Apparently, yesterday was the trade deadline in the NHL. Not the first trade deadline mind you, that occurred pre-Olympics, but the second deadline. I know this only because Work Jerry told me. To which I said, "OK hockey boy, why don't you sum up all the trade goodness for the loyal reader of G:TB." Much to my surprise, he took time away from his beer blog and newborn twins to actually write something. And in the rarest of occurrences, we discuss hockey today in this corner of the internet (warning...this blurb was sent to me with one comment only - "it's longer than a Whitney music review"):
You were probably too busy recovering from your Olympic hockey hangover to notice that yesterday, when the clock struck 3pm, the NHL trade deadline passed. As usual there were winners and losers but mostly losers. Anaheim and Calgary swapped backup goaltenders - that’s awful.
While most of the deals were a waste of time a few teams showed a sense of purpose at the deadline and made good deals. Of course, just because you get better doesn’t mean you will have more success. The teams below made the best deals of the day so we will loosely call them the “winners.”
Winners – Sort of
Pittsburgh Penguins – they gave up Martin Skoula and prospect Luca Caputi but the Pens are a young team so maybe that makes Caputi expendable to acquire Alexei Pnokarovsky. This gives Pittsburgh an upgrade in their top 6 forwards making a scary team scarier. The obvious question is did Pittsburgh really need to upgrade its offense? Sorry Caps fans but the Eastern Conference still goes through Pittsburgh.
Buffalo Sabres – acquired Raffe Torres from Columbus for Nathan Paestch. It’s probably better that Paestch got traded because he never really cracked the starting lineup. Buffalo’s front six forwards are soft so Torres brings toughness and 20+ goals so it was a good trade. That leaves four forwards and two defensemen that could or should have been dealt. Even with Torres the Sabres are still far behind the likes of Pittsburgh, Washington, New Jersey.
Washington Capitals – picked up defenseman Joe Corvo, which the team sorely needs, but gave up a lot to get him. Particularly Oskar Osala. Sure, Hershey is stacked but Osala has quite an upside. Let’s not also forget that G is still an issue for Washington. Their current roster is good enough for repeat visits to the Conference Finals but they don’t have the necessary skills between the pipes to compete with top quality goaltending. They certainly don’t have enough to bring home the Cup. Frankly, the Detroit Redwings were the only team to win a Cup with average G when they relied on Chris Osgood.
Edmonton Oilers – the Oilers were busy leading up to the deadline but it’s their last deal that helps them most. Acquiring Ray Whitney from Anaheim for Lubomir Visnovsky may be one of those rare trades that helps all parties. Whitney is a good defenseman who struggled in Anahiem so a change of scenery might do him well. Let’s not discount the trouble Edmonton has in attracting quality players. Free agents shun the city so acquiring Whitney, who has a lot of upside, could be a long-term winner for the team. Oh, and Visnovsky is an obvious upgrade for Anaheim.
West Coast teams – because nobody pays attention to them anyway. Actually, you could say most of the Western Conference.
Washington Capitals Announcers – please stop coming up with clever new names for hockey terms. It is bad enough we lost the unique division names (Adams, Norris, etc). Every time we try to watch the Caps it’s the sin bin (penalty box) or the cage (goal) or a twig (hockey stick). Sin bin is almost offensive and nobody uses wood sticks anymore.
"We talked to a lot of people about lots of things, not necessarily about that, but just nothing made sense. It takes two to tango. Sometimes you want to do something and they don't, and sometimes they want too much and that's why deals don't get made.
- Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman to ESPN.com on Wednesday evening.
This is a classic line for GMs who didn’t bother to make a quality trade to improve a team that is just a player or two short of greatness. In fact, as a Sabres fan we would appreciate it if Mr. Bowman acknowledges that this quote was practically invented by Darcy Regier.