In the PR business, there’s an unstated strategy that companies release bad news late on a Friday in hopes that the media, investors and general public don’t notice. Proving that we’re the exception to the rule around here, as ever, you guys lit up the comments section last Friday discussing the “Give Me Patrick Kane” post. Tons of great points made, including:
Detroit is too damn close to Ann Arbor to keep Kane out of trouble, especially since he spent time there in his NTDP years (h/t Brad and Sunday);
Kane is far too flawed an adolescent and too big an asshole with too bad a track record to get let anywhere near Metro Detroit (h/t Jenemy); and
We forgave Bertuzzi…why not Kane? (h/t Mike).
So where did we land?
Nowhere in particular, but we did start an interesting conversation about how we prioritize players and build out the next generation of our beloved Wings. Tip of the iceberg, no doubt, but as we go through this offseason, there are some themes here that we’ll revisit.
There are two camps among us: those that think the team is good as-is and needs minor tweaking, and those of us who think there need to be some major changes. I’m in the latter group, and with that mindset, it’s hard to dismiss at least CONSIDERING what it would take…both from a “moral flexibility” and trade value standpoint…to get a high-end talent like Kane into a better shade of Red.
The latest out of Chicago, via CNNSI’s Truth/Rumor backs up the idea we started Friday’s discussion with that Kane might be wearing out his welcome and could find his ass elswehere:
Some of the allegations attached to Patrick Kane, only few weeks removed from his NHL season, are certainly disturbing. Thus far, there’s no way to know if either of those incidents occurred because the Hawks denied access to Kane, and other efforts to reach him were unsuccessful. Moreover, anonymous sources on a website can’t be assumed to be reliable. Still, at best, the early-May behavior was boorish and should be an embarrassment to Kane, whose image has begun to transform from that of an NHL superstar to one of a punch line. … The question begins to be raised, is Kane wearing out his welcome with the organization? When (if?) he does grow up or instead fritters away his remarkable talent in a haze of frat parties, will it be in a Hawks uniform?
For a minute, let’s take Kane out of this. Let’s pretend that the little fucker doesn’t even exist. Maybe Jenemy finally DID get her hands on his pencil-necked ass and gave him the beating he 100% deserved. By most accounts, we’re still a power forward and a top-2 blueliner away from legitimate contention next year. The biggest problem isn’t the lack of forwards or defensemen out there this offseson, it’s the fact that there are a hell of a lot of teams every offseason who think they’re in the same boat – one or two trades away from The Team. These basics of supply and demand tighten that free agency market to the point where someone is going to overpay – significantly – for the few truly coveted blue chippers and when they do they reset expectations for all the other FA’s. They set the price so high that you either have to gut the team to bring in the remaining free agents or amble back to your shanty with the original team intact. On a small scale, this is the system that cornered Kenny into paying Shitbox (that’s what we call Ericsson around here, Dan) 3-large this past summer.
Add it up, and we’re faced with needing to fin compromises this offseason. There are different categories of compromises, but they all come down to balancing strengths and weaknesses, then placing your bets. What can you live with? What can you fix that the other club couldn’t? How bad do you need them?
We’ve got a strong track record in Detroit of finding guys with flaws…guys who didn’t get the “Love and Tenderness” they needed elsewhere…and turning them into legitimate pros. This speaks to the need to actively seek guys with flaw. Who’s been a pain in the ass in their locker room? Who’s got a history for acting like a complete bitch? Who never falls inline with the system? Who came in with inflated expectations and fell flat?
It’s easy to say “give me Parise.” Half the teams in this league feel entitled to a player of that caliber. The difference between Detroit and Toronto is that while we carry that sense of entitlement and understand how amazing it would be to get him in a wing and wheel, we’re open to taking on guys who aren’t the obvious choice…the guys you DON’T have to gut your roster or farm team to bring in…and we actually go out and execute on some of those less-than-desirables.
If you operate under the assumption that we’re not getting both a broadly recognized topline forward and defenseman this offseason…and if you’re of the mindset that we do, in fact, need to fill those positions…what’s YOUR move? Who fits into that “flawed but a fit” bucket? Who are the ugly ducklings out there who are wearing out their welcome, who aren’t living up to expectations, who we can bring in to fill out these high end forward and defensemen slots?
Better put: If it ain’t Kane, who is it?