Trim the Branch, Spare the Tree (or: A POST ABOUT HOCKEY… BECAUSE.)

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Sometimes, you have to clear out the tree for it to grow….

The good people at Hydro-One will be seen clearing and trimming trees all over the small town of Smiths Falls for the next little while. They’re doing so to make sure that when the foliage comes back, the power wires and such won’t be in danger of being damaged by strong winds tangling them in any wayward branches. Coincidentally, today is also the last day for any trade movement in the NHL. These two things happen to match up a bit better than you would think.

Before we start, remember this: Trade deadline days in the NHL are almost always boring. This has been a near-universal truth since the start of the post-lockout (not the last one, but the one before it) era.

The days of gunslinger GM’s with wheelin’-and-dealin’ attitudes are well behind the league as, by some modern miracle (or curse), those with mostly level heads have prevailed. The people in charge have recognized that the best way to get to the top is not through hap-hazard deals for stars in exchange for whatever capital is available, but by carefully trimming your teams into the shape and direction you want them to grow. (See the connection? See it? Totally not convoluted! Everything’s coming up Fizzlebeef!)

While those at TSN may dread a Deadline Day snoozefest like we saw today, fans of the Ottawa Senators should be happy that one Bryan Murray made a low-key acquisition designed to simultaneously prune and groom his team before the day’s pomp and circumstance ended with a dull, wet thud at three o’clock.

It stands to note that this trade, while not a world beater by any means, is one that should give both fanbases hope for the future.

Ben Bishop is a still kind-of young goalie who was come up admirably for the Sens since they acquired him last year for a second round draft pick. He was given a chance to platoon with Goalie of the Future Robin Lehner when first-stringer Craig Anderson went down with an ankle sprain. Problem is, Anderson is expected back soon and Lehner has proven himself capable of Major League duty. For all the boasting about depth and strength at the position, the front office had too many holes to address and he was the biggest chip in their stack.

Cory Conacher, an undrafted, under-sized college forward, surged into the limelight on a once-again underachieving Lightning franchise this year. He’s second in scoring amongst rookies at 24 points and looked to be at least part of the Tampa nucleus for the next few years. Problem: his hot start has petered into a slump as the year progressed and that never bodes well for you when a team has several equally young, talented players at the same position.

By way of the path of least resistance, they made a trade that gives a goal-needy team someone to boost their offensive styling and another team with a revolving door of mediocre options in net a chance to stop some goals against from reaching the tally sheet. Both

A lopsided tree does not grow much up as it does down and out. A tree that is left to it’s own devices will overgrow and become a hazard to things near it. Both of these “trees” needed to be cut back at certain areas in order for the rest of the team to flourish.

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