August 16, 2010
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
And so it was that the third most important deadline of the offseason came and went, except this one was like New Years Eve.
Hockey fans within a 600-mile radius of Toronto stayed up until midnight, counting down the final seconds as Tomas Kaberle's(notes) no-trade clause edged ever closer to existence again; and once the clock struck midnight, another potential carriage turned into a pumpkin.
And rather a rotten one at that.
Normally no one, certainly not fans, cares even a little bit if another team's third-best player (in this case, after Phil Kessel(notes) and, of course, Jay Rosehill(notes)) has a no-trade clause, but that so many -- SO many -- did tonight is another little stroke of genius on the part of Brian Burke.
(Coming Up: Sifting through the Kaberle rumors; Patrick Kane(notes) has horrible taste in books; the Red Wings are AARP on skates; Kovalchuk updates; Atlanta finally down with Thrashers; Daymond Langkow(notes) health update; Zherdev practices with Ovechkin; Duffrie marries; how the Blackhawks solved Luongo; five dollar, five dollar, five dollar Seguin; Marc-Andre Fleury's(notes) make or break year; and the HF Boards' most epic trade proposals ever.)
Of course Kaberle didn't get moved. This whole deadline thing was never about actually trading Kaberle. This was about two things.
First and foremost was both gauging and drumming up interest and coverage for him; and second, but nearly as important, was making him amenable to leaving Toronto.
The point is this: Kaberle got paraded in front of just about every team in the League like a prize pig, and most might have, at one point or another, thought they could have put together a package to get him. There were certainly enough rumors to that effect that filled the hockey newswires the second we all got sick of the Kovalchuk situation.
And then, shockingly, Burke pulled him back and said, "Those offers were no good. We think we'll keep him." It was all by design.
Now all these teams are stuck not having one of the best power play quarterbacks in the league for an entire season, and he'll put up something like 40 assists before the trade deadline (he did it last year and Toronto was worse than it is now). And GMs will be throwing themselves at Burke's feet, pleading to please just give them Tomas Kaberle no matter what the cost.
Said Burkie after midnight flew by at a few thousand miles an hour, " I understand a period like this is stressful to the player, and we are pleased that there is a resolution, and we can all..." blah blah blah.
And that's where the other half of his plan came in. Getting all those offers floated to him gives Burke a real idea of what other people value Kaberle as being worth, but actually reminding Kaberle about how "stressful" this is? That was the real trick.
Now, when Toronto's 14 points out of a playoff spot at the deadline and he gets to thinking how nice it would be to play for a legitimate contender for the first time in close to a decade, maybe he doesn't reject a trade like he did two years ago.
And none of this to say that Burke wouldn't have traded Kaberle yesterday. It's just that some unfortunate GM would have had to offer enough to knock his socks off so hard they went through his shoes. (No jokes about that offer being two lottery picks and a second, please.)
Yes, he got his lunch handed to him in the Kessel deal, but he's no idiot. That's not going to happen again any time soon. By holding the third-annual Tomas Kaberle beauty pageant, he now knows precisely what he can get, and he knows now that he can probably get it whenever it suits him to do so.
Brian Burke, man. That guy's a genius.
What We Learned: Your Tomas Kaberle News Source
Anaheim Ducks: Here is the first in what will likely be many stories this week about teams maybe-maybe-not being in the mix for the services of Tomas Kaberle. I'm setting the over-under at 7. Who wants action on that?
Atlanta Thrashers: This is from a few days ago, but Don Waddell (who I totally forgot was given the job of team president after proving so incompetent as GM that he failed upwards) thinks Atlanta's awareness of the Thrashers is growing. "Everything has been real positive so we want to make sure we capitalize on this buzz right now on the Thrashers side." Wait until November, when only you've won six games, and then see how everyone feels.
Calgary Flames: There was some concern among Calgary fans that the re-signing of Craig Conroy(notes) signaled Daymond Langkow's neck injury was going to keep him out for a very, very long time. Pish posh, says Flames AGM Jay Feaster.
Carolina Hurricanes: Apparently the Hurricanes cut their payroll to just $44 million this year as a way to make the franchise more attractive to a potential buyer. Where is Jim Balsillie when you need him?
Chicago Blackhawks: Who here likes incongruous headlines? "Kane trying to get a read on growing up." How has he done that, you may ask. I swear to you, the actual answer is, "Reading the Twilight books." Which are, of course, for little girls. I bet he's Team Edward.
Dallas Stars: It wasn't gonna be the Stars either. I don't know why every team has to get assurances that they AREN'T in the running, but that's three saying it won't happen or is unlikely to do so out of the first 10 alphabetically. It's bizarre.
Box Cats would like some of you internet detectives to get to work and
figure out just what the person behind this
eBay auction was high on when listing the Buy It Now price of four
lower-bowl blue line tickets to a Panthers-Thrashers game as $4,370.
Los Angeles Kings: The Kings are back in on the hunt for Ilya Kovalchuk(notes). I literally won't believe a word of this until he's wearing a purple jersey. And even then, that's no longer a guarantee of anything any more.
Minnesota Wild: The Wild won an award for how environmentally friendly the Xcel Energy Center is. Actual words in the press release: "Sure, they may not have been the ultimate prizes like a President's Trophy or a Stanley Cup." Yes, I'm sure this is plenty of consolation.
Montreal Canadiens: When Mike Cammalleri was injured last year, he said he often found himself looking at the fans in the nosebleeds. "He saw men in suit jackets and ties. Women dressed in their Sunday best." Is this a thing that actually happens at Centre Bell? Why have I never heard about this?
New York Islanders: Garth Snow says that being at the draft is one of the most exciting parts about being a GM. But that's probably only because he's demolished pretty much everyone in the league at it two years in a row.
Philadelphia Flyers: Nikolai Zherdev(notes) is practicing with Alex Ovechkin(notes) and Ilya Kovalchuk over in Russia ahead of moving to Philly for training camp. But his conditioning should be good when he returns, since forest fires outside Moscow have made the air there difficult to breathe.
Phoenix Coyotes: Lee Stempniak(notes) is still "assessing his options" (which I assume are limited to "sign below what he perceives to be his market value" and "sit at home until a KHL team comes calling") and will meet with Phoenix GM Don Maloney this week. Honestly, if Stempniak re-signed with Phoenix, the only team where he's had even a little better than meager success, that's the best move for him and them.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Is this coming season a make-or-break year for Marc-Andre Fleury? The easiest answer, of course, is that it really isn't. He's still signed through 2015 and will get $5 million from somebody unless he gets bought out, which he won't. Whether he's worth that much money (he isn't) is another question entirely.
(By the way, the answer was "eight.")
Gold Star Award
Larry Brooks has been kicking the absolute hell out of the NHLPA for weeks now, but this analogy is fantastic.
The situation with the PA is the equivalent of situation with the Rangers, where Erik Christensen(notes), Vinny Prospal(notes) and Todd White(notes) are the leading candidates to center the team's first line -- well meaning, somewhat productive, but hardly a match lining up against Sidney Crosby(notes).
Minus of the Weekend
To me for never having seen this picture of Bobby Orr with several Sesame Street characters and four figure skaters. The guy in the background must have thought he was tripping.
(Or indeed, this one of Orr with Andre the Giant in his full-on afro days.)
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
User "pistolpete31" really brought it with this one, titled "Monster Trades."
Capitals/Flyers: Semin and Green for Pronger and Carter
Penguins/Kings: Malkin for Doughty
Sharks/Red Wings: Thornton for Howard
Wild/Lightning: Burns for Lecavlier
This might be the best one ever featured here on Puck Daddy.
It's built into the price. If I didn't take it, then people would be overpaying for nothing.