Wednesday is the NHL trade deadline, and it's become a bit of a long-running joke that even though TSN devotes hours of programming to it every year, nothing ever really happens. And for those enthusiasts of hockey reporters fiddling with their phones on national television, Wednesday is shaping up to be one for the ages.
Not that I won't watch every rotten second of it, but the amount any of us looking forward to this, on a scale of one to 10, is about negative 1 million.
The biggest problem, and we knew this would be the case all along, is that no one wants to commit to selling. The short schedule and the intraconference play have combined to make races look much tighter than they probably are in reality, and therefore the appetite of any team to start moving pieces that might give them the illusion of a competitive chance that, in reality, probably doesn't exist.
Take, for example, the fact that the Flyers are one of the worst teams in the NHL this season and are universally considered a disappointment, but at the same time are a mere four points back of the Rangers for eighth in the East. Even the Calgary Flames, who won't say what they've done to this point categorizes becoming sellers, are just six points back of St. Louis for the West's last playoff spot.
In reality, given the way intraconference play works and the seemingly absurd number of overtime games this season, four- and six-point leads are probably close to insurmountable unless a team goes on a Los Angeles Kings-type run in the final 12 or 15 games of the season. But even then, it would still take something of a miracle.
Nonetheless, the idea of being just two wins' worth of points at the deadline is going to be enough to stop most teams from throwing, "For sale, best offer," signs around the necks of their more movable assets and sticking them on the curb for passersby to gawk at. The perception, that is. Making it in after being four points back at the deadline has, in the past, been a more reasonable prospect because there was still usually a month-plus in the season. Now, there's less than that, and consequently being four back in 2013 might be closer to being six or eight back in previous years.
Plus, most of the teams that might be interested in selling under normal circumstances aren't this year, or have already started doing so. If all that Iginla drama had gone down a week later, for example, that's riveting stuff for the deadline desk boys to cover. But Iginla's moved already, and we've been told Martin St. Louis won't be available under any circumstances, which I'd imagine will become more common as the deadline approaches, rather than teams doing what Don Maloney did the other day and saying, "We'll listen to offers for anyone."
The reticence is at least understandable but it sure doesn't make for good television, and you have to assume that teams will be more apt to trade and trade for the Jordan Leopolds and Douglas Murrays of the world than the Iginlas and Jagrs.
Let's put it this way: It's starting to look more and more like the big trade deadline acquisition some team makes in an effort to bolster their chances of succeeding in the postseason is a guy who literally has zero goals this season.
Ryane Clowe's underlying numbers may indicate he should be doing far better than he is (his team's shooting percentage when he's on the ice is something like 6.5) but teams are going to line up around the block for him and he doesn't have one goal in 28 games.
It speaks to the madness of deadline day in general, at least on some level, that he'll be scooped up for a second-round pick or something, but this year especially it seems absolutely bonkers that any of it would happen. And by the way, even Clowe might be traded before then.
So please, just go to work instead of calling out sick. Don't feel the need to check Twitter constantly. The biggest thing you're going to miss is probably equivalent to Ryan O'Byrne getting moved for a fourth-rounder.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: Bruce Boudreau on the Ducks beating the Sharks Friday night: "At least they know in their mind that when they put their mind to it, they're a good hockey team and that the first 22 wins weren't a fluke." I'm not sure that one win actually proves that, but sure.
Boston Bruins: The Bruins have two wins in their last seven games, including a meek effort against the shorthanded Flyers on Saturday afternoon. Claude Julien on if the team is waiting for someone to arrive via trade and boost their chances: "If we're looking for help, we're looking in the wrong direction." Ouch.
Buffalo Sabres: This is, I swear to you, the second goal by Ville Leino in an actual game against a real NHL team. The Sabres lost anyway, but y'know.
Calgary Flames: Jay Bouwmeester says he's fine with not being named Flames captain, probably because he's getting traded this week.
Carolina Hurricanes: I don't know what it says when Justin Peters is outdueling Ondrej Pavelec in a critical game for both teams. Oh wait yes I do it says Pavelec isn't good.
Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks might be kicking the tires on numerous trade targets after losing out on Lubomir Visnovsky, including Mark Streit, Jay Bouwmeester, Robyn Regehr, Ryan Whitney, and Ryane Clowe. One of those things is not like the others.
Colorado Avalanche: Big night for the Avs defense as Semyon Varlamov picked up a 34-save shutout and OT win, though given that it was against the Predators can we really be all that impressed?
Columbus Blue Jackets: This is about as definitive as it gets: "The Blue Jackets will not be 'buyers' before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline. … They likely won't be all-out 'sellers,' either."
Dallas Stars: The Stars, of all teams, were the team that finally snapped the Wild's seven-game winning on Friday streak as Jaromir Jagr picked up his 1,000th career assist on this nice Jamie Benn goal.
Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: All it took for the Wings to get college free agent Danny DeKeyser under contract was a little robo-hypnosis from Nicklas Lidstrom, whose powers even work over the phone.
Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers' win on Saturday moved them into a four-way tie one point behind eighth place, and there's some serious Going For It feelings now swirling in Edmonton.
Florida Panthers: Hey Dmitry Kulikov you guys are supposed to be losing not winning!
Los Angeles Kings: Tough break for the Kings to blow a two-goal lead more than halfway through the game and then lose in a shootout, particularly because the Wild were coming off a back-to-back in Dallas the night before.
Minnesota Wild: Speaking of, the Wild's schedule is pretty difficult down the back stretch here. Seven of their next 14 are on the road, all played in just 27 days.
Montreal Canadiens: The Habs shut out the Rangers Saturday night but barely anyone noticed because the Rangers have one goal in their last four games at Bell Centre. Montreal typical, I guess.
Nashville Predators: The Predators are 0 for 12 on the power play in their last three games but hey they at least put a dozen shots on goal in six chances against the Avs. It's all about the baby steps.
New Jersey Devils: The Devils are the new Florida Panthers. They're holding on to the seventh spot in the East, four points up on the Rangers, thanks to their league-leading nine overtime or shootout losses this season.
New York Islanders: The Islanders are going to miss the playoffs this year but people looking to acquire one of their best players can keep on walking. "No chance they trade Frans [Nielsen].
New York Rangers: Sean Avery says the Rangers "hate" John Tortorella and "wont [sic] play for his BS" which I buy I guess, but then again he also says he is "#winning" so take it all for what it's worth.
Ottawa Senators: Following a "humbling" home loss to the Leafs, one can only assume Eugene Melnyk has hired a private eye to dig up dirt on Nazem Kadri, and determine once and for all whether he meant to score those three goals.
Philadelphia Flyers: Oh you know just one of those games where the Flyers hold a good team to one goal despite not having Nick Grossmann, Braydon Coburn, or Andrej Meszaros in the lineup. Happens all the time.
Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 234 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. And man, it's not every day you see a successful investment banker who thinks it's a good idea to keep an NHL team in Glendale, but then I guess I don't understand the stock market.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Paul Martin is out for the next six weeks with a broken bone but I'm sure Ray Shero will get Jay Bouwmeester for a third-round pick and one of Sid Crosby's busted chicklets.
San Jose Sharks: Nice hip check by Brent Burns. Wonder if the Sharks will try to convert him to being a defenseman.
St. Louis Blues: I'm no expert here but it seems to me if you're trying to shore up your defense, you maybe don't do it by acquiring a D-man who was on the Sabres.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Let's not go around blaming Guy Boucher for the Bolts bleeding goals every game. That defense stinks.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Joffrey Lupul now has eight goals in his last six games and I'm not a hockey expert but that seems like a good amount.
Vancouver Canucks: No one in Vancouver probably wants to think too much about it but how are the Canucks going to live when they are inevitably Sedinless? What if that day comes sooner than later?
Washington Capitals: Mathieu Perreault was really happy the Capitals beat the Sabres on Saturday.
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are making the Jets-iest effort possible to blow their Southeast Division lead. They're up four points on Carolina but the 'Canes have three games in hand.
Play of the Weekend
I don't know how you let Taylor Hall get this open in any situation, but given that this goal was the third for the Oilers against Vancouver in 2:43 to open the game on Saturday night, I guess there are bigger questions to ask. This, by the way, was the middle goal of a first-period Hall hat trick.
Gold Star Award
Minus of the WeekendHe has their problems figured out: “We give up too many ... tap-ins, basically. It's easy for them to score those goals, if you look at them. Odd-man rushes and turnovers. We're not giving up huge scoring chances, number-wise. But the quality is ..." Yeah, that all sounds right.
Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "MacTruck" is thinkin' hard.
To New York:
But dad, that's vandalism and vandalism isn't cool.
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