Senators know when teams struggle, trade winds blow

The NHL’s Christmas roster freeze was to kick in at midnight Thursday, meaning general manager Bryan Murray’s hands are tied on the trade front.

For now.

Rest assured, Murray’s mind won’t be idle during the weeklong trade embargo. The arrival of Boxing Day could signal the departure of a household name.

The mental gears are clicking as Murray tries to find a way to make the pieces fit on what has been a dysfunctional club. The problems of the first 20 games didn’t go away after 30 games or disappear after 35 games.

Patience is running out. Murray has already played the “I-won’t-take-this-crap-any-longer” trump card, blasting the team in the celebrated post-game dressing room address in New Jersey Wednesday.

The angst only grew following Thursday’s defeat to the Florida Panthers, as the Senators ended up with nothing to show for games on consecutive nights.

The players are on alert. They know the general manager can’t go down the same dressing room intervention road again and the next logical step is for bodies to be shipped out.

It’s not a fun feeling, according to Bobby Ryan, who spent all of last season wondering if his next day in Anaheim could be his last. Yet it’s also the nature of the beast when expectations aren’t met.