Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Brian Campbell

I am so tired of people calling up and telling us that it’s management’s fault that they didn’t get it done with Campbell.

These must be the same people who yell shoot at the games on the power play. These people think they are smarter than the player, and thus they and only they know when to shoot.

Likewise, these people like to tell us all that Campbell is cheaper if he signed in the summer (or even now). And what these people forget is that Brian Campbell also knows that he's cheaper now. And he would be more expensive if he waits. He’s waiting for that very reason.

The Sabres could pull a Brinks truck up to Brian Campbell’s front door and tell him that they’ll pay him what he wants, but that isn’t good business. There’s a $ figure on the table in the early goings that EVERYONE knows is a discount dollar figure (even the guys who yell shoot know that an offer now is less than he might get on the open market).

This is the time, in every player’s career, where they get to pick. Prior to this time, they HAD to play where they were told. And they pretty much had to play for what they were told to play for. In Campbell’s case, he worked hard to get better to get this choice. There’s power in getting to choose.

Now, he has a chance to see what all that hard work is worth. And the longer he waits, the more he’ll get paid. So for all the people who claim that the Sabres should have gotten in done last summer for cheaper seem to forget that Brian Campbell also has to make a decision on waiting.

Oh, and Campbell knows when to shoot as well. But only recently.

Hockey is a business. And in my opinion, Campbell isn’t even the #1 defenseman. Tallinder and Lydman are the #1 team. They go up against the top lines. Can you pay your not #1 guy #1 guy money?

Look, every team could use a guy like Campbell (we can!), and it would be good if he would stay here. But not at 7 million a season. And maybe not even at 5 million. But there are teams all over the league that would make him a big offer (see, McKee St. Louis) and make him their go-to guy.

He’ll get more money on the open market because he’s an all-star who brings big hits, spin-oramas, and big plays that put people in the seats. In some US markets, he’s a premium for that very reason. Unfortunately, the Sabres don’t need that premium. They don’t need more puck-handling entertainers (see Connolly, Max, Vanek, Roy), they need players.

I hate to see him go, but really, he’s deciding to wait to see what’s out there. That’s his choice. And we should point it out.

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