The hockey trade deadline has now come and gone. This tends to be right up there with baseball for excitement in terms of deadlines, because football's comes at Week 6 and the NBA has a stupid soft salary cap that nobody can figure out. Hockey has a hard cap and comes at the perfect time. Here's my look at who won and who lost:
Pittsburgh Penguins- The Penguins were aggressive again at the deadline, as they believe they can win the Cup. While the Devils stood still, Pittsburgh added Marian Hossa at little cost to them, plus Hal Gill from Toronto. The knock on Hossa is that he played on all those Ottawa Senators teams that choked in the playoffs. Is he tough enough to be Pittsburgh's missing piece? That will determine just how good this deal was.
Washington Capitals- The Southeast is so weak that it pushed Washington into thinking it was a buyer, and it's hard to argue that now with the haul the Caps brought in. Washington adds forward Sergei Federov and goalie Cristobal Huet, plus Vancouver's Mike Cooke. The Capitals probably won't win the Cup, but nor will they be an easy out.
Dallas Stars- Brad Richards was a great move. The 2004 Conn Smythe winner should give Dallas the offense it needs to help Marty Turco put the playoff demons behind him and lead the Stars deep into the playoffs. Dallas has become a serious threat to win the Cup, one of several in the West.
Eastern Canada: What were the Habs, Sens and Leafs doing? Toronto was handcuffed by Mats Sundin's selfish refusal to allow himself to be rented for pieces that can help the Leafs. Aside to Sundin now that the deadline has passed: Free agency implies that you can sign with anyone after the year, you could have easily re-upped with a better Toronto team. Montreal forgot it was a buyer and dumped Huet to Washington, while picking up nobody. That'll finish the Habs off. As for Ottawa, the Sens added grit with Martin Lapointe, but they needed to solve the goaltending problems, which they failed to do. Not a good day for Canadian teams in the East.
New Jersey Devils: While the Penguins got aggressive, the Devils did nothing, watching Pittsburgh establish itself as a contender. New Jersey's got a strong team in place already, but are they really that confident that this year's version is that much better than the one the Senators waxed last year in the second round?
Detroit Red Wings: Ditto for the Wings, who watched Anaheim, Dallas, Minnesota and San Jose all improve their chances of sending Detroit home with another disaster. When you're as dominant as the Wings have been, you don't think you need much, but everything starts again in April, and Detroit usually folds in April.
My time is up. You've all been great. Enjoy Jack Ingram.