The day is finally here. This is an fantasy hockey player's wet dream. It's the NHL trade deadline, 2009 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 and follow TSN, CBC, 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. ESPN has a trade deadline blog you can follow. Not to say 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 that American source to check out anytime. SB Nation (which just partnered up with Yahoo!) also has their trade deadline page with a number of team bloggers keep us updated.
Additional reliable online sources you can access include:
The Fourth Period
James Mirtle's From The Rink hockey blog
Sean Leahy's Twitter feed
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.
NHL Network's NHL Live! radio show will be on the air for an extra hour today from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern Time. Then a special edition of NHL On The Fly will follow at 3:00 PM. For more details, see the NHL's February 27th press release. This is in addition to TSN and Rogers Sportsnet providing their usual trade deadline day coverage.
Here are a few transactions that were finalized since yesterday that likely have made an impact on today's trade deadline:
The Minnesota Wild signed goaltender Niklas Backstrom to a four-year, $24 million contract extension.
The Vancouver Canucks signed forward Alex Burrows to a four-year, $8 million contract extension.
The Ottawa Senators signed defenseman Filip Kuba to a three-year contract extension. TSN reports it is worth $11.1 million.
In addition to that signing, the Senators traded forward Antoine Vermette to the Columbus Blue Jackets for goaltender Pascal Leclaire and a 2009 second round draft pick.
TSN reports that the Buffalo Sabres signed forward Tim Connolly to a two-year, $9 million contract extension.
We'll see how things pan out between now and the end of tonight when any trades made by the deadline are announced. 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.