Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deadline deals a plenty

If you're a sportsfan, this is an exciting time of year. The NBA deadline has already produced two big superstars coming to the metropolitan area with the Knicks finally acquiring Carmelo Anthony and the Nets stunning everyone by bringing in Deron Williams. While those two main attractions overshadow what's going on with our hockey clubs, the rest of the NHL has been plenty busy with quite a few big names also changing logos.

By now, we already know that Tomas Kaberle finally was traded out of Toronto after the 1,234,567th rumor with the much discussed offensive defenseman becoming a Boston Bruin last week for prospect Joe Colborne, a first round pick and a conditional pick. So, the 12-year veteran who lasted much longer as a Leaf than anyone ever imagined a decade prior when he was rumored along with Nik Antropov to the Flyers for Eric Lindros- now goes to Beantown to try to help deliver Lord Stanley back to the home of New England Clam Chowder for the first time since Bobby Orr skated the Cup in front of my Dad at the Garden in '72.

If only that were the only trade. The biggest one and most shocking in a long time was over the weekend when the Avs and Blues got together with Colorado sending power forward Chris Stewart and rookie blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk to St. Louis for Erik Johnson and Jay McClement. The blockbuster that wasn't announced until past 2 AM on the East coast Saturday morning on Twitter also included a first round pick to the Avs while the Blues got a second rounder with both conditional either this year or next. The deal stunned the hockey world. When a former first overall pick is dealt for an emerging star and an offensive defenseman having a good rookie year, it's no small potatoes. Already, the teams met with Johnson's late goal holding off his former club 4-3. The former cornerstone who was instrumental in Team USA's silver medal at last year's Olympics has already vowed to make Blues' GM Doug Armstrong regret the trade. Even more wild was former Quebec Nordique all-time great Hall Of Famer Peter Stastny ripping into the Avs for doing this deal. When interviewed live during a Colorado loss to Edmonton last night, Paul Stastny's Dad didn't mince words saying:

"That's a one-sided deal. I don't know what they're doing. I'm really mad. ... They set the team back two, three years. I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't say this but that's how I feel."

Strong stuff from a great player who obviously still cares a great deal about the franchise his son still is part of until he's next. On paper, it does seem to favor St. Louis. Especially if Stewart develops into the 30+ goal, 70-point guy we expect. Shattenkirk's no throw in either with 28 points (7-21-28) in his rookie season. Or eight better than Johnson, who has faded from a career best 39 last year to 20 (4-16-20). It got even chipper last night on Versus when Keith Jones criticized the 22 year-old American, indicating that Colorado should expect to be very disappointed, which even stunned Mike Milbury, who of course got blamed even when he didn't run his mouth. It's hard not to think it's better for the Blues but wasn't Johnson expected to be a cornerstone defenseman you build around? Considering the state of the Av blueline, it's worth the gamble, reminding many of another player the Blues acquired in Chris Pronger from the then Hartford Whalers for Brendan Shanahan. That was two Hall Of Famers. They'll be talking about this deal for a while. Until then, let's at least remain on the sidelines before giving our verdict.

Just today, Alex Kovalev returned to Pittsburgh for a seventh round pick that could turn into a sixth depending on the number of games the talented yet enigmatic Russian plays. On his 38th birthday, AK27 gets to play for the team he had his coming out party with. Was it really that long ago that the Kovy274Hart name was born? My aol screename was inspired by a career '00-01 season in which Kovy tallied 44 goals, 51 assists, 95 points along with 12 power play goals, two shorties and nine game-winners. The same year Super Mario returned reuniting with old linemates Kevin Stevens and Jaromir Jagr while Kovalev played with Martin Straka and Robert Lang. Now, nearing the finish line of an underachieving career despite 426 career goals and 591 assists for 1,017 total points in 1,282 games, the former '94 Ranger Stanley Cup hero gets one more chance with the banged up Pens without Evgeni Malkin and probably Sidney Crosby. He'd been a bitter disappointment in Ottawa after a few productive years with Montreal. Before a recent run of nine points in 10 games including six goals post-All Star break, Kovalev had been MIA, becoming a healthy scratch. Now, the Pens hope he's got something left.

We're still waiting on other trades. Will Dallas move injured Brad Richards now that they're life and death for the playoffs? Will the Rangers acquire a veteran blueliner? Are the Devils and Islanders doing anything? All that and more shall get answered shortly.


Hasan said...

lol I forgot the Kaberle rumors went back THAT far, it has been an annual rite of spring for the last few years at least. I'd laugh if Burke suddenly decided to acquire players now that the Leafs were hot after he said it wasn't worth it to bust their hump for the eighth seed to get blown out in the first round.

I saw Brooks in the Post today making fun of the fact the Stars supposedly asked for Stepan, Staal and one of their other younger players (Dubinsky?) for Richards, if that's really true it must be their ambiguous way of saying they're not trading Richards :P

Derek Felix said...

if it were last year, I'd agree. If I'm them, sure. I ask for D-Step, Del Zotto and Grachev. If I'm the Rangers, I counter with Anisimov, Gilroy and Werek or 1st rd pick. It all depends on Dallas.

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