Everyone ready for Trade Day?
Without TSN's star power, Sportsnet is going all Benny Hill cheese with their eight-hour Hockey Central Trading Day Hockey Bash. The e-vite promises pizza, Nick Kypreos, and horror of horrors, "Deal or No Deal" cheerleaders that presumably will be all jiggles and mid-riff, keeping things "fun," as it were (at least, that's the straight-out-of-1987 impression I got from the commercials). Since most of the big deals have already been made, one wonders whether confetti will still fall from the ceiling when Jody Shelley gets traded for a third round pick.
Probably the lamest thing, and a bit of an insult to hockey blogs everywhere, is the special guest appearance by the "Internet Insider" Eklund. Much has been written about this anonymous blogger, mostly about how he is never right about anything, ever, but it only makes him more credible to MSM somehow. I guess I don't care really, but here's some of Eklund's sure-fire Shoe-Ins of the Week from last year's trade deadline, many of them citing "inside" and "good" sources:
"Mark Recchi To Flyers"
"cujo to vancouver"
"BIRON TO LA"
First let me get this out of the way -- Dave Nonis must be able to phone sex the panties off of a nun the way he's making sensible deals lately (or at least, he's still coasting on the sexual afterglow of the Luongo trade). Some may poo poo the trend for UFA rentals, but more than ever it's a salary cap reality, so the trick is to minimize the price. The Canucks needed more offence in the playoffs (where has Morrison been all season?), picking up an aging-but-serviceable Blackhawks UFA Bryan Smolinksi for a conditional 2nd round pick, which doesn't seem like much of a gamble for Nonis. Likewise, the Canucks GM bolstered his blueline by picking up UFA Brent Sopel from L.A. for a 2nd and 4th round pick. Sopel is the dopey defenceman that Canucks fans love to hate, but you can never have too much defensive depth in the playoffs -- just ask the 2005-06 Buffalo Sabres.
CLB Anson Carter for CAR 5th round pick: Come on Columbus, that's all you can get? A fifth rounder? Huh? Hell, half of the kids in my high school were fifth round picks in the NHL draft. Anson Carter, with his slack defence and floating inability to create plays, still has a great shot and should of yielded a greater return for the Blue Jackets.
MTL Craig Rivet, 5th round pick for SJ Josh Gorges, 1st Round pick: Craig Rivet is what San Jose desperately needed, a savvy veteran defenceman that could add some grit and toughness on the blueline (we all remember the Sharks flaccid implosion last year against the Oilers), but geez what's with that first round pick thrown in there? I can understand if Doug Wilson doesn't see Josh Gorges being much more than a depth guy, but he's still pretty young for a defenceman. And Rivet is a UFA. Even if San Jose has first round picks to spare, it's a stiff price to pay. Remember when the Oilers were mocked for giving up a first rounder for Dwayne Roloson? Ha!
STL Keith Tkachuk for ATL 1st, 2nd, 3rd Round Pick, Glen Metropolit: Ridiculous. The way Atlanta has fallen apart in the last few weeks, I can see the Thrasher easily missing the playoffs. Tkachuk is, of course, a UFA at season's end, making this the biggest, dumbest gamble of trade week. Despite his penchant for not showing up in the playoffs, taking dumb penalties and generally being overweight, Tkachuk is still a solid player and gives the Thrashers a top-line centre that they need, but his point-a-game numbers are long behind him. You may make the playoffs, Atlanta GM Don Waddell, but at what cost? BUT AT WHAT COST?
Damn, trades are popping up like whack-a-moles now. More trade "analysis" later.