Senators trying to survive the season

November, 14, 2008
The heat is on in Ottawa. The Senators are stumbling along at 6-8-2 entering the weekend, coming off a home loss to the New York Islanders. They meet again on Long Island on Saturday night.

We phoned Sens GM Bryan Murray on Friday and began our conversation with the Stupid Question of the Day: "How are things going?"

"You don't have to ask that question," Murray told "It's disappointing, that's what it is. I think we have a decent group here."

With a core group headlined by Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher and Chris Phillips, it's hard to believe the Sens can look this bad right now. We didn't think they'd be Cup contenders this season, but playoff team? Yes.

Right now they're not looking like a playoff team. Not even close.

"I certainly think we're a better team than that," Murray said. "The lack of scoring is the shocking part for me. If we were losing games 5-4, maybe I'd understand, but we've gone games here where it's 2-1 late in the third period. That's the part that I'm a little surprised about. The lineup of guys that we have scoring goals should allow us to do that."

In the meantime, a way to shake things up would be a trade. Murray confirmed other GMs have been in contact.

"I talked to some of them. Nobody has made great overtures," Murray said. "There aren't that many people around that people can give up unless you overpay a great deal. And I understand that. We all know that.

"But at some point in time you have to bend and maybe make a change just for the sake of making a change. We'll see if that's the case here as we go through the weekend. But right now, there's not a lot of conversations, although there is some."

We suspect Murray would like to upgrade his blueline with a puck-moving defenseman. He'd sacrifice a forward to go get it done.

In the meantime, here's hoping Murray survives the season. He works for a mercurial owner in Eugene Melnyk. A few more losses and who knows what could happen?

Frogren grievance
Last weekend I was telling you about a grievance hearing involving Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jonas Frogren. Well, the NHL and NHL Players' Association reached a settlement Thursday and avoided the hearing.

Last summer, the NHL rejected the two-year, $2.13 million contract he signed with the Maple Leafs. The NHLPA grieved that decision, so he went ahead and started the season under that contract until the matter got resolved.

The league believed he was paid more than the collective bargaining agreement allows and that he should have signed a one-year entry-level deal (because he was drafted by the Flames 10 years ago and hence is considered a defected player). The NHLPA argues he was allowed to sign a non-entry level deal, that he was simply a free agent in Sweden.

The matter was resolved before the hearing Thursday, and Frogren keeps his current contract.





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