Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Trade Deadline Distraction

Today is the big day for NHL GMs. Today is the day where teams basically lay their cards on the table and show everyone whether they are in the game, or sitting on the sidelines. TSN, Sportsnet, and several blogs are live blogging and providing constant updates on trades, favourite meals, and the number of suitcases of players being moved. As much as I like Trade Deadline Day, there is an overwhelming amount of reporting done on the same stories. I will include a run-down of all the trades on a separate entry. But I think someone should provide a little distraction for those of you reading the same stories over and over on all of the sports pages, and that might be right here.

First off, another highlight from The Score's Ultimate 64 Highlights. Some weak NFL highlight is up against this beauty by The Magnificent One, Mario Lemieux.

You know you have to vote for Mario. He embarrasses one of the greatest defensemen of all-time, not to mention it happened in the playoffs.

In keeping with Deadline Day, how many teams have actually made good trades to get them to the Holy Grail? Is your team better off at keeping the chemistry, or better off by adding a hired gun? TSN did an examination of this, and here are the results:

1) March 10, 1980 - New York Islanders obtain C Butch Goring from Los Angeles for RW Billy Harris and D Dave Lewis (trade completed one day before the deadline). Harris was the first player drafted in Islanders' history and had been with the club since its inaugural season, 1972-73. Lewis had been a steady presence on the Islanders blueline for seven seasons. With Goring, the Islanders went undefeated in their last 12 regular-season games and went on to capture their first-ever Stanley Cup championship.

Teebz: This is probably one of the best deadline deals ever made, and it directly led to four consecutive Stanley Cups for the Islanders.

2) March 4, 1991 - Pittsburgh Penguins obtain C Ron Francis, D Grant Jennings and D Ulf Samuelsson from Hartford for C John Cullen, RW Jeff Parker and D Zarley Zalapski (trade completed one day before the trading deadline). The Penguins went on to capture the 1991 Stanley Cup, the first championship in franchise history. Francis was tied for the team lead with four game-winning goals and tied for fifth in scoring with 17 points during the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Francis played in Pittsburgh for eight seasons, posting 100 points in 97 post-season games and was also traded at the deadline again in 2004 by Carolina.

Teebz: In what can be considered the worst deal ever by the Hartford/Carolina franchise, this trade led directly to the Penguins winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, and establishing Francis as one of the best two-way players in hockey history.

3) March 21, 1994 - New York Rangers obtain:
- LW Stephane Matteau and RW Brian Noonan from Chicago for RW Tony Amonte and the rights to LW Matt Oates.
- RW Glenn Anderson, the rights to D Scott Malone and Toronto's fourth-round pick in 1994 Entry Draft (D Alexander Korobolin) from Toronto for RW Mike Gartner.
- C Craig MacTavish from Edmonton for C Todd Marchant.
The Rangers, on their way to capturing the Presidents' Trophy as the club with the League's best regular-season record, acquired four players at the trade deadline and went on to win their first Stanley Cup since 1940. New arrivals Matteau, Noonan, Anderson and MacTavish all had important roles in the Rangers' Cup triumph.

Teebz: All of these role players contributed in a big way. Stephane Matteau's overtime goal eliminated the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Final, and Glenn Anderson scored several key goals in the Finals against Vancouver.

4) March 18, 1997 - Detroit Red Wings obtain D Larry Murphy from Toronto for future considerations. Murphy appeared in all 20 playoff games for Detroit, recording 11 points and led the league in plus-minus (+16) as the Red Wings captured their first Stanley Cup since 1955.

Teebz: He was always a great player, and he strengthened an already formidable defensive team with his steady play.

5) March 14, 2000 - New Jersey Devils obtain RW Alexander Mogilny from Vancouver for C Brendan Morrison and C Denis Pederson. Mogilny added to the offensive powerhouse that led the Eastern Conference in goals with 251. Although he tallied just 3-3-6 in 12 regular-season games and 4-3-7 in the playoffs, Mogilny's presence helped free other players en route to the team's second Stanley Cup.

Teebz: Mogilny didn't make a huge offensive impact, but as TSN noted, his presence alone garnered him attention to allow others to get free.

6) February 21, 2001 - Colorado obtains D Rob Blake and C Steve Reinprecht from Los Angeles for RW Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, first-round draft pick (David Steckel) and a conditional pick (the trade was completed 20 days before the trade deadline). In their first Stanley Cup victory since 1996, Rob Blake made an immediate impact leading all defencemen in playoff scoring with 19 points. Blake joined a team full of leadership to win his first Stanley Cup along with veteran defenceman Ray Bourque.

Teebz: This pick made an offensive juggernaut even stronger.

7) March 10, 2003 - New Jersey Devils obtain:
- RW Grant Marshall from Columbus for a conditional choice in 2004.
- D Richard Smehlik and a conditional choice from Atlanta for a fourth-round choice in 2003 (Michael Vannelli).
The Devils were relatively quiet at the 2003 trade deadline compared to 2002 when they obtained C Joe Nieuwendyk and RW Jamie Langenbrunner from Dallas for C Jason Arnott, RW Randy McKay and New Jersey's first round choice in 2002. Grant Marshall provided timely scoring for the Devils including a series-clinching goal in triple overtime against Tampa Bay.

Teebz: What TSN doesn't say is that Grant Marshall also brings experience and grit to a team needing some for the playoffs.

8) January 27, 2004 - Tampa Bay obtains D Darryl Sydor and a fourth round draft choice in 2004 for C Alexander Svitov and a third round draft choice in 2004 (the trade was completed 40 days before the trade deadline). The 31-year old veteran defenceman brought with him the experience of having appeared in three Stanley Cup Finals, including playing with a championship team in Dallas in 1999.

Teebz: Sydor also gave the Lightning a responsible offensive defenseman, and another powerplay quarterback.

9) March 9, 2006 - Carolina obtains veteran RW Mark Recchi from Pittsburgh for LW Niklas Nordgren, C Krys Kolanos and Carolina's second-round choice in 2007. The 38-year-old Recchi, who had won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 1991, had 16 points during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including six points in the Final against Edmonton. He scored the game-winning goal in Game 4 that put Carolina up 3-1 in the series.

Teebz: Mark Recchi stepped in for Erik Cole who had been injured, and played as well as he ever has in helping the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup.

In 27 years, only nine teams have made big deals at the deadline and won the Stanley Cup. In five of those nine deadline deals, the player(s) acquired had won the Cup before. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. It all depends on how you play once the Big Dance rolls around. The one thing to note, though, is that no teams have ever won the Stanley Cup by acquiring a goalie at the deadline.

The Barney Rubble Hairpieces acquired Ty Conklin today from the Blue Jackets. If the trend holds true, it looks like the Hairpieces won't be bringing the Silver Chalice home this year.

Until the Trade Deadline is over, keep your sticks on the ice!

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