Having just arrived into Vancouver from Edmonton with my team, the New York Islanders, both my room mate, Claude LaPointe and I were just getting settled in. It was a couple days before the trade deadline. The phone rings, we look at each other and because I was the youngest I had to get up to answer it.
"Hi Jason. It is Mike Milbury, (coach and gm at the time of the NY Islanders). We just traded you to the Vancouver Canucks. Thank you for your time with the Islanders. Mike Keenan will be calling you. Good Luck."
I am stunned. Claude can tell by the look on my face.
"You get traded?"
"I think so."
He laughs, "Come on, someone is messing with you! We just got here and we play them tomorrow. No way you got traded!"
I respect Claude and think he is right. I am getting jerked around. I relax.
The phone rings again.
"Jason? Hi, Mike Keenan of the Vancouver Canucks here. We just traded for you. Be downstairs in ten minutes with your stuff. Someone from the team will be there to pick you up, take you to a press conference and then to another hotel. Welcome."
So now my head is spinning. As I pack up my stuff Claude tells me this is great for me. I shake his hand and I am gone, just like that. Just over an hour later I am sitting in a new hotel, the newest member of the Canucks.
With the trade deadline only a few weeks away, the anxiety for some players will start to increase as their names are mentioned in trade rumors. Everyone deals with that differently, but they are happy when the deadline passes. I have seen players cry with sorrow, shed tears of joy or display anger and disbelief after being told they were traded.
I doubt very much that Blake Wheeler was thrilled to be sent to Atlanta last year knowing how good a shot at the cup the Bruins had. Watching them win must have torn him apart. The flip side of that is a guy like Thomas Kaberle. Even though he wasn’t great in the playoffs he got a cup. Thank you very much Boston!
Up until the trade deadline, really take a hard look at the player’s faces who get traded. It will tell you if they are happy or pissed because they think they just got screwed. Either way, all they can do is just move over to the next hotel.
Healthy for once?
…Can we all agree that the Oilers are a much more competitive team with a healthy roster or have the last couple weeks been a lucky run? I think they are competitive. Yes the depth may not be there yet but I think it is easier to fill out the depth rather than the top end talent.
Maybe we should wait and judge them on the games from the end of January to the end of the season.