Originally I was going to talk this week about who I thought would reel in the big fish at the upcoming trade deadline on Wednesday. You might see some big names move like Edmonton's Ryan Whitney or maybe Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester, and there are definitely teams like the Boston Bruins or Chicago Blackhawks that I think will look to get deeper in certain areas before the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But something strange happened last week.
All of the big fish got traded already -- and they're all in Pittsburgh.
If you had told me eight days ago that the Pittsburgh Penguins would be sitting here with Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray, I would have said you were nuts, but the Penguins found a way to do it. The good general managers always find a way to do it, and Ray Shero's now done it a couple of times -- not only this season, but in past years with Bill Guerin and Marian Hossa. One of the main reasons Shero can make moves like this is that players know what kind of an organization the Penguins are and they want to be a part of it. Iginla wanted to go to Pittsburgh.
The Penguins were already probably the best team in the NHL before they made any of these trades -- at least if the last month is any indication. Pittsburgh has won 15 games in a row now, and that's not an accident. With these acquisitions, though, it's hard to think there's any other team that could be picked as the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup this June.
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That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.