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January 22, 2019
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
1. Pittsburgh Penguins: It's ridiculous how many people are saying the Penguins gave up too much to get Marian Hossa. Suddenly, Colby Armstrong is Maurice Richard.
Yeah, Colby's a great guy and all, but friendship doesn't put the puck in the net. And remember, strangers are just friends you haven't met yet. Or, in my case, friends are just strangers you haven't estranged yet.
Anyway, team chemistry is for suckers. You know what builds team chemistry? Winning. Hossa will help the Penguins win playoff games. Book it.
And word on the street is Ray Shero has every intention of re-signing Hossa. The Penguins aren't looking at this as a rental
Don't overlook Hal Gill, either. Is that even possible? He's kind of large. But he brings an element the Penguins simply didn't have along the blue line. I love Brooks Orpik, but he isn't 6'7". Size matters. He could be this team's Kjell Samuelsson, only tougher.
Even though Sergei Fedorov is so done he's got A-1 coming out his ears, he should still have an enormous impact on Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. Fedorov must be a god to them. It would be like if I got to play hockey with Don Knotts. And even Matt Cooke will be a swell energy guy.
The Southeast is a two-horse race. Washington is currently five points behind Carolina with two games in hand. The Canes have been red hot of late, going 7-2-1 in their last 10. That won't last. They're running on adrenaline right now. Losing Rod Brind'Amour will eventually catch up to them in a big way.
This is on Ovechkin. If he really wants to be considered in the same breath as Kid Crosby, here's his chance. Get the Caps in the playoffs.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jay Feaster had a good week. First he inked Dan Boyle, and then he found someone dumb enough to take Brad Richards and his unwieldy $7.8-million contract. Hello, Dallas!
Mike Smith will eventually solve Tampa's hole in net, although being the No. 1 man will be an adjustment. Smith alone would have been more than enough, but Feaster also fleeced Brett Hull and Les Jackson for Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, and a fourth-round pick. It's doubtful it will be enough to get Tampa back in the hunt, but at least it sets things up for next year.
4. San Jose Sharks: Theoretically, the Fish got exactly what they needed in Brian Campbell, adding the puck-moving defensemen they lacked. But I'm a bit sour on Campbell at the moment. More on that later...
5. Colorado Avalanche: They're on a mission from God. They're putting the band back together. They got Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote. Next they're going after Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Tom "Bones" Malone.
Yeah, giving up a No. 1 pick for Foote seems outrageous, but I don't care. Sakic, Forsberg, and Foote ride again. It's like I get to relive my childhood. Thanks, Avs!
Who knew Lapointe was still playing? But in all fairness, Bryan Murray always has a tough time at the deadline. He has to spend the first 10 minutes of every phone conversation convincing people he isn't Cindy Brady.
The Thrashers reportedly asked for Antoine Vermette, Nick Foligno, and a first-round pick for Hossa. Murray thought that was too steep for a rental. He had faith in his boys. And like the paper champions they are, the Senators went out last night and lost 4-0 at Boston. They're very good.
I hate the Senators. They just all seem like a bunch of whiny crybabies. I've got Dany Heatley on my one fantasy team, and I'm thinking of cutting him to pick up Gary Roberts on principle alone.
It's funny, I was just about to write a joke about John Paddock being on borrowed time and here he just got fired. Kitty Carryall is back behind the bench. I'll meet you on the seesaw.
2. Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers needed help. They needed a spark. They needed something. And Paul Holmgren gave them Vaclav Prospal. Really? Prospal? Hard to get happy after that one. There's always next season.
3. Toronto No-Trade Clauses: Poor Cliff Fletcher. Who doesn't have a no-trade clause in Toronto? Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina, Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, and just about everyone else in the blue and white refused to leave town. It's always nice when the rats go down with the ship.
But it was sad watching Fletcher meet with the media afterwards. It reminded me of Martin Landau on "Entourage."
"What if I was to tell you Mats Sundin would waive his no-trade clause, would that be something you'd be interested in?"
The game has passed him by. It's a brave new world. He looked like my grandfather trying to work the TiVo. Someone get him a cardigan and some pudding.
The Leafs are screwed. John Ferguson buried the franchise. He put dimes on its eyes. And now the club is stuck with all those stiffs until their contracts run out. Steve Austin never had to go through such rebuilding.
4. Dallas Stars: A bad contract in Tampa is a bad contract in Dallas. Brad Richards is good, but he's not a franchise player. He's not even a legit No. 1 center. This deal doesn't put Dallas over the top. But in Richards and Mike Ribeiro, they've somehow managed to waste $12.8 million, or roughly the same amount of money Detroit will spend next season on Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom, and Johan Franzen.
Who knows? Maybe Richards and Ribeiro will earn the money. But I doubt it. Can you imagine Dallas and New Jersey meeting in the Finals? It would set hockey back, well, I was gonna say 50 years, but it's probably more like three. I know I'd be willing to have another lockout.
Campbell was crying like a school girl, bemoaning his departure from beloved Buffalo. Those bastards only offered him a three-year deal worth $18 million. The nerve of some people!
My favorite part was when the emotional Campbell stopped blubbering just long enough to admit he looks out for No.1. Oh, really? Are you sure? I never would have guessed.
Listen, if you don't want to play for $6 million a year, that's fine. If you don't think three years is long enough, great. But don't cry about it and act like you were the victim of some cruel injustice.
Campbell's trade was truly shocking. No one saw it coming. Well, no one except for every hockey fan in North America, every member of the media, and all but one member of my family. Uncle Earl hasn't been the same since getting kicked by that goat.
Campbell controlled the situation from the start. What did he want the Trumps to do, let him play out the year and then walk for nothing? They've seen enough of that in Buffalo. Darcy Regier has run a clinic the past few years on how to destroy a franchise.
But we'll see how much Campbell loves Buffalo. He'll have a chance to come back over the summer if he wants. Yeah, that might happen.
Minnesota is loading up for another meeting with the Anaheim Ducks. Last season, the Water Fowl dispatched the Wild in the first round. The five-game series featured Brad May getting suspended for punching the mild-mannered Kim Johnsson, sparking all sorts of malice and ill-will.
In their first meeting this season, Boogaard fought May and George Parros, while Nick Schultz dropped them with Ryan Getzlaf. Another playoff meeting will be a blood bath. And the Ducks could be doing the bleeding.
It was all but a done deal Hossa was going to Montreal. But the Thrashers wanted three players off the Habs roster and a pick. Bob Gainey wouldn't bite. It could come back to haunt him.
It's odd, Gainey was too yella to pull the trigger on Hossa, but he probably made the boldest move of the day, shipping Huet to Washington for a second-round pick. Cutting Huet loose makes 20-year-old Carey Price the starter. The equally inexperienced Jaroslav Halak, 22, will serve as the primary backup. Good luck with that.
The Habs have been fortunate with rookie goalies named Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, but you can't live in the past. Who do they think they are, the Avalanche?
But I like Price. I like him a lot. He's the real deal. I'm not sure if I would have dumped Huet, but Gainey got a pick intead of letting him walk for nothing this summer. I just think it sends the wrong message to the team, though. How can you convince them you're serious about winning a Cup when you trade your No. 1 goaltender for a draft pick? I think confidence is worth more than a second-rounder.