Kukla's Korner Hockey
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
With each trade deadline (did you know there was just one trade deadline deal involving one player in 1983?), we learn something about the league and its clubs. Here are eight things I took out of Tuesday’s swap meet:
8. Brian Burke is stubborn
The Ducks GM is stubborn. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. Burke was a player in a couple of separate trade negotiations, but he refused to trade any of his young studs (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry or prospect Bobby Ryan) for a short-term fix. But the Ducks’ road to the Cup finals got a lot tougher after the Predators, Red Wings, Stars, Sharks and Flames made significant acquisitions.
from David Kolb at MSG.com,
Oiler GM Kevin Lowe has taken a lot of initial criticism for not letting other GM’s know that Smyth was available, as GM’s were surprised that Smyth was traded; so credit Islander GM Garth Snow with being “in the know,” and landing Smyth.
more short bits on the Islanders, Rangers & Devils…. I heard Ken Holland mention last night he was not made aware of the Smyth situation. I do wonder why Lowe did not open up the bidding?
from USA TODAY,
Be careful what you wish for. The sharpshooting Hull criticized his network’s coverage Tuesday, saying he’s not getting enough airtime with NHL on NBC studio colleagues Bill Clement and Ray Ferraro.
“You need to have some sort of pregame or postgame show so we can sit down and talk about the trade deadline — or the Buffalo-Ottawa (brawl),” Hull says. “I have a lot to say. But in 20 seconds, you have to be some sort of English lit professor to do it with any style or bravado.”
from the New York Islanders,
The Islanders’ acquisition of Ryan Smyth from Edmonton was the talk of hockey in both countries. Here’s what the hockey world was saying about Ryan Smyth becoming a New York Islander.
DAMIEN COX, Toronto Star: “After months of gradually building a competitive team with a series of smaller moves, it was Snow, the most inexperienced member of the league’s GM fraternity, who completed a Hail Mary pass on NHL trade deadline day…In the end a greenhorn GM with a masters degree in administration from the University of Maine made the biggest splash and turned the Islanders into a team to watch again.”
The Washington Capitals got creative in their promotions this past Monday, with an event for women to learn more about hockey and about the team. The DC Sports Chick attended the event:
One incident at the end of the evening stood out for me. When Miss Chatter and I were leaving, we shared the elevator with an older woman (probably in her mid-40s). She was positively glowing. I asked if she had a good time, and she enthusiastically said, “I LOVED it. It was great!” I inquired about her level of hockey knowledge, and she said she was a hockey widow whose husband wants her to understand hockey better to attend games with him. I asked if she would go now, and she was very excited about it. So the Caps got at least one new fan out of the evening (and many more, I suspect).
I pointed to a few hockey bloggers today in a “special” NHL.com blog today.
Great job by the hockey blogs I visited very early this morning.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
In the old days, back before the National Hockey League owners’ great victory over the players and the imposition of a salary cap, the equation come trade deadline day was easy for even the most casual fan to understand.
Rich, competitive teams were buyers. Poor and non-competitive teams were sellers.
Sometimes the doings were dramatic, sometimes less so, and always there were intangibles in the mix. A team preparing for the playoffs might want to add “grit” or “character” or “toughness” or a player who might have a calming/inspiring presence in the dressing room.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So, what does all the trade deadline to-ing and fro-ing mean to those teams who still harbor Stanley Cup dreams or playoff pipedreams? Here’s the post-deadline look at playoff-hopeful teams and whether they’re trending up, trending down or merely treading water.
Montreal Canadiens: GM Bob Gainey’s biggest move was in resisting the temptation to deal power-play specialist and potential free-agent defenseman Sheldon Souray. The deal to bring in Josh Gorges and a first-round pick for potential unrestricted free-agent defenseman Craig Rivet was a good “down-the-road” move. Still, down the road isn’t what Habs fans want to see. Trending down.
By George James Malik:
The Edmonton Journal’s Dan Barnes sums up the storyline that will become front and centre for the next few weeks in lamenting the Oilers’ decision to trade Ryan Smyth:
Too much? Absolutely. But this wasn’t supposed to happen under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Prongers of the world could be had, the Smyths could be kept; that was the bill of goods sold to long-suffering Oiler fans. They could have forgiven Lowe’s inability to find that defenceman. Heck, they would have forgiven a season sans playoffs, if only Lowe had found a way to keep Smyth. Didn’t he save enough money on the Pronger deal? Shouldn’t there be enough in the kitty to overpay the heart and soul of the franchise?
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Holmgren should get the job for good. He should be the one who makes the next set of moves this summer, when the Flyers’ general manager gets to make use of the draft choices and salary-cap space and trade assets that Holmgren has so assiduously acquired.
But will he?
“I plan on it, yeah,” he said yesterday, after the news conference to announce the Biron deal.
But has he been told?
“No, not necessarily,” Holmgren said.
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