Hello, everyone. It’s Dan Mount with another edition of Three Periods. This week was an interesting one in the National Hockey League as we saw two Ontario rivals make a blockbuster trade. We also got the rumor mill going about what teams and venues might be hosting next year’s Winter Classic and/or Stadium Series games. Finally, we salute former New Jersey Devils goaltending great Martin Brodeur.
As always, you can reach out to me on Twitter @DanMountSports if you have any comments or concerns. I love answering any feedback given.
Let’s drop the puck on this edition of Three Periods.
The week got off to a flying start as the Toronto Maple Leafs pulled the trigger and traded defenseman and captain Dion Phaneuf to their provincial rival the Ottawa Senators. It was a nine-player deal that involved him, Matt Fratin, and prospects Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey going to Canada’s capital in return for Jared Cowan, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, prospect Tobias Lindberg and a 2017 second-round pick.
The trade has allowed the Leafs to clear out a ton of salary cap space and will allow the team to make a serious run at Tampa Bay Lightning center and Markham, Ontario native Steven Stamkos. The superstar will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and contract negotiations between him and general manager Steve Yzerman could get a little contentious.
Phaneuf may not have been the greatest captain in Toronto history, but I think he took a lot of undue criticism because of the constant troubles of the front office. He may have been overpaid, but the Leafs management did a lousy job of drafting and surrounding him with any talent. They made the playoffs one year in his tenure, but were on the right path thanks to Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello.
The deal had to be done, though. Hopefully both teams will be better for it.
We’re almost upon the next round of Stadium Series outdoor games in the coming weeks, and that means we’re already getting ideas of where these matchups will take place next season.
It looks like the St. Louis Blues will finally get an outdoor game that they should have been in for a long time. St. Louis looks like it will be playing at Busch Stadium and the Flyers and Penguins will be playing at Beaver Stadium at Penn State University in Happy Valley.
Toronto also might get an outdoor game because it will be the 100th anniversary of the Maple Leafs franchise. BMO Field would be a good destination for the game. I also think Winnipeg and Montreal ought to have a chance to get an outdoor game because Canadian hockey fans would eat it up.
I do think the league should try to limit it to two or three outdoor games a season. The Winter Classic, The Heritage Classic (a game in Canada) and maybe one other game. Last year had too many games. I know the owners want to raise hockey related revenues, but people will get sick of these outdoor matchups if there are too many of them.
Finally, let’s end with some praise for New Jersey Devils goaltending legend Martin Brodeur. The soon-to-be Hall of Fame goalie had his number 30 retired on Tuesday. “St. Marty” as Devils fans called him took home three Stanley Cups, won four Vezina Trophies and was one of the best in the game during the mid-90s through the 2000s.
There are some detractors that will dismiss his honors because the Devils employed the defensive-minded neutral zone trap that limits the other team’s offensive chances. However, he stopped more than his fair share of chances and posted plenty of shutouts.
I’m an admitted New York Rangers fan, and I’ve made the jokes about him and hated the fact he won plenty of games against my team. However, you can’t deny what he did for the game. He is in the conversation for being one of the best of all-time with Patrick Roy, Ken Dryden and others.
He was the icon in New Jersey sports, as pointed out in this great piece by my colleague at The Hockey Writers Neal McHale.
Tweet of the week: I’m not going necessarily with a tweet, but another great piece from the Players Tribune about Milan Lucic of the Los Angeles Kings returning to Boston to face the Bruins.
Lucic is an agitator, but he was loved by the B’s fans. He does miss the city, but he has been a big boost to the Kings, who routed the Bruins 9-2.
That’s it for this week. Let me know if you have anything to add for a topic and I’ll feature it. Take care, everyone.
Dan Mount is a Producer for Spadora on Sports and writers for The Hockey Writers and the Watertown Daily Times. His blog can be found at SpadoraOnSports.com.