Trade winds begin to blow for Sharks

SAN JOSE -- The Montreal rumor mill has been grinding away this week -- and the Sharks have been front and center in much of the trade gossip.

First, San Jose was supposed to be sending forwards Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier to the Canadiens for forwards Saku Koivu and Michael Ryder. Then it was Koivu and Ryder for Marleau alone, or Bernier and center Joe Pavelski. Other names were tossed into the mix.

It was the kind of speculation that easily could be ignored -- except it was said to originate from a radio report by respected and well-sourced TV analyst Bob McKenzie. One big problem: McKenzie never linked the two teams in a trade.

"That's Montreal in a nutshell," Sharks defenseman Craig Rivet, who played there for 11 years, said Wednesday.

"There's no secret about that city and the way it works."

If nothing else, it provides an example of the crazier-than-here conditions NHL players have to deal with in Canadian cities like Montreal and Toronto.

"It certainly affects you a bit in a way," Rivet said. "But as you get older, you start to learn the ins and outs of the city and I don't think that type of stuff concerns most."

The story grew and the trail continued through several radio stations as well as French and English Web sites, including one operated by the Montreal Gazette.

Bloggers spread it even further, often citing McKenzie as the source for added credibility.

Marleau, the Sharks' captain who has been at the center of trade rumors for several months, said: "I have a job to do on the ice and that's all I can worry about and take care of. It's a hockey country, a hockey hotbed, so there's always talk up there.

"There's always rumors."

WEDNESDAY'S GAMES -- Mike Green scored 3:41 into overtime after posting two assists in regulation, Joe Motzko had his first two goals of the season, and Washington beat the visiting New York Rangers 5-4. ... Ales Kotalik had a goal and assist, Ryan Miller made 28 saves, and Buffalo scored three goals in the second period to beat the visiting New York Islanders 5-3. ... Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal off a rebound with 3:47 remaining and Alex Auld won his third straight start for Boston, 5-3 at Atlanta. ... Fredrik Norrena stopped 15 shots, and host Columbus relied on defense to beat Colorado 4-1. ... Dany Heatley had two goals and an assist, leading Ottawa to a rout of Carolina, 6-0, in Raleigh, N.C. ... Martin Havlat scored twice, and Patrick Sharp and rookie Jonathan Toews each had a goal and two assists to help Chicago end a season-high, four-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over visiting Los Angeles.