Is the trade deadline a distraction?

Does the trade deadline impact the psyche of players? Even in the largely insulated world of NHL players, chatter is unavoidable. If you read every report out there, you would think that Rick Nash has more “lists” than an obsessive-compulsive grocery shopper. But, as Justin Williams said last week, the trade deadline has reached “national holiday” status in the minds of many, even though it’s often more hype and rumor than substance. If the trade deadline had a surname, it would be Kardashian. That said, it’s certainly a fact that the Kings are looking to upgrade the roster before Monday’s trade deadline, particularly at forward, and chances are if players come in, other players have to go. With just a couple days before the deadline, do players start looking over their shoulders? Does concern about trades start impacting the way they play, and prepare for, games? Darryl Sutter, who has seen the situation as a coach and general manager, was asked for his thoughts.

SUTTER: “I don’t know. You try to keep a good read on it. I don’t sense that. I think what’s most important is the seven or eight guys that have to be our strong guys, and always have to be that. It’s not the distraction part of it. Guys talk, but that’s the business, right? It’s not like the old days. That’s the business. That’s the way it works.”

Question: As a coach, or GM, do you have to keep an eye on that, to make sure guys aren’t distracted?

SUTTER: “I don’t think so. It’s a 23-man roster and there’s a salary cap and there are guys that need waivers and guys that don’t need waivers. That would be like saying, last week when we put Trent (Hunter) on waivers, that wasn’t a distraction. It’s the way it works. That’s an opportunity for another kid.”

Incidentally, since Sutter mentioned Trent Hunter, he has reported to Manchester of the AHL and presumably will start playing soon. Hunter seems to have avoided the concussion symptoms that struck Ethan Moreau after he was assigned… For Hunter’s thoughts on joining the Monarchs, click here for a story from the team’s website.

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