March 1, 2011

A murdered deadline

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

You could call it the trade dud-line the trade DEADline or whatever you wish, but whichever way you slice the NHL’s trading ceasefire commenced on Monday with little movement to speak of after some lofty expectations.

Look at recent deadlines and the kind of movement they produced:
-In the NBA, two superstars swapped sides and some contenders swapped bodies. It was a rousing day for anyone that followed it and it really came down to the wire.

-In European soccer, two top English rivals swapped a player for an astounding $50 million and we also saw a couple of records set in the process.

-Even at last season’s NHL deadline we saw a record-breaking amount of moves, with 55 trades completed on the final day.

But this year, we actually had more analysts appear on TSN than we saw trades be completed. Sixteen trades on Monday, 20 guys appearing on camera. If you were to put hash tags in blogs, this statement would be followed by a #tradedeadlinefail or even #epicfail.

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Hurting the deadline even further was the lack of a superstar even being in play. Brad Richards was rumoured to be on the move, but is even a star? Well technically he’s a Dallas Star, but that’s just semantics. He’s also currently out with a concussion, so would you risk dealing for him?

The biggest name player to move was Dustin Penner, but that depends on how you feel about a 36-year-old journeyman centre (Jason Arnott) and a puck-moving defenceman with 33 points and a minus-26 (Dennis Wideman). Many will say that Penner is playoff-tough, having won the Cup before with Anaheim, but his production is down for last season’s breakout campaign and he’s only on pace to net 50 points this season.

I obviously can’t rip a league for not having more deals on one of their supposed marquee media coverage days, but I can rip the two networks that went Super Bowl pregame big on Monday. Both TSN and Sportsnet had studio coverage for up to 10 hours, starting at 8 a.m. This would have been completely unnecessary if there had been a record number of moves and stars changing places.

TSN had 11 men in studio alone plus their call-in correspondents, can you say overkill? At one point, because the deadline was so bloody dull, there was a rousing discussion over who would be on Team Canada’s 2014 Olympics squad. I must have missed the part where the NHL agreed to send players to Sochi.

Hopefully next year we’ll see the networks trim back and avoid some embarrassment. This was simply way too much.

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