Trade Deadline/Trade Day is over and I haven’t personally been affected as a Devils fan by Trade Day since, well, possibly ever, mostly because Uncle Lou almost always makes minor moves at this time of the year — mostly trading away for a handful of pucks, draft picks, or picking up Ilya Kovalchuk. You know. No big deal at least on our part as a fandom of having to give up anything really important.
However, in my Sister Southern Western Division team (mouthful) the Nashville Predators — well. They (meaning the fans in this moment, but years from now, possibly the team as well) were not that lucky to get through the day unscathed. For those that don’t know, I love almost every Czech player ever, but there are very soft spots in my heart for the three main Czechs, dare I say, the holy trinity of Czechs (not counting goalies) — Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora and Marty Erat. If Sykora & Erat are/were considered hockey “twins” (the kinds of players who can connect at a level on and off the ice so great that they are ‘brothers from another mother’) then Erat and Elias are ‘older’ & ‘younger’ brother (for the sake of decorum, we won’t say which is which). My favorite Hockey’s Future article from 2001 has this gem:
In the summer Erat practiced with Patrik Elias again and the Devils “A-line” star gave him many tips how to succeed in the NHL. Martin felt he is NHL ready when he entered the Predators camp and he used the tips he got from Elias to avoid a demotion to the AHL. Martin really won a regular spot among the Predators forwards and even if he still waits for his first NHL goal, his sound offensive play with exceptional passing skills helps him to earn a solid reputation among NHL rookies. Let’s hope Martin Erat won’t wait for his first NHL career goal very long!
Marty Erat ended up being 2nd All-Time on the Preds franchise list in games played, goals, assists, and total points.
Needless to say, it felt like a punch to the chest to get the text “Marty is traded” while driving home from work. I barely get texts, let alone something that big that I had to park in a diner and go back and forth to find out what happened all while trying not to cry. It’s like losing a family member. But somehow worse… so it’s like divorcing and never getting to see an in-law that you’ve always loved as much because now everything is going to be painful and awkward when you see them.
It concerned me how badly this affected me — I mean, I’m a Devils fan. Trust me. Everyone but Patrik Elias leaves me in the end (and lets not even ever discuss what will happen in 2014 when his contract is up). It’s a litany of players; Jason Arnott, Scott Gomez (hey, hey, hey he was fine in the Devils system), Mike Rupp, Brian Gionta, Brian Rafalski, Petr Sykora, Scott Niedermayer… And those are just the ones that I liked (so it doesn’t even count Scott Clemmenson, Brian Rolston, etc).
But those were not so out of nowhere as Erat’s trade. I mean, Marty Erat wasn’t having a good season, but a lot of players aren’t in this messed up and weirdly scheduled half season. And Erat has had back problems in the past but as long as he’s not wearing his extra puffy weird back brace under his uniform that somehow always ends up exposed everything was cool so far this season. Erat and his wife have a 13-month-old son and have lived in Nashville (at least during the season) for around 12 years now.
So all these were thoughts ran through my head, freaking out, wondering what was going on with the Predators. …. and the Capitals but that’s another post for someone else to write.
It took a few hours from the original official reports for the real reason to come out. Marty Erat quietly went to David Poile 2 weeks ago and asked to be traded.
You hear that sound? It’s not me angrily breaking something in my house, it’s the sound of quiet sobbing.
I talked recently about the Devils going through a losing streak — however the Predators going into Thursday night’s game had the record of 15-14-8, 4th in the Central and they also have recently been going through their own “trade away pretty decent players (and Darcy Hordichuk who I will always love)” for awhile now. Last year while the team made it to the playoffs (and beat the Red Wings for the first time ever in the playoffs, which, lets be serious, is amazing) it was a team of rookies and newly acquired young guys.
Apparently the fans weren’t the only ones to notice such things.
“As a hockey player, [you’re] never going to get younger. You want to have a chance to play for a Stanley Cup every single year,” Erat said Thursday. “It was their choice. They [tried] to get younger, and that’s what happened there. For me, I want to play for a Stanley Cup, and that was my choice.”
And so he told GMGM David Poile that he wanted out and without telling anyone or any teammate (WHO WILL THINK OF SERGEI KOSTITYN, ERAT?) he knew his days were numbered.
And his game started to pick up for the Preds. From the March 21st game against the Calgary Flames.
Martin Erat came back for Nashville with a power-play goal at 11:36 when he redirected Josi’s slap shot from the blue line by Kiprusoff, who finished the night with 18 stops.
“I was happy for Marty. He’s such a big part of the Predators. This is his home. This is where he’s been a big, integral part. He had more joy in his game today. We talked about just going forward and not looking back,” stated Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz. “I thought his line was really good today. His line was the catalyst for us today. They went head-to-head against their big line. Mike Fisher got a couple [goals] and Marty was really instrumental with three points. I was happy to see him break out a little bit and have a smile on his face.”
Sometimes the trade breaks your heart.
Sometimes the game breaks your heart.
And sometimes it’s just like the duet between Pink & Nate from .fun where he sings to her:
I’m sorry I don’t understand
Where all of this is coming from
I thought that we were fine…