This may be a slow news day considering that this is both the off-season and the last day of a three day weekend. Of late, the two things discussed most over the last few days would have to be the Boyle to San Jose trade and the newly reported rumors of teams wisely being interested in Kings’ own Patrick O’Sullivan. Let’s take each separately.
Much has been made, mostly negative in Visnovsky’s mind, about the Oiler trade of last weekend. Visnovsky’s stock didn’t drop the way other athletes have (Michael Vick will probably always win that contest. *ugh*) Make no mistake, his play last year – all under the control of Visnovsky personally – had everything to do with why Lubomir is an Oiler. I provided my take on Visnovsky early on in my blogging gig on Hockey Buzz. The short version is he is not that comfortable in the English language. He may be the player who was most upset by the Demitra trade, a fellow Slovakian countryman. Lombardi’s signing of Nagy and Handzus, also Slovakian countrymen, may be one of the key reasons Visnovsky signed his extension last summer, or not.
If my speculation is accurate or not, I believe that if Visnovsky spent last season playing the game that earned him that extension in the first place, he would still be a King. I get he will never see it that way. That doesn’t make his opinion valid – just understandable. It is no easy feat to be able to take a step back and take ownership of what a person had to do with how their life played out. Personal responsibility and accountability require both a higher level of self awareness and some intestinal fortitude when the person involved is a public figure.
Fast forward to the last month or so where Lombardi is quoted as saying that Visnovsky through his agent had 100% knowledge he was on the block. Lack of knowledge and the proverbial surprise factor is where Visnovsky has been hanging his disgruntled hat. The Daily News reporter, Rich Hammond, wrote the following:
“Lombardi said that Visnovsky's representatives were well aware that a trade was possible, especially since there had been talks of a trade for the last couple weeks.”
Lombardi’s Notice to Visnovsky Prior to his Trade
I get that Visnovsky had no interest in relocating to Siberia. I do take issue with Visnovsky’s claim that somehow his trade is solely a black mark against the Kings and the alleged organization’s lack of professionalism/credibility. I have zero doubt he believes that. Owning up to one’s contribution to that very same person’s life is no cake walk. It is far easier and more emotionally satisfying to place all blame with everyone/anyone other than one’s own self.
Imagine my thorough pleasure that the actual last place team of this season may have just bumped the Kings alleged bad acts off the front page in favor of Tampa Bay and the Bolts. Boyle too probably thought he had a bolt tattooed on his backside. He claims three to four days prior to his trade that scuttlebutt of him going elsewhere was just that.
Heck, Visnovsky gave the Kings his wish list of team destinations which sure seems to contradict his claim he had no idea a trade was a possibility. His “No Trade Clause” was not in effect when he got the boot. In direct contradiction, Boyle had a valid contractual right to veto any and all trades. Nonetheless, if Boyle’s statements are accurate, then heck, the Lightning have their own perception issues which appear contradictory to new owners Koules and Barrie who say they are going to be known as a team that does the right thing. Here is Boyle’s take:
“I'm speaking from the heart and not trying to grab headlines. ... I've given this franchise everything I had. I love it. I love the area and the fans. But at the end of the day, I was misled and lied to and completely disrespected. When you're threatened to be put on waivers and end up in Atlanta, it was an eye-opening situation for me."
. . . .He said someone in the new ownership group, he would not say who, questioned his work ethic.
"He knows who he is," Boyle said. "But when your work ethic is questioned, I can't even, I'm at a loss for words as to what was said. It's absolutely disrespectful and not a way to treat a person."
Boyle’s Take on His Trade
No allegation of impugning Visnovsky’s professionalism or work ethic exists to my knowledge. This is something in the court of public opinion on the docket between Boyle and Tampa Bay. Thankfully, that is helpful to the Kings’ alleged perception issues. Boyle is a fish because the new ownership brain trust overspent elsewhere and decided dispatching Boyle was the answer. Bottom line from my perspective, in the PR wars, I conclude that the Bolts look far worse than the Kings.
Newest Trade Rumor:
Over the last couple of days, there has been press suggesting that the Rangers, Canadiens and now purportedly the Wild have ‘major interest’ in O’Sullivan. Let’s get the easiest part out of the way, of course teams are interested in him. Lombardi and Hextall have publicly stated he is part of the team’s core. That valuable a piece in the puzzle would no doubt be coveted elsewhere. That part of this rumor is easy to acknowledge. In fairness, Lombardi is taking his own PR hits this week due to the resounding scream of silent inactivity this week unless you consider trading for Gauthier as material activity. I already provided my take on letting Blake go so there is no need to reiterate that transaction/player further.
If these rumors are accurate, and more importantly if trade is on other teams’ agenda, then Lombardi has a new challenge. This being he is either wholly without credibility based upon his young core plan. Or, in the alternative, with Preissing and Gauthier being the most senior defensemen in the organizational depth chart, an offer Lombardi cannot refuse for obvious reasons is presented to him.
As to the offer sheet route, well……… if some team is so desperate to get O’Sullivan to offer him a Vanek type offer sheet where he will make anywhere from $7 to 10 million dollars next year, then you sort of half to let him go. There, I said it. As much as I want O’Sullivan to be the team’s next captain, a vacancy thankfully available due to the greed of Blake, if another team lays the gauntlet of an obscene proposal, then Lombardi has to check his emotions at the door and make a business decision to benefit the Kings. I would characterize that type of player transaction to be an excellent example of discerning the difference between the forest and the trees. But, it better be an off the charts proposal for Lombardi to justify it.
Rich Hammond on all this talk:
"I will be happy to get an update for everyone tomorrow on O'Sullivan contract negotiations. As for trade talks, I try to keep the blog focused on non-fiction. That will remain my only comment on that."
Hammond on O'Sullivan
Questions of the Day:
1. Is Lombardi the next and biggest flip flopper since Presidential candidate Kerry if O’Sullivan is elsewhere regardless of what the transaction gives back to the Kings for him?
2. Do the Kings really have a credibility/perception problem over the Visnovsky trade or is this more of a case of sour grapes by Lubomir?
Have at it….