At some point Sunday, the cell phone of Joe Nieuwendyk, the Stars' general manager, rang. And the voice at the other end was that of his counterpart with the Penguins.
Imagine ...
"Hey, Joe, it's Ray!"
"Oh ... um, not Ray ..."
"Yeah, Ray Shero! Remember? How are ya, bud?"
"Well, listen, Mr. Shero, sir, I think my house has been hit by a meteorite, and it's best if I ..."
"No, no, hang on a sec, Joe! Want to talk deal?"
"Gee, I, uh ..."
Somehow, some way, that chat culminated in another trade between those two, this one bringing firebrand veteran winger Brenden Morrow for defense prospect Joe Morrow, as well as a swap of draft picks.
Yeah, the same execs who in February 2011 agreed to exchange Alex Goligoski for James Neal and Matt Niskanen hooked up once again.
And people are worried about this ... why exactly?
Let's set aside the two-Morrow trade for a bit and look at all the other players Shero has shipped away: Angelo Esposito, Ryan Whitney, Luca Caputi, Colby Armstrong, Noah Welch, Erik Christensen, Daniel Carcillo, Dany Sabourin, Ryan Stone, Martin Skoula, Zbynek Michalek, Dominic Moore, Daryl Sydor, Mark Letestu, Ben Lovejoy and, of course, Jordan Staal.
Staal will be missed - yes, even if Brandon Sutter continues to delight - but has anyone ever lost sleep over the rest?
I'll grant you a wink over a couple of them. Maybe.
Look, Shero knows his stuff.
He knows who he's getting, he knows what he's sending out and, above all, he knows what the Penguins need.
In Morrow's case, the GM and his staff looked at film of Evgeni Malkin's time during the two years of making the Stanley Cup final and saw how having a winger go to the net - think Ruslan Fedotenko - opened up ice for Malkin's moves.
Morrow is that guy. Sure, he's 34 and he's been banged up, but he's also three years removed from a career-high 33 goals for Dallas as well as a surprising spot on Canada's gold-medal Olympic team in Vancouver. He uses that stocky 6-foot frame to drive relentlessly to the net, and he's adept once he arrives.
"He goes to the dirty areas," Shero said Sunday night. "It's something we felt we needed."

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