Brian Burke

This man gives me a headache.

The National Hockey League’s trading deadline occurred yesterday and as always it is one of the most frenzied days in any hockey fan’s existence.  Not too many big names moved clubs but there was plenty of action to look back upon.  Of course anything written from here on out will be written with my biased view as a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.  Always remember that I’m a fan, not an analyst.


Biggest Name to Move:

Olli Jokinen is by far the biggest name to swap shirts yesterday.  The Finn left the Phoenix Coyotes and landed in the Rocky Mountains with the Calgary Flames.  Clearly this was a move by the Flames to try and put them over the top in the Western Conference.  Whilst I believe Jokinen is a very talented player he has yet to play a single Stanley Cup Playoff game.  He has been on successful sides internationally, a Silver Medal at the 2006 Torino Olympics, a Silver Medal at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and numerous medals at the IIHF World Championships.  What needs to be seen by the Red Mile now is whether that success can translate into Stanley Cup glory.  The Flames also reacquired Jordan Leopold from the Colorado Avalanche, great move here as I have always liked Leopold as a puck moving defenseman.  A great many of the talking heads were now favoring Calgary for the Cup.  They still have to get through San Jose and Detroit before that happens and I really cannot see the Flames even with Jokinen taking out either the Sharks or Red Wings.


Youth Movement:

The Toronto Maple Leafs made it abundantly clear that the club is going to go with the youth.  The Leafs dealt Nik Antropov to the New York Rangers for draft picks.  I watched the interview with Toronto General Manager Brian Burke on the NHL Network and he did seem to indicate that the club valued getting draft picks.  Normally Burke gives me a headache but his early statements seemed to make sense.  Then he started whining about how hard it is for his club to make trades in the salary cap era.  I reached for the Bayer aspirin not disappointed that once more he gave me a headache.  Anyways, the Leafs furthered their youth movement when they were able to deal Dominic Moore to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2nd Round Draft Selection in 2009.  How the heck the Leafs got that much for Moore is beyond me, I now hope that the Sabres fall completely out of the playoff picture.


Hooray! He’s Gone!

That would be Scottie Upshall formerly of the Philadelphia Flyers.  He was dealt by the Flyers to Phoenix.  I did not take the time to actually look up the statistics however, I always got the feeling that whenever Upshall played against the Penguins, he scored.  In my book he was added to the list of Penguins killers so to see him ship off to the Western Conference is fine by me.  The Coyotes sent back in return to Philly the NHL’s leader in Penalty Minutes, Danny Carcillo, so he should fit in just fine in his new surroundings.


Last Gasp:

That has to be the New York Rangers.  After a torrid start to the season the goal scoring has dried up considerably.  In an effort to shore their team up for the playoff run the Rangers got the aforementioned Antropov.  Antropov was the focus of much speculation from the local Pittsburgh media and all I can say is that I am over the moon that he did land near anywhere near the Three Rivers.  While he may be skilled and big his effort leaves much to the asking on many nights.  The Blue Shirts also added Derek Morris an offensive defenseman from Phoenix, big deal, he won’t make of a difference.


Last Minute Heroics:

The Edmonton Oilers pulled off some last minute moves that I really liked.  The Oilers managed to get Ales Kotalik from Buffalo and Patrick O'Sullivan from Carolina via Los Angeles.  I always liked Kotalik and he gives the Oilers another talented wing along with Ales Hemsky.  That also gives the Oilers the monopoly on players named Ales, which I suppose we shall see how that plays out.


Biggest Names to Stay Put:

Two names float to the surface, Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester and Toronto’s Tomas Kaberle.  The Panthers are banking on making the playoffs.  They have to be because Bouwmeester can leave in the summer as an Unrestricted Free Agent.  Not dealing Bouwmeester means the Panthers are playing for the now.  Kaberle was the subject of much discussion as many thought the Leafs would deal him and completely make over their squad.  They didn’t and Brian Burke talking about it continued to have my head pounding.


How My Team Did:

The first move the Penguins made was getting Chris Kunitz from the Ducks which seems to be working just fine.  However, I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard the trade the Flightless Ones made with the New York Islanders.  The Penguins got Bill Guerin for what could turn out to be a 3rd Round Draft Selection depending on how the Penguins do in the Playoffs, provided they qualify.  Guerin is a rental, but that’s alright.  He is being brought in to play with Sidney Crosby and be a presence in front of the opposition goal.  The Penguins did not give that much up so I love this deal.


My Favorite Deal of the Day:

The Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets completed my favorite deal.  The Senators received goaltender Pascal LeClaire in return for forward Antoine Vermette.  The emergence of Steve Mason between the pipes in Columbus gave the Jackets a glut of number 1 netminders.  The Senators have been looking for a number 1 goalie, well, since they returned to the NHL in the early 90’s.  With the Sens season well off the rails this deal is for the future as LeClaire is still injured but it sets them up with a solid number 1 for next season.  The Jackets get a very good forward to slot in with Rick Nash as they prepare to enter their first year ever into the Playoffs.  Why do I like this deal so much?  Because it is a deal that helps both teams, an old time hockey deal and I like that.

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