Well, he’s still wearing a blue shirt.
What a boring week, am I right? I don’t know how I’ll find things to talk about. Guess I’ll just have to fake it.
10. Trade Deadline is Over!!
Well, Trade Deadline has come and gone and I have to say, it was a dud. No one of any note moved, everything looks about the same, and it means that —
Oh, who am I kidding? This trade deadline was pretty active, and the names that were moving were, for the most part, recognizable.
It kicked off with Ryan Miller being traded to the Blues (where he has won four in a row), with Ovechkin-killer Jaroslav Halak being the other big name (before Halak eventually, hilariously, ended up on the Capitals). There were a lot of goalies in the mix, and a lot of speculation. I spent most of the day in a windowless room with limited internet connection, so that was fun! But let’s get to the real big story which is…
9. The First Captain for Captain Trade
Probably the biggest news trade of the day was the one that saw Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis go to New York in exchange for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. There had been rumors circulating basically since the gold medal was around his neck that Martin St. Louis wanted out of Tampa. It seems that his relationship with GM Steve Yzerman had deteriorated following the original Olympic team snub (Yzerman, of course, being the GM of Team Canada as well). Given how bound and determined he was to get out while Tampa is sitting in a playoff spot, I can’t help but think there must be more to the story, especially after hearing that St. Louis had asked for a trade in 2009 before they drafted Stamkos, at which point he apparently decided to stick around.
I don’t want to say anything before I feel like I know the whole story, but it has to be said that many are not taking it well despite the fact he wrote an apology letter to the fans.
8. So What Happens in New York?
The biggest issue facing the Rangers this year, from a management perspective, is arguably that they have an alarming number of pending free agents, both restricted and unrestricted. They got franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist locked in earlier this year, and the big news recently was that they were negotiating with Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan, two of the most beloved players on the Rangers. Girardi was resigned, but Callahan remained in talks basically until he was traded for St. Louis.
Now, what does this mean for the Rangers? Martin St. Louis is an amazing player and he’ll probably do well on the Richards-Hagelin line, but Ryan Callahan was the captain and a key part of the identity of the Rangers. He was a popular captain as well, and it seems that the entire team believed he would be resigned right up until he wasn’t.
Callahan, a shot-blocking forward, was a key part of the identity forged under John Tortorella’s coaching tenure. That gritty, blue-collar mentality began to fade in the summer of 2012 when the Rangers traded for Rick Nash, leaving players like the Brandons Prust and Dubinsky behind. Callahan’s departure signals a real turn for the New York Rangers; the question is, of course, where they’ll go next.
One of the interesting choices will be who the next captain is. Alternates under Callahan were Marc Staal and Brad Richards, with Dan Girardi also wearing the A in the event of injury. Girardi, also known for his self-sacrificing play and good friends with Callahan, has been given the A permanently following Callahan’s trade, and could be a logical choice for the next captain.
7. Goalies Galore
Eleven goalies were moved in the days leading up to the deadline, including Halak who, as previously mentioned, was moved twice.
Probably the biggest story was Luongo finally escaping a toxic situation in Vancouver that had seemed to get better only to get worse again following him not getting the start in the Heritage Classic and backup goalie Eddie Lack (a delightful human being, it must be said) getting regaled by loud cries of “We want Lu!”
Lu got traded back to Florida, where he met his wife and where they make their home during the summer, and initially reacted to the trade by sending out a solitary emoji:
The real tragedy is that, for a few beautiful hours, Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas were teammates.
Me too, Lu. Me too.
6. Speaking of the Canucks..
They are…not doing so hot. In their last ten, they are 2-7-1. They got torched by Tyler Seguin and the Stars, and then there’s the whole Ryan Kesler trade situation, which threatens to blow up in their face the same way Luongo did.
5. Nathan MacKinnon Breaks Some Record or Something, I Don’t Know
Nathan MacKinnon, who turned eighteen on September 1, broke Wayne Gretzky’s record for point streak by an 18-year-old on Thursday when he hit thirteen games. He currently sits at 22 goals and 51 points for the season, which has to put him in serious Calder contention. This kid might be okay at hockey.
4. The Devils Deviled Their Way Out of Trouble
Okay, I have to say I was both surprised and incredibly not surprised to hear that the NHL gave the Devils a first round pick back instead of forcing them to forfeit it the way they were supposed to in the original penalty for the ridiculous attempted Kovalchuk deal (17 years, $102 million). I don’t know if the NHL decided to do it as a favor to new ownership (almost certainly) or if maybe they felt bad for the Devils (also a possibility), but it would be nice to see the NHL stick to their guns. Sure, no other team got penalized in the same way for the ridiculous contracts they (hello, Chicago, hello, Calgary) were handing out, but going back on it is a terrible precedent to set, even with cap recapture in place as a preventative measure for the future.
3. Nick Lidstrom and Mike Modano Jersey Retirements
Two legends of hockey had their jerseys retired this week. Nick Lidstrom was retired in a game against the Colorado Avalanche, a move I can’t help but think is a troll job given the history between these two teams.
There is part of me that suspects retiring Mike Modano against the Minnesota Wild was a troll job as well, given how bitter Minnesota fans still are about the North Stars leaving. On the other hand, it’s possible that it was done out of a sense of nostalgia and respect for what Modano meant to that team too.
In any event, both of these retirements symbolically end periods of history for the Red Wings and the Stars. The Stars are already on their way to a new identity under the leadership of Jamie Benn and the goal-scoring of Tyler Seguin, and the Red Wings are…well, I’m not sure, but they’re mostly an AHL team at the moment.
2. Shannon Szabados Practices With the Oilers
With new backup Viktor Fasth on the way to Edmonton and no back-up, the Oilers finally called in two-time gold medalist and Edmonton native Shannon Szabados. And, well, it was awesome.
1. Noora Raty and Shannon Szabados Sign Contracts
And then Szabados made news again by signing with the Columbus Cottonmouths, a team in the Southern Professional Hockey League. This was swiftly followed by Finnish goaltender Noora Raty signing with Kiekko-Vantaa in the Mestis Finnish league. Which brings me to something I meant to discuss after Noora Raty said she planned on retiring after the Olympics — or at least, that was how it was reported everywhere. What she actually said:
It greatly bothered me that the constant refrain from people was that Raty was retiring from hockey, and it bothers me now to see people calling her a diva and a girl who cried wolf for signing with a team. But here is what Raty actually said: she was retiring from women’s hockey because she couldn’t make a living there. She would retire from hockey altogether if she was unable to sign with a team in a competitive league.
I personally think this is completely reasonable. I’ve talked before about how the problems with women’s hockey basically boil down to money, and this proves what I’ve been saying. She didn’t want to sign with the women’s league in Russia because she didn’t feel it was adequately supported or competitive enough to be worth her time. And she said she would have to retire from hockey if she didn’t get a contract because she has these things called bills and expenses and a body that needs food. She, like every athlete, just wants to make a living playing the sport she loves. It’s unfortunate that the only real way women can do so is by signing with lower-level men’s teams, but at least they increasingly have that option. Goalies have always been the first to push through, and I imagine we’ll continue to see growth.
Quick Bits: Best Trade Deadline Tweets
And, on a related note: