RUMOURS DU JOUR
The self-imposed holiday roster freeze for Brian Burke kicked in Friday, but the Maple Leafs GM might be willing to make moves once it’s lifted. The Leafs could be looking for help in the middle, especially with Tim Connolly struggling with injuries. Columbus C Derick Brassard could be an option. League sources say Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson was spotted at the Marlies game last Saturday in Toronto. Apparently, he was in the corner and didn’t want to be noticed. Brassard has a cap hit of $3.2 million for the next two seasons, so Howson can’t afford to let coach Scott Arniel bury Brassard on the fourth line or in the press box much longer. The situation is going to come to a head and Brassard could certainly make sense for the Leafs … Nobody is sure what’s wrong with the Kings, but they better find their way out of this mess soon. I’m told GM Dean Lombardi has been one of the most aggressive working the phones and is determined to make changes because he certainly can’t afford to miss the playoffs. He’d move W Dustin Penner in a second. When Kings president Tim Leiwicke and Lombardi ate their words and gave D Drew Doughty a king’s ransom, they talked about winning the Stanley Cup. If they miss the playoffs, you have to wonder what’s going to happen in Tinseltown.