Like Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks when talking about why he will never get rid of his cornerstone, 35-year-old Dirk Nowitzki:
When you turn your team upside down and try to figure out what the culture of the team is, you take the greatest risk a team can take. Dirk sets the tone for our team. He works as hard, if not harder than anyone. He helps our younger players understand what he expects and what they need to do to excel. On the court he is selfless. He would rather not have to score a point if we would win the game any way. He would rather pass the ball and let anyone else score than be forced to take the shot. Until its the time of the game where we need a point. Then he is ready to step up as often as we need it. But he knows, that his impact on a game is far more important than any averages or what appears in the box score. That mindset. That selflessness. His work ethic is something I want to be in place long after he has retired.Substitute "Vinny" for "Dirk," and you get my point.
The Blue Jackets that I have known (since roughly 2006) have never had a player like that until Vinny Prospal came to town. Not only did Vinny play that role for the CBJ, he did it under perhaps the absolute worst of circumstances. He wasn't leading a championship team, a perennial contender...no, he was helping pull an epically terrible team out of the cellar. And you know what? With a little help, he did it. As the 2013 season wore on, the CBJ turned from a bunch of losers into a team that could reasonably be expected to win. How long has it been since we could say that?
I hope they know what they're doing down on Nationwide Boulevard.