From “oilmen” to “islanders”
It was the transfer to the New York Islanders of the long-term leader of the Edmonton Oilers, Rain Smith (pictured left), that became, according to AllHockey.Ru columnist Alexander Lysenkov, the most significant event of the overseas St. George’s Day.
St. George’s Day was approaching inexorably, and the exchanges were by no means amazed by their numbers or names. Is that the generous “Atlanta” in euphoria from its upcoming first playoffs in its own history with a generous hand pressed the dubious veteran Keith Tkachuk to itself, whose last name many of us would have long forgotten, if not for one circumstance that is remembered by all Russians – four goals in our goal at the last World Cup. At the same time, a chronic problem for the “woodpeckers” – the center forward for Kovalchuk never became a priority for general manager Don Waddell .. But everything changed overnight – 25 exchanges (repeating the NHL record). And although there were no superstars in these trades, some of them were significant in themselves, and some are interesting to us from the point of view of new perspectives of our compatriots.
Perhaps most surprising was the exchange of Oilers leader Ryan Smith, who never came to an agreement with the club and headed to the Islanders.
San Jose acquired Bill Guerin from St. Louis, a veteran whose best years are behind him but who can still benefit the Sharks from his playoff experience. The penguins, striving to maintain the victorious pace in the decisive matches of the season, decided to protect their young leaders and acquired veterans of the security officer Roberts and tough guy Larak. Little Sydney can be calm – there is someone to wave fists for him. Detroit got Florida striker Tod Bertuzzi in the hope that he would play and score goals rather than cripple opponents.
As for our players, the most significant (at least for the player himself) was the exchange of hardworking Dainius Zubrus from “Washington” to “Buffalo”, who, perhaps, now has a chance to reach the final of the Cup with his new team. In addition, Oleg Saprykin moved from the tormented “Phoenix” to a quite prosperous playing Ottawa. But whether it will benefit him is a big question.
So what happens in conferences and what are the chances of applicants for a place in the playoffs?
Peace of mind in the struggle for the Cup eight in the West. “Minnesota” ahead of “Edmonton” by 10 points and in the remaining less than two dozen matches are unlikely to lose such a solid lead.
And everything would have been nothing if it were not for the Colorado Cup Series.
In almost a decade and a half after the move, “Avalanche” they were left out of the playoffs for the first time, despite the fact that the team has experienced veterans and gifted newcomers.
The Eastern Conference is different! Nobody except, perhaps, “Buffalo” and “New Jersey” can feel calm. Two or three unsuccessful games and rivals breathing in the back of the head on one skate will already leave those who have stumbled in catching up. Until the last games, at least five teams will fight for the last two places on the bandwagon of the train leaving for the Cup. So let us wish good luck to the worthy ones and wait quite a bit until the end of the regular season, especially since the outcome will be tense and unpredictable.