Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Deadline Diatribes: Liveblogging the Trade Showdown

All times are Mountain, which means I woke up two hours earlier than last year (grr).

6:30ish: When asked which former GM did more to help their team get to where they are this season, both Craig Button and Shane Hnidy picked Scott Howson over Brian Burke. I assume TSN's just lashing out after their formerly unlimited supply of Burkie dogs abruptly ended this season.

7:26 AM: With nothing doing on the trade front, TSN might consider the following ways to jazz up their coverage:
1. Make the commentators wear a variety of silly hats.
2. Have the main panelists switch outfits during commercial breaks.
3. Direct the trade experts (often visible in the background) hold copies of classic literature rather than their smart phones.
4. See who can slip in the most "meows" during their analysis without laughing.
5. Take product placement to the next level: Timbit fight!!!

7:43 AM: Of course, the TSN coverage could be more entertaining if segments like Either-Or had some debate involved. Has the network whipped the vote this year, or are they treating these moments of potential disagreement and conflict as team-building exercises? The unrelenting sense agreement and collegiality is making me actually miss Nick Kypreos, so I'm switching to Sportsnet for now.

8:06 AM: So far Sportsnet seems committed to not taking themselves seriously in all the right ways: getting Marty McSorley to reminisce about terrorizing teammates, showing bloopers of players arriving at practice, and blaring 80s hair metal while going to commercial breaks.

8:13 AM: Things I've learned thus far #1: Phil Kessel doesn't park his car let alone his self in front of an opponent's net.

8:28 AM: The best part of the Strombolopoulos-Kypreos Sportsnet skit is Strombo's reaction: he's not devastated by losing his show but the fickleness of Canadians for not only dumping him but hastily starting a new relationship with Kypreos as though their eight-year relationship with Strombo meant nothing!!!

8:43 AM: I think it's time to distinguish between a fire sale and a fire ship. A fire sale, of course, involves a foundering team unloading assets for picks and prospects that will aid a rebuild. A fire ship, however, refers to a military tactic in which one opponent sends flaming boats loaded with explosives toward its enemy's fleet.  In trade terms, a fire ship involves a team sending a bad contract to an opponent in the guise of a fire sale (Jay Bouwmeester, anyone?). The foundering team thereby strengthens itself not only by unloading an expensive roster player and accumulating assets for the future, but by also hampering the future success of its rivals.

 Artist's rendering of Luongo arriving at Toronto Harbour.

9:02 AM: I originally planned to write up a trade-deadline drinking game blog ahead of today's coverage. I'm glad I dropped that plan now that Darren Millard has one-upped the idea by suggesting that the Sportsnet panel actually start playing one (beer pong). #AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs

9:10 AM: Maybe the NHL could liven up deadline day by giving fans a vote: based on a poll conducted via social media, fans can send one player (from a list pre-selected by the league) to a team of their choosing. #fandemonium

9:16 AM: With Gene Principe nearly getting run over while reporting on location, trade-deadline day ironically gains a pulse by almost getting a body count.

9:33 AM: Doug MacLean says he wants the NHL to investigate the Flames for cap circumvention if Kiprusoff retires after this season, but his rancor suggests that nothing less than charging #34 with treason will satiate MacLean's bloodlust induced by today's deadline-doldrums. Meanwhile, Kypreos reports on the matter by dusting off an age-old medium of social media: yelling from his off-screen desk.

9:43 AM: There's still no pun on regarding Kiprusoff's decision. My prediction for the upcoming headline is "Kipper's off (the table)." Update 10:01 AM: My personal preference for the headline would be "The Old Man and the (Flaming) 'C'". Update 10:24: Had the trade gone through, I would have picked "Let's Miikka Deal!"

9:47 AM: Seeing Denis Potvin in his tight, baby blue underwear has scarred me for life in ways that conventional torture never could.

10:12 AM: Breaking--James Reimer apologizes for calling the deadline a "distraction." This could be the most Seinfeld-esque moment in the history of sports retractions: Reimer has made an apology about nothing in order to bury the hatchet with nobody (well, maybe the always-irate Doug MacLean, but even he seemed indifferent to the unremarkable aspersions that Reimer cast upon TD-Day).

10:32 AM: Too many people who play armchair GM focus on trades alone. What about abusing the power that goes along with trades? For example, if I were Dave Nonis, I'd play ambiguous and ambivalent music at Mastercard Centre today while the the Leafs and Marlies practise. Imagine pondering your place in either organization while a continuous loop of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" serenades your self-doubt and trade anxiety.

10:53 AM: I hear that the Leafs have approved switching from using DVDs to Blu-rays for video coaching. That may be as close as they get to acquiring an impact player.

10:59 AM: Since the trades are coming in slowly, I wonder if the networks covering the deadline might disclose the names of players swapped through charades with their fellow panelists. I wonder what sounds like "Luongo."

11:23 AM: I'm not looking forward to dealing with this year's post-trade hangover. Sooner or later, we'll all sober up after being intoxicated with the many deals over the last week. In the sometimes bleary, sometimes glaring light of hindsight, we'll begin to question the NHL's life choices as well as the meaning of life itself given its many absurdities and injustices. Iginla's undislikeable smile will always look photoshopped onto a Penguins player no matter how long he wears that uniform. Conversely, Flames fans will likely photoshop a picture of Iginla with the cup so that it looks like he won it back in '04 with the Flames. While some fans counterfeit history to assuage their sense of loss, somewhere in Florida, Jarred Smithsom has to explain to his wife and newborn child that they've been banished from Sunshine to Edmonton.

11:49 AM: Well, one commentator just decided to take trade-deadline reporting to a biblical level. Here's the tweet:

Reason for lack of trades today? Crosby's jaw is wired shut, meaning he can't reach out and speak to other players.

That's right. What appeared the other night as a freak accident was actually the hockey gods smiting an infidel for tampering with the holiest of holy sacraments--the trade--by wooing Iginla by proxy. With Sidney (a.k.a. "Sid the kid," a.k.a. "The Whore of Babylon") Crosby on the sidelines, GMs can undertake transactions without #87's impious interference.

Of course any failure on behalf of the NHL to enact supplemental discipline will undoubtedly be seen by the spiteful deities as hubristic adherence to the laws of man rather than awful deference to the ways of the gods. We'll likely see the ice in the Consol Energy Center be changed into blood and frogs will rain down upon the Pens-NYR game tonight. We will not have seen such undeniable evidence of divine vengeance since the hockey gods cursed Jaromir Jagr never to win the cup again after he chopped off his immaculate mullet.

12:24 PM: I haven't seen any white smoke pluming out of the Saddledome, so I guess the Flames have finished making their trades.

12:29 PM: So the Flyers are going to fix a problem with one over-hyped and/or underachieving goaltender by trading for another one? Next, they might consider retiring the team's plane and travelling only by Titanic and Hindenburg.

12:55 PM: I appreciate the honest journalistic exchange happening on Sportsnet right now. Damien Cox, Doug MacLean, et al. want to see Luongo traded not because it makes sense at this time for the Canuck or Leafs. They're just sick of discussing this always-imminent but never culminating trade.

1:00 PM: Commentators gripe about having to get makeup done at 6AM. #manplaining

1:05 PM: With the deadline passed, now's the time I wonder if teams start using shenanigans to break the rules like undergraduate students. The old "I tried to email you about this; I guess it got lost it cyberspace" or the "I slipped the trade notice under your office door before the deadline" might come in handy now.

1:25 PM: I'd love to see Damien Cox coach a team in Toronto (at any level). He has no patience for any Toronto-based excuse like the pressure of the big market, the constant media attention, and the unpredictability of the metro system. "Got run over by a streetcar Kessel? Well, quit crying and walk that protruding bone back into place, princess."

1:28 PM: Luongo on reason why he can't be traded: "My contract sucks." Yep, fair enough. Still, you have to feel for the guy: he looks like he sees himself as an unbearable weight weighing down a sinking ship. Nevertheless, I'd still avoid calling his contract an albatross: it's not like Luongo has to play with a bunch of grumpy zombies who were killed and reanimated because a fellow seaman killed an albatross. After all, zombie Kesler would probably be healthier, less-accident prone, and more productive than the living version. #RimeOfTheAncientMariner

2:04 PM: Well, I think this is a wrap for the live blogging. Please follow me on twitter (@RinkRover) for more discussion on the day's events. Thanks everyone for reading the blog today!

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