BY ZACHARY CORMIER
It’s been quite the week in the sports world. And that was probably the understatement of the year.
In the time since this column went to print last Thursday, Steven Stamkos trolled every person in hockey media, Kevin Durant angered everyone in the basketball world (sit down Golden State Warriors fans, you don’t get a say), and the GMs of two Canadian NHL teams apparently decided to start making major trade decisions using a Magic 8 Ball.
It’s that last one that I would like to talk about this week.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to use this week’s column as a kind of therapy to work through that wild half hour in hockey. This is your trigger warning Oilers and Habs fans – leave now or you will have potentially damaging flashbacks.
It all started immediately following my deadline last Wednesday. I had just hit the send button on my draft recap column and decided to check Twitter to see what else had happened.
Five minutes later, Bob McKenzie tweeted that Steven Stamkos had re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning for eight years at just $8.5 million per year. A few minutes after that, Elliotte Friedman tweeted that the Oilers had traded Taylor Hall to the Devils for Adam Larsson, one for one. And just as I managed to wrap my head around that one, Nick Kypreos tweeted that the Canadiens had sent P.K. Subban to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber, one for one.
Then Twitter imploded.
I’m not exaggerating. The live Twitter client on my laptop literally could not keep up with the steady inflow of updates and questions as the hockey world had a mass panic attack.
Within the span of half an hour we got two of the biggest blockbuster trades hockey fans have seen since the salary cap was brought in back in 2005. I mean geez, guys, these days we’re lucky if a 30-year-old first time winger is traded on trade deadline day and now you suddenly go and pull this?
I’ll spare you a breakdown of the winners and losers of each of those deals because everyone and their dog’s friend’s goldfish has written about it. I mean c’mon it’s Taylor-freaking-Hall straight up for a second pairing, maybe border line first pairing defenseman. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who won that one. (Oilers fans, I’m sorry.)
What I do want to point out is that it’s another chapter in the never ending pain that is being a Canadian hockey fan.
I mean, even though I’m a Flames fan, it hurt to watch Steve Yzerman of the Lightning show exactly how a good NHL GM does things by re-signing his captain and franchise player to a sweetheart deal all while the GMs of the Habs and Oilers (Michel Therrien in one case, Peter Chiarelli in the other) made trades that, let’s just say, don’t look very smart on paper.
And maybe I’m wrong and these trades work out, but at this point they sure look like the kind of thing that only happens in a mad man’s dream.
I understand this is not like ‘Be a GM Mode’ in NHL 16. It’s not an easy job to manage an NHL team in the salary cap era.
But, for once, I would love to have an off season where one of the northern teams doesn’t decide that today is the day to try and headbutt a moving train and make that blockbuster deal that will, inevitably, backfire.
Because as much fun as it is to see those moves get made, it’s a lot more fun to see your team, heck even a team from your country, win a Stanley Cup.
Or so I’ve been told. I wouldn’t know because it actually hasn’t happened in my lifetime.