The NHL Trade deadline can be a shameful time for hockey fans. We shut ourselves off from the rest of the world, unshaven, unkempt, and smelling rather suspect. Our bloodshot eyes stay glued to the computer screen, or to the television, or whichever portable electronic device will be feeding us the news of the day. Loved ones struggle to pry our attention back to reality.
Should one find themselves scheduled to work on Deadline Day, drastic measures may be required. No sick days left? Hurl yourself down a flight of stairs, throw a pillow under your freshly-broken foot, and park yourself in front of the television.
Okay, maybe this sounds a bit extreme, and it is, but the NHL Trade Deadline is one of the most hotly anticipated days of the hockey season.
It's a day where your team could make the jump from pretender to contender.
It's a day when we cross our fingers, unable to watch for fear that our favorite players end up on the chopping block, or that GM's will make an irreparable mistake.
There's nothing as exciting as a rapid-fire, anything goes deadline day. Similarly, there's nothing quite so crushing as a quiet, uneventful, disappointing deadline day.
Even if your team has no means to complete a beneficial deal, or no needs to speak of, the prospect of going all day without making a single move is always a bit heartbreaking. It's like waking up on Christmas morning to find socks under the tree—even if you really need socks. We always secretly want our team to hop in on the fun.
When Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli recently warned the fans not to expect a busy day of dealing from the B's, it was only natural to feel a bit let down. Not because the Bruins necessarily should be dealing, or that they could if they wanted to, but because no fan wants to feel left out.
What should be the Bruins' focus on deadline day?
The Bruins' play as of late has been inconsistent and uninspired, and has led many to believe that a trade could be just what this team needs to return to their November/December form. However, as Chiarelli has pointed out, a weak market means limitations as to what can be done. With so many teams still in the hunt, the list of big names available may be depressingly short.
This may not be a bad thing for the black and gold.
If coach Claude Julien has taught us one thing, it is the principle of patience, and of having faith that the system in place will turn itself around. Last season, after suffering back-to-back losses at home to kick off the first round of the playoffs, many fans threw in the towel. During the regular season, Julien was confronted with the prospect of losing his job on more than one occasion. Instead of making a drastic change out of panic, Julien, Chiarelli and the Bruins stuck to their guns, kept true to the system, and found a way to win.
Their faith paid off.
Yes, the Bruins need to find a way to raise their competitive level. Yes, a minor deal to shore up the back end or add some veteran leadership on the wing would be a welcome addition. But should the deadline come and go without a Boston blockbuster, it will not be the end of the world.
This team is going through a bit of a rough-patch at the moment. But mortgaging the future for a superstar like Rick Nash is not the answer.
The Bruins are young. They have as good a chance to repeat as any team in recent memory. Their dominant play early on has earned them the ability to struggle now without falling from atop the standings. With plenty of time to right the ship before the playoffs, a slow deadline day could be a good thing for the B's.