Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Canuck Drama

Since the Canucks have been doing so well in the past few weeks, the media began to run out of things to talk about. So when Burrows and Kesler mentioned the notion of taking less money to stay with the team, to give them a better shot at winning a cup, the media ran with the story. The fans loved it. It sounded like two young guys that were talking some sense from a fan perspective. As I have read/heard in the past few days, not everyone thought the same thing. Then Luongo goes on After Hours on Saturday and says: "I think first and foremost, I want to win the Cup and whichever team is going to give me the best chance to do that is the team I want to be with".

The media began to question if that meant Luongo won't re-sign. Yeesh. Now these past few days, of non-stop analysis has got me a little irritated.

Regarding Luongo's Statements
1. Luongo never said he didn't want to resign with Vancouver, he gave a very standard answer that any hockey player say...HE WANTS TO WIN THE CUP
2. Why can't Vancouver be THAT team that wins the cup? Do you think we are not good enough?
3. We are a hockey city that players want to play for, we are not Phoenix or Atlanta or Florida etc. where players hate.
4. Why are Vancouver fans insulted? This is not about us the fan, it is about a player making an evaluation as to where he wants to play.
5. Could this not have been a message to management that says, I'm serious about winning, you have some big contracts to sign and/or resign, show me you mean business and put a good team in front of me.
6. Luongo is a UFA. This is his decision for whatever is best for him and his family. If he wants to take less money to go to another team he thinks will win the cup, that's his decision. If he will go to whichever team with pay him the most, he can make that choice to. He was not drafted here, there's no emotional tie to Vancouver, he was traded. He did resign here which means he wants to play here, whether he will still want to play here in another year will be his decision.
7. This is a business. Players come and go, the NHL is a business, and sometimes, contracts end and players move on.

Back to the media events:
Glenn Healy, NHL union exec, spoke to Kesler about his statements. From what has been reported, it looks like he gave him a gag order.

In The Province: "We talked to Ryan and he regrets some of the comments he made," said NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. The quote from the Kelly just sounds bad. Did he only 'regret' it after the NHLPA suggested for him for 'regret' it?

Obviously Kesler's agent was none to pleased. I can't imagine that made his job any easier (though Mike Gillis may share a different opinion).

I felt that Kuzma, who wrote the original article with the quote from Kesler, and his reputation has been dragged through the mud on this issue. Did the media attack Hossa when he said similar things last year? I can't remember the NHLPA coming forward and saying that Hossa regretted his comments. Kuzma wrote a good article, that did not require much dissecting to figure out what Kelser's quote meant.

I understand the comments are not good for the union, who wants all of their players to get as money as people are willing to pay them. I'm not saying that I expect the players to not take as much money as they can get either. They get paid big money because there is a demand for the sport. High ticket prices and sales drive up revenue, which drive up the cap, which drive up the player's salaries. If the money is there, I'm not going to be mad at a player or their agent for getting them a good deal.

In the end, if anyone were to silence Kesler and Burrows, it should be the guys on the team. If the Sedins and Ohlund, and the other players whose contract are up their year are disgruntled, then they have a right to have their opinion. It's their locker room. It is true, that no matter what Kesler says, the other players do not have to listen to him, but if you thought what he said was a little off balance, then they should have just approached him directly. If it's NHL code not to say things involving other people's contracts, well then it should be spoken about behind closed doors. According to the Vancouver Sun, that has been done. The added comments from the union and the PA were not required, they just made them look bad.

Was this the media's fault? No, the media was doing their JOB. There hasn't been much bad things to say about the Canucks lately, and when a feel good story could be written with a good quote, it was printed.

At this point, I hope we can just move on from this subject and get back to the final games of the season. The players should only focus on the games coming up to the playoffs and then play their hearts out during the playoffs. Let's just get back to playing hockey.

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