While the 2012 NHL Lockout is underway, every Friday will be known as “Flashback Friday.” On this day of the week, a classic installment of PUCK YOU! will be released for your enjoyment.
Hello hockey fans! PUCK YOU! has returned for another installment, and this time we address the deals made on trade deadline day. This is the last stretch of the regular season and these moves could possibly make or break a team’s aim at making the post season. This year, the race is incredibly close (especially in the Western Conference). Let’s see what the crew’s thoughts are, shall we?
Our panelists include Bruce McGee, Al Creed, BaptisBlacktick, ThinkSoJoE, G, and Armchair MVP.
Considering how few trades occurred this year, and the fact a number of notable transactions occured of the two or so week’s prior to February 28th, we will consider those as part of our deadline discussion.
Question 1: Which team do you think made the most notable improvement to their club and why?
BaptisBlacktick: As seems to be the trend, the “Trade Deadline ’11” went out as a bust after all the hype TSN and Roger’s SportsNet threw around.with the real action happening in the couple of weeks leading up to the deadline, but it’s kind of hard to sell that air time to advertisers.
As a I am a Bruins fan, I will be accused of some bias here, but Bean Town definitely became a stronger team during the days leading up to draft date. Acquiring Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik for Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler seems like a lot to give up but Peverley is what Wheeler isn’t, and that is a good thing. Wheeler has been given lots of opportunities to shine, but decided to be a butt-plug with Phoenix until he got his trade; he had a good showcase season with Boston, then ended up being nothing special, and If Claude Julien is going to scratch a healthy Seguin, you don’t stand a chance if you play like Wheeler did.
The Kaberle pick was a no brainer, Toronto bitches be laughing and hatin’ on the guy, especially considering how well the Buds have been doing as of late, but with a team built for this year, and giving up a 2nd and later (assumed, but sure of) first round pick for a blue liner with scoring ability is not a bad thing.
Ottawa made some great moves as well, namely by one move, somehow being able to ship off that dead weight, useless turd Kovalev. Honestly, Bryan Murray should have stepped down immediately after his last move as a finally show of respect to the Sens organization and fan base.
Bruce McGee: During the whole run up to the deadline I saw nothing that jumped off the page at me. Then again I am not a huge stat guy who knows all the key role players. I just like to watch hockey. That said looks like any team with playoff aspirations tried to add a few pieces here and there. Langenbrunner to the Stars was a mild surprise for me personally.
G: There were a number of trades I thought will benefit teams involved. Believe it or not, I think the Leafs moving Versteeg for a first and third round pick was a good move, and the similar trade involving the Oilers picking up a first round, defensive prospect and conditional third round pick for Dustin Penner to the Kings was good for both. These teams are in a rebuilding stage, and thus prospects and picks are essential for this to occur. With that being said, these are benefits that may or may not play out in the future. This does not answer the question as to who benefitted the most this season.
The team I felt made themselves much better by the deadline, is the Vancouver Canucks. The club brought in some significant depth to their already deep offense. Maxim Lapierre and MacGregor Sharp from Anaheim for Joel Perrault and a 3rd-Round Pick (in 2012) was a one of these moves. The other came from Florida with Chris Higgins joining the Canucks in exchange for Evan Oberg and a 3rd-Round Pick (in 2013). The Canucks can deal away future players and picks, because they are going for the Stanley Cup now. They are dealing with some significant defensive injuries, but now are literally stacked when it comes to gritty forwards. Higgins may not be playing at the level he was with the Canadiens a few years ago, but he was playing for the Panthers. Being surrounded by other talented players makes these guys potentially better.
Armchair MVP: I love the Dustin Penner deal for both teams. The Kings already seem to have a bright future, especially on defense with guys like Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson who should only get better. At this point, having a former first-round pick like Colten Teubert in the minors was somewhat of a luxury. Draft picks are always a gamble, so the price was right to acquire a guy like Dustin Penner who has a quiet way of producing solid offensive totals year in and year old. Having another scoring forward generally helps the playoff push, Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils notwithstanding.
For the Oilers, you have to like the fact that they continue to build for a future. As long as they can get some value out of those two draft picks, they get a very good return. Colten Teubert and what will be two other prospects is some pretty good value. I also liked that they shipped Penner off while his value is the highest, in my opinion.
Al Creed: The Flyers picking up Kris Versteeg was a VERY welcomed addition, as far as I’m concerned. And, as much as I HATE them, the Caps made a smart move in picking up Jason Arnott, what with his experience in Playoff Hockey. Also, Montreal picking up former Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion Drew MacIntyre should pay out. 😉
ThinkSoJoE: Wow. After finally getting a chance to look over the trades, I don’t think anybody really did much to bolster their team. Brad Boyes has been paying off well here in Buffalo, and a big kudos to Carolina for getting Cory Stillman back, but whether or not any of the players in new sweaters make a big difference or not remains to be seen.
Sometimes in a salary cap era, fans can understand why some deals are made for literally nothing coming back. And sometimes… there is no logical explanation.
Question 2: Do you think any particular team got fleeced?
Armchair MVP: Wasn’t Dennis Wideman a hot commodity in free agency? Maybe the Panthers know something I don’t, namely who Jake Hauswirth is. But I think a puck-moving defenseman is usually worth more than a marginal pick and a prospect who doesn’t seem ready to make the jump to the NHL. Wideman’s had a tough year, and his stock has dropped, but I think this hurts Florida now, and may not help them that much in the long run. So really, no reason for them to pull the trigger on this one.
Al Creed: The Oilers trading Penner for practically nothing is kind of stunning, really. But, overall, Ottawa and Florida had an all-out fire sale this year.
BaptisBlacktick:As far as teams getting fleeced, I gotta say that Colorado made a choice that would make us all do a Santino Morella version of the People’s Eyebrow. Chris Stewart has been marked as an under-achiever for a good chunk of his young career, but has been turning into a Canucks era Bertuzzi. Seems odd to give up on him that early, but obviously Sacco has the GM’s ear.
Bruce McGee: It doesn’t really appear anyone got hosed. Looks mostly like role players or complimentary players go shuffled around this year.
G: I sure do. While I realize that there are superstar calibre players that go undrafted, or picked very late in the draft… let’s be realistic. There are not THAT many Martin St. Louis types floating around out there unrecognized for their skills.
Anyways… we like to toss around the trade for the proverbial “bag of pucks” line, and we got two of them this season. Pittsburgh aquired Alexei Kovalev from the Ottawa Senators for a conditional seventh round pick. Not a seventh round pick… no… a CONDITIONAL seventh round pick, which means they might not receive this bottom of the barrel pick in the upcoming draft. So, they gave away a guy for potentially nothing. Ottawa needs to aquire assets in a very serious way, and this was just dumb.
Good on Calgary Flames G.M. Jay Feaster for fleecing Atlanta with his aquisition of Fredick Modin for a seventh round pick in 2011 going back the the Thrashers. While Modin is growing long in the tooth, and the Flames are the second oldest team in the NHL, they are making a serious go for the playoffs this season and gave up pretty much nothing yet added a veteran leader who provides depth for the club. Atlanta, on the other hand, should have picked up something a little more for a proven veteran. The good thing for the Thrashers though, is the fact that they are very likely to be relocated in the near future… maybe they can start a fresh in Winnipeg?
On February 28th, 2011, literally thousands of hockey fans called in… umm… “sick” to watch one of the quietest trade deadlines in a very long time. The interesting question is why…
Question 3: Considering the average trades since the lockout on Trade Deadline day has been around 25, do you think this year’s low 16 trades is a result of anything in particular such as the salary cap, earlier trades, and so forth?
Deadline day deals.
Deals prior to deadline day.
Bruce McGee: Again I am not sure if it’s salary cap issues or just one of those years, but nothing blockbuster happened. Maybe it is all salary concerns, I am not real sure on that.
G: In Canada, the trade-deadline day has almost become a National Holiday. While Canadians are generalized as all hockey fanatics, there is certainly some truth in that stereotype. The media has blown this day into one of madness and excitement, so when we got so very little movement on February 28th this year, the sports news people up here went into overdrive trying to explain it.
It’s not that big a deal, really. There were many big moves that occured a couple weeks prior the deadline which took most of the players that were going to be moved off the table. That’s the way I look at the results.
Armchair MVP: I think the earlier trades had everything to do with the decline in deadline day deals this season. A lot of the intrigue was taken out after the Leafs moved Francois Beauchemin and, more significantly, Tomas Kaberle. I think Kaberle was the biggest chip being dangled at this year’s deadline, and the fact that he got moved early reduced the possibility of any bidding wars for him. Which in turn reduced the amount of teams scrambling to make some sort of deal after losing out on him.
Al Creed: I have ALWAYS felt that Trade Deadline Day is one of the most overhyped events on the NHL Calendar. Since the Cap has been implemented, the era of Blockbuster Trades has waned. Sure, you get the occasional semi-big name moved, but other than that, it’s just a bunch of fine tuning for playoff-bound teams, and prep work for the shitty teams to rebuild.
ThinkSoJoE: It’s entirely possible – we didn’t see any huge names go to new teams this year, so I’d say it’s definitely plausible. I think more likely that the playoff races are so tight right now that many GMs were unwilling to make major changes for fear of throwing off team chemistry.
BaptisBlacktick:Over all though the “Trade Deadline ’11” lost it’s luster by building itself into a bigger monster than it is; Teams seem to be happy with what they have, weren’t going to make any dumb panic moves or maybe were hand-cuffed by so many of those stupid no trade clauses given out. Perhaps a bigger reason for the lack of trades is simply that the standings for both conferences show such a tight race as a result of parity that many GMs probably don’t want to mess up chemistry.
Here’s the two hits in question that altered the potentially most successful individual statistical year of former Timbit’s hockey legend.
Question 4: Love him or hate him, it is impossible to dismiss the calibre of player that is Sidney Crosby. Having been sidelined for about two months due to an unpenalized head shot by Washington Capitals forward David Steckel, and with no definitive timetable for his return, the NHL’s poster boy might be a deciding influence in the issue of headshots and concussions in the NHL. If you were a GM in the NHL, would this be a definitive factor to make a case for rule changes, specifically that of “Rule 48” over the summer? Why or why not?
Al Creed: First things first, I have to be honest and say that Crosby’s injury is a blessing in disguise, at least for any team that will face the Penguins in the playoffs. With Crosby possibly and Malkin definitely out, it makes for an easier mountain to climb. HOWEVER, I can guarantee that the NHL’s Poster Boy going out as a result of a headshot will directly result in Rule 48 becoming more strictly enforced.
ThinkSoJoE: Do we really need Crosby to be the catalyst for a rule change? There are too many plays like this happening. I like big hits – but I like clean hits. There’s no need for shots to the head.
Headshots are an ugly wart on the NHL and the Player’s Association, yet both have been reluctant pussies to this point. It would be sad that a poster boy being taken out by a head shot related concussion would be the catalyst required, but seriously those dumb fucks (I get right pissed when I think about the issue and the inaction so far) in the Ivory Tower and the NHLPA offices better do something about this issue, and start with automatic ten game suspensions for a first offense. Done. Never mind the grey area questions; Chara does it, gone for ten. 2nd offense? Mike Richards, you get 20. Third offense, 30 games. Twice in a season like Cooke or Gilles? Gone for the remainder of the season, or 44 games minimum or… or…or Tim Lyncecum and Doc Halliday get to throw fast balls at your useless shit filled skull, and we get to drink Caesars from Colon Campbell’s hollowed out head.
Bruce McGee: If I was a GM I would be concerned about all head shots and concussions players have taken. This being a star driven league I am sure if Sydney has to sit out any part of the playoffs it is going to be interesting. I fully expect to see some kind of rule change this summer. I am just hoping they don’t go to far. The game of hockey is rough and your not going to take away all head injuries with a change in rules.
G: We’ve discussed the issue of headshots, and the issue of concussions a number of times in the short run of this series. And that in itself is an indication that this problem is not going away. Fans and pundits debate where to draw the line, but there comes a time when the league needs to consider the impact of losing one of their poster boys. Crosby was on pace for a record season in points totals, and was easily the most exciting thing in the first half of the season. While we can’t know if these records would have been set if he remained healthy, this is just one reason people would be tuning in to watch the NHL.
Furthermore, Crosby is a huge draw for children to become interested in the sport. Not having him active due to dangerous checks to the head doesn’t bode well for the little fans who might want to try the sport, let alone concerned parents who foot the steep cost of playing hockey. If the league truly wants to grow the sport beyond their currently successful markets (and improve in those failing), they need to address what they’ve really lost here… not just the cost to the Penguins. What if Crosby doesn’t return to his previous form? What if he doesn’t return at all? They’ve potentially lost a generational player…
This doesn’t mean that Crosby’s mental health and well being is more important than any other player in the NHL, or the minors, and even more importantly the young men and women playing in the developmental levels. I want to make that clear.
So, if what happened to number 87 doesn’t force the hand of the league to take actions to change the game, I can’t think of what (or who) will. I expect the NHL to address this in the off-season, I really do. If nothing changes, consider this hockey fan’s mind blown.
Armchair MVP: Concussions will happen in hockey. No amount of rule changes is going to eliminate that possibility completely. Accidents will happen, guys will get hurt. That’s exactly what I think happened with the Steckel hit. I don’t think there was any intent to injure on the play.
I think that the NHL is doing all it can do. The only thing I would suggest is for the league to be more consistent when figuring out how long a suspension should be. But as long as Colin Campbell’s in charge of that, we all know how likely that is.
The outcome of this table hockey match will determine whether Bettman is replaced by Skynet or not.
Question 5: Earlier in February, the New Jersey Devils set up a state of the art social media center to effectively communicate with it’s team, staff and fans. In fact, this is an unprecedented move as it is described as the first in sports team history. Considering how often atheletes of all sports have found themselves in hot water misusing Twitter and facebook, is this a good move for teams to take to the internet? Is this going to set a standard for sports teams on a Global level? Would you, as a fan, be interested in seeing your team do something like this?
ThinkSoJoE: That’s actually kind of cool. It’s definitely a good way for teams to stay in touch with fans, but I don’t see the point. Sure, New Jersey has a state of the art Social Media Center – but I always know what’s going on with the Sabres anyway, either by facebook or through sabres.com, so why should the owners invest the money?
G: I think this is fantastic thing for hockey. Whether every team will have something similar in place immediately, I think is unlikely. However, I expect a number of social networking projects to begin to emerge in larger markets in professional sports. As opposed to fighting a losing battle with players using their Twitter and facebook accounts independently (and sometimes ignorant of the consequences), the Devil’s approach is clever. On a marketing level, New Jersey fans will have instant and easy access to their team’s ongoing daily lives, and in a way that can be monitored to not violate their privacy at the same time.
Armchair MVP: I would love to see this kind of thing happen all around the sports world. It’s a way to bring even more of the team experience to the armchair athlete sitting at home and watching the game. As long as the players or anyone else associated with the team doesn’t say anything ridiculously stupid, this will be a good move. And even if they do, it will give us all a good laugh at home.
Just to quickly touch on the Social Media Hub that the entire ticket buying fan base of the New Jersey Devils are hard at work at running, I don’t have an opinion. I think it’s good for the tech happy super fans, and the next generation of fans who will have these devices as socially mandatory implants, but for me, it’s just a god damned sport. Betting houses will be pissed, trained quality sports reporters like Stephen Brunt will just become opinion editorial guys as they probably won’t get the elusive scoop anymore, and Chachi bloggers in New Jersey will ruin the english language even more.
Al Creed: “Mission Control” is a very smart move for the Devils’ organization. In this day and age, EVERYTHING has a Facebook/Twitter account, and for the Devils to go a step beyond and put serious effort into their online presence is pretty damned smart. As long as there are some standards and practices to ensure no one does anything embarrassing (which I’m sure they will), it should work out well.
Bruce McGee: I have no clue, how long it is going to be before all teams recognize that social and digital media is here to stay, but the Devils are smart to get on board. While there has been issues with players across all sports being stupid with it, that is a small percentage compared to the players who use it smartly to connect with fans. Being an avid user of twitter, I hear a lot in the sports and industries I follow before it hits the internet and print media. You can bitch about digital all you want, but it is here to stay and is only going to get bigger. Might as well learn to use it to your advantage before it swallows you.
“Last Chance To Rant”
There’s probably some people wondering how I (being an Edmonton Oilers fan) could praise the moves of two division rivals in that of the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks. Oh no! God forbid! Listen, while my team is tanking this year… I’m never abandoning them. However, I really felt that the rival teams made some smart moves. They both look a lot better going do the stretch as a result. Plus, I’ve had the privilege of watching my team win 5 Stanley Cups in my life. I’d go so far as to say I’m spoiled as a fan. I can sit through a few years of sucking and rebuilding my club. Go Oilers!
I find it interesting how other sites on the internet rank undrafted players, as in who is the best. I did a little surfing before answering the second question in this installment of PUCK YOU! out of curiosity. I found a number of lists, but three in particular I felt were pretty well done. For those interested, here are three articles discussing the best undrafted players in the NHL currently and/or of all time:
Top 10 Undrafted NHL Players of All-Time
THW Top 15: Undrafted Players Currently in the NHL
Ranking the top 10 undrafted players in the NHL
Armchair MVP: I honestly don’t know whether to love or hate Pierre McGuire. It’s so unbearable listening to him speak, but it’s so fun to be on the lookout for any of his many, many stupid cliches. It gets to the point where it’s absolutely hilarious to hear him refer to a guy as a “momentum grinder workhorse”, with amazing gap control and active stick, or something similar. It even spawned an ever-growing Facebook group, Pierre McGuire Drinking Game. If you haven’t joined already, do it. I’ll wait.
I haven’t even got to the best/worst part yet. That would have to be the ridiculous level to which his man-crushes have developed. Watch a Flames/Canucks game for example, and listen for how many times he manages to sneak a reference to a Staal brother in there. Or Jonathan Toews. Mike Richards. Zach Parise’s a target at times as well. On the other hand, his passion for Dion Phaneuf seems to have cooled. So that’s good. Or bad. I don’t know anymore.
Mike Milbury once called him a soccer mom on air. Marty Turco made sure the camera caught him mocking McGuire behind his back as he was talking. On TSN, Gord Miller, the play-by-play guy, seems to grow more exasperated with him every passing day. And yet, I’m starting to enjoy the frequency with which he says something that is just head-explodingly stupid. I think that was a McGuireism. Is this normal?
ThinkSoJoE: Terry Pegula is my hero!
In closing I want to congratulate Jarome Iginla for being the tenth guy in NHL history to score 30 goals in ten seasons. He is a classy guy, great for the sport, defines hard work and peak performance and will finally, hopefully, catch a break with the home town crowd. Every year semi fans (bitchy whiners) always mention him in trade talks and how he needs to go to rebuild the team, or because he doesn’t click with team mates, or what ever. The guy is a lion and a I hope he retires a Flame with his name on the mug.
Until next time,
“Drop the Gloves”
Fighting is something that ice hockey is infamous for. Love it or hate it, it’s a part of the game. While the sport has evolved for the most part towards skilled players (who can fight) replacing goons (unless your name is Trevor Gillies). While the aforementioned New York Islander is pretty controversial right now, we’d think that no player on the Islanders is a better fighter than Rick “Don’t Breath On Him, He Might Break” Dipietro. And since we haven’t had an installment of PUCK YOU since this epic event, here is Brent Johnson of the Penguins destroying him:
GOALIE FIGHT! A little one sided?
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Al Creed’s comics dominate tongue and cheek humour here
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