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Second half of NHL season will be dandy MOVIN' ON OUT The NHL trade deadl

Second half of NHL season will be dandy

MOVIN’ ON OUT

The NHL trade deadline is March 3, just two days after play resumes following the Olympics. Always intriguing to watch are players bound for unrestricted free agency on teams out of the playoff hunt. These rental players are prime assets, as bottom-feeders try to stock up on futures, and contenders look for playoff depth without long-term obligation. Beyond Ilya Kovalchuk, some of the intriguing names potentially in that category are:

Blueliner shoots down online talk he asked GM Sutter for trade

By STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

Stunned as he was to hear about an unsubstantiated online rumour that he recently asked the Flames for a trade, defenceman Dion Phaneuf and reporters reversed roles for a few seconds as he tried to get to the bottom of it.

“Where did you hear it?” Phaneuf asked.

Flames general manager dismisses Phaneuf trade rumour

John Down, Calgary Herald

If you believe the rumour mill, defenceman Dion Phaneuf has asked to be traded and Darryl Sutter is exploring the possibility of swinging a deal for Vinny Lecavalier or Ilya Kovalchuk or John Tavares or (fill in the blank).

Slow down with Kovalchuk talk

Tim Sassone

If I have learned anything in 22 years covering the Blackhawks and the NHL, it’s that anything is possible.

Wayne Gretzky was traded. The Hawks rose from the dead. And the Carolina Hurricanes won a Stanley Cup.

Leafs' free agents to be trade bait for Brian Burke

With the trade deadline approaching, a number of pending free agents to be dealt with and a team making a series of starts and stops at the bottom of the standings, Leafs GM Brian Burke wants stability for his players.

But he doesn’t promise it.

Slats' Fat Cats gotta go

If it is true that pride goes before the fall, then if Glen Sather is too proud to admit his mistakes in signing Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival the second time and Donald Brashear, he has no place running the Rangers any longer.

Time for Oilers to clean house

By Dan Barnes

You can busy yourself washing the windows, dusting the furniture and vacuuming, but the toilets aren’t going to clean themselves.

Over time, it will become impossible to ignore the smell.

RUMOUR DU JOUR

Expect to see Philly C Jeff Carter dealt once the Christmas roster freeze is lifted. The Kings are considered front-runners for Carter, but there is plenty of interest in him. He has a year left on his contract at $5 million US and doesn’t have a no-movement clause.

Bruins seeking a top 6 forward

It’s a good bet that the Bruins will part with some of those picks between Monday, when the holiday roster freeze is lifted, and the March 3 trade deadline. The Bruins have some young and inexpensive talent on their big-league roster, such as Tuukka Rask, Blake Wheeler, Mark Stuart, and Matt Hunwick, that might attract interest around the league and fill some of the Black-and-Gold needs.

The Bruins’ No. 1 priority is a top-six forward who can put shots behind goalies, while a puck-moving defenseman would also be an important upgrade.

Biron on the block

LANCE HORNBY, QMI AGENCY

As Rick DiPietro’s long, strange trip back to starting duties with the Islanders nears its end, Martin Biron’s not-so-Magical Mystery Tour of the NHL will likely start again in 2010.

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