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.