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Jim Cerny's Rink Rap


February 1, 2010 6:26 PM

Hockey Day Helps Alter Course of Several Teams

Darryl Sutter.jpgCanada's Hockey Day on Saturday was its usual great spectacle, and made for great viewing on The NHL Network for this particular US scribe.

But intriguingly each NHL contest played in Canada that day set forth a chain of events that rocked individual teams and the entire league the folllowing day.

First Ottawa continued its impressive climb up the Eastern Conference standings with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory against the Canadiens. Things are going so well for the Sens, whose win was their ninth in a row, that even Alex Kovalev dented the back of the net against his old club.

The bigger news, though, was Montreal losing its top goal scorer, Mike Cammalleri, to a knee injury. For a team that can be hot-and-cold offensively, seeing their 26-goal scorer go down was a huge blow for the Habs. On Sunday the other shoe dropped, as the Canadiens found out Cammalleri will miss 6-8 weeks of action, a devestating blow for a team battling for a playoff spot.

Next up was Vancouver and Toronto at Air Canada Centre, and Brian Burke's boys must have thought they were dreaming, racing out to a 3-0 lead and chasing Roberto Luongo to the bench in the first period. Dream turned into nightmare, however, as the Canucks scored once in the second and then erupted for four goals in the third to defeat the Leafs 5-3, with Alex Burrows and the Sedin twins taking starring turns.

That collapse was the final straw for Burke who went out and engineered two major trades less than 24 hours later, picking up Dion Phaneuf from Calgary and J-S Giguere from Anaheim in a pair of deals that saw ten players switch jerseys.

Of course Calgary GM Darryl Sutter (above photo) was front and center alongside Burke because it was he---mere hours after his club thrashed Edmonton 6-1 to stem their recent losing ways in the finale of Hockey Day in Canada---who took the leap and traded away the 24 year-old Phaneuf, a First Team NHL All-Star just two years ago.

That pleasing victory over the Oilers did not slow down Sutter's plan to shake up his club. Not only did he ship Phaneuf and two others to Toronto for Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Ian White, and Jamal Mayers, Sutter was right on the verge of casting Olli Jokinen away to New York for Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins, but something---rumored to be either Sutter's asking for Ryan Callahan instead of Higgins or Kotalik's refusal to waive his partial no-trade clause---upended the deal.

As of today the Flames and Rangers still have been unable to pull off the trade, or some variation thereof, leaving Sutter with an underperforming star who now quite likely will be a pouting, underperforming star when Jokinen is forced to dress for Calagary at home against the Flyers tonight.

What a mess.

And speaking of blown trades, how about the Oilers, Calgary's victim in the last game Saturday night? They've been looking to move defenseman Sheldon Souray now that he is healthy again. Then Souray goes out and seeks to exact revenge against Jarome Iginla on Saturday for the Calgary captain's injury-inducing hit on the Edmonton defenseman earlier in the season. Souray and Iginla drop the gloves, settle their score in a fairly impressive bout, and in the process Souray breaks his hand.

Cancel those trade discussions!

The Oilers can't catch a break, though in this case, I guess they did, only literally.

One very memorable day on Saturday that bled over into Sunday, with ramifications running for the remainder of the season.

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