Despite fear there'll be little movement

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Trade deadline day is Tuesday, and fans and media are terrified it'll be dull.

Both TSN and Sportsnet -- we no longer want to acknowledge that other "national" sports network since they gassed friends of ours by eliminating their bureaus -- will try to fill hours upon hours with deadline coverage, so they're praying for news.

Have no fear, something substantial will happen.

Last year, on what many people categorize as a dull deadline day, Ryan Smyth tearfully left Edmonton. That was the biggest swap, but there were others of note.

Todd Bertuzzi, Bill Guerin, Gary Roberts and Martin Biron were among the big names swapped. You can also count Keith Tkachuk, who was dealt two days earlier.

Tuesday will have its share of big-name players change locales. The lesson from a year ago is to be patient.

Deals under the cap system are more complicated. Salaries and free agent status come into play more and more, so trades take a bit longer to consummate.

And with most teams still in the hunt, there aren't many sellers.

"You don't have to be very smart to see the one thing the new system did ... There are no great teams," said Flames GM Darryl Sutter.

"Every team is good. The system, the cap, creates holes in everybody's lineups and it's up to everybody on the outside to decide how they can fill that hole. Usually, it's not possible, so everybody's the same.

"If I'd have listened to everybody at the start of the year, San Jose was going to have 150 points, and Detroit was going to have 70 wins, but that's not the way it works."

Rest assured Sutter will make some move. Maybe it'll be another depth player -- like Ville Nieminen a few years back -- or maybe we'll see a biggie.

It's hard to imagine a GM who works as tirelessly as Sutter not pulling something out of his cowboy hat.

FLAMING C-NOTES

Does anybody else find it absurd how often Jarome Iginla fights his own battles? Hey, it's what makes him the most complete player in the game and Iginla doesn't want to defer, but it's wrong for him to drop the mitts with the Steve Otts of the NHL. There are other players on the Flames, including the recently acquired Jim Vandermeer, who are more than capable of doing that, and they should ... The Flames should have a better record this season, but it's impressive they've posted a 6-2-0 record in both the first and second halves when playing on back-to-back nights. The squad has four more back-to-back sets remaining ... Should the Flames put together a .600 record the rest of the way, it'll set them at 95 points, which is one back of their total last season. Still, that may be enough to win the Northwest Division, seeing as Minnesota must go almost .600 to do better. It took 96 points to squeak into the playoffs last season, but that total may put you no worse than sixth in the conference in 2008 ... Interesting thought: Would you rather finish sixth and face Minnesota or fifth and likely skate against Anaheim? Check out who has more wins.

LEAGUE WIDE

Trade deadline prediction: Rental players like Marian Hossa won't garner as much as teams received last year for the likes of Tkachuk ... Are you wondering how much of a difference rookie centre Jonathan Toews makes for the Chicago Blackhawks? They're 5-1-1 since he returned from injury. The Hawks posted a 6-11-2 mark without him, including a 9-2 loss in the New Year's Day tilt when he hurt his knee in the first period. With Toews in the lineup all game, Chicago is 22-15-4 ... By they way, here's hoping the United Center will be filled when the Flames visit March 16. It would be nice to see a game in that building without 10,000 empty seats ... Peter Forsberg has always been great to the media, but please decide whether you're coming back or staying away ... Amazing to think Montreal's comeback against the New York Rangers -- clawing back from a 5-0 deficit to notch a 6-5 win -- is the biggest in franchise history. With all the great teams in Canadiens history, you would think they'd have dogged it for a couple of periods to be down by a half-dozen and then roared back.

QUOTES TO NOTE

"It doesn't matter if I think it's a penalty. If it's a penalty, it's a penalty. I don't like to whine." -- Chicago's Tuomo Ruutu.

"It wasn't just 30 seconds, either. It was about five minutes, which made it seem like a half hour. (Mike Knuble) told me his socks were soaked ... It was bad. You couldn't help but think about (the TV show) Lost and wonder what island you were going to end up on." -- Philadelphia goalie Martin Biron after their flight on Monday hit turbulence that forced the plane to violently jerk from side to side and pitch downward hundreds of feet.


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