SUN Hockey Pool

No one's safe in new NHL

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:34 PM ET

Boston Bruins supporters must be pretty ticked off right about now, but the truth is, fans around the NHL better get used to being betrayed.

The shocking trade which sent superstar centre Joe Thornton from the Bruins to the San Jose Sharks this week was the very definition of what wheeling and dealing is all about in today's NHL -- money, plain and simple.

This is the age of the salary cap and Bruins GM Mike O'Connell is clearly wearing it.

The Bruins unloaded their heftiest contract, which belonged to their 26-year-old leading scorer and captain, and picked up three lesser players -- winger Marco Sturm, centre Wayne Primeau and defenceman Brad Stuart -- whose contracts total $1.6 million less than Thornton's. They get better at two positions and much worse at one and they get wiggle room in a payroll that is bloated by the idiotic off-season signings of Alexei Zhamnov and Brian Leetch.

Logic would suggest trading away your star is a good way to alienate fans, but this is far more likely to be a trend than an anomaly.

It's the new NHL and no one is safe.

People will get used to it. They have no choice.

CUP CRAZY: In the worst location for a championship parade since the last time the New Jersey Devils took the Stanley Cup for a spin around a parking lot, the Edmonton Eskimos held their victory procession in a mall. The festivities actually ended in a food court (nothing says classy celebration like New York Fries and Orange Julius). Of course it was certainly better than the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2005 parade, which ended around the time Saskatchewan Corey Holmes returned the opening kickoff of the season for a touchdown ... Hey, we can really call them can't we. We told you last week that the Grey Cup matchup was a real dud and we're pretty sure all the people who were either watching Desperate Housewives or turned the game off at halftime would agree ... Danny Maciocia's premature celebration in overtime was one of the best parts of the November Classic. Our question is, would Danny the Gnome have realized the game wasn't over when he had to give himself the Gatorade shower? ... The Grey Cup halftime show, featuring the mind-numbing drivel produced by the Black-Eyed Peas and a haggard-looking Fergie's gyrations, was the worst such spectacle since the 1998 Grey Cup in Winnipeg. Actually, Winnipeg didn't have a halftime show and it was still better ... One more thought on the Grey Cup: Montreal receiver Kerry Wadkins might just be the luckiest guy around, even though his team lost. His ridiculously wide-open drop in the end zone -- on a play that would have given his team the victory in overtime -- was overshadowed and mostly forgotten because of a numbskull penalty to Als QB Anthony Calvillo.

TRAILER TRASH: Tampa police raided a large vehicle outside a Buccaneers game last week and found six nude dancers performing lap dances and other lewd acts on cash-wielding football fans. The dancers were charged with being nude in a public place and two were busted for performing unnatural and lascivious acts (public sex). We know you're thinking it was the Vikings team bus, but we checked and Minnesota wasn't even in town that day. Actually a motorhome was used for the strip club on wheels, but there's no word on whether any cheerleaders were found in the bathroom ... Our old pal Michael Irvin would have us believe the drug paraphernalia he was arrested with belonged to his brother, his friend, some guy named Miguel or the previous owner of the car. It doesn't really matter. The important thing is, the bust means we won't have to listen to Irvin for at least one week on NFL Countdown. Ah, small blessings.


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