For fans and fantasy-leaguers, NHL trade deadline moves are the stuff of fevered speculation peppered with a range of emotions: skepticism, disbelief, joy or sorrow, depending on point of view. But for players, these midseason deals shoot real fire and (often) cause real pain.
Alex Prewitt tells the story of how a deadline trade affects those involved, beginning with how players learn the news, sometimes from the media.
St. Louis Blues forward Craig Conroy was sitting in his room in Philadelphia, watching deadline day coverage with the front end of a back-to-back series beginning that night. First, his cell buzzed. It was a national television analyst. "What'd you think about the trade?" asked the analyst, a former player. Conroy answered nonchalantly. After all, the Blues had just acquired Keith Tkachuk shortly before the deadline, buffering up after their Presidents' Trophy season of 1999-2000 had ended with a disappointing first round flameout in the playoffs.
"I'm like, oh yeah, I think it's awesome, unbelievable player," says Conroy, who is now an assistant GM with the Calgary Flames. "And he says, ‘No, I'm talking about your trade.' I'm like, ‘I didn't get traded.' He goes, ‘Oh... Well, can I call you back in a half-hour?'" Not two minutes later, the room's landline rang.
Prewitt writes that getting the word in a hotel room actually provides some structure to the chaos that overtakes players' lives like a tidal wave. Some of that chaos is evident in an anecdote involving two former Stars (and one current wearer of Victory Green):
Shortly before the 2011 deadline, then Dallas Stars teammates Matt Niskanen and James Neal tried to meet up with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had acquired them for Alex Goligoski. Instead, they wound up staying overnight at a Newark Airport hotel, buried under snow, and missed their first practice with their new team. Niskanen even forgot to pack dress socks, as he was too busy with interviews and calls from his new organization. He borrowed a "flashy" pair from Neal – black with purple stripes – and wore them for several straight days.
"Kind of gross," he says. "I just didn't get it all together. There was enough going on, trying to get settled in with the hotel, trying to move all your stuff."
It's a good read, and you can find the whole thing here. [Sports Illustrated]
DBD will have plenty of game-day reading material as the Stars look to sweep the Jets for the season tonight at 7:30 p.m. Central time. Mark Stepneski has a preview to get you started. [Stars Inside Edge]
Mike Heika writes about the Stars' biggest deficiency (and no, it's not the lack of a big, physical franchise 1D). [SportsDayDFW]
Looking ahead to Saturday against the New York Rangers, here's a reminder for the families that Victor E. Green has a surprise for the first 5,000 kids.
And Rich Peverley joined TSN Overdrive to discuss his new foundation, PEVS Protects (and how much fun it is to watch the Stars and their prospects every day). [TSN]
Tonight it's as busy as ever in the #MDK:
- Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers (the NHL.TV free game of the week), 6 p.m. Central time
- St. Louis Blues vs. New York Rangers, 7 p.m. Central time
- Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks, 7 p.m. Central time
Eddie Belfour's recent memorabilia sale has paid off nicely. Next stop, Belfour Distilleries.
Belfour items, including gold medal, fetch $179K https://t.co/3JWDM5AwwF— ESPNDallas (@ESPNDallas) February 24, 2016
The Blues' advancement in the Central Division standings has come at a cost: Starting goalie Brian Elliott is on long-term injured reserve and will be out at least a month.
And DoPS has dropped the hammer on RW Ryan Reaves after a hit that knocked San Jose defender Matt Tennyson unconscious.
St. Louis’ Ryan Reaves suspended three games for boarding San Jose’s Matt Tennyson. Video: https://t.co/6akoDFMySP— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) February 24, 2016
Meanwhile, the NHL Players' Association says the Dennis Wideman appeal to a neutral discipline arbiter is happening today and tomorrow. [TSN]
Has former Star and all-around good human Trevor Daley found his ideal career match with the Pittsburgh Penguins? Jesse Marshall has done the sums, and the answer is a thousand times yes. [The Pensblog]
Matt Larkin shares his Team Europe roster projections, and it's notable for at least one name that's not on the list. [The Hockey News]
"Soul on Ice," Damon Kwame Mason's award-winning documentary on black players in hockey, makes its national television debut on the NHL Network. [NHL]
As the NHL trade deadline bears down, sometimes it pays to remember the deals made in haste and repented at leisure. Scott Burnside takes a look at the five worst trades of the past five seasons. [ESPN]
Also at ESPN: Pierre LeBrun considers how the expectations placed on Boston's first-year GM, Don Sweeney, may affect how he deals with pending UFA Loui Eriksson. [ESPN]
Is Zdeno Chara available for a deadline trade? He should be, says James Murphy, suggesting both that the legendary blueliner can help a playoffs contender and that the Boston Bruins are no longer that thing. [Boston Globe]
The Toronto Maple Leafs' fire sale continues, and even the "safe" players aren't quite feeling it:
Jake Gardiner "It's out of our control now. I could be getting traded tomorrow. Anyone could get traded."— Shawn McKenzie (@ShawnMcKenzieSN) February 22, 2016
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli seems of a mind to follow the Leafs' lead and has telegraphed his willingness to deal anyone not named Connor McDavid. Make him an offer for Nail Yakupov, Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. [Edmonton Journal]
But is Chiarelli ready to make yet another deal involving Loui and a hot young NHL forward who's lost the local hockey media? If the Bruins decide Jordan Eberle is the right fit for them...mmmmmmmaybe. Luke Fox runs down the trade murmurs that are murmuring the loudest. [Sportsnet]
Finally: The Vancouver Canucks just held their annual Canucks For Kids Fund Dice & Ice event – which this year meant a rookie lip-sync battle. TL;DR, you haven't lived until you've seen Ben Hutton perform "Barbie Girl." Enjoy. [Puck Daddy]