If Chambers has a blind spot, it's Ryan O'Reilly, of whom he gushes at nearly every opportunity. Today's comment is on a recent blog entry in which Chambers explores the fact that O'Reilly, a restricted free agent, has yet to agree to a contract with the Avalanche.
Chambers skips a lot of these possibilities, however, and jumps straight to shock and irritation that his favorite player is being given the cold shoulder by this cheap, unfair organization (I'm paraphrasing here, just a bit). The issue with this blog entry is that it's entirely based on the premise that having a player unsigned in the first week of August is some sort of slap in the face, a rare and bizarre occurrence that signals something far more sinister than what many sports fans might see at face value. I do not agree with this at all--as I wrote earlier, it's definitely a good conversation starter, but reaching the conclusion that signing a guy quickly somehow indicates a higher perceived value just doesn't track.
Chambers sets up this entire entry as an "ownership is too cheap to pay what he's worth" thing, and that's not fair. He can't really think that the Avalanche are the first team to actually negotiate with a player, can he? Because I'm pretty sure I've read about that happening, oh, pretty much all the time in pro sports. This isn't the first time in recent memory that Chambers has veered out of his way to get little jabs in at the Avalanche ownership, and in both cases he builds a pretty flimsy case.
He uses the "The general consensus is..." tactic in the first paragraph, trying to make the reader think that everybody already agrees with Chambers's opinion that it's "crazy" that O"Reilly is not under contract. It's a tool of rhetoric, not journalism... and there's more where that came from. Later in the piece, Chambers writes "Is O'Reilly demanding more? I doubt it." Oh really? If he's not asking more than the Avs offered, then why didn't he sign their initial offer? Again, it doesn't track.
Then, Chambers puts a classic straw man out there, writing:
If the Avs let O’Reilly go, their hard-core fans will good reason to throw in the towel with this team. O’Reilly is one of the poster boys for this talented young squad. If O’Reilly goes elsewhere, the organization will be indirectly telling its fans that this youth movement is nothing more than a cover for being extraordinarily cheap.
That's a big "if," Chambers... in two paragraphs, he's jumped from guy isn't signed halfway through the offseason to cheap-ass second-rate rinkydink organization about to abandon hard-working young talent, doesn't give a damn about its players or its fans. By this point, he's no longer really discussing why O'Reilly isn't signed, he's off on some other planet from that conversation, getting himself (and evidently, many of his readers) all frothed at the mouth about something that not only hasn't happened, but is extremely unlikely to happen at all.
A good topic ruined by knee-jerk, over-the-top rhetoric, when it could have been well-served by someone with the slightest inclination to analyze and discuss. Written, as many of the Post's articles and blog entries, to generate web hits rather than thought.