Monday, February 09, 2004

Trader Bob works the phones

Finally Bob Clarke has found himself a goaltender, acquiring Sean Burke from Phoenix earlier tonight. The long rumoured deal finally came to fruition, as Clarke flipped Mike Comrie back to the West to pick up Burke. Shoring up his goaltending had become priority one for Clarke, former number one Jeff Hackett retired today, suffering from vertigo and unable to play this year. Robert Esche, is injured at the moment so the Flyers were down to players from the AHL, not how you want to be going into the playoff drive. With Hackett retiring some money was freed up to help defray the 4.25 million dollar cost of Burke's contract.

Comrie never really fit into the Flyers scheme, he ended up on the third and sometimes fourth line, struggling to get ice time and not doing much when he had it. For him it's a chance to get back to the fast wheeling West, where he can put his speed to better use. He should be a solid addition to what is becoming a fast and young Coyotes team.

For Burke it's one more chance to win a Stanley Cup, his years are dwindling now in the NHL so he can look at the Philadelphia experiment as probably his last kick at the Stanley Cup. The fit in Philly should be a good one, he's close friends with Esche so there won't be any tension between goaltenders upon his arrival. And Clarke strengthens the Flyers by picking up two young players along the way. Branko Radivojevic and the rights to Ben Eager of Oshawa were included in the deal. Earlier in the day Clarke finished off a deal with the Blues, sending Eric Weinrich west for a fifth round pick in the 2004 draft.

Burke knew he was going to be moved it was only a matter of where, the Rangers were in the thick of the talks last week, but things cooled off when they wanted to unload salaries and not provide any young players for the future. That's when the Flyers moved up the list to most likely status, the story was all over the All Star game yesterday that the deal was done, but it took until this morning to dot the i's and cross the t's.

It's possible but not likely that Burke will be in the nets Tuesday night for the Flyers, but after tonight it may be a while before he gets another break.

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