The NHL trade deadline is coming up and it kind of feels like we’re all about to go on a first date.  The anticipation, the excitement, the 30-person panel analyzing every move, it’s all there.  While we’re hoping that everything is going to turn out great and we’ll end up in a successful union, we’re also a little afraid that this could be a terrible experience for everyone involved.

But it’s not only like a first date.  If you look very closely and think about it, the NHL trade deadline is kind of like an entire relationship.  How?  Let us explain.

It begins with the unknown

What’s going to happen?  Will we like the person we’re hooked up with?  Will we get along?  Will this person use us for a few months and then toss us aside when a better offer comes by?  Like every new relationship, the trade deadline greets us with uncertainty.  It gets our hopes up, leaving us thinking that something amazing could happen, but there’s always that doubt in the back of our minds that asks “What if this doesn’t work out?”

It’s exciting and new at first

Whenever a new player comes to your team, you hope that this is going to be the person that will turn everything around.  The announcement of a deal brings thoughts of success and glory.  Like a brand new relationship, every small step is treated with great fanfare.  In a relationship you have a first date, a first kiss, a first embarrassing sexual encounter.  With a new trade you look forward to the first time the player puts on his new jersey.  Then you have the first game, the first shift and the first embarrassing turnover that leads to your team losing a big game.  In both cases, when it goes bad, you wake up the next morning wondering what actually happened and hoping that there’s a good way to get out of this.

It can get old really fast

When that underachieving youngster was traded to your team, you really thought he was going to turn it on and finally reach the levels he was predicted to reach for years.  When an aging veteran joins a new franchise, you’re hoping against hope that he has one last great run in him.  However, much like many relationships, these hopes don’t always come true.  In fact, things can fall apart very quickly.  One day you’re dreaming of a romantic life together, the next day you’re both wearing sweatpants, sitting on the couch and trying not to kill one another.  Not every relationship ends in a successful union.  The same can be said for trades.

Breaking up is painful

Your team just landed the biggest player available and the Stanley Cup is in your sights.  Unfortunately, things don’t work out that way and you end up crying as your team is eliminated in the second round.  Adding to the pain, the player you traded for leaves your team for a contender in the offseason.  Now you’re left without a first round pick and you have to watch this player score highlight reel goals for the opposition.  Hopefully, he didn’t take your stereo with him when he moved out.

If you’re lucky, it ends up well

Sometimes that awkward first date leads to a beautiful, life-long relationship.  Sometimes that last-minute trade leads to a Stanley Cup.  It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s magical.  However, most relationships flame out pretty quickly and most trades end with heartbreak.

The lines are all the same

“This just isn’t working out.”
“I just feel like it’s time to part ways.”
“You just don’t fit in here.”
“Seriously… waive your no trade clause Tomas Kaberle!!!”

Are those break-up lines or general managers telling players they’ve been traded?  There’s no way to ever know for sure.

On Monday, try to enjoy the trade deadline, but prepare yourself for heartbreak, loneliness and sitting at home alone on Saturday nights with a case of beer and a movie marathon.  This is the best advice we could possibly offer.