Deadline Day a Big Letdown

Well, 3 p.m. ET came and went and there were no blockbusters consummated—at least not today. With all of the big deals made in the two weeks prior to the deadline, there wasn’t much left for NHL GMs to do on deadline day. So today became an anti-climax for fans: a lot of media buildup with almost no payoff.

There were a lot fewer trades today (16) than a year ago (31), but it wasn’t the quantity but the quality that was lacking. Many of the biggest names such as Mike Richards or Tomas Vokoun stayed put. All the other big trades, from Tomas Kaberle, Brad Boyes, Kris Versteeg and Erik Johnson, were completed anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks before deadline day.

The biggest deal of the day involved the Kings acquiring Dustin Penner from the Oilers for a first round pick in 2011, former first round selection Colten Teubert and a conditional third round pick in 2010. This is a transaction that probably will help both teams depending on what Edmonton does with the picks and how Teubert develops.

While which teams came out ahead won’t be known fully for several years, the real losers were the TV and radio commentators who had to try to fill hours and hours of air time with news that could be read in less than three minutes.

TSN’s broadcast, which was also shown in the US on NHL Network, went on the air at 8 a.m. ET, which gave the crew more than seven hours to discuss multiple trades that of never actually happened. They did their best to fill time with segments like guessing who would be on the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team and looking at great moments from past trade deadlines, starting with the Islanders acquisition of Butch Goring which led to their first of four consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1980.

In the end, though, all the suspense and drama ended not with a bang but with a whimper—or with several whimpers. No offense to the players that were traded, but names like Chris Campoli, Rostislav Klesla, Scottie Upshall, Niclas Bergfors, Dennis Wideman and Brad Winchester, are not considered major difference makers. Who knows, come May or June, one or more of them may help a team win a playoff game or a playoff round, but for now, they are hardly what kept fans and commentators glued to their TV sets for hours.

So the trade deadline came and went and many of the biggest rumored deals never came off. But hey, not every year can be full of last minute blockbusters with lottery picks and franchise players changing hands.

Fans have to remember that Stanley Cup championships are never awarded on February 28th. And while some team may have found the final piece of the puzzle today, we won’t know that until the middle of June either. And for fans of deadline day: who knows, next year may be more exciting. It almost has to be…

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One Response to “Deadline Day a Big Letdown”

  1. Eric Schulhaus
    March 1, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    There are the occasional years where there are some memorable blockbusters that go down, but for the most part, trade deadline days always leave people feeling disappointed. The media contributes to this, since they don’t portray it as “NHL Trade Deadline Day”. They portray it as “NHL TRADE DEADLINE DAY!!!!” where all post offices, banks and schools should close down, and families all across the U.S. and Canada should stay inside, gather around the TV, and keep their eyes glued on TSN or NHL Network.