Hockey

Ailing Senators acquire Comrie

John Muckler's search to replace top centres Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher ended Wednesday when the Ottawa Senators' general manager traded for Mike Comrie.

General manager John Muckler's search to replace top Ottawa Senators centres Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher is over.

Muckler acquired Mike Comrie from the Phoenix Coyotes for fellow centre Alexei Kaigorodov on Wednesday.

Muckler reportedly was interested in veteran NHL centre Petr Nedved, who was claimed by the Edmonton Oilers off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

It's unclear whether Comrie will make his Senators debut Wednesday at home against the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres.

"We have been working on this for a long time," Muckler said Wednesday at a news conference. "This was the best guy available at the time. We have been talking to our scouts about this for some time."

Spezza, second this season in Ottawa scoring with 44 points, is expected to be sidelined another month with a knee injury.

Fisher injured his left knee in a 2-0 win over the New York Islanders on Dec. 27 and is out indefinitely.

Also sidelined is centre Antoine Vermette, who remains day-to-day with a hip injury.

"Very seldom are you going to lose your [top three] centre-ice men," said Muckler. "We felt we needed a little more offence. The team has been playing very well. We just felt over the long run we needed a push on the offensive side."

The Senators, who had about $2 million in available salary-cap space, will assume half of Comrie's $3-million stipend for 2006-07.

Comrie, 26, scored seven goals and 20 points in 24 games this season for the Coyotes, who reportedly were looking to shed salary.

Pulling impressive numbers

The Edmonton native has been strong of late with eight points in 10 games.

Comrie, who will be an unrestricted free agenton July 1,returned to the lineup Dec. 9 after missing 14 contests with a fractured right foot.

He had30 goals and 60 points with Phoenix last season, his first full campaignwith the Coyotes.

"He should add some offence to this group," said Senators coach Bryan Murray of Comrie."There's an offensive role for a player of this nature and [he] gives us strength down the middle."

Comrie has 110 goals and 127 assists for 237 points in 345 career NHL regular-season games with the Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

Kaigorodov, 23, entered this season as one of Ottawa's top prospects, but left the team for Russia after refusing an assignment to Binghamton of the American Hockey League. He was subsequently suspended by the Senators.

He collected one assist in six games with thebig clubthis season.

Four wins a charm

On the ice, the Senators will try to make it four wins in a row over the Sabres, who have already won four straight, to improve their record to 29-7-3.

"I don't like to lose to them," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said after his team's 3-1 home loss to Ottawa on Dec. 16 in the last meeting between the Northeast Division rivals.

"It gives them confidence. It's something we have to rectify as a team."

Senators goalie Ray Emery looked shaky in allowing 15 goals in four playoff losses to the Sabres last May.

But he has rebounded with threewins in as manystarts versus Buffalo this season and is7-1-1 with a 2.47goals-against averagein nine career regular-season starts against the Sabres.

Ottawa (21-18-2) hosts the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.