blogging the deadline

Today is NHL Trade Deadline Day, and until 2 pm Central Time, this blog will be all hockey. I will try to stay on top of trades as they are announced and offer my ‘expert’ opinions on the bigs, if and when they occur. Let’s get to it, shall we?

[I’ll mostly be keeping my eyes on TSN, Jay Onrait’s TradeCentre blog, SportsNet, and the Ottawa Sun Off The Posts blog.]

Big story out of Toronto: Mats Sundin will not waive his no-trade clause. He explained his decision by saying he wants to end his career as a Leaf and that he is against the idea of rental players. As a 100% non-Leaf guy, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this news; I love that the Leafs will not be able to trade away their most valuable asset at the deadline, and I sincerely hope that the other four boneheads with no-trade clauses invoke their right to stay in Toronto. I hope they win a few more games, and suck just enough to not make the playoffs while missing out on an opportunity to get in the Stamkos / Doughty sweepstakes. Why anyone would willingly remain on such a bad team while sabotaging its future and foregoing a chance to win a cup is beyond me.

Will Mats’ decision get the ball rolling in terms of other moves around the league? The clock is ticking. Stay tuned.

After several back and forth reports about his status, Peter Forsberg has decided to return to the NHL, and has signed a one year deal with the Avs which runs through the end of this season. Rumors had been running wild in recent weeks that he would sign with anyone from the Flyers to the Sens, but Foppa has returned to the city where he won two cups. If he can stay healthy [and that is a BIG if], the Avs will roll out lines centred by Forsberg, Sakic and Stastny. Not bad. Could they be in line to add Rob Blake? Maybe Ray Bourque wants to come back and take a shot at another cup? Something tells me this signing won’t do much to shift the balance of power in the West. I don’t see Forsberg making as much of an impact as NHL 1st Star of the Week Teemu Selanne has in Anaheim.

Next?

The Flyers have acquired Vaclav Prospal from the Lightning. I guess something needed to be done in Philly when you lose 10 out of 11. They won’t be doing much in the playoffs until they can rely on one of their two goalies.

Speaking of the Lightning, you can scratch Dan Boyle off the list of potential trade bait as he has signed a deal to remain in Tampa for the next six years. Rumor had it that he might have been dealt to the Sens, which would have been cool because he is an Ottawa native. He could have brought the cup to that karate place near my parents house like he did when Tampa won a few years ago. Oh well. Prediction: Brad Richards will be dealt tomorrow.

That’s probably it for me tonight. Hopefully tomorrow will bring tidings of big deals. Good night.

9:43 am central time, and there is HUGE breaking news. The New Jersey Devils have acquired Bryce Salvador from the Blues. Two words. Bo Ring. Not even worth taking the time to add the Devils logo. Just over four hours left before the deadline.

Finally, a deal worth talking about. The Sabres have traded Brian Campbell to San Jose for Steve Bernier [a guy I wish the Bruins had snagged in the Joe deal] and a 1st round pick. After losing two key players in the off season, the Sabres did not want to lose another key guy for nothing. Buffalo had a good shot at winning the cup coming out of the lockout, but it looks like their window has closed [should have got it done the year the ‘Canes won]. Not a good time to be a Sabres fan. Nice pickup for the Sharks, who many believe can contend this year.

Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to the Stars for Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen. Richards was maybe the 2nd biggest name available today, and in my opinion, if Mike Smith does not turn out to be a #1 goalie in the NHL, this deal is garbage. They still have a core of Vinny, Marty and Boyle to build around, and if they get a high pick this year, they may rebound quickly, but who knows if Smith will be any better than what they already had. The Stars could surprise some people in the playoffs, IF Turco can finally show up when it matters. Remember how clutch Richards was when Tampa won the cup?

At age 20, Carey Price is now the man in Montreal as Christobal Huet is traded to the Caps for a 2nd round pick. The Caps are trying to get that division title, which would put them 3rd in the East. Nice deal for them, as Kolzig probably couldn’t handle being the guy through a long stretch run. [As I say that, there is a rumor that Kolzig may now be headed to Ottawa.] A lot of pressure to put on Price this early in his career.

There have been a couple of smaller deals announced. I won’t bother talking about them.

Still waiting for the Bruins to do something.

Sens add some grit and veteran leadership by picking up Martin Lapointe from the Hawks. You have to think they’re not done.

Just got back from a free Chinese food lunch to discover that the Caps are serious about making the playoffs this year as they have added Sergei Fedorov. If he develops some chemistry with AO, this could be a nice pickup. Who doesn’t want to see Ovechkin in the playoffs?

The Avs continue to try to put together an old puzzle as they have traded for Adam Foote. In the words of Jay Onrait, “they really should talk to Patty Roy about coming back.”

It is 5 minutes past the deadline, and TSN is reporting that the Penguins have emerged as one of the big winners of deadline day by acquiring Marian Hossa from the Thrashers for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen and Angelo Esposito. WOW! I had not heard of the Penguins being in the running in recent days, and they swoop in and claim arguably the biggest available name. They certainly had the assets to make a move. Malkin has more than held down the fort while Sid has been out, and with their star goalie also back in the fold, perhaps my Penguins in the Finals prediction may occur after all. Not only is this a good move for the Pens, but it kept Hossa from landing in Ottawa or Montreal, big obstacles for Pittsburgh moving forward. Well done.

I guess that’s it. I am bummed that the Bruins didn’t do anything.

Big winners? Sharks, Stars, Penguins and Caps.

Can’t wait for the playoffs.

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