Today may be D-Day for Eric Lindros. But then again . . .
A Toronto Maple Leafs source said the team would decide by today whether to go ahead with a deal for the Philadelphia Flyers' disgruntled star.
Flyers General Manager Bob Clarke says both teams would be "better off" walking away from a deal at this point.
"It's not frustrating to me," Clarke said of the stalled process. "It would be nice if they just say they don't want him, and we can go about our business, they can go about their business, and Lindros can go about his."
A high-ranking Leafs official said Tuesday night that Toronto coach and General Manager Pat Quinn had preferred that the matter be resolved by Tuesday. Asked where negotiations stood, the source said, "You'll find out tomorrow."
The sticking point in the deal is Toronto's Tomas Kaberle, a 22-year-old defenseman.
According to a source familiar with the talks, the Flyers are insisting that Kaberle be part of a deal, given that Toronto defenseman Danny Markov has missed eight games with a back injury, which the Flyers suspect may be a herniated disk.
Quinn considers Kaberle "untouchable." Unless Steve Stavro, the club's owner, orders Quinn to include Kaberle, the Leafs' position probably won't change and the deal won't be completed.
Clarke made it clear Tuesday that he thought the entire process was going nowhere.
The Flyers originally gave Toronto a list of desired players that included Markov, Kaberle and center Nik Antropov. Those familiar with the talks say Clarke wanted two of the three players, though he pushed for Kaberle over Markov. However, it wasn't until this week that the Flyers realized how serious Markov's injury might be.
Clarke said for the first time Tuesday that he had been contacted by other clubs seeking to make the Lindros deal a three-way venture.
A Los Angeles Kings source said Tuesday that defenseman Rob Blake was not part of any Flyers-Toronto deal.
Lemieux's back hurting
PITTSBURGH -- Even before he began his comeback, Mario Lemieux was fearful the back pain that has troubled him throughout his career might force him to miss some games.
He just didn't know it would return so soon.
Troubled by a sore lower back for nearly two weeks, Lemieux said Tuesday he probably needs to take some time off -- perhaps beginning with Pittsburgh's game tonight against Florida.
"It's frustrating," Lemieux said after sitting out practice Tuesday. "There's no sense going on the ice if you're not feeling good."
Lemieux isn't the only Penguins star who is hurting: Three-time scoring champion Jaromir Jagr still isn't over a neck injury from last month.
Jagr, who has zero goals and six assists in his last six games, would like some time off, too, but said, "It's impossible."
The Penguins are in the middle of playing seven games in 12 days, a strenuous stretch that might have contributed to Lemieux's back problems.
Around the rinks
Todd Warriner had two goals as the Lightning snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Blues. Pavel Kubina scored the decisive goal early in the third period. . . . Doug Weight scored twice and Tommy Salo made 21 saves as the Oilers blanked the Kings, 5-0. . . . Sergei Fedorov scored with 4:37 remaining in regulation to boost the Red Wings into a 3-3 tie with the Predators. . . . Marco Sturm's goal with 42 seconds left in overtime capped a three-goal comeback and gave the Sharks a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.