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PRINCE OF PUCKS: More rumors from Spector

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At home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he's known as Lyle Richardson. But around these parts, he's known as Spector, FOXSports.com's Prince of Pucks. Check in with Spector for the latest NHL rumors from around the league. And feel free to let him know what you think.
  • The saga continues, with speculation growing as the weeks pass. The St. Petersburg Times reported the Tampa Bay may have interest in the holdout blueliner, but there isn't anything imminent. Stan Fischler, of Fox Sports Net enabling the to sign UFA netminder . The Boston Globe and Toronto Sun reported a rumor of the offering rookie defenseman straight up for McLaren. Leafs GM Pat Quinn subsequently dismissed the story as "BS." Spector's Take: Why would the move McLaren — a respected, albeit injury-prone, NHL veteran — for an untested rookie blueliner? Sounds like wishful thinking by someone in the Toronto press. The "hockey mind" telling Fischler this "McLaren for either Johnson or Brathwaite" deal is a good fit needs to get that great mind examined. Johnson remains sidelined with injury, while Brathwaite is nursing a sore groin. The could certainly benefit from McLaren's physical presence on their blue line, but the tight-budgeted Bolts would have to dump salary to sign him. Then there's the little matter of the asking price, which could be steep.
  • Florida coach Mike Keenan remains disenchanted with the play of forward , adding fuel to speculation the club is shopping the "Pocket Russian Rocket." The Chicago Herald reported GM Mike Smith might have interest in Bure, but when questioned, Smith was noncommittal. Meanwhile, the Toronto Star reported a rumored deal that would send Bure and to the New Jersey for defenseman , forward Steve Guolla and a draft pick. The Bergen Record dismissed this report, noting Bure has a strained relationship with his father, who works for the , as well as GM Rick Dudley's disinterest in Zyuzin, who used to play for Dudley in Tampa Bay. Spector's Take: GM Lou Lamoriello may be on the lookout for more offense, but I doubt very much he'd want a perennial problem child like Bure the Younger. I'd hazard a guess he'd have even less interest in Ulanov, who's on the fast track to nowhere. The , meanwhile, could be a better possibility. Mike Smith loves Russian players, and with the absence to rehab of and the back injury to , the 'Hawks might have real interest in Bure's offense.
  • A report out of Montreal last weekend claimed the placed struggling forward on the trade block, apparently due to disagreement over bonus clauses in his contract. However, the Montreal Gazette reported a few days later Habs GM Andre Savard spoke with Audette and assured the forward he'd be staying in Montreal. Spector's Take: It's far too early in the season to shop anyone, unless they're asking to be dealt. Whatever the real reason behind this rumor, it appears to be a dead issue. However, if Audette continues to struggle to find his scoring touch, that could change.
  • Finally, the contract holdout of Ottawa defenseman is apparently attracting the interest of other teams. The Ottawa Sun and New York Post reported the New Jersey and New York contacted Sens GM John Muckler regarding Rachunek, but Muckler insists he won't be trading the holdout. Spector's Take: Rachunek is screwing himself with this ill-advised holdout. There's no denying his talent, but he's not irreplaceable and he hasn't been in the league long enough to justify his actions. He's only hurting himself, both in playing experience and in his wallet, by doing this. The hold all the cards with this issue, and Rachunek would be well-advised to get back to work and earn his keep. Check out Spector's hockey page and buy his book.
  • Tagged: Bruins, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Devils, Rangers, Senators, Blues, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Panthers, Kyle McLaren, Igor Ulanov, Karel Rachunek, Andrei Zyuzin, Brent Johnson

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