Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As the Lines Turn

See what I did there in the title? HEE HEE

In the past twenty four hours (give or take a couple), there has been SOOOOOOO much discussion about one Ryan Johansen, a center for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He wears #19. He was the one of the top scorers last year for the CBJ. He is a physical presence on the ice. He made some exciting plays during the course of the year. He fed Dubinski the tying goal in Game 4 of the playoffs against that team in PA, a shot that beat THREE different flightless birds.

That was last season. It seems so far away. Since then, it's been nothing but "When is Joey going to sign?" or "Let's get this done, Joey". I was part of that questioning as well. I really want him to sign and be in camp tomorrow. I think he would be a great presence to build around in the coming years.

But, he won't be in camp. According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, he has cleaned out his locker and has flown to Vancouver (his home). He and his agent declined several offers made to him over the summer. Some of these offers were very good. One of them was eight years at $46 million. That's just under 6 million a year. That's one million under what they wanted. I would think that was MORE than enough of a concession.

That said, I will say that with not knowing what the details were, it's hard to put the blame all on Joey. I would think that his agent should shoulder much of the blame, and the Blue Jackets a little bit.

Let's start with his agent. Kent Overhardt. He is also Brandon Dubinski's agent, yet a great deal got done with him. A proven player. Someone who has shown over the last couple of years what he can do. He was trying to get the same for Johansen. However, based on what has come out, I believe that he was operating from a position that wasn't available to Joey, and that of a UFA. Joey was a RFA, meaning he was in a position of very little leverage (outside of any offer sheet from another team, which the CBJ can, and would match). This agent seemed to me, and this is my opinion, that he was trying to make a splash for himself as well. He seemed to be trying to circumvent the CBA that was reached during the strike shortened 2012-2013 season. I understand that he was trying to do what was best for his client, but he wasn't doing it the way it should have been done.

Joey. Joey should shoulder some of the blame, as he allowed his agent to take it to this level. If he really wanted to be here (again, my opinion), he would have pulled the leash on his agent and said, make a deal. Compromise. Get me on that ice with my teammates. I want to be there. But he didn't. He just sat back waiting for a big payday that was, in many respects, offered to him. But he didn't take it.

Blue Jackets. They deserve a little of it. But it seems they tried. They tried and put forth some damn good offers to Team Joey. And they said no. Why? Who knows. I'm betting there are several devils in the details that haven't gotten out yet. I don't like how they did the public beatdown of Johansen's team, but I'm sure they are frustrated with the situation. We are all are.

Bottom line. We will win without Joey. We will move forward and have our best players on the ice on October 9th in Buffalo. Is that going to be with or without Joey? Time will tell. But we can't afford to wait. The Blue Jacket will be fine.

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