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Saturday, January 10, 2009
Bolts deny Lecavalier rumors; latest on Wings/Zetterberg talks, Shanny's return


The Tampa Bay Lightning insist the rumors they are shopping star center Vincent Lecavalier because of financial problems are false. They say they are not shopping him and are not having financial issues.

Still, the rumors, which started on Montreal radio this past week, won't go away because some people believe the Bolts want to cut payroll.

The Lightning ownership group met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and some Palace Sports & Entertainment people (the main lenders in the $200-million sale) in New York this past week to clear up their financial situation. We're told the league seemed satisfied that all obligations to Palace have been met and will be met going forward.

As for Lecavalier, his no-movement clause doesn't kick in until July 1, when his 11-year, $86.5 million extension begins; so, technically, the Bolts could indeed move him until then. Although it's believed co-owner Oren Koules promised Lecavalier in a face-to-face meeting last summer that he wouldn't move him.

Either way, never a dull moment in Tampa!

Forward Jussi Jokinen, by the way, is definitely on the trade block.

Shanny a Devil
Brendan Shanahan has finally found an NHL home. He's back where it all started.

"It's no secret that I know Brendan fairly well, he was my first draft pick," Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told ESPN.com on Saturday evening. "I respect who he is as a player and what he can bring."

They had kept tabs on each other since September.

"We talked periodically," said Lamoriello. "We sat down face to face yesterday. He wanted to join us. He can help us in a lot of different areas."

Technically, Shanahan has yet to sign a contract, but that's only a small detail.

"Right now, he'll skate on his own," said Lamoriello. "The team is on the road. We'll see where his physical shape is and how he feels. As far as signing, that will be a formality. That's not an issue."

The Devils began a six-game road trip in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The trip wraps up Jan. 19 in Nashville. Shanahan may play at some point during the trip.

"When he plays, that will be up to the coaching staff after they see him in practice," said Lamoriello.

Entering the weekend, the Devils were ranked 21st on the power play and see Shanahan as a boost in that area.

Senators
There's a new man in goal in Ottawa. The plan right now is to start rookie goalie Brian Elliott for at least the next week or so. Then, after that, the Sens will decide whether they'll keep him up; if so, they will try to move Martin Gerber, who makes $3.7 million and is an unrestricted free agent at season's end. There were talks between the Kings and Senators about Gerber, but L.A. decided to take a pass. They want to give Jonathan Quick a good look.

Red Wings
Talks have been ongoing with star forward Henrik Zetterberg, who is a UFA July 1, but still no breakthrough in negotiations. The dilemma for Zetterberg is clear -- he either stays on a great team at a salary that's south of $8 million a year or he hits the market and makes more. The Wings won't tackle talks with Marian Hossa and Johan Franzen, who are also slated to be UFAs, until the Zetterberg situation is resolved.

Islanders
You're looking at the first team to officially raise the while flag and say it's open for business. Centers Mike Comrie and Doug Weight -- both UFAs July 1 -- are available. As we blogged on Friday, Weight isn't crazy about moving, but he doesn't have a no-trade clause. The bottom line is, the Isles want to get younger.

Patrice Bergeron
The concussed center is making terrific progress, although there's still no timetable on his return. But he will play again this season.

"He's going to skate this weekend," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPN.com on Saturday. "He's been working out for the past 5-6 days and ramping up his workouts. Now, he's doing two-a-days. He's certainly recovering as if it was just a normal concussion, which it was. Obviously, the second concussion you always have to be wary, but this was a solid smack on the chin. Anyone would have had a concussion on that play."