Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Still playing The Waiting Game

We were supposed to learn today the extent of Martin Havlat's shoulder injury, and specifically, if surgery is required. If Havlat is forced to go under the knife, it's expected he'll be out until late March, just as the regular season is wrapping up.

Bryan Murray was on The Team 1200 this afternoon and basically said the decision will be left up to Havlat. He said sometime soon, once they get the final word from the doctors, he, John Muckler, Havlat, and his agent will have to get together and decide the best course of action.

One factor that cannot be ignored is that Havlat will be in line for a new contract at the end of this season, though because he'll be restricted, the Senators will still hold onto his rights.

Many fans feared that if Havlat had the season most expected in the new NHL which emphasizes speed, a forte of his, his contract demands would be so high that the Senators, who will already be in a tough spot trying to re-sign UFAs Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara, would not be able to pay him what he wanted and squeeze under the salary cap.

Now, with the possibility of Havlat maybe missing much of the regular season on the horizon, some are likely breathing a sigh of relief. Havlat won't have the statistics to be able to go to an arbitrator and say he deserves "x amount".

It's worth noting that before they dealt Marian Hossa to Atlanta for Dany Heatley, the Senators apparently came very close to trading Havlat to Carolina for Erik Cole. The word is that it was 'Canes GM Jim Rutherford who nixed the deal, if you can believe that.

How this all plays out will determine the course of action the Senators take. If Havlat is indeed out until late March, you have to think Muckler will explore the possibility of acquiring someone to fill the vacancy that Havlat leaves. Sure, Brandon Bochenski is red hot right now, and seems to be a suitable replacement, but we've learned by now that he's not exactly the most consistent option.

"The Waiting Game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos."

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