Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Has Hockey God spoken?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Things seem to be pretty quiet on the NHL front – the GMs are meeting in Naples Florida to talk about rule changes and how to improve the game. With all 30 GMs gathered, many speculated that some pre-deadline trades would be cooked up over a round of golf, or martinis; but such hasn’t been the case, much to the chagrin of Leaf Nation. There has been little if any news on the trade front coming from Florida – as such, what hockey fans are getting is rumours of potential trades (or outright lies, see yesterday’s post on Bruce Garrioch) or best guesses as to what player might be a good fit with what team. Its filler time for the media – the donkeys take center stage in light of the inactivity on the trade front.

The speculation, up until this morning has been that the Detroit Red Wings were the frontrunners to land Maple Leafs Captain Mats Sundin – Detroit was rumoured to be offering a couple of young players and a draft pick. Well, leave it up to the Hockey God to shake things up in a big way – the rumour is that despite Burke’s insistence that he wouldn’t trade away the first round pick acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for a “rental player”, the Ducks are said to be willing to part with that first round pick and prospect Bobby Ryan. If you have read the page before – that would be the ONLY potential trade I would ask Mats Sundin to accept “for the good of the team”. The Leafs have to hit a grand slam if they are going to trade Sundin, a sacrifice fly just won’t do.

In the vain of “if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is” – speculation is that Burke would be willing to part with Ryan and BOTH first round picks for Mats Sundin and one of the Leafs young “cheap” players – could it be Stajan? Antropov? Steen? The speculation is that Burke can’t be seen to be giving up a lot for a rental player and would want someone the Ducks could hold on to.

Not sure what to think – anyone who claims to be in the know is lying. While Leaf Nation would love to believe that these rumours are true – we should remember that the man pulling the strings here is the Hockey God, and it is impossible to know what he is up to, since he is usually five or six steps ahead of everyone else. A few possible scenarios

1) Burke, by allowing this rumour to get out, is just trying to drive up the price the Red Wings or any other Stanley Cup contender would have to pay. Burke knows his team can win it without Sundin, by why not make anyone wanting Sundin to pay a heavier price;

2) Burke may be indirectly telling the Maple Leafs and the rest of the league that he, and he alone, will dictate when Mats gets traded and to whom – by putting out, or potentially putting out, far and away, the best package of prospects, he has ensured himself rights of first refusal on a trade for Mats. Burke can use that position to decide whether or not he has to pull a trigger on a trade – if the best package available to the Leafs is Montreal, Burke can pull back from the deal – if it is Detroit, he might just step up and make that trade.

3) It may all be a cruel joke and have no basis. This could be a fabrication on the part of the media speculating on how this trade would be a good fit for both teams – with the Ducks getting the best available player while not losing anyone off their roster.

I can only think a number of other people in Leaf Nation (maybe Hazel too) asking “Hockey God, why have you forsaken us?” We’ll sit and wait to see what kind of legs this rumour has – this would potentially be the only trade the Maple Leafs could ask Mats Sundin to accept. We can only hope that its true and that Sundin does what everyone expects him to do – sign with the blue and white in 08/09. This is where Leaf Nation is looking for a little Hazel Karma.

To the few people that took the time to email me directly last (this morning) about FC Porto’s loss in the opening leg of the Champions League Round of 16 – thanks, I hadn’t noticed. The little team that could has overcome bigger obstacles than a 1-0 deficit going back to the Estadio do Dragao. They’ll be fine.

Montreal records the biggest comeback in franchise history, while the Minnesota Wild blew a two-goal lead – things have a way of evening out. The total for the week is now even. Tonight’s suggestions:

Minnesota over Chicago – the Wild blew one last night, much to the chagrin of those of you following the three play. It won’t happen tonight. Lay $100 on the Wild - $130.

Anaheim over Colorado – the Ducks are gearing up for a long run in the playoffs – hopefully with Mats Sundin and minus a few draft picks – they’ll get it done against a banged up Avs team. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $230.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world – can you put a call into Brian Burke and tell him that making that trade would be great for the Leafs team he will eventually be taking over?

I’m Out!


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