Friday, March 25, 2011

All Things Avs blog: get ready for a surprise: Multiple Craig Anderson blogs. Hope you were sitting down for that.

In this trio of blogs, posted one after another, Dater revisits his favorite water-under-the-bridge topic of late, the Craig Anderson trade. Well, perhaps "revisits" is the wrong word to use, as some would argue he's never left this topic.

The first blog is an entry dealing with Anderson's four-year, $12.75 million contract with Ottawa.  Predictably, Dater starts off with a dig at the Avs' GM for not making a similar offer to Anderson after last year:

 Fifteen games is all it took for Ottawa GM Bryan Murray to offer the kind of long-term contract that Colorado GM Greg Sherman did not want to offer despite seeing him play 71 games last year and carry the team on his back to the playoffs.

Posing for Hall of Fame portrait, Oct. 2009.
It really irritates me when people give goalies this much credit. Carry them on his back? Puhlease.Was he a big part of the Avs' season? Certainly, he was... but the Avs' high-scoring offense was a big part of that season, too. At times, Anderson was very, very good last season... but at other times, he was decidedly mediocre. He had the sort of season last year that showed a lot of promise, but not the sort of season that makes a team instantly salivate over him as their Goalie Of The Future (nor one that gives a guy leverage towards a huge, multi-year contract as said G.O.T.F.).

I can only assume that the Avalanche did not want to stick themselves with another long-term contract for a goalie who had yet to prove he could be consistently excellent (such as was the case for Dater's last goalie-mancrush, Jose Theodore), and therefore made a two-year offer. Can't really blame them for that... Anderson didn't really prove as much last season as so many -- including Dater and, apparently, Anderson himself -- seem to think.

To Dater's credit, although he still positions himself as a "the Avs screwed this one up" guy, he does mention that the Avs actually offered Anderson more money per year than he got with Ottawa, and that only time will tell if the Avs, Sens, or Anderson himself made the best move. Overall, this ends up being a fairly balanced look at Anderson's deal with Ottawa and how it compares to what Colorado offered. Dater still loses points, though, for placing his opinion so prominently within what should have been a fact-based post.


The second entry is extremely brief. It is simply relaying a quote given by Anderson which can easily be construed as a dig against the Avs: “It’s about having a good fit and finding a place where I’m going to be happy, where players are treated with respect and the organization communicates with their players.”

Clearly, Anderson is saying-without-saying that the Avs do not communicate with their players, nor do they treat them with respect. I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think Anderson's comment is a revealing peek into his attitude towards the Avalanche. This attitude -- which many fans (including myself) questioned at times, especially this year -- goes a long way to explain his poor, uninspired play in Colorado this season and his resurgence in Ottawa. Said attitude can also explain the Avs' reluctance to sign him to a long-term contract.

In other words, those of us who thought they were seeing signs that Anderson had "quit" on the Avalanche (which Dater has strongly disagreed with) now have what amounts to proof that they were very likely right all along. The Avalanche are lucky to be rid of this guy.

Dater used his blog perfectly here: he brings a quick, relevant bit of information to his readers with a modicum of personal opinion and insight. Although he speculates on how this quote will be received, for the most part he allows his readers to draw their own conclusions.


The final blog in the Anderson hat trick is Dater's opinion in reaction to Anderson's comments regarding the Avalanche. Dater says that Anderson "should have stayed classy." Here, Dater pretty much does an about-face on his opinion of Anderson, and starts listing the things that many others have already mentioned in questioning Anderson's attitude and dedication to the Avalanche.

One humorous aspect of this blog is the notion that Dater has any idea at all what "classy" might look like. Dater has told fans of opposing teams to "get the pacifiers out of your mouths." He has called Marian Gaborik "ugly but good," "a guy with a girl's name" (good one, Adrian), and said he had "the face and hair of a drowned rat." He has recently insinuated that Steve Ott is a crybaby for expecting that a blatant elbow to the head be considered for a suspension. He has called Cal Clutterbuck a "cowardly hockey player" whom his teammates hate. He broke any number of unwritten journalism rules tweeting about a closed-door shouting match involving Dion Phaneuf, and then (briefly) closed his twitter account because of it. And then, of course, there was his classic ESPN rant, where he calls out specific ESPN personalities by name, refers to them as "schmucks," and tells the network, in so many words, to shove it up their ass.


Back to the blog at hand. The thing that puzzles me about Dater's opinion here is not that he appears to have waffled somewhat on Anderson... I don't care for the way Dater covers the NHL, but I'm not going to rag on him for having one opinion and then changing his mind. Everybody does that. The odd thing is that Dater implies that Anderson, right up to the day he signed with the Senators, had been "classy" the entire time, and should have "stayed" that way. I believe there is another possibility here.

It seems much more likely to me that he's never been classy, and that this comment simply illustrates what Anderson had been all along: a pouty prima donna who thinks that half a good season is all he needs to be considered an elite goalie, and if his team doesn't agree then he's just going to mail it in until his contract is up and go find Big Money elsewhere. My guess is that the Avs knew long before Dater did what kind of person Anderson was, and were therefore not at all reluctant to trade him away for what amounts to a bag of pucks (sorry, Elliot. Prove me wrong).

In short, Dater appears to come around on Anderson without admitting he could have been wrong all along. Baby steps, I suppose. I'm not a fan of opinion so prominent in journalism (even when that opinion agrees with mine), so I'm not thrilled with this blog... but at least in this case, this entry is opinion through-and-through, rather than an attempt to include his opinion as part of the story.


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