The Southeast This Week

This will be a recap of the week ending this past Sunday, 2/27.  All the deadline movement I'll (try to) recap in next week's review.

Well, the Lightning got rid of Dan Ellis and his problems this week, dealing them him to the Anaheim Ducks for Curtis McElhinneyMike Smith was successfully called up, and will serve as backup to Dwayne Roloson.  McElhinney was claimed earlier today by the Ottawa Senators.

Ellis' time with the Lightning was... well, interesting.  It began with his famed Twitter faux pas, meandered through "Smellis", and then ended after a stretch that saw him play his best hockey of the season.   We knew something would have to give, and with Smith being a UFA at season's end, Ellis was the odd man out.

I'm personally indifferent about the deal.  It clears some cap room, which is good, but it also puts a strain on the rest of the team's system.  As far as his personality, sure, he may be a little out of touch with the average fan's money situation, but he always maintained a high level of professionalism and class when dealing with the media.  And let's not mince words here; he wasn't the one who said the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson was "disappointing"

News on the other Southeast teams below the fold.

Atlanta Thrashers:  The Thrashers traded away Brent Sopel and Nigel Dawes on Thursday.  In return, they got Ben Maxwell and a 4th-round pick from the Montreal Canadiens.  A little hard for me to understand that one.  Sopel is a UFA at season's end, yes, but he was a +7 on a team with a -27 goal differential, and had 150 blocked shots.  Not to mention that whole experience thing.  I think they could've gotten a little more for him.

Unrelated: Atlanta won Sunday for the first time since February 11th.  Yikes.

Carolina Hurricanes: Cory Stillman returns!  Good move for a team hanging on to the final playoff spot in the East.  Stillman is a smart guy, good locker room presence, and still an offensive threat, even at 37.  He's also part of a rare club to win back to back Cups with two different teams.  

Impressive job the management has done with the Canes this year.

Florida Panthers:  The Panthers shipped Captain Bryan McCabe to the New York Rangers Saturday for Tim Kennedy and 3rd-rounder.  While it will always surprise me when a team trades its captain, this move continues the Panthers youth movement and rebuild.  Having lost earlier momentum, and with the playoffs all but unreachable at this point, the move makes sense.  

Unrelated:  Hugh Jessiman, the 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft, just (!) made his NHL debut Sunday.  Three hits and two shots on goal.  Wow.

Washington CapitalsMarco Sturm is now a Cap.  A few seasons ago, this move would've terrified me as a Lightning fan.  However, Sturm has not been able to match the production he had in Boston, and his injuries have slowed him even further lately.  But, he's still a threat, and there's no shortage of talent surrounding him.  

Unrelated:  The Capitals got completely destroyed by the Rangers Friday.  The strange year for the Caps continues.

Important Games This Week:  Montreal at Atlanta (3/1), Tampa at Boston (3/3)

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