Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/04/09 at 08:45 PM ET
I was working all day and the only trade news I was getting was through the very slow NHL.com text message updates. When 3:00, then 3:30, then 4:00 rolled around, I assumed that the Carolina Hurricanes stood pat with what they had. Then a buddy called me and dropped a ten megaton atomic bomb on me. And it played out like a horrible game of fortunately/unfortunately.
Carolina sent one of my favorite Canes, Justin Williams (whose sweater I wear) to the Los Angeles Kings for Patrick O’Sullivan. SCORE!!! Sad to see Willy go, but that’s a great deal. I’ve been watching him for a little while, partly because he’s the only player in the NHL who was born in North Carolina. Young kid on the rise, destined to be a 30 goal scorer, with two years of reasonable salary remaining on his contract. Of course that wasn’t the end of it. Of course it was part of a three-way deal, and my excitement quickly turned to nonplus, then instantly to anger. Lots of cuss words.
O’Sullivan was immediately dealt to Edmonton, and I didn’t need to wait for the rest. I knew who the other player was and I actually cringed. Not that I dislike Erik Cole, but I just don’t like this deal.
I very much wish that the first part of the deal would have been the whole deal, but Jim Rutherford has this insane penchant for rekindling old flames. There can’t be another team in the league that brings back former players and coaches as much as the Canes do.
I will welcome Colesy back, and I will cheer if (that’s right… I said if) he scores, but I’m deeply saddened about the whole thing. I’m sad to see Williams go, and I’m forced to buy a new player sweater now. I’ll get over that bit. I’m upset that the Canes didn’t stick with Patty O. More than anything else, I’m sorry that this feels like it’s nothing more than a feel-good move for the sake of nostalgia.
Don’t get me wrong. Cole is a great fit here, but one of my misgivings about it is that he’s slated to become a free agent and has historically been an absolute bear to deal with in contract negotiations. He’s not getting any younger and frankly hasn’t proven that he’s back to pre-injury form. He was having a fantastic season when he was injured, notching 59 (30/29) points in 60 games. He came back the next season with a pretty good 61 (29/32) point season, but slowed down the following season (22/29), and has been way below expectations this season with just 27 (16/11) points.
To be fair, we shouldn’t look at his Edmonton numbers. They’ve had him down on the third line. They’ve had him at left wing. They’ve had him in so many places that aren’t amenable to point production, and he’s moved around so many lines and positions that he hasn’t been granted the time to adjust. All that said, he had a really sweet goal against Nashville last night.
I’ll get over it, and I’ll warm back up to Colesy, but I really would haved liked to have O’Sullivan on our squad.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.