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Bill Guerin: From $4.5-million captain to conditional pick

Bill Guerin, the lucky #13 captain and McNulty look-alike, has taken his no-move clause and flown (waddled?) away.

He came at a premium rate -- $4.5 million per year -- when our rented would-be captain left for the mountains. He was named Islanders captain before ever setting foot in a locker room that was still sorting out the ashes of the bizarre Alexei Yashin-as-captain era.

Bill Guerin

New York Islanders



Nov 09, 1970

With those ashes he did everything asked of him off the ice, helping keep a squad together despite a lot of surreal politics with not one, but two, coaches.

G A P +/- PIM
2008-09 - Bill Guerin 16 20 36 -15 63

G A P +/- PIM
2007-08 - Bill Guerin 23 21 44 -15 65

On the ice, he potted some big goals while going through long stretches where the old rifle just wouldn't fire like it used to. His shootout move was lacking, but his humor rarely disappointed. He played almost every game: 81 last season, all but the held-out two this. As a result, the Islanders -- despite two very difficult seasons -- have rarely lacked effort on a given night.

But one night last weekend he was yanked from the lineup, and the young club he leaves behind won decisively -- twice -- without him. The torch had been passed, and he was part of an awkward coach-crossing transition. Five days of bizarre waiting and silence ensued -- inevitably building unrealistic fan expectations, with nary a word from the club to temper them.

In the end, he did what he was brought in to do, for a team of beggars who could not be choosers. Now he heads to Pittsburgh, like the just-waived Miro Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko before him. The former Devil, Oiler, Bruin, Star, Blue, Shark and recent Islander has become a Penguin.

If the Pens make the playoffs: Yay, the pick becomes a measly 4th. If they somehow win a round with Guerin finding a role on that inconsistent squad: a more realistic 3rd. Obviously Garth Snow would have preferred that 2nd-rounder in 2010 that Boston sent Tampa Bay for a similarly aged Mark Recchi. But once the Bruins made their move for a winger, the Penguins likely held all the leverage.

Thus ends the longest conditional pick saga known to man. That wasn't a bang you heard; that was a whimper.