Parity fun for fans, tough for GMs

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Isn't NHL parity a blast?

The league's general managers might say otherwise for the next three days.

There are bound to be a few sleepless nights before the trade doors slam shut Tuesday. No less than 25 teams, through Thursday's games, were within seven points of a playoff berth as the league chugged into the final quarter of the season. Only the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference and the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings had not bothered picking up their invitations to the race to the post-season party.

No wonder it has been difficult for some clubs to try to decide whether they're going to send up the white flag or make a deal or two in a final push for a spot.

"As (Anaheim Ducks GM) Brian Burke aptly said, there's more mistakes made at this time than any other time of the year," San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said. "There's a lot of truth to that. Emotion runs the day. People look back and say, 'What was I thinking?' "

There's no question that fans and media, for the most part, enjoy the speculation, even though many of the rumours turn out to be nothing more than crazy whispers. Still, no less than 25 trades went down on deadline day a year ago. But of all of those swaps, one could argue that only two -- the Philadelphia Flyers' acquisition of goalie Martin Biron from the Buffalo Sabres and the St. Louis' Blues' acquisition of forward Brad Boyes from the Boston Bruins -- have had major dividends this season. None of the teams who made it to the final four in the spring of 2007 -- Anaheim, the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres -- got players who made a big impact in the playoffs.

TRADE WINDS

The Lightning could be getting closer to signing defenceman Dan Boyle to a deal for at least four years at $6.5 million to $7 million US a season. Trading Brad Richards might have a better chance of happening in the summer when the club has a better shot at landing a No. 1 goalie ... One reason why the Flyers don't mind the idea of trading Jeff Carter, aside from the fact he will be a restricted free agent this summer, is he is a little too carefree on the ice for the team's liking. GM Paul Holmgren turned down an even-up swap from the Boston Bruins for Phil Kessel, but Carter would have been a Maple Leaf had Tomas Kaberle waived his no-trade clause ... The Atlanta Thrashers are waiting to see what the Leafs do with Mats Sundin before going ahead on a Marian Hossa trade ... Many think Sergei Fedorov will wind up with one of Ottawa or Detroit ... Two days ago, one rumour had the Blues sending defenceman Jay McKee to the Pittsburgh Penguins. When a reporter, who was on an on-line chat at the time, pointed it out to Blues president John Davidson, who was standing nearby, Davidson said: "Write in your answer: 'There's no truth to the rumour of McKee going to Pittsburgh.' "


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