Sunday, March 12, 2006

Three days on and not much change

The much discussed trading surge of Thursday has done little for the hopes of a couple of teams that many thought had done well at the deadline.

By the time the dust settled on trading day, the consensus was that three GM’s made the best moves of the trading day phone calls.

Edmonton for securing a goaltender and a possible scoring machine were tapped as winners on trade day as Kevin Lowe solved two problem areas of the Oilers in a two day trading fest.

Rookie GM Dave Nonis of Vancouver likewise shored up his rather young and nervous defence with some proven veterans and finally found someone to spell Alex Auld off from time to time. With his moves on trading day, quite a few said he’d done the best in a bad situation for a Caunck’s team that has been hit hard by injuries in the last two months.

Carolina also were hailed for their genius in bringing in proven winner Mark Recchi in from Pittsburgh to provide some scoring, maturity and most of all leadership as the Hurricanes make the run for first overall and a playoff run.

But if the weekend’s action is any indication, Edmonton and Vancouver are going to have more of the same as the season’s end comes a calling.

Vancouver dropped their third game since the return of hockey after the Olympics, the latest a vital game against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, as Mike Modano fired up his skates and scored twice to top the Canucks 2-1. Despite the presence of Keith Carney and Eric Weinrich on the blue line, it was the same old fate for Vancouver as their top line failed to return to form and the Canuck’s turned over a lead into a defeat.

Much of the same in Edmonton as well, were Dwayne Roloson the new puck stopper in town had a rough introduction to the Oilers game, as his old team mates from Minnesota showed no mercy on their old friend, peppering him with shots and taking the win with a 4-3 victory. The Oilers, who are holding down the last playoff spot in the west, now have to keep a cautious eye on the charging Anaheim Ducks winners on Sunday and now only 2 points behind the Oil for the last playoff spot.

Carolina as well has struggled since the day of the trade, dropping two games to the lowly Florida Panthers on Friday and Saturday. Though there probably is not the same kind of panic setting in over the Carolinas as the first place Hurricanes have built themselves a pretty nice cushion between penthouse and outhouse in the East.

They Hurricanes are in no real danger of missing the playoffs and once Recchi gets his game back on track with the Canes, the wisdom of the deal will show great benefits during the stretch and playoff rounds.

But for Vancouver and Edmonton things are much more worrisome, the Canucks have been on a skid for too long now, a combination of bad breaks and lackadaisical play. Too many nights see too many passengers on the good ship Canuck, with not everyone pulling on their oars at the same time.

For Edmonton the problem was goal before, Lowe and the Oiler fans can only hope that the problem won’t carry through into the stretch drive. They like the Canucks have a fairly solid lineup at the front and on defence, they have played much below expectations for most of the season, With Roloson in the nets, they’re hoping that the questions in the back end will take care of themselves. If not, the Ducks will be coming up on the inside track and could shoot by the Oil in short order.

For those HockeyNation followers hoping for a heavy Canadian based team process in the playoffs, the results thus far, post trade deadline are not positive developments for Canadian content come April.

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