One of my other passions in life outside of gaming, photography, and art is hockey. I LOVE hockey. I'm not a band wagoner, I'm not a casual fan, I'm a REAL fan. I have to be, given my favorite team is the New York Islanders. This team has been so bad for so long you'd have to be a real fan to follow these lovable losers.
People ask me "Chris, why the HELL do you like THAT team?". Well, some of you have heard this story before, but I'll tell it again. (We'll start with the "these parts" precursor...)
In these parts, that being East Coast Canada, typically, you are a fan of either the Toronto Maple Leafs, or the Montreal Canadiens. I believe it is a generational thing really. Back when our parents (if you are a 30-something like me) were first watching hockey, there were only 6 teams and the only 2 Canadian teams were the Habs and Leafs. So by default most hockey fans watched one or the other. My father is a Canadiens fan, from a community that is divided by the blue of Leaf Nation or the Red of Hab Nation... and one street down between them. :P Anyway, I didn't fall into that generational trap. When I first started watching hockey, collecting hockey cards, and hockey stickers, the Islanders were on top of the world. I remember getting the second part of the two part sticker for the Islanders championship photo and sticking it in the O-Pee-Chee wonder book. (For some reason, I recall getting excited over getting Brent Ashton of the Winnipeg Jets too... weird) But the real turning point for me becoming an Islanders fan wasn't any of these things, but from an old Rod Hockey board. Remember the ones with the orange sides, flat plastic players, and super sharp ends on the rods that cut you if you didn't have those stupid little knobs on the ends of them? Well, we had one of those, with the Boston Bruins in their super cool all black uniforms, and the New York Islanders, in their Royal Blue getups. Well, I played that game a lot with my big brother Paul. He being the bigger brother, he tended to get to choose whatever team he wanted first, and he always wanted to be the big bad Bruins. So I got stuck with the Islanders, which seems to have stuck to this day.
Anyway, today, as the title of today's blog suggests, is Trade Deadline Day. It's the last day that NHL teams can make a trade before the playoffs. Some teams sell off assets to help build for the future (seeming the Islanders fall in this category every year). Some teams add pieces that they think will help them finally go all the way to the finals (For some reason this never works). And some teams just like the notoriety of being in the news so they throw out names seemingly to sate the rabid fanbase to make them think they are doing SOMETHING to try and get better. So far this year, the Islanders have two or three assets that they are willing to part with. One of the goalies they signed in the fall, Martin Biron or Dwayne Roloson, Andy Sutton (who they've actually traded for a second round draft pick), and now a surprise in Sean Bergenheim, a young stud who seems to have fallen out of favor given he can't score, even though he has so much potential that it drips from his nose when he sneezes). I was a little surprised that Sutton only got them a lower end 2nd round pick, but given they would have lost him by years end anyway (his contract expires) then this is better than nothing. Both Roloson and Biron are stop gaps til the team's goalie-for-life Rick Dipietro can figure out how to stay healthy. He's back and shown he can still play, so it's just a question of durability and sustaining it now. I won't be sad to see Bergenheim leave, if he does, as he seemingly just can't figure out how to tap his own potential. The Islanders need scoring, not ANOTHER 3rd line agitator. Either way, it'll be fun to watch come the 3pm eastern (4:30 Newfoundland) deadline.
It's because of days like today that I started using Twitter, as most of my favorite reporters use it for faster updates. I never post, but always follow. In Sports, I follow TSN Insiders Bob McKenzie & Darren Dreger, the ALWAYS entertaining Chris Botta, Islanders fan and the guy who runs the fantastic Islanders insider blog called Islanders Point Blank. Last year when I thought that the site would go down, I wrote TSN in the hopes that they could find a spot for Chris on their team. That didn't happen, but he did land on his feet at NHL Fanhouse. I follow Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, but I tend to not take much of what he says seriously, as it seems to be a lot more speculative rather than fact. I also follow the cutie Katie Strang, who is the beat reporter for the Islanders for Newsday. Her info is usually ROCK SOLID, as most of it comes directly from the team rather than those infamous internet "sources". Right now I just caught a trade for Skoula to NJ for a Middle Round Pick. I like how the tweets tend to be far less formal than written reports.
Finally, when trade deadline day is over, I like to sit down in NHL 10 and update my roster to see how the team performs in the digital realm. Most times, I've noticed, the players that I pick up generally don't work out so well. I guess that shows how different a digital GM and digital player likely is compared to his real life counterpart.
See you tomorrow when we discuss the actual TRADES!!! :D