Not So Cox-sure Just Yet

By Ryan

Looking to ESPN for NHL news is never a good idea, but when TSN is occupied throwing a Senators orgy all over its web space you just get trapped in a corner. What I did find today was lacking as always, but interesting enough. Here goes.

I’m sure they just dug through the archives and replaced some names for this one. I hope he is “for real for real” this time around…

As stated multiple times in the Roost, this should have gotten much, much more press. Anyone within the sport knows what Brian Leech meant to the league and the Rangers especially. However, it is nice to see the heartfelt comments on the God awful “ESPN Conversation” boards. At least true fans do care about things like this.

The good news is that sometimes ESPN has decent columns about hockey from some respected names in the game. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. In most cases, I enjoy Damien Cox’s work, but this piece is, in all honesty, worthless.

There are some obvious faults within the column, but even the premise is off. Now I understand there aren’t many angles to cover for the Stanley Cup Finals aside from it being the match up of the apocalypse, but somehow managing to claim it will kill the trade deadline is just ridiculous. Judging the fate of deadline acquisitions based on one year is like judging the direction music is moving based on the 80s. (“The keytar will change rock forever!”)

My point is this: we are in a new phase of the NHL, and therefore nothing can be determined as of yet. Heck, the NHL is still hawking those “New NHL” hats on its website. So to judge anything about the path this league will head is very presumptuous, especially in the span of a year. Even Cox concedes that last year’s Cup Finals featured two teams that build off deadline acquisitions. Why not use that single year to outline the future of deadline day?

His backhanded insinuation that the Preds trading for Forsburg has impacted the team’s possible relocation actually made me laugh out loud, something that even Page Two rarely does. Anyone who thinks that move is going to send Nashville’s hockey team packing is crazy. If anything, that move created a bigger buzz for that team than ever before.

The same can be said for the Islanders’ blockbuster move on deadline day. Trading for Ryan Smyth was the catalyst for their improbable playoff run, as well as an energizing of the entire fan base. That move may not have been completely geared towards this season. As questioned as GM Garth Snow has been, there is no way he expected a Stanley Cup out of that Islanders team. But the move brought life to a stagnant fan base, and opened up the door to possibly resigning an all star. I’m not sure of the cap constraints the Isles have, but bringing in a big name player like Smyth can also keep a player like Jason Blake from testing the free agent waters if he sees a future contender on Long Island.

The main problem with Cox’s perspective is that it only considers the deadline as useful for immediate successes. There is nothing that says blockbuster deals can’t be made and affect teams in the long term. You cannot look at the Ducks/Senators match up and predict the death of deadline day just because they are the last teams standing. What if Forsburg resigns with the Predators and wins a Stanley Cup with them in 2009? Does this year still signal to the other 29 GMs that deadline day is pointless?

I simply cannot believe that the trading deadline is only alluring because it can make a team win immediately. Any Sabres fan can tell you the importance of deadline day. Without the acquisition of Danny Briere on deadline day 2003 we never see the postseason run this team has experienced the last two years. It is important to note that acquiring Briere did not push us into the playoffs that year, but his long term impact has been far more important than that of year one in with the team.

The point is this: in this period of instant history where everything is the “the best” and “the greatest” and predictions run wild, it is important to keep in mind the truth: no single year tells anyone anything. An unsuccessful year of deadline deals will not kill the concept of deadline day, just like a year of high pitcher batting averages won’t kill the DH in the American League. Time will tell the tale, just like in any sport.

Besides, I simply cannot agree with Oleg Saprykin having an impact on anything. Ever.


  1. Rickey Henderson

    good article–strong work buddy.

  2. Anonymous

    Saprykin didn’t have a great effect on anything…except his game winning goal in Game one of the ECF.

  3. RJ

    I’ll admit Saprykin’s tip was nice, but it was a long time coming. The Sabres were outplayed the entire game, so I guess I don’t consider who scored on a flukey play as much as the reasons for it (and at that point Miller had saved the game 5-7 times)

    Good point, though. I didn’t forget his goal, a lthough I may have tried to block if from my memory…