It's a show about nothing
Feb 28, 2012 / 5:00 am
Similar to the final episode of the vaunted “Seinfeld”, we have waited far too long to get to the NHL trade deadline day only to be dreadfully disappointed by a complete lack of any kind of sustainable plot-line. While we often cheered Jerry’s hijinks for 22 running minutes of off-the-wall, breaking-the-rules sitcom action, someone has to make a stand and let TSN know that nothing happens of any significance on Deadline Day until there are roughly 2 hours left on the countdown clock. The sense of anticipation leading up to the day leads me to expect a lead-in from Geraldo Rivera at the entrance to the Capone vault or at the very least this year from Rick Nash’s locker in Columbus. In a strange year where the deadline ‘buyers’ far outweigh the ‘sellers’, TSN is trying everything at this moment as we speak to fill time voids between trades which would confuse any incarnation of Dr. Who.
With an hour to go, here’s where we stand. Nashville opened the day with a bang by picking up Andrei Kostitsyn from the Canadiens for a 2nd rounder and a conditional 5th. The Habs have officially pulled the plug on the season and “AK 47” will head to the Country Music Capital to join his brother Sergei in what can only be surmised will be an effort to become the poor man’s Sedin twins again in a city which fully understands its place in hockey history… sorry what?! The Bela/Russian Mob just started checking Expedia for cheap tickets to Nashville and exploring opportunities in the rhinestone market. The Preds also added Paul Gustad from the Sabres for the oft-traded TBA (later proven to be a 1st rounder!) as Buffalo admits once more that play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret is still the only reason to watch – and yes I admit it… I picked them for Stanley this year! One way or another the Predators have recognized that they cannot rely solely on their Shea Weber led defense and the goaltending of Pekka Rinne to provide them with a deep playoff run.
Truth is, anybody in the West is going to have to negotiate the Canucks who continued the tried and true Gillis method of adding another Swede to the line-up when they poached Sami Pahlsson from Columbus for either one or two 4th rounders dependant on which report you are more inclined to believe. I can hear the collective sigh from Canucks Fans who keep yearning for Gillis to just make one deal, just once that actually makes some kind of sense. Hey, I suppose Pahlsson was once traded for Ray Bourque… yippee! And then as the deadline approached, the Canucks pulled the trigger on a deal that broke some hearts but in many circles made a lot of hockey sense – Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer sent to the Sabres for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Losing Hodgson no doubt hurts the Canucks but he has never been able to get adequate ice-time behind Henrik and Kesler and the move to Buffalo allows him to become a Top 6 guy. In return, the Canucks get an NHL-ready Kassian who brings size and toughness and an edge to an organization which understands that each opponent in the playoffs this year will approach them the way the Bruins did in the Finals last year. In an interview after the trade Kassian admitted to never having played for Team Sweden in any international competition and wondered whether Mike Gillis has mistaken him for someone else. His 6’4”, 228 pound frame and skill-set has been ironically compared to Milan Lucic and his own personal favorite Todd Bertuzzi! Word to the wise Zack, might not want to be blurting that out in a Granville Street watering hole – kind of like shouting “Fire” in a packed porno theatre – some things are just never to be forgiven!
In significant other moves, the Champs added some defensive depth with Mike Mottau and Greg Zanon for the cost of perennial disappointment Steve Kampfer. Most important though was the character addition in Brian Rolston from the Islanders in the “Searching for Mark Recchi” move of the day. While Rolston has been racking up air miles in the latter part of his career, he brings experience and the much-talked-about ‘locker room presence’ to a team which has struggled as of late to gel ever since their camo-clad, conspiracy theorist goalie decided there is apparently a “ME” in “TEAM”. In Chicago, while the Blackhawks failed to garner a Top 6 forward, they added strength on defense by sending a 2nd and 3rd to the Winnipeg Jets for Johnny Oduya. The Hawks are formidable on the defensive side of the puck as they most likely have to be with the unenviable combo of Corey Crawford and “Where Are They Now?” participant Ray Emery between the pipes for the post-season run, begging the question –“Why did not one goalie move on deadline day?”
Ladies and gentlemen – “The Biggest Loser” – Rick Nash. 9 years in the NHL, all with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has never won a playoff game and will now, in his own words be subjected to being a “lame duck player” for the remainder of the season while he polishes his clubs and readies for a hopeful celebrity invite to play at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament. No doubt, much of the blame belongs with himself and his agent for limiting his trade clause to 5 teams (NYR, LA, StL, TO and PHI) but the Jackets apparently set a price tag of 1 starter, 2 prospects and a 1st rounder for the frustrated winger which none of the aforementioned contenders were prepared to meet. Rather than get more desperate to move him as the deadline loomed, Columbus held their ground knowing that without a doubt Nash will not return for another campaign as a Blue Jacket. With Jeff Carter already cruising the hair-band bars of West Hollywood with old boozing buddy Mike Richards, one has to wonder what kind of effort level seasons ticket holders might see from Nash in the final quarter. This relationship is going to get uglier before it gets prettier, stay tuned Sports Fans.
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