8:00 Armed with orange juice, a bagel and two TV's to flip between the three Canadian sports channels, I am ready for a full day of non-stop speculation and a flurry of trades.
8:05 Former NHL heavyweight fighter Marty McSorely is on the Sportsnet telecast, which is surprising to me because the only way I expected to see him again was when I re-watched Con-Air for the 25th time.
8:27 The TSN crew talk about their top five Stanley Cup contenders. Damien Cox's list looks an awful lot like the CSJ list posted earlier today, Michael Farber's is similar as well, and after listening to Steve Simmons discuss his list it becomes apparent the Sun Media columnist doesn't watch hockey anymore. Or maybe he forgot New Jersey still has a team.
8:55 Already bored so I'm taking a break to surf PerezHilton.com and play the original Super Mario Brothers online (http://www.nintendo8.com/game/629/super_mario_brothers/).
9:21 The first trade of the day is between the Toronto Maple Leafs and St.Louis Blues. The Leafs trade Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen, two former first round draft picks with reasonable salaries, for Lee Stempniak, who scored 27 goals two years ago but has only 37 total goals in his other three seasons combined. And Stempniak will make an unjustifiable $3.5 million next season. Oh wait, this deal actually happened four months ago, but I've thought about it every day since and wanted to make sure no one ever says again that "Cliff Fletcher capably held the fort for the Leafs".
9:50 Filip Kuba re-signs with Ottawa for 3 years and a reasonable $3.7 million per year, taking him off the market. For the most part a whole lot of nothing continues, but the first trade didn't occur last year until 10am so perhaps the wheeling and dealing is about to begin.
9:58 And here we go: the Sens trade Antoine Vermette to Columbus for Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round pick. I don't particularly like Leclaire's contract or his injury history, but as a Leafs fan I look forward to watching him crumble in the Ottawa net over the next few seasons. Or being bought out next summer. Vermette is overpaid as well, but he'll provide depth for the Blue Jackets and gives them a player they can use in their quest to make the playoffs, whereas Leclaire was dead weight behind rookie sensation Steve Mason.
10:34 TSN's James Duthie gets Leafs GM Brian Burke on a phone interview and asks if Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov will be traded today. Burke's answer is short and sweet as usual: Yes. Duthie, expecting Burke to elaborate, allows a long pause as the over-crowded TSN studio crew collectively break into laughter in the background.
10:45 The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed Tim Connolly for two years and $9 million total. Connolly is a talented guy who could be a point-per-game player, but the problem is he averages about 40 games a year and that's why this deal doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It's short enough in length that it won't be a cap-killing contract, but his concussion history would have scared me off.
11:32 File this one under: Who Cares? St.Louis moves Andy Wozniewski to Pittsburgh for Danny Richmond. I nearly fell asleep while typing that.
11:36 Anyone else wondering when one of the three stations will interview Senator girlfriends Hillary Duff and Carrie Underwood for their takes on the Vermette/Leclaire trade?
11:45 Calgary reacquires Jordin Leopold from Colorado for a 2nd round draft pick and two spare part minor league defencemen. Leopold is unrestricted after the season, and solidifies a formidable Flames defence. If Dion Phaneuf was actually playing like Dion Phaneuf, the Flames could've turned my list of four Stanley Cup contenders into a fivesome.
12:04 Buffalo grabs a goalie, well kind of. They pick up Mikael Tellqvist from Phoenix for a 4th round draft pick. Wouldn't Scott Clemmensen have been a much better option? Or even Manny Legace? Darren Pang says "this guy can win games on his own" about Tellqvist. I think he meant to say "lose" where he said "win".
12:28 Finally a big move, as Brian Burke announces the Leafs have sent play-by-play man Joe Bowen to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for nothing. Toronto will fill the air-space vacated by Bowen with silence. Sadly, I totally made that up. Yes, things are pretty slow thus far on trade deadline day 2009.
12:41 The first truly significant deal of the day has Calgary sending Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a 1st round draft pick to Phoenix for Olli Jokinen. The Flames obviously have something else lined up because their cap situation can't currently handle the Jokinen contract. With this deal and the Leopold pick-up Calgary is the early winner of deadline day, and may have forced other Western contenders into reactionary moves. It also means the Flames will be very unlikely to re-sign Mike Cammalleri this summer. In Lombardi, the Coyotes get a player that I thought was going to break out a couple years ago, but has actually regressed. He'll get a chance to play bigger minutes in Phoenix and I expect him to blossom there.
1:06 After selecting Martin Gerber off the waiver wire the Leafs have shut down Vesa Toskala for the rest of the season. There is only one way to read this: the tanking for the Jon Tavares lottery has officially begun!
1:23 Mark Recchi has been traded for the 21st straight time on deadline day, this time to Boston to provide depth scoring and injury insurance. Assuming the other usual suspects change hands (Gary Roberts, Keith Tkachuk, Bill Guerin and Doug Weight), I would like to nominate that we change the name from 'NHL Trade Deadline Day' to 'NHL Groundhog Day'.
1:53 And just like that, Bill Guerin is on his way to Pittsburgh to ride shotgun with Sid or Geno. Since maybe we're on to something here, let's try this: Perhaps the Rangers would like to move Marc Staal for Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore? Your move Slats.
2:15 Down to 45 minutes until the deadline and only 8 trades have been completed. Suffice it to say, the best part of the day has been the repeated airings of the new Molson Canadian commercial that continues the 'I Am Canadian' theme and delivers this beauty of a line: 'you call anyone with goalie equipment a friend'. Truer words have never been spoken.
2:30 Only 30 minutes to go and yes, I am beginning to get nervous when it comes to my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. I have steadfastly maintained that Burke would be able to obtain a 1st rounder for Antropov, a 2nd rounder for Moore, and potentially several other picks for Jamal Mayers, Alex Ponikarovsky, Brad May and Ian White. The Leafs have only 10 total picks over the next two drafts and are missing their 2nd and 4th rounders this summer. They desperately need to acquire picks to restock the cupboard. Errr, to stock the cupboard I suppose.
2:48 The Leafs have traded Antropov to the Rangers for a second round pick and a conditional pick. Okay, I can breathe. And Philly sends Scottie Upshall and a second rounder to Phoenix for Dan Carcillo. Not sure how the Coyotes snagged a meaningful pick in that swap (both players are restricted free agents after the year)...that's pretty impressive.
3:00 The Rangers aren't done, picking up Derek Morris from Phoenix for the substantial price of Nigel Dawes, Petr Prucha and Dimtri Kalinin. The Coyotes have done very well today, adding several young pieces they can use going forward, along with a number of valuable and significant draft picks.
3:06 Burke squeezes in another deal, shipping Dominic Moore to Buffalo for a second round pick that was previously acquired from Carolina. The Leafs end up with two second round picks in this summer's draft (both likely in the 40-50 range) and could still re-sign Moore this summer if he reconsiders his contract demands.
1) Phoenix - Lombardi, Dawes, and Upshall will all fit into their long-term plans, they can take a chance on reviving Prucha, and they added an extra first rounder, a second rounder and a fourth rounder. They should have a tremendous foundation of young talent in two years when they're back playing in Winnipeg.
2) Calgary - Applied pressure to San Jose and Detroit with two significant additions and have clearly set their sights on the winning the West this year and not worrying about next year until after the season.
3) Boston - Montador and Recchi insulate their line-up and give them that extra depth you need to make it through two months of playoff hockey.
4) Toronto - Moved two unrestricted free agents and gained three new draft picks.
1) Florida - Unless they know Bouwmeester is now willing to stay, the Panthers really screwed up by not getting several assets for their young defenceman.
2) Detroit - They had to get a goalie and didn't.
3) Me - For sitting through all seven and a half hours of this.