An article in a major newspaper discusses the NHL trade deadline. It marvels at the alacrity and effectiveness of Penguins' GM Ray Shero. Which it then compares to the "dithering" of Dean Lombardi. The article wonders how Lombardi will be able to land a big fish when he's not willing to deal Brayden Schenn. And then concludes that Ales Hemsky is not going to be had for "mid-level" players.
What, you thought it might be Helene Elliott?
Well, it was, at 9:07PM Monday night. The strange thing is, an hour earlier, at 8:17PM, another article that fits that description was posted by Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
In the postlockout trade deadline, where most deals are usually filtered through the salary cap, National Hockey League general managers tend to act just like Christmas shoppers approaching the big day. Some are methodical and organized and get their work done early, especially if they are pursuing that season’s hottest commodity, which this year happens to be defencemen. Seven changed hands in a 72-hour span last week, and two more went Monday when the Pittsburgh Penguins shipped playmaker Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for defenceman Matt Niskanen and power forward James Neal. [...] [T]his year more than any other it appears as if GMs are collectively moving fast.
Thankfully, there will always be some late-comers to the party, and usually you can count on Dean Lombardi of the Los Angeles Kings to dither right to the end.
Lombardi is a notorious conservative in a bit of a spot. [...] The Kings have had a wild up-and-down season, and [...] the sense is they need to do something significant soon in order to send a message of urgency to their own players and to their fan base.
Early on they were linked to talks about the Calgary Flames’ Jarome Iginla. Didn’t happen and, with the Flames playing so well, it isn’t going to either.
Neal’s regular centre, the Stars’ Brad Richards, is also highly sought after. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent sidelined with concussion symptoms. Ideally, Richards would like to stay in Dallas if the Stars can ever sort out their ownership issues [...]. Dallas is fading badly without Richards, and got skunked on its swing through Western Canada. Do the Stars make him available? Even if they did, who would pay top dollar for a rental trying to recover from an injury that lingers? Tough call for any manager on either side of the deal.
The Edmonton Oilers’ Ales Hemsky is getting a lot of buzz and for good reason. He is a skilled playmaker, someone who played the best hockey of his career on a line with Ryan Smyth, who just happens to be in the Kings’ employ.
But if Lombardi wasn’t prepared to trade hot junior prospect Braydon Coburn [he means Brayden Schenn, obviously] for either Iginla or Richards, why would he swap him for Hemsky, who is a good player, but not in their category?
Hemsky is marginally in play, which is to say, if someone offers the Oilers extraordinary value for him, he’s gone. But if teams are offering mid-level players, prospects and/or picks, well, Edmonton doesn’t feel any pressing need to usher him out of town either.
Trading deadline gets general managers going, or in case of Kings, not going - Helene Elliott - latimes.com
A general manager identifies a need for a productive left winger. He decides to trade a valuable asset to fill that need but gives his team a better chance to go deep in the playoffs this season and in the future. Congratulations, Ray Shero of the Pittsburgh Penguins. What, you thought it might be Kings GM Dean Lombardi shaking off his paralysis by analysis?
While the Kings sit outside the top eight in the West and Lombardi dithers about filling a hole he recognized last summer, Shero's Penguins on Monday acquired power forward James Neal — a three-time 20-goal scorer — and defenseman Matt Niskanen from the salary-dumping Dallas Stars for defenseman Alex Goligoski. [...]
The Stars, hamstrung financially while seeking a new owner, get dollars off their books and a puck-moving defenseman. The next question is how long they'll wait to move Brad Richards, who's earning $7.8 million and is eligible for unrestricted free agency. In a hockey sense, the Stars can't afford to lose a franchise player, but financially they can't afford to keep him. [...]
And so continued the buildup to next Monday's noon NHL trade deadline. The trends: Defensemen are going at a premium and teams aren't afraid to move so-called cornerstone players [...].
The Kings, who were interested in Neal but not at the cost of a top defenseman, have looked at Florida's David Booth and Edmonton's Ales Hemsky but have made it known they won't trade prospect Brayden Schenn.
It would be surprising if Lombardi does anything bigger than his usual and tedious mid-range deals.
One could (and, I'm sure, will) counter that any article covering the trade deadline is going to touch on these points. That's kinda sorta true, in the sense that you'd probably mention the Pens trade and the fact that Richards and Hemsky are, or might be, in play. One might also, independently, notice that defensemen are "going at a premium."
But it strikes me as much less likely that two writers would, independently, decide to write an article specifically about Dean Lombardi's "dithering," and to structure that article by beginning with a description of a GM's methodical efficiency, then comparing it to Dean Lombardi's aforementioned "dithering", and following that with a discussion of which players are in play but unavailable to Lombardi because he's not willing to part with Brayden Schenn.
I wonder if Eric Duhatschek would be offended or complimented. I also wonder if he's in the Hockey Hall of Fame.