In less than an hour the biggest free agent ever re-signed with his old team, and there were two blockbuster trades.
During a 2011 NHL playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins, iconic ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ play-by-play man Bob Cole exclaimed ‘Everything is happening!” during a frantic series of play.
It has become a go-to saying for hockey fans, especially on Twitter, during periods of excitement or big news. It can definitely be applied to what happened on Wednesday afternoon.
While many fans, pundits, and media sat and waited for big news to start happening on Friday during the official start of free agency, several teams swooped in and made a series of blockbuster moves. Each move on its own could have carried a news cycle for a day, but three came in such rapid succession that it nearly “broke the internet”, as they say.
Here’s a timeline of what went down on Wednesday:
10:31 a.m. ET — The Blue Jackets announce they have signed defenseman Seth Jones to a six-year contract extension.
It could have passed for the biggest news of the day.
2:25 p.m. ET — A server crashes and TheHockeyNews.com goes down.
3:17 p.m. ET — TSN’s Bob McKenzie first tweets that the Oilers and Devils are discussing a Taylor Hall trade and says it “could be imminent.”
3:33 p.m. ET — THN.com comes back to life.
3:51 p.m. ET — Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos tweets that the Canadiens could move P.K. Subban “as early as today.”
3:57 p.m. ET — TSN’s McKenzie tweets that Steven Stamkos is staying in Tampa Bay.
4:31 p.m. ET — THN’s Ken Campbell confirms McKenzie’s report and tweets that it’s an eight yesr deal worth $68 million.
5:09 p.m. ET — Stamkos tweets he is “excited to be back” for eight more years.
Between 3:17 p.m. and 4:10 p.m., a span of 53 minutes, there were two trades, involving four players with $249 million worth of contracts moved, and one contract extension to the most sought after free agent, maybe ever.
The big TV networks that run eight or more hours of wall-to-wall free agency coverage on July 1 only wish they had that much news to work with.
There is no such thing as an off-season in hockey. And there’s still plenty of news to go around on July 1. Here’s our list of the Top 30 free agents (minus Stamkos) to get you ready for the big day.