SUN Hockey Pool

Players anxious to pass deadline

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

The tension of trade deadline day is obviously wearing on Adrian Aucoin.

He was delirious with humour because of it.

"I'll have my war room set up tonight," the Calgary Flames defenceman said after yesterday's practice. "Me and the kids at home, we like to do it. It's a family event."

Granted, Aucoin has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he shouldn't have to worry much leading up to today's 1 p.m. deadline.

However, he obviously believes it to be best to use levity to deal with the stress.

"Personally, I like to use it as a fun day, just try to make up our own little mock trades and see what goes on because, obviously, it's out of our hands as players -- except for the 5,000 no-trade clauses there are out there now," he said.

"You've got to keep your eyes open and your phone ready. It's something guys have to deal with. It's tough for the young guys who haven't dealt with it before, and it's tough for the older guys with families and whatnot who have to move."

That said, trade deadline isn't as easy to handle for others. Forward Wayne Primeau has been dealt five times over his career, and though he likely won't be on his way out, you could see he is nervous.

"You never know. It'll be good to see (the deadline) gone and over with," Primeau said. "The five teams I've played for were in the U.S., so playing in Canada, it's a huge deal. You see all these TV stations build it up and make a whole thing of it, a big day of it, and everybody's tuning in to see what's happening to their teams."

Primeau was happy to be traded last year from a floundering Boston Bruins to Calgary since it meant a better chance to win a Stanley Cup.

However, the move across the continent was tough from a family perspective, leaving wife Leanne behind with young children Mason and Madison, whom he saw only a week over a three-month period.

"It was really tough. Obviously, the paycheques are great and everything else, but it's a tough thing to accept when you have a family. Your kids are in school and you want them to finish that, their hockey season, whatever it may be," he said. "For single guys, I don't think it's as tough.

"The only thing that made it easier was there were other guys in the same situation, here without their family, Stewie (Brad Stuart) and Connie (Craig Conroy). We were able to go out to dinner and movies together."

Defenceman David Hale was traded at the deadline last year, moving from the New Jersey Devils.

At the time, it was tough leaving the only organization he'd ever known, but he was excited about the opportunity. He said yesterday it worked out better than anticipated.

"It's great. It's a hockey atmosphere. The fans are unbelievable," he said. "If you can't get up for a game, there's something wrong with you. Coming to the rink is a blast. I think every player should experience playing for a team in Canada. They're missing out if they don't."

All in all, the Flames dressing room doesn't seem too concerned about what will happen today, and that was before GM Darryl Sutter said he isn't anticipating any major moves.

"This is probably, amongst the guys, our calmest year," said captain Jarome Iginla.

"I guess a big reason is we're older ... When you're younger and going through it for the first time or hearing you name for the first time, it's challenging.

"It can be consuming if you think about it."


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