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Flying solo

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The loss of starting goaltender Ray Emery for six weeks with an abdominal injury has led to rumors the floundering Philadelphia Flyers are shopping for a goalie. cited sources claiming Flyers GM Paul Holmgren made inquiries with the Dallas Stars regarding the availability of netminder Marty Turco, but with the Stars in the thick of the playoff chase in the Western Conference the earliest he might be available is near the March 3 trade deadline, which would come too late to help the Flyers, who need a No. 1 right away.

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman recently wondered if Holmgren would consider re-acquiring Martin Biron from the Islanders if he could overcome the public relations nightmare.

However, given the recent setback to Rick DiPietro’s comeback attempt it’s unlikely Biron will be made available anytime soon.

For now, it appears Holmgren will put his faith in backup Brian Boucher to carry the load between the pipes until Emery returns. Most of the media following the Flyers believe it is goal scoring, not goaltending, that is the team’s problem, which is bizarre considering the amount of firepower at their disposal.

The fact the Flyers are performing this badly suggests there’s a leadership problem on the club that needs to be addressed soon, but given their cap constraints will have to be resolved internally.

• The Flyers goalie troubles also reportedly prompted Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey to inform Holmgren of the potential availability of Jaroslav Halak. While Holmgren appeared to have little interest, the fact Gainey made the offer, based on a request by Halak, fired up the Montreal rumor mill.

Halak played coy, referring such talk to his agent Allan Walsh, but it appears he wants to get more playing time, something he’s unlikely to get over the remainder of this season if Carey Price continues playing well.

The Montreal media, meanwhile, debated what return Halak would fetch. It’s believed Gainey wants a top-six forward, but he reminded folks he only got a second round pick for Cristobal Huet two years ago.

It’s possible if Gainey held onto Halak until later in the season he might get a better return, but even then he might have to toss something else into the deal to get a scoring forward.

• The Vincent Lecavalier rumors haven’t died down yet, but they’re certainly not gaining momentum as they did a year ago, likely because those who raised the possibility awakened to the reality big-salaried players on multi-year contracts containing no-movement clauses are nearly impossible to move during the season in today’s salary cap world.

Don’t expect the Lightning’s current slump to push GM Brian Lawton into trying to shop Lecavalier or anyone else. Lawton recently told the St. Petersburg Times he remains confident his players will overcome this problem.

"It's up to the guys in the room," Lawton told the Times. "They've got to really bond together here and come up with the solutions."

That’s a refrain being heard more and more around the league, which isn’t surprising given the average payroll is more than $55 million.

That adds up to the prospect of little, if any, player movement before the imposition of the NHL’s holiday trade freeze on Dec. 19.

If you’re not convinced, ask the GMs of the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Senators recently lost first line center Jason Spezza for at least six weeks to injury, while the Jackets have been without blueline anchor Rostislav Klesla for the past two weeks and could be out four more weeks with a torn groin.

Senators GM Bryan Murray and Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson both claimed they’ve got nothing in the works due to cap constraints and the limited trade activity this season.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for and Eishockey Magazine.



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