Michael Russo's short takes: Feb. 20

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 19, 2011 - 11:23 PM
The trade market is open

Just like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have traded Tomas Kaberle, Kris Versteeg and Francois Beauchemin in the past two weeks, the Ottawa Senators have begun the fire sale. It started with Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Brian Elliott and Jarkko Ruutu.

"If you're going to try to retool the organization, there have to be more than [three players who] go," said Senators GM Bryan Murray.

Murray's biggest sales job may be trying to convince Chris Phillips to leave. The defenseman hasn't been willing to waive his no-trade clause.

The chill in Atlanta

There's a legit relocation threat in Atlanta for the second time in NHL history. First, it was the Flames. Now could it be the Thrashers?

Thrashers co-owner Michael Gearon told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week there's a "sense of urgency" to find a buyer or investor. "I don't think there is an ability to stomach another $20 million in [yearly] losses. We just can't do it," Gearon told the newspaper. "The reality is we need fans showing up and we need investors or a primary investor.

"I want to see this team in Atlanta. We are working to keep it in Atlanta. We need others to step in and help. And as of now, no one in the Atlanta community has."

Versteeg had to go

Versteeg made some noise leaving Toronto by saying he "wasn't given an opportunity in some senses to fit."

Responded GM Brian Burke: "When I was a rookie GM in 1992, I asked [Boston's] Harry Sinden, 'Any advice?' He said, 'When you make a mistake and get a player who is not working out, fix it.' Kris just didn't mesh here, but it was no fault of his."

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