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Friday, February 29, 2008

News You Can Use Late in the Day

1. 24 hours of USA Hockey starts today.
2. NHL.com profiles the Oilers' success in shootouts.
3. A look back at 20 years of the East Coast Hockey League.
4. A comprehensive article on Dustin Byfuglien of the Chicago Blackhawks.
5. Former WHL'er Len Barrie appears poised to acquire a significant portion of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
6. John Tortorella on his newly acquired goaltender, "I don't know who Mike Smith is."
7. The NY Times has a story on the resurgence of the Russian Super League.
8. Terry Frei of ESPN writes about the difficulty of having multiple superstars on one team in the salary cap era.
9. Scott Burnside chronicles the Brad Richards to Dallas trade.
10. Bill Clement looks at 5 players who's play will be scrutinized down the stretch.
11. Ken Campbell doesn't like the Foote trade, but the fans take him behind the woodshed in the comments section.
12. A trailer from the new Mike Myers hockey movie.
13. Alex Burrows taunts Steve Downey about his potato farm.
14. Damien Cox writes that the Leafs can't even get a cohesive policy together in their hockey operations department.
15. Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News is touting a hockey fight video game.
16. Olaf Kolzig is not happy with the goaltending situation in Washington.
17. Business is booming at NHL.com.
18. Actual headline on TSN, "Playoff hungry Leafs face Tampa on TSN". There is no optimism like TSN optimism.
19. Former Red Wings defender Jiri Fischer will return to the ice for a charity game.
20. Wild fans were not happy with the acquisition of Chris Simon.
21. In a spate of journalistic prowess, papers are picking up on the "cow-kick" shootout move, a mere 3 years after its inception.
22. An interview with Twins 1st baseman Justin Morneau.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Fantasy Watch: Goalie Starts

March 3rd - 9th

Anaheim Ducks (4) – With four games on the schedule newly acquired goalie Jean Sebastien
Aubin may make his Ducks debut.

Atlanta Thrashers (3) – If Lehtonen continues to struggle expect to see more of Hedberg in goal.

Boston Bruins (5) – Thomas has been playing great but there's no way he'll be out there for all five games this week.

Buffalo Sabres (3) – Miller should be ready to go for all three games this week.

Carolina Hurricanes (3) – Expect Ward to receive all the starts this week.

Calgary Flames (2) – Kiprusoff has a relatively easy week with only two games on the schedule.

Chicago Blackhawks (4) – Lalime will have to handle the whole load while Khabibulin is day-to-day with back spasms.

Columbus Blue Jackets (3) – Look for Leclaire to be in net for all three games this week.

Colorado Avalanche (4) – Expect Budaj to steal one start this week.

Dallas Stars (3) – Turco doesn't play on back-to-back days so expect Holmqvist to make his Stars debut.

Detroit Red Wings (2) – Osgood should be able to handle the load this week.

Edmonton Oilers (3) – Garon gives Edmonton its best chance at winning and should be in net for all three games this week.

Florida Panthers (3) – Look for Vokoun to start all three games this week.

Los Angeles Kings (3) – With Aubin gone, LaBarbera should receive all three starts this week

Minnesota Wild (4) – Expect Harding to appear in one game with four to play this week.

Montreal Canadiens (4) – Price is now the starter in Montreal, but with four games on the schedule expect Montreal to give Price a break and start Halak for a game.

Nashville Predators (4) – Expect a split between Ellis and Mason.

New Jersey Devils (3) – Brodeur should receive all three starts.

New York Islanders (3) – Look for DiPietro to start all the games this week.

New York Rangers (3) – Lundqvist should be in net for all three games this week.

Ottawa Senators (4) – Look for a split between Gerber and Emery this week.

Philadelphia Flyers (3) – Nittymaki should steal one start from Biron this week.

Phoenix Coyotes (3) – Expect Bryzgalov to be in net for all three games this week.

Pittsburgh Penguins (3) – Expect Sabourin to steal a start from Conklin this week.

San Jose Sharks (4) – Nabokov should be in net for all four games this week.

St. Louis Blues (3) – Legace has struggled lately but will get a chance to rebound this week.

Tampa Bay Lightining (4) – Mike Smith will make his Lightining debut, but expect to see Ramo start a game this week.

Toronto Maple Leafs (3) – Toskala will command all three starts this week.

Vancouver Canucks (3) – Look for Luongo in net for all three games this week.

Washington Capitals (4) – It's unknown how the Caps plan to use both Huet and Kolzig but expect them to split the starts.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Jonny Remis

Ballhype: hype it up!

NHL Morning Papers (Friday Edition)

I won't be able to do the NHL Morning Papers on this Friday morning the 29th of February. The papers will return tomorrow morning.


Richard Pollock

Ballhype: hype it up!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

News You Can Use Late in the Day

1. A Prince Albert man won $1 million in the TSN shootout contest.
2. Paul Kelley suggests that by firing Paddock, Eugune Melnyk has given the players another excuse for failure.
3. Senators assistant coach Ron Low was fired along with John Paddock, paving the way for Ray Emery's personal coach Eli Wilson to become the Sens new goaltending coach.
4. The CHL power rankings from Taking Note.
5. Stan Fischler thinks the Rangers have all the parts to make a run at the Cup.
6. Spector thinks that the Stars have set themselves up for years with the Richards acquisition.
7. A story about Butch Goring and his helmet.
8. MSU-Mankato is pushing for respectability in the WCHA.
9. A volunteer hockey coach in Nova Scotia is fired for including innuendo in player bios.
10. A female hockey player from UNB punched a linesman. 3 Times. No means no.
11. Fanhouse looks at the Wild's decision to acquire Chris Simon.
12. Meow.
13. Allan Muir writes that its now up to Bryan Murray to clean up the mess that he has made.
14. Bill Lankhof feels that the Commish wasn't being entirely truthful on Capitol Hill.
15. The Hockey News notes that Don Waddell has made up for his 2007 Deadline Day mistakes.
16. The 10 Best names in hockey.
17. An excerpt from Jay Feaster's blog.
18. The Roseau Rams are on their way to the state tournament.
19. Mike Brophy writes that the deals made in Washington could save George McPhee's job.
20. Joe Pelletier tells us about the movement to get a proper grave marker for James Creighton, one of the fathers of hockey in Canada.
21. Jay Onrait answers emails from his Tradecentre '08 blog.
22. The NY Times examines the new ideas to increase scoring.
23. Interesting look at the preparation that goes into the trade deadline.
24. Scott Morrison chronicles the Senators' many problems.
25. Kelly Hrudey discusses Darren McCarty's return to the NHL.

Ballhype: hype it up!


My friend Will Cooke struck comedic gold in class today.... Check out this local BMW T.V. ad featuring Evgeni Malkin, Maxime Talbot and the recently traded Colby Armstrong....


For Illegal Curve, I'm Ezra Ginsburg.

Ballhype: hype it up!

NHL Morning Papers (Thursday Edition)

Here are the national morning papers:

Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:

Here are the Western Conference morning papers:

For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.

Email any thoughts, ideas or suggestions to illegalcurve@gmail.com

Ballhype: hype it up!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Analysis of the Paddock Firing

Just when we thought we’d seen the last of Bryan Murray’s lisp-induced post game press conferences, he fires John Paddock and takes over the reins for the Sens for the remainder of the year. Taking a page out of Lou Lamoriello’s book, who has a track record of firing coaches towards the end of the season, Murray’s hope is that the change of personnel will propel the Sens out of their current slump. The talk around Sens camp was that Paddock lost the Sens’ dressing room, and that the players had given up on their coach. As a result, an early season Jack Adams candidate is now unemployed along with goaltending coach Ron Low.

The Sens’ style of play on the ice shouldn’t be drastically altered with the coaching change, simply because Paddock was an assistant with Murray last season. The Sens’ run and gun style will still be implemented, so no need to worry about going back to the defense-first style, a la Jacques Martin and the Lance Pitlick era. Murray’s presence behind the bench will hopefully provide a sense of comfort and familiarity that the Sens were accustomed to during their glorious run to getting the tar kicked out of them by the Ducks during last year's Cup Finals.

The one element that may be impacted the most will be the goaltending situation. It’s no secret that Murray has a soft spot for Emery, based on his performance during last year’s playoffs. Despite the fact that Emery’s off ice commitment, professionalism, and work ethic has been questioned, a lot of blame has been placed on Paddock and Low for not handling the situation properly. Expect Murray to give Emery the ball for the playoffs. Another element in which Paddock was criticized was that he overplayed the “Money” line during the beginning of the season (Alfredsson played upwards of 25 minutes some nights early in the season), and thus the reason for his late season injuries and struggles. As seen during last year’s playoffs, Murray won’t be afraid to shuffle his lines and move Alfredsson to the 2nd line, this year with Cory Stillman.

Ballhype: hype it up!



The Ottawa Senators have fired head coach John Paddock.

Check out the story here: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2008/02/27/john-paddock.html

For Illegal Curve, I'm Ezra Ginsburg.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Fantasy Watch: After the Deadline

↑ F Brad Richards, Dallas Stars
Although Richards has scored a respectable 51 points in 62 games with Tampa, the forward was still considered to be underachieving. Never able to recreate the success he had two years ago, Richards found himself on the trade block and was shipped to Dallas on deadline day. With room for another scorer on the team, Richards should fit in quite well with Dallas and will become a dominant power-play man for the club. Richards has all the talent in the world but struggled to find offensive success in Tampa Bay. With less superstars on the team, Richards will be counted on to provide another scoring presence, which in turn should increase his point total.

↑ D Brian Campbell, San Jose Sharks
Having another solid year in Buffalo, Campbell now finds himself in San Jose on a team that desperately needs a defensive scorer. Not only can Campbell provide points from the point, he also gives San Jose veteran leadership and solid blue liner. Scoring 43 points in 63 games with Buffalo, Campbell will most likely be inserted on San Jose's top power-play unit as well as being San Jose's top defenseman. With plenty of goal scorers on the team, expect Campbell's production to increase as he attempts to lead San Jose to a Stanley Cup.

↑ G Mike Smith, Tampa Bay Lightning
Smith has received only a handful of starts over the past two years but has already shown that he can be a successful goaltender in this league. In his first career start in the NHL, Smith posted a shutout and went on to win five out of his next six starts. Finishing that year with a record of 12-5 with a 2.23 goals against average and three shutouts, Smith gave the Stars a chance to win without Turco in net. This year, Smith has posted 12 wins and nine losses to go along with a 2.46 goals against average. Although Dallas is a much better defensive team than Tampa Bay, Smith will be used as Tampa's starting netminder which raises his value instantly. Expect some hardships for the second year goaltender but nonetheless Smith will gain a valuable learning experience and could become an elite goaltender in a few years. For any fantasy team needing help in goal take a look at Smith who will be given his first chance as a #1 goalie.

↓ G Cristobal Huet, Washington Capitals
Willing to go into the playoffs with Carey Price as their starter, the Habs felt that Huet was expendable and shipped him to Washington on Tuesday. Going from a Stanley Cup contender to a team fighting for a playoff berth won't be an easy transition to make, but Huet seems to be up for the task. In Washington he will battle with Olaf Kolzig for starts, which will almost assuredly affect the star netminder's stats. Owners of Huet have to be upset with this deal due to the fact that Kolzig will command more starts than his previous backup, Carey Price. Expect Huet's goals against average and save percentage to dip a little, as well as his win totals. Washington is clearly not as talented as Montreal and Huet has his work cut out for him trying to lead the Caps into the playoffs.

↑ F Tuomo Ruutu, Carolina Hurricanes
Bursting onto the scene with 44 points in his rookie season, Ruutu was considered to be a savior for Chicago. With fellow young teammates such as Tyler Arnason and Kyle Calder, the three of them were to lead Chicago out of mediocrity. Unfortunately, that never played out as Arnason and Calder were shipped out, and Ruutu could never stay healthy for an entire season. Disappointing fantasy owners year in and year out, Ruutu has been given a second chance in Carolina. Scoring a point in his first game as a Hurricane, Ruutu has been blessed with incredible talent but has never achieved more than 44 points in a season. With several talented players on Carolina, Ruutu should be able to increase his scoring and may even become relevant in the fantasy world once again.

↔ F Vaclav Prospal, Philadelphia Flyers
Prospal was enjoying a bounce back year in Tampa, needing only 60 games to surpass the 55 points he put up last season. It being his contract year, Prospal is extremely motivated into duping some GM into giving him another multi-year deal in the off-season. Some might remember Prospal's first stint with Tampa Bay where he broke out to score 79 points in 80 games. Quickly signed in the off-season by Anaheim, Prospal never fit into their system and was labeled a bust after only posting 54 points in all 82 games played. Now in another contract year, Prospal has been playing great which is no surprise. He is clearly motivated by the thought of another lucrative deal and will continue his success in Philadelphia. Yes it's true that Prospal had a dream situation in Tampa Bay, but don't expect his production to tail off too drastically.

↑ F Marian Hossa, Pittsburgh Penguins
Making the biggest splash of the day, the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up Marian Hossa in exchange for Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito, Erik Christensen and a first round pick in next years draft (Pittsburgh also received forward Pascal Dupius). Clearly looking to win this year, the Penguins sacrificed a lot for Hossa as they believe he is the missing piece to their quest for the cup. Although the acquisition of Hossa has some calling Pittsburgh the favorites to win the cup, they are still less superior to those more balanced teams such as Anaheim, Detroit and New Jersey. Hossa will give Pittsburgh added scoring, and although its absurd to think he will set a higher scoring pace with the Penguins, expect Hossa to do just that. Playing with Malkin and Crosby boosts Hossa's value incredibly, as the forward should reach 85 points this year.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Jonny Remis

Ballhype: hype it up!

NHL Morning Papers (Wednesday Edition)

Here are the national morning papers:

Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:

Here are the Western Conference morning papers:

For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.

Email any thoughts, ideas or suggestions to illegalcurve@gmail.com

Ballhype: hype it up!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Illegal Curve's Inaugural Live Trade Deadline Blog

Note: I will be live blogging throughout the day. My most recent posts will appear at the top of the page.

2:40pm: Alright, we are 40 minutes past the deadline and I've been here for almost eight straight hours. Time to go home for a nap. Thanks to everyone who came by and checked out the blog; I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

2:34: The Thrashers have traded Alex Giroux to the Capitals for Joe Motzko.

Analysis: I'm not an AHL scout so I've got nothing for you on this one!

2:31pm: The Kings have dealt J.S. Aubin to the Ducks for a 7th round pick.

Analysis: If Aubin plays for the Ducks in any kind of meaningful game, they won't be playing meaningful games for long...

2:27pm: In my opinion, everyone is overrating the Pens. I just wanna know who is going to start in net for them come playoff time... Conklin? Fleury? Does that instill confidence in Penguins fans? I'd say no.

2:22pm: The Islanders have traded Marc-Andre Bergeron to the Ducks for a 3rd rounder.

Analysis: Don't see why the Ducks want him considering he can't play any defense. The Islanders did well getting a 3rd rounder here.

2:20pm: The Leafs have traded Chad Kilger to the Panthers for a 3rd rounder.

Analysis: Kilger is a third/fourth line grinder. The Panthers want some veterans on their depth lines due to some injuries and the Leafs can use picks, so it makes sense for both sides.

2:18pm: The Coyotes have dealt Fred Sjostrom, David LeNeveu and Josh Gratton to the Rangers for Al Montoya and Marcel Hossa.

Analysis: Don Maloney used to be Sather's right-hand man so he knows what he's getting with Montoya and Hossa. In my opinion, Montoya is the best player in this deal. Sjostom is good defensively but limited in his offensive ability. LeNeveu has been in the AHL for a long-time now and is not any one's long term goaltending answer and Gratton is a throw in. As for Hossa's inclusion, well, he's good on the boards but that's about it. Give the victory here to the Coyotes.

2:14pm: The Wings have acquired Brad Stuart from the Kings for a 2nd round pick and a 4th rounder.

Analysis: Well, Stuart should add depth to the Wings defense corps going into the playoffs. He skates well and makes a good first-pass but isn't going to put this team over the top. As for the Kings, it is always nice to stash picks, especially when they have some young defensive prospects to work into their line-up in the next little while.

2:10pm: The Islanders traded Chris Simon to the Wild for a 6th round pick.

Analysis: Not really sure why. That's all I have to say. As the panel points out, they have enough fighters. Simon used to be a pretty good hockey player back in the day, but he's not what he used to be and he brings with him distractions.

2:00pm: The deadline is here, but there still may be some trades. Regardless, I'm still in shock over this trade. Pierre is going nuts, and I don't blame him.

1:58pm: Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to the Penguins for Angelo Esposito, Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong and a 1st rounder.

Analysis: Unless the Pens re-sign Hossa then they overpaid by miles. Wow. Hossa will make them the favorite in the East, but that is a big time price to give up. As for Atlanta, Don Waddell may have just saved his job.

1:55pm: The Rangers have acquired Christian Backman from the Blues for a 4th round pick.

Analysis: Backman is earning $2.2 million per season this year and $3.4 million next year but his addition is a good one for the Rangers. The Rangers biggest weakness is their defense, and Backman is an improvement for them. As for the Blues, they didn't get much in return but got cap relief and that's all they wanted.

1:53pm: The Leafs have traded Hal Gil to the Penguins for a 2nd round and 5th round pick.

Analysis: The Leafs did well here. They don't need Hal Gill on their back-end and they need picks. As for the Pens, they need size and stability on the defense and want to make a run this year so it makes sense for them too.

1:47pm: 13 minutes until the deadline...But remember, lots of trades trickle through a bit after the 2pm CST cutoff.

1:45pm: Milbury throws down with some Armstrong/Modano feud information as to why Doug Armstrong was canned. Good stuff.

1:32pm: Nothing doing still. However, they did just play a clip of Cristobal Huet. He sounded genuinely shocked to be dealt and I don't blame him.

1:17pm: Lucky us! We get to listen to the Brian Campbell interview for a third time.

1:15pm: It only took just over six hours for the first Milbury/Luongo crack. Let's review the old Milbury trade for entertainment purposes. Islanders traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha....speechless? I thought so.

1:09pm: Lots of talking but no action lately. I'd guess this is the calm before the final storm.

12:58pm: Dave Hodge and the writers are talking about Columbus again and how they are throwing in the towel. Guys, IT IS THE RIGHT DECISION!

12:51pm: Again, I'm with Pierre. I don't trust Huet and I like the trade by the Habs.

12:48pm: Matt Pettinger interview time. I need a nap...

12:44pm: Bob McKenzie doesn't see Olli Jokinen or Rob Blake being moved today.

12:42pm: The second Wade Belak interview of the day! This is enjoyable.

12:36pm: Dreger is saying Vancouver has dealt Matt Cooke to Washington for Matt Pettinger.

Analysis: Matt Cooke isn't what he once was either. Pettinger is a depth winger, who isn't much better than Cooke but is younger and a BC boy. As for Washington, not really sure what they are doing here today. I don't mind the Huet pickup, but Fedorov and Cooke??? I just don't see that as an upgrade.

12:29pm: When Glenn Healy talks, does anyone listen?

12:25pm: The official move is Adam Foote from Columbus for a conditional first rounder. Also, if he re-signs after the season with the Avs, there is another pick involved.

Analysis: Foote has played a lot of minutes this year, so I worry a bit about his wearing down. If the Avs allow him to share the burden with Hannan and Co., I'd say the deal is a positive for both sides. Columbus has to be happy with grabbing a first rounder. Scott Howson knows what he's doing; any talk about them going for a playoff spot at the expense of the future is ludicrous.

12:21pm: Burkie is in a great mood. This puts me in a bad mood.

12:19pm: Here we go. Burke says he isn't a deadline guy. Who woulda though that? He is doing an interview with only 1 hour and 40 minutes until the trade deadline...

12:17pm: Brian Burke has arrived for an interview!!!! Damn, the sound isn't working. I can't wait for this. It should be epic. I'm pretty sure this interview is the only reason I watch trade deadline day.

12:15pm: Who else is for making the GM Corner the Canadian version of PTI???? Please, I know I have support from you readers. You can't tell me that wouldn't be amazing.

12:12pm: Dreger is reporting Sergei Fedorov to the Washington Capitals for prospect Theo Ruth.

Analysis: I'm sorry, but most people haven't seen Fedorov play this year. Lets just say he is not what he once was. In fact, he's not close to what he once was. Don't really know why Washington is making this move.

12:10pm: The GM Corner returns! And Milbury is saying the Leafs no-trade clauses are inhibiting Fletcher's ability to make a deal. And yes, JFJ is ACROSS THE TABLE! Wow, unintentional comedy at its finest.

12:06pm: Pierre is the first one on the set to drop arms-race. Where is Fall Out Boy???? Get the song ready...

12:03pm: The Avs have acquired Adam Foote from the Blue Jackets. What the Jackets get in return hasn't been reported. In other news, Warren Rychel, Rene Corbet and Craig Billington also waived their no-trades to return to Denver...

11:54am: McKenzie says the Avs are hot in pursuit of Foote and Foote says he'd only go to Colorado if he were to be traded. Who would be going the other way is not yet known.

11:51am: If I have to watch Michael Landsberg on that curling commercial one more time, I may break my computer in half and there is no way TSN wouldn't held responsible for that. Granted, I could always put my computer back together with Landsberg's hair gel.

11:48am: Somebody please tell James Duthie this isn't a funeral. Why is he talking in such a sad tone???? These guys are paid millions of dollars and this is a part of the business.

11:44am: Brian Campbell is doing his best Ryan Smyth impersonation.

11:38am: It is Martin Lapointe from Chicago to Ottawa for a 6th round pick.

Analysis: Well, they paid less for Lapointe than Florida did for Belak so that's a plus. Lapointe's best days are behind him, but he should help in the dressing room. His toughness should help their 4th line.

11:37am: Martin Lapointe has been traded to the Senators, but what the Blackhawks are getting in return is yet to be determined.

11:35am: Bob McKenzie is reporting that Adam Foote's contract talks with Columbus have fallen apart and that may lead to a deal.

11:33am: Why does Duthie sound sad for Mike Smith??? This guy is going from being a backup behind Marty Turco to being a starter in Tampa Bay. It's his lucky day.

11:27am: Brian Campbell seems far more shaken up now than he was when I met him in September and he asked me what brisket was. (True story)

11:20am: The Blackhawks have traded Tuomo Ruutu to Carolina for Andrew Ladd.

Analysis: Both teams are trading youngsters who haven't played up to expectations. In fact, their contracts are both $1.8 million for this season and both are RFA's at season's end. In my opinion Ruutu is the superior player, however, he couldn't reach his potential in Chicago. Same for Ladd in Carolina, although I think he is tad overrated.

11:16am: The Avalanche have traded Karlis Skrastins and a 3rd round pick to the Panthers for Ruslan Salei.

Analysis: The Panthers will plug Skrastins on their back-end to block shots, but the deal was made for the 3rd pick. Salei is getting up there in age and isn't a long-term option for a young team like Florida. As for Colorado, Salei bring veteran experience on the back-end, as the Avs have demonstrated they are serious about making a playoff run.

11:13am: Dave Hodge has to be 134 years old.

11:00am: The boys on the set are hungry, so JFJ has just bought pizza for his fellow members. What a great guy. He just over-tipped the pizza guy and gave him a no-trade clause...

10:50am: Cristobal Huet to the Capitals for a 2nd round pick in 2009.

Analysis: I know this trade seems stupid but I actually like it. Price is ready to carry the load and he's definitely no worse than Huet. The Habs were going to lose Huet anyways, so at least they get a draft pick out of the deal. Also, the team is also going to make another move today, so let's not rush to judgment.

10:43am: The Richards trade is a big one. Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist for Michael Smith, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern.

Analysis: Jokinen is a nice winger and Smith is a solid netminder who flies under the radar, but this trade doesn't make the Bolts better unless they use this extra money to sign a defenseman in the off-season.

10:42am: Brad Richards has waived his no-movement clause but the word on what the Bolts are getting back is not yet out.

Analysis: I'm a big Richards fan and I really think this move has Brett Hull's hands all over it. He realizes Richards' potential and ability; the extra offense should put Dallas over the top.

10:39am: Apparently Brad Richards has been traded to Dallas pending his approval.

10:35am: The details are out. Campbell for Steve Bernier and a 1st rounder.

Analysis: Well, I am not the biggest Steve Bernier fan. He's a big guy but he isn't the most consistent player. At least the Sabres are getting some value for Campbell though. Plus, while the first round pick will be at the end of the 1st round, it is a deep draft and those picks are always worth something.

10:33am: Even though they have yet to mention his name, you have to wonder if the deal includes Matt Carle. He was rumored to be going other way in the Redden rumors and Redden and Campbell are both pending UFA's.

10:25am: Our first real trade and it is Brian Campbell to the Sharks.

Analysis: I'll hold out until I see what they gave up, but he is EXACTLY what they need on their back-end.

10:23am: TSN has upstaged its Cam Janssen interview with a Wade Belak interview! Well done. I'm confused though. JFJ hasn't given Wade a no-trade? But he has a pulse...

10:21am: Kenny Holland is always a good interview, but c'mon, he ain't giving you anything right now. Is there a more useless interview than the GM pre-deadline interview??? Do people expect Holland to say, "You know we just offered Hudler and picks for Hossa"?

10:17am: The crew is now analyzing this trade. Somebody please bottle me. This is agonizing.

10:15am: Another trade has been made. The Leafs have dealt Wade Belak to Florida for a 5th round pick.

Analysis: Any pick for Belak is a plus.

10:10am: Mike Milbury just questioned the contract given to Patrick Marleau, specifically because of his inability to compete. Ummm, Mike Milbury....ummm, didn't you sign Alexei Yashin to a 10 year contract?????

10:07am: Pierre and JFJ are disagreeing on the value of Pavel Kubina. I'm with Pierre on this one--and it's not close.

10:04am: People need to stop ragging on Brad Richards. The guy is better than he is getting credit for. Has anyone seen his linemates this season? He logs big minutes in all situations and has proven to be clutch in the past.

9:59am: JFJ says he thinks Brian Burke would have given up the Oilers' first round pick for Mats Sundin. That is interesting; I like it when former GMs give you some insight like that.

9:50am: You know the cast is in trouble when Mike Milbury has been the voice of reason all morning.

9:44am: The cast has Cam Janssen on the line! Tremendous. This is definitely the first time he has EVER been interviewed. So far this beats the Marty Biron interview from last year.

9:41am: Duthie is caught off-guard as Gord throws it back to him while he's clearly on Facebook...

9:39am: Gord Miller is intrigued by Detroit. Bob McKenzie is also intrigued by the Wings...that he just had as an after breakfast snack.

9:33am: We have a trade! The Devils have acquired Bryce Salvador from the Blues for Cam Janssen.

Analysis: A nice move by the Devils to shore up their defensive corps. Salvador is a UFA but Janssen isn't much to give up. It was clear after the Blues extended Jackman that Salvador was on his way out.

9:30am: Matthew Barnaby just called Duncan Keith a stallworth???? A Donte Stallworth? Matthew I think you mean stalwart.

9:28am: I've now taken to listening to the new Jack Johnson CD in the background. It makes listening to Dave Hodge that much more soothing.

9:26am: Michael Farber tells us Patrick Marleau has another gear... Thank you Michael. You mean his 29 points isn't to the best of his abilities?

9:22am: Why do people keep bringing up the Ducks' poor goal differential? Have people not realized that Selanne and Niedermayer weren't there for a majority of the season? Am I missing something? This team is far and away the best in the NHL right now.

9:17am: John Lu tells us that Hossa's equipment is in his Atlanta stall right now. That is pretty intense. Is John gonna tell us that Hossa uses Dove soap too? Gotta love the pre-trade reports when no one has any news or anything to say.

9:14am: The last 20 minutes of boredom has allowed me to check my spelling of Buhler below and imdb tells me it's Bueller. My bad.

8:55am: Can anyone tell me why TSN isn't broadcasting this in HD? Buhler?

8:40am: I'd say the MVP of the telecast so far has been Darren Pang. Panger is being honest with his analysis of many of the players being bandied about today.

8:35am: There we have it, Bobby Holik admitting to Matthew Barnaby in the past that if he's your number one center you don't have a chance to make the playoffs. Funny, because I don't remember him saying that when the Rangers gave him 5 yr /$45 million.

8:27am: Cory Woron tells us the Leafs are going to workout on the beach today and that the TSN crew will have video of that. Folks, I DID NOT MAKE THAT UP. Seriously.

8:21am: Gord Miller just asked Bob what Foote's contract situation was with Colorado. Thanks Gord, goin retro with the analysis. I wonder how many minutes Ray Bourque will log tonight...

8:12am: Our first real filler has debuted. The panel is now listing their top five Stanley Cup contenders. Does anyone care??? For goodness sake, it is February.

8:06am: We have just sat through almost fifteen minutes of nothing. Finally, Dreger tells us that no one from the Bolts has told Richards, "Here's the deal we want you to consider." But Dreger does expect that to happen soon. McKenzie tells us that Rob Blake (the actor) has not yet waived his no trade clause. In other news, McKenzie has waived his no bacon clause and is expecting the breakfast B.E.L.T in a matter of moments.

7:52am: John Lu tells us that the zamboni was on the ice at Habs practice. Thanks Jon!!! Terrific insight from the TSN reporters who are on location.

7:50am: In what is becoming terrific unintentional comedy, Duthie continues to whisper into his mic during interviews.

7:46am: Gord Miller's first appearance on the show is upstaged by Darren Dreger's first appearance. Apparently the Stars are the favorite for Richards with an offer of Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen and others. Bob McKenzie tells us that Adam Foote wants to remain in Columbus and the deal is getting close. Big Mac does mention that if the talks fall through, he may come into play.

7:35am: Duthie just said that both the Richards and Hossa deals are close to getting done. He lists the Sens and Habs as top candidates for Hossa. Late last night the rumor was that the Sens were including Antoine Vermette in their package and the Habs possibly including Chris Higgins. It will be interesting to see what the Thrashers are looking for.

7:32am: K, it has already reached the point of awkward with JFJ talking about the Leafs and it isn't even 8am CST.

7:28am: Pierre just said the Leafs may not make the playoffs...

7:23am: Shocker of the day--the first Mats Sundin interview!!! This was an unexpected beginning to the telecast. Over/under how many times we see this video today is at 4.5.

7:20am: I finally got TSN broadband to start working. Just to let readers know, we will be relying on TSN throughout the day for the most recent news and unintentional comedy. If you haven't heard, Pierre Maguire has apparently just traded a few dollar bills for an eight ball... I mean, how else could he have this much energy at 8am?????????

7:16am: There were some overnight rumors that Brad Richards had been traded to Dallas and Marian Hossa to Montreal; however, these have yet to be confirmed by the major broadcast networks and it doesn't look like they have been completed just yet.

7:13am: Mike Comrie has agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Islanders, and appears to be staying put on Long Island.

Analysis: Comrie seems to like playing for NYI and the team appears to be happy to have him. This decision made sense for both sides.

Ballhype: hype it up!