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Tuesday, February 26, 2008
2008 NHL trade deadline: News and analysis

ESPN.com

We hope you're as pumped as we are for today's trade deadline, an unofficial holiday in Canada.

Starting now through the 3 p.m. ET deadline, ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside and NHL editor Joy Russo will bring you the news and analysis right here. Keep clicking, refreshing and scrolling for all of the day's intrigue!


Russo (3:11 p.m. ET): Thank you, sir. I'd like to give early thanks to the Academy and commissioner Gary Bettman. See you in '09. Don't forget, puckheads: We'll have analysis on all of today's deals, and non-deals, from Scotty (there I go again!), E.J. Hradek, Barry Melrose and John Buccigross. Enjoy!

Burnside (3:10 p.m. ET): Well, Joy, you may not have won your Oscar pool, but I think you owned the trade deadline blog. I'm putting in a good word with the Academy for you. Let's do it again next year.

Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby will have some new linemates when he returns from a high ankle sprain next month.

Burnside (3:07 p.m. ET): All I know is, I don't let Hossa get any more than about 3 feet away from Crosby.

Russo (3:07 p.m. ET): What are your lines in Pittsburgh then with the new players in town?

Burnside (3:05 p.m. ET): That's a very valid point. Armstrong and Crosby were best buddies. But if there's a player that's focused on doing only one thing and that's winning, that's Crosby. Don't think it's an issue.

Russo (2:58 p.m. ET): As you saw first hand, Sidney Crosby worked well with Armstrong, on and off the ice. Does this hurt the team's chemistry?

Burnside (3 p.m. ET): Now we're going to find out if Hossa is the playoff dog many (all you Ottawa fans sit down) believe he is, or if he's just been in the wrong situation.

Burnside (3 p.m. ET): The deadline is here! Unbelievable. Nice deal from both sides. Esposito will be good, maybe very good. Christensen is underrated and has some skill and Colby Armstrong is tough as nails. And Hossa? Has he just sent the Penguins to the top of the Eastern Conference depth charts? I think so.

The gamble, of course, is whether Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero can sign Hossa long-term. If the team goes to a conference finals, that might not be too difficult.

TRADE REPORT: TSN of Canada reports Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis have been traded to the Penguins for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen and Angelo Esposito and a pick.

Russo (2:58 p.m. ET): Yes, you did. You're a good man, Charlie Brown.

Burnside (2:57 p.m. ET): Oh yes. Didn't I give you good directions to the Upfront Bar and Grill? Just that not all Canadians drink the Maple Leaf Kool-Aid.

Russo (2:57 p.m. ET): Are you sure you're Canadian?

Burnside (2:56 p.m.. ET): Oh no, the Leafs are going to win just enough to drive Leafs fans crazy in the last week, but finish out of the playoffs and out of the draft lottery. It'll be beautiful.

Russo (2:54 p.m. ET): And the Leafs and Lightning will be fighting for last place in the conference. Sell! Sell! Sell!

Burnside (2:52 p.m. ET): Oh, yes. I don't think there's any question. And all you have to do is look back to a year ago, when teams like Ottawa and Anaheim were criticized in the wake of the deadline for not doing enough. It's about assessing your own team and saying, "Can we win with this group?" Ducks GM Brian Burke thought his group could a year ago and he thinks so now. I'm not sure he's wrong.

By the time the dust clears in the East, a team like the Rangers will be playing like we thought they would all year, or the Sens will have righted the ship (Emery or no Emery), or the Canes will be on a roll with Cam Ward and they'll give whoever comes out of the West all they can handle.

Russo (2:50 p.m. ET): 10 minutes. So, that brings me to an earlier point. Can any Eastern team have a chance against the West in the Cup finals, especially after today's deals?

Burnside (2:47 p.m. ET): Well, I think Ottawa's issues are more in the dressing room. It's going to take Cory Stillman time to get acclimated, but he'll be fine up front. Would GM Bryan Murray like to add Hossa or more scoring depth? Yes. But not at any price, and Murray has to be careful he doesn't tinker too much with a team that is still one of the top two teams in a weak conference.

Russo (2:45 p.m. ET): So, where does that leave, say, Ottawa, which was apparently in the hunt for Hossa?

Burnside (2:44 p.m. ET): Hossa's not really a fit in Calgary. Minnesota's got issues moving forward with contracts and couldn't really fit Hossa in. Vancouver needs offense, but GM Dave Nonis doesn't seem to have the means to make a deal. Maybe Hossa stays put and Waddell hopes against hope he can trade Hossa's rights before July 1. Big risk, and not nearly as much in return.

Russo (2:42 p.m. ET): Interesting considering Boston is, right now, in the seventh spot in the East. Washington is five points out of eighth and sits 11th.

Burnside (2:40 p.m. ET): Well, you wonder that with no deal announced, if Waddell is trying to land a fish on a different line. Not Anaheim, but maybe Boston or someone else.

Russo (2:35 p.m. ET): You mentioned earlier that signs point to Hossa heading to Montreal. Do you think any other team has a realistic shot at this point?

Burnside (2:35 p.m. ET): Well, Jokinen staying put when it seems he and Jacques Martin don't get along and the team isn't going to make the playoffs. And Rob Blake staying put in Los Angeles. Watch for him to re-up with the Kings in the offseason.

Russo (2:35 p.m.. ET): Assuming the Hossa deal happens ... the most surprising deal that did NOT get done?

Burnside (2:34 p.m. ET): I think Huet to Washington. Unless Gainey comes up with a veteran backup, I think he's taken a huge gamble.

Russo (2:32 p.m.. ET): Counting down to the last minutes here, so ... what's your most surprising deal of the day so far?

Russo (2:30 p.m. ET): 30 minutes left!

Burnside (2:29 p.m. ET): Yes, in hindsight, the whole firing of John Ferguson just seems so pointless. Kind of like the Leafs' season.

Russo (2:26 p.m. ET): Geez. The next Maple Leafs GM (who takes over after Fletcher's interim time is up) will have his hands full.

Burnside (2:25 p.m. ET): Well, none of them appeared to want to go anywhere near a playoff contender, so Fletcher pretty much had his hands tied as far as those guys went (Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe and Sundin).

Russo (2:20 p.m. .ET): But what about the other Leafs with no-trade/movement clauses? Are they equally a problem?

Burnside (2:17 p.m. ET): Well, when Sundin, (genuflect when you say that, especially if you're in Toronto) refused to waive his no-trade clause, the die was cast. But not to move Jason Blake, Nik Antropov, etc., on top of that is simply another indication of just how miserable things are in Toronto. But at least Mats (genuflect) is still there.

Mats Sudin
Leafs captain Mats Sundin decided not to waive his no-trade clause.

Russo (2:16 p.m. .ET): Well, the day's not over yet. But I can't imagine the Toronto media isn't going to take this lightly if that's the only done deal come Tuesday night.

And I don't have any hankies for you.

Burnside (2:15 p.m. ET): And nice job by Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher, eh? Wade Belak to Florida for a fifth-round pick.

And what's up with Don Waddell? Hasn't he looked at the standings?

Russo (2:14 p.m. ET): OK, we're in the last hour! Names still out there: Rob Blake, Marian Hossa, Olli Jokinen, Dwyane Roloson, Bobby Holik.

Burnside (2:12 p.m.. ET): Yes, but I think he'd be the first to tell you he's learning as he goes from Jackson, who is a terrific judge of talent. Interesting part of that Richards deal is it didn't cost the Stars their own young players or top draft picks. Smart move on their part.

Russo (2:10 p.m. ET): It's interesting too, given how skeptical everyone was when he was named to the post.

Burnside (2:08 p.m.. ET): Yes, probably just as well, although Stompin' Tom Connor will be disappointed.

We were in a pizza place in Naples, Fla., watching a game with a bunch of the GMs, commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and some guy at the bar looks up and says something to the effect of, "Holy cow, it's Brett Hull." He was exceedingly gracious. He and Les Jackson, the other interim co-GM in Dallas, have done a nice job.

Russo (2:05 p.m. ET): My favorite is still "The Hockey Song." I'll spare our public the lyrics to that one today.

Burnside (2:05 p.m. ET): You are the best. Hockey fans everywhere thank you.

A tribute to the Hip.

Russo (2:03 p.m.ET): I know. That's terrible of me. I've been in a Radiohead daze of late. Just for that, here's a little tribute to the Hip:

If there's a goal that everyone remembers it was back in ol' '72
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember was sitting beside you
You said you didn't give a &#!@*! about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

Burnside (2:02 p.m. ET): OK, something by the Tragically Hip. Maybe the Bobby Orr song, "Fireworks." The one you never downloaded, not even to humor me.

Russo (2 p.m. ET): "Lady of Spain"?!?! Anything from this century?!

Burnside (1:59 p.m. ET): I'd just as soon hear "Lady of Spain."

Russo (1:59 p.m. ET): I can hear it now ... "Hail to the Capitals!"

Burnside (1:58 p.m. ET): Hmm. Good question. As long as they don't see too many Hogs on ice ... maybe.

Russo (1:57 p.m. ET): Do you think we'll see more Hogs in the arena? You know it is a Redskins town. I know how much you love the NFL.

Burnside (1:55 p.m. ET): Well, it was encouraging to hear George talking in Naples last week about the crowds coming back to the Caps' games. A playoff berth would be pretty significant for that market.

Russo (1:53 p.m. ET): Yes, yes, it's all about you, I know. You and Marriott Points! Hey, good tailgate in Raleigh!

Burnside (1:52 p.m. ET): Hey, didn't someone pick the Caps as ESPN.com's "A Team Can Dream"? Yes, someone did. Caps win the Southeast and the Canes sneak in as the eighth seed.

Russo (1:50 p.m. ET): Well, that post screams for a prediction. Pick, Burnside: Who wins the Southeast?

Burnside (1:50 p.m. ET): And the Caps add agitator Matt Cooke. Interesting to watch the Caps in the next couple of weeks, whether they can eat into the Hurricanes' division lead or even sneak in the back door into the eighth spot in the East.

Russo (1:49 p.m. ET): OK, Fedorov is official now. He's a Capital.

Russo (1:47 p.m. ET): Well, I don't know if you can really argue on playoff hockey. Yes, we're biased, but I always laughed when ESPN used to have an East Coast NHL playoff game at 7 p.m. ET before a 10 p.m. ET regular-season baseball game. It was a really lonely feeling at 10:05 p.m.

Burnside (1:46 p.m. ET): It would be great theater. That's why I always say there's no show in pro sports like the NHL playoffs, and trade deadline day really whets the appetite.

Russo (1:41 p.m.. ET): Goalie fight at center ice, anyone?!

Avs-Wings ... going retro.

Burnside (1:39 p.m. ET): Well, the Avs could well be the all-broken-down team by the time this plays out. Funny thing is, if the team can sneak their way into the playoffs, it would set up a terrific showdown with Detroit. How retro would that be?

Russo (1:37 p.m. ET): Well, Foote is officially back with the Avs. The team release has been sent out. I just don't know how this open door back to Denver isn't going to come back to haunt them. Especially after such a big offseason.

Burnside (1:31 p.m. ET): Maybe it's the Johan Hedberg factor. Or maybe Gainey is balking at giving up a position player like a Higgins.

Russo (1:30 p.m. ET): What do you think the holdup is with Hossa at this point?

Burnside (1:30 p.m. ET): Hossa will go for sure. And if you're GM/coach Jacques Martin in Florida, I think you've got to figure out if you can get enough young parts to make moving Jokinen worthwhile. At some point, maybe it's just time.

Russo (1:26 p.m. ET): So, recapping ... Brad Richards to Dallas, Brian Campbell to Sharks ... and Marian Hossa and Olli Jokinen still out there.

Burnside (1:22 p.m. ET): Well, I think this is more about what GM Scott Howson is going to do in the offseason come free-agent time. The Blue Jackets are going to have loads of cash to spend. That's why they were so interested in Brad Richards. They're looking at shedding the old and getting on with the new. You're seeing the same in Chicago with Ruutu and Lapointe going. I expect you'll see Michael Peca departing Columbus. Yanic Perreault will likely be dealt from Chicago. Both teams will be expected to be playoff teams next season.

Russo (1:21 p.m. ET): Brian Burke just told TSN he's not going after Marian Hossa.

Russo (1:20 p.m.. ET): I know there are money issues, but what happens now to Columbus and Ken Hitchcock?

Burnside (1:18 p.m. ET): No question, this isn't Sergei Fedorov circa 1995 or 1996. But he can still skate, and for a team that has relied almost exclusively on Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Green for offense, the addition of Fedorov can't hurt. And Fedorov, if he wants another contract this summer, will be playing for the rest of the league's GMs.

Russo (1:15 p.m. ET): But am I living in the past thinking Fedorov has something left to give? So much for the reunion in Detroit.

Burnside (1:14 p.m. ET) Very interesting. The Caps aren't sitting by idly. They still have a long road to travel to make the playoffs, but good for McPhee for taking a run at getting to the postseason.

Russo (1:13 p.m. ET): Wow. Fedorov and Ovechkin together.

TRADE REPORT: TSN of Canada is reporting Sergei Fedorov could be going to the Capitals.

Burnside (1:09 p.m.. ET): I understand keeping Jagr makes sense, especially if you believe you can re-sign him for a reasonable amount in the offseason, which I think will be the case. The team and Jagr have played better of late, and I think that's probably the safest course of action for a team I still think has a legitimate shot at winning the East. Who do I give up? How about Al Montoya and a package of draft picks?

Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr ... not moving.

Russo (1:07 p.m. ET): So, who do you think the Rangers give up for him? On a separate note, there was a report last week from the New York Daily News that the Blueshirts wouldn't deal Jaromir Jagr. You agree with that stance?

Burnside (1:06 p.m. ET): The Avs have already picked up Ruslan Salei, and if they add Foote, you have to imagine John-Michael Liles will be on the move. Liles is going to be a UFA in July and I think the Rangers will take a good, long look at him.

Russo (1:05 p.m. ET): What is this, a reunion? Maybe Rob Blake will come! At least we know Patrick Roy isn't coming out of retirement to go to Denver. Right?

TRADE REPORT: TSN of Canada reports Columbus has traded Adam Foote to Colorado.

Burnside (1:04 p.m. ET): I know -- that would be a titanic clash. And you can bet if the Sharks can't get by the first round after spitting the bit the past two years against Edmonton and Detroit in the second round, there will be big changes in Silicon Valley.

Russo (12:57 p.m. ET): What about first-rounders in the West? If the playoffs started today: Sharks-Ducks in the opener. That doesn't seem fair.

Burnside (12:56 p.m. ET): Ah, now you're talking. There will once again be great interest in Sidney Crosby and ramped up expectation for his Penguins. And the Habs? Is Carey Price the new Patrick Roy? Ken Dryden? Talk about a dynamite matchup.

Russo (12:54 p.m. ET): OK, if you don't tell me your dream trade, I think I know your dream first-round matchup in the East. Pens-Habs?

Burnside (12:53 p.m. ET): Hmm. I must be one of those people who don't dream.

Russo (12:50 p.m. ET): C'mon! I said DREAM trade. Like, Ovechkin to Toronto for Mats Sundin. Yes, yes. I know there's a cap and no-trade clauses, but don't you have a dream Scott?

Burnside (12:46 p.m. ET): Dream deal? If I'm Waddell, I take Chris Higgins, who is going to be a fine two-way player who could score 30 goals. I'd ask for Sergei Kostitsyn and a first-round draft pick for Hossa and Hedberg.

Ryan Smyth
Ryan Smyth, circa the 2007 trade deadline.

Russo (12:43 p.m. ET): OK, but what would be your dream deal today? Put all reason and reality aside?

Campbell is reacting to the trade … on camera. No Ryan Smyth tears here.

A golden quote from Campbell: "I allowed them to call me Soupy." Take that Belak!

Burnside (12:41 p.m. ET): Hossa looms large. I think Johan Hedberg, the Thrashers' backup netminder, is the other part of that deal and he goes in as Price's backup.

Burnside (12:39 p.m. ET): Love Martin Lapointe. He can't skate like he used to and he is of little help offensively, but he is the kind of guy who will command immediate respect in the dressing room. He is a glue guy. Might play six to 10 minutes a night, but against a team like Anaheim or a more physical Philadelphia team, Lapointe's presence will be valuable.

Russo (12:38 p.m. ET): Does this reported Martin Lapointe deal help? I was expecting to hear Hossa out of that camp.

Burnside (12:37 p.m. ET) Yes, although the track is starting to buckle a bit with the play of Ray Emery in the Sens' nets. Emery got yanked in last night's 5-0 loss to (gulp) Toronto. The Sens aren't looking nearly like the Cup contenders they were early this season.

Russo (12:34 p.m. ET): Well, one team in Ontario is on track to make the playoffs, and it's not Toronto.

Burnside (12:33 p.m. ET): I just got flayed on Canadian television/radio by former Tampa coach Steve Ludzik for suggesting Sundin should have been stripped of the captaincy if he didn't agree to waive his no-trade clause.

Russo (12:32 p.m. ET): Man, no sympathy from you this week. First, Mats Sundin, now the world!

Burnside (12:31 p.m. ET) Boohoo.

Seriously, I'm always curious when people complain about attention in hockey markets. Joe Corvo said the same thing when he got dealt to Carolina from Ottawa. I know it's a hassle to answer the same questions about contracts and trades every day, but get over yourself.

Russo (12:30 p.m. ET): Campbell on TSN of Canada saying he's looking forward to getting back to playing hockey because it's been a circus in Buffalo. People stopping him on the streets, asking him where he's going, etc.

Burnside (12:29 p.m. ET): Ruutu has never reached his potential and has battled injury throughout his career, but he'll have a chance to get some power-play time and make a difference for a Carolina team that has been surprising in the face of injuries to Rod Brind'Amour and Justin Williams and the trade of Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore to Ottawa.

Burnside (12:28 p.m. ET): So, Tuomo Ruutu to Carolina for Andrew Ladd. Interesting move, because the Canes have already rehabilitated one underachieving forward in Sergei Samsonov. Can they do it with Ruutu, a former ninth overall pick (2001)?

TRADE ALERT: The Blackhawks have acquired forward Andrew Ladd from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Tuomo Ruutu.

Burnside (12:27 p.m. ET): A beaten puppy who's still going to make $7.8 million a year for the next three years. And he might even win another Cup this spring.

Russo (12:20 p.m. ET): Richards is on TSN of Canada right now talking about the deal. He sounds like a beaten puppy.

"For whatever reason, things haven't worked out here the last couple of years ... I think I need to get refreshed with a new beginning. I am happy it's done with now and I can move on."

TRADE REPORT: Brad Richards is traded to the Dallas Stars.

Burnside (12:14 p.m. ET): If the Habs end the day with Price and Jaroslav Halak as their goaltending tandem, this might be the biggest story of the day. OK, one of the biggest.

Burnside (12:12 p.m. ET) As for Hossa, yes, funny he's still hanging around out there. But it's just a matter of time. The question now is whether the Habs are looking to bring back some veteran goaltending to help Carey Price.

Russo (12:11 p.m. ET): The Anchor Bar is too trendy for me.

Burnside (12:10 p.m. ET): If he doesn't stop at The Anchor Bar before.

Russo (12:08 p.m. ET): Interesting that we thought a Hossa trade would open the flood gates, but he's still floating out there.

I'd also like to take this moment to tell Steve Bernier that he should make a beeline for Duff's as soon as he arrives in Buffalo. (Yes, I make a shameless plug for wings any chance I get! it's my goal to mention it in every blog we do together.)

Burnside (12:07 p.m. ET): Oh, for sure. Now all five teams go on a tear to further muddle the muddiest of divisions.

Russo (12:02 p.m. ET): And let's face it, we need something, maybe a 10-game winning streak, by at least ONE team in the Southeast Division!

Burnside (12:01 p.m. ET): Well, that's the interesting thing to watch. Does McPhee try and move Kolzig out West, maybe to San Jose to back up Evgeni Nabokov? Or does he try and move Brent Johnson, the backup who has actually played pretty well in recent weeks. No doubt Huet will be the No. 1 guy and I assume coach Bruce Boudreau will run with Huet as long as he's giving them at least decent goaltending. This is a move that should energize that Caps' locker room.

Russo (noon ET): Now, is Olaf Kolzig out?

Burnside (noon ET): As for the Caps, funny how Washington GM George McPhee insisted during a recent visit that he wasn't interested in upgrading his goaltending. Guess he changed his mind. Wonder if he can push the Caps into the playoffs.

Russo (11:58 a.m. ET): Patrick Roy, bat phone.

Burnside (11:58 a.m. ET): Well, I gather that GM Bob Gainey and coach Guy Carbonneau were lacking confidence in Huet. I think it's a huge risk turning the reins over to Carey Price, who has been terrific at every stage of his career, but has no NHL playoff experience. This is a Habs team that has legitimate Eastern Conference championship hopes. That's a lot to ask a kid like Price. Ken Dryden, anyone?

Russo (11:55 a.m. ET): Why would Montreal do this? Wasn't Huet part of its goaltending picture?

Burnside (11:54 a.m. ET): Wow! Cristobal Huet potentially off to Washington for a second-round pick.

Russo (11:45 a.m. ET): OK, so we have two big players going to the Western Conference. I don't think the East is going to have a chance in the Cup finals now. At least, whatever little chance it had seems gone.

Burnside (11:44 a.m. ET): Can't say enough about Richards. Yes, he makes a lot of money (three more years at $7.8 million per), but he's a Conn Smythe Trophy winner and a top two-way player, and those traits cannot be overstated come playoff time.

Burnside (11:43 a.m. ET): Dallas becomes a whole bunch stronger if Richards will agree to this deal. Can confirm, independently, the Sharks did indeed send Bernier and a first-round pick for Campbell.

Burnside (11:43 a.m. ET) Trying to get word on whether Brad Richards will agree to a deal that would send him to Dallas. As we reported last night. I like to say that.

Russo (11:41 a.m. ET): Now, the flood gates are opening. Looks like a Richards deal is close, as well.

Burnside (11:39 a.m. ET): This deal is about optics in Buffalo as they reverse the trend of bleeding out core talent without getting anything in return. Bernier is a solid player -- 6-foot, 225 pounds -- who was part of a deep offensive contingent in San Jose. He'll get more of a chance in Buffalo. San Jose is the big winner in this one provided they can bring Campbell under contract. Look for Dan Boyle-like numbers. Short term, the Sharks are now better equipped to deal with teams like Anaheim or Detroit or Dallas, which are ahead of them in the pecking order in the Western Conference.

Plus, the Sharks have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the conference this season and Campbell gives them a huge upgrade along their blue line.

TRADE REPORT: TSN of Canada is reporting Campbell has been traded to San Jose for Steve Bernier and a first-round pick.

Brian Campbell
Brian Campbell was one of the top defensemen on the trade market.

Burnside (11:34 a.m. ET): If it's Marleau or Steve Bernier, players who can help now, that would be something. And if Matt Carle is in there, a top defensive prospect, then this is a deal you can sell in Buffalo, where the fans are savvy hockey fans.

This will also set up the push for Rob Blake as he's the top defenseman still on the market. If he'll waive his no-trade deal.

Russo (11:33 a.m. ET): It would be interesting if Patrick Marleau was part of the deal. Wouldn't that ease their pain?

Burnside (11:31 a.m. ET): Well, this is the tough one for GM Darcy Regier and Buffalo fans. You let a bunch of guys go for nothing -- Briere, Drury, McKee, Grier, Dumont -- and they can't afford to let that happen again, even if it costs them a playoff berth this season.

Will fans understand? They'll wonder why they didn't lock up Campbell early in the season when it looked like they could have. It's the same question they ask about Drury, who could have been locked up early last season. Those are fair questions.

Russo (11:30 a.m. ET): What does this do for Buffalo fans? Do they understand this move more than the Chris Drury and Daniel Briere defections?

Burnside (11:29 a.m. ET): Now this could be a big one.

Russo (11:26 a.m. ET): Looks like there are rumbles that Brian Campbell is on the move.

Russo (11:25 a.m. ET): Damn, I thought you were going to compliment me on my ability to add a "Y" at the end of your name, like all hockey pros do.

Burnside (11:24 a.m. ET): See, that's why you need a guy like Belak, who will give you more than that, even if his presence in the game was like a grain of sand to a beach.

Russo (11:23 a.m. ET): Here is my best postgame quote: "We are just taking it one game at a time. Scotty played his heart out. It is a team effort. There is no 'I' in blog."

Burnside (11:21 a.m. ET): Here's the weird thing: Belak was, once upon a time, the 12th overall pick in the 1994 draft. Go figure. As for rebuilding, I guess a draft pick of any kind, even a fifth-round pick, is better than nothing.

Russo (11:20 a.m. ET): Isn't any move a good move in this rebuilding effort in Toronto? :)

Burnside (11:18 a.m. ET) Ah, Cliff Fletcher starting to earn his keep.

This is a deal that won't sit well with the beat writers, who could always count on Wade Belak for a pithy quote. Unfortunately for coaches and GMs, that was about the extent of Belak's use to the squad -- not really a defenseman, not really a forward, just a bruiser.

Russo (11:16 a.m. ET): But you love me! We've got another deal, apparently. TSN of Canada is reporting that the Leafs' Wade Belak was traded to the Panthers for a fifth-round pick in 2008. Just the deal everyone wanted out of Toronto!

Burnside (11:15 a.m. ET): If you channel Don Cherry, you're likely going to need medical attention. Alert the security staff in Bristol before you do.

Russo (11:13 a.m. ET): Did I mention I didn't win my Oscar pool? I think I need to channel Don Cherry to feel better about life in general.

Don Cherry
Don Cherry's making our blog. Because we said so.

Burnside (11:12 a.m. ET): Yes, although I think the notion that he has to bring in a positional player who could help this season is less critical now that the Thrashers are seven points behind the Carolina Hurricanes (with two games in hand). He'd still love to bring in a player who can help now and next season, etc., as opposed to simply draft picks and prospects.

As for the fans here in Atlanta, I'm not so sure they're fickle, just tired of waiting for the team to become something they can embrace. This is a team, after all, that has never won a single playoff game. That's mind-boggling.

Russo (11:09 a.m. ET): That's a lot of pressure on Waddell. He has to make the right move and bring in the right players in return for a market that is already fickle when it comes to hockey, no?

Burnside (11:05 a.m. ET): I'm not so sure that it went sour for Hossa so much as the economics dictate Hossa's time is up in Atlanta. Obviously, Waddell would rather keep Hossa, but Hossa has decided this is his chance to hit the big pay day and move on to a team that is closer to winning a Cup than Atlanta is. Hard to blame him given that the Thrashers have taken a pretty significant step backward in the past year.

Russo (11:01 a.m. ET): Very weird. Why do you think things have gone sour for Hossa in Atlanta? He doesn't seem like the type of player that would want to move back to a hockey-mad market like Montreal.

Burnside (10:59 a.m. ET): Yes, that's something that's been debated on and off. I can confirm that Hossa isn't taking the morning skate, by the way. I'm not sure it makes all that much difference. Frankly, I'd rather see the NHL clear its schedule for Hockey Hall of Fame induction night, but that's just me.

How weird would it be for Hossa to simply walk down the hallway at the Bell Centre and suit up for the Habs?

Russo (10:58 a.m. ET): E.J. Hradek made the argument this morning in his blog that the NHL shouldn't schedule games on trade deadline day. I kind of see that point, considering you have so many players on the move and teammates having to adjust to new people in the locker room stalls.

Unless, of course, you're Brett Sutter, who just changes stall places around for fun!

Marian Hossa
All signs point to Marian Hossa making a move Tuesday.

Burnside (10:55 a.m. ET): Well, I hope it means he's not allergic to cleaning fluids. As for other signs, the Vatican has the smoke-signal thing copyrighted, so this may be as good as it gets in terms of signs. I am trying to confirm reports Hossa is begging off the morning skate. It's not all that unusual, although the Thrashers haven't played in a couple of days, so it would be a little strange if Hossa wasn't on the ice this morning.

Russo (10:52 a.m. ET): Cleaning rugs?! Isn't there a better sign than THAT?! He's apparently not taking part in the morning skate in Montreal, according to reports out of Canada. Does that mean anything?

Burnside (10:49 a.m. ET): As for Hossa ... I was interested to hear that a Montreal radio station believed the Hossa-to-Montreal deal was going to happen because they had cleaned the carpets in the news conference room where the Habs make announcements, so that must be the case. Seriously, though, I think the Habs are the likely destination and it's a question of what kind of positional player Atlanta GM Don Waddell can pry out of Montreal GM Bob Gainey. I'm guessing Waddell would like Chris Higgins and a package of draft picks.

Burnside (10:46 a.m. ET): Our timing is impeccable Joy. Aren't you glad we weren't talking about the Spice Girls and Oscars fashions for the past 2½ hours waiting for this? Salvador was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and with the Blues re-signing Barret Jackman Monday night, Salvador's hours were numbered in St. Louis. This is a deal that will make the Blues tougher up front, while the Devils got more Devils-like with toughness and solid defensive play.

TRADE REPORT: The Blues acquire forward Cam Janssen from the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Bryce Salvador.

Russo (10:42 a.m. ET): We have a trade! Not a blockbuster but ...

Scott Burnside (10:40 a.m. ET): I am embarrassed to say I don't think I saw any of the movies nominated for Best Picture (although I did read the book "No Country For Old Men," so that's something). As for the man most likely to follow Brad Richards out the door today, it will almost certainly be Marian Hossa. In fact, Hossa might be the first of the big boys to make a move today.

Joy Russo (10:37 a.m. ET): Well, the Canadian sports networks have been on since 7:30 a.m. ET, but Scott and I are sticking to our firm start time of 10:37 and 10 seconds a.m. ET. OK, Scott, let's start with a little poll. I know we'll make out better today than I did in my Oscars pool (P.T. got robbed!).

Since everyone is in agreement that Tampa Bay will trade forward Brad Richards, who else do you think has the best chance of making a move?

A) Brian Campbell
B) Marian Hossa
C) Olli Jokinen
D) Rob Blake