Plenty of upside in acquiring Arnason

ERIN NICKS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

San Diego -- I can tell you my precise location when I discovered that Tyler Arnason had been traded to the Senators for Brandon Bochenski and a second-round draft pick.

I was in the San Diego Zoo gift shop, attempting to warm up (seriously -- it's been warmer in Buffalo), when my cellphone went off with a text message trade alert.

Every time the phone signalled an alert, I would whip my cell out of my bag while squealing, "Yes, yes ... give it to me!"

One local stopped me and said to try the San Fernando Valley if I was looking for a vocation that involved orgasmic reactions. Hmm.

Finally, as I was standing among a plethora of tourist kitsch and overpriced disposable cameras, I learned that Ottawa had traded for a centre.

"Ottawa acquires C..."

I had to scroll down to learn more.

I wanted to milk this for all it was worth. A previous message had informed me that Olli Jokinen had re-signed with the Panthers, so I knew the name I was about to read would be a surprise.

"... Tyler Arnason from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Brandon Bochenski and a second-round draft pick in 2006-07."

You know that quizzical look Dr. Phil has on his face, with both hands up in the air in a questioning pose? It's a press photo and I wouldn't be surprised if the gesture is trademarked.

Anyway, I've made that move into a verb. In the San Diego Zoo gift shop, I "Dr. Phil-ed."

With one trade, John Muckler made me do a non-verbal imitation of the world's most irritating teletherapist -- in public, no less. That septuagenarian has some serious skills.

Where do you look for feedback regarding a Senators trade within a throng of American tourists?

Nowhere, unless you wish to have your sanity questioned.

Life is very different outside of the NHL trade-deadline bubble.

The Canadian media have built up the day with a virtually unattainable type of hype. And with that hype comes the analysis we all crave.

When you're taken out of that opinionated environment, not only does everything become simplified, but you're also less likely to compare another team's moves to your own.

The masses didn't expect to see Arnason in a Senators uniform -- now or at any other time. That's the mystique of Muckler.

And if you literally are on the outside looking in (as I am right now), you have to believe that it was the best decision based on who was available at the time. There may be the question of bringing in someone that lacks championship experience, but one cannot forget the veteran leadership of another player who was brought in for the Senators -- Stanley Cup winner Dominik Hasek.

As a Senators fan, I'm content with the acquisition of Arnason. Perhaps a bit surprised, but content.

The demand for another skilled centre in Ottawa had taken on a redundant, Marcus Allen-esque quality.

Perhaps the local hacks are currently discussing Arnason's questionable attitude. Maybe they're questioning his lack of grit.

But Ottawa has obtained a centre that has some upside and also give them some playoff depth. It's obvious to this fan, even from thousands of miles away.

From the outside looking in, Muckler could have stood pat, but that wouldn't have appeased some Senators fans.

And if this was the only deal that could have been made, then he seems to have made the right one.

QUICK HITS: Watching the ESPN analysts melt down during Team USA's loss to Canada at the WBC on Wednesday was amusing enough, but even funnier was hearing Barry Melrose refer to Stubby Clapp as "Stumpy." ... Did you catch that 1,000th-game ceremony for Tie Domi last week, when the Leafs kicked in some money to allow Tie to build the wine cellar of his dreams? Nothing says "tough guy" like letting the entire world know you're an oenophile ... We now know why Elisha Cuthbert hasn't posted on her NHL blog since December -- her 24 character is attempting to escape the now-airborne Syntox nerve gas by remaining isolated in the communications room of CTU. Surely there must be a PC in there somewhere ... Jim Rome's website touted an interview with Eric Staal on Friday, but the page displayed his last name as "Stall." Twenty-nine NHL teams are dying for this to be considered a Freudian slip.

erinnicks@yahoo.ca


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