Dawn of the dead line

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

When we last left the NHL prior to the Olympic break, big-name players were being swapped like hockey cards in a school yard -- without the sticks of filmy pink bubble gum, of course.

Give general managers Brian Burke, Lou Lamoriello and Glen Sather credit for not waiting to scratch their respective itches until Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.

Prior to the Vancouver games, back when Sidney Crosby was just a superstar and not a national hero, these three GMs identified deals they wanted to make and quickly pulled the trigger.

Why wait until March 3, they asked themselves, if you can get what you want immediately?

Within a frantic five-day span a month ago, Burke had wheeled and dealed for both Dion Phaneuf and J-S Giguere; Lamoriello snapped up the electrifying Ilya Kovalchuk; and Sather had acquired another former Calgary Flame, Olli Jokinen.

Phaneuf. Giguere. Kovalchuk. Jokinen. That would be an impressive list of traded players in any year.

Of course, the fact that the individuals who make up this Fearsome Foursome already have been moved pre-Olympics might create some dead air for all those trade deadline TV shows that have so many hours to kill Wednesday.

But fear not, broadcast execs, there could be plenty of bodies being swapped, albeit not with the star power some might have hoped for.

FREEZE LIFTED

With the NHL's Olympic-roster freeze having been lifted, the activity kicked off Monday on a number of fronts.

The Edmonton Oilers, a team shopping veterans like Ethan Moreau and Sheldon Souray in the hopes of landing lucrative draft picks and/or prospects in return, shipped defenceman Denis Grebeshkov to the Nashville Predators for a second rounder in 2010.

Grebeshkov, who will face his former team in Nashville on Tuesday, is a pending unrestricted free agent after drawing a salary of $3.5 million US this season.

By acquiring Grebeshkov, the Preds could turn around and deal defenceman Dan Hamhuis.

Various reporters suggested Monday night that the Philadelphia Flyers could be a potential destination.

Jim Rutherford's Carolina Hurricanes, who open their post-Olympic schedule with a meeting against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre, definitely are among the teams that will be sellers.

Winger Ray Whitney appeared to be on his way to the Los Angeles Kings but could not come to terms on an agreement on a contract extension.

Defenceman Joe Corvo, meanwhile, would be a welcome addition to the power play of almost any playoff-bound team.

One team to keep an eye on is Crosby's defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who picked up defenceman Jordan Leopold from the Florida Panthers on Monday for a second-round pick.

A year ago Pens GM Ray Shero, looking to beef up the offence around studs Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, acquired Chris Kunitz from Anaheim and Bill Guerin from the New York Islanders.

Shero is seeking the same ingredients this time around, with the Canes' Whitney and the Leafs' Alexei Ponikarovsky linked to the Pens in various web reports.

Of course, maybe Tomas Kaberle waives his no-trade. And maybe Olympic gold-medal captain Scott Niedermayer and the Ducks agree to move the defenceman back to New Jersey.

That would make the networks happy. Viewers too. After all, no one wants dead air.


Videos

Photos