February 28, 2008

In Ray Shero We Trust

There's been a lot of pro/con discussions regarding the Penguins acquistion of Marian Hossa at Tuesday's trade deadline. Many feel Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero gave up too much. Other felt it was a dumb trade for somehow who is possibly going to be a "rental player". A whole group of fans love the deal and cannot wait for Hossa, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby to be on the ice together in a few weeks.

If you're a Penguins fan, you have to take a breath, and believe the mantra, "In Ray Shero We Trust". This guy took over from Craig Patrick and helped turn the franchise around on the ice. Are you missing guys like Konstantin Koltsov? Jan Hrdina? Neil Wilkinson? Petr Skudra? Rico Fata? Didn't think so. Shero has made a lot of key trades and signings since his reign began in 2006.

Picking up Gary Roberts and Georges Laraque at last years trade deadline helped give the Penguins some needed toughness and protection for their young stars. He picked Ty Conklin up from the depth of hockey hell and allowed the goaltender to flourish in Pittsburgh and make himself the hottest goalie in the league. Shero also helped find Jeff Taffe, who's been a valuable player this season. Petr Sykora was signed in the off-season and paying dividends this year.

Yes, not every move has paid off. Where there's a Jeff Taffe there's a Nils Ekman, Ronald Petrovicky, Chris Thorburn, or Tim Brent, guys who disappointed in a Pens sweater. There's also guys like Adam Hall and Mark Eaton, both played in Nashville when Shero was the assistant general manager there, but have found themselves on the IR.

What I'm trying to get across is Shero knows what he's doing. He is not the type of guy that would trade away prospects and young talent for a rental player (I'm looking at you Garth Snow) just to sneak into the playoffs. Shero made this deal for a long playoff run. The five games Pittsburgh played against Ottawa in last season's playoffs was not enough, he and the entire organization are hungry for a deep run at the Stanley Cup. Now, with Hossa in the lineup and Crosby coming back in a few weeks, Pittsburgh is taking hold of their opportunity to win this season.

In Ray Shero We Trust.

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NHL Network US March Schedule

Wednesday, March 5
St. Louis @ Detroit
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, March 5
Ottawa @ San Jose
10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, March 12
Toronto @ Philadelphia
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT

Friday, March 14
Atlanta @ Washington
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT

Wednesday, March 19
Carolina @ Atlanta
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT

Friday, March 21
Minnesota @ Vancouver
10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT

Sunday, March 23
New York Islanders @ Philadelphia
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT

Wednesday, March 26
Vancouver @ Colorado
9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT

Friday, March 28
St. Louis @ Detroit
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Friday, March 28
San Jose @ Anaheim
10:30 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT

Sunday, March 30
Calgary @ Vancouver
10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT

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High School Hijinx...Still Alive

You would think with the way parents these days are insane and overprotective, they'd pick up on sexually explicit language inside their son's hockey team program...for two games.

Apparently not.

The hockey team at Lockview High School in Nova Scotia decided to play a little prank with each other and have some fun, you know, since they're teenagers and all. Inside the programs for their games was a biography of each of the players which were changed to reallll dirty things. You want an example?

"One player’s bio says he enjoys “some meat between his buns.” Another’s says he likes hunting and fishing and warns women that he shares his bed with a huge weapon.

A third player’s write-up says he “could be coming into your mouth sooner than you think as he seeks a profession in dental hygenics (sic) in the near future.”

Oh, those crazy kids!

Of course, a parent finally caught and complained to the school board who in turn fired the head coach the next day.

Moral of the story? Teenagers do stupid things...as if we didn't all know that (or remember when we were)

Thanks to WCK from FAN IQ for passing this story along.

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February 27, 2008

The Settling Dust

So have we had enough time to recuperate? Are we ready to take a step back from the madness and just take a look and who made moves to improve their team and who didn't? Well, even if you're not ready, I am -- so here's the Scotty Wazz Trade Deadline Review.

-Let's start off with one of the biggest moves and Brad Richards moving to Dallas. The Stars came out smelling like roses after this one. Sure, they had to move Mike Smith, but the important thing is that they didn't have to part with prospect defenseman Mark Fistric, who was rumored to be in on this deal. The Stars are able to get a guy in Richards who has won a Cup recently and who should be able to play well alongside the likes of Mike Modano and Mike Ribiero. Plus, they get a little more experience in Johan Holmqvist, but it's not much more than Smith in terms of NHL experience.

-I don't get why people think the Penguins are now a top-dog for the Stanley Cup. Yes, it was a decent deal to get Marian Hossa, though I think it was a little much to give up, but it's not like Hossa has been a Conn Smythe candidate when he hit the playoffs. If anything, Hossa became Houdini and disappeared. The fact remains that the Pens really don't have the defense or goaltending to get very far in the playoffs. Even all the fire power in the world doesn't translate to playoff success if you don't have the right personnel to keep the puck out.

-Did George McPhee go on a bender and decide to finally spend some payroll? And to be honest, he got rental players and gave up really nothing for it, sans Matt Pettinger. The big question will be what's going to happen in goal? Some people see this as disrespect to Olaf Kolzig, but maybe McPhee knows something we don't-- like maybe Kolzig retiring regardless of the outcome this season and he's getting Huet in the system so he has first negotiating rights to him. That, or it's to have a better back-up than Brent Johnson. We'll see, but I think this move goes deeper than the surface.

-Am I the only one who REALLY likes Bryce Salvador going to New Jersey? It's not because of the WHL connection between him and coach Brent Sutter, but it gives them a better top defenseman than what they have had this season. With Martin Brodeur starting to heat up, this move could help the Devils get back to being a serious Cup contender.

- The surprise of the deadline was the lack of movement by the Ottawa Senators. Especially considering their struggles both on and off the ice, you'd think they'd do something to really shake-up their line-up, especially on defense and in net. The fact they only got Martin Lapointe out of yesterday shows that this could be yet another disappointing spring for the Senators and their fans.

-Is it time for a change at the GM position in Buffalo? In the past 10 months, Darcy Reiger has lost Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, and Brian Campbell, basically dismantling the components who helped the Sabres get to back-to-back Conference Finals. Don't be surprised if Ryan Miller is the next to go, especially since Miller will have upper-hand in negotiations.

-There is no truth to the rumors that the Avalanche tried to trade for Alex Tanguay and Chris Drury, nor did they try to lure Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy out of retirement.

-I'm officially going to call Brandon Bochenski the next Mike Sillinger. Bochenski, who was traded to Nashville late in the day, is on his fifth team and is only 25 years old.

-How many defensemen do the Ducks need? With the acquisition of Marc-Andre Bergeron, the Ducks now have enough fire power on defense to topple Liechtenstein. Brian Burke may say he isn't a deadline kind of guy, but the deals he does make on this day is enough to continue his genius as a general manager.

-Did anyone else think some Leafs fans were going to barge in on the TSN studios and lynch John Ferguson, Jr. for putting all those no-trade clauses in the money heavy contracts? I also wonder if Ferguson did this to screw the Leafs if he were to get fired one day.

-How badly has Alvaro Montoya's stock dropped since he was drafted back in '04? The emergence of Henrik Lundqvist didn't help his cause, nor will him being shipped to Phoenix, behind Ilya Bryzgalov and Mikael Tellqvist. Maybe he'll have an easier time trying to find the six-fingered man.

There's plenty more to talk about, but you'll have to go and listen to Face Off Hockey Show for all the thoughts, quips, yelling, and some analysis about all the trades that happened this deadline day.

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Trade Deadline Hangover?

Thanks to Scotty Wazz for taking the reigns yesterday and doing a great job with the trade deadline live-blog. I found myself refreshing about five different websites from 10am - 5pm or so, trying to find the latest information.

If you want a great review of all the deadline madness (25 trades in all), check out tonight's Faceoff Hockey Show from 9-11pm ET where Scotty and crew will have on their weekly guest, Lyle Richardson from Spector's Hockey where they will break down all the movement.

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All For Stanley

The Penguins made the biggest and most controversial splash today before the trade deadline. Fans on both sides love and hate this deal. Some feel it's enough for a deep playoff run. Some feel as if GM Ray Shero will get burned and be left with nothing come July 1. I personally like the deal. I don't love it, but I like it.

You make these types of deals to put your team over the top and to put them in a better position to win the Stanley Cup come June.

There can be arguing for the rest of the season about this deal. If it results in a Stanley Cup for Pittsburgh, then Shero is a genius. If the Pens fall short, he's a moron. It's a risk and it's the type of risk general managers sometimes have to take in order to reach that last step.

What did the Penguins give up? A couple of decent role players.

I love Colby Armstrong and will miss his hilarious personality, but the production just was not there.

Erik Christensen possesses the skills to be a better player than his stats showed, he just might need a different place to mature as a player.

The first-round pick will be a high one, probably in the mid-late 20's. That's fine. The Penguins have enough young talent right now and can always acquire draft picks through other deals in the off-season.

I was excited for Angelo Esposito to fall into the laps of Pittsburgh last June at the draft. I'll definitely be following his career, but it was really a numbers game. How many center do the Penguins really need?

Let's not forget that the biggest acquisition for the Pittsburgh will be when Sidney Crosby is finally back. The way the team is rolling, it'll be the "greatest show on ice" if they're firing on all cylinders. Ray Shero did his job today and put the Penguins in the best position to win the Stanley Cup this season. He can't worry too greatly about the future. Pittsburgh has the parts to win now and Shero is trying to capitalize on that. It may work. It may all blow up in his face. That's the part that isn't up to him.

So what if Hossa walks on July 1? They still have Evgeni Malkin, Crosby, Ryan Whitney, amongst others in that lineup. Losing Hossa, Christensen, and Armstrong will not collapse this team. Shero will be able to fill holes and be able to re-sign guys like Malkin, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury long-term with freed up money. It'll be okay Penguin fans. It's almost better that Hossa went to Pittsburgh instead of a place like say, Montreal. Then they'd be the darlings of the Eastern Conference.

We can't evaluate this trade until we see how the rest of the season finishes and how Christensen, Esposito and Armstrong pan out in their careers. In the meantime, the Penguins are serious Stanley Cup contenders. Sit back and enjoy the show.

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February 26, 2008

Tick-Tick-Boom...Scotty Wazz's Adventure to the Deadline

Hey folks, I'll be taking over for Sean from now up until the deadline or whenever the trades start to stop-- got that?? First, I'd like to thank Sean for this opportunity to do this. Second, I'll be following the TSN and Score feeds-- I can't deal with Sportsnet's Frat Party Deadline. Alright-- so, buckle up, get ready-- let's roll.

9:34-- Dave Hodge of the TSN Reporters said that he believes that Ray Emery will not be the Senators #1 or #2 goalie by the end of the day. I think it'll be hard to move him, especially with not many goalies on the block. We'll see how far this goes. Also-- good to see that TSN is pretty much stacking the deck bringing in Matt Barnaby.

9:38-- Well, the Score is so down, they're going to live TV death and taking viewer phone calls. Oddly enough, still more entertaining that Bruce Garrioch and Nick Kypreos.

9:41-- Look kids, it's Al Strachen on the Score, how about that. The Score team is discussing what's happening in Colorado. The Avs have been movers up to the deadline with signing Peter Forsberg and getting back both Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny. Rumors have the Avs wanting to get back Adam Foote or Rob Blake. Is it me or did the calendar move back to 2001??

9:42-- TSN's faux stock ticker?? I'm sorry-- that's terrible.

9:43-- Sean brought up a good point on the Frat Party Deadline, free pizza and beer. That said, I think Doug MacLean, Bruce Garrioch, and Nick Kypreos in the same room is the seventh sign. In addition, this is the most publicity Kypreos has gotten in years.

9:46-- I think Darcy Tucker has upped the ante with the post-game interview. Most guys are on the bike or some exercise equipment, but Tucker put in a lip of Copenhagen in went about his business. I tip my Sprite can to you, Tucks.

9:49-- Is a coaching change in Ottawa brewing?? Brent Wallace thinks so. Because of the teams performance, John Paddock may be on his way out of Ottawa. It is big thing, but you have to wonder if this is just a knee-jerk reaction both in the room and in the media about it. Paddock was fine when the Sens were just dominating the whole thing, but slumps happen. Wallace says the next 48 hours could be the big thing for Paddock.

9:55-- Okay, do they not have any cameras in Boston?? You'd think with the fact that they can get Cory Woron on the beaches of Miami a camera for the deadline, they'd get someone in Boston. That, or Brent Wallace was on a bender and just woke up late and has missed his live shot. Also, Monster Drops by Pierre Maguire is at one.

9:58-- Well, it seems the answer to killing the Toronto media storm-- the Spice Girls. Due to a concert at the ACC, the media may not be able to speak to the Leafs brass. James Duthie and Pierre Maguire talk a bit about Spice Girls....which is the immediate call for a trade of any kind. Let Mike Milbury and John Ferguson trade Timbits or hair styling tips-- anything.

10:05-- Will Brad Richards waive his no-movement clause?? Does he want to?? Do the Bolts want him to?? I think that it could happen, but it's a very big longshot. Richards return may not be able to compensate for what he has in terms of upside. That said, he has slumped since his Conn Smythe run so his return could be hurting.

Also, Pierre Maguire is very, very close to Darren Dutchyshen-- like man-love close.

10:08-- The Score panel, which includes Craig Button and Steve Ludzik, who are going over the UFA and RFA lists and where they could go. Guys they mention are Pavol Demitra trying to get out Minnesota to get out of the doghouse. Also, Corey Perry getting offer sheets in the summer time-- Kevin Lowe, we're looking at you.

10:14-- Sticking with the Score, Adam Foote is mentioned and they all agree that Columbus should re-sign him in order to help the Jackets keep moving forward. As much as he can bring to the room, shouldn't you be looking at someone like keeping David Vyborny as a mentor, especially since all the young talent is in the forward position.

10:17-- Marian Hossa's equipment is in his stall in the Thrashers locker-room. That's good to know, also the hot dog rollers have been turned on to warm up the dogs in Bell Centre for tonight's game.

10:24-- Nashville, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Washington, and Chicago are the five teams with the most cap space available. Al Strachen says that the Hawks and Coyotes aren't going to do much, while Craig Button thinks the Caps could make a couple moves to build up on their team, something of a lower end top-6 forward. Philadelphia, NY Rangers, Toronto, Anaheim and Carolina are capped out, with Philly, NY and Toronto actually over with injury money being paid out.

10:27-- Hey, if you guys out there have any question, comments, concerns, ideas for food afterwards-- email me at scotty.wazz@gmail.com

10:30-- I'm fairly sure that Darren Pang questioned Matthew Barnaby's sexuality on the "Either/Or" game when Barnaby was talking about Jason Spezza. Maybe the Maguire closeness is rubbing off...yuck....

10:33-- Eric Duhatschek on the Score talking about the Flames. Duhatschek is saying that low rumbles say that Kristian Huselius is available, maybe for Michael Ryder. Other than that, he says that the Flames look pretty solid. The need is for more consistent production from the forwards, because Darryl Sutter has said he could be done trading.

10:37-- AND WE HAVE A TRADE!! The New Jersey Devils have acquired Bryce Salvador from St. Louis for Cam Janssen. The thought was either Salvador or Barret Jackman were going to get dealt, since both were UFAs and the Blues didn't want to keep both because of their contract demands. With Jackman signed yesterday, Salvador is out. It brings a gritty defenseman to the Devils, with a WHL background-- perfect for Brent Sutter's corps.

10:46-- Cam Janssen is excited to go to the Blues, mostly because it's his hometown. He gives a lot of his respect to the Devils organization. He's not disappointed at leaving the Devils because he just wants to play and be on a team that wants him to play. It's refreshing to hear something like this, especially from a character guy like Janssen.

10:53-- Marian Hossa was told by the Thrashers to stay in his hotel so he doesn't get injured for a trade that could happen. I often wonder how many times that has happened in the past where a trade got foiled due to a pre-game skate injury.

10:56-- Okay, the Frat Party just got bumpin' with Bill Clement's mustache making an appearance. Sadly, Keith Primeau's brain is still in the hotel room, while his body is at the Sportsnet studio. But I don't like this Boston Pizza "situation room", unless they have team pitchers-- in which case I pitch that myself and the cast of the Face Off Hockey Show be there next year.

11:02-- I don't know if the streaming feed is getting the commercials that TSN is putting out on cable, but those Operation Lifesaver commercials about the trains....oof...why?? I didn't know the train vs. car situation was a big deal since 1973.

11:08-- Who is the number one guy out there?? It seems that Brian Campbell's name is the big one, outside of Marian Hossa. It's hard to say that Campbell will be moved, especially with the Sabres revitalization.

11:16-- ANOTHER DEAL!! The Maple Leafs send Wade Belak to the Florida Panthers for a 5th Round pick in '08, in what we call a shopping cart deal, since Belak is in Miami already for tomorrow's game. At least one Leaf will be moved today.

11:22-- Darren Millard of Sportsnet is saying that Bryan McCabe to the NY Islanders rumors are sticking around. McCabe's wife is from Long Island and is there now awaiting the birth of their child in April. McCabe has said he won't waive his NTC, but will listen to ideas. Let's see if family will win out on hockey at this venture.

11:24-- Brad Larsen trying to have some fun, donning Marian Hossa's helmet in the morning skate.

11:26-- ANOTHER DEAL?? It seems that Brian Campbell has been traded, possibly to San Jose. Nothing has been made official yet, but it seems that it could be for Steve Bernier in return to Buffalo. This will be updated when finalized.

11:34-- I think it's time for Darcy Reiger to be lynched in Buffalo. With trading Campbell, especially since the fact they are tied for the 8th playoff spot, they have ultimately given up on the season. Add that to Danny Briere and Chris Drury leaving-- who's next?? Ryan Miller could be the last nail in Reiger's coffin if/when he becomes an UFA.

11:35-- Finalized deal: Steve Bernier and a 1st round pick are headed to Buffalo for Brian Campbell.

11:37-- It's official, Brad Richards have been asked to waive his no-movement clause, which is believe to be to Dallas. It'll be interesting to see if Richards will do it and what the Bolts could get back in return.

11:42-- AN ACTUAL BIG DEAL!! It seems that Brad Richards is now a Dallas Stars, as he has waived his no trade clause. No solid on what's going back in return, but I'll keep posted.

11:45-- For the Richards deal-- Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist head to Dallas; Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith, and Jussi Jokinen head to Tampa.

11:51-- Well, it looks like Cristobal Huet is getting traded from Montreal to the Washington Capitals for a 2nd round pick. Wow-- that's....that's a head-scratcher.

11:54-- Okay, for the Richards deal-- the Stars not only got a decent center in Richards, but they didn't have to move Mark Fristric. One has to ask, how will they effect Mike Ribeiro's production for better or worse. In Tampa's case, they get a leader in Jeff Halpern to help in the room, a great dangler in Jokinen and maybe a stop-gap in Mike Smith-- though having Karri Ramo and Smith as your goalies really doesn't bode well for the future.

11:58-- Okay, so Cristobal Huet heading to Washington is a cheap price for Washington to pay, but the question is what happens to Olie Kolzig or Brent Johnson?? Will one of them be moved or will they keep them all and hope they can play two at a time??

As for Montreal, this is the start of the Carey Price era, unless the Habs nab a starter in this trade deadline. Price is good, but is he mature enough now to be the #1 on a team that is going for the division lead?? We'll see.

12:03-- ANOTHER DEAL?!? Sportsnet is reporting that Andrew Ladd has been traded from Carolina to Chicago for Tuomo Ruutu.

12:09-- How cool is the Score crew?? They moved from the TV studio, to their Sirius Satellite Radio studio. Now that....that is versatility for those folks.

12:11-- Marc, with a "C", my collegue on the Face Off Hockey Show has predicted not only a San Jose Sharks Cup win, but has also told me to blog Rob Blake to Washington. However, Blake has said he won't lift his NTC unless it's the right fit. Nice research, Marc.

12:21-- DEAL!! Ruslan Salei to Colorado from Florida for Karlis Skrastins and 3rd round pick.

12:34-- So, we're under two and a half hours from the deadline and we may be done, with Marian Hossa being the excpetion to the rule. It has been a helluva hour, a power hour-- if you will. I think we have a lot of shock and some moves that may have been unexpected. However, you look at it and how quickly we picked up-- it creates for fun reactions and a lot of analysis on what just happened, especially in the deal like Huet and Richards.

With the Hossa deal imminent (or so they say) it's just a matter of who's going to pick him up and for what.

12:37-- INSIDE DEAL!! Matthew Barnaby apparently got the call that Martin Lapointe has been traded to Ottawa for Chicago for a 6th round pick.

12:45-- I'll go out on a limb and play armchair trademaster. I think that the Calgary Flames will get Olli Jokinen for Daymond Langkow, Tim Ramholt, and some picks. It would solve the Flames problem up the middle for another year and let them re-sign Kristian Huselius with some cash to spare.

12:49-- So, we've hit a lull, but the interview that Brian Campbell did with the Buffalo media is the true standard for players in this day, especially those who have played in one place their whole life. Right now, Brian Campbell is the leading candidate for the "Ryan Smyth Award" for most emotional player on the deadline day. We'll see if there are any other contenders as the day moves along.

12:55-- It seems that is is 2001 again, as the Columbus Blue Jackets are talking with the Colorado Avalanche about a trade with Adam Foote. Foote would have to waive his NTC, which he probably would for Colorado.

1:05-- OFFICIAL DEAL-- Adam Foote is back to Colorado from Columbus for some undisclosed players as yet. I don't know if going back in time is good. Sure, it worked for Marty McFly, but I don't think the Avs will have the same success or staying power.

1:14-- ANOTHER DEAL-- Sergei Fedorov is leaving Columbus for Washington. It seems the Caps are trying to bulk up a little bit, but will it help??

1:17-- Line of the Day candidate: "James, this interview would be a lot more effective if I could hear you." That was brought to you by Brian Burke, that guy is a card.

1:27-- Foote deal conclusion: Foote to Colorado for a conditional 1st round pick in '08/'09 and conditional pick if Foote re-signs in Colorado

Fedorov deal conclusion: Fedorov to Washington for Ted Ruth

1:32-- MINOR DEAL-- for you Rob Davison fans, he has been traded from the Sharks to the Islanders for a 7th round pick.

1:37-- ANOTHER CAPS DEAL-- George McPhee burning up the lines by adding Matt Cooke to the line-up from Vancouver for Matt Pettinger.

1:59-- I think TSN is stealing my bits with the Back To The Future reference. I want royalties, dammit.

2:01-- So, we're an hour away. Something has to be brewing because nothing has been heard from Olli Jokinen or Marian Hossa. Hell, even Bryan McCabe's name has taken a slight dip in interest. This could be the real power hour, so let's get 'er going kids.

2:05-- You know, I like how the Score is doing their stuff. Instead of the awkward TV stuff, they went right to the radio side of things so the host could just chill out, relax, not being the suit jackets, but do their business right, unlike KegStand Central. Kudos to the Score.

2:12-- It seems that Corey Masisak of the Washington Times, the Capitals may not be done yet. He said to the Score crew that there are some rumblings in the Verizon Center. Word is Olie Kolzig will start....provided he's on the roster for tonight. Interesting....especially with the fact the Caps have made three deals already.

2:26-- TSN just showed Brian Burke in his warroom in Anaheim on the phone. I don't think he's making a deal, but I think he's ordering a pizza for the after party....just a thought.

2:40-- Under 20 minutes and some clarification, only notifications have to be in by 3:00PM, meaning something in writing. Trade calls can happen all the way until 5:00PM ET.

2:51-- We're at the 10 minute mark-- it seems that Sportsnet is reporting that the Penguins are the lead dog for the Hossa deal. We'll see what happens, as Waddel is probably waiting to get the best deal.

2:53-- MINOR DEALS-- Leafs trade Hal Gill to Pittsburgh for a 2nd and 5th round pick in '08, while the Rangers get Christian Backman from St. Louis for a 4th round pick.

2:59-- BIG DEAL-- Marian Hossa has finally been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Angelo Esposito, Colby Armstrong, and Erik Christensen, as well as maybe a 1st round pick.

3:00-- Done and Done-- the deadline has passed, so no more deals. More calls could be coming in, but no new deals.

3:03-- The Hossa deal has Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Angelo Esposito, Colby Armstrong, and Erik Christensen.

3:10-- DEAL AFTER DARK-- Chris Simon has been traded to the Minnesota Wild for a 6th Round Pick going to Long Island

3:14-- ANOTHER LATE DEAL-- Brad Stuart traded to the Red Wings from the Kings for a 2nd and 4th round pick

3:16-- So, Dave Hodge said the Penguins were the winners in the East, Dallas in the West. Personally, the Pens paid way too much for a rental in Hossa. The Pens won't be able to afford Hossa, especially with contracts to Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, M-A Fleury, and Kris Letang coming up in the near future. To give up three great young prospects like Esposito, Armstrong, and Christensen for a rental is insane.

And if the Pens think this will help them in the playoffs, I'd think again. Hossa only as 13 goals and 35 points in 55 playoff games and has often been invisible on the ice.

3:25-- LATE NIGHT MENU-- Phoenix traded Josh Gratton, David LeNeveu, and Fredrik Sjostrom to NY Rangers for Alvaro Montoya and Marcel Hossa.

Anaheim acquires M-A Bergeron from NY Islanders for 3rd Round Pick

Toronto trades Chad Kilger to Florida for 3rd Round Pick

3:31-- GOALIE MOVE-- The Ducks acquire J-S Aubin from the LA Kings for a 7th Round Pick

3:36-- YET ANOTHER CAPS MOVE-- The Capitals re-acquire Alexandre Giroux from Atlanta for Joe Motzko.

3:51-- MAYBE ONE MORE MOVE-- Tampa trades Jan Hlavac to Nashville for....ah I can't find it, the hell with it.

Alright-- I think it's done now. It's time for me to go get some rest and get out of this seat. Once we all have time to digest it, I'll put a review of it all. Thanks for all of you who hung around and commented through this whole thing. Also, check out Face Off Hockey Show for the recap of the trade deadline with Lyle Richardson from Spector's Hockey.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Tick, Tick, Tick....Sean's TSN Live Blog Until 9:30am ET

Scotty Wazz will take over at 9:30 ET with the rest of the deadline day happenings

Well, it's here. All the waiting. All the rumors. That all ends today at 3pm. It's a semi-national holiday in Canada and it's growing in popularity here in the US. If you have NHL Network, flip it on NOW. They are showing the TSN feed from 8am until 6pm. Yes, ten hours of coverage. Amazing. If you're stuck in the office, head over to NHL.com where they will be streaming the TSN feed.

So what happened so far? Scotty did a good job with the couple of deals last night, but there was a pretty big signing that occurred that will signal the end of the Brad Richards-era in Tampa Bay. Dan Boyle signed a 6-year, $40 million dollar contract which will not only force Lightning general manager Jay Feaster to deal the former Conn Smythe winner in Richards, but also heat up the sweepstakes for defenseman Brian Campbell of Buffalo.

The TSN crew opens up with some hotly rumored deals, which of course, are more reliable than any you'll read on your local message board.

8:01 - RUMOR: Marian Hossa to Montreal for Michael Ryder and two prospects

8:02 - RUMOR: Brad Richards to Columbus for Ron Hainsey, Dan Fritsche, Ole Tollefson, and Gilbert Brule.

8:04 - RUMOR: Brad Richards to Vancouver for Luc Bourdon, Cory Schneider, draft picks.

8:12 - Darren Dreger promoted the Avs-Canucks matchup tomorrow night at 10pm ET as possibly the return of Peter Forsberg...that is if his foot holds up walking to the locker room.

8:16 - Word out of Pittsburgh is that Marc-Andre Fleury will return tonight! Sweet! I'll be in attendance and can't wait to see the new white pads in person.

8:17 - NHL Network showing one of those player profiles about Red Kelly. I'm very happy to see that they've switched them up and rotated in a few others. How many times can I watch the one with Darryl Sittler without wanting to spear my television?

8:24 - John Ferguson Jr. explains that Mats Sundin earned a no-trade clause and already had one in place in his previous contract when he re-signed him to a one-year deal.

8:27 - Why is Olli Jokinen on the trade block? Florida is in the playoff hunt for the first time in quite a while and their captain still have two years left on his deal. I can understand if he was an upcoming UFA, but you want to try to sell hockey in Florida, you have to keep Jokinen.

8:29 - GM Corner with Mike Milbury and Ferguson Jr. Great question here: If the Leafs are quiet today or make just a minor move or two, what was the point of bringing in Cliff Fletcher as interim general manager?

8:35 - If Brian Campbell is dealt today or leaves on July 1st, does that make Buffalo the Edmonton of the East, where no free agents want to go?

8:38 - Darren Dreger is reporting that Mike Comrie has signed a one-year deal to stay with the Islanders worth $4 million. That's a big deal for the Isles as Comrie is their leading scorer with 18 goals and 27 assists. He's seemed to have found a niche for himself on the Island.

8:40 - Ross McKeon of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Brad Richards will be dealt to Dallas for goalie Mike Smith, Jeff Halpern, and Mark Fistric. Seems a little light to me, obviously Tampa is trying to dump Richards salary completely off their books, but they do that goaltender they've been looking for. Wondering when this will be finalized and announced.

8:47 - Atlanta is in Montreal tonight to play the Habs. Will Marian Hossa switch locker rooms before 7pm ET tonight? That seems to be the strong rumor.

8:53 - This is why insanity runs the hockey world in the hours leading up to the trade deadline. SportsNet's Nick Kypreos reported that the Penguins might be interested in trading Evgeni Malkin. Really? Really? They pay Kypreos for that kind of crap? Why the hell would Pittsburgh trade Malkin, you know, the hottest player in the league right now? So, they trade Geno who's carried the team since Sidney Crosby went down, and they're supposed to maintain their high position in the Eastern Conference? If you're looking for credibility as an analyst, throwing out ridiculous rumors like you're Eklund or something is not the way to go [e5].

9:02 - Bob MacKenzie just explained to the world what a "no-trade clause" means. Thanks.

9:15 - Anaheim is the consensus Stanley Cup favourite (love that Canadian "u") among the TSN staff. Pierre McGuire has the NY Rangers as #5 on his list. Wha? Really? Are there any "monsters" on that team?

9:17 - Who would I like my Penguins to pick up today? I'd love John-Michael Liles on that blueline. He could really help their defense. A scoring winger would be nice, but Ryan Malone and Petr Sykora have done a great job the last few weeks. I really DO NOT want Tuomo Ruutu or Martin "Mr. Injured Reserve" Havlat, especially at their prices and for the young talent it might cost Pittsburgh.

9:28 - I'm done. Scotty Wazz will now handle things. Enjoy the rest of the deadline day!

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February 25, 2008

The Opening of the Gates

It looks like the Flyers and Lightning are starting this trade deadline day out on fire with the Flyers acquiring Vaclav Prospal from the Lightning for Alexandre Picard and a second or third round pick in 2009. Prospal has been on a tear, setting a career high in goals with 29 already this season. Picard, not to be confused with the Blue Jackets' prospect winger, has eight goals and 30 assists in the AHL this season for the Philly Phantoms.

Prospal has made it clear that he wanted to be dealt out of town, especially considering the way he felt he was being treated in regards to the Lightning depth chart. His infamous post-game interview is one of legends on the YouTube world.

Yet, you have to wonder if the move is the best for Prospal. While he was construed as being mistreated in the Bolts organization, he did have plenty of chemistry with anyone in the line-up for the Bolts. Also, that motivating factor to get out allowed him to get to the 29-goal plateau. The question now is whether or not he'll be able to continue this success all the way up to Philadelphia. With the Flyers having troubles as of late-- any little bit can help, I'm sure.

This could be just the start folks. It's setting up to be a pretty exciting deadline day.

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Reliving Trades of the Days of Yore

With about 24 hours until the official trade deadline in the NHL season, it’s time to take a look at trades from the past which shows the genius of one GMs, idiocy of others (get ready Mr. Milbury), and ones that may have been overlooked. I’ll be using the February 26th edition of the Hockey News as the standard issue.

The Hockey News has all their beat writers out there tell their team’s best and worst move. For some teams, like those who have come in within the past 15 years, it’s easy—but more complex for franchise who have been around since the dawning of the NHL itself. Now, I won’t go team-by-team, that’d be boring and page filler that is truly….truly unnecessary; but like I said—only the highlights.

The obvious no-brainers on this list, like for both Edmonton and Los Angeles, it was the acquisition and subsequent departure of Wayne Gretzky. Why not?? The Oilers got him for $850,000 from the Indianapolis Racers. Along with Gretzky, the Oilers got Eddie Mio, Peter Driscoll, and five Stanley Cups. The departure of Gretzky brought sorrow and riots in Edmonton, while in Los Angeles it dawned a new era of hockey not just on the West Coast, but in the entire United States. Gretzky’s departure from LA to St. Louis brought about the start of some struggles for the Kings franchise, which may still linger today.

There’s plenty of trades that mark franchises, like the Vancouver Canucks parting with Alek Stojanov and sending him to Pittsburgh for an unknown youngster named Markus Naslund. Another big deal was for the Montreal Canadiens trading Rod Langway, Brian Engblom, Doug Jarvis, and Craig Laughlin to the Washington Capitals for Ryan Walter and Rick Green. Not only did that mark four color commentators traded in one deal (Walter, Green, Engblom and Laughlin), but it gave the Capitals a top-notch defenseman, who won two Norris trophies in the process.

Also in these trades, it showed the demise of some general managers—like Mike O’Connell trading Joe Thornton, the franchise player for the Boston Bruins, to San Jose for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau, and Brad Stuart. Of those three, only Sturm is in Boston, and thriving quite well…but not as well as Thornton. You also have those who ditch talent from a knee-jerk situation, like when Detroit traded Adam Oates and Paul MacLean for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney. Oates then tagged up with Brett Hull to become one of the most lethal combinations in the 1990s. Though, truth be told, my 17-month old daughter could probably pot 30+ goals with Oates setting her up.

Then you get the gems like what Mike Milbury has pulled in his tenure as GM. Which ones do you choose?? How about Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen to Florida for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha?? How about Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and the 2nd overall pick in the draft (Jason Spezza) for Alexei Yashin?? Who can forget Bryan McCabe, Todd Bertuzzi, and draft pick Jarkko Ruutu for Trevor Linden?? All of these moves and you wonder why he’s now an analyst for TSN and not in the boardroom making these moves.

Then you have trades that go really unnoticed, like New Jersey swapping Tom Kurvers in 1989 for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first round pick in 1991. That pick turned out to be Scott Niedermayer, a catalyst in the three Cups for the Devils. Or Sergei Zubov to Dallas from Pittsburgh for Kevin Hatcher, another defenseman who helped turn a franchise around. And who can forget Paxton Schulte getting dealt from the Colorado Avalanche to Calgary for Vesa Viitakoski?? I mean, that trade at the deadline in 1996 could have been what won the Cup for the Avs that summer…..or not.

What will we see this trade deadline?? Obviously, there could be some fire sales going on in places like Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, or even in Toronto. You’ll hear a lot of “insiders” talking about guys waiving and then not waiving their no-trade clauses, and plenty of filler time at the beginning because nothing will happen until the last hour.

However you watch it, you should stick you browser to Going Five Hole because I’ll be here to help you through the whole deadline. We’ll try to get started at 9:30am ET, but it could be earlier, could be later—you’ll just have to keep it tuned here and keep reloading each minute. Should be a fun time for all.

Check out Scotty Wazz on the FaceOff Hockey Show LIVE every Wednesday night from 9-11pm EST or download their podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

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Trade Deadline Coverage

Throughout the day tomorrow as we come closer to the NHL trading deadline, Scotty Wazz from the Face Off Hockey Show will be here all day Tuesday to bring you the latest breaking trades and analysis. Who's coming, who's going? We'll have it covered here.

Marc-Andre Fleury Recalled

News yesterday broke that the Penguins have recalled goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League. Fleury has been injured since December 6th with a high ankle sprain and after going 3-2 in five AHL starts, the team feels he is ready for a return to the big club.

There are rumors he'll make his return tomorrow night against the Islanders in New York, but I'm hesitant to believe it. I would think Therrien might want to give Fleury his first start back at home, but the Penguins have three away games this week and won't be back home until Sunday afternoon, so there is a chance he'll get a start this week. I'll be at the Pens-Isles game tomorrow at Nassau Coliseum, so that'd be pretty damn cool to see the NHL debut of the white pads.

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February 23, 2008

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 2/24

I love the NHL Network. Between that, NHL Center Ice, Fox Soccer Channel and trying to find "The Wire" on one of the seven HBO's I have, it's turned into my default channel. "NHL on the Fly" is a welcomed addition for all hockey fans who have NHL Network. The fact that they just show the complete highlights, along with using the games' play-by-play call like the Barclay's Premier League highlight show is brilliant. There's just one thing I wish they'd change on the show.

Their extended highlights need to be a little bit longer.

What I mean is that sometimes during a highlight package, there will be a great save, big hit, or a scoring chance that trickles near the goal line and instead of showing a replay of it, they just cut to the next part of the game. If you didn't read a recap of the game and are watching the highlights and getting game information for the first time, you'll find yourself lost. A great example is Monday night, after the Red Wings-Avalanche game where Nicklas Lidstrom. The "On the Fly" highlight package showed the hit on Lidstrom and him struggling to get and skate to the bench, but there was no extra highlight of the announcers telling us he was leaving the game and the what the injury was. When I first saw the hit, I sort of thought Lidstrom might have suffered a concussion just from watching him attempt to get up and skate. It was when the highlights were over that the "On the Fly" host informed me that it was Lidstrom's knee that was injured.

Whatever. Just a small minor beef. Not really a complaint, just a suggestion. NHL Network is the greatest acquisition to my satellite television package since NHL Center Ice made its way in 2005. Is there anything better than randomly turning it on and the "Top 10 Mario Lemieux Goals" is playing?


We're coming down to the wire in the Mats Sundin sweepstakes and right now, the Maple Leafs are still trying to figure out what to do before the Tuesday deadline. It might be in the best interest in the club to try and trade Sundin, get what they can for him, then try and sign him in the off-season when he is an unrestricted free agent.

Brian Burke is a big fan of one minute penalties in overtime as discussed during this week's general manager meetings in Naples, Florida. He doesn't want to see 4-on-3 power-plays take up most of the overtime session. Well, if you don't want to see that Brian, tell your players to stop taking penalties in the extra session. Burke is a smart man, but I think this is a dumb idea. You take a penalty in overtime, you should reap the consequences of two-minutes with a man down.

Sidney Crosby's rehab is still going as scheduled. Yesterday, he did not practice and the five-week mark since his ankle injury against Tampa Bay.

Sad news in the hockey world this week as Windsor Spitfires captain and Calgary Flames prospect, Mickey Renaud collapsed and died at his home. The 19 year old was drafted by Calgary last June in the fifth round.

Puck That hit puts on their stat geek hats and brings us another interesting post. They break down penalty minutes and how much are those penalties costing teams per player.

Everyone loves heroes. But, Ask Men gives us the "Top 10 NHL Villains".

Michael Dell, notable Red Wings hater, over at LCS Hockey is really, really enjoying this little slide that Detroit is going through right now.

For you Wayne Gretzky fans out there, Barry Melrose Rocks gives us the many faces of the Great One.

In what might possibly be the greatest sports blog posting of all time, the boys over at The Pens Blog discuss the Ty Conklin v. Marc-Andre Fleury situation in Pittsburgh Law & Order style. All rise for the Honorable Pensblog Charlie (watch your butts).

Disco goalposts. That's all I need to say.

Andrei Kostitsyn scores an Ovechkin-like goal against Philadelphia.

Barry Melrose and Clark Gillies get into a little bit of a scrap.

Last night's Coach's Corner with Don Cherry and Ron McLean from Hockey Night in Canada.

Evgeni Malkin continues to carry Pittsburgh in the absence of Sidney Crosby. Geno put in two goals and added five assists and was a +3 as the Pens went 3-1 this week.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators, Monday, February 25, 7:30pm EST
Will this be Mats Sundin final game in a Maple Leafs uniform? Can the Senators get their season back on track after a few hiccups over the last few weeks? Is it possible Ray Emery gets pulled over and is late yet again? If Cliff Fletcher makes the trade during the game, will the rest of the game be ignored? Will the Canadian media explode with all the story lines during this game?

Wayne Gretzky's first visit to Civic Arena proved to be a boxing match. There were 267 total penalty minutes assessed. One Penguins player, Russ Anderson, tallied 51 minutes himself. Glen Sather almost goes after fans. Girls are crying! Oh my! In the words of the WWE's Jim Ross, it was a slobberknocker.

Be back again next week for more "Puttin' on the Foil".
Ballhype: hype it up!

February 22, 2008

A Goalie Goal in the AHL

Talk about a backbreaking goal. In a story found on the website of the Toronto Globe & Mail, Manitoba Moose goalie Drew MacIntyre scored the game winner against the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday. Well, he didn't actually score it in terms of a Ron Hextall (thanks to Illegal Curve for the correction), Martin Brodeur, Chris Osgood way. MacIntyre was the last player to touch the puck before Steve Martins pass sailed passed a teammate and into the Wolves net...and it happened in overtime. Oucho.

The best part of the video is the EXXXXTREME closeup of the Wolves player who tried to stop the puck from reaching the net. The camera man wants you to feel that players disbelief and pain. Really.

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Best Player in the NHL Right Now

Moved four points ahead of Alex Ovechkin for the scoring lead tonight.

Carrying the Penguins right now in Sidney Crosby's absence.

Any questions?

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February 21, 2008

Versus' Latest Commercial

Now, it can't be a coincidence that Brett Hull's name is featured inside the crease, right? Is the graphic guy for Versus a Sabres fan?

Hat tip to Marc from the Faceoff Hockey Show for pointing that out.

UPDATE Great point by Islanders Outsider noting if Versus is going to recognize guys who've scored 60 goals, why isn't Mike Bossy's name shown?

UPDATE #2 ...Selanne or Mogilny as pointed out by Faux Rumors

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Everybody, Let's Go to the Cup!

Stumbling across these Internets, I happened upon Soccer Source, who had a post from early December about a proposed soccer/hockey arena
in Zurich, Switzerland that would house three professional teams. No, it's not a multi-use facility. The place would have two full-sized stadia inside, about 10,000 for hockey and 20,000 for soccer. We're talking a pretty massive deal here.

Oh, yeah, it also looks like a protective cup. There's "The Joe" in Detroit, "The Rock" in Jersey, why not "The Cup" in Zurich?

Fret not, the Swiss don't care as you'll see in some funky looking renderings on a site via the Soccer Source link above. A few go in detail with an inside view of how the place will be broken down between hockey rink and soccer stadium. Pretty neat idea. I'm sure we'll see it here in North American within the next 10-15 years. All the stadiums are evolving into massive "places to be" instead of the sport being the focus. It's now about everything else that's going on, like entertainment and food.

I envision a day when I can catch the Pens whipping the Islanders at the futuristic Nassau Coliseum (most likely changed to Wang Arena by then) and then walking down a concourse to see the Long Island Major League Soccer team play a match. I just hope they don't forget about the hot pretzels.

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February 20, 2008

JD's Famous Goaltenders School

Yeesh. After watching this, I really want to punch JD in the face.

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When Coaches Attack!

Here's Cincinnati Cyclones coach Don Jackson going after the Atlanta Knights team's mascot, "Sir Slapshot". Mr. Slapshot is one of those inflatable-type mascots that sometimes perform during periods. According to the story, his job was to distract the opponents by running into the plexi-glass behind their bench. Jackson had been leaning against the glass and was thrown forward when Slapshot rammed into it, tossing the coach on top of a few players.

Also, "Sir Slapshot came out in between periods with a giant bandage on his head. Later in the season a bunch of mascots would stage a "sit-in" on center ice in mock protest of the attack." Jackson would later be suspended by the IHL for ten games. I like how he describes the event as looking at a 9-foot fat boy.

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TRADE DEADLINE: Trade Review + Low Risk, High Reward??

Before the main event, yesterday, the Los Angeles Kings traded Jaroslav Modry to the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round pick in this year’s draft. With the injuries to Braydon Coburn and Derian Hatcher; this was an insurance move by the Flyers to help keep their defense in tip-top shape in order make the playoffs.

For the Kings, it could be the start of an exodus from Tinseltown. Granted, the guys GM Dean Lombardi will give away won’t be any of their talented youngsters, but they will get some late-round picks in some draft for the next few seasons. The problem with the Kings is the lack of good, consistent goaltending. Though Jason LaBarbera has shown signs of consistentcy, it hasn’t been enough to get the Kings hopes up. Also, Jonathan Bernier could be yet another year away from becoming usurping the Kings’ throne in net. Yeah—I’m sure that hack joke bombed, but you do what you can.

Now, to the feature part of this article, this will dive into the low-risk trades that may not mean anything at the time, but has the chance to pay off big time. There’s plenty of promising players out there who, for one reason or another, don’t fit into their organization’s plans. After they get traded—they turn around and start their assent to star status. Pavol Demitra and Tony Amonte are two guys who come to mind when thinking about this. Without further ado, my picks for some names who could be moved and make waves after the fact.

Steve Eminger, Washington Capitals: Due to Mike Green and Shaone Morrisonn emerging as the top pair in Washington, Eminger’s stock has fallen greatly in the Capitals organization, often making him a healthy scratch. While he has the ability to be a great puck-moving defenseman, Eminger hasn’t been able to show it that often in the NHL, leaving many to believe we was rushed into the pros.

Robbie Schremp, Edmonton Oilers: It’s hard to make sense of Schremp’s demise with Edmonton. There was so much hype about how he’d be able to help the scoring woes of the Oilers, but year-in and year-out, Schremp has been passed up in the depth charts. With the amount of young talent in Oilers’ line-up, it may be time for GM Kevin Lowe to cut bait on Schremp.

Matthew Lombardi, Calgary Flames: It was suppose to be Lombardi’s break-out year in Calgary. However, the speedy center hasn’t been able to put up the numbers that the Flames’ brass wanted out of him. With Dustin Boyd, Brett Sutter, and Andrei Taratukhin moving up the depth charts; Lombardi’s departure almost seems inevitable.

Colby Armstrong, Pittsburgh Penguins: There was a lot of hoopla surrounding Armstrong when he played on the Sidney Crosby line, but he didn’t pan out as many had hoped and played himself off the line. With his decent upside and the hint of being a top-six forward, the Pens could dangle him out there for some immediate help and give them some breathing room in their restricted free agent blitz in the summer of ’09.

There’s plenty more players out there who could bring plenty to the table in a new organization, but we don’t have that kind of time. Our next installment will include some of the worst and best trades that have happened, thanks to the Hockey News’ ranking of all the trades by team.

Check out Scotty Wazz on the FaceOff Hockey Show LIVE every Wednesday night from 9-11pm EST or download their podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

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NCAA Tournament Pool

If you follow NCAA college basketball or just love filling out a bracket every March, then join the Going Five Hole NCAA Tournament Pool!

You'll need a Yahoo! account and then you can Register Here and enter the password "hockey".

The tournament starts on March 20th, so sign up today.

The End of the Rental Player?

I'm sure Keith Tkachuk wasn't the guy that started the whole thing, but for some reason, many are naming a proposed rule after him. According to the Ottawa Sun, the "Keith Tkachuk" rule being bandied about at this week's general manager's meetings would prevent upcoming free agents who are dealt at the trade deadline to be able to return to the team that traded them.

I think the rule is ridiculous. The free agency period in the NHL is an open market. Players who are without a contract should be allowed to play wherever they want. If a team is willing to take a chance on a "rental" player, they of course recognize the circumstances where on July 1, that player can return to the team that dealt him or sign elsewhere. Before the rule could be enforced, it would need approval from the NHL Board of Governor's and NHL Players Association, which I really do not see happening, unless the decision is up to Gary Bettman, then he just won't tell Paul Kelly.

One NHL executive was quoted in the story as saying, "I have spoken to a number of teams that didn't like what happened with Tkachuk." I'm going to assume one of those teams was Atlanta and general manager Don Waddell. Well, if Waddell wasn't so desperate to get into the playoffs he shouldn't have dealt three draft picks (including a 1st rounder) and Glen Metropolit for Tkachuk, fully knowing he was unrestricted after the season. It's all sour grapes to me.

Teams know the risks, but the pressure to win now has general managers making some questionable trades in order to get into the playoffs.

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February 19, 2008

TRADE DEADLINE: The "Wow" Factor

Most years, there seems to be a player or players who get traded and the reaction from everyone is “Wow, I didn’t think they’d move him.” Last year, it was Ryan Smyth dealt from Edmonton to Long Island. In 2006, Jose Theodore got dealt from Montreal to Colorado, while in 2004 it was Ron Francis moved to Toronto from Carolina. However, with not many big names out there who are in their contract years-- it's hard to get a "wow" candidate...but I'll try.

Before I begin, for the record—Brent Seabrook would have been on this list if he hadn’t signed a 3 year/$10.5M contract this past weekend.

Marian Hossa, Atlanta Thrashers: Make no mistake, Hossa has been rumored for a while and with him saying this past weekend that there’s little to no chance he’ll get re-signed in time; I’d look for Don Waddell to make a move in order to get something in return. Granted, the only reason the Thrashers will keep him without a deal in place for next season is because they really have no forward scoring outside of Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk. It’s an obvious choice, sure—but it could still get the “wow” reaction depending on which team he goes to.

Adam Foote, Columbus Blue Jackets: Though they aren’t out of the hunt yet, the Jackets have been slipping. Truth be told, I don’t think that their defense has gotten any better with Foote in the line-up, so in return for a second line center; I think the Jackets will send Foote packing for sure. It could help Foote’s career, too, as the Jackets really haven’t given him much of a supporting cast on the blue line.

Barret Jackman, St. Louis Blues: This former Calder Trophy winner has seen his stock plummet rapidly due to injury and a bad supporting cast. Both Jackman and Bryce Salvador are unrestricted free agents this summer and with Salvador playing better defensively than Jackman, as well as Erik Johnson and Steve Wagner showing the future of the Blues defense is in good hands—Jackman is very much expendable.

Okay, the last two…kinda weak—I know, but since all the races are close, not many teams will be willing to part with some of their players, regardless of whether or not they get away in the summer time. But I think I’ll make up for it here…..

Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers: Bookmark it, screen capture it, do whatever you do—but I’m going there. I don’t get paid on results….in fact, I don’t get paid at all—so let’s get to it. There have been rumblings that Jagr could be dealt, but no one had taken it seriously. Fact of the matter is that Jagr has taken a big hit this season, mostly due to the Rangers lack of run-and-gun offense. Odds are, Jagr will have his lowest points total of his career at this pace, and that includes the locked-out half-season of 1995. Jagr is a free agent this summer and maybe the Blueshirts could improve on their blue line by dangling Jagr out to a Cup contender to add more umph to their line-up. With Peter Forsberg taking his name out of the running, Jagr could be a choice pick for some suitors looking to spend some money on a top-six forward.

So that’s that—we started a little vigorous, slowed down some, but ended with a bang. Again, as always, your results may vary. Stay tuned for my next installment, which will be a surprise….even to me.

Check out Scotty Wazz on the FaceOff Hockey Show LIVE every Wednesday night from 9-11pm EST or download their podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

Ballhype: hype it up!