So the dust is starting to settle and another NHL trading deadline has come and gone. Woo-fucking-hoo. Sorry for the lack of enthusiasm, but other than a few “headliner” trades, in particular as time was running out (most notably, Campbell to San Jose; Huet, Fedorov and Cooke going to the Caps; Richards to the Stars and Hossa – all praise Hockey Jesus – ending up with the Penguins), this season’s NHL deadline passed by with scarcely a whimper.
The end result is most fans are left unfulfilled with a wicked case of blue balls. Metaphorical blue balls – I hope.
(And if you have been coming to MYFO all day for up-to-the-minute updates regarding trades, well, how should I put it – you shouldn’t have – in case you haven’t noticed, we here at MYFO specialize in sarcasm, satire and inventing new compound words that begin with dick or cock).
Which brings me to my point: trading deadlines, not only those in the NHL but in the NBA and MLB as well, just end up being an utter waste of time and energy. And odds are they irritate me for the same reasons they bother everyone else.
Reason No. 1: Rampant and Unrealistic Speculation.
One doesn’t have to explore the internets too long to be bombarded with wholly unrealistic trade rumors. You can find them on team-specific blogs and message boards on team’s official websites.
One can even find them on “legitimate” sites that proudly adhere to journalistic principles. And as Reasonable Doubt pointed out earlier today in his post, those dickwads are hardly even covering the trades. Hey, ESPN brain wizards that are in charge of your NHL coverage, why don’t you stop wasting our time and choke on an ESPN: The Magazine duffel-bag full of scrotum sacks?
Just give us Melrose back, we might be able to salvage something – even if it’s just his magnificent mullet. And throw in Buccigross – I suppose we’ll take him as well.
Moving on, the most amusing examples of unchecked speculation are to be found on team-specific sites and message boards. Below is a hypothetical example of exchanges that have been played out ad nauseum:
Commenter 1: How about we give up Player A and Player B and a second rounder for Player C?
Commenter 2: Do you think they would be willing to give up Player C, a budding superstar, for Player A, a healthy scratch 10 out of the last 11 games and Player B, a fourth-liner that gets about 3 minutes of ice time a game and is minus 12 this season?
Commenter 3: You guys are stupid. There’s no way our team would be willing to give up a second rounder next season. The draft is going to be deep next year!
Commenter 1: But wouldn’t Player C look awesome in our sweater?
Commenter 2: Can’t argue with that. Our general manager should get this deal done. If he doesn’t, he’s really blown it.
Commenter 3: Agreed.
Believe me, if you don’t waste as much time on these sites as I do, and my hope is you do not (note: I call it “online research” on my timesheets at work), this is the type of crap you’ll read on every message board and team-specific blog. Over and over and over again.
Reason No. 2: General Managers, most of whom are awfully reluctant to pull the trigger leading up to the deadline, wind up panicking and making an ill-advised trade; simply for the sake of creating the appearance that they are trying to improve their roster.
Afraid to part with young talent or future draft picks for a short-term fix, most GM’s will sit and wait…and wait…and wait some more until the deadline is right on top of them. Then they will make a move that makes little sense as it concerns the immediate future of their team (i.e. the playoff run) and often at the expense of the long-term viability of their roster.
Reporter: So you traded the team’s best prospect, a center, and a first round draft pick for another center? And the reason the best prospect was still in the minors was because you had too many centers on the roster already. What was your rationale?
General Manager: You can never have too many good players at any position. Not only are we looking for help in this season’s playoff run, but we are looking for long-term prosperity of the franchise here.
Reporter: But the player you traded for is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season…
General Manger: We’ll deal with contract issues when the right time presents itself.
Much of the hesitation on the part of GM’s this season may have a lot to do with last season’s trading deadline, where 25 trades were made and 46 players changed teams. The fact that quite a few GM’s last season paid a king’s ransom to obtain a quick-fix player only to have it not work out as planned hasn’t helped either.
Reason No. 3: Given the amount of points available under the current system, the clusterfuck that is the playoff race this season will become the status quo, not an anomaly, thereby causing fewer teams to be “sellers” at the trading deadline.
The Eastern Conference standings are incredibly tight this season but one only has to look at the Western Conference to see how parity has reared its ugly head in the NHL: a mere six points separate the 1oth seed and the 5th seed. In year’s past, the team in 10th place in the conference would be packing it in at this point of the season. Not in today’s NHL, kiddos (see: Colorado Avalanche). No GM wants to throw in the towel if they are within sniffing distance of a playoff spot, even if their chances are about as remote as Detroit winning the Cup this year (hey-ohh!). Under the current NHL point system, I think teams can pretty much get a point just by showing up to the arena on time.
I understand this is a very watered-down and basic analysis of the complexity, educated guesswork and outright gambling that encompass any roster move made around the trading deadline. I also am aware that second-guessing and hindsight are par for the course regarding every trade a GM may make.
But seriously, all you GM’s out there – next season, grow a pair. Trust your instincts. Make some moves. Entertain us. And stop waiting until last god-damned second to do something. It reeks of desperation.
And allow us the pleasure of tearing you a new asshole when you fuck it all up and it blows up in your face. You see, it ain’t that difficult, now is it?