LCS Hockey: Born Again
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March 24, 2019
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Dullsville




Iggy's got a center now
photo by Matthieu Masquelet

Wow, that was a whole lot of nothing.

We’ll recap all the trade deadline nuttiness, or lack thereof, on tonight’s big fake radio show. Until then, here are my immediate first impressions...


GEE, THAT’S SWELL…

Calgary Flames: El Scorcho added Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold. Well done. Jokinen is the true No. 1 center the Flames have always lacked, and Mike Keenan knows how to get the best out of him. Leopold should reclaim his old spot alongside Robyn Regehr, reuniting what used to be the team's shut-down pair of defensemen.

These moves position the Flames to make a serious run out West. It’s now a three-team race in the Campbell Conference, assuming, of course, the Flames can have enough healthy bodies to ice a team come April.

Oddly enough, the rash of injuries created the cap space needed to bring in Jokinen and Leopold. Why didn’t the Rangers just break Wade Redden’s leg?


Pittsburgh Penguins: Yeah, Bill Guerin is old and all but washed up, but he’s exactly what the Penguins need: a pure, one-dimensional shooter to play with Sid. Guerin can still fire the biscuit. And he’s a gritty veteran who isn’t scared to punch someone in the face. I’d have preferred they signed Brendan Shanahan when they had the chance, but Guerin is at least comparable to Shanny.

The Pens also plucked veteran winger Craig Adams off waivers. He’s a swell fit on the fourth line and can murder penalties with the best of them.

It would have been nice to see the Pens add another veteran blueliner and even one more gritty winger, but Ray Shero has a new top line with Kunitz, Crosby, and Guerin, meaning Dupuis and Kennedy can play on the third and fourth lines where they belong.

But consider Pittsburgh’s possible lines…

Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin
Fedotenko-Malkin-Sykora
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Dupuis-Talbot-Adams

And you still have Satan and Godard kicking around. Not too shabby. The important thing, though, is Shero bolstered his lineup for another playoff run without having to deal Staal, Caputi, Letang, Goligoski, Tangradi, or their first-round pick. At worst, they’re giving up a third for Guerin, and they had an extra third-rounder anyway.

Listen, Pittsburgh remains a flawed team. But with Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury, the Pens could beat anyone in the East.


San Jose Sharks: The Fish managed to swipe Travis Moen and Kent Huskins from Anaheim. Two more Cup winners to try and reverse San Jose’s postseason woes. Not flashy moves, but they’re enough to keep the Sharks the clear favorite in the West.


Vancouver Canucks: He may not have landed Jay Bouwmeester, but Mike Gillis did banner work re-signing Alex Burrows to a four-year, $8-million contract extension. That’s a steal. Modest point totals aside, Burrows is a difference-maker. He helps define the Canucks.

Burrows and Ryan Kesler are one of the best duos in hockey, and Gillis has them both next year for a combined $3.75 million. That’s quality.


GRIEF

Anaheim Ducks: It’s a sad day on the Pond. Stanley Cup heroes Sammy Pahlsson, Travis Moen, and Kent Huskins all got the boot. From a hockey standpoint, it makes sense to get something for three veterans about to be unrestricted free agents, but it still hurts.


Buffalo Donald Trumps: They re-signed Tim Connolly for two years at $9 million. Really? Tim Connolly? Thanks for driving up salaries all across the league. Jerks.


New York Rangers: The Blueshirts got Nik Antropov for a second-round pick, and they brought in Derek Morris for Petr Prucha, Nigel Dawes, and Dmitri Kalinin. Antropov and Morris are perfect Rangers. Recognizable names who never win anything. I still say the Rangers miss the playoffs.


Philadelphia Flyers: No Lehtonen. No Bryzgalov. No chance in the playoffs.


Toronto Maple Leafs: A second-round pick for Antropov is fine, but Olaf Kolzig and Jamie Heward? Brian Burke basically purchased a fourth-round pick from the Lightning. That rebuilding process has a ways to go.


Washington Capitals: They needed to do something, if only to send a message to fans that they’re serious about making a run, and they failed miserably. Enjoy Jose Theodore.





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