On the Island and league-wide: We have movement

The addictive excitement for would-be hockey GMs has begun. On the heels of this month's Mathieu Schneider and Mike Comrie/Chris Campoli trades, today's swap of needs between Anaheim and Pittsburgh has really gotten things started. Meanwhile, Danny Briere is headed back from injury, causing Philadelphia to waive Ossi Vaananen and Glen Metropolit for cap room.

Grind beans. Pour water. Start coffee maker. Repeat. It's going to be an intense next five days.

The Islanders are obvious targets -- not sitting on any treasure, but with several parts for sale nonetheless. Make a proposal for serviceable players like Brendan Witt and UFA Andy Hilbert, and Garth Snow will listen. Chris Botta says even injured Doug Weight and recent acquisition Dean McAmmond are still in play.

This is where SBN's comment interface really flies. For some interesting fan discussion of today's Chris Kunitz-Ryan Whitney trade, check out Ducks fans at Battle of California (does this open up a move for Chris Pronger ... or not?). The Penguins fans are tossing it around at Pensburgh (a winger for Sidney Crosby?). Even the Capitals fans at Japers' Rink are chewing this one over, with the outside hope that it prepares Pronger to move to the U.S. capital -- while fretting over how fast their window might close. [Note: Keep an eye on SBN's NHL Trade Deadline hub. As Islanders or other trades happen, feel free to weigh in here. Yahoo! users can now sign in with your Yahoo login.]

[Update] Speaking of the Capitals' window, Hogs Heaven -- an SBN blog about the in-neutral NFL Redskins -- scored an interview with Caps owners Ted Leonsis, who shared his 10-point plan on how to (re)build a sports franchise. Very enjoyable reading. I'm sure Garth Snow will eat it up, heh.

Elsewhere ... Bob McKenzie says the Whitney acquisition does not affect Pronger's status. Does anyone else find it odd that Anaheim might bow to the whim of Scott Niedermayer yet again? Shouldn't they keep the big D-man they have under contract (Pronger) and not worry about whether the indecisive Niedermayer wants to retire?

Also, one more great link: Regular readers know I take a bit of a "humanist" perspective, in that I'm intrigued by the way human emotions, nostalgia, passion and instinct affect fan enjoyment and player/manager decisions in this great game. The decisions and game bounces of this sport are rarely as clinical as we'd like. In that spirit, Ryan Dixon at THN has a great column on the psychology, job security concerns and other human attributes that influence GM behavior. In that piece, former Lightning GM Jay Feaster essentially admits he sometimes acted by his gut.

Ladies and gentlemen, the ride has begun.

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