Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Hate Trade Deadline Day

Remember how I said yesterday that I wasn't going to talk about Brian Campbell again until after the trade deadline? Forget that ever happened, okay?

I need trade deadline day to be over and I need it to be over now. It's totally messing with my head! I first saw the Brian Campbell quote, "It’s not easy, and I can’t sit here and say I’m having fun with it. I wish it wasn’t me, to be honest with you," in the Buffalo News yesterday and I'll admit, when I read that I totally rolled my eyes and grumbled about him being a baby. Seriously, this is life as an in-demand free agent. If you don't want to be part of trade rumors, sign a contract. If you're intent on holding out for more money, then deal with it and all the ramifications like an adult.

But then I actually saw the interview on the local news and you guys... it made me so sad. It partly made me sad because to me it seems so obvious that if he's really that unhappy about the prospect of being traded or leaving Buffalo, there's a simple solution - sacrifice some of the money you want for the opportunity to stay in an organization and city that you know you love with teammates who you're already attached to. You're still going to be pretty fairly paid and you're still going to be extremely wealthy. Seriously, I do not understand why more athletes aren't more willing to do this. I can't wrap my brain around it.

But it also made me sad because I like Brian Campbell. I know I've mentioned this in passing in a couple of posts about him but I also know it was a half-hearted throwaway at best, something to temper the angry rantings about his contract demands. But watching him, lip all trembly, looking down at the ground, I remembered that yes, I really, really do like him. I don't like everything about how he's handled this season but when I first started watching hockey, he was one of the guys I attached to the quickest and it was because he was totally a heart-on-his-sleeve kind of guy. I loved that you could tell exactly how he was feeling - happy, excited, bummed, frustrated. As recently as the beginning of this season I listed him as my third favorite Sabre. Third! This year I was annoyed when he made the All-Star team because I knew certain people were never going to quit crowing about how that made him the awesomemest but last year? I was freaking thrilled for him. I sat at my computer and voted for him over and over and over during entire movies or TV shows. I loved how openly tickled he was to be there and how genuinely humbled he seemed that fans (and his mom) had voted him in.

Listen, I still don't think he's worth a penny over 5.5 million a year - and honestly I think that's a bit of an overpayment - and I have no desire to see the Sabres sink that kind of money into him long-term. I don't like a lot of things about how he's handled this season and I think he's lost some of his fun, happy shininess, but I did realize that if and when Brian Campbell leaves Buffalo... I'll be sad. He's been a Sabre as long as I've been a Sabres fan and I'll be really sad to see him in another jersey.

So I was already dealing with that this morning when Mark emailed me a rumor he'd read about the Sabres wanting to shake up the defense by trading Campbell, Dmitri Kalinin, and Henrik Tallinder. I made a list of all the reasons this rumor is ridiculous:

1. It was posted on a message board by a guy who claims to have sources in Tampa. Could he be for real? Sure. Could he be full of it? Absolutely.

2. Henrik Tallinder is currently the best defensive d-man on the team and one of the best bargains. He has an extremely reasonable contract with two years left on it. For an organization that is often caught up in the financial aspect of things, his contract is a gem.

3. Hank, Tri, and Soupy are all former Sabres draft picks and Darcy has often shown some attachment to players he drafted and raised. Is he really going to trade all the homegrown talent and keep all the guys who came in from somewhere else?

4. Rarely have I heard rumors about a Sabres trade that then actually takes place. Darcy Regier holds his cards close to his chest. Paul Hamilton was saying this on WGR yesterday and even went as far as to say that if a deal gets out, Darcy will pull back on it because he doesn't want any rumors out about it.

So as you can see, there are many, many reasons to completely ignore this rumor. I mean, it's totally ridiculous, right? Right? It is, right?

Geez, being a fan is so hard sometimes.


bowlofpork said...

I completely agreed. A Hank-Tri-Soupy deal makes absolutely no sense at all. I am pretty shocked that you now think Soup is worth as much as 5.5M. It wasn't too long along that 5M was too much...

Heather B. said...

Matt, this is exactly what I mean! Trade deadline day and all these weepy interviews are totally playing with my head!

But thanks for the reassurances about Hank :D

Meg said...

Heather, I've never liked Campbell--I've always found him kind of obnoxious for whatever reason--and I still felt totally sad listening to his Q & A on WGR. I'm torn on the whole issue of players taking less, I mean on the one hand, we're talking about a guy who is going to be making about 200 times what I make. So my sympathy is a touch . . . limited. On the other hand, I can see where millions of dollars is an awful lot to leave on the table and I do think Campbell would have to do that to stay in Buffalo. And in this case I don't think there's really anyone to blame. The Sabres have been negotiating with him all season, just like everyone wanted them to, and they've just never come to a compromise on how much he should be paid. People will be angry at them anyway, of course, but I find it hard to blame management in this situation. I don't know, this sports as a business thing is horrible sometimes.

And I agree that trading Hank makes no sense for the Sabres. And no way does some guy with "insider sources" in Florida know what Regier is going to do at the trade deadline.

Heather B. said...

Meg, I agree that there's no one to blame here. Two sides have never agreed on what Campbell's worth. I have no problem with the Sabres refusing to pay him market value and as hard as I have been on ol' Soupy, I have no problem with him wanting market value.

Logically I understand that there's a big difference between 4.5 million and 6.5 million (just as an example) but I admit, my little ordinary world can't wrap my brain around that being a deal-breaker IF you love everything about your current situation. I'm not real big on change though. I would hate going to a new team and getting used to new coaches and new teammates and finding a new house and new people to hang out with. (One of the myriad of reasons I'm not a pro athlete ;-)

Every once in a while someone like Marty Brodeur says, "I could probably make more somewhere else but I love it where I am and what they're offering me is still a lot of money," and that just makes so much sense to me that I really, genuinely don't understand why we don't hear it more often. In my experience it's so hard to find that place where you absolutely fit and if you do find it, it's worth some sacrifice to keep it.

I will add, for the record, I have no idea if any of this is what's going on with Soupy. For all I know he's all weepy because he hates Buffalo and can't wait to get out. I don't know. This is purely speculation on my part.

You're right though... Any time we veer into "sports is a business" territory, it's tough.

Amanda said...

I feel the same way you guys do. I first heard the interview and then saw it on TV, and the kid is a mess. You couldn't help but feel for the guy.

HOWEVER, that being said, here's some advice for Tomato Soup - sign a freeging contract if you want to stay or don't cry about it. Your future is in your hands - not anyone else's. You *can* accept less money to stay here - it's still a pile o' dough.

Mark B said...

I know the whole Soupy thing is bringing you down, but I LOVE trade deadline day. Darcy usually does *something* and it's like Christmas waiting to see what new player we get to unwrap! It's also so much fun checking the various sites to see all the activity on that wild day.

I'm not really feeling bad for Soupy at all. Sorry, but I'm not. Okay, maybe a little after seeing that interview. But I'm sure the Sabres offer is more than what I'd give him, so not feeling a lot of pity here!

And I emailed you about Hank, but I honestly don't believe Darcy would trade him unless an offer blew him away. And I'm also not looking forward to coming home if that happened!

Vanek's Hair said...

If the Sabres sign Campbell to a $5.5 (approx.) deal, how do they look Tallinder and Lydman in eye, both of whom they extended over the summer for substantially less? Plus it is more than what Derek Roy got. For all the times I want to throw something at my TV for his whining to the refs and flopping like he got hit with sniper fire (which admittedly is improving), Roy is a better, more valuable player than Campbell.

I like Campbell and want him on the Sabres, but the big number would insult the top defence pairing, and seriously hamstring them when they have to address Miller (franchise cornerstone) and Pominville (potential franchise cornerstone) in the coming years.

Anne said...

Ugh, I hate that I love Soupy. \
(Side note: the song "Hate that I Love You" by Rihanna and Ne-Yo has been my theme song for the 2007-2008 season, no joke.)

I don't want to hear about the human side of him. I can just pretend he's a money grubbing evil man who doesn't deserve to wear the navy and gold. I can't bring myself to watch the interview.

That aside, I'd rather lose Soupy than a few other players.

I'm so excited for Trade Day! I agree with Mark its totally our 2nd Christmas.

Kate said...

I was also sad about Soupy last night! Not because I think he has been mistreated in any way. Not because I don't think he's a whiny little jerk. Not because I'm not annoyed that he doesn't have the class to SHUT UP ABOUT THE CONTRACT. I'm sad about Soupy because he's too dumb to keep it together during this negotiation, but not dumb enough to just walk away from some money and do what makes him happy. He's pathetic.

Kate said...

Oh, and there is NO WAY Hank is going anywhere!

Heather B. said...

Vanek's Hair (I love typing that so much, btw), you are totally right although I'm confused by your suggestion that Lydman-Tallinder is the top pairing. (Just kidding! They totally are no matter what some people say.) This is just a weird day for me where emotional is messing with the logical side. I'll be fine tomorrow, I think.

But seriously, how good does Roy's contract look already? Four million a year? Are you kidding me? How did we manage that? And he's had kind of an up and down season... Just wait until he plays well all year.

Vanek's Hair said...

Love typing Vanek's Hair. Awesome. Remember that Vanek's Hair is more than a name, it's a way of life.

I think it is awesome that you appreciate Dmitri Kalinin. I always thought I was the only person within the 716 area code that did.

Why not attempt to trade Campbell for forward depth. With Celebrity Bartender Nathan Paestch, Card, Funk, Weber, Sekera, and TJ Brennan, the organization is deep enough to lose one d-man, not so much at forward.

coolman856 said...

I really do think that most of what I read from Soupy is more of a ploy than something else. I think that he's really just saying those things just to be able to still save some grace with Sabre fans. If he really wanted to be here, he would have done something about it. A couple million dollars isnt going to break anyone. Therefore, this really is all about the money. He wants to stay here but wants the money more. Shows you where his head really is at.

TheTick said...

There's no such thing as a hockey insider in Florida. The only way I would've imagined trading Tallinder is if the Sabres were dead last and trying to reload for 2 years down the way, and even then I wouldn't do it unless the player just wouldn't shut up about being here (and I don't think Henrik would do that).

Anne M said...

That rumor is nutty. MAYBE if there were other teams involved or something, but even then, I have a hard time seeing it happen.

I'm mixed about Soupy. I live in Rochester, so I haven't seen/heard the tearfulness. I met him way back when he was still sucking as an Amerk, and he was very friendly and pleasant. But I have also hated him for long stretches over his time with Buffalo, and I really think he has no one to blame but himself for the mess he's in now. He's the one who started talking about the negotiations in the media, and now that the publicity is uncomfortable, he's kind of stuck. So in that sense, not much sympathy here.

But my brother has floated the idea that maybe the NHLPA is pressuring him (and other players like him) to not sign with their current teams and pursue free agency instead. If that is the case, then I do feel bad for him because that's just crappy. He should be able to just decide to stay in Buffalo or chase the money, but based on his own feelings, not the union wanting to use him as some kind of example.

I love Trade Deadline Day. I love seeing all the other teams' deals even more than waiting to see what the Sabres will or won't do. I love all the frantic emails and texts my brothers and I exchange all day making sure everyone has heard the latest news. Good times.

Heather B. said...

Vanek's Hair (hee!), I have a weird protective, perhaps even slightly maternal feeling for Dmitri. It drives me bonkers that people completely ignore him when he's playing really well and blame him for the ills of all mankind at the slightest mistake. I like his defense AND I'd like to see him more on the powerplay. Take that, Buffalo! For the record I know Meg likes Tri too so there are at least three of us.

I'll admit that I don't keep up with the prospects as well as I should but it would seem that we have more depth at defense now than at forward. Seems like we've called up just about everyone who's ready at forward.

Anne, I know in the past the NHLPA has frowned upon players signing for less than market value, the argument being that it drags everyone else's value down. And I can see how that would be a concern. But at the same time, like you said, you have to make decisions for yourself. The NHLPA didn't like Brodeur's last contract and I guess made it known and he basically said, "I'm happy, you guys can deal with it."