I hate the NHL trade deadline. Abhor it, detest it, despise it, loathe it — pick your verb.The trade deadline brings together all that is worst about following professional team sports in the 21st century. Crazy rumours, bloated TV panels, pompous talking heads, hysterical fans, general managers under absurd pressure to deliver and columnists (at least those who have to write on deadline) downing a bottle of Johnny Walker before lunchtime to keep from flinging themselves off the Jacques Cartier Bridge over the sheer inanity of the entire exercise.And at the end of the day, what do you have? Roughly as much actual news content as you could consume with your friendly daily newspaper in five minutes Tuesday morning.Mercifully, I don’t have to write tomorrow, so I’ll be reading John Richardson’s biography of Pablo Picasso, clearing ice from my driveway, going grocery shopping or listening to the Kent Nagano recording of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Anything at all to avoid watching the sports networks or following along on Twitter as fans with the IQ of a turnip threaten to tar and feather the GM because he somehow failed to acquire Connor McDavid for Charles Hudon and a draft pick.I’m really puzzled by all the interest in Ottawa’s castoffs. How do fans convince themselves that Matt Duchene, Mark Stone or Ryan Dzingel might be the missing piece that leads to a 25th Stanley Cup parade — when Duchene, Stone and Dzingel were all part of the worst-in-NHL Ottawa Senators? If they’re so good, why were the Senators so bad?
Matt Duchene was traded Friday from the Ottawa Senators to the Columbus Blue Jackets..
Claus Andersen /
And while Ottawa has the worst ownership in the NHL, GM Pierre Dorion is surely smart enough not to trade a player like Duchene or Stone to Montreal.If you give it a little sober thought, you realize that a rental player this time of year is seldom the factor that leads to a Stanley Cup and the price is almost inevitably too high. The Canadiens went through it went Thomas Vanek, who was very good in the regular season, then faded through the 2014 playoffs until he flat quit in the conference final against the Rangers.Despite the Saturday-night debacle in Toronto, the Canadiens have a good thing going this season. They’re building the right way, making solid moves, ignoring the hysteria. They’re young, they’re talented, they have cap room, they have more prospects and draft picks on the way. The future is bright, the future is where a Stanley Cup might be won.To give up any part of that for a rental would be daft, especially in a season when you have a super team within your division blocking the way. That would be the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yes, the Canadiens might beat the Bolts in a seven-game series, but do you like their chances enough to splurge at the trade deadline? If you do, maybe you should stop paying visits to the cannabis store because you’re starting to dream in Technicolor.Marc Bergevin hasn’t made a misstep in the past year. He’s unlikely to make one now, so the best thing you can do for yourself before the 3 p.m. trade deadline is to tune out, go for a walk, concentrate on your job, cuddle up with someone you love.Let the Blue Jackets or even the Maple Leafs make the headlines. They don’t have 24 Stanley Cup banners dangling from the ceiling.***La Presse last week carried a report stating that the Stephen Bronfman group looking to bring Major League Baseball back to this city was considering a proposal that would see the Tampa Bay Rays split “home games” between their Florida home and Montreal.Our guess is that the report was based on a government source privy to exploratory talks — because it’s hard to imagine anyone on the baseball side floating such an idea. First of all, Bronfman and his partners are clearly committed to bringing a team back to Montreal — not half a team. Neither Tampa nor Montreal is going to build a ballpark with any combination of public and private money if that stadium is going to host 40 home games a season.In these parts, the mere suggestion of a team splitting its home games brings back horrid memories of the Puerto Rico/Montreal experiment, when Major League Baseball had the Expos in one instance playing in Puerto Rico and then flying to Seattle for their next series. That was a disaster, as any such split proposal would be.Fans in both cities would be frustrated, the Players Association would hate it and the question of what city would get playoff games would cause all sorts of problems.There are going to be a lot of reports floating around until the Expos actually return or we learn it’s not going to happen, just as there are a lot of trade rumours in hockey. In both cases, it’s probably best to take it all with a grain of salt, sit back — and wait for something to actually firstname.lastname@example.org/jacktodd46Related