. "It's a first for me. I hope this isn't how it ends."

Roberts knows his contract is working against him. Because there is no performance bonus cushion this year, Roberts' salary counts as a $2.42 salary cap hit, with a bonus of $10,000 for every game he plays.

Roberts was hopeful of perhaps finishing his career with the same team he started it with – the Calgary Flames – but it remains to be seen if the numbers add up for Calgary. Roberts' team from last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are in Tampa tonight, although Roberts has been told he won't be in the lineup until the Lightning see what happens tomorrow at noon.

Calgary is going through a tough time with injuries. Todd Bertuzzi is the latest to go down. He has a lower-body injury that, sources say, is likely to keep him sidelined for about three weeks. He joins Rene Bourque and Daymond Langkow as front-line Flames' forwards who are out with injuries. They are expected to be back before the playoffs, but the Flames may need some short-term help.

"I am feeling good," Roberts said. "I've worked hard to get healthy and fit and I feel like I can still contribute. I would love to play for a team that is going to be the playoffs and do whatever they ask of me. We'll see what happens."

The Lightning had been talking to teams about trading Roberts but just decided to put him on waivers and allow anyone with an interest to put in claim. If he isn't claimed by noon tomorrow, there's still a three-hour window where he could conceivably be traded.

The Lightning may be fairly busy at the deadline but only involving depth players slated to be unrestricted free agents.

Sources say no one has called lately on Vincent Lecavalier and the Lightning have told teams they are not trading Martin St. Louis.

It is likely veteran Mark Recchi will be dealt. Recchi is currently scheduled to play tonight against Pittsburgh but that could change over the course of the day. It is possible centre Jeff Halpern could be moved as well and although defenceman Marek Malik is day-to-day with an ankle injury, he could also be traded.

FLYERS STEPPING UP EFFORTS FOR BOUWMEESTER

(1:30pm et) - The Philadelphia Flyers are stepping up their efforts to acquire defenceman Jay Bouwmeester from the Florida Panthers, but salary cap constraints are rearing their ugly head.

The Flyers are bumping up against the cap and they are working hard to try to free up some space.

Sources say one of the options is trading goaltender Marty Biron and turning the number one job over to Antero Niittymaki. One potential scenario has the Flyers trading Biron to the Phoenix Coyotes as part of a plan that would see the Coyotes flip Biron to another team.

But the Coyotes aren't going to make that move unless they have the other deal already set up.

It should be noted, however, that Biron has a no-trade clause and would have to be on board with any move that is made.

There is also a similar scenario involving Boston goalie Manny Fernandez, who has reportedly been offered to Phoenix. The Coyotes have no interest in keeping Fernandez but might take him if they can flip him. Boston is only likely to trade Fernandez if they find a need to clear some cap space.

Sources say the Buffalo Sabres may be in the market for one of the available goaltenders, given Ryan Miller's high ankle sprain.

BOYNTON TO MEET WITH PANTHERS

(1pm et) - The Florida Panthers will meet with defenceman Nick Boynton after the NHL's trade deadline to see whether he'll be let out of the doghouse.

Boynton was sent home on Friday from the Panthers' road trip after he got into a verbal confrontation with head coach Pete DeBoer in the dressing room. It's not expected that the issue is going to be “irreconcilable,” but the Panthers won't tend to the matter until they get through the trade deadline.

Keaton Ellerby has been called up from the minors and may get into the lineup tonight, although that may hinge on whether Jassen Cullimore plays. Cullimore's wife is expecting a baby at any moment and he is on standby to join her.

Meanwhile, the offers for Panther defenceman Jay Bouwmeester are being stepped up, but it's still not clear whether the Panthers will trade him before the deadline.

INJURY BUG TAKES BITE OUT OF SHARKS

(12:45pm et) - The San Jose Sharks are being bitten by the injury bug – again.

Forward Mike Grier is out for four-to-six weeks after getting his knee scoped and veteran Jeremy Roenick is also expected to be out for four-to-six weeks with a shoulder injury.

Both, however, are expected to return to the Sharks lineup prior to the playoffs.

They join forwards Marcel Goc and Torrey Mitchell on the injured list.

Goc has a lower-body injury and will be out another few weeks. The Sharks also hope Mitchell will be fully recovered from a broken leg in time for the playoffs.

While the Sharks are reasonably confident all those players will return in time for the playoffs, San Jose is looking at some depth-oriented trade options at the deadline. Ottawa's Chris Neil and Colorado's Ian Laperriere veterans with an edge - are two of the types of players the Sharks may be interested in.

Bob McKenzie

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