March 4, 2010

What a dead-line

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

“Dead”-line, dud-line. Call it what you want but one thing was clear on Wednesday: There was no way in hell that TSN and Rogers Sportsnet should have devoted eight-hour chunks of their schedules to devote to the NHL’s trade deadline. Say what you want about the number of trades made or the number of players moved – both records – but there were no blockbusters or even good-to-great caliber players that were dealt.

Look at it this way: When Wojtek Wolski was the best player moved on deadline day; maybe it wasn’t such a big day of moves. Wolski, and his alleged poor attitude, was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes while the Avalanche picked up sophomore slumping Peter Mueller and prospect Kevin Porter. The Coyotes get some instant offence and the Avs get a reclamation project that maybe needed a change of scenery after this past summer’s debacle in the desert. For once, two teams actually made a sports deal as opposed to a deal to make some money.

If I’m an NHL owner right now, I am pissed off at the Phoenix Coyotes and the people running the league. While Phoenix looked to get better on paper, they got worse on the balance sheet, taking on an extra $5 million in salary. Now, with the league owning the team as it hangs in limbo until their prospective owner buys it, every other owner in the league is on the hook for a portion of the Coyotes. How could Gary Bettman be so short-sighted to allow the Coyotes to be buyers when they’re under the league’s management umbrella. This just goes to show – again – how incompetent Bettman really is.

Want another example of how quality-poor this deadline was? Lubomir Visnovsky was arguably the best defenceman dealt. Being sent from Edmonton to Anaheim is a nice change in climate, but both teams are destined to miss the playoffs. At least he’ll be able to summer on the beach instead of in Alberta.

This may have happened the night before the deadline, but Alexei Ponikarovsky was able to escape the Toronto Maple Leafs. After dealing him to the Penguins to give them some size on the second line, the Leafs now have a serious lack of depth at forward. Seriously, after Phil Kessel, the Leafs don’t have another player who could crack a playoff contender’s top-six. Good thing they’ll have a lottery pick this season to rebuild… oh yeah, they dealt their first-round pick for Kessel.

Martin Skoula ended up being a Maple Leaf in name only. Only ours after he was dealt to Toronto in the Ponikarovsky deal, he was repackaged to the Devils for a fifth round pick. It’s too bad that the Leafs didn’t keep him; that team could seriously use someone who is used to winning and could bring that attitude to them.

Vesa Toskala was dealt for the second time in weeks, being sent to the Calgary Flames. Word around the campfire is that the Flames don’t think that Miikka Kiprusoff can’t handle playing 70 games any more, because, you know, he’s not Martin Brodeur. Toskala is more than capable of being a good backup now that he’s out of the pressure cooker environment of the Toronto dressing room.

Speaking of former Leafs goalies, you have to feel really bad for Aaron Ward. It’s not exactly an ego boost when you’re traded for Justin Pogge. Pogge was once thought to be the future of Leafs goaltending and was even kept instead of Tuukka Rask in Toronto’s deal for Andrew Raycroft. Now, Pogge has struggled at the AHL level and was sent down to the ECHL. He’s hot exactly a blue chip prospect any more.

1 Comment

  1. Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)

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