The NHL trade deadline has come and gone. The final day was full of trades, but most were teams exchanging spare parts and draft picks. The biggest deadline deals came before the Olympic break. Treating the trade deadline as the entire series of season end trades that began when Toronto acquired Jean-Sebastien Giguere in late January, here is a quick analysis of how teams fared in their deadline moves.
Biggest Short Term Improvement - New Jersey Devils They added Ilya Kovalchuk, who is the best player to change hands in deadline deals. It cost some depth players and young talent in Johnny Oduya, Niklas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier and a first round pick. Kovalchuk came from Atlanta with Anssi Salmela. Kovalchuk is highly unlikely to stay in New Jersey beyond this season, but he immediately becomes the top offensive talent in New Jersey history. Most of his cost is made up of players who will likely improve in the future. This is a deal intended to help New Jersey contend today. It does not make the Devils the top team in the NHL, but it does make them a more solid contender. The Devils also added Martin Skoula cheaply for a fifth round pick.
I think the Olympic performance of two players cemented them in as Hall of Famers, regardless of anything that happens in the future of their careers. Yesterday, I wrote about Jarome Iginla. In the comments section, I was asked about the other one - Sidney Crosby. I didn’t address why he was not on my Hall of Fame list yesterday, because in fact he is. I wanted to have separate posts for Iginla and Crosby - and at this point I feel Iginla has a slightly better Hall of Fame case so I wrote his first.
Sidney Crosby has been in the NHL for four and two thirds seasons approximately. This is a rather short tenure to have a Hall of Fame career, but he has done it. In that time, Crosby has a Hart and Art Ross Trophy. He has a Stanley Cup victory. He now has an Olympic victory, where he scored the gold medal winning goal.
One question I find very interesting is exactly when I think a player is worthy of Hall of Fame induction based on their career to date, with no projection into the future.
I think Jarome Iginla has recently met that standard. Iginla has had considerable individual success. He is a three time First Team All Star on right wing. He is a two time Maurice Richard Trophy winner as top goal scorer in the league (once he tied for the award). He is a onetime Art Ross Trophy winner, Pearson Award winner and a very close Hart Trophy runner up. He was the top goal scorer in the 2004 playoffs and recently the top goal scorer in the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament. All of that individual success is enough to cement a Hall of Fame induction.
The Olympics completed yesterday. The final event was the men’s hockey final. For results of the preliminary round look here, the qualifying round , the quarter-finals here and the semi-finals here. These are the results of the medal games.
With the gold medal game in the men’s hockey tournament coming up today, there is an issue that is in the back of the minds of all the hockey fans. The NHL is threatening to not send professional players to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia and other Winter Olympiads in the future. This Canada vs. USA gold medal game could be the last one ever.
Gary Bettman argues that it costs the NHL money to shut down the season in the middle of the playoff drive. It disrupts the season. He doesn’t like trusting the NHL’s best players to the International Olympic Committee.
Bronze - 4th Finland 3 Sweden 2 (overtime) Teams exchanged goals throughout regulation, with Finland holding a 1-0 and 2-1 lead. In overtime, it was Karoliina Rantamaki scoring the game winner for Finland. Sara Grahn was solid in net for Sweden. She was the busier goalie facing 24 shots. Noora Raty of Finland faced 18 shots and won the game. Finland wins the bronze medal.
The men’s hockey tournament continued in the Olympics yesterday. After a preliminary round and some qualifying games, we have hit the first games where significant teams will be eliminated. Here are the results:
USA 2 Switzerland 0 USA carried the play through most of the game, but had trouble scoring on Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller (who faced 43 shots). It was third period before Zach Parise scored the first goal of the game. He added another in the closing minute into an empty net. Ryan Miller had a 19 save shutout.
After the conclusion of the men’s preliminary round in the hockey tournament, the bottom eight teams had to play a qualifying game to get to the final eight. Here are the results:
Switzerland 3 Belarus 2 (shootout) The game opened with an Aleksei Kalyuzhny goal, which put Belarus up 1-0. Julien Sprunger tied it up for Switzerland midway through the first period. Teams exchanged goals in the second period with Hnat Domenichelli scoring for Switzerland and Konstantin Zakharov scoring for Belarus. Switzerland pressed hard to win the game. They outshot Belarus nearly 2-1 (43-22). Andrei Mezin was strong in the Belarus net. Jonas Hiller was the Swiss goalie. After the game ended a tie, they drew straws or had some kind of skills competition and Switzerland won it.
The semi-finals in the women’s Olympic hockey tournament were yesterday. These semi-finals pitted USA against Sweden and Canada against Finland. The preliminary round results are here.
USA 9 Sweden 1 This game was never really in doubt. USA scored first and scored often. They had a 4-0 lead midway through the second period when Pernilla Winberg scored a power play goal for Sweden. Monique Lamoreux scored a hat trick for the Americans, with Karen Thatcher, Caitlin Cahow, Jenny Potter, Jocelyne Lamoreux, Natalie Darwitz, Hilary Knight and Molly Engstrom all adding two points each. Jesse Vetter stopped 11 of 12 shots for the win. Kim Martin was much busier for Sweden. She faced 46 shots.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
Why are you reading it? ???