Tue Feb 02 01:16am EST
Completely indistinguishable ... well, other than the fact he was basically traded to the New York Rangers on Sunday, yet inexplicably played another game wearing the flaming "C" before the deal was finalized 24 hours later.
Several sources, including the originator of the story TSN, say the reported trade is now a completed trade: Olli Jokinen and brawler Brandon Prust(notes) to the New York Rangers for Ales Kotalik(notes) and Christopher Higgins(notes), both of whom had underwhelmed for the Blueshirts.
There were conflicting reports that Kotalik was using his limited no-trade clause to veto a deal to Calgary and that the Flames held up the trade in order to have Jokinen in the lineup against the Flyers, which is now as stupid as it sounds.
Calgary fans are none too pleased with Kotalik joining the roster, and are hoping that this deal and the Dion Phaneuf(notes) trade are precursors to another transaction. Rangers fans, at least when the trade was first announced on Sunday, were ecstatic to see two duds transform into an NHL center. (We were going to use "something with a heartbeat" in place of "NHL center," but "Jokinen" and "heart" make strange bedfellows.)
We examined the trade and its implications here Sunday night, and the fact remains that GM Darryl Sutter (a) thought this was the best market value he was going to get for pending UFA Jokinen and (b) feels that the collection of castoffs he's received from the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Rangers puts his team in a better position to further reshape the roster, either for a playoff push or in the offseason. More deals would appear to be in the cards; as Bob McKenzie points out: When healthy, Calgary now has more wings than a Hooters. OK, he didn't exactly say it like that ...
As for the Rangers: Again, low risk with potential high reward. Can't complain about this one, outside of GM Glen "Fire" Sather signing Kotalik in the first place.