Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Remembering A Legend

Yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers faced the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place. The game began a 4 game home stand for the Oilers, and they had some inspiration for their 1st game.

Legendary player and leader Mark Messier had his NO.11 raised to the rafters in Edmonton last night. This was the 2nd time Messier's number has been retired as the NY Rangers retired the number 11 last year. Phoenix Head Coach Wayne Gretzky was caught being very emotional during the ceremony as he was a teammate and friend to Messier.

Messier played 12 years in Edmonton racking up 5 Stanley Cups (he captained 1 of them), 392 goals, 642 assists and 1034 points overall during the time he played for the Oilers. He is now the 6th Oiler to have his number retired
(Al Hamilton, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey).

"I want to thank the Oiler organization for putting this date on the calendar when Phoenix was going to be in town because the night wouldn't have been the same without Wayne being here," Messier said. "Wayne was our leader. He was our inspiration. He was a guy that we leaned on and he never let us down and he never put himself above anybody. I certainly learned a lot from Wayne.Nobody could stand here in a team sport, nobody could do it by themselves, it's good to be back home. Coming back after a long time, one of things I'm most proud of is that the Edmonton Oilers organization remains today so intact as it was when we left," Messier said.

The celebrations were short lived as the Oilers lost again after they traded away Ryan Smyth yesterday. The Oilers seemed flat-footed all night, which led to a 3-0 Phoenix lead by the start of the 3rd. The Oilers are all but out of the playoff picture.

Trade Deadline Deals

Today, the NHL trade deadline was at 3:00. Even though that only leaves 15 hours for the NHL GM's to make trades (if you get up at 1:00), there still were many trades to be talked about.

First of all, the top rental player in the league Ryan Smyth had a deal done today. To Edmonton fans, this deal was not to sign a
multi-year contract. He was traded to the NY Islanders for prospects Ryan O'Marra, Robert Nilsson and a the Islanders 1st round pick in the entry draft in 2007. This is a big trade for the Isles. This shows that they really want to contend and make the playoffs this year. This also shows me that the Oilers have all but given up on their playoff chances. This guy has been the cornerstone of the Oilers since 1994 when they picked him 6th overall in the entry draft.

The next biggest trade of the day was about Todd Bertuzzi .

The power forward has been traded to the Detroit Red Wings despite missing almost the entire season with a back injury that he had surgery on in early November. The big man is glad to be traded to a contender like Detroit, but says he will not rush to the ice. He is going to wait until he is 100 percent before returning to the ice. When asked about the trade, Detroit's head coach Mike Babcock said, "Bertuzz
i is a huge, talented man that adds the dimensions of size and skill that we need on one of our top two lines. We'll give up a first-round pick if there are a lot of conditions met, such as us winning a lot in the playoffs and him helping us do that. We'd be happy to give up that pick." It doesn't need to be said that Bertuzzi will now be playing more against rival Colorado, a team that Bertuzzi has some bad history with. Detroit now is really making a push for their 1st Stanley Cup in 5 years as they already acquired speedy forward Kyle Calder yesterday. "Our focus all along was to be a harder team to play against, and both Bertuzzi and Calder will help us do that," Babcock said. "There are no guarantees, but the front office led by Kenny Holland and Jim Nill has given us a better opportunity to be successful."

Another big name that was traded today was big man Bill Guerin.

The veteran is to go to the San Jose Sharks for a 2007 1st round pick, Ville Nieminen and Jay Barriball. The 36 year old has 28 goals and 19 assists this season and is leading the Blues in goals. Guerin is a welcome addition to an already great San Jose Sharks team which includes Jonathon Checchoo, Joe Thorton, Patrick Marleau and newly acquired defense man Craig Rivet.
"A big trade always shakes up a team," Guerin said of the Blues. "They've got very professional guys here, resilient guys, guys that have bounced back from a lot. We dug ourselves out of a huge hole that we created at the beginning of the year."There are some character guys, some quality guys here. Maybe it stings right now but nobody here in St. Louis is going to roll over.""They've just got so much talent up front that it doesn't really matter," Guerin said. "Wherever (coach Ron Wilson) wants to put me, wherever he thinks I'll fit best. Because I know they've been having success this year, wherever I go, that'll be just fine - we'll make it work." The Blues are now in a rebuilding stage as they have now traded there 2 best players in Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin.

The last big trade of the day is with Yanic Perreault.

The face off man has been sent to Toronto for the 3rd time in his career for Brenden Bell and a 2nd round pick in 2007."I'm a little surprised," Perreault told The Canadian Press. "I didn't know if I was re-signing with Phoenix or if they were going to trade me. But I'm happy, I've enjoyed playing in Toronto. It's where I scored my first NHL goal." The 35 year old Perreault has 19 goals and 14 assists in 49 games this year and is one of the best face off men in the entire NHL. Perreault will bring veteran leadership and good, solid play to the Leafs franchise.

Here are the rest of the trades of the day.

(6:32 PM ET)

D Doug O'Brien D Joe Rullier

(5:35 PM ET)

D Jamie Heward Conditional draft pick

(5:07 PM ET)

G Nolan Schaefer 2007 7th round pick

(4:55 PM ET)

F Jason Ward 2007 5th round pick

(4:44 PM ET)

F Nikita Alexeev F Karl Stewart
2007 6th round pick

(4:43 PM ET)

D Joel Kwiatkowski 2007 4th round pick

(4:33 PM ET)

D David Hale
2007 5th round pick
2007 3rd round pick

(3:58 PM ET)

D Mikko Lehtonen 2007 4th round pick

(3:55 PM ET)

F Brad Boyes D Dennis Wideman

(3:36 PM ET)

F Ryan Smyth F Robert Nilson
F Ryan O'Marra
2007 1st round pick

(3:31 PM ET)

D Mattias Norstrom
F Konstatin Pushkarov
2007 3rd round pick
2007 4th round pick
D Jaroslav Modry
D Johan Fransson
2008 1st round pick
2007 2nd round pick
2007 3rd round pick

(3:03 PM ET)

F Scott Parker 2008 6th round pick

(2:30 PM ET)

F Dainius Zubrus
D Timo Helbling
F Jiri Novotny
2007 1st round pick

(2:27 PM ET)

F Yanic Perreault
2008 5th round pick
D Brendan Bell
2008 2nd round pick

(2:25 PM ET)

F Pascal Dupuis
3rd round pick
F Alex Bourret

(2:16 PM ET)

F Todd Bertuzzi F Shawn Matthias
2007 conditional draft pick
2008 conditional 2nd round pick

(2:08 PM ET)

F Brad May G Michael Wall

(1:55 PM ET)

F Oleg Saprykin
2007 7th round pick
2008 2nd round pick

(1:05 PM ET)

D Aaron Ward D Paul Mara

(12:33 PM ET)

F Dominic Moore 2007 3rd round pick

(11:58 AM ET)

F Bill Guerin F Ville Nieminen
F Jay Barriball
2007 1st round pick

(11:35 AM ET)

F Georges Laraque F Danny Carcillo
2008 3rd round pick

(11:11 AM ET)

G Ty Conklin 2007 5th round pick

(11:08 AM ET)

G Martin Biron 2007 2nd round pick

(10:00 AM ET)

F Gary Roberts D Noah Welch