It's the Sabres offseason - when is it not, frankly - and when it's the Sabres offseason, one can rest assured that they'll have a daily menu of trash takes on which to dine if, as it suits you, your preferred meal includes equal parts "this guy took 7 years to graduate from high school" and "this guy spends too much time on bar stools in the City of Tonawanda." Granted, I have no clue whether either of these specific character traits apply to Richard Spalding, the author of the offending collection of nonsense words and punctuation marks that drew my attention today, but the fact that a reasonable reader cannot discern whether "failed sophomore year three times" and "Tonawanda's Skip Bayless" are accurate descriptions of Spalding is telling in and of itself.
These takes were so hot, honestly, I figure Harry Caray is planning to hold his show from right in their center next week. Like the saying goes, when life gives you trashy ass lemon opinions, you gotta make some trashy ass FJM lemonade.
(Note that @2ITB already did one on this and it's basically the clean and polite version of many of the opinions I share, written in a manner - i.e. non-sarcastically and entirely calmly - that I have the inability to mirror every time I dial up weebly [dot] com. You should probably read his stuff before mine, always, as a general rule of thumb.)
The godforsaken text of this godforsaken target of my early-onset mid-life crisis male rage is below; my analysis (read: dumbfuckery) is in bold and sometimes in all caps at such moments as may tickle my fat ass fancy.
Does the kid, like, not know how to play hockey? Murder someone? Rape someone? Is he a big fucking asshole? Are you a big fucking asshole? We already know that I am, but just saying - what. a. lede.
Certainly we are in for a treat (we are certainly not).
Not to belabor the point, but wow. The line in the sand is a (Richon) stark shot to the heart. Anything is too much. We do not negotiate with terrorists. This is not a game (it is a game), it is serious business. ANYTHING. IS. TOO. MUCH.
Pro Tip: writing about sports in terms of ultimatums and the like is the first sign you've failed as a human. If Jimmy Vesey isn't, like, one of the villains from 'Preacher' or some suburban Massachusetts jihadist, this is all going to be an logical let down, Rich.
All right: I’ve taken a few days to sleep on the trade that sent a third-round pick to Nashville just so the Buffalo Sabres could acquire the rights to Jimmy Vesey.
YOU SLEPT FOR DAYS, ME JELLY.
I’ve read FanSided NHL Division Director Tim Redinger’s thoughts on why it should not bother fans that the Sabres gave up a third-round pick in order to sit down with this kid.
Honestly, if you needed to read anything at all to get a take on why fans should not be bothered by the Sabres giving up one of four Third Round draft picks to have even a marginally better chance at landing a player who was drafted in the Third Round four years ago and has only gotten better since, I don't know.
Also, please read other blogs and websites, too. Like, say, www.deargodwhyussports.com. There's a piece up there right now on why anyone bent out of shape about the Jimmy Vesey trade are mutated blends of a fuckstick salad and cream cheese.
I’ve tried to justify this gamble by entertaining thoughts of the Buffalo Sabres parading Lord Stanley’s Cup through the streets of Buffalo in a grand victory parade.
- Gambles imply risk and I fucking dare you to point to the thing that the Sabres have risked here. It's like saying I have undertaken a risk by trading my Honda CRV (come at me) for another Honda CRV while, at the same time, my garage ALREADY HAS THREE OTHER HONDA CRVs TO SPARE. Christ.
- While you're at it, I fucking dare you to point to the Third Round prospect in this year's draft who you'd want more than Jimmy Vesey.
- You "entertained thoughts of a Stanley Cup Parade" which is a nice turn of phrase, I grant you, especially when it's utility is covering up the weirdness of your need to wrack your brain to justify the Sabres trying to get a fucking Hobey Baker winner who went 24/22 in 33 games for Harvard, a school that has not had such a winner since nineteenfuckingeightynine (the last time Harvard won the NCAA, mind you; Harvard's team this year was not nearly as good, making Vesey's achievement a GD ACHIEVEMENT).
Look: Jimmy Vesey is a talented player. Could be a great kid. Either you have done zero google searching on this or you are ignoring the results. He is a great kid. Ostensibly. Full stop. It’s entirely understandable why Sabres fans are dreaming of a Vesey – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart line. I get it – two Hobey Baker Award winners on the same line, alongside Reinhart, who had almost as good a 2015-16 season as Eichel did. Everyone’s thinking about Buffalo becoming the next city to pull a Cleveland and bring a major sport championship into the 716.
I realize Facebook and twitter were awash with "ok now can it be our turn" after the Cavs won Sunday, but a Sabres Cup win would not be "pulling a Cleveland" anymore than your website can be deemed to have "pulled a DGWU" simply by writing about Buffalo sports. Besides, any Sabres fan worth a damn is always dreaming of the Sabres "pulling a Buffalo" (see?) and breaking the goose egg out of the Championship win column. Cleveland's win has not appreciable impact on those dreams - though certainly on the frequent expression of them for about 24 hours after Sunday night; nor did their win have any appreciable impact on our willingness to use our brains and assess this Vesey trade for what it is. We did not become idiot and impatient assholes after the LeBron kept his promise to his hometown. You're thinking of yourself.
That’s all well and good, but have we all forgotten about Jonathan Drouin, the kid who tried to strong-arm the Tampa Bay Lightning into trading him this season? No one forgot about Drouin. It simply did not occur to us that his situation was relevant to our assessment of Vesey because it's not relevant to our assessment of Vesey and also we are not insistent on being wrong. I seem to recall a number of Sabres fans remarking that they would not want a kid like Drouin playing for the Sabres, (what number of Sabres fans? 5? 10? Less than 20? I want a fucking number because I want to tell them all to go fuck themselves as well) because of his attempts to force his way out of a situation he didn’t like. When a young player such as Drouin tries to play hardball, despite the fact that he really has not earned the right to dictate the terms of his employment just yet, that player comes across as entitled, the reason why people feel the need to remind everyone that there is no “I” in “team.”
People feel the need to remind everyone that there is no "I" in team because Americans love cliches and are also terrible at spelling.
People applauded Lightning GM Steve Yzerman for refusing to be manipulated by Drouin and his agent, and in the long run, being banished to Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and then suspended for refusing to report, wound up being just the kick in the ass that Drouin needed, as he turned in an inspiring performance in Tampa Bay’s playoff run.
Drouin violated the terms of his contract. Vesey exercised his rights under the CBA and had, you guessed it, not signed a contract. Comparing these two situations is such an obnoxious stretch of logic that I can only assume Rich here had already begun his tour de force on why a hot dog is not a sandwich based on the fact that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside.
One has nothing to do with the other.
So if people were turned off by Drouin’s power play and supportive of Yzerman’s refusal to bow down to a still-unproven player, why are they suddenly onboard the Jimmy Vesey bandwagon?
Because the situations are so starkly different that sentient beings who like Sabres hockey have come to a conclusion so confounding as to confuse this fucking fungus.
Please don’t tell me the circumstances are different here they are – if anything, what Vesey is doing is worse (it's not), because the kid has not played one damn game as a professional hockey player yet (that's the relevant metric? Huh), and he is already on a power trip (explicitly permitted by the CBA and implicitly permitted by the Predators' failure to lock him into a deal before this year). At the very least, Drouin could boast of being the third-overall pick in he draft, and that he had been a good soldier in his first year in Tampa Bay (he, however, could not boast any legal right to his course of action, unlike Jimmy Vesey). It’s still a BS argument, mind you – but it’s leaps and bounds better than what Vesey is doing (except in the sense that it was illegal and he was never going to get away with it, while Vesey already did).
And don’t tell me that college players skipping the draft and becoming UFAs is a trend that we all have to get used to (You know what? I won't tell you that! Because Jimmy Vesey didn't skip the draft!) – this doesn’t happen in any other professional sport in North America (not to my knowledge, that is) (lmgtfy.com) and it doesn’t have to happen in the NHL. The league and the players union need to get together and find a way to keep this sort of power play from happening, but in the meantime, teams such as the Buffalo Sabres need to stop rewarding young players who have done nothing at the professional level from enjoying a perk that is not even enjoyed by players who have put in three years!
Man, fuck the Sabres for wanting to "reward" a player, i.e. sign him to a contract delineating an agreement to exchange money for hockey playing, when that player exercised his rights under the document governing player contracts. The Sabres suck.
Also, the Sabres have to "stop rewarding young players who have done nothing at the professional level from enjoying a perk that is not even enjoyed by players who have put in three years?" They've done this before? No? This is just rhetorical nonsense aimed at inciting those portions of the fan base eager to throw shade at anything this club does? The author of these words has the insight of a jar of marmalade?
Fish in a barrel fam.
Think about that for a moment: Jack Eichel, who played 81 games in his rookie season, will not be able to enjoy the perks of being an RFA until the end of the 2017-18 season. If we assume that the Sabres sign Eichel to a long-term contract (say five years or longer) in the summer of 2018, when will Eichel be able to enjoy the freedom of being a UFA – 2023? At the earliest?
Oh, so this is about equity in player freedom? Not freedom to exercise one's contractual right s like Vesey did, mind you, but Jack's rights. Because reasons.
And Sabres fans are okay going after a college kid who is demanding the perks of being a UFA NOW? I mean, yes, since him being a UFA and also a pretty good hockey player means he could be a Buffalo Sabre rather than a Nashville Predator. All because he might help the Sabres become a playoff team? YES. BECAUSE OF THAT. THAT IS WHY WE ARE HERE YOU TROGLODYTE. Drouin had the same potential, and most fans would not have touched him with a 20-foot pole. Application denied. Cheering that the Sabres might convince Vesey to play for Buffalo is extremely hypocritical, and I just can’t get excited over this. Try harder, mutant. Or don't. Whatever. Take a walk.
I understand that even as a UFA, Jimmy Vesey will only be allowed to sign an entry-level contract, but this whole thing stinks to me, even if it is allowed by the current CBA. In one sentence you breezed right through the two primary reasons this should not bother anyone who cares to make proper use of one's god-given faculties. One sentence to brush aside the context that is inescapable in its ability to make Rich Spalding look like a peal-clutching troll. Also, as an aside, Vesey's choice - as per my own internet reading - means that he can't burn a year on his entry-level deal, something that Nashville could have done for him. So, less money in other words. POWER PLAY. Vesey may well become the next Jack Eichel, but I have a really difficult time endorsing his power play just months after condemning Drouin for trying to pull a stunt that is incredibly similar. Similar in that they're both hockey player; different in all other relevant respects. If NHL teams such as the Buffalo Sabres continue to allow players like Vesey to skip the draft (which Vesey didn't, god why) and dictate where they begin their careers, then yes, this will be a trend moving forward. It doesn’t have to be, though, and it doesn’t feel right applauding Buffalo’s pursuit of a player simply because “It’s my team.” Fuck you, it's not your team anymore. You're off the island. It wasn’t right when Drouin did it months ago, it wasn’t right when Eric Lindros refused to play for the Quebec Nordiques way back in 1991, and it’s not right that Jimmy Vesey has strong-armed his way out of Nashville and is looking to become a free agent on August 15.
HAHASHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA LINDROSS OH GOD THAT'S PERFECT. Nothing says well-thought-out, researched and written like repeatedly claiming a 2012 Draftee "skipped the draft," comparing him to a player who did something completely fucking different and who Sabres fans still would have loved getting, and then topping it off with the only other comparison considered relevant - Eric Fucking Lindross. In 1991.
Delete your account, Rich.