Garth Snow stood down the hall from a Penguins locker room that buzzed after the biggest trade of NHL deadline day. The New York Islanders' general manager could only watch as another team made the big splash.
It was no surprise the Atlanta Thrashers traded All-Star forward Marian Hossa, but his landing spot alongside Sidney Crosby seemingly came out of nowhere.
A year ago, it was Snow and the Islanders who shocked the league by prying Ryan Smyth out of Edmonton in a blockbuster deal. Yesterday, all the former Penguins goalie had to celebrate was the fact Hossa wouldn't be in the lineup last night when the Penguins played the Islanders.
"Good player. I hope he misses his flight," Snow said.
In all, NHL teams made 25 trades involving 25 players in the six hours before the 3 p.m. deadline. The number of deals matched the league record, equaling each of the past two years, and the amount of players moved fell one short of the mark set in 2003.
The days leading up to the deadline were filled with talk of Toronto captain Mats Sundin's decision not to waive his no-trade clause, even though the Maple Leafs likely won't make the Eastern Conference playoffs. It didn't take long for the conversation to switch to those changing places. With so many teams in contention for the playoffs, there was no clear line between buyers and sellers.
"It kind of unfolded the same this year as it did last year," Snow said. "It slowly built up. You sit there with your line in the water, and then all of a sudden they start biting.
"It was a little bit crazy as the day went on."
Tampa Bay started the activity Monday night by dealing Vaclav Prospal to the Philadelphia Flyers, and then moved Brad Richards to the Dallas Stars in the biggest trade of a forward yesterday before Hossa was sent packing.
The Stars, trying to hold off the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks atop the Pacific Division, landed the Lightning center and goalie Johan Holmqvist for backup goalie Mike Smith, forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern and a fourth-round pick in next year's draft.
Not to be outdone, the San Jose Sharks made a move to keep pace in the competitive, but wide-open, West. The Sharks nabbed the highest-profile defenseman available at the deadline, acquiring Brian Campbell from the Buffalo Sabres, who couldn't risk watching another unrestricted free agent leave for nothing.
Snow decided not to bust up a team that is fighting for the playoffs. Instead, the Islanders, sent troubled forward Chris Simon to Minnesota for a sixth-round pick, defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron to Anaheim for a third-round pick and acquired defenseman Rob Davison from San Jose for a seventh-round choice.