Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hard Hits

Hard Hits: With the deadline finally over, who were the winners and losers? Winners include the Flyers and Blues, who both did a wonderful job retooling their rosters and stockpiling picks for the future. Of the playoff contenders, the Penguins did a solid job bolstering their roster by adding team toughness up front. Losers include the Ducks and Senators, who both failed to significantly upgrade for the postseason. After how Anaheim GM Brian Burke foolishly dealt Shane O'Brien for a first round pick, you would've thought he'd turn that into something. But he lost out to other teams on Keith Tkachuk, Bill Guerin and Todd Bertuzzi. As for the Sens, Lawrence Nycholat and Oleg Saprykin don't scare anyone. What is John Muckler thinking? The Thrashers lose because they overpaid in every deal sacrificing the future in the process. Unless they make the postseason and go deep, GM Don Waddell can't justify what he gave up. The Islanders are in the same position after giving up a King's ransom for ultimate warrior Ryan Smyth. Either win at least two rounds or falter and be left to explain to their supporters what they paid with possibly nothing to show come July for Smyth and Jason Blake. ... Nice to see such a classy ceremony by the Oilers for Mark Messier at Rexall Place. And the best part aside from how well put together the highlight reel clips were was how brief it was compared to last year's overproduction on Broadway. It lasted about 44 minutes which seemed right. But also, it seemed like a different setting. Sure, the former captain who helped lead Edmonton to all five Stanley Cups came out with the Cup and skated around in a classic Oilers Messier jersey. But he seemed more at ease than last year maybe cause it was back home where he made his childhood hockey dream come true. Storybook. He did shed some tears but that's how much this man cares. It was nicely done. ... Remember when Marcel Hossa had one goal? Just checking. He's the most consistent Ranger these days. ... Big question in Jersey headed to the playoffs. Can the Devils win every game 1-0? ... We're told by NY Hockey Report's own Joe McDonald that Jason Blake, who recorded a first period hat trick in the Isles' 6-5 OT win over the Flyers was that close to being a Duck for a first round pick. But they didn't get the paper work in on time. ... If you're a Western Conference top three seed, which team would you rather face in the first round? Calgary or Minnesota? Pick your poison. ... And finally, it's the final game of the season at Pittsburgh. And the shootout looms as to whether his club will make the postseason. But captain Jaromir Jagr refuses to take the shot where his career began and his team is eliminated to loud cheers at Mellon Arena. Just picture it.

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