Last night's 5 Thoughts have brought the knives out (Isn't "Anonymous" commenting grand?), so permit me to expand on my somewhat controversial "Thought 3b." - the one taking fans in attendance to task for booing Jeff Carter.
First, let's get this out on the table. I have prided myself in my Twitter and blogging presence for not attacking my fellow Blue Jackets fan. In fact, I (very) often bite my tongue, shake my head and/or step aside from the online world when others attack those whose worldviews do not agree with theirs. But it's been a long and frustrating season, and I slipped last night.
For that - and to those who don't appreciate the comparison to our friends to the southeast - I apologize. And I suppose I should apologize for any slight perceived by our friends to the southeast.
Will I retract what is out there? No. What's the use? It's my opinion, one that now has been stated in the public dialogue. And I stand behind the substance of the opinion. So I guess we all have to suck it up and deal with the fact that there is no unanimity in a world full of nearly 7 billion people that are capable of processing information and drawing conclusions independently of each other. We've all got to find a way to respect opinions, even those with which we don't agree. And "all" includes me.
With that out of the way, let's get to the crux of the matter: Jeff Carter.
As I said last night, I have no inside scoop on Jeff Carter's association with the Columbus Blue Jackets. I also believe that very, very few people have an inside scoop, either. It seems that those who do have the real story are not talking. So we're left to speculation.
I've read plenty of attacks, civil and otherwise, on Carter, since his trade to Los Angeles. Some have been leveled by those who would be likely to be in the know. Many have been leveled by those who are just as informed as I am.
I've also seen his actual comments, such as his first media availability in Los Angeles where he directly answers questions about his perspective on his time in Columbus:
Jeff Carter is informed that he has been traded to the Blue Jackets after signing what he thought would be the last contract of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers. He feels betrayed and, rather than say something rash, retreats back to his Jersey Shore beach house to reflect.
Blue Jackets management, eager to bring their new star player into the fold and perhaps diminish a really curious public relations problem at the same time, fly out with captain Rick Nash to Jersey and "sell" Carter on the merits of the Blue Jackets. Carter is sold and shows up at camp, ready to go (while still not entirely over the life-shattering trade).
Upon getting acclimated with the team, he discovers that he Blue Jackets are not as advertised. It could be any of a number of reasons (culture, coaching, personalities, etc.), but I suppose that's not important. The crux of the matter is, he realizes that he was traded from what he feels was a competitive, winning culture to one that doesn't measure up in his estimation.
So Carter speaks out. Perhaps his comments and his approach are politic, perhaps not. He does what he thinks he has to do as an alternate captain to start moving the team in what he believes is the right direction. His words/approach are not well-received. He is ostracized.
Frustrated at his situation - surely compounded by his two injuries sustained this season - Carter retreats back to his original opinion of the trade. He (or perhaps his agent) shares his frustration with management. Perhaps a trade is requested, perhaps not. Or maybe Carter says nothing and his teammates complain about him to management. But faced with the perception of a divided locker room (and that it largely is divided on a Carter v. most everyone else axis), however, management decides that the best/easiest thing to do is move Carter. So he's traded to the Kings.I'm not saying that this is an accurate portrayal of events. It's simply a scenario built upon the facts that we know: 1) He was traded from Philly, 2) He retreated to the beach house, 3) He was visited by CBJ brass (and Nash), 4) He was made alternate captain, 5) He was injured at two points in time, 6) He was traded before the trade deadline. But as best I know - and I readily admit I have no inside knowledge - this scenario is just as reasonable as those suggesting Carter was a cancer in the locker room, that he never wanted to be in Columbus, etc.
If that's the case, why boo Carter? What's gained, besides spewing some venom over Carter's theoretical (but, to the best of my knowledge, unproven) role in the lost Blue Jackets season?
Lastly, as Inquiring Minds so wisely reminds us, it took Jeff Carter to bring Jack Johnson to the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's early, but the Johnson acquisition has worked out pretty well, don't you think?
So why aren't fans cheering, "Thank you, Jeff!" Just a thought.
Next up, I'll get to Rick Nash.
If anyone can present to me a credible report that rebukes my fictional creation, please direct me to it and - if appropriate - I'll gladly walk this whole post back.