This is the best time of year in the hockey world. We are in the midst of the Conference Finals and the World Championships. A few coaching hires were made and I look into the officiating problem that is leaving a black mark on this year’s playoffs.
For this week’s Blake’s Takes, we look at the effect of our lottery-bound teams will have on next season. I also make my next award prediction and examine one more unloved team.
One goal. One Chris Kunitz knuckle puck over Craig Anderson’s blocker in double OT of game 7. This is how close the Ottawa Senators were from a surprise berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. Two years later, the team could not be on a more different path, poised to finish last in the league standings. Dispassionate fans, declining revenue, and the departure of star players all raise questions surrounding the franchise’s future in Ottawa.
Don Cherry, host of Hockey Night in Canada’s “Coaches Corner,” along with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, have entertained the idea of relocating the team. Were this to happen, only one location makes sense, and that is Quebec. Fans in this city long for the return of the Nordiques, and its proximity to Montreal makes for a classic, francophone rivalry.
This week’s Blake’s Takes dives into Matt Duchene’s run in Ottawa and the impact of both trades. I also take a look into the hit that earned Connor McDavid his first suspension and another jersey retirement ceremony.
What makes a trade lopsided? Many hockey fans think it is when one team gets the better players, declaring that that team had “won” the trade. But getting the better players doesn’t necessarily mean that team always wins.
For example, look at the Wayne Gretzky trade. One could rightly surmise that the Los Angeles Kings won that exchange, since they acquired the game’s greatest player in the deal. But consider that the Edmonton Oilers got $15 million in the trade, which allowed them to stay afloat, and won the Stanley Cup in 1990 with some of the assets they received. The Kings raised their profile exponentially with Gretzky on their team, but did not win a Stanley Cup Championship until 2012, long after that trade had any bearing.
That trade doesn’t seem so lopsided anymore when you look at it that way, does it?
With today being the NHL trade deadline, here is a look at five lopsided trades, where one team clearly benefited, while the other got hosed.
The trade deadline is quickly approaching and the first big deal of 2019 has already happened. Plus, the death of the World Cup of Hockey.
He Isn’t the Senators’ Only Problem, Though
Embed from Getty Images
From the 1976 to 1989, there was a baseball player named Dale Murphy who was the face of the Atlanta Braves franchise, for some reason. He was expected to provide much of the offensive support for a terrible team, and in return took a lot of money. After only one postseason appearance in 1982, the Braves finally wised up and dumped his ass onto the Philadelphia Phillies in 1990, thus putting Atlanta on the road to an impressive stretch of Pennant wins in the National League.
Philadelphia, however, floundered like a seafood restaurant that has to hide its sanitation grade. Then the Phillies wised up and dumped him on the Colorado Rockies in 1993, lightening their load. Then the Phillies had a very memorable World Series run. But don’t weep for the Rockies; after Murphy retired they found their berth in the playoff in 1995.
Why am I telling you this? Because Matt Duchene might be the next pro sports Dale Murphy. Continue reading “Is Matt Duchene the Dale Murphy of Hockey?”
Note: Blake Isaacs is a new writer for Puck Junk. Please welcome him with a comment below.
On my twentieth birthday, I received an Anaheim Ducks t-shirt jersey with the name Heatley on the back. To clarify, I am not and have never been a supporter of the Anaheim Ducks (but I do love the Mighty Ducks movies). Why would I be gifted an Anaheim Ducks, Heatley t-shirt — especially since Heatley played six games with Anaheim and then was sent down to the minors, never to return to the NHL. Why would I want a Dany Heatley Anaheim Ducks t-shirt? Because of @DanyAllstar15, that’s why.
No NHL players can boast appearing on a hockey card 12 years before their career began — except Patrick Kane. On Sylvain Turgeon’s 1994-95 Pinnacle hockey card, you see the Senators winger trying not to fall flat on his face in a game against the Sabres from the previous year. This photo actually makes for a pretty good metaphor for the Senators’ 1993-94 season, when they went 14-61-9 in 84 games.
Now, take a closer look at the wide-eyed kid in the stands.