Behind the 8 Ball

The non-hockey market of Columbus, Ohio will have to continue waiting for a contender. No biggie, right? It has only been 12 years.

I doubt that very many people really care but the Columbus Blue Jackets are once again left to rebuild. An expansion franchise that has never really found its way in the National Hockey League, the Blue Jackets will likely be clawing its way up from the bottom of the barrel for another couple of years at least.

Unfortunately, this rebuild happened 1 year too late.

The trade for Jeff Carter in the off-season predictably did not have the desired results for GM Scott Howson. They gave up a 1st and 3rd round pick along with Jakub Voracek for a guy who ended up playing 39 unmotivated games. I have cottage cheese in my fridge that has lasted longer than that. Luckily for the Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi threw Scott Howson a bone. Howson got a 1st round pick back as well as underachieving defenseman Jack Johnson.

Nevertheless, Scott Howson messed up worse than Vince Young on the wonderlic test.

He wasted a year for the Blue Jackets that they can never get back. A year that he could have spent in full rebuild mode. Instead, Howson has had to scramble before the trade deadline to get something of value for his expendable pieces.

He traded Jakub Voracek, Samuel Pahlsson and, of course, Jeff Carter for a bunch of drafts picks. A 1st (2013 conditional), 2nd (2012), 4th (2012), 4th (2012), and a 5th (2013 conditional) to be exact.

The silver lining to this less than perfect scenario is that the Blue Jackets sit dead last in the NHL by a gigantic margin despite their best attempts to contend for a Stanley Cup this year. As sad as that is in itself, the fact that they are guaranteed a top 3 pick in the 2012 draft can be of some comfort to Scott Howson on those very lonely nights.

However, with that being said, the Blue Jackets have yet to trade their most coveted piece in all-star winger Rick Nash. His $7.8 million cap hit through the 2014-15 season, no-movement clause and all. According to Howson today, Rick Nash approached the team about a possible trade but nothing got done. Rick Nash is still stuck in the purgatory that is Columbus for the time being.

Rick Nash will be dealt eventually, probably around the time of 2012 draft. It will mark the end of a very miserable era in Columbus.

After Nash is gone, the best thing Scott Howson can do for his franchise is be patient. He thought last offseason, like the kid who spoils his appetite with the cookie before dinner, that being patient wouldn’t be worth it. He knew that getting Jeff Carter back then sounded good and didn’t think it would affect his whole team negatively. Like the kid eating his cookie before dinner, Scott Howson upset the natural order of things. He had his dessert before dinner was ready. When it is dinnertime, Howson is the one at the table who won’t be able to enjoy it.

That cookie doesn’t taste so good now does it Scotty?

They say that patience is a virtue. Not enough General Manger’s have it apparently.

The last week has shown that Scott Howson is willing to change his tune but for how long? Those Brian Burke, Jay Feester get Stanley Cup quick schemes simply don’t work like they’re supposed to. The Leafs and Flames sit at 10th and 11th in their respective conferences. Scott Howson is just going to have to suck it up for the long haul this time. It’s the only way.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have already put themselves behind the 8 ball. They can’t afford to waste anymore years.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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It’s Peyton’s Choice

Peyton Manning is a man. He can make his own decisions and no one else should be telling him otherwise. As much everyone thinks they know what is best for Peyton Manning, they don’t.

Manning is coming off reportedly 4 separate neck surgeries in the past 2 years according to Don Banks of SI.com. According to his birth certificate, Peyton will be 36 by the time the 2012 NFL season rolls around. He has played 13 seasons in the NFL according to his stats page on NFL.com.

A lot of people talk about legacy. Brett Favre apparently had his tarnished.

Apparently, Peyton Manning could end up doing the same thing.

Nonsense.

Peyton Manning can do what he wants.

The tarnishing of the infamous legacy is one of the most absurd concepts in professional sports. People illogically believe that it is in duty to protect an athlete’s so-called legacy. There is this idea that one should stop playing before the inevitable decline of father time or injuries take their toll on that person, making them unable to perform close to the level that fans are used to. Rumour has it that continuing to play past this point of substantial decline or even just the possibility of playing past that point is grounds for tarnishing of the legacy.

For some reason, it is engrained in sports culture that what you do late in your career can take away from the things that happened in the prime of your career. The thing is, this George Costanza idea of going out on a high note really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Last time I checked, you can’t erase what’s written in the history books. That stuff is down in permanent marker, you know, the TO kind of sharpie. But more importantly, the decision of whether or not to keep playing really shouldn’t come down to legacy at all.

Brett Favre still wanted to play. Peyton Manning wants to as well.

Who are we to try and tell these guys what to do? This isn’t our life. We aren’t their mothers.

They should be able to play as long as they want. If there is someone out there that is willing to pay them money to play the game that they love, then by all means they can choose to carry on with their careers. If playing is what the heart desires, the barrier stopping that from happening should be a Donovan McNabb situation. McNabb isn’t close to the level of Manning or Favre, but there came a time this past year when no was willing to pay McNabb to play football. Hey buddy, now it’s time to retire.

As weird as it was for fans to see Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform or Warren Moon in a Chiefs uniform, the far from fairy-tale endings to their careers have done next to nothing to skew the way they have been remembered.

Of course, not that it matters anyways.

Michael Jordan said that he wanted to go out on his own terms. He did that when he tried his hand at professional baseball. He did that when he played 2 seasons for the Washington Wizards. Michael Jordan did what he wanted to and has probably left the game happier because of it.

Regret is one of the worst feelings in life. I’m young. At 20 years old, I almost certainly don’t understand what real regret is. Nevertheless, it can’t be easy for a professional athlete to live the next 50 years of his life and know that he had more to give to the game. To walk away from the only identity and livelihood you have ever known is undoubtedly a scary thing. It’s scarier to think about when you know that there’s more left in the tank.

Brett Favre became one of the most repulsive athletes for his multiple pseudo-retirements. However, when you reflect back to his magical season at the age of 40 in Minnesota, you can’t help but think it was all worth it. Again, what I think doesn’t really matter. It’s what Brett thinks. I bet he would be the first to tell you that having one of the most improbable, unpredictable and captivating seasons in sports history made it all worth it.

If he had listened to what everyone was saying, we would never have seen what Brett Favre had in store for us that season.

Peyton Manning is barely a year removed from being on top of the NFL mountain. If he wishes to return to the NFL, most likely not in a Colts uniform, then he should do so. If not, he can walk away from the game as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

He has to do it on his terms though.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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Lin’s Rise Shouldn’t be so Surprising

The circumstances are Lincredible. The meteoric ascension to stardom is one of a kind. The hype is more than deserved for this Linderella story. The shock of Lin measured a 9.0 on the Richter scale after his game winner on Tuesday night in Toronto and who knows how long we will feel the after effects.

Still, why are we so flabbergasted by Jeremy Lin?

Asia’s version of Tim Tebow has been dissected about as much as, well, the real Tim Tebow. Most human beings on the earth haven’t gone the past 2 weeks without asking how the hell this kid didn’t get his opportunity sooner. In this age of youtube sensations, endless video scouting and advanced statistics, it is almost unfathomable to have a talent as sensational as Jeremy Lin go undrafted and sit on the end of the bench, about to get cut.

I, as well as you, have read and heard the endless discussion as to why Lin’s talent was missed by most everyone. Yeah, he is Asian. Yeah, he is scrawny. Yeah, he doesn’t shoot well. We get it.

What I still don’t get is why we are continually shocked by these mega-talents who were oh so close to bagging groceries at their neighbourhood Hy-Vee? Because we shouldn’t be.

Not anymore.

Jeremy Lin’s story may be mind-blowing but the thought that he could just as easily be out of the NBA right now instead of taking the Big Apple by storm isn’t. There are too many examples of talented individuals who have taken their respective sports by storm for us to be truly surprised anymore. To continue to be in disbelief as to how these guys aren’t noticed is like being stunned that Lindsay Lohan is back in rehab or that Kim Kardashian is trying to exploit another NBA player for even greater fame (FYI, Kim Kardashian is rumoured to be going on a date with Jeremy Lin).

Prior to Linsanity, Tom Brady was the poster boy for mis-evaluated talent. We all know about the 199th overall pick turned GQ, supermodel dating, touchdown throwing golden boy of the NFL. How did Tom Brady get passed on 198 times in 2000? Crazy? Not so much.

Talent is constantly under and over estimated. In another shocking development, the sun will set in the west tomorrow evening.

There is a very thin line between the big leagues and coaching high schoolers. The line is thinner than most professional athletes would like to believe. Most professional athletes live off of the belief that it was their own exceptional talent and hard work that allowed them to reach the top of the sports world. They need to believe it.

Arian Foster’s pompously narrated ‘self-made’ story on the show E:60 is a prime example of this. He went from undrafted running back to arguably the best in the NFL.

Little do most of them really know about the great deal of luck that made it possible for them to excel and make those millions of dollars. The overweight guy on his couch, hollering at the TV could very well have been overlooked. That’s just the nature of sports though. There are so many talented athletes and so few spots that there is bound to be missed talent.

Sometimes though, that almost missed talent turns into a superstar.

Everyone is now on the watch for the next Jeremy Lin. His Linsational story has made people wonder how many more like him are out there. There is probably someone on a college bench waiting to be the next Jimmer or a division II potential superstar lighting it up in relative obscurity somewhere in Omaha.

Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA veteran Del Curry, only received offers to play at Davidson, Virginia Commonwealth and Winthrop. He became a college superstar, the 7th overall pick in the NBA draft and, aside from the injuries, is excelling for the Golden State Warriors. His brother Seth went to Liberty University before Stephen Curry’s stardom forced scouts to take notice of Seth’s ability. Seth is now the starting for the Duke Blue Devils.

Again, Jeremy Lin’s story is exceptional but, in the end, he’s simply another missed talent. Continue to be amazed at the aura, the man, and the legend that is Jeremy Lin.

Just don’t be so surprised that he slipped through the cracks.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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