Look, I realize the Ottawa Senators aren’t the best. They have a budget that’s less than the salary cap and they don’t pay enough attention to analytics and they don’t know the true value of a third round draft pick. Their report card comments perpetually read “Room for improvement”. However, at least they don’t actively douse their fanbase in lighter fluid and then incinerate them by shooting flaming arrows into their chest. I mean, have you seen some of these other teams?
How does Peter Chiarelli do it? And by “do it”, I mean “remain employed”, because I feel like that Tyler Seguin trade should have followed Chiarelli around like a lost puppy made out of regret and sadness. But no, instead he ends up employed in the ancient ancestral home of regret and sadness, Edmonton, and proceeds to make The Tyler Seguin Trade But Worse. I don’t know what I expected. I guess, maybe, some soul-searching and some humility and some quiet reflection resulting in the realization that a lack of maturity is often temporary whereas skill is permanent. It’s true that Edmonton needed a 1st pairing defenseman after the Eric Gryba acquisition mysteriously failed to work out, and it’s true that Edmonton has so many young forwards that the laws of probability dictated that at least one of them was going to be traded. Still, trading Taylor Hall, (one of the leading 5-on-5 scorers in the league), for Adam Larsson, (a human male from Sweden), smacks of a failure of talent evaluation and negotiating ability that raises comparisons to tubers. You can talk about “wasting Erik Karlsson’s prime” if you want, but how many primes are the Oilers going to waste? I’ll give you a hint: it is definitely ‘some’.
It’s probably too early to dunk on the Maple Leafs, but that’s not really going to stop me because the day that I am tired of dunking on the Maple Leafs is the day I am tired of life. Normally a free agent signing somewhere that wasn’t Toronto would not be a big deal, but Steven Stamkos is no normal free agent. For months, my life has been a living hell of “Stamkos to Toronto??” hype, and I’m glad I won’t have to hear it anymore because it was always inane, delusional, grandiose, and revealed the Toronto fans and media to be self-promoting hype-lords of the highest order. Is that too harsh? Why wouldn’t Steven Stamkos want to leave a state where there is no income tax and no winter? Why wouldn’t Steven Stamkos want to leave Florida’s three hockey beat writers to play under the scrutiny of the likes of Steve Simmons and Dave Feschuk? Why wouldn’t Steven Stamkos want to leave a Tampa Bay team that made the Eastern Conference Finals without him and go play for a team that’s in Year 2 of a rebuild of indeterminate length? Is it because Steven Stamkos isn’t a complete goddamn moron? Maybe! If you honestly thought Steven Stamkos was signing in Toronto, you are credulous nitwit. If, at any point, you talked at length about how winning in Toronto “would make Stamkos a legend”, I am sorry that you believe that Toronto receives the lion’s share of the media’s coverage because it is in any way worthy of it. Toronto is going to be better than they were last year, but it’s not going to be because God has smiled upon your desolate concrete jungle where dreams are made up. Trust your Process; there are no shortcuts.
Which brings me to the Montreal Canadiens. In truth, I never thought this day would come, and this is because I underestimated the true depths of depravity which the Montreal Canadiens are capable of plumbing. On the ice, PK Subban was a nightmare to play against. He is excellence is unquestionable, and he plays with a passion that makes it all the more infuriating when he wins. I have often said the greatest compliment I am capable of giving a non-Senators player is “I wish he played for my team”, and I say this without reservation about PK Subban. I wish PK Subban played for the Ottawa Senators. Off the ice, PK Subban is quite literally without peer. He has faced all criticism, deserved and undeserved, head-on and seems to remain as positive a human being as possible. Just look at this delightful bastard. If you can’t appreciate PK Subban, you don’t deserve him, and in that way, the PK Subban trade is totally just. In the coming days, the Montreal media will begin leaking stories about Subban’s “personality” and “character” and how Shea Weber will bring what Subban lacked and it’s going to be total bullshit. PK Subban gave Montreal everything he had and all he got in return was empty press conferences from a management group that couldn’t stand him. This is the sort of trade that curses a franchise for centuries, and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving franchise. It is to be one of the great joys of my life to watch the Montreal Canadiens collapse under the weight of their own mythology. They tried to show Patrick Roy that no player was bigger than the team. How, exactly, did that work out? At least Patrick Roy was an asshole. PK Subban was so relentlessly positive and outgoing, it burned their very soul like holy water. The only Habs fans who are pleased that PK Subban is no longer a part of their organization are, without a doubt, garbage human beings. Their hockey team is also garbage. They deserve each other.