Not all changes were for the better
To hear coaches, general managers and even some players spin it, there was nothing but winners all around after the National Hockey League trade frenzy finally (some might argue mercifully) came to an end Tuesday afternoon.
We see it differently. So without further adieu -- except of course to the seemingly endless number of ex-New York Rangers who are now scrambling to catch the next flight to somewhere, anywhere and everywhere -- we present 2004's trade deadline winners, losers, house cleaners and, dare we say it, bystanders.
Some might bemoan the loss of young defenseman Derek Morris. But in doing so, they're undermining the ability of rookie John-Michael Liles and the physical play of defenseman Ossi Vaananen, who was acquired from Phoenix with Gratton. Both goalies still have to prove themselves, but the Avs today are harder to play against than they were a few days ago.
It's probably not fair to put the loser tag on every team we name here. After all, are any of these guys worse than the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals? Still, these teams didn't get a whole lot better.
This is the category where teams get off a little easier than just being tabbed losers. You could argue that there are no winners here, but there was a plan.
The house cleaners
The wheel spinners
Jim Kelley is the NHL writer for ESPN.com. Submit questions or comments to his mail bag.
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