Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Carter Conundrum.

There's hockey tonight kids! So once again, our attention turns away from the great All Star announcement back to the specifics of our team. It was announced loudly and clearly right before the break that management would be willing to make a trade involving Jeff Carter. To say Jeff has been a "lightening rod" of innuendo, rumor and negativity since day one of his CBJ tenure would be an understatement. Now, as those of you who know me are aware, I am by no means a "brilliant hockey mind", but as of right now, I'd say keep Jeff. If you come across a trade that is just insanely positive for CBJ, then trade him for as much as you can get - but don't just throw him away. Many are attributing the demand for trading him to be based in how "unhappy" he is, but I've yet to see a thorough analysis of his game on ice that demands he leave the roster. Its all off ice stuff.

If your curious in some of this analysis of game prowess, I'd point you to a post made over at Carry the Flag today that discussed Carter's possible value in staying in more detail (comments are good here too). But, as is my focus, I'd offer a bit of food for thought from a fan perspective.

Controversy sells. Why is everyone talking about Jeff Carter and how unhappy he is? Because its drama. And drama sells. We can talk all day about "what we heard" and "what so-and-so said" without necessarily having cold hard facts to prove it. Right now, right or wrong, we have to go on what's on record from Jeff Carter and Jeff Carter's agent. Everything else - well its hearsay. If Carter gets traded, and buys a billboard that says "thank goodness I'm gone from Columbus" look to me to be the first to say I was wrong, but until then - we can't say we know anything.

Glass Houses and All That. Oh I've heard the stories too. "Jeff Carter doesn't talk to the press", "Jeff Carter was mean to fans", "Jeff Carter didn't sign an autograph". Now don't get me wrong, I'd be crushed if all I wanted was Jeff's autograph and he shunned me. But, unfortunately, in many of these "Jeff's a jerk" stories that have been told to me, they involve equally embarrassing acts by fans. Taunting a player with obscenities and insults is probably not the right way to get him to like the hometown fans nor make him more welcome to participate with them in the future. For what its worth, at official engagements I've heard positive feedback (and yes, I know some of you have not), but, honestly, that's the only place we can truly know all the facts to evaluate Jeff off-ice when it comes to the Jackets.

A Different Game. With all this talk, it might be easy to forget Carts is paid to play hockey. ;) Well, do you remember how many of us commented that Jeff looked "lazy" when he first appeared on Nationwide ice? A lot - because I did it too. I'm thankful to my friend, Jeff, at Ten Minute Misconduct (here's one such POST, scroll to paragraph "Nash has a lot of skill"), as well as other blogs that talked quite a bit about understanding Jeff's skating style and game. And, let's not forget, while facing two significant injuries this season (and I have had a broken foot so I totally get that one) Jeff is still tied in points with none other than fan faves Johan and Wiz. And, this team has one hat trick brought to you by none other than Jeff Carter. (and for those of you down on Carts, would YOU not be frustrated if you score three goals and THE ENTIRE REST OF THE ROSTER can't secure a win?)

Time After Time. Remember that Jeff was brought in to give Nash the center he always wanted. While that hasn't proven to be as effective as we hoped, many have discussed the value of moving Jeff to the second line. Look at your Sedin twins. part of what makes them so effective is that they know each others' game. Intimately. To learn to support one another can take time. And, in lieu of many whispers, I've closely watched Nash and Carter in more than one practice. Same line or not, they are jovial, friendly and interacting in hockey. Signs of strife just aren't there.

Have a Seat on My Couch. Lets not forget the elephant in the room. Maybe Jeff Carter is miserable. Maybe he hates it here. Fair enough. What have we given him? A losing team, an arguably non-competitive locker room, some fans who berate him, and now piling on via trade rumor and media attention. Oh and he got hurt twice. Don't ask me to pile on when this is a year that might break even the strongest of spirits.

Polish Up Your Assets. Ok. Let's go to the complete other end, he sucks, we hate him, get rid of him. OBVIOUSLY we want the best return possible for our team, why in the world would we all shout from the rooftops how horrible Jeff Carter is? Perhaps not the best way to entice future "buyers", eh? Even Puck Daddy agrees.

So - let's review. If you want Jeff Carter to stay, you probably should be positive about him. If you want Jeff Carter to go, you probably should be positive about him. He's given us things to talk about on-ice, why negate them by gossiping about everything else that's off-ice?


  1. I agree, keep Carter - only trade him if we are getting serious value back, and by that I mean a roster player (not picks).

    If we could something like Harmonic/Okposo from the Isles, Schenn/Kadri from the Leads, I'd be OK with it. The last thing we need is more picks for us to blow and have nothing to show for it. We can't just give away a 27-year old sniper with a very managable cap hit.

    I don't care if Jeff Carter is an asshole (and sorry, he is). He's a great player who is capable of putting up big numbers.

    He can pout the rest of the year, take a nice summer at the Jersey Shore and come back ready for a fresh start.

    The real problem on this team is Tyutin, that's who we should be focused on trading. His contract is 10000 times worse than Carter's and his attitute (totally chill about losing and turning it over every game) is much worse for the team

  2. To elaborate, Carter and Nash aren't the ones who need to go - they are all-star talents.

    Next year
    Juice, Pahlsson, Martinek, Prospal, Lebda, Russell, Mason and Johnson will be gone. Hopefully, Tyutin, Clitsome, Vermette, will also be gone.

    Dorsett, Calvert, Atkinson, and Johansen will hopefully bring a boost to the locker room next year along with whatever new faces we have.

    I'd like to see us hire Craig McTavish as coach, a very successful NHL player and NHL head coach who would demand respect and bring some credibility.


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