The day is finally here. This is an fantasy hockey player's wet dream. It's the NHL trade deadline, 2008 style.
Today is the day hockey fans around the world watch closely to see if their favorite team makes a trade... or two... or three (okay, not necessarily that many, but you get my point)... where they are either looking to bolster their roster to make a serious run at a Stanley Cup title or simply to execute a fire sale in building for the future.
This is when NHL owners and general managers pull their hair out and have a couple of coffee pots on standby. The weight of their teams falls on their shoulders to do what is best for their employer. This is the proving ground where their salaries are deserving or not when they were hired.
How many trades will be made by the deadline which is at 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time? No one knows for sure, but there will be some made by then. What will be funny is that if there are so few to make this day not worth getting up in the morning for to tune in to (or access their trade deadline web pages) TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, The Score or even the NHL Network and the league office running NHL.com's trade deadline page, all those employees reporting to work extra early will be just a little bit aggravated. Not to say ESPN or FOX Sports won't be paying any attention, but if you don't need the extensive marathon coverage those Canadian networks provide, you always have those two American sources to check out anytime.
While they were not trades, here are a few transactions that were finalized yesterday and during the overnight hours this morning that likely have made an impact on today's trade deadline:
The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Peter Forsberg for the remainder of this season at $5 million.
The Detroit Red Wings signed forward Darren McCarty to a one-year contract for $535,000.
The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Barret Jackman to a four-year, $14.4 million contract extension.
The Tampa Bay Lightning traded forward Vaclav Prospal to the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Alexandre Picard and a 2009 second round or third round draft pick, then signed defenseman Dan Boyle to a six-year, $40 million contract extension.
The New York Islanders signed forward Mike Comrie to a one-year, $4 million contract extension.
Among the headlines in the last 24 hours that also had an impact on today's trade deadline include Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mats Sundin not waiving his no-trade clause in his contract. Calgary Flames general manager Darryl Sutter went public yesterday to state clearly he was not going to trade forward Alex Tanguay. In each case, certainly a sought commodity was taken off the tote board in potential trades for other GMs across the league.
We'll see how things pan out between now and the end of tonight when any trades made by the deadline are announced. It should be an interesting day. If you want to follow all the developments and late breaking news, you can go over to NHL.com, TSN or Rogers Sportsnet's web sites for live internet feeds, watch NHL Network if you're in the United States or just pay attention to a few sources that I expect will be constantly bringing us up to speed as trades happen:
The Fourth Period
James Mirtle's hockey blog
Lyle Richardson (who is a very reputable journalist that runs the Spector's Hockey site) has listed a few more sources you can access for all your trade deadline need for juicy trade rumors and actual deals. But I highly recommend Lyle as someone that will be bringing you instant analysis on his blog that is also accessible at FOX Sports' NHL page.
I'd be shocked if more than a few big names get moved today, but again, we shall see. Enjoy your trade deadline day and may your favorite team not disappoint you.