McKenzie: Senators, Canucks were thinking outside the box

Bob McKenzie
7/1/2010 8:29:59 PM
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When you're the general manager of the Ottawa Senators, as Bryan Murray is, sometimes you have to step outside the box to get a deal done.

Ottawa is not exactly destination No.1 -- a small-market Canadian city -- for some of the best free agents. But Sergei Gonchar is one of the best free agents on the market and an impact defenceman. With the Pittsburgh Penguins, he couldn't get a three-year deal like he wanted, because he's over 35 years of age.

So at 12:01am ET, Murray was on the phone with Gonchar's representative, basically saying that Gonchar could have in Ottawa the deal that he had wanted in Pittsburgh that the Penguins wouldn't sign. That's how you get a deal done if you're a small-market Canadian team that desperately needs an impact defenceman.

The other team that was moving and shaking for a big defenceman was the Vancouver Canucks, who got Dan Hamhuis. They really stepped up, offering a six-year term deal that maybe he couldn't get somewhere else. He probably turned down more money in other locations -- probably Pittsburgh. But Pittsburgh did alright by the time it was all said and done, as they were able to get Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek.

So it was a day of defencemen, and we fully expected it would be just that. I thought the Senators and Canucks did a great job of stepping outside the box to get the guys they needed to get.

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Bob McKenzie


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