Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The blockbuster at the Buzzer

While Dallas was busy fixing their back end at the deadline, by bringing Mattias Norstrom over from Los Angeles, the real action was happening north in Alberta.

The Oilers sent Ryan Smyth to the Islanders, for a couple of young rookies Robert Nilson, Ryan O’mara and a 2007 draft pick. It’s a move that should put Kevin Lowe under the spotlight tonight during Mark Messier Night. Unable to come to terms with Edmonton’s favourite, Lowe took a deal from the Islanders who suddenly add some classic grit and determination to their lineup.

Smyth who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, has been the heart and soul of the Oilers these many years. The Oilers felt they couldn't come up with the money he felt he commanded, the Islanders more than happy to rent him for the playoffs and maybe negotiate a new deal for next year.

Edmonton is a town that is well versed in the big trade, a town that said farewell to a Gretzky, which saw a Messier move on and went through the pain of the Pronger separation last season.

The Smyth deal seemed to catch many of the talking heads of the deadline shows by surprise, though to their credit the TSN crew had been discounting the stories that Sportsnet had launched earlier that Smyth had signed with the Oilers.

The late breaking announcement, gave the deadline day its traditional drama, perhaps raising a white flag for the Oilers this year, but giving the Islanders the chance to make some noise in the east as they battle for a playoff spot.

The Smyth move has certainly taken charge of the deadline day agenda, a fascinating turn of events that should be interesting to watch. Smyth will fit in quite well with the Nolan system on Long Island, while in Edmonton Kevin Lowe is going to need big shoulders to handle the amount of disappointment coming his way from Edmonton fans that loved the way Smyth played.

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