The twelfth in our 118-part series.
In the absence of any of the promised blockbuster moves this weekend, today’s reason celebrates those huge deals that keep you buzzing for days. The Devils don’t often make blockbuster deals. Instead, Lou makes a minor move in the summer and then tantalizes us by calling a press conference to say, “I think the fans will be very pleasantly surprised with this acquisition.” Then a day later we find out the team picked up Pascal Rheaume. Now, turns out we were pleasantly surprised with how Rheaume played, but come on. Pascal Rheaume? Other teams get Joe Thornton or Roberto Luongo or Ryan Smyth and we get Rheume?
But there was one trade that let us revel in the glory that is a giant deal: Jason Arnott and Randy McKay for Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner. That season saw us working in the same office (can you believe an employer was stupid enough to agree to have the two of us working in the same cubicle sea?) which was about 5 minutes from our house. Schnookie had gone home for the day, while Pookie was still stuck at work, risking disciplinary action by constantly refreshing ESPN’s Tradetracker. When the news came in she panickedly thought, “I need someone to talk to about this!” And as if on cue, there was Schnookie, frantic from her drive back to the office. That’s how great that trade was. Schnookie willingly came back to work just to say to Pookie, “Can you believe someone was stupid enough to take both Arnott and McKay and give us live bodies in return?!?”
What’s more fun than spending the first few days after the trade in a tizzy over the potential effects the move could have on the team, when it’s all still relatively an unknown? And then what’s more fun than spending the rest of the season assessing who got the better end of the bargain? And then what’s more fun than using that ol’ 20/20 hindsight to know that Randy McKay’s giddy-up quit giddying-up almost instantaneously upon arrival in Dallas, while Langenbrunner has become the epitome of True Devil, being a major contributor to the 2003 Cup? Really, just in general, blockbuster deals — what’s not to love?