Without getting into the arguments that the following statement inevitably brings, I would say that Ovechkin, Crosby, Brodeur, Kiprusoff, Luongo, & Thornton may be the only current stars that have the untouchable label pinned to their jerseys. However, in my keeper league, only Ovechkin and Crosby have not been traded in the last twelve months. Therefore I now delve into the intricacies of the blockbuster trade.
I remember exactly how I felt earlier this season when I sent Dany Heatley packing in a trade that landed me Marc Andre Fleury. In my on-going efforts to create an elite keeper 6-pack of young talent, I knew I needed to lock up a goaltender with great potential, and I also knew it was going to cost me something in return. It came down to St Louis or Heatley, and since I was the first to ever ?draft? little Marty in our league, therefore showing belief when nobody else would, I still hold onto a belief that he owes me something. I remember the minutes leading up to the trade and the absolute sickness I felt in the pit of my stomach when I actually thought about what I was considering. I also remember the surge of euphoria when I said ?F*** It ? I?m doing it? and then remember the god complex that descended down on me as I sat back in awe of my own powers over people. The fact that I could send Dany Heatley to the Canterbury Cream Ale (a team in my league) with merely the click of a button somehow entrenched my power as an owner, and solidified my place as top-flight wheeler-dealer in our pool. I also remember the night sweats that followed, along with the creeping doubts as Heatley had a four-point game the next night, while Fleury got pulled after allowing four goals on 12 shots. Flash forward to today, with the Penguins in the midst of a 13 game unbeaten streak, and I would have to say I am glad I made the deal when I did.
I guess what I am trying to say is that blockbuster deals just happen. You can sit there and try to come up with one for hours, and nothing will materialize. Other times, while discussing an Avery for Plekanec deal, you will suddenly find yourself including Pronger and Kovalchuk in the deal with a return request of Luongo and Sundin. It happens just like that, and most of the time, the decision is made just like that. I would say that most, if not all, big trades fall through if they are considered and/or digested overnight. This is why the feelings that come with these trades are so strong, and also why a big trade can revitalize your focus on your team, even if the trade doesn?t end up working in your favor immediately. Be patient, as I was with Fleury, and generally big name players have a way of making things work out for you.
Don?t be afraid to pull the trigger on a blockbuster if you feel it is right for your team. Ignore what others in your league say, and keep faith that you made the right decision. Personally, I have been involved in four or five big trades during my seventeen years in my current league, and while the hoopla and emotions that surround them are extreme, the fact is none of these trades have directly impacted my placing for that season. I can however count several ?minor? deals that I have done that had a great impact on my team in very positive ways. Unfortunately, I can also count several that bent me over and made me yell for mercy. Bottom line is to do what is right, or at least what you feel is right for your team, as it is this very aspect, the ultimate care and control, that makes us all love this wacky game so much.
In a related, but not quite fantasy relevant department, I had a thought regarding the current NHL schedule that I want to share. Why is it that the NHL is the only league that puts any real emphasis on ?divisional rivals?, and in turn, how could the other main three sports possibly be successful by not following that plan? You guessed it ? because like most things the NHL does; it absolutely stinks and doesn?t make sense. What Bettman and his boys are failing to realize is that by focusing only on the cities that have teams with his division heavy scheduling, he is in fact alienating the bulk of the fans that follow the league. Perhaps people in Edmonton and Calgary love the eight games between the two teams, but I?m willing to bet that pretty much everyone else in the free world doesn?t really care. In fact, I would even be wiling to wager that the majority of the fans in those two cities would prefer to see every team each season, rather than the current situation. My point is that in the grand scheme of things, very few people actually fall into the category of rivalry lovers, and therefore, the current schedule is being geared towards the minority. I am willing to stake my reputation (what little there is left) on the fact that people in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, and Thunder Bay, along with every little hick town in between, are just a little bit sick & tired of tuning into the same old double header every weekend. It is almost as if we are all Bill Murray, caught in a hockey version of Groundhog Day.