12:25 pm – The Islanders have begun practice at Iceworks, and Bill Guerin is nowhere in sight.
More denials from Montreal, New Jersey and Boston. Carolina too, but that never made much sense to me. Remember: Cup contender, Eastern team.
Pittsburgh? Philadelphia? Washington? (A text of a minute ago says the Caps folks are mum at their practice at the Verizon Center).
Or maybe the original deal is dead. And if it’s dead, Billy stays off the ice at practice and has still played his last game as an Islander. Although Guerin doesn’t say much on the record, Greg Logan’s story today on the partially-fractured relationship between Scott Gordon and some of his veterans means one thing.
On the matter of Guerin returning to the Islanders, that ship has sailed.
11:53 am – Bill Guerin is at Iceworks (not practicing), but I am not. The Islanders are scheduled to practice there in about a half-hour, but the wireless is not working at the team’s Syosset practice facility.
Funny thing about the crapped-out wireless. It’s been on and off for me and Logie since the Islanders hit the skids in early December. You know anything about that, Scott? (These are just jokes, Coach. It’s Islanders Country Held Hostage, Day 2).
Billy’s walking around, smiling, not saying anything. I’m still at home at the laptop – discs herniating, one at a time. You know the minute I get in the car and make the 30-minute drive to the Land Without Wireless, the trade news will break while I’m on the Southern State.
For a giggle while you wait this out, check out some of the proposed Guerin deals in Comments.
In the last hour alone, I’ve received two calls telling me the deal is not with Montreal. I appreciated the calls. However, this is now at the point where even if Billy Guerin texted me himself with the identity of his new team, I’m not sure I’d believe him.
10:10 am: Although you’ll probably stay with this story til the very end, it would be so tempting for me to assist in dragging you along. But we’ve now gotten to the part where I can advise that if you want to go to church, go for a jog, grab some pancakes at the diner or hang out with your families (nooooooo!), it’s fairly safe to say you have a few hours. This is based on a text from a friend I trust big-time:
This could take all day.
So what we could be looking at is a rare assemblage of reporters at an Islanders practice (on a Sunday!) – not there to watch forechecking but in wait for Guerin news. And there’s a great chance the practice will end without anything coming of it.
The holdup, of course, will lead to some speculation that this is a bigger deal (yes, going against what I wrote all of two hours ago). This will lead to speculation that the Islanders and their trade partner (or both) have acquired players they want signed beyond this season. This will lead to wild guesswork. Maybe Billy is simply exercising his right to take his time to green-light the deal. Maybe he’s the one looking for a contract extension.
We’ll stand by our prediction that the trade is for a pick and maybe a prospect. But it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t share a follow-up text from Our Guy:
Something is holding it up.
8:15 am, Sunday, March 1 - Now we can say this trade has taken two months to complete.
Good morning. A thorough, but blurry check of the information superhighway and series of text messages to informants has uncovered nothing but more speculation. Washington joins Montreal and New Jersey as possible destinations for Bill Guerin, but who knows? Nobody.
Hey, how about this scenario? How about the deal craters and Guerin remains an Islander for another day? One thing is 100% certain: even if it did – we’ve all seen crazier things in Islanders Country – Bill has played his last game as an Islander.
The emails and Comments have begun about Logie’s major story on Scott Gordon’s relationship with his players. I just added the following Comment to the more than 500 so far:
I’ll get to the Gordon-veterans issue with a relatively brief post when this Guerin thing is over. Unless a story is cheesy or (in my view) improperly reported, it’s not my place to get into the work of fellow writers covering the Islanders. But I will have some basic comments much later in the day, or perhaps not till Monday if the Guerin Watch becomes an all-dayer. For now, the focus of the blog and this thread will be on Guerin. Discuss Greg’s story on Islandermania.
I’m also keeping an eye on potential other Islander deals.
A reminder/recommendation: yes, this Guerin mystery has become a bit of a phenomenon. (Friday set a new record for Visits and Hits, Saturday doubled it). Since it’s just hockey and show business, not real life – except for the Guerin family – it’s been a lot of fun.
But as the hours pile up, it would be a mistake for anyone to delude themselves into thinking this is a blockbuster deal or a difference-maker for the Islanders. We’ve had a lot of fun here, but none of it should disguise the probability that this trade is likely Billy for a high-round draft pick plus (maybe) a decent prospect.
1:50 am – Hockey Night in Canada has signed off, so we shall too. We’ve searched and searched, but don’t have solid enough information to report.
Our final trade prediction of the night: TSN will break the news first on Sunday. But we will try our best. Good night…CB
12:30 am – One of the wild and wacky subplots to this whole adventure is how other, possibly-innocent GMs have been dragged into it. Hockey Night in Canada, with the gritty-gutty Pierre Lebrun doing the reporting, has zeroed in on the Washington Capitals by process of elimination. How? By calling every GM potentially in the mix and hearing them deny it.
But GMs lie sometimes. Pierre undoubtedly knows this, which is why HNIC has not formally reported the trade.
Since it’s so late at night, I’ll throw in my two cents/grasp at straws. Utilizing my experience from my old job, I ask myself what team could so successfully keep this a secret for so long? I think of the top executives at each team, how they run their business. And I keep coming back to one man.
Lou Lamoriello. Only Lou Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils could keep this under wraps for so long. That’s because Lou Lamoriello is the New Jersey Devils. He doesn’t have to run the deal by accountants or PR people or owners or friends of owners.
Now to be fair, Lou has supposedly told a major mainstream media member that he’s not involved.
I’m just saying that from my experience and knowledge, the Devils are the only franchise leak-proof enough to pull it off. If there’s another team that can, they’re proving it as Saturday night turns to Sunday morning.
Throwing out the PR side, if I had to take a hockey guess? The Montreal Canadiens.
11:25 pm – Point Blank offers sincere respect to the Islanders, the team they’ve traded Bill Guerin to, and Billy and his team, too, for keeping this deal off TSN and Hockey Night in Canada for four hours and counting. At this rate, we may actually get to the end of Minnesota at Edmonton without knowing. Maybe.
Although I’m still here, Garth Snow has left the Coliseum. Bill Guerin left a long time ago. The Islanders practice tomorrow. You’ll know the deal by the end of practice, and probably sooner.
If someone not with a major broadcast partner or publication is claiming to know the deal right now, they are full of it. They may guess it correctly, but they do not know. “I’ve heard St. Louis,” “I’ve heard Rangers,” “It’s going to be Montreal.” Okay. Sure. Whatever gets you through the night.
Here’s the tipping point to look out for. Once the Islanders and their trade partner conduct their conference call with NHL hockey operations to finalize the parameters of the deal, the word will get out. It almost always does.
Good night, I think.
9:30 pm – In addition to all other stumbling blocks – for example, a player traded to the NYI could be playing right now – the deal is pending Bill Guerin’s approval. I’m told his “official” approval may not come until Sunday morning.
Here is Darren Dreger’s story on the deal. We have some conflicting information, but let’s face it – Darren’s, uh, slightly more connected than me.
Now that Sean Bergenheim and the Islanders have beaten Buffalo, 2-0, time to go downstairs and get no information.
9:02 pm – Here’s the latest on what we know so far, as we wait to break this baby – or gladly watch as someone else breaks it for you:
- The deal is done “in principle.”
- Both the Islanders and Guerin are said to be “very pleased” with the trade.
- An expert we count on for his great eye for this stuff says the deal is not to New Jersey or Boston. Montreal and Washington seem to lead the pack, but that could be simply a) process of elimination and b) because the Islanders had two scouts at their game against each other this afternoon. (Take this bullet with the least grain of salt, folks).
- The Islanders also had a pair of scouts when New Jersey hosted Florida. Don’t rule out the Panthers, who got creamed twice this week. (Although I don’t know how you scout a second round pick!) Nevermind. Doesn’t make sense that Billy would approve a deal to South Florida.
- At least three teams seriously joined the hunt for Guerin since we broke the news on Thursday night that the captain was willing to waive his no-move clause.
- Since Guerin’s no-move gave him all the cards, his preference of the three teams was likely met. Guerin was hopeful of a Stanley Cup-contending team in the East.
At minimum, figure on the Islanders receiving a second round pick. At minimum. For a 38-year old player that had all the leverage – and there were no talks of a contract extension – that’s not bad. And it could be more.
8:20 pm - The Islanders have a deal in principle that will send Bill Guerin “to an Eastern team” and will be finalized by Sunday, sources tell Point Blank. All indications are that Guerin will waive his no-move clause and agree to the trade, according to the source. As we posted at the start of tonight’s game, interest in Islanders veterans from several teams has intensified over the last few days – with Guerin at the top of the list. Figure on the key aspect of the return for Guerin being an early-round draft pick.
The odds this gets to midnight tonight without an American or Canadian media outlet having all the details? Not so good.
7:32 pm - Bill Guerin is not playing tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, but he is healthy. After their captain took the warmup, the Islanders took Guerin off the ice and are playing short one skater. Word is the team could have an announcement after the game or on Sunday. Keep in mind: with his no-move clause, Guerin has to approve a deal. This could be complicated.
More on trade rumors below. Comments on Guerin in this thread. Comment Guidelines.