Friday, February 17, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline Day... Live from China, yet a day later!

**In my recluse this week I had 2 followers of the blog tell me to keep pressing on.  So, dang it, here I am.  Though, it's a hockey blog so I just might chase my last loyal followers away... again.**

The NHL trade deadline, no matter how many rumors become truth, is a very exciting time for fans of hockey.  In fact...

Yes, it's really at that level.

In China, we are basically living in the future.  For Canada, it's Thursday night.  For me, it's Friday morning.  How that comes into play during the trade deadline is that it gets me out of bed a little earlier.  Even if the boys haven't burst out of their room yet, you just might find me stirring, fumbling at the side of the bed for my iPod.  I'll open up to TSN app and see if there were any trades happening while I was sleeping.

The official deadline day is February 27th, though a lot of the speculation and action happens well before that day.  Kind of like Christmas Shopping only more spiritual.  As we are now roughly 10 days away, we are hearing rumors of Rick Nash and even Patrick Kane being traded.  Whether or not they actually get traded is besides the point, just the idea of having good players wearing new uniforms, many of them brought in to make a playoff run, is exciting.  Of course, these players get traded for draft picks and prospects.  Not quite as fun, but that's where I live as a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, which is a professional ice hockey team based out of Alberta.

We Oiler fans have been wallowing on our own filth for well over 6 years now.  Sure, we've got a handful of young guns that can deliver the goods.  Yet, we continue to play last place hockey and have been for 3 years now.  So, naturally, that kind of futility should get the general manager a brand new contract, right?  I mean, why shouldn't you get rewarded for guiding a team to last place 3 years in a row?

Sure,  General Manager Steven Tambellini's got a 6 year plan.  But it's that like those people who predict the end of the world will take place well after they're dead?  Is it really honorable and acceptable to say that the things you are doing at your job will come to fruition half a decade from now?  Does that mean the team will be the worst team in the league for 5 years and then win the cup in the 6th?  Well, better give him the benefit of the doubt.  I mean, it takes a talented, committed, smart person to drive a sports franchise directly into the river, and then get rewarded for it.  So he must be doing something right.

Me and My dad, former Oiler Mark Messier

At the trade deadline, the Oilers are planning on trading the only good player they've had for the last 8 years.  He's 28, talented, an injury risk but wants to stay in Edmonton.  So, naturally, the team will trade him away because they can replace him in the lineup with Ryan Jones.

The Oilers will also trade anyone else not under 26 or named Ryan Smyth.  Could you imagine if they traded him again?  Sometimes I think that this franchise needs a good, swift kick in the crotch.

I really like the players on this team, but man, could they move it a long a little faster?  Why does management make 1 or 2 moves every summer, at least one of which is stupid, and then say that they have a plan?  Why does the plan have to be 5 years?  They say it is to build a foundation of winning, of not just settling for competing for 8th place.  What's wrong with competing for 8th?  Detroit and Vancouver are basically the only teams in the whole league that compete for the top spot every single year.  Everyone else in the competition fluctuates somewhere around 10th place and up.  The rest of the teams tread water with the Oilers.

I don't see the light.  If these guys can turn this team into something that never sucks again, they will achieve the impossible.  Every franchise has highs and lows.  Spending more time wallowing in the lows isn't going to make the high last longer.  What it will do is make loyal fans very helplessly frustrated and annoyed.

Anyways, back to the 'joy of the season': Trade Deadline Day.  It's going to be good.  You know Jay Onrait of TSN will be blogging in his robe sitting on his couch at home.  That in itself is worth following along with.

My predictions:

-  Rick Nash does not get traded.

- Patrick Kane gets traded to Buffalo for a package that includes Ryan Miller and Drew Stafford.

- Ales Hemsky does in fact get traded... to Chicago of all places.  The Oilers get a defensive prospect in return and a draft pick of no significance.  The prospect will be a step up from being a minor league and a step below someone useful, at least for the next year or 2.  This will suck.

-  The Oilers trade Nikki Khabibulin to... The Tampa Bay Lightning!  The Oilers receive a 5th round pick in return and no hard feelings.  Tambellini is then rewarded a new contract for getting rid of the horrible contract that Khabibulin carried, which ironically, is the very same contract that Tambellini signed him to only a few short years ago.

- I will say that the Oilers will also be shifting around a few more pieces, even another roster player.

The players that will not be traded (I hope) are Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Gagner and Petry.

Other players that might get traded, and if they do I would be very upset, are O'mark, Paarvai, and Dubnyk.

My dream?

The Oilers keep Hemsky and work the numbers on a new 3 year deal.  They trade Bulin away for a pick and tweak things a little bit more on a minor scale, maybe even trading away Theo Peckham.

Then, this summer, they make a move to land a decent defensemen, a goalie that is under the age of 39, and perhaps another veteren to replace the waived Ryan Jones.  Then, they let the kids run with it and push for a playoff spot.  Oh, and Hemsky shines for all 3 years of his new contract, they win a cup and build a statue right next to the Great One's, only slightly shorter and more "Czechy".


Tune in to your local stations, or log on to TSN for all the February 27th goodness.  Cause when it comes to your trade updates, trust the Canadian station.


Anonymous said...

Great comments Brett! - Jeff D.

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