When Ottawa Senators GM John Muckler announced the blockbuster sign and trade of superstar forward Marian Hossa to the Atlanta Thrashers for another superstar caliber player in Dany Heatley, the hockey world stood with their jaws hanging open.
Just a month after the National Hockey league announced their new economic structure, the Sens and the Thrashers orchestrated a monumental trade that had no clear winner.
Numerous articles and columns were written following this trade trying to point out which team got the better end of the deal and opinions varied. But the consensus was there was no way to declare a ?winner? in this trade until both players have a chance to step onto the ice with their new teams.
Almost a month into the season, the Ottawa Senators are at the top of the Northeast division with 16 points and the Atlanta Thrashers, who have not made it to the post-season in their 5 year history, are dead last in the Eastern Conference as well as tied for last place in the entire League.
But team standings don?t tell the full story. Through the struggles of the Thrashers, Hossa is a plus-3 and has 13 points in 11 games [4 goals, 9 assists]. Healey, surrounded by more offensive supporting cast in Ottawa, has 18 points in 10 games [8 goals, 10 assists] and is an impressive plus-9.
For both players, their goals and focus has changed dramatically along with their surroundings. Healey is now concentrating on leading the Senators deep into the playoffs and ultimately to a Stanley Cup win and on the other hand, Hossa has to push all thoughts of hoisting the Cup over his head and focus on pulling his team from the bottom of the ranks to squeeze into the last playoff spot if possible.
Maybe 10 games in is still a little too early to understand the full impact both players will have on their new teams, especially considering both Heatley and Hossa are signed for three seasons with Ottawa and Atlanta respectively.
Saturday night in Toronto when Dany Heatley scored four goals, I was reminded of January 2, 2003 when Marian scored four goals in a game [ironically it was a game against the Thrashers.]
January 2, 2006; three years after scoring four goals in Atlanta Marian Hossa will be in Atlanta. This time however, he will be in the home team?s jersey, looking across the ice at his old teammates and at Dany Healey when the Senators face the Thrashers for the first time this season.