And so, we are at that always anticipated time of year when the easily deluded or the blissfully hopeful sit around TV sets, near to radios or spend anxious minutes texting buddies from work, all to find out the precious details of deals going down on NHL Trade Deadline Day.
This is where the seconds guessers, the Monday morning quarterbacks and the eternally speculative get to rip their individual team GM's over what they did and didn't do without factually knowing what was tried and attempted.
Call it a know-it-all's exercise in hyperbole, as the day often reaches ridiculous intentional exaggeration. Cue Pierre Maguire to Bob McKenzie....
"It's almost a done deal, Pierre. Darren Dreger has been all over this potential deal all morning. He'll have a report shortly, as soon as it finalized. I spoke to one pro scout several days ago, and Clitsome was almost moved to the Wild before they resigned Marek Zidlicky."
Yup, you'll get lots of that today, right up until three o'clock.
If you're looking for a reality check on the Canadiens present day trade scenario, skip and scroll to the bottom of this post.
I remember in 2002 at the trade deadline, being at work, and making innmerable trips into co-worker Peter Clouthier's office for trade updates. Pete was, and is a Bruins fan, played on a team with Ray Sheppard growing up, and at the time, coached my daughter's hockey team. Pete knew his stuff, and was the only guy in the plant that I knew for sure would be logged into TSN all day, on trade deadline day. About twenty to three that day, I was about 30 feet from his office door when he motioned to me. "Habs picked up a useful player, for them", Pete said. I looked at the screen. "Canadiens claim forward Bill Lindsay off waivers from Florida Panthers."
I remember in 2002 at the trade deadline, being at work, and making innmerable trips into co-worker Peter Clouthier's office for trade updates. Pete was, and is a Bruins fan, played on a team with Ray Sheppard growing up, and at the time, coached my daughter's hockey team. Pete knew his stuff, and was the only guy in the plant that I knew for sure would be logged into TSN all day, on trade deadline day.
About twenty to three that day, I was about 30 feet from his office door when he motioned to me.
"Habs picked up a useful player, for them", Pete said.
I looked at the screen. "Canadiens claim forward Bill Lindsay off waivers from Florida Panthers."
The worst part - I liked Lindsay and was excited. Pete laughed. I laughed when they beat the Bruins a month later.
Almost two years to the day, same workplace, same dude's comp, same scenario, same last laugh.
Egads! I liked that deal then too! The Habs in the post season made the Bruins their bitches once more. Who knew?
The NHL Trade Deadline?
Hype to the max.
So this is where teams win Stanley Cups, right?
Well, sometimes....with one in sixteen odds, and immeasurable shit luck!
Dozens of brilliant moves - believe it - are made on this day, but only one team's name gets scrawled into the mug each year. We forget everything else.
In hindsight, it is a lot more like: "This is where any of 29 teams mortage their futures for a longshot chance at winning a Stanley Cup."
But that in short is Trade Deadline Day. It's where the lottery ticket buyer meets the swampland real estate salesmen. Buyer beware!
We can all admit, us hockey fans are kids in candy store on deadline day, epecially post 2005 CBA, wherein more deals are made at this time than all season taken together. There will be two dozen trade made in the next few hours, and most of them will excite despite their certain future triviality.
There's an old cliche, and ain't bullshit. "Some of the best trades are the ones they didn't make."
First time I heard that one, my witty was, "Well, you don't know until you don't make them!"
Now, a new GM like Pierre Gauthier for the Habs?
I'm not dreaming of what deals he'll yank out of his rabbit's hat. I'm fearing the ones he may make.
Or, should that be, a fear of the ones he doesn't make?
Sadly, I will miss out this year's trade deadline phenomenon. I'll be listening to reports from a car radio, envisioning all the pandemonium.
Pierre Gauthier, in his first apperance as Habs GM on Trade Deadline Day, is practically destined to stink and find disfavor should he not pull off the absolute trade heist of the millenium.
Think about it.
He's damned if he budges and damned if he don't in Montreal.
Want an example, a scoop of such ridiculousness? Lend an ear to any Montreal radio talk show about now, or find some half wit message board, and you will read somewhere, that Gauthier totally blew it when:
a) he didn't acquire Alexei Ponikarovsky, dirt cheap
b) he did not land tough guy Antun Voros, off waivers
c) he failed to properly assess the Habs need for Nick Boynton
Doing something on deadline day is often about how little is done, and Gauthier cannot win either way. He will be ripped, second guessed, carved up, insulted and qualified in diminishing terms whether he acts to move or stand.
And all this vitriol because.....ah yes, the Habs have to win the Cup!
Like that date with destiny has been cleared on a schedule!
Personally, I highly doubt that Gauthier goes for a master brush stroke this time out. I think that whatever moves he makes are to sustain a team that has fringe playoff hopes
That would be sensible, and in Montreal, it will cause the usual uproar and frenzy.
Gauthier's best moves will be best judged years from now, and my guess is that much of what is done today will be regard to what needs to fixed for 2010-11.
Such might mean being a reluctant seller when wanting to be a buyer, but get real folks. The Habs are not poised to win the Stanley Cup this spring.
And if Gauthier is not already looking past that, he is failing us all.