Proteau’s Blog: Angels and Devils

• There’s no doubt Nashville’s deal for Peter Forsberg had the most impact of all trades made this season (and before you Canucks fans start e-mailing me about Roberto Luongo, I’m talking about deals done during the season, not prior to it). But a close runner-up is Darryl Sutter’s acquisition of Craig Conroy.

Prior to his second stint with Calgary, Conroy had five goals and 16 points in 52 games with the L.A. Kings. In the 16 games he’s played since the Flames brought him back, Conroy has five goals – including two Tuesday night to help lead Calgary to a rare road win – and 14 points.

And to think, all Sutter had to give up for Conroy was Jamie Lundmark and a pair of draft picks. It’s not quite grand larceny, but it’s not far off from it, either.

• Saints preserve us – the New Jersey Devils have allowed 13 goals and 102 shots during their current three-game losing streak! Does Lou Lamoriello know about this? Has the competition committee been summoned to the Swamp for an emergency meeting? Is Martin Brodeur’s back unable to carry this team any longer?

• I haven’t written about pathetic NHL attendance numbers in a while, but I have to say this: Nine thousand, one hundred and eighteen people last night showed up in Chicago to watch the Hawks beat the Kings. That’s 9,118. That’s announced attendance. When will the United Center be declared a disaster zone?

• This just in about the Penguins’ arena negotiations: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake me when the brinkmanship and assorted head games are over.

Adam, you should know better than to declare anything about the impact of trade deadline moves at this stage. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and the pudding being prepared is a playoff run. As for Conroy, Sutter should’ve given Conroy his due the first time around. He recognized the error of his ways and brought him back. Let’s not go overboard with praise for Sutter– he got himself into this boat. And the Pens. Yes, Plan B will prevail. If you live long enough, you know most of your preferred options never pan out, so most of your life is Plan B anyway. 😉
– Barbara S.

I can’t help but notice that talking about the Devils seems to hit a nerve with you. I am just curious what reasoning you have for it (and I now there seems to eb alot of reasons out there for hating the Devils). It seems ot me that people feel the same type of way about the Patriots in the NFL. Two solidly run organizations who place team philosophy ahead of all else. That seems to win Stanley Cups Lombardi Trophies. Your sarcasm oozes out of my screen when talking about the Devils.
– Joe

Regarding the feedback about Sutter not deserving all of Adam’s praise: I have no doubt that Sutter does everything he can for the organization. Look at the Stuart/Primeau trade, and also the deadline deal that landed us defenceman David Hale. If the TSN scouting report on David Hale turns out to be accurate, the Flames will have a defenceman who should be nearly suitable to replace Robyn Regehr should he not be re-signed in the Kiprusoff-Iginla-Phaneuf signing spree.
– Matthew Jansens

Joe, have you ever watched a Devilsgame? It’s boring as hell, were the Devils should have stayed in the first place! This kind of hockey is killing the game, as evidenced by the NJ attendenance figures. The trap should be taken of the game. Either that or make the rinks bigger to give the offensive guys more room to maneuver.
– Claudio

Matthew- No need to extend my comment on Sutter’s handling of Conroy beyond the specific subject of Conroy. I agree. He has done a good job, and seems to be very careful with the organization’s money. I like the recent trades too given what the team identified as their needs. I think the only questionable move he made was the amount given to Tanguay. Time will tell on that one though. I think when Conroy opted to sign with LA, it was both for more money and term. Sutter was overly conservative, offering 2 years at slightly over $2 MM or $2.5 MM if memory serves.
– Barbara S.

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I love, or maybe I hate seeing those low attendance numbers. I was at a Manitoba Moose home game on the weekend, attendance was stated at 8450. That is scary for the NHL teams that have relativly little fans. Seems like more teams may be on the move sooner than later.
– Iain Petkau

The Forsberg deal has had a great impact…for the Flyers. Have you seen Upshall since he came over? He’ll surely rack up more points in a month than any month that Forsberg was with the team (especially since “Peter the Great” spent more time off the ice than on it). And I can’t wait to see Parent get up on the blue line. Now, if only Homer could flip some of those draft picks (and use his free cap space) for a top-line center and a serious blue liner, things would really be looking up.
– Dave

Claudio, believe it or not I’m one of the Devils fans that attend every game because A) I love hockey, and B) I love the Devils. I can assure you that there isn’t lack of attendance because of any defenses implimented. It has more to do with the fact that A) The history of the Rangers and their fans make it hard to convert them into Devils fans (just go to a Devils/Rangers game and you’ll see) B) Ditto for Islander Fans, and C) The worst possible place to put an arena is where they are playing. There is no mass transit to bring people to the games (except from NYC, and we all know how many rabid Devils fans there are in NYC), and if you don’t have parkig passes, you have to cross a major highway to get to the arena(not fun, and a long walk). The whole “trap” arguement woudl have been vaild in 1995, but the fact is that Brodeur has faced more shots than Roberto Luongo, and I def. knwo that Vancouver doesn’t impliment the “trap”. When the Devils play, its “the boring trap” (which really doesn’t exist very much…sound defense does, but when the Red Wings played the “left-wing lock”, it was a disciplined hard-nosed defensive team. I guess thats what happens when you have a Chelios instead of an Oduya. So to re-iterate my point. Its not the “trap”, since it really doesn’t fit the Devils mold anymore, and thats not the reason why attendence hovers around the 14,000 mark average (and believe me, every game the people next to me hear hwo pathetic it is), its the fact that for a long while now, there are forces that def. don’t help the Devils in bringing in attendance. Hopefully the Newark arena will give people a chance to take the train to a stop where there are restaraunts and shops that invite people to stay and watch a game, instead of knwoing you are going to watch a game in a place where all that there is ar e weeds and marshes…and you wonder why they call the Meadowlands th e swamp….wow this was long…hope I got my point across….Dont blame the trap or the ‘boringness” of the Devils…Some of the more exciting games I’ve seen this year involve the Devils…great saves, great physical play, etc. The Devils/Rangers game from last month actually caused a stir again in the NYC area for how great it was….and thats what we need to bring hockey back and in front of REAL boring teams…like anyone in the NBA
– Joe