February 29, 2008 - 9:00 AM
In the wake of the trading deadline and two days off, I have a lot on my mind to unload this morning as the Sabres prep for tonight's game against the Canadiens.
---Even before we saw Steve Bernier play Wednesday night, you had to like what Darcy Regier got for Brian Campbell. But Regier took the deal from the Sharks at 11:30 a.m. If he had waited closer to the 3 p.m. deadline, could he have squeezed even more from San Jose or someone else? Look at the haul Atlanta got from Pittsburgh in exchange for Marian Hossa just under the wire.
---Speaking of Hossa, how sick do you think the Pens feel that he hurt his knee in his first game Thursday and will be out at least a week? Yikes. How about Brad Richards giving the Stars five assists in his debut Thursday?
---Less than two months later, the Ice Bowl already has a remember-them feel. Both goal scorers in regulation (Campbell and Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong) were dealt at the deadline.
---Former Campbell defense partner Jaro Spacek had an interesting thought Wednesday about how Campbell will find it tougher in the Western Conference. Sure enough, in his first game Wednesday in Columbus, Campbell (left) got mugged by BlueJackets center Rick Nash and new defense partner Douglas Murray had to jump in and rescue him.
---The Sabres' three-year offer was a joke and Campbell's tears were genuine but it's hard for me to get all misty-eyed when a guy simply can't take $17.75 million. Especially when he keeps insisting the players' union didn't put any pressure on him. Right. All the tears we saw the last two weeks were the sign of a tormented guy getting squeezed on both sides, from his own emotions and the demands of his union and agent.
---Wow, was that Hockey News cover with Campbell in a Sharks jersey prophetic or what? Couple weeks ago in New York restaurant, Campbell ran into some Sharks players and old buddy Joe Thornton joked with him to come over and meet his new teammates. Wishful thinking at the time.
---The Sabres got manhandled in December in Anaheim and LA and their toughness was certainly in question. No questions anymore, especially with what we saw in the late going of Wednesday's slugfest against Nashville. Adding Bernier certainly helps in that area and so does Nolan Pratt's regular turn on defense. And how would you like to be playing against a fourth line of Adam Mair, Patrick Kaleta and Andrew Peters? Keep your head up!
---We don't see the Predators much at all, in person or on TV. Fine with me. What a bunch of chippy hacks.
---Speaking of the Ice Bowl, it's the last time we saw Maxim Afinogenov on the ice. Isn't it kind of odd to you that he's suddenly healthy two days after the deadline? The way he'd been playing before he got hurt, the Sabres would have almost certainly been looking to unload his bloated contract.
(Photo: Associated Press)