How many of you were like me during the 3-4 pm hour:
Refresh, refresh, refresh . . .
“Is something wrong with my connection?”
“Surely McPhee will execute at least one move, to document that the organization was alert today.”
“I’m glad I didn’t burn a vacation day for this.”
Didn’t something need to be done after the last two miserable losses, a sudden inability to win at home (3-4 on the home stand, with one SOW), the goaltending position horrendously exposed, and an apparent lack of leadership?
The trade deadline calmly passed with not even a minor leaguer swap for the Washington Capitals. GM George McPhee apparently enjoys a zen-like contentment with the current club, enough to avoid taking any risks in the 2009 trading climate.
Regarding the recent losses, I’m not terribly concerned yet. Detroit went 4-8-2 in February 2008, and won the Cup. Philadelphia likewise stumbled in February to compile the same record, including in there seven straight losses. And they reached the Conference finals. Not to mention that the room was likely on pins and needles waiting for the trade deadline to pass. Definitely not zen-like in there.
But anyway, let’s recap what some of the Washington Capitals’ “peers” in the East accomplished today:
Boston: Acquired F Mark Recchi and D Steve Montador, for little present roster loss.
A (quite) veteran, Cup-winning presence, and a solid depth defenseman. Probably the biggest winner in the East.
New Jersey: Acquired D Niclas Havelid, giving up a D prospect that may prove valuable well down the road. Another depth defenseman necessary for the long “second season.”
Philadelphia: Acquired D Kyle McLaren for a low (6th) round pick. See above.
Sensing a pattern here?
NY Rangers: Shuffled the deck quite a bit to win the Derek Morris “sweepstakes,” and also to acquire the mercurial F Nik Antropov. Of course, also claiming Sean Avery from waivers yesterday, who shocks us with the admission that he’s “not perfect.”
Bottom line: To me, it looks like the three teams most threatening to the Caps’ chances of hoisting the Prince of Wales Trophy (BOS, NJD, PHI) added vital depth to their defensive corps, and thereby fortified the lineup for the inevitable swoons, fatigue, and injuries that will beset the backliners throughout April and May.
Exactly what the Caps needed to do as well. C’est la vie.
Now, all that’s left is to play the games on the ice. No waiting for help — it’s all up to them.
In other news: Carolina just brought back Erik Cole in a three-team deal with LAK and Edmonton involving Justin Williams and Patrick O’Sullivan. That’s a very interesting one, if only in terms of the logistics in pulling it off.
Pittsburgh took on Bill Guerin, and now seems better positioned to break into the top 8, if only to lose in a first round (or so we might hope).
And Olie Kolzig goes to Toronto, along with former Caps’ D Jamie Heward. Not a bad place for Olie to finish his career, assuming he’s ready to go in 2009-10.