AT RANDOM: Deadline dilemmas
I’m starting to get a little antsy. I’m wondering if picking up Rich Peverley in my office hockey pool re-draft might come back to bite me in the keister.
Given he is out four to six weeks (pretty much the remainder of the regular season) with a knee injury, it ain’t looking good. It just means Claude, Zach, Ilya, Olli, Kyle and the two Marians will have to pick up the slack.
I’m sure the other guys (and gals) in the pool won’t mind. After starting February on fire (I led by 25 points at one stage), my top producers have dried up the last two weeks, and the gap has dwindled to 11 at the month’s end.
Tense stuff, to be sure, but I can’t imagine how what I’m going through would compare to what NHL GMs, especially the ones piloting Canadian franchises, experience on big days like NHL Trade Deadline Day, which went down earlier this week.
Goodness knows the sporting media have taken every opportunity to pump up the event for at least the last two months, trying to entice their readership (I would call it boring their readership) with even the faintest whisper of a rumour on their websites. Much like the Toronto Maple Leafs’ aspirations to hoist a Stanley Cup, those rumours turned out to be desperate grasps at straws because very little happened on the day.
If it wasn’t for the Vancouver Canucks sending popular rookie centre Cody Hodgon to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for rugged forward prospect Zach Kassian in a four-player transaction, deadline day was pretty much a non-event.
I see fans are already labelling Vancouver GM Mike Gillis’s decision to deal Hodgson as Cam Neely 2.0, referring to the infamous 1986 deal that sent B.C. boy Neely, along with a first-rounder, to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Barry Pederson.
I’m sure Barry is a nice guy, but I’d wager more hockey fans remember Neely, considered by many to be the prototypical power forward of the modern hockey era, and his 694 career points. He also gets bonus marks for playing the role of Sea Bass in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy Dumb & Dumber.
It’s hard to argue with the naysayers on the Canucks’ latest deal because Hodgson is enjoying a breakout year and is a Calder Trophy candidate for rookie of the year. At 21, Kassian is an unknown, despite being a first-rounder.
However, after the beating the Canucks took in the playoffs last year, and not just in the finals against the big, bad Bruins, a little grit was in order to balance the lineup.
Unlike my hockey pool, where I just have to pick the guy who’s going to rack up the most points (I don’t even have to factor in penalty minutes, plus-minus, call-ups or goalies in this one), Gillis needed to assemble a complete team, and I think he did that.
He actually did Hodgson a favour because with Kesler and Henrik Sedin in front of him on the depth chart, how much of an opportunity was he going to get in Van City?
Rick Nash, a talented sniper and long-suffering face of the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets franchise, was supposed to be the big-ticket item on deadline day. Turns out he is going nowhere, at least until this summer.
As the unofficial agent for our crime reporter Roger (Fort) Knox, I tried to swing a deal that would bring Nash to the Morning Starz broomball team in exchange for the injured Knox (Black Press does own a daily in Akron, Ohio). Apparently, Vernon was not on the list of Nash’s pre-approved trade destinations.
However, I am still trying to land Rog a gig at the Grammys, Oscars or Golden Globes, so long as he and his son, Sam, don’t pass me in the office pool standings.
- Graeme Corbett is a sports reporter and the editor of the business section at The Morning Star