Say what you will about Mark Madden, but when it comes to the Penguins he does get it right from time to time...
Trade deadline day blues
Wednesday 03-04-2009 5:24pm ET
I HATE NHL trade deadline day. Not the event...but the timing.
My show starts at 3 pm...the deadline arrives at 3 pm...the day's most dramatic dealings usually occur just before the deadline, like last year's Marian Hossa trade...ergo, my show on NHL trade deadline day is largely ad-libbed. But still great. Thank God for the Google on the Internet machine.
Craig Adams is a bum. Andy Wozniewski is a bum, with the difficulty of spelling his name making his marginal talent seem all the more despicable. Adams is a decent fourth-liner at best. Maybe Wozniewski can bring back "Woytowich's Polish Army," but in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, because he's system depth, nothing more.
So I sit here...at 1:59 pm...and wait.
Columbus traded goalie Pascal Leclaire to Ottawa for versatile forward Antoine Vermette. I got a dozen e-mails saying, "WE SHOULDA GOT VERMETTE!" Yeah, we should have. It's just a shame we didn't have an extra No. 1 goalie sitting around.
I don't believe for a second that the Penguins seriously considered trading for Ryan Malone. If they couldn't afford him last year, they can't afford him now. The money earmarked for Hossa was instead spent on Orpik and anyway, seven years is too long for a player of Malone's limited accomplishments.
I do believe that Tampa Bay GM Brian Lawton called Ray Shero, his Pittsburgh counterpart. "Ray, Brian Lawton in Tampa. Look, we paid Malone way too much for way too long. We ****ed up. Any chance you'd want him back? Hello? Ray? Hello?" Then comes the headline: PENS DISCUSS MALONE RETURN WITH LIGHTNING.
Boston got Mark Recchi from Tampa Bay. I like Recchi, but I hate it when veterans on crap teams continually get soft places to land with contenders, as if the fact that their previous team is rotten was absolutely none of their doing. Recchi has made a second career out of doing that.
It's 2:14 pm, and speaking of which:
PENS GET GUERIN FROM THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS! The Penguins got veteran goal-scorer Bill Guerin, 38, for a conditional draft pick.
If the Penguins miss the playoffs, the Islanders get a fifth-round pick. If the Pens make the playoffs, the Isles get a fourth-round pick. If the Pens win a round or more, the Isles get a third-round pick. GREAT DEAL! That's a reasonable price, even if Guerin will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
Guerin won the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 1995. He has 403 goals in 1,168 NHL games, including 16 goals with the Islanders this season.
Are Guerin's best days as a finisher behind him? We'll soon find out, because he'll skate on a line with Sidney Crosby and give the Pens another much-needed right-handed shot on the power play. I don't think Guerin will play the Kris Letang spot on the left half-board. I bet Guerin sits in front of the net, and to great effect.
Guerin is gritty, and he'll provide Crosby with a veteran counterpart in terms of dressing-room leadership. Add in that the Penguins swiped Guerin out from under the nose of hated Washington, and Shero couldn't have done better.
Finally, Crosby can just go play. He doesn't have to elevate anybody. He doesn't have to create a star. Chris Kunitz on one side, Guerin on the other. Two tough competitors, each with solid skills and a nose for the net. I like it.
UPDATE: The New York Rangers have acquired defenseman Derek Morris from Phoenix for Nigel Dawes, Dmitri Kalinin and Petr Prucha. I see Morris as Wade Redden Lite, and I don't mean that as a compliment. The Rangers also got Nik Antropov from Toronto for two draft picks. Rangers GM Glen Sather seems committed to getting as many underachieving head-cases as possible.
Philadelphia added another hack in ex-Pen Daniel Carcillo. You can never be too tough, or too stupid.
Erik Christensen to Anaheim. Dominic Moore to Buffalo. When all the trades are announced, every ex-Penguin in the NHL will have switched teams. I never thought I'd see the day Dominic Moore would fetch a second-round pick as a rental player.
UPDATE: Yet another ex-Penguin moves: Noah Welch to Tampa Bay. Harvard man Welch famously donated his brain to science, but that never stopped anybody from playing for the Lightning.
UPDATE: Carolina re-acquired Erik Cole. Will Brooks Orpik re-break Cole's neck? We'll see when the Penguins visit Carolina April 4. Orpik fractured Cole's C5 vertebra on March 4, 2006 with a hit from behind that was clumsy and unfortunate but not malicious, Cole didn't see it that way and has tried to even the score ever since. It's a shame Cole can't carry the puck as well as he carries a grudge