Last-minute deals on the NHL’s trade-deadline day last February certainly have mattered this year.
Consider:

 


 
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins obtained both Marian Hossa and 6-foot-7 defenceman Hal Gill, major post-season contributors.
  • Brad Richards has shone since being acquired by the Dallas Stars and is largely why this team will meet the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference final, which starts tomorrow night.
  • The Washington Capitals surged to the playoffs with a strong late-season run sparked by goaltender Cristobal Huet, picked up from the Montreal Canadiens, who chose to rely on rookie goalie Carey Price. Price struggled in the post-season, simultaneously tarnishing the reputation of general manager Bob Gainey.


 
- If he scores against the Stars, Detroit’s Johan Franzen will set the Red Wings’ record for most playoff goals, surpassing the likes of Brett Hull and Sergei Fedorov ... Veterans Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan won’t be retained by the New York Rangers and will become free agents … Ron Wilson soon will be fired as the San Jose Sharks’ coach; the Ottawa Senators
are interested … Some CFLers are irked about the recent hiring of
ex-coach Tom Higgins as the league’s officiating chief. “Simply,” a GM said, “he isn’t qualified. He’s never understood CFL rules.” ... U.S. bloggers are roasting the CFL and the Argonauts for signing ex-NFLer David Boston after his legal troubles. At a site called Shutdown Corner, blogger MJD notes Boston’s recent quote to Canadian reporters about his “good health.” MJD wonders if the recreational drugs Boston used contributed to his condition. “And I hear (steroids) those are pretty healthy, too, if you consider freakishly (big) biceps and tiny balls to be indicators of good health,” MJD writes. “Good luck, Argos, with your latest reclamation project. And good luck, David Boston, in trying to become Canada’s favourite doper since Ben Johnson. And congratulations, steroid dealers of Canada, on your impending financial windfall.” … In baseball, the offensively challenged Blue Jays are ranked 21st among the 30 MLB teams by Fox Sports, in arrears of all their AL East rivals. The Boston Red Sox are ranked first, the New York Yankees fifth, the Tampa Bay Rays 14th and the Baltimore Orioles 20th.

- And you knew Chris Paul is the top point guard in the NBA and may lead the New Orleans Hornets to a championship, but did you know he’s a two-sport dude? Yep, Paul’s a superb bowler. Might be better on the lane than on the court. He’ll soon become a national spokesman for the U.S. Bowling Congress.