John Muckler isn't enjoying the new math, the Senators GM is having some personnel problems with the new salary structure in place and suddenly the good ship Senator isn't quite as happy a place as a few seasons ago.
Mucklers problems materialized earlier this week with Marian Hossa's demands of top line reimbursement, Hossa watching the numbers put on the cheques of Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier feels a tad slighted that Muckler's pen doesn't seem to have the same amount of ink.
For his part, Muckler suggests that Hoss and his agent study the financial figures for a Milan Hejduk, a player the Sens that Hossa most resembles as far as potential earning power should go.
And with that difference of opinion into play, both sides will head for an arbitrator next week to set the matter to rest. Muckler is apparently more inclined to identify Daniel Alfreddson as the team's franchise type player leaving Hossa on the wrong side of the financial winfall window.
Adding to Muckler's math woes is the knowledge that every extra dollar he might give to Hossa puts him into a bad situation in keeping defenceman Wade Redden in Sens colours for much longer. With both Redden and Zdeno Chara up for renegotiation this summer, Muckler has to move his decimals around a bit to make sure the two anchors on defence can remain Sens.
There were a number of rumours floating around the internet and hockey circles today that the Sens were going to be forced to trade Redden due to the financial considerations of the cap system, but Muckler had taken to ridiculing the idea of Redden leaving Ottawa.
A bit of news that will be of comfort to Sens fans, who coming out of the is lockout felt that their team was well positioned for a long run into the NHL playoffs in 2006. To that point the Sens have been rather silent in the free agency frenzy, more inclined to keep what they have and improve on that.
It's expected that the Redden and Chara situations will be taken care of in the short term, the Hossa problem may linger and cause problems later on. Should the Sens win in arbitration they will have won the battle but possibly lost the war, and unhappy and underappreciated (in his opinion) Hossa will not be a happy camper, a situation that may take the entire team down the road with him.
Expect Muckler to spend some late nights working on his math homework, there has to be a way that the three points of his pattern can be reconciled to the benefit of all three players. If not Muckler's season is going to be one of much contemplation, deciding how best to approach an unhappy forward who has been a major part of the Sens offensive attack for the last couple of years.
Distractions are not something that the Sens need, not at the start of the season and more importantly not there to taint the post season drive.