Last week’s hockey headlines were once again dominated by the ongoing collective bargaining talks. With every talking point, sound bite and cancelled meeting being debated and analyzed in agonizing detail, it almost feels like the days of talking about actual hockey are a distant memory.
But before we move into full-on lockout countdown mode, let’s take one last look back at the 2012 offseason. Despite the spectre of an expiring CBA overshadowing everything, it was still a summer full of wheeling of dealing for most of the league’s teams.
Here’s a look back at some of the winners and losers from the NHL offseason.
Winner: Carolina Hurricanes – The Jordan Staal trade has lead the front office to realize that the fortune cookie message reading “Go out and acquire the all-star brother of that player you already had” makes a lot more sense when you flip it over and notice that the other side says “Unless it’s Tomas Kaberle”.
Losers: Nashville Predators – While it’s always inspirational when the franchise’s star player believes the team is ready to soar upwards in the standings, some teammates are starting to worry that that’s not the actual meaning of that “Flyers 4ever” tattoo Shea Weber keeps trying to hide from everyone.
Winners: Montreal Canadiens – Assuming the lockout wipes out the first 70 games of next season, may finally get a full year out of Andrei Markov.
Loser: Tim Thomas – The Bruins’ lovable franchise player can’t shake the feeling that everyone has been acting weird around him ever since that day a giggling Tuukka Rask casually asked him what his Facebook password was.
Winners: Columbus Blue Jackets - Achieved their goal in the Rick Nash trade by acquiring multiple players who could immediately step in to play on the team’s top line, although in fairness they also could have accomplished that by randomly signing tenants from the local seniors’ home.
Loser: New York Islanders – Despite a handful of roster moves, still can’t reasonably be expected to compete in an Atlantic Division where every other team has the unfair advantage of getting to play multiple games against the New York Islanders.
Winner: Brendan Shanahan – Has been having a great time going to all the CBA negotiating sessions and yelling at everyone else about how the numbers they come up with aren’t good enough for a change.
Losers: Buffalo Sabres – Free agent Shane Doan’s apparent refusal to sign a $30 million offer from the club means the team is still looking for a veteran mentor who can help the team’s younger players learn how to deal with having laughable cap-killing contracts.
Winners: Toronto Maple Leafs – Have kept essentially the same roster that’s best known for being incapable of winning a game after the all-star break, which is brilliant since this season won’t have one.
Loser: Cody Ceci – Ottawa’s first round draft pick has been a Senator fan since the day he was born, which doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on him but does make me feel really old and kind of hate him.
Winners: Phoenix Coyotes – The upcoming lockout will finally result in the franchise being profitable, assuming it lasts long enough that the state of Arizona breaks off from the southwest United States and floats its way up to Canada.
Losers: Dallas Stars – The Republican campaign platform calls for massive reductions to Medicare for US residents under the age of 55, which will be bad news for one-third of their top line.
Winners: Minnesota Wild - The signing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter means long-suffering Wild fans will finally get to see the team win something, when Craig Leipold accepts the 2013 Oscar for “best performance by an owner pretending that player salaries are some sort of problem”.
Losers: Detroit Red Wings – May not have added any big names but also didn’t lose anyone important, according to your Red Wing fan friend as he casually scans the “trade”, “draft” and “free agency” section of the transactions page before arriving at “retirements” and immediately turning into the guy from Munch’s The Scream.
Winner: Gary Bettman – Is obviously keeping his sense of humour through this whole lockout thing, since whenever you ask him how much of his $8M salary he’s going to roll back in the new CBA he just laughs hysterically for hours.