Good Luck Nik Nordgren!
PhotoShopping is so easy, even a caveman can do it...
poorly retouched photo:pittsburghpenquins.com
Lots of moves on deadline day. Not too many that were earth shattering. Ollie Jokinen and Roberto Luongo stayed with their non-playoff-bound team. Keith Tkachuk stayed put. Bryan McCabe went nowhere. There were only two forwards worth mentioning-Sergei Samsonov and, oh yeah, the guy we got...The Recccccccchinnnn' Ball (a Mark Lange re-set from last week's 'Canes/Pens game).
Who cares how the Wild made out on trade deadline day yesterday? Wanna bet Janet Gretzky that nobody really cares what Phoenix did? It's fixin to be playoff time. I don't really care what went on out west. I'm gonna focus on the Eastern Teams most likely to be in the playoff hunt. None of these trades involving the leading clubs in the East scares me. Looks like folks are loading up on defense in anticipation of having to play against the high-flying 'Canes, Sens and Sabers.
Carolina Grade B
Maybe the ultimate revenge for the Brooks Orpik hit. Take their clubhouse leader. Take a guy who cared and played hard every night from a team virtually devoid of heart and character. To quote from a Paul Simon lyric, "Who'll be their role model now that their role model is gone?"
In this deal, the 'Canes don't just rent a mercenary. They get a guy with a very interesting two way contract. They can resign him with cash on the barrelhead. He can even trigger a re-sign deal himself if he falls in love with the lidless eye.
- A second round pick two drafts from now
- Niklas Nordgren, a guy who has struggled at a relatively advanced age to find his place in the NHL. Nik took some untimely penalties and generated few points or scoring opportunities for his linemates. Might be a late-bloomer. I hope so.
- And sure to resonate with y'all in Pennsyltucky, Krystofer Kolanos, a Blair Thomas, no Todd Blackledge caliber NHL Bust. A guy so bad, the 'Yotes took Krispy Kreme Brendl for him.
The big sucking sound you heard yesterday was the telltale sound of physical blueliners on the move to new locales. I have faith in Gerbs. I have faith in our corps of forwards. I'm a little wary of our lack of size and meaness on the blueline. Eric Weinrich might have been a nice addition. Ditto Willie Mitchell.
And now, on to the rest of the contenders...
Ottawa Grade I
I, as in Incomplete. Tyler Arneson should be a star by now. Perpetually in the doghouse in Chicago, I'm not sure I get this one. Maybe Muckler/Murray are thinking they can be the ones to bring out the fire in this guy. Bochenski looks like a player. The Sens have a bit of a glut at forward. That's why Bochenski wasn't playing. Won't Arneson be in somewhat the same boat?
NY Rangers - Grade C-
On a team loaded with Euro-scorers, they moved a solid Euro-defensive forward in Ville Nieminen. I'm struggling with this one. Adding Sandis Oh-No!-Zolinsh means offensive help, especially on the PP, but Rangers are adding a "Latvian Matador" to their blueline corps. Lots of sex and drugs and rock 'n roll in the Big Apple. Also lots of flamethrowing journalists. Might be a rough ride for a guy with drug issues.
Buffalo - Grade C
Waiting maybe too long in moving Mika Noronen? Other than this move for a second rounder, the Sabers were probably thinking, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. They're gonna hold em.
Philadelphia - Grade C-
Defensive arms race with rival New Jersey apparent here. Trade deadline focus on strengthening Maginot Blueline with the additions that visor wearing francophone wussy, Denis Gautier (or so says Sean Avery), and right winger (and former James Bond villain), Niko Dimotrakos.
New Jersey - Grade C+
The swamp critters concentrated on strengthening the Siegfried Blueline-Defense, defense, defense. Lukowich, Klee, Wiemer. Looks like they're getting ready for Devils-style playoff hockey-lots of 1-goal margin games.
Tampa Bay - Grade WF
Withdrawn-Failing, that is. Coach Torterella has slim faith in his goaltending and has regretted the losses of Lukowich and Cullimore from their Cup team of '04. At some point, they took their toys and went home. Didn't land a solid blueliner, no goaltending help. WTFO?
Montreal - Grade B+
Just moving the troubled and declining Jose Theodore was a coup. Picked up a solid, and more affordable NHL netminder for their stretch run. Todd Simpson adds meaness.
Atlanta - Grade C
The Thrash need to play some defense. They wanted to move Marc Savard and his salary, and didn't get it done. They added blueliner Steve McCarthy-odd man out, and not part of the permanent plan for manning the blueline in Vancouver. Don't think the addition will make a difference. The Thrash will win playoff games if they continue to bombard the opposition with shots on goal-as long as Kari Lehtonen is up to the job of manning the ramparts alone.
And now for something completely different...
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