Monday, February 28, 2011

Trade Deadline Recap, Post Deadline Reviews

As the window on trades closes at 3 pm ET, Noon hour PT, there are reports of a few potential trades still in the works. Having been initiated prior to the deadline, the details are to be released as developments are finalized.

The consensus of the various deadline shows is one of a slow trading day, only the Dustin Penner to LA trade of major consequence, the remainder of the days events minor in nature, more tweaking that game changing it seems.

One name that won't be moved in the in process trades is that of Brad Richards, as the Dallas Stars announce that they will not be trading him this deadline day.

The Washington Capitals take Jason Arnott from New Jersey.

Vancouver makes one deal at the deadline, picking up Chris Higgins from Florida for Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick.

Atlanta sends Frederik Modin to Calgary

Vancouver adds some more depth to the roster with a pick up of Max Lapierre from the Anaheim Ducks, sending Joel Perreault and a 3rd round pick to Anaheim.

TSN's panel think that the Canucks handled their roster moves well, adding players without displacing any key assets on the team. Though there is some concern about the focus of Lappierre and if he realizes that he may be running out of chances to shine in the NHL. The pick up of Higgins' is lauded as a smart move to help fill in a hole on the Canucks roster.

With the GM's beginning their post deadline press conferences, it's off to Toronto and Brian Burke's talking points on the day, providing the obvious quote of the day of the deadline being a rather uneventful one.  No doubt a thought shared by the folks at TSN, Sportsnet and HNIC.

The Flyers and Blue Jackets wrap up an in progress trade with Philadelphia acquiring Tom Sestito, sending Greg Moore and Michael Chaput to Columbus.

Not to be left out, the Montreal Canadiens trade Brett Festerling to the Atlanta Thrashers in return for Drew MacIntyre

Boston picks up some goal tending reserves as they acquire Anton Khudobin from the Minnesota Wild, sending Defenceman Jeff Penner and the rights to Mikko Lehtonen to the Wild.

At the deadline transactions-- 7 transactions announced at the deadline
16 trades thus far, see the Deadline day recap for details

Trade Deadline Day, Hour Seven, the Final sixty minutes

The wheeling and dealing is down to the final sixty minutes as the deadline clock works its way down to the 3 pm ET, Noon hour deadline.

TSN offers up details on what would be the first (and maybe only) major deal of the day has the Oilers sending Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings, in return Edmonton will receive Defenceman Colten Tuebert as well as a 1st round pick in the 2011 draft and another pick in the 2012 draft.

With the Oilers pulling the trigger on the Penner deal, talk now focuses on whether they will move Alex Hemsky before the deadline arrives, while they considering that option talk also focuses on whether Brad Richards is still in play, or if he's to remain with the Stars for the remainder of the year.

The Oilers become the focus of Dave Hodge and the Reporters as they examine the moves of Steve Tambellini, the impression that the key to the Kings deal is the cap space that the Oilers have freed up, though as the panel points out the Free agency lists are rather thin these days.

With fifteen minutes to go, the final commercial breaks are running as the trading desks get ready for the final flurry of deadline day.

As the second hand approaches the deadline moment, the countdown commences and the siren sounds bringing to an end the drama, er, excitement, uh ok, the hyperbole of the deadline shows.

One or two last deals appear set to trickle in as the official deadline passes, deals that were still in the works prior to the 3 pm, Noon PT deadline.

The Leafs putting together a minor deal with the New York Rangers, sending John Mitchell from Toronto off to New York.

Seventh hour transaction summary-- 2 transactions announced this hour
9 trades thus far, see the Deadline day recap for details.

Trade Deadline Day, Hour Six

1 pm - 2 pm ( 10 - 11 am PT)

With two hours to go before the final siren of the day, TSN opens up hour six with an interview with Sharks VP and GM Doug Smith. He doesn't offer up many hints as to his plans, though he suggests that there won't be much movement on the Sharks unless an unusual deal comes his way.  This could take Joe Thornton's name out of circulation, earlier reports on this deadline day had him listed a potential offering from San Jose.

HNIC on Bold is pondering the future of the Coyotes goaltending situation, with Ilya Bryzgalov the main focus of their attention, with impending free agency on his horizon his name is matched with any number of potential suitors for the off season. Brian Burke receives some free advice from the HNIC panel who suggest that the Coyote tender might be a good fit in Toronto.

As we pass the first quarter hour of hour number six, over at TSN, Dave Hodge and the Reporters weigh in on where the Black Hawks are at the moment, having had to shed some players in the off season over cap limitations, the wonder if Chicago will make a deadline day move to try and improve its chances of a Stanley Cup repeat, with particular attention apparently required on the blue line.

Back at HNIC on Bold, Elliot Friedman brings Rostislav Klesla back to earth reminding him of the financial troubles that the Coyotes are having at the moment, not that leaving Columbus we imagine is the same as leaving the cradle of hockey. Still, as the panel points out uncertainty over franchise locations can cause a bit of trouble on the homefront.

McCown, Brunt and Cox are back up front at Sportsnet, with a wide ranging discussion on the health of Sidney Crosby and his concussion concerns and how that has removed the rivalry between him and Ovechkin. Brunt, who has covered that story quite well in the pages of the Globe and Mail recounts the New Years Day game in the rain in Pittsburgh, a match up when Crosby first was injured and how that game may have rendered the potential of a premier Eastern Division showdown between the Caps and Penguins as unlikely.

They also discuss the lack of focus of Alexander Ovechkin this year, who has not had the kind of numbers we have become used to over the last few years.  Part health concerns, part boredom they suggest and perhaps with opposing teams having finally figured out his game all considered contributing factors in his lower numbers this year.

The Oilers make a minor move with Colorado, with Edmonton picking up Kevin Montgomery in exchange for Shawn Belle.

At 1:45 ET (10:45 PT) James Duthie tries to channel James Franco over at TSN, suggesting he's starting to feel like that Oscar nominated actor, trapped in a crevice.

While Duthie is looking for ways to follow in Franco's characters footsteps, Sportsnet has Brian Burke on screen advising that he doesn't see much further movement from the Maple Leaf war room this trading day.

1:48 ET, 10:48 PT Sportsnet outlines that once the i's are dotted and the t's crossed Bryan Allen will no longer be a member of the Panthers, as Florida makes its third trade of the day, this time with the Carolina Hurricanes.  In return it seems that Sergei Samsanov and a draft pick are Panther bound or so the Sportsnet suggestion goes.

Another minor deal gets announced as Anaheim picks up Brad Winchester from the St. Louis Blues for a draft pick.

1:55 ET, 10:55 PT, The Hawks and Senators swing a deal, as Chris Campoli joins the Black Hawk blue line, Ottawa set to receive a draft pick and Hawk minor league prospect Ryan Postulny.

Sixth hour transaction summary--  4 transactions announced this hour
7 trades thus far, see the Deadline day recap for details.

Trade Deadline Day, Hour Five

Noon - 1pm (9 - 10 am PT)

Sportnset opens up hour five with a conversation with Dennis Wideman, who probably wasn't thinking of the Stanley Cup a few days ago, safely ensconced in the lower reaches of the NHL with the Panthers. Much talk of Wideman helping out Ovechkin, Semin et al on the Capitals power play, which would be a rather fascinating trade up from his former NHL club's man advantage combinations.

Wideman carefully sidesteps any criticism of the current state of the Panthers, offering up the thought that GM Dale Tallon wants to rebuild the franchise and some of the moves and rumoured moves are part of that plan. The Sportsnet panel suggesting that the Panthers are dismantling their squad in the process of that rebuild.

The Hockey Night in Canada crew on Bold, suggest that the Wideman pick up was a solid move by the Caps and also find something to talk about in Atlanta as they add to their line up in a quest to solidify a playoff position.

TSN grabs Wideman for a quick chat at 9:15, much of the same ground is covered as the other networks did, the flurry of calls to Wideman perhaps the most attention he's received over the course of his career.

As soon as he hangs up the phone, he's back on the line over at HNIC on Bold, providing their panel with his thoughts on the trade day developments.

Back over at TSN, James Duthie offers up a Brad Richard's update, advising that there are no proposals in play as of yet regarding his future with or away from the Dallas Stars.

Dave Hodge and his Reporters return to the table at 9:35 as they examine what Canuck's GM Mike Gillis may, or may not do on this deadline day.  Offering up the thoughts that he may not want to screw up what has been a pretty successful squad thus far, though they do point towards the troubles due to injury on the Canucks blue line.

As Duthie takes the broadcast back from the panel he recounts how some broadcast outlets, seemingly desperate for any kind of trade development had reported a breaking trade featuring Aaron Ward, only problem it seems is that those outlets were reporting on a historical clip that TSN featured for fifteen seconds about past trades, Mr. Ward has no need to pack his bags just yet it seems, as they say at the trading desk Oopsie Daisies for the lazies...

TSN has a comparison between this year and last on deadline day and things are definitely much slower, last year at 12:40 ET there had been seven trades made, as we head towards 1 pm there have only been two made so far.

Sportsnet in the meantime is looking at the Senators and how after a more than disappointing couple of years,  they need to offer their loyal fans a bit of hope for the future.

As the trade rumblings slow to a crawl, TSN reminisces about last year's Olympic games and Sidney Crosby's gold medal winning goal one year ago today.

As a follow up to that happy moment, they seek out the fantasy draft projections of Craig MacTavish, Ray Ferraro and Pierre McGuire who asked to toss some names into the mix for Canada's next Olympic moment in 2014.

Perhaps if the big boys won't help out with some trade fodder, then next hour we can examine the coming crop of Pee Wee players fresh from this years Quebec City International Pee Wee tournament.

Ah, Sportsnet saves us from the youth mining as the Coyotes and Blue Jackets work out a deal for discussion.  The Coyotes pick up Defenceman Rotislav Klesla and Dane Byers from Columbus, they pick up froward Scottie Upshall and defenceman Sami Lepisto

Fifth hour transaction summary-- 1 transaction announced this hour
 3 trades thus far  see the Deadline day recap for details

Trade Deadline Day, Hour Four

11 am - Noon (8 - 9 am PT)

Radek Dvorak is about to become a very popular fellow as the various networks scramble to talk with the first trade participant of the day, clearly Dvorak is the principle in the deal we don't see anyone rushing to garner a quote from Mr. Bergfors or Mr. Rismiller.

Things in this fourth hour are so slow that over at HNIC on Bold, the gang are working out the comparative financials of the day. Mike Milbury outlining the asking price of the Islanders for lower tiered players on this deadline day and how that impacts on such teams as the Oilers who have high profile players up for grabs, but players that could be offering high cost analysis factors for teams in negotiation with Edmonton.

At 8:45 Dale Tallon comes to the rescue of the anxious deadline crews, the Florida Panthers making the second trade of the day and their second one of the day as well, with Florida sending defenceman Dennis Wideman to the Washington Capitals, who send off a prospect in Jake Hauswirth and also provide a third round draft pick in the 2011 draft.

The McCown Prime Time Sports panel picks over the ashes of the Ottawa Senators season, examining what Bryan Murray has left to work with on deadline day, wondering aloud if they would move a Jason Spezza or Daniel Alfredsson type of player. Having already moved a number of their character players in Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly, the panel wonders where Murray is in his blueprint of rebuilding.

More action on the re-signing front with Detroit announcing that they have come to terms with goaltender Jimmy Howard, consisting of a two year deal at 4.5 million.

Fourth hour transaction summary-- 1 transaction announced this hour
2 trades made thus far  see our Deadline Day recap for further details

Trade Deadline Day, Hour Three

10 am - 11 am (7 - 8 am PST)

Heading into hour three, contract extensions is the talk of the panels for the most part.

Hockey Night in Canada on Bold review the big three extensions of the weekend, offering up the details of Justin Williams new deal with the Kings, a 4 year extension for 14.6 million dollars.  They once again run the Chris Phillips extension details with the Senators on their ticker and likewise advise us as to the extension of Brent Seabrooke's deal in Chicago, a five year extension at 29 million.

From the Leafs bunker, Sportsnet offers up the words of Brian Burke who offers up little optimism that the Leafs can re sign Clarke MacArthur, seemingly putting him into to play now on deadline day.

At 10:23 am (7:23 am PT) Sportsnet brings in the dapper looking Bob McCown wearing a smashing looking leather bomber jacket. Along with the always controversial and entreating McCown is perhaps one of the more informative of panels for the day, consisting of Stephen Brunt and Damien Cox.

Sportnet is hoping that by adding the Prime Time Sports franchise to their deadline day coverage they add a bit of spark to the proceedings and in true McCown style, he makes much mockery of the twiddling of thumbs for the last two and half hours of so as everyone awaits the first deal of the day.

His panel explores a number of themes of the day, including the landscape of the NHL with some teams suffering financial problems and how that may impact on their decisions today. Perhaps offering Gary Bettman the first opportunity to reach for the Tums, as McCown counts at least 11 franchises that are for sale or looking for financial partners.

At 10:28 am (7:28 am PT) Sportsnet is also the first to reveal the opening trade of deadline day, with the announcement of a deal between Atlanta and Florida. The Thrashers acquire forward Radek Dvorak, in exchange for forwards Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rismiller.

A few minutes later, TSN interupts Dave Hodge's panel discussion on the current state of the Edmonton Oilers to outline the Thrashers/Panthers deal. It being the first trade of the day, it consumes a lot of the remaining half hour of discussion, perhaps the start of an avalanche of deals or destined to be the main talking point of a rather slow day.

The TSN panel will return to the theme of the Oilers as the hour closes out,  the Reporter's panel asking the question if the Oilers are ready to reward their fans for their patience or whether they will treat them like rubes during another rebuilding program.

Third hour transaction summary-- 1 transaction announced this hour
1 trade made so far this day see our Deadline Day recap for further details 

Trade Deadline Day, Hour Two

9 am - 10 am (6 -7 am PST)

And into hour two we go, TSN kicking off the festivities with the Dave Hodge "The Reporters" panel, where each outlines the teams they believe currently are the top five in the NHL as we head into the home stretch panel, rejoice Vancouver fans, the panel seems fond of your chances this year.

The CBC enters into the deadline drama this hour, putting the Hockey Night in Canada stamp on their trade coverage over the Bold digital channel. No doubt hoping that they can lure some of the audience away from the traditional deadline day giants of TSN and Sportsnet, that is providing anyone can actually find Bold on their cable or satellite receivers (for Shaw Direct viewers it's 512, you're welcome)

A quick click over to The Score, would apparently relieve us of the burden of juggling four networks at once, The Score it seems is so far taking a pass on the non stop coverage, continuing on with their normal daily routine of the highlight wheel through these early hours of deadline day.

TSN reviews the trades that took place prior to the deadline day sign on, if nothing else it helps to keep their minds fresh we guess.

At 9:20 (6:20 PT) in a strange sense of symmetry all three deadline shows go to commercial, click, click, click, click, oh good Sportsnet is back.

Ottawa fans should have turned away from the screen, Sportsnet reviews the drama of the Dany Heatley  debacle, highlighting the soap opera nature of his final days in a Sens uniform and the moment when all seems to have gone off the rails for the Senators.

Ah the memories, surely Sens fans have suffered enough this year without the history lesson, as though to offer up a ray of hope, Sportsnet floats the concept that the Sens may be talking with the Edmonton Oilers in a quest to obtain Ales Hemsky, Jason Spezza probably has lit some candles in the hope that Bryan Murray might find someone who can receive a pass and maybe return one from time to time.

At 9:30 (6:30 am PT) TSN's Reporters are talking about the Leafs, exploring their potential options today, with Michael Farber, Steve Simmons and Eric Duhatschek joining Dave Hodge to examine whether the Leafs can or want to make the playoffs and how that might impact on their deadline day decisions.

Over at Sportsnet they continue on with their "how did you learn you were traded feature", while the gang from Hockey Night in Canada continue to offer up their thoughts on Bold, reviewing the chatter of a potential deal between Toronto and Florida, as well as a vigorous discussion on the merits of signing restricted free agent Clarke MacArthur to a new Leaf contract.

By 9:44 (6:44 PT) the talk has turned to Richards to the Rangers! The first destination of the day for the Stars Brad Richards, apparently coveted by Broadway and it would seem a favourite of head coach John Tortorella.  If the Stars are to make a deadline day splash, trading with New York probably gets them the most ink and volume of digital bits of the day.

Hockey Night in Canada on Bold is engaged in a rather intense discussion on the plans of the Edmonton Oilers and if they want to move such players as Hemsky and Penner.

TSN is focused on Ottawa at the moment, and the race they currently are engaged in. The race of course being one with the Edmonton Oilers to the bottom of the NHL standings and the first pick overall of the draft later this spring.

Sportnset wraps up hour number two discussing what the Flames might be looking to do at the deadline, suggesting that they won't be particularly busy as the clock ticks down towards the end of the trading period.

Second hour transaction summary-- 0 transactions announced this hour

Tick, Tock we're on the clock... Trade Deadline Day Hour One

And with the coffee brewing, we commence with the seven hour festival of rumour and speculation, divining the completed trades and waiting for the remaining pieces on the hockey chess board to move into place.

8 am - 9 am ( 5 - 6 am PST)

It's intro time at TSN and Sportsnet as they roll out their trade day coverage for this 2011 NHL trade deadline, a session which could be a little less dramatic than in past years owing to the high volume of trades conducted over the last few weeks of the lead up to deadline day.

James Duthie at TSN offers up perhaps the homily for all of the sports broadcasters today with his declaration that "we don't know what to expect after such a flurry of deals leading up to today"-- Amen brother Duthie and pass the collection plate.

For the first few moments of the first hour, both of the networks discuss which teams and a few of the players that they believe may be in play over the hours heading into the final siren of trading day.  The consensus being that Edmonton and to a degree Ottawa are still ready to shed some players in the quest for better draft placements and rebuilding plans for 2012.

Though Sportsnet advises that it seems that Chris Phillips in Ottawa won't be part of the trading mayhem, Phillips having signed a 3 year extension with the Senators over the weekend, 3 years for 9.25 million dollars will keep him on the Sens blue line towards the middle of the decade.

TSN has trotted out their second panel of the morning, hosted by Gino Reda part of what seems will be a rotating schedule of talking heads flowing in and out of the mix to advise, interpret and speculate through the morning.

For those that went to bed right after the last Oscar was handed out, Sportsnet has an update on a late night trade between the Buffalo Sabres and the St. Louis Blues which sees the Sabres pick up Brad Boyes from the Blues, in exchange for a 2nd round draft pick.  Someone might have asked the teams to hold off until Monday, just to help out the cause, if announced in this first hour today it could very well have been the most dissected minor trade of the day, if for no other reason than to warm up the vocal chords.

By 5:30 it seems we are on the "Weiss watch" with both networks weighing in on the potential movement of Florida's Stephen Weiss, who apparently has said that the only team he will consider a trade to is the Toronto Maple Leafs. An interesting declaration that would seem to limit your options and such, but then perhaps after 10 years in the league Mr. Weiss is particular as to where he wants to go, music to the ears of Brian Burke, though we're not sure that this would be the realm of blockbuster trades if it ever is navigated. As they go to commercial TSN features a montage of action shots of Weiss on the ice,  leaving us amazed as to how much footage the networks must have stored up for today's offerings.

TSN comes back from commercial to tour the Eastern Canadian cities, with Toronto just four points out of a playoff spot in the east much examination as to how that will impact on today's decisions.

Ottawa clearly is building for the future and will approach the deadline in that frame of mind, while Montreal is apparently still looking for a little more offensive output but may not be willing to part with much to gain it. In fact, we learn that Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier will be on the flight to Atlanta this morning, out of reach of the media (and fellow GM's for that matter) for the two hour or so flight south, at least the players will know what he's up to we imagine.  Oh wait, TSN clarifies that bit of breaking news at 8:48 (5:48 PST) Mr. Gauthier will not be on the plane, players can continue to worry as to their fate on the charter.

At 5:50 our first mention of Brad Richards for the day, Richards currently sidelined with a concussion is the subject of much speculation as the TSN gang wonder aloud if he will be in play today.

Over at Sportsnet, they are reviewing the great trades of Maple Leaf history, no pressure here Brian Burke, but it would seem that the benchmark for the Leaf Nation is the Cliff Fletcher years and the trade to acquire  Doug Gilmour.

As the first hour winds down we learn of Facebook pages and twitter accounts at TSN, not to be outgunned in the social media world, Sportsnet pumps up the availability of Doug MacLean on Twitter.

First hour transaction summary -- 0 transactions announced this hour

Trade Deadline Recap, February 28, 2011

The recap of the day's trades on deadline day.

3:00 ET, Noon PT--  Boston picks up some goal tending reserves as they acquire Anton Kudobin from the Minnesota Wild, sending Defenceman Jeff Penner and the rights to Mikko Lethtonen to the Wild.

3:00 ET, Noon PT-- Montreal Canadiens trade Brett Festerling to the Atlanta Thrashers in return for Drew MacIntyre.

3:00 ET, Noon PT-- Philadelphia acquire Tom Sestito from Columbus, sending Greg Moore and Michael Chaput to the Blue Jackets.

3:00 ET, Noon PT-- Vancouver trades with Anaheim, picking up Maxime Lapierre from the Ducks for a draft pick.

3:00 ET, Noon PT-- Washington takes Jason Arnott from New Jersey, with the Devils picking up David Steckel and a 2nd round pick in return.

3:00 ET, Noon PT-- Vancouver makes one deal at the deadline, picking up Chris Higgins from Florida for a draft pick.

3:00 ET, Noon PT-- Atlanta sends Frederik Modin to Calgary for a 7th round pick.

3:00 ET, Noon PT-- The Leafs and Rangers work out a deal, John Mitchell leaving Toronto and heading off to New York.

2:15 ET, 11:55 PT-- The Oilers are sending Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings, in return Edmonton will receive Defenceman Colten Tuebert as well as a 1st round pick in the 2011 draft and another pick in the 2012 draft

1:55 ET, 10:55 PT-- Chicago acquires Chris Campoli from the Ottawa Senators, Ottawa to receive a 2nd round draft pick and prospect Ryan Potulny.

1:50 ET, 10:50 PT-- Anaheim picks up Brad Winchester from the St. Louis Blues for a draft pick.

1:50 ET, 10:50 PT-- Florida sends Bryan Allen to Carolina for Sergei Samsanov and a draft pick.

1:21 ET 10:21 PT-- Colorado sends defencman Shawn Belle to Edmonton in exchange for Defenceman Kevin Montgomery.

12:50 ET, 9:50 PT-- Phoenix trades Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto to Columbus, the Blue Jackets receive defenceman Rotislav Klesla in return.

11:45 ET, 8:45 PT-- Florida trades James Wideman to Washington, the Capitals send Jake Hauswirth and a third round pick in the 2011 draft to the Panthers.

10:28 ET, 7:28 PT -- Florida trades Radek Dvorak to Atlanta, heading to Florida are Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rismiller. trade tracker page

Most Active Teams on Deadline Day

Florida-- 4 trades
Atlanta-- 3 trades
Washington-- 2 trades
Edmonton-- 2 trades
Vancouver-- 2 trades
Anaheim-- 2 trades
New York Rangers-- 2 trades
Columbus-- 2 trades
Phoenix-- 1 trade
Colorado-- 1 trade
Carolina-- 1 trade
Chicago-- 1 trade
Ottawa-- 1 trade
St. Louis-- 1 trade
Los Angeles-- 1 trade
Toronto-- 1 trade
Calgary-- 1 trade
New Jersey-- 1 trade
Montreal-- 1 trade
Boston-- 1 trade
Minnesota-- 1 trade

Friday, February 25, 2011

Duthie's working on the dance moves, Kypreos on Karaoke

Monday's NHL trade deadline is providing for the potential vision of a rather bad episode of Gotta Dance or North America's Got Talent, kind of, sort of.

With many NHL teams having spent the last three weeks wheeling and dealing, the prospect of Monday's televised trade deadline shows could be one of panel after panel discussing the merits of teams accepting conditional picks over development players on deadline day.

Over the last few years and as the competition between Canada's sports networks has heated up, the NHL Trade Deadline shows have taken on the kind of buzz that this weekends Academy Awards have received, though if things continue on in the NHL through the weekend, the only drama come Monday morning will be which host can stretch the longest and offer up the best one liners to dull the pain of non-activity.

TSN, Sportsnet and The Score in years past, have offered up programming that takes no prisoners, Blackberries on overdrive they float, debunk and eventually confirm or deny the many rumours that make up the deadline day drama.

This year even the CBC is getting in on the act, previously limited to its on line exposure on draft day, the national broadcaster is set to use it's Bold digital channel as a conduit to the anxious masses awaiting confirmation that their team is still so relevant to the playoff race as to make a deadline deal.

For Sportsnet and TSN the coverage begins Monday morning at 8 am ET, a 5 am wake up call for the West Coast. Some ten hours of coverage to follow, ten hours of wide ranging dissection of the latest moves of the General Mangers, or if silence descends on the trading floors, ten hours of counter programming that will offer up to Canadians the various talents of the likes of a Duthie, Kypreos, McKenzie and Cox, with a cast of thousands ready to join the chorus line if need be.

While The Score and the CBC will no doubt hope to carve a niche out of the traditional trade day madness, make no mistake, Monday is along the lines of a D-Day for TSN and Rogers Sportsnet.

They are the two main players in the trade day derby and both appear ready to flex their muscles and trot out their star performers to either glue the viewers to their channel, or at least offer up a reason for a little channel surfing over the ten hours.

Sportsnet promises a full roster of analysts for their production, featuring the usual crew from Hockey Central as well as including a round table of Bob McCown, Damien Cox and Stephen Brunt to comment on the days proceedings.

Sportsnet Offers 10 hours of trade deadline
The Back Up plan

Not to be over shadowed by the competition, TSN of course will offer up their own stable of commentators, making extensive use of their hockey resources as well as featuring Dave Hodge, Pierre McGuire, Ken McKenzie and their own ensemble to deliver the deadline day delights.

Trade Centre 11 is all set to go Monday on TSN

Opening salvos will resonate across the nation in the morning hours, the final shots to be fired as we move into the late afternoon, the results will come shortly after when the ratings come out, detailing which option Canadians have settled on this year when it comes to who had the best product for Deadline day viewing.

Until Monday's sign on at the Trade deadline desks, you can follow all the lead up to the big day from the various Trade Deadline portals from the vast number of options available.

TSN Trade Centre
Sportsnet Trade Tracker
The Score Deadline Day Tracker
Hockey Night in Canada Trade Deadline Special
Versus NHL Trade Deadline Chat
ESPN Trade Tracker

Kovy checks out of the Hotel Senatoria

Happy Birthday Kovy, pack your bags you're going on a trip, one way, no return...

The great experiment known as Alex Kovalev has come to an end in Ottawa, the enigmatic Russian gladly waiving his no trade clause on his 38th birthday to leave behind his days in the capital and grabbing the opportunity to  head to a playoff bound team in Pittsburgh, a place where he once showed some flashes of the talent that Ottawa thought they had acquired a few years back.

To say that Kovy was a bust in Ottawa would be akin to suggesting that the Great Depression was but a mild recess.

From a rather inconsistent work ethic, to a less than stellar run on the NHL points abacus Mr. Kovalev never really lived up to the promise Bryan Murray seemed to believe that he offered.

His arrival in Ottawa came on the heels of the Dany Heatley soap opera, the mercurial Heatley having expressed little desire to remain in the line up under coach Cory Clouston, poisoned the well in the city with his petulance and pouting,  eventually finding his freedom (and eternal damnation in Ottawa) when he was traded to San Jose.

He of course will remain in the model  of a Vince Carter/Chris Bosh personna for Sens fans, destined to hear the boos upon every return, Kovalev on the other hand never really accomplished much in Ottawa to find a similar vein of angst.

Rather his departure will elicit not much more than "jeez it was about time", followed by a shrug of the shoulders and a "whatcha gonna do".

A few weeks ago the city seemed to accept the lost season with the fond farewells directed at Mike Fisher, sent off to Nashville to be with his bride and play for the local hockey team.  His trade by Ottawa gave the fans the opportunity to bid him farewell and thank him for his work ethic, community presence and passion for playing for the Sens.

Suffice to say when it comes to the Kovalev trade, those glowing accolades will be missing from the letters to the editor of the Citizen, Sun and Le Droit over the next few days.

Many Sens fans questioned his acquisition at the time of his arrival, having watched the preview reels from Montreal for more than a couple of year.

His time in Ottawa colours certainly didn't do much to change their minds, on a team that at one time many thought was bringing back a version of firewagon hockey. Kovalev who once upon a time was considered to be thoroughbred, instead chose to be but a stable horse during his Ottawa stay.

In 131 games in a Senators uniform he brought in but 32 goals and 44 assists, not the kind of production we imagine anticipated when the General Manager brought him into the fold.

As a helpful table for the GM, the Ottawa Sun did the math on the Kovalev years and the ten million dollar deal, working out his goal to dollar ratio as costing the Sens 271 thousand dollars per goal, not the best return on investment that a General Manager has ever taken to ownership we imagine.

For the weary fans, resigned to another non playoff year, his departure and with it but a conditional draft pick as compensation, will only vindicate their original opinion that GM Murray is a tad lost these days in assembling hockey teams.

Indeed the signing of Kovalev, along with some high profile departures over the last few years has provided the true visual of the franchise these days.

If someone was to really wanted to find where the state of the Sens is these last few years, the place to be would be the Ottawa Airport.

A vantage point from which crowd watchers would have noted that there was far too much value at the departure gate and not near enough coming in at the arrivals terminal.

Ottawa Citizen-- Kovalev leaves us frustrated
Ottawa Citizen--Senators deal Kovalev to Pittsburgh for draft pick, claim winger Svatos off waivers
Ottawa Citizen-- Alex Kovalev traded to Pittsburgh

Ottawa Sun-- Kovalev "feels bad" over play for Sens
Ottawa Sun-- Blame Heatley for Kovalev fiasco
Ottawa Sun-- Pens comfortable with Kovalev's presence
Globe and Mail-- Penguins acquire Kovalev from Senators
Globe and Mail-- Senators shed the Kovalev burden 
Hamilton Spectator-- Kovalev gets thumbs-up from Lemieux before trade to Pittsburgh 
CBC-- Senators send Kovalev back to Penguins 
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Penguins trade to bring back Kovalev
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Kovalev says he can still be "that guy" for the Penguins
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Kovalev must score to win over Pens

Picture above from Ottawa Citizen website

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mario's manifesto still echoes one week later

It's been seven days now since the Penguins and Islanders engaged in a small scale gang war on the ice at the Nassau Coliseum, a much documented brawl that hearkened back to an era many thought had long been dismissed.

That bit of nastiness, combined with other recent on ice incidents involving the Boston Bruins, the days of the seventies that were marked by the anarchy of the Flyers and brawling of the Bruins of the day seemingly are back for a return engagement.

The review of the recent troubles however has been highlighted by the high profile interjection (and rather stern objection of) Mario Lemieux, the Penguins owner and long time champion of a less violent game.

His most recent deliberations and declarations suggesting that he may be giving a second thought as to whether he wishes to remain part of the ownership stable, offering up his concerns over where the game seems to be heading once again, reprising the refrain from his playing days of allowing the less skilled players to dictate the terms of the sport, at times to the detriment if not danger to those stars that play the game.

There has been much review of his comments of the last week, some valid points that Mario perhaps is tossing his rocks from a glass house.  Particularly considering the rather high amount of penalty minutes that his own team owns, not to mention his employ of Matt Cooke who has provided for more than a few injured players on opposing squads.  Some of whom may end up leaving the game for good after suffering successive injuries that could have been avoided had the culture of violence not taken hold of the play at times.

In that instance, there is a semblance of a double standard in the running commentary of the week from Lemieux, but that should not let the larger message not be allowed to go to debate.

The cascading mayhem on the ice, combined with the number of high profile injuries of late among the star players of the game is something that needs to be addressed by the NHL.  The attraction of the game is still in the hands of a Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Stamkos or a Sedin, to run the risk of the permanent removal of that calibre of player thanks to a needless injury should be paramount to the league.

Beyond that, which should be the main talking point on the issue, the idea that hockey is going to return to the sideshow era of cartoon like violence brought life in the recent brawls of the last week isn't a direction that the game should entertain.

Recent numbers from Hockey Canada show that enrolment is on the decline across Canada in minor hockey,  a trend that has the organization seeking ways of attracting children of immigrants to join in on the game to try to stem some of those losses.

A laudable goal in itself, but if they ever hope bring those kids into the rink to join in with children born to Canadian parents as part of the plan to bring those numbers back up, having professional teams showcase the pugilists over the puck handlers certainly won't be a helpful trend.

The point counter point debate on Mario's manifesto can be found below.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- Lemieux's words reverberate
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Lemieux justified in criticism of NHL
Globe and Mail-- NHL engages ridicule defence
Globe and Mail-- Players, management have Mario Lemieux's back
Globe and Mail-- NHL thirsts after the same blood and dollars as UFC
Montreal Gazette-- Both sides resort to myths in debate over fighting
Vancouver Sun-- Brainless NHL needs to crack down on violence
Vancouver Sun-- Mario Lemieux angry at NHL's stance when it suits him
Vancouver Province-- How can we clean it up?
Vancouver Province-- Lemieux’s rant may actually do some good
Edmonton Journal-- Do NHL a favour
Toronto Sun-- Lemieux blasts NHL for "sideshow" fallout
TSN--  Lemieux losing big in court of public opinion
TSN-- Yzerman encourages Lemieux to continue getting involved
Sportsnet-- Yzerman wants more from Mario
ESPN-- The vindication of Andrew Ference
Halifax Chronicle Herald-- Smug in his glass house, Lemieux biffs rocks at NHL
Canadian Press-- Bettman not getting into a public debate with Mario Lemieux over league discipline

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bryan Murray plays Cupid for the Fishers

Got it all figured out inside of my head
There's a bag packed up at the foot of my bed
You say the word, baby I'm all set
We'll cover our tracks, tell a couple white lies
Make sure we got a good alibi
And by the time they catch on, we'll be outta their sight
Long gone, baby

From Get Out of This Town -- Carrie Underwood

Much is being made in the Capital of the trade that has sent Mike Fisher off to Nashville, a move that at least will cut down on the accommodations expenses when the Fisher/Underwood tax returns are required in April.

The trade Thursday from Ottawa a pre-Valentines Day present for the recently married couple, which if nothing else will put the two career family on a more amenable path for domestic bliss and providing Nashville with a top shelf star and a positive vibe for a playoff run, combined with some rather helpful support from the home front for the off ice atmosphere.

Some in Ottawa have taken the course of blaming Mrs. Fisher for the trade, giving her a taste of the kind of animosity that a Janet Jones or Yoko Ono once faced. One Ottawa radio station taking advantage of the angst in the city, to ban all Carrie Underwood music from their airwaves, of course the fact that Carrie Underwood's music isn't exactly hit rotation material on the station anyways conveniently left out of the press release.

Such is the kind of folly that can take place when a losing hockey team begins to shed some of its key components, in this case one of the harder working players on a team that this year hasn't had many such participants on the nightly roster.

Rather than blame Mrs. Fisher, perhaps Ottawa fans could look a little more coherently at the situation, the fact that their General Manger never assembled the proper components to a successful team this year, his coach seemingly hasn't resonated with the line up either and the owner has been less than  proactive thus far to try and right his listing ship.

Three places where the outrage could better be directed, rather than at the wife of the departed player, if nothing else by the selection of the trade destination, Murray at least showed a bit of compassion in a business that most times lacks any indication of the emotion.

A gaze could also be directed towards the line up itself, the reason that Mike Fisher could be traded was the fact that he at least shows up night after night, making an effort to try and turn around a woeful season. One of the few assets that the Sens had to work with as they prepare their long skate back into relevance in the NHL.

There's a reason why such skaters as an Alex Kovalev or a Sergei Gonchar for instance haven't garnered much interest in the trade sweepstakes thus far, simply put they have taken far too many nights off this season and offer up far too many questions for potential trading partners.

Both were off season acquisitions that brought high expectations to the Capital and haven't provided anywhere near the impact that fans thought they were destined to see.

Fisher through his work ethic and dressing room presence was an easy player to offer up in trade, others will prove to be much more difficult.

The fact that Kovalev's name has been repeated with more frequency in recent Sens game is attributed to the concept that he's playing harder to try and elicit a bit of interest,  one imagines it's his way of hoping  for playoff ambitions, though those may suffer a setback should GM's have  access to any video from oh lets say January 31st and before.

Still the Fisher move is a curious first decision made by GM Murray as he begins the process of rebuilding this team he so mis-understood.

Trading away a player that had a pretty consistent work effort and provided for at least a bit of scoring on a team that hasn't had much of either this year, not to mention one who was perhaps one of the most popular of players with the franchise.

For most Fisher would have probably been one of the last offerings that you would surrender to the Trade Gods, instead he became the first.

For a Nashville first round draft pick in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012, they removed one of their key players, suggesting that management is going to blow up the roster rather than tweak it.

Providing a hint that it may be a couple of more long years in Ottawa before they become reacquainted with the upper levels of the Eastern conference.

The process of dismantling continues on through February, leading up to the trade deadline day of the 28th.

Fans in Ottawa can point their fingers at Mrs. Fisher if they wish, but in reality the subject of their concern and/or derision as to why such moves need to be made can be found a lot closer to home.

Some of the feedback on the Thursday trade can be found below.

Ottawa Citizen-- Rebuild won't leave Sens seeing red
Ottawa Citizen-- Murray just getting warmed up
Ottawa Citizen-- Goodbye, good luck
Ottawa Citizen-- Nashville says welcome to Carrie's world
Ottawa Citizen-- Missing Mike
Ottawa Citizen-- Mike and Carrie: Did we know deep down this was coming?
Ottawa Citizen-- Predators watch begins
Ottawa Sun-- Clouston salutes 'team guy' Fisher
Ottawa Sun-- Fisher: "I'm so grateful to Ottawa"
Ottawa Sun-- Rating the Fisher trade
Ottawa Sun-- Fisher trade floors best friend Neil
Ottawa Sun-- Fisher deal a shocker for Senators
Ottawa Sun-- Fisher to Predators: Instant Analysis
CFRA Radio-- Fisher Takes Out Thank You Ad
Metro News-- And the post-Fisher era begins
CBC-- Fans startled by trade of Sens' Fisher
The Tennessean-- Predators add Fisher, husband of Carrie Underwood, in move to spark offense
The Tennessean-- Fisher deal may have a playoff payoff for Preds
The Tennessean-- The Fisher King
The Tennessean-- Trotz talks Mike Fisher move
The Tennessean-- Fisher discusses move to Nashville
Vancouver Sun-- Mike Fisher already feeling right at home
Vancouver Sun-- Senators' Fisher pretty sure wife Underwood happy he's headed for Nashville
USA Today-- Mike Fisher trade important to Predators, Carrie Underwood
CBC--  Fisher hopes to turn page on tough season
ESPN-- Mike Fisher deal a perfect fit, on and off ice

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Hockey high among the greatest finishes

The Bleacher Report has been very, very busy, compiling a list of the top 100 finishes in sports of all time, offering up something for everyone, including hockey fans who find some thirteen great hockey moments among the top 100.

Some from the international game, some from the NHL, they offer up a cross section of some of the highlights of the NHL among the other sports that seek our attention.

Canadian fans of the game are going to find some room to quarrel with the authors, the list focuses for the most part on events that involve American teams either world or Olympic squads and those that play in the NHL.

It's a list that might make a Gary Bettman happy, but for those huddled across the line above the 49th there are more than a few serious omissions, well beyond the obvious miss of the Canada/Russia showdown of 1972.

For hockey fans, the trip down memory lane starts at number 96, with the 2008 Winter Classic shootout and a memorable goal from Sidney Crosby.

91 on the list is a regular season match between the Hawks and Flames, which saw the Flames take an early 5-0 lead, only to see the Hawks mount an amazing third period run to tie the game and then go on to win in OT.

Item number 83 comes from 1982, back when Divisions had famous names for descriptions, in this mount of fame, the Kings and the Oilers, with the Kings storming back to surprise the Oilers in Game three.

The Bruins and the Habs from 2008 makes the list at 77, a legendary game where the under rated Bruins kept their series with the Canadiens alive with a game six victory.

And the Habs win the Cup, the Habs win the Cup, moment number 72 showcases Yvan Lambert with the overtime winner in the 1979 Stanley Cup final against the Bruins.

Canada's International showdown with the Czech Republic grabs number 57, featuring the Czech's stunning upset of the Canadians in the shootout, a final set of shots that took place with Wayne Gretzky watching from the bench.

For Flames fans moment number 46 won't be so cherished, the beginning of the come back of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a win in Game six of the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs, a series that Tampa won in Game Seven.

Bruins and Rangers fans with memories back to the fifties will look kindly at Number 26,  the pivotal moment of the 1950 Stanley Cup Final between New York and Boston.

Number 21 belongs to the Red Wings and the Penguins for their triple overtime thriller in game five of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sid the Kid claims moment number 19, with his game winning Olympic gold medal goal of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Close your eyes Buffalo fans, Brett Hull's controversial 1999 Stanley Cup overtime playoff goal grabs spot number 15.

Bobby Orr's famous leap in the year was good for number 10, celebrating all that he gave to the game forever immortalized in that iconic photo from the 1970 Stanley Cup final.

The top moment of the puck variety however belongs to the final minute of the Miracle on Ice, complete with the now famous call of Do you believe in Miracles, holding down overall spot number six of the top 100 sports moment.

As always with lists, there's going to be debate and hockey fans in particular will take issue with a few of the misses. However, despite it's blatant short comings as a list, it's a handy review of a few of the great moments from the game.

Bless me Father Cherry for I have sinned

Andrew Ference may be interested to learn that there is a new app for the iPhone and iPad that allows sinners to confess, something that might be helpful considering the expressed outrage of the high priests of the Rock em Sock Em style of the game.

For in their eyes, Ference is a sinner, his sin that of speaking out about dangerous hits, feeling the wrath from the self ordained parish priests, over his concerns that whether it's an opponent, or a team mate, the hits that cross the line, resulting in injuries should be something that needs to be removed from the game.

From their point of view it would seem that it probably would be best that Ference express his thoughts to that iPod, or better yet keep to himself, rather than to speak out about dangerous hits.

Over the weekend, first Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada and then Mike Milbury (who so liked his thoughts that he repeated them on NBC the next day) took offence to the fact that Ference took his concerns public regarding the hit administered by team mate Daniel Paille, describing it as "a bad hit", the kind of thing that they are trying to get out of the game.

That bit of candour brought out the bombast in Cherry and Milbury, who both expressed their disgust over Ference violating "the code".

The code is that much explained, seldom discussed internal justice system that seems to be the mainstay of the NHL these days.

It seems to be the one thing that commentators such as Cherry and Milbury believe makes the NHL great, the cohesive nature of circling the wagons and enacting some kind of cone of silence among the players, regardless of the fact that far too many of the league's top players and main gate attractions are finding themselves sidelined, perhaps in some cases permanently.

In the world of the code, there seemingly is no room for a Sidney Crosby currently on a light work out routine, something that isn't very taxing in light of his concussion symptoms, his return date still to be determined.

And while this is Boston, a town where Both Cherry and Milbury coached Bruin's teams known for their toughness,  perhaps a glance could be made over to Marc Savard, the Bruin who last year suffered a concussion at the hands of Matt Cooke that seems to be reverberating into this season.

For Savard his season it would seem would be over, a recurrence of concussion symptoms taking him out of the line up and raising concerns over his very future in the game.

You get the feeling that maybe, when Ference spoke out he was speaking out for Savard, Crosby and anyone else chopped down by a questionable hit. And it's a good thing that he is, as no one else seems to be taking up their cause.

To his credit Ference, hasn't backed down from his comments, collecting a few admirers along the way.

Boston Globe-- A real stand up defenseman
Boston Globe-- After hit, shockwaves
Boston Herald-- B's Ference strikes back at criticism
Montreal Gazette-- Head shots a headache for the league
Toronto Sun-- Flames defend former teammate
Globe and Mail-- Andrew Ference's act of courage

All of the above providing some valid concerns over the rising toll of cheap shots and dangerous play, helpful and welcome contributions to the debate to try and bring some common sense to the game

Welcome it seems except over in the tar pits, where instead the focus is on the code,  with Don Cherry and Mike Milbury providing for their best imitation of Colonel Jessup.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

HockeyNation Headlines February 2011

February 28-- More fine tuning than fireworks
February 27-- Crosby concussion shapes Penguins plans
February 26-- NHL teams get a jump on deadline
February 25-- Faith in trio pays off for GM Gillis
February 24-- Kovalev leaves us frustrated
February 23-- NHLPA hires Mathieu Schneider
February 22-- New Sabres owner opens wallet
February 21-- Red Hot Flames melt frozen field
February 20-- Critical week ahead for rebuilding Senators
February 19-- Daniel Sedin grabs NHL scoring lead as Canucks handle Stars
February 18-- How the Flames righted the ship
February 17-- Canucks steady on course, ‘all about overcoming adversity’
February 16-- Thrashers need a sugar daddy
February 15-- Blindside hits rule remains under general managers’ microscope 
February 14-- Hockey's next Sid the Kid?
February 13-- Mario Lemieux rips NHL on Islanders suspensions
February 12-- Cooke is dirty, Avery is just cheap: former NHL all star claims
February 11-- Moving the Thrashers not out of the question 
February 10-- Mike Fisher trade sign of future, Murray says
February 9-- NHL suspends Matt Cooke 4 games
February 8-- Keith Ballard limping, Canucks GM Mike Gillis fuming
February 7-- NHL ice guru set to battle McMahon Stadium 
February 6-- Devils lose Brodeur in win over Canadiens 
February 5-- An intense night worth watching 
February 4-- Pens’ Malkin injured in first game back 
February 3-- Pens say Malkin ready to return
February 2-- Franzen's five goals sinks Sens
February 1-- Devils partners looking to sell share of team