Yep, the Panthers pulled a Turkey Day trade, sending Belak to Nashville (think he's going to like it there) for former Lightning forward Nick Tarnasky.
Tarnasky is younger than Belak at 24, and might be able to provide a little more offense. Tarnasky, who has rumbled with the Cats in the past, hasn't scored a goal in 11 games this season, but had 11 in the past two years with the Bolts.
For Belak, who was trying to get something started throughout last night's game, this is a fresh start in Music City. Folks may look at his Cooper Mini with a wary eye, but he'll fit in right well with the Predators me thinks.
And he gets to leave a last place team. That's usually not a bad thing.
-- Just got off the phone with JM, says the team is likely to bring up Shawn Matthias from Rochester, give him a chance to show what he's got. With the season he's having in Rochester, this is a good time for a clean slate.
And now, Jacques Martin on the Tarnasky/Belak trade that sent the hockey world on it's ear today (OK, it didn't.)
"He’s a role player, but he can get there quicker, use his speed and use his body to his advantage. He can drive to the net, play a simple game. He’s going to help Pete [DeBoer] play four lines. He can be part of a momentum line.''
On signing Wade Belak to a two-year deal then spit-canning him 20 games into season:
"With Wade, his ice time was a concern. He had trouble fitting in to Peter’s system. As a general manager, you want to get guys who can fit their coach’s system. Nashville wanted a different style of player. For Wade it’s unfortunate this had to happen, but it’s part of the business. We improved our club. We have to keep improving.''
-- Just spoke to Wade, he says he's "stunned" by the trade and thought everything had worked itself out. Said he enjoyed his short time in South Florida, really seemed to enjoy living here. Added he enjoyed his teammates, folks who worked for the team and the neighbors he's leaving behind.
If you're on an early flight to Atlanta tomorrow and see a big red-headed dude on your flight, that could be Belak. Nashville plays at the Thrash tomorrow night.
"I hear lots of good things about Nashville from various guys who have played there,'' Belak said. "Vokoun said he loved playing there. I talked to the general manager and the coach, and they seem like great people. They are accomidating with the family. It’s a good organization. I’m happy to be going there.
"They do a lot of things well, lot of behind the scenes stuff. They treat their players and families with a lot of respect.
"It’s nice to be wanted, especially after what transpired after last weekend. It was tough to come back knowing there was an issue there. To be traded was very surprising.''
On meeting with Pete DeBoer on Tuesday:
"I told my side of the story, told him what I could bring to the table. It was a good meeting, no yelling and screaming.We just wanted to move on, and obviously, they moved on.''