Well, in a surprisingly busy late-August Friday on the National Hockey League transaction wire, ex-Flame Alex Tanguay has finally found work and the Vancouver Canucks look like they’re serious about not running out of defencemen this coming season after seeing their blueline take a pounding over the past couple of winters.
Friday’s movement brings up a few points:
1) Any fan who buys a jersey personalized with the name of a present-day NHLer is nuts. Tanguay is playing for his third team in three seasons while Mathieu Schneider is joining his fifth club in four years. The Canucks will be Brad Lukowich’s fifth team in five seasons.
This brings to mind the story of the Flames fan who purchased a Chris Drury jersey with No. 37 on the back in 2002 when the forward was acquired in a deal with Colorado. Later that season, the Flames re-acquired Dean McAmmond and Drury relinquished 37 back to McAmmond and chose 18 instead, which means the fan had to bring his sweater in for repairs and a new number. A few months later, Drury was traded to Buffalo and the fan had to seriously consider giving up hockey altogether.
2) Friday was a tough day for Nolan Baumgartner, Lawrence Nycholat and Aaron Rome. The tweener defencemen, who can readily identify all the decent restaurants in Albany, N.Y.; Hamilton, Ont.; and Hershey, Pa., saw their admittedly already slim hopes of escaping Winnipeg at any point this coming winter fade with the influx of blue-liners. The well-travelled trio has combined for 28 professional seasons and amassed a modest 207 games of NHL duty, not nearly enough for a single NHL pension between them.
As to how much better the Canucks got by adding a 40-year-old sub-six-footer, a 33-year-old journeyman and a fellow who was minus-12 on a Presidents’ Trophy-winning club despite having the second lowest qualcomp on the club (interestingly, the only guy who was lower in that category than Ehrhoff was Lukowich), well, the answer will depend largely on whether your license plate contains the word “Beautiful” in it.
3) Depending on who you talk to, Friday’s action makes it more likely the Sharks will step up their pursuit of Dany Heatley . . . or it indicates that the Heatley-to-San Jose possibility is completely dead.
On one hand, you have this vague but still noteworthy admission from Sharks general manager Doug Wilson: “(The trade) creates some flexibility in our team payroll for potential future transactions as the season progresses.”
On the other, new Flying Orca Christian Ehrhoff was supposedly one of the pieces being offered to Ottawa in exchange for Heatley and one scribe says that’s a sign the Sharks have closed the door on the unhappy winger. Of course, it’s up to you how much you want to believe the inside sources of a guy who misspells “Ehrhoff.”
Finally, and this has nothing to do with Friday’s activity, Flames fans (and Leafs haters) should check out this excerpt from Leafs AbominNation that is in Saturday’s Toronto Star. In addition to detailing the woes of the Leafs franchise, there are some harsh comments from former Flames general manager Craig Button, a former Leafs employee. Calgary fans will want to discuss amongst themselves the irony of Button criticizing others’ managerial practices. The name “Ruslan Zainuillin” may come up once or twice.