Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tough Guys Cry

So I went out for smokes in the wee hours of this morning and what should greet me from the covers of the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun? Why nothing less than front pages showing Oiler Captain Ryan Smith crying cause he got traded.

Not because he lost his teeth on the ice, or his team sucks, or because he was touched by some cancer kids in the hospital, or because he was outraged after visiting a womens shelter. Nope he is crying because he got traded.

Shades of Oilers past it is being played like the Gretzky trade. Which was the end of the Oilers reign as NHL Champs. They became chumps until last years great play-off season.

One look at the face of the former face of the franchise and you knew.

He's the broken-hearted former heart and soul of the Edmonton Oilers.

A dozen cameramen walking backward led a sobbing Ryan Smyth through the airport yesterday, his contorted face framed by the famed mullet. It said so much before a word was spoken.

Yesterdays papers were filled with Mark the Moose Messier crying because the Oilers hung his number up. Boy these tough guys show they really are sensitive new age guys. Nice to see. But in the cheering and partying over Mess the news coverage in the local papers seem to be a day behind on the Smith trade news.

Of course it was after two days of partying remembering the Oilers Championship which coincided with Alberta's last Oil boom. Talk about flashbacks here we are 25 years later and another boom and the Moose is retiring. There goes the last of the cocaine cowboys that were the Oilers past. At least they won the Stanley Cup, the Oilers are now officially out of it.

Today the crying is over Smyth and his trade, a trade made over a measly $100,000 difference.

Unless Smytty re-signs with the Oilers in the summer (he can join any NHL club), the Oilers are relegated to second-tier status in the NHL, at least in the coming "rebuilding" years.

Impeccable sources suggest the dispute wasn't so much about money, but conditions - such as Ryan's insistence on a no-cut/no-trade clause.

And, in the end, trading Smyth was a "hockey" decision. The money was there, but GM Kevin Lowe and his boss Cal Nichols felt $5.5 to $5.8 million a year could be better used on up-and-coming talent than a five-year commitment to a player who'll get slower and less productive as he ages.

Clearly these two guys quoted above from the Edmonton Sun don't talk to each other. Whats going on here is another brilliant Ken Lowe play. He has upped the value of Ryan Smith by trading him to the Islanders, helping them make the playoffs. He waited till the absolute eleventh hour to trade him. He traded Edmonton's best player, heck their only real player this season, sans Rollie the Goalie, to a team with a chance at the Stanley Cup or at least a play off contender.

He has all but admitted the Oilers are toast this season. So in what capitalism calls value added, he has made Smith more valuable for when he becomes a free agent in less than five months.

And yep the Oilers have the money to buy out Smyth this summer. In fact Smyth has not even packed up his family or home here. He doesn't have to, his trade to the Islanders is temporary. And the Oilers got a good deal, cash and two young players to help build up the team.

Why it's a win win as business likes to call it. And pro-sports is a business after all, and the players are commodities, the league is the market.

Its a smart move for a team that has nothing else good to say about it this season. Except that we won't be seeing the City pay for play off riots fueled by the greed of Whyte Avenue bars.

And all the tears, well these too shall pass. Besides they are only crocodile tears of very big egos either hurt or humbled, but big egos none the less. Hey it's not like these guys are Albert Schweitzer. They are after all just big dumb jocks.





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1 comment:

Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

I always cry when I pass a women's shelter...same reason that I always cry when I see an Elk wander into a National Park.