Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Start the Playoffs without me!

We will have to play a little catchup on the blog when it comes to this years Stanley Cup Playoffs, as we will be away from our post for the next ten days.

Upon our return, we'll try and pick up the theme of the first round of the Stanley Cup, hopefully with all of the series still a going concern with many of the match ups going to their full seven games.

Enjoy the games, playoff hockey and the first round in particular always seem to offer up the most emotion and some of the best in excitement.

For those with a favourite team still playing hockey in April (for Canadians there's but Les Canadiens this year, making wide swaths of the land perhaps free agents this Spring) good luck, we hope that your squad goes the distance.

For those of us who said our farewells to the playoffs in late March or early April, the Stanley Cup ritual may be a little different this time around, who knows we may find a new default time by the time June rolls around.

We're taking a few shifts off... but we're not leaving the game.

Back to work on the 25th, maybe sooner if the traffic is clear.


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

In Vancouver, it's Mr. Gillis that is sent to the stage coach first


.
 
.

With their Stanley Cup dreams officially dashed on Monday evening and the singing of the crowd (such as it was by the time the game ended) still no doubt ringing in the ears of the Aquilini's, the Vancouver ownership made their first move towards the future on Tuesday.

Dismissing Mike Gillis as General Manager and setting in motion a day long festival of rumours, with many participants offering up their view as to what the new plan will be by the time that Francesco Aquilini  holds his press conference on Wednesday morning at 10:30 Vancouver time.

The Canucks an under-performing team in the second half of the NHL season, spiralled out of the playoff hunt it seems back in January. Destined now to play out the schedule through to the weekend, most likely with a wary eye as to what is going to happen next in the gong show that they have become in 2014.

Gillis became the first casualty of a horrid year, the the guy that renovated a team that came one win from a Stanley Cup championship just a few years ago, but now could not scrape their way into the last playoff position with the simple ability of a timely winning streak.

Handed over a team built by Brian Burke and Dave Nonis, the Canucks ruled the West in subsequent seasons, Rogers Arena a place where opposing teams once knew a hard night was at hand.

Through this year, the stopover in Vancouver for the most part had become an R and R port call, particularly for the juggernauts of California, where the playoff hockey will be a featured presentation through the spring.

The Mike Gillis era was one that provided for questionable trades, lengthy contracts and a Goaltenders soap opera that in the end sent both of the team's Blue chip goaltenders to different teams, both leaving with few tangible returns coming back to the Canucks.

Three moments this season provided the exclamation marks on the year, the John Tortorella meltdown with the Flames, that sent him to exile for an extended period of time and started the slide to irrelevance that the season became.  That obviously was not a Gillis issue, but one that the coach was solely responsible for.

The second key moment, the benching of Roberto Luongo in the much ballyhooed Heritage Classic, the first signal of the fans discontent raining down on the Canucks from the expanse of BC Place.

Whether that was a Gillis decision or a Tortorella one, the fans volume was the warning shot that this year was entering a dangerous phase.

The trade of Luongo to Florida only added to the pitch of the anger. Not so much that Luongo was gone, for most suspected it was coming, but more to the way that the whole mess had been handled and that was all on the Gillis watch.

The final mis-calculation if you will, when Gillis appeared on a Vancouver radio station and effectively threw his coach under the stage coach, seemingly daring the owners to make a decision, as to who would stay and who would go.

And while Mr. Tortorella may not yet be safe (though there are a few million reasons for him to have another season, all of them in Canadian currency) Mr. Gillis wasn't, terminated the day before the season ticket holders have to make their decision to renew.

The dismissal of Gillis a sacrifice to the Hockey Gods of British Columbia, the move on Tuesday an answer to the public relations disaster that Canucks hockey has become.

Where they go for 2014-15 perhaps will be explained more fully in the Wednesday morning Aquilini press conference, the consensus on a late Tuesday evening is that the first stage is the re-emergence of Trevor Linden into the Canucks corporate fold.

With any number of roles being suggested as where Linden will be slotted into the rebranding exercise.

As for the product on the ice, no trade contracts, lengthy contract lengths and a coach who just signed on all will greet whomever the Canucks decide on to take over the pivotal role of General Manager.

The Gillis blue print was one that had to be approved by the owners, it was a foundation plan that clearly has now left the Canucks in a huge bind.  The first job of the next aspirant to the job will be to rebuild, a challenging job to begin with, let alone with the number of land mines left from the old regime to deal with.

There are many unanswered questions of this season.

The Tortorella hiring, while a burst of energy in September, has proven to be a puzzling fit for the team he was given. One imagines if he's to remain as coach, the players that fit his style will have to be brought in.

The inability of Gillis to get much value out of the majority of his trades and his botched handling of the two top goaltenders all leave the impression of the sense that perhaps the owners may have been offering too much interference for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

All are issues that need to be addressed, things that any prospective GM's will no doubt be giving much thought towards.

How the Aquilini's are going to sell their vision to any would be GM is going to be key to the future for their investment, tis a mess, but the owners have no one to blame but themselves.

Accountability has been in short supply in Vancouver all year, players, coaches, General Managers and  most importantly owners. The time for someone to step up and say this is on me has arrived in Vancouver.

Over to you Mr. Aquilini.

Vancouver Sun-- Canucks fire President and GM Mike Gillis
Vancouver Sun-- Mike Gillis made some major moves for Canucks
Vancouver Sun-- It's time for Trevor Linden to come in from the cold
Vancouver Sun-- Trevor Linden, Bob Nicholson top candidates to head Canucks
Vancouver Province-- This is now on the Aquilinis
Vancouver Province-- Canucks owners had to stop the bleeding by firing Gillis, experts say
Vancouver Province-- Naslund could be coming back to Vancouver
Vancouver Province-- Trevor Linden likely a Canuck again
Vancouver Province-- Tortorella plugs his ears and soldiers on
Vancouver Province-- The mob howls and Gillis is lynched
Vancouver Province-- Feaster's famine: Torts' buddy hungry to get back into GM's role
Vancouver Province-- Linden-as-president would have cachet in this market, but Linden keeping Tortorella here would keep this disaster rolling
Georgia Straight-- Vancouver Canucks fire president and GM Mike Gillis
24 Hours Vancouver-- Canucks fans got their wish with Mike Gillis firing
24 Hours Vancouver-- Canucks fire president and GM Mike Gillis, rumoured to be bringing in Trevor Linden
National Post-- Mike Gillis fired as Vancouver Canucks GM after team eliminated from playoff contention
Globe and Mail-- Canucks dump Gillis after six years at the helm
Gobe and Mail-- Why Mike Gillis deserved to be fired
Sportsnet-- Vancouver Canucks fire GM Gillis
Sportsnet-- Canucks ownership needs to step aside
TSN-- Canucks relieve Gillis of President and GM duties
CBC-- Mike Gillis deserved to be fired after Canucks imploded
CBC-- Canucks fire General Manager Mike Gillis

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Headlines of April


Our Archive of Headlines for April

April 15-- Florida Panthers win NHL draft lottery as Buffalo Sabres drop to No. 2
April 14-- With Toronto Maple Leafs' hiring of Brendan Shanahan, MLSE truly becomes Tim Leiweke's organization
April 13-- Canucks 5 Flames 1: Season ends on sad note as Daniel Sedin stretchered off ice
April 12--  "It was an awesome experience": Oilers' 5-2 win over Canucks marks end of Smyth career
April 11-- New Canucks president Trevor Linden has inherited a fine mess in Vancouver
April 10-- Brendan Shanahan to be named president of Maple Leafs
April 9-- Trevor Linden handed keys to Canucks kingdom as new President
April 8-- Canucks fire President and GM Mike Gillis
April 7-- Ducks officially eliminate Canucks, 3-0
April 6-- Blues lose again, this time to Chicago
April 5-- Leafs can kiss playoffs goodbye after loss in final home game
April 4-- Hockey Canada President, CEO Bob Nicholson wants legacy to be about "kids playing the game"
April 3-- San Jose Sharks edge Los Angeles Kings in possible playoff matchup
April 2-- Toronto Maple Leafs need to give coach Randy Carlyle more time
April 1-- Ottawa Senators keep playoff hopes alive with win over Carolina Hurricanes

Playoff bound Vigneault makes return to Vancouver

Tonight's match up between the Canucks and Rangers offers up one of those ironic bits of timing that the Vancouver front office and ownership could probably have done without.

As the Canucks slide further and further out of contention for a playoff spot in the West, the opposing team's coach arrives in town looking ahead perhaps to how his team will navigate the NHL East looking for a placement in the Stanley Cup Final come June.

The reception for Vigneault will be an interesting thing tonight as the Rangers take to the Rogers Arena ice, it was under his stewardship that Vancouver came as close they may ever get to a Stanley Cup parade for the foreseeable future.

The suggestions of last year that the Canucks had become too complacent, too predictable on the ice, something that fans probably can only wish for now, such has been the implosion of the team in the last season.

That's not to hang all the problems of the team on the head coach, he clearly hasn't been helped out by his bosses, who have made some choices this year that clearly haven't provide John Tortorella with the kind of team he is comfortable with.

The team he inherited in September, was very much Alain Vigneault's team, built through the years to the kind of game he wanted his squad to play, a style obviously a little different than what his replacement would find familiar.

The bottom line for the former coach is he has some hockey to play later this month, while his former team has a lot to think about as to where they wish to be when the next season comes around.

Right now, which team do you think that Vigneault wants to be a part of?

Considering the attention that the Vancouver media is putting on tonight's game, you get the feeling that they had this date circled on the calendar for a while now.

Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver clings to faint playoff hopes as road warrior Rangers come calling
Vancouver Sun-- As Canucks fall, Rangers on the rise
Vancouver Sun-- How will Vancouver hockey fans greet Alain Vigneault?
Vancouver Sun-- Comparing John Tortorella, Alain Vigneault
Vancouver Province-- Burrows affirms bond with Vigneault
Vancouver Province-- Alain Vigneault says key to success is adapting style of play to team you've
Global BC-- Alain Vigneault back in Vancouver
Canada.com-- Tortorella on Vigneault's return to Vancouver: "We're losing games so I'm the idiot"
MetroNews-- Alain Vigneault all business in second return to Vancouver, as Rangers prepare to face Canucks
CBC-- Alain Vigneault returns to face Canucks in Vancouver
TSN-- Vigneault returns to Vancouver as Rangers face Canucks on TSN

Not to be left out, the New York media has some thoughts from a different perspective, anxious to chime in on their potential reunion with the Rangers old coach as well.

New York Daily News-- Alain Vigneault has NY Rangers rolling while John Tortorella is on hot seat with Canucks
Newsday-- John Tortorella true to form in assessing 'swap' for Alain Vigneault 
New York Post-- Good chance Tortorella gets fired after this season

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Something a little more important than a game...

The scariest of scenarios played out in the early minutes of Monday's Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets game, as Stars forward Rich Peverly collapsed on the Dallas bench, launching a frantic bid by medical staff to stabilize him and then have him taken to hospital.

Play came to a standstill as the Stars rapidly exited their bench, allowing for space for those who had turned their attention to Peverly, who suffered what has been called a cardiac event. Once his condition had been stabilized, he was loaded onto an ambulance gurney and transported for further care.

The lingering effect of the incident leaving the the Stars to advise the NHL that they did not believe that the game should continue on.

A request that to their credit, the Columbus Blue Jackets fully understood. The NHL made the decision to postpone the game at the 6:23 mark of the first period, with word that it would be finished at a date yet to be announced.

The prognosis finally delivered a bit of positive news, with word that Peverly had responded to treatment and would remain in hospital to seek further treatment.

The Stars forward has a  pre-existing cardiac condition that has been treated through the season for it. He had recently complained of ill health and sat out a number of Stars games.

Stars officials offered some background on the incident and briefed the media following he incident to provide an update on his condition.



What his status will be moving forward this NHL season and for his career for that matter, will no doubt be a subject of consultation between Mr. Peverly and his doctors and team officials.

Hockey has of course been his focus, no doubt since his earliest of playing days. Still, there are larger considerations for a young man than sports, attention to his health will and should be the only thing on  his mind in the weeks to come.

As word began to spread that Peverly was fine and resting in hospital a flood of best wishes began to flow his way, from NHL players and teams and from other leagues as well, all wishing him a speedy recover from the scare of the early evening.

Some of the coverage of the moment that struck a fair amount of fear for all involved with hockey can be found below:

Dallas Morning News-- Stars doctors explain what happened to Rich Peverly after collapse on Dallas bench, give update on condition
Dallas Morning News-- Rich Peverly's health scare offers reminder of what should really be celebrated in sports
Dallas Morning News-- Stars game vs. Columbus Monday is postponed after Rich Peverly collapses on bench
Dallas Morning News-- Blue Jackets president: Stars 'shaken to the core' after Rich Peverly collapsed
Dallas Star-Telegram-- Peverly collapses on bench; Stars game postponed
Globe and Mail-- Stars' Rich Peverly collapses on bench, game postponed
National Post-- Dallas Stars' Rich Peverly collapses on bench, game against Columbus postponed
USA Today-- Rich Peverly collapses on Stars' bench
Boston.com-- NHL shows heartwarming support for Rich Peverly
ESPN-- NHL absolutely right to postpone game

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Trade Deadline 2014: Tick, Tock, you're OFF the clock -- Segment Five, After the horn

As the buzzer sounds, a number of high profile names have not been delivered to new teams.

The two of the most high profiles that of Ryan Kesler, Thomas Vanek still with their respective teams, though cautionary tones continue that something may have been arranged as the deadline came and passed.


TSN opens up the post deadline hour with a quick synopsis of who is left on their Trade Bait board and then turn their attention towards the Maple Leafs who were rather quiet on Deadline Day.

As word begins to filter out the post deadline announcements included:

TRADE ALERT
3:10 PM ET /12:10 PM PT
Raphael Diaz is Broadway bound as the Rangers and Canucks swing a deal, Vancouver picking up a 5th round pick in exchange. ( NHL Trade Alert )

TRADE ALERT
3:12 PM ET / 12:12 PM PT
The Flames pick up a draft pick from Colorado as Goaltender Reto Berra heads to the Avalanche (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
3:15 PM ET / 12:15 PM PT
The Red Wings and Nashville Predators make a move, with David Legwand off to the Motor City. Going Nashville way are Patrick Eaves, Calle Jamkrok and a conditional 3rd round pick in the 2014 draft (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
3:17 PM ET /12:17 PM PT
The Thomas Vanek watch comes to an end, as Montreal picks him up from the New York Islanders, the Islanders receive prospect Sebastien Colberg in return. (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
3:22 PM ET / 3:22 PM PT
Minnesota continues to make some moves, adding forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the lineup, sending Torrey Mitchell and other considerations to Buffalo. (NHL Trade Alert)

The first of the parade of the General Manager's begins, with Dave Nonis appearing at a press conference to outline why the Leafs made no moves on Deadline day. Nonis observes that there wasn't a lot available today, with some indications that more movement will come in the league in June. Both Sportsnet and TSN cover the event as though they are receiving a papal encyclical.

TRADE ALERT
3:35 PM ET / 12:35 PM PT
He hardly had time to get measured for a mask, Jaroslav Halak is off to Washington as Buffalo makes another move. (NHL Trade Alert)

Ah those are some nice optics Mike.. Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis holds his presser from the golf course, which of course will provide every media outlet in Vancouver with a backdrop for the rest of the regular season. As for content, Gillis doesn't go into specifics into the Deadline day dynamics, with little information on whether Ryan Kesler was ever close to being traded today.

Sportsnet shifts to the Canucks practice session, where they engage in a lively game of read the body language as Ryan Kesler skates around the rink.

Next up on our travelogue, TSN takes us to Calgary, where Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray (nowhere near a golf course we might add) outlines his thoughts on the moves Ottawa made today and how he saw the deadline shopping options on the day. Apparently holding his conference from a room at a Calgary Motel 6.

To Winnipeg TSN takes us next, as Kevin Chevaldayoff outlines the deadline day workload for the Jets, which didn't provide for anything on the trading floor, but did secure Mark Stuart to a four year extension.

Over on Sportsnet, Thomas Vanek offers up his reactions to the much anticipated move, with Montreal winning the Vanek sweepstakes. Following the Vanek discussion it's another look in to the Vancouver practice in Phoenix, where everyone it seems wants to give Ryan Kesler a hug. From there some discussion on whether the newest BC drama "What about Ryan" will continue through the rest of the season or if it goes into hibernation until the Amateur Draft of June.

And as if on cue to send the Canuck's fan base into a collective scream, Sportsnet takes us to Florida. Where the Panthers are holding a press conference, where hello there Lou, Roberto Luongo outlines his excitement at rejoining the Panthers. Luongo makes mention of the new Florida ownership, his agent's work in making the return possible and that this isn't the start of his sunset years, he wants to help make the Panthers competitive.


TRADE ALERT
4:05 PM ET / 1:05 PM PT
Anaheim and Ottawa announce a deal that sees Andre Petersson head for California, while Alex Grant heads for the Senators. (NHL Trade Alert)

TSN takes us back to the cross Canada tour, with Edmonton's Craig MacTavish outlining the day that the Oilers had, with a few deals made and where he sees the Oilers heading as the remainder of the season moves forward.  He touched on the nature of the Hemsky trade and how whichever team made the best bid (Ottawa as it turned out) was getting pretty good talent that could make the difference. MacTavish also revealed some of the discussions between he and Ryan Smith regarding the deadline and how talks between the Oilers and other teams.

The tour of the GM's moves on to Florida, with Steve Yzerman holding a press conference to reflect on the biggest deal of the day, which saw the Lightning send Martin St. Louis to the Rangers, with Ryan Callahan joining Tampa for the push towards the Stanley Cup playoffs.

TRADE ALERT
4:52 PM ET / 1:52 PM PT
The Flames make a last, last, last second trade, with the Penguins picking up Lee Stempniak from Calgary, in return the Flames receive a third round pick. (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
5:10 PM ET / 2:10 PM PT
One late to the announcement party deal gets relayed, with word that Tampa Bay made a minor deal to bring their day to an end. With Jonathan Marchessault and Dalton Smith going to Columbus, in return the Blue Jackets send Matt Taormina and Dana Tyrell to the Lightning (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
5:50 PM ET / 2:50 PM PT
An unusual trade comes in under the wire, with the LA Kings and San Jose Sharks making a rare exchange of players.  With Los Angles acquiring James Livingston from the Sharks, with a Conditional 7th Round pick in 2016 destined for San Jose. (NHL Trade Alert)

Trade Deadline 2014: Tick, Tock you're on the Clock -- Segment Four, The Final Hour

Sixty minutes, that's what remains for NHL GM's to wheel and deal, and for fans to shriek or squeal.

With a few big names making a move in the previous hours, the final hour of draft day still has much to deliver in the way of a flurry of trading activity.

As we cross over the hour into the home stretch, TSN is taking a peek at Paul Maurice's game day skate conference, with his update on the injury status of Mark Scheifele, Sportsnet in the mean time is still working the Canucks theme.

TSN moves on to the Canucks as well, exploring whether Vancouver has thrown in the towel for the season and launched the rebuilding campaign. All eyes await the name of Ryan Kesler to cross their portable devices, the one tantalizing offering that the Canucks have to offer.

Another Ryan pops onto the TV screens as TSN takes a moment to learn what Ryan Callahan thinks of today's trade that brings him to Tampa in exchange for Martin St. Louis.

TSN shifts to a short conversation with Matt Frattin now Columbus bound after a trade for Marian Gaborik today, with Gaborik now Hollywood bound.

Pierre McGuire makes a solid case for the Penguins making a bid for Kesler in Vancouver, reminding eastern conference fans, that any path for Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup runs through Boston with depth at centre something Pittsburgh could use.

TRADE ALERT
2:20 PM ET /11:20 AM PT
Edmonton swings another deal with Nick Shultz Columbus bound,  with Edmonton to receive a 5th round draft pick in return. (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
2:25 PM ET / 11:25 AM PT
No need for anyone to bring a tire pump to Florida's next game day skate, the Panthers trade Tim Thomas to the Dallas Stars, with goal tender Dan Ellis on his way to join Roberto Luongo in Florida . A move by the Panthers that pretty well everyone saw coming about mid afternoon yesterday. (NHL Trade Alert)

TSN's panel reviews the Dallas/Florida deal, providing a seal of approval on the move (even if as they report Thomas reportedly not very happy with the trade). They suggest that he's a very good fit for Dallas and could provide the push the Stars need to make some noise in a playoff run.

TRADE ALERT
2:40 PM ET /11:40 AM ET
Reports have the Bruins picking up Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers, a move with would deliver the Bruins another defenceman who once played on the Ottawa Senators blue line. Flyers receive a third round pick in return. (NHL Trade Alert)

TSN watching the clock, reminds viewers to hold on once the horn sounds, as some trades in the pipeline take up to half an hour to filter out.

TSN then turns to Marian Gaborik for a quick check in on his thoughts on his trade to Los Angeles.

Sportsnet's Strategy Room outlines the tension of the final minutes of the trade deadline, with a nod that some deals are probably in the works and yet to be confirmed, though for those teams that haven't had much success through the day, the final minutes offer up nervous moments as they seek to make a last minute move.

The frantic rumours of a Kesler move gets a review from the Sportsnet Insiders, with their suggestion is that any deal, the most recent destination was Pittsburgh, may not happen. They also express surprise that Mike Cammalleri has not been moved.

And the buzzer sounds... we await the last minute updates.


Trade Deadline 2014: Tick, Tock, you're on the Clock -- Segment Three

Noon  - 2 PM ET
9 AM - 11 AM PT

The first trade of the day under their belts, Sportsnet and TSN look to the next three hours for some wheeling and dealing to come.

While we wait for the deal makers and deal breakers to be reviewed, a word from the waiver wire, where Sportsnet reviews the travels of Cory Conacher, claimed by Buffalo while all the trade speculation of the day boils up.

James Duthie enters the Lions den, with an interview with Brian Burke, who outlines that nothing is percolating in Calgary at this moment. And while Burke suggests that somewhere today the TSN panel will have something to discuss, but as for Calgary "he's not rushing to answer the telephone right now"

Gord Miller opens up discussion with the Trade Breakers, asking who is coming off the trading block, with Pierre Le Brun advising that you can scratch Chris Phillips off the list of those that could move, Ottawa signing him to an extension,  removing any speculation that they would move him from the only team he's ever known in the NHL.

TSN's Trade Breakers panel looks at where the goal scorers may land by the time all is said and done, with Edmonton looking to send Ales Hemsky to the Senators.

Sportsnet has picked up the theme of Hemsky to Ottawa, suggesting that for the most part the trade would be a rental by the Senators, one that they hope will provide a boost for Jason Spezza's output. The panel weighs in that the problems in Ottawa are more along the lines of keeping the puck out of the net and that they should be looking for a defenseman.

TRADE ALERT
12:20 PM ET/9:20 AM PT
The second trade of the day gains confirmation from Sportsent, that of Alex Hemsky shifting to the east and joining the Senators in exchange for draft picks. (NHL Trade Alert)

Sportsnet after reviewing some of the aspects of the Senators - Oilers deal return to the speculation on the fate of Tim Thomas in Florida, floating the prospect that a deal may be in the works that would see Thomas heading towards the Dallas Stars.

TSN floats the prospect of a deal percolating between the Sabres and the Kings. Brayden McNabb the Buffalo name in play for two prospects.

TSN also sends alarm bells a ringing in Montreal, with word that the Habs have acquired Devan Dubnyk from Nashville, an insurance policy it would appear and an indication that Carey Price's injury may keep him out of action longer than originally anticipated.

TRADE ALERT
12:45 AM ET/9:45 PT
TSN expresses confidence that Brayden McNabb is on the move to Los Angeles along with Jonathan Parker, with the Kings also receiving a pair of second round picks heading to Buffalo is Hudson Fasching, along with Nick Deslauriers. (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
12:50 PM ET / 9:50 AM PT
Red Alert, Red Alert Montreal, TSN again with certainty reports that Devan Dubnyk has been picked up by the Montreal Canadiens, raising concerns over the injury status of Carey Price,  the Predators will receive future considerations in return. (NHL Trade Alert)

Into the final two hours we go, with the TSN group looking (hoping) that some of the fast paced trade calls are set to take place.

Sportsnet  offers up the trade day by collectibles, an interesting take on the day's developments as they share some photos provided by their audience.

Borrowing from Jimmy Kimmel, Sportsnet reviews some of the Mean tweets they have received of late. Looking to add to the volume of angry tweets, Sportsnet returns to their  Strategy Room panel with PJ Stock ready to provide the incentive for viewers to take to twitter.

From the Strategy room a couple of quick hits first to Edmonton and an interview with Ales Hemsky who shares his thoughts on leaving Edmonton, then they make contact with Devan Dubnyk who still is trying to process his latest destination of Montreal.

TRADE ALERT
1:20 PM ET / 10:20 AM PT
TSN decides to declare the Marian Gabork trade to Los Angeles as complete, Sportsnet also quick to relay the terms with Matt Frattin and two conditional picks the cost for the Kings for their acquisition. A bit of discussion follows on how he will fit in with Darryl Sutter's plans and where he may find himself as part of the Kings lineup. (NHL Trade Alert)

With word of the Gabork trade complete, TSN grabs a few moments with Ales Hemsky who reflects on his time in Edmonton and what may be ahead with Ottawa.

TSN seeks out some thoughts from Detroit's Ken Holland, who outlines that the draft day dynamics for the Red Wings could change once they learn more about the injury status of Darren Helm who was injured in Tuesday night's game. Holland indicates that they have playoff ambitions and that some of their injured players may return in time for after the first round.


Sportsnet checks in with Denis Potvin, who reviews the pick up of Hemsky and how it may finally give Paul MacLean two key lines to generate offence for the stretch drive.

TRADE ALERT
1:45 PM ET / 10:45 AM PT
Sportsnet reports that Pittsburgh has picked up Marcel Goc in exchange for two draft picks heading towards Florida. A move that adds a bit more offence to the Penguins attack and should start up some conversations on what the Flyers may do to match it. Sportsnet was quick to get Goc on the phone to get some feedback from him on the shift to Pennsylvania (NHL Trade Alert)

TRADE ALERT
1:50 PM / 9:50 AM PT
TSN delivers word of a trade between New Jersey and Carolina, and no, Martin Brodeur is not on the move. Instead, Tuomo Ruutu joins the Devils, with Andrei Lokitonov Carolina bound with the Hurricanes also picking up a conditional 3rd round pick in 2017. (NHL Trade Alert)

As TSN tries to recreate Ellen DeGeneres's moment from the Oscars, we click over to Sportsnet where they are wrapping up their discussion on the Ruutu move and then turn their attention towards the Canucks and what plans Mike Gillis may have for the final hour of the deadline

Trade Deadline 2014: Tick, Tock you're on the Clock -- Segment Two

10 AM - Noon ET
7 AM - 9 AM PT

We enter the middle innings of the trade marathon hours, where rumours begin to boil over on the stove while television hosts anxiously glance at their twitter feeds and instant message services hoping that something pops up to deliver them their scoop of the day.

TSN starts off the hour with an interview with Kevin Cheveldayoff, who provides an update on the status of Mark Scheifele and then reviews some of the options of the day for the Jets.

TSN turns its attention to Martin Brodeur and the prospect of his departure from New Jersey, Dave Hodge and the Reporters panel outline some of the factors of the possible end of his times in Jersey and where he may go, if anywhere. With the panel checking off the options for a goaltender in his golden years, seemingly but a few.

Ooooh, Ooooh, we didn't miss the Bryzy musical tribute after all, Bryzy in the land of Bears... only thing worse than a trade to Minnesota would have been one to the .... Bruins!!!

TSN's James Duthie gets the get so far, with a conversation with Roberto Luongo, reviewing the developments of yesterday, what Luongo made of it all and where he sees the future of the Panthers moving forward.

With the Luongo interview over we switch over to see what's up over at Sportsnet...

Arriving as a commercial kicks in... ominous music, clashing forces,  with one of those epic sombre voice overs...When Tyrants ruled the world????  What a documentary on Gary Bettman, oh, wait, Noah the movie.  Looks good, they should used that voice over however to introduce every trade today...

Ferraro and McGuire are back on TSN, looking at what the Canadiens might be up to today, with a particular attention being paid to the blue line for Les Habitants.

After the commercial TSN goes back on the Brodeur watch, expanding the theme to how many goaltenders may be available, with Jaroslav Halak and Tim Thomas apparently the other favourites to change sweaters today.

Sportsnet has turned to Jose Theodore to review the goaltending controversy (already?) in Florida, with Roberto Luongo and his soon to be new best twitter photo friend Tim Thomas set to share the duties (unless of course developments change by 3 PM Florida time)

Sportsnet launches the first of the percolating speculation that Marian Gaborik may be LA bound very shortly, the first of many unconfirmed reports for the day we imagine.

Sportsnet turns to the Strategy room to try and clear up the Gaborik rumblings, with little success. Instead they ask PJ Stock for some trade deadline remembrances... and a nation asks why?

Over on TSN, James Duthie is looking at the Maurice factor in Winnipeg, a nod towards the revival of the Jets playoff ambitions since Maurice took over behind the bench.

They now turn their attention to Martin St. Louis, with Bob McKenzie wrapping up his tweeting just in time to provide some background on the Lightning / Rangers discussions.

Some back tracking on the Gaborik to LA rumour, the proposed shift west is not a done deal as of yet...

TSN's panel examines the chemistry of Tampa and how a change at this time could affect their playoff drive. The prospect of St. Louis joining the Rangers makes for a lively discussion on TSN as they review his past history of tension with Steve Yzerman and what he would bring to the Rangers and what Ryan Callahan who is apparently the main feature in return from New York might provide for the Lightning.

Sportsnet has Damian Cox and Marty McSorley looking at the Gaborik to LA rumbles and what that could mean for the Kings heading down the final stretch of the regular season with an eye on the playoffs.

TRADE ALERT
11:20 AM ET/8:20 PT
And the first trade of the day belongs to the Rangers and the Lightning, with confirmation finally delivered that Martin St. Louis is now a Ranger, with Ryan Callahan now destined for the Lightning, with Tampa also set to receive a first and a second round pick. (NHL Trade Alert)

With the first trade now reported, the TSN panel wonders if this finally brings upon the fast and the furious of General Manager phone calls to be made towards the deadline hour.

While they wait for further notifications, the TSN group reviews how the Tampa Bay Lightning have constantly remade their team, keeping them competitive and building towards a playoff run for this season.

The St. Louis discussion finally gives way to a look at the situation in Edmonton and what they may need to do today to regain their place in the listings of teams to watch at playoff time.

TSN's The Reporters Panel reviews the recent unhappiness of Martin St. Louis and the factors that led to his dis-enchantment with Steve Yzerman and the Tampa organization. The breaking point in the review of the panel the Olympic snubs by Yzerman towards his star player and his place with Team Canada.

The panel expands the topic to the pressure that NHL GM's feel from their work with Team Canada and the impact that has on their own teams, with the St. Louis issue the best example of how it all can go wrong, even with a Gold Medal to show for it.




Trade Deadline 2014: Tick , Tock you're on the clock Segment One

8 AM ET- 10 AM ET
5 AM PT - 7 AM PT

And it begins...

Sort of, kind of.

With some of the steam taken out in a pre-emptive strike by the Panthers and Canucks, the day long festival of speculation commences, mostly with a quick review of yesterday's developments and with a thumbnail guide as to which teams may be inclined to improve their line ups by the time The Trade Deadline horn has sounded.

The first hour of discussion taken up with recaps of such things as whether Martin St. Louis will receive his wish of a trade out of Tampa Bay (all be it a rather short wish list consisting of New York)  who apparently have made an offer. However, the consensus from all of the discussion on both networks being that he should perhaps settle in for work with Tampa  for the playoffs,.

TSN's panel reviewed their top five favourites to advance to the Stanley Cup, found among them, the Blackhawks, Bruins and Blues.  The Bruins were examined for particular attention, the suggestion that they could be one of the busier squads as the deadline clock ticks down.

And for Winnipeg fans, today is a very special day.  With Vancouver seemingly on the slide of irrelevance to the panels and observers, all eyes will be on the Jets to see if they make their move to strengthen and add for a playoff push.

The second hour examines the saga of Thomas Vanek, destined for somewhere today apparently, but his value seemingly on the decline.

The plan B's get the next review on TSN, where teams may default to if they don't snare the one or two A listers that they may be looking for.

Pay attention Jets fans, your goals and ambitions on trade day are getting a look over, with injuries and MRI results offering up some of their approach to the deadline hour.

The Oilers are up next for the review, with much talk about the fate of Ales Hemsky, who showcased himself for any GM's with the full Sportsnet hockey package. Ryan Smith again? some rumbles that the long time Oiler (with an interruption) may be moved, for the most part the Oilers are apparently looking to move UFA's.

Calgary, with Trader Burke at the helm gets their first major mention of the day, with cautionary tales that the Flames may wait until the Draft and off season to test the trade market, which would make for a boring day for Brian Burke and for television panels everywhere.

TSN moves on to the Canucks, holding their war room at a Golf Course. Make that what you will Canucks fans, omens, omens....  Will Ryan Kesler follow the path blazed by Roberto Luongo yesterday, with the Canucks anticipating much interest and good value to come back their way.  Alex Edler also may wish to keep his phone close and his travel agent closer.

Over on Sportsnet, while we ponder the modern era of Trading Day madness having started with Bob Nystrom, the Strategy Room is now in session. Though the strategy session early hours will apparently be more of a walk down memory lane, Pavel Bure?

TSN is reviewing the timelines of action of years past, 2013 did not register a trade until past the noon hour... it may be a long day for talking heads if that's an indication of a trend.

Pierre McGuire -- Ray Ferraro... Face Off, all segments must now feature a hockey related theme it appears.

Possible future thematics, Crossing the Blue Line?  where defensive trades get analyzed.

In the Paint? Well, with only Martin Brodeur left as the only goaltender not traded in the last week that may be a short feature...

Sportsnet is bird-dogging the Maple Leafs' hotel, offers up helfpul tips in how to hail a cab for New York City tourists.  As for the Leafs, they apparently have called up some farm hands for tonight's game, providing for a bit of percolating speculation as to what's up.

TSN as well turns their steely gaze on Dave Nonis and the Maple Leafs and what steps they may look to make to improve their playoff ambitions down the stretch.

TSN's panel is observing that the main requirement of the Leafs is help on the blue line, which is where they believe Nonis will devote much of his work today.

The idea of a trade with Vancouver pops up, with Ryan Kesler the featured discussion point, which wouldn't do much for the defence but would be a solid improvement on offence, cold water gets tossed on that tantalizing idea, with the suggestion that Kesler may prefer a US destination and some past history between Nonis and Gillis which didn't go so well last year.

Damn, we apparently missed their musical tribute to Ilya Bryzgalov, which surely was a must watch musical interlude for all.... here's hoping it is replayed shortly or appears on YouTube in short order...


And with that, the first two hours draw to a close, Trades 0, Talking Heads tenfold and counting...

Trade Deadline 2014

The NHL's General Managers just couldn't wait any longer, while the Trade Deadline Day is one of the more anticipated of dates on the hockey fan's calendar.

This year it has become a multi day event, the first hint that this would not be a nice and tidy television event, the Sabres and Blues deal of last week.

Followed up by a swirl of action on Tuesday, that saw a number of players change teams including the most discussed player of the last season, Roberto Luongo.

Who must feel as though he's won the Triple Crown, traded out of Vancouver in a mid-afternoon swap with the Florida Panthers.

The same Florida Panthers who traded him to Vancouver eight years ago, a team he had hoped to find a place with last year and now can settle back in to South Beach (or wherever the hockey fraternity puts down its stakes) and in as delicious a bit of closure, have the Canucks pick up fifteen percent of the salary every year til he hangs up the blades it would seem.

With all that drama having unfolded before Sportsnet and TSN could even get their panel assignments sorted out, we have to wonder what may be left to reveal through Wednesday's marathon viewing session.

Still, we imagine some drama will unfold as we weigh the needs of the still contenders (Welcome Winnipeg, choose wisely) and wonder as to which teams will wave the flag of rebuilding by the time Wednesday afternoon comes to a close (Vancouver where do you fall in that divide, contender? surrender? send us a sign)

As in the past we'll be live blogging through the day, our Trading Post Archive heralding the latest of developments as the NHL office sends out the  missives.

The NHL's Trade Deadline page can be found here.
The NHL's Trade Deadline Blog can be found here.

While the various portals of Canadian sports networks will be working at a feverish pace as the day passes by, with what we imagine could be a frantic pace, though time will tell if the blockbusters are still out there.


TSN Trade Tracker Page
TSN Trade Centre Page

Sportsnet Hockey Central Trade Tracker Page
Sportsnet Hockey Central Trade Deadline Home Page

Hockey Night in Canada Trade Tracker
Hockey Night in Canada Home Page

NHL on NBC Home Page

The Hockey News Trade Deadline Central

Our HockeyNation Trade Reviews will be provided below, Segment by Segment, as the Deadline ticks, ticks, ticks its way to the final horn.

Segment Five ( 3 PM ET -- Noon PT)
Segment Four ( 2 -3 PM ET, 11 - Noon PT)
Segment Three (Noon - 2 PM ET, 9 - 11 AM PT)
Segment Two (10 AM ET - Noon. 7 AM - 9 AM PT)
Segment One8-10 AM ET 5-7 AM PT)
Prelude to the Deadline

Roberto Luongo's Load Out from Vancouver


. .


When the day finally came, pretty well everyone, including the principle was surprised, as the long running soap opera that has been the Vancouver Canucks finally brought to a close the most uncomfortable period of recent Canucks history.

Roberto Luongo, is gone, delivered his wish of a trade at mid-afternoon, just after his afternoon pre game nap. A nap for which there would be no game, just a plane to catch and new start at a familiar location, as the most discussed goaltender in Vancouver Canucks history took his leave.

His twitter feed told it all, a short, symbol, no words signifying that Vancouver's now former goal tender was set to return to the land of South Beach, the sun, the surf, the championships... well, maybe he's a basketball fan...



For Luongo the move is about the best outcome he could have hoped for, short of a stint with a Stanley Cup contender, but he held the cards and could dictate his destination.

With his preferred choice, a return to Florida, the very same team that sent him to Vancouver in 2006, trading a Stanley Cup possibility for a little familiarity and after two tumultuous years, a lot of stability.

The Panthers now suddenly flush in cash it appears (if rather light in season ticket holders), decided to bring him back to where he probably will be the most comfortable. Offering their fans  evidence that they are making serious strides to improve their product, while at the same time have the Canucks on the hook for a fair hunk of the now legendary Canuck contract.

A nice deal for the Panthers to a fashion, though having an A list goalie with a team of young learners may make for an interesting night at the rink. Leaving open we imagine the prospect of more change to come on Wednesday and in the off season.

What it brings to the Canucks? Well that's why they have no shortage of open line sports programs to listen to in British Columbia. An ornery group of participants who clearly don't believe that the deal was a blockbuster solution to the Canucks' current woes.

Arriving to take up the charge for the playoffs for the Canucks will be Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias, heading off to the Panthers at some time in his future, will be Steven Anthony who was the final name on the notice of today's trade shocker.

The theories of what finally brought this trade to a close are many, conspiracy buffs with a whole new theme to work on for the next little while. As all consider the many options as to what was the final straw?

For many, the Heritage Day Classic snub was the pivotal break point in the logjam, with the reaction of the 50,000 plus at BC Place clearly indicating that Mike Gillis was going to find a pretty uncomfortable two months of homestretch hockey after John Tortorella's decision to play Eddie Lack on Sunday.

The analysts of the Sports networks of Canada wove the talking point that Luongo's agent Pat Brisson, apparently tired of watching his client suffer the dis-respect of the organization, took matters into his own hands and brokered the deal between the Panthers and Canucks.

Which if true, should qualify him for some kind of consultation feed one would hope and perhaps an opportunity to move on to the United Nations and a chance to solve some of the world's other trouble spots.

Or at least to host a get to know you luncheon for Luongo and his new team mate... Tim Thomas, maybe we'll hold off on the Nobel Prize for a few days yet after all.

Regardless of the timeline of events and how they transpired, the relief for Luongo must be exhilarating.


The Canucks of course, will be looking at the financial room his departure provides for future growth (even with a reported 15 percent coverage of Luongo's contract with Florida)

Our musical selection atop our piece signifies the nature of the day, a melancholy farewell to a popular player, the best in the nets by statistics that the Canucks ever had.

But like every great show, the time comes for the band to Load Out and move on, the crowd may have wanted him to stay, stay just a little bit longer... but surely know that wasn't to be.

Luongo had after all won over the Canucks fan base through his class and dedication to a team that clearly, at least in the managerial and ownership ranks that wasn't quite as dedicated to him.



Canucks fans will wish him well as he moves on with his career in Panther colours.

Turning their attention now to  the very confusing state of the Canucks and where they go in the post Luongo years and to who will be remain behind (Ryan Kesler perhaps awaiting Wednesday with more interest than most) to share that slogan of "We Are All Canucks"...

Vancouver Province-- Roberto Luongo traded to Florida Panthers
Vancouver Province-- In the blink of an eye, an era is over
Vancouver Province-- The Luongo Van Provies: We bid adieu to class
Vancouver Province-- Luongo trade the first act in the Canucks' return to respectability
Vancouver Province-- Luongo caught off guard, but Panthers deal was in the works for two years.
Vancouver Province-- The long, long road of Roberto Luongo
Vancouver Sun-- Roberto Luongo's 'great run' in Vancouver over ... as is Canucks'
Vancouver Sun-- Roberto Luongo saga ends badly for Canucks
Vancouver Sun-- Florida Panthers delighted to get Roberto Luongo
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks fans: Meet the new guys
Georgia Straight-- Vancouver Canucks trade Roberto Luongo to FLorida
National Post-- Canucks trade 'stunned' Roberto Luongo to Panthers
Globe and Mail-- Luongo heads back to Florida after Canucks deal net minder to Panthers
Toronto Sun-- Thomas with the zinger of the NHL trade deadline on Luongo
Toronto Sun-- Roberto Luongo to Panthers highlights flurry of NHL trades
Toronto Sun-- Canucks GM Gillis to blame for bad Luongo, Schneider deals
Toronto Sun-- Luongo drama finally ends with trade from Canucks to Panthers
Toronto Star-- Roberto Luongo deal headlines wild day of NHL goalie trades
USA Today-- Canucks deal Roberto Luongo to Panthers
Miami Herald-- Florida Panthers acquire Roberto Luongo - again
Miami Herald-- Dale Tallon Talks About Luongo Deal, Effect on Tim Thomas, Scott Clemmensen
Miami Herald-- Panthers Get Roberto Luongo Back, Tim Thomas Florida Future Decided Soon
Miami Herald-- Roberto Luongo speaks to Media Following Trade Back to Florida Panthers

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Trade Deadline action set to be delivered



Twas the night before trade deadline and all through these lands,
The fan base they were calculating, asking, who has the best plans?
The hours would drag, as they awaited the morn,
When GM's and agents would take to their phones,
The Sports channels all were reviewing their notes,
Anxious to delivers scoops and of course their votes.
Winners and Losers, salary cap hits,
They all will be reviewed, in so many live bits.
Grab a few zees,
Then a cook up the coffee,
The Deadline is looming,
Will the Deals be booming?

As Hockey fans await the official start of the Trade Deadline day at 8 AM, they may be giving some thought that the biggest of deals have already taken place. Twin shockers that see two of the highest profile goal tenders change teams.

Ryan Miller's trade to St. Louis of last week and Tuesdays seismic shift off Vancouver that sent Roberto Luongo back to Florida.

Moves that might be making TV producers just a little bit nervous as Wednesday morning approaches, fearful that the day will be spent, recapping the already completed moves, with little to show for Wednesday's marathon broadcast day.

We're short hours away from the prognostications and confirmations.

If the preview has been any kind of indication of what's to come, the main event may make for a memorable day.

As we have in past years, you can follow our HockeyNation Deadline Day coverage here. With updates through the morning and afternoon of this years anticipated deal making.






Monday, March 03, 2014

Canucks seem tone deaf to their many miscues

Sunday's Heritage Classic pretty well tells you as much as you need to know about the malaise of the Vancouver Canucks this year, a condition that seems to be a creation as much of management miscue, as it does from the struggles on the ice.

With the prospect of one of the signature events of the year for the Canucks, Vancouver squandered a chance to build on some positives, by naming Roberto Luongo as the starting goaltender for Sunday's postcard moment with the Senators.

Instead, coach John Tortorella went with Eddie Lack, a reward he said for his strong play of the last two games, which while a generous nod to the work ethic of Lack, was the wrong message for his team, the Canuck fans and even if you will the NHL and its outdoor (kind of sort of in the Vancouver edition) showcases.

Roberto Luongo was the more deserving for the opportunity to take to the ice at BC Place, he has been nothing but class through the last year and a half of soap opera hockey in Vancouver and from all appearances has been nothing but the team player.

Tortorella should have realized that by sitting him on door duty at the bench, he not only was disrespectful to the popular Luongo, he created controversy where none needed to be created.

Eddie Lack has but one year of NHL action under his belt, he has been a very capable understudy with Luongo, and clearly has a very bright future ahead in the NHL.

But to think that he is now at this time, the number one option for the Canucks in the nets, suggests that Tortorella and more likely GM Mike Gillis may be more interested in controlling the room (and the agenda for the media) than in making hockey moves that make some sense.

The dis-respect that Luongo received from his own coach, particularly after a disappointing Olympic tournament that saw him take on the role of observer, is something that should not have happened and seemed almost petty as it evolved.

In fact, as early as Friday,  Tortorella, Gillis and the Aquilini ownership should have welcomed their goaltender back to Vancouver, announcing his return to action as the signature point of their BC Place showcase.

Instead, as they seem inclined to do of late, they made yet another wrong decision, offering up another ugly slew foot to a guy that just wants to play hockey.

Even more disturbing for a team that clearly is operating on the ice with little in the way of confidence, through their ham handed ways, they subjected their young back up to the full force of an angry fan base. Suffering the roar of  the majority of the 50,000 plus in attendance who took their frustrations out (wrongly we might add) on the young Swede in the nets on Sunday.

That disaster of epic creation, is ALL ON MANAGEMENT...

Vancouver's ability to mine drama far too frequently, seems to be playing out in some rather bizarre sense of deja vu, with Ryan Kesler now the topic of trade deadline speculation and Luongo now immersed in yet another controversial moment.

Not to mention John Tortorella's now famous bout of bad prediction of Olympic winners ( pro tip lottery players! Don't have him make your Sports Action picks) and the blow back in Vancouver that came from it.

Proving for all, that if nothing else, over the last eighteen months, holding the title in creating controversy is one stats package that the Canucks can hold high.

Though we suspect no one will be telling them that it's a job well done.

It's interesting to note that on Sunday, when the cameras went in on the close up of Pat Quinn, the crowded erupted in applause.

A heartfelt salute to a hockey man, who had some common sense to the way he handled his teams, including the one celebrated for their achievement on Sunday afternoon.

Fortunately for Mr. Gillis and  for the owners, there was no video placement of their images on that giant screen at BC Place.

Then again perhaps that is really too bad, Eddie Lack probably would have welcomed having someone take the load off his back.

Once again, the Canuck's ownership and management failed their team even in that simple task.


Vancouver Sun-- Canucks coach John Tortorella's classic misplay an unpopular decision
Vancouver Sun-- Lack expected to start ahead of Luongo in Heritage Classic
Vancouver Province-- Why Luongo should have been in goal
Vancouver Province-- Heritage Classic Provies: Where everyone was pissed
Vancouver Province-- "Canucks Goalie Controversy II"; 6 reasons the sequel will be much worse
Vancouver Province-- Maybe this Canucks schlemozzle is a good thing; and, uh, can we trade for the Devils' Schneider?
 Toronto Sun-- Luongo 'pissed' he was benched for Canucks-Senators Heritage Classic
Toronto Star-- Luongo story a Fascinating, Shakespearean-like Drama that Never Runs Out of New Twists
CBC-- JohnTortorella wrong to sit Luongo
Yahoo-- Luongo sits, Lack starts Heritage Classic, because Canucks are addicted to controversy
NESN-- Roberto Luongo Not Happy He's Not Playing in Heritage Classic
Sportsnet-- Luongo making headlines riding pine

Blues Building for a lengthy playoff run

If the latest move from the St. Louis Blues is any indication, the top teams of the Western Conference are clearly ramping up for what should be a dandy Stanley Cup playoff run.

The Blues made their statement move a week before the trade deadline, as they pulled the trigger on a block buster of a deal that brings them perhaps the key ingredient for a skate with Stanley by the end of June.

By acquiring Ryan Miller, the Blues bolster the goal with a proven talent with a Vezina Trophy to his name, someone not only who has had success on the International stage, but was perhaps one of the few reasons for Sabres fans to head to the rink in the last few years.

He joins a Blues team that has as solid a defensive unit as there is the NHL, making for a fairly formidable back end for coach Ken Hitchcock.

Saturday's deal  leaves GM Doug Armstrong with only a few things to tick off on the do list for Wednesday, that of perhaps adding one or two pieces on offence to add to the scoring reach of the Blues who currently hold down second place in the West, with an impressive stats sheet of 200 Goals For, 139 Against.

Obviously with that low of a Goals Against stat, goal tending wasn't the issue in St. Louis to begin with, Brian Elliot and the now departed Jaroslav Halak putting in a stellar effort in the Show Me state.

Such is the respect that many observers have for Halak, that not many believe he'll be a Sabre beyond Wednesday, with more than a few suspecting that he'll be exchanged for more building blocks for a Buffalo squad that is in full retooling now.

The remainder of the deal sees the Sabres receive Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier and a pair of draft picks, the currency of teams that are blowing things up and starting all over again.

For St. Louis, the opportunity to pick up someone with the resume that Miller carries with him,  offered up notice to Blues fans that the 2014 playoff run may be one to remember.

Likewise adding Ott to the team's lineup, makes for another wise step, his experience and comfort level with Hitchcock should make for a quick adjustment to the Blues lineup, his  physical contributions will add some space for a Blues offence that seems finely tuned for a lengthy pace in this years Stanley Cup playoffs.

With the two pick ups, the Blues, even if they make no other moves on the Trading Deadline, have provided a bit of extra pressure on their fellow West Division conference rivals, who will have to carefully look for ways to match up the strength of St. Louis who surely are a team to watch.

For the fans of the Blues, we imagine the regular season's end won't come soon enough, the opportunity to watch the lineup arranged for coach Hitchcock is something that St. Louis fans will be anxious to see in action when the hockey starts for real in the first playoff round and if all goes according to the blue print, we imagine the Blues organization anticipates it carrying on through to the end of June.


St. Louis Post Dispatch-- With deal done, Blues' goal is No. 1
St. Louis Post Dispatch-- Miller 'very open' to remaining a Boue beyond this season
St. Louis Post Dispatch-- Blues up the ante for conference foes
St. Louis Post Dispatch-- Blues expect Ott to fit in well
St. Louis Post Dispatch-- Blues go all-in with Miller deal
St. Louis Post Dispatch-- Halak was very good, but Blues wanted great
Buffalo News-- Miller time expires in trade to St. Louis
Buffalo News-- Lots of future in it,' but a sad goodbye for Miller
Buffalo News-- Fan-favourite Miller will be a tough act to follow
CBC-- Sabres trade Ryan Miller, Ott to Blues for Jaroslav Halak
Globe and Mail-- Sabres trade Ryan Miller, Steve Ott to Blues in blockbuster
Globe and Mail-- Ryan Miller looks like a perfect fit in St. Louis
Sporting News-- Ryan Miller, Steve Ott traded to St. Louis Blues in blockbuster deal
NY Daily News-- Rebuilding Buffalo Sabres trade goalie Ryan Miller, Steve Ott to St. Louis Blues
CBS Sports-- Ryan Miller traded to St. Louis Blues in blockbuster deal
The Hockey News-- Sabres deal Miller, Ott to Blues - who are now Stanley Cup favorites
Toronto Sun-- Ryan Miller traded in blockbuster deal
Toronto Star-- Ryan Miller trade a good, old fashioned blockbuster