At times, folks like myself have scoffed at the greed of professional sports. I’ve always wondered what the sports world would be like if contracts weren’t made public. If we didn’t know the money and terms, we couldn’t put a number value on players and we couldn’t complain that money was their main motivation. Imagine that world. A world where “He’s not earning his money” would never be said or comparing one player’s contract to another player’s would never happen. I think it would be a happier world.
Some think money is the brass ring for a professional athlete, that it’s all they care about. We tend to think that if teams just throw enough money at a player he will just bite the bullet and lower their expectations for winning. In the end, it’s all about the almighty dollar.
If you read between the lines of what Tim Murray says, Ehrhoff actually didn’t seem to care about the money so much as the losing. Of course, getting paid 10 million for his first year in Buffalo may have lessened the blow, but the fact remains he just didn’t want to be here anymore. I don’t blame him at all. The Sabres are at rock bottom right now and a player of his caliber probably shouldn’t go through anything like this.
If anything, I feel bad for him in a way. This isn’t what he signed up for back in 2011. He didn’t want to sign with the Islanders when his rights were traded to them from Vancouver because they were terrible. He picked the Sabres because at that juncture, a lot of folks had the Sabres as an Eastern Conference contender.
Sadly, that dude had zero idea what he was getting into. None of us did.
Ehrhoff went through zero playoff appearances, 3 head coaches, 2 GMs and experienced firsthand what #becauseitsbuffalo means. That’s why none of this should come as a shock. He wants out of here for exactly the same reasons he wanted no part of the Islanders. I’m not going to blame either the Sabres or him for this break-up because I understand both points of views. I totally get why #10 wanted out and I totally understand why the Sabres obliged. If one party isn’t happy, then it will only be a matter of time until misery finds company.
I’m a little surprised that the Sabres couldn’t get any takers for him. Yeah, I get the cap penalties if he decides to retire in 5 years, but if I were a contending team, I’d take a flier on him, especially since his cap number was at 4-million a year. By the time 2020 hits, the cap will probably be between 80-90 million. I guess if the Sabres were on the hook for that penalty, they probably wanted a lot in return in case he decided to retire. That would at least make any penalty worth it. We might never know the details of the market for him or any offers that were on the table.
I’m not going to kill Murray for not getting value because when you factor in the penalties and #10 wanting to get the hell out of here, the horse is pretty much out of the barn and heading to the glue factory. That’s really all it takes to get out of a bad situation it seems. Just tell your bosses you want to get the hell out of Dodge and presto, you are out of here. Signing a contract doesn’t hold the same meaning as it once did. Of course, Murray doesn’t strike me as someone who is going to placate a player’s ego in trying to stay here, does he? He reeks of being a tough guy who wants to put his stamp on this team. His way or the highway, right?
As for Ehrhoff the player, I liked him here and thought he was easily our best d-man. He did a lot of good things you didn’t see in the box score and his blueline mates didn’t exactly do him any favors. He did disappoint me a little because his offensive numbers were down from when he was in Vancouver, but I totally get why that was the case. The Sedins won’t ever get confused for Stafford/Hodgson. Still, I think he’s going to be a hell of addition to whichever team he signs with.
I think the biggest question mark going forward is, how will the Sabres meet the salary floor? As it stands, they are 20 million under the floor and you can’t pay Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno 20 million. I know Murray has said he’s not worried about the floor, but I kind of am. It’s a matter of record that the Sabres have had issues with getting free agents to come here even since Pegula has opened his vaults. The reasons offered have varied – the city, the team being average, Darcy, Lindy not exactly being a player’s coach, and players leaving town and telling everyone their experience sucked. I mean, the owner had to get on a plane to convince Robyn Regehr to waive his no trade clause and he was coming from Calgary! I think the lack of winning is what ultimately led to the recruiting problems, and I think you are being naive if you don’t think it was and is an issue.
That was two years ago and while some of the potential problems mentioned above are gone, you can’t ignore how much worse the Sabres are now. I know everything is on a case-by-case basis and money does talk, but past experience leaves me a bit skeptical. I mean, why the hell would you want to come here? Ehrhoff wanting out should really tell veteran players how bad it is right now. It seems like we are going to either have to trade for awful contracts or pay some 4th liner 2nd line money. In other words, FA may suck for us even if we sign people.
Any way you slice it, it is going to be an ugly season. I know Ehrhoff wouldn’t have really mattered this upcoming season in terms of the team’s W/L, but I feel bad for anyone who has season tickets. For crap’s sake, Drew Stafford may be our best forward and could be our fricken captain! Yeah, let that sit with you for a second. If you have season tickets to this shit show, you are much better fans than I am. I would have jumped ship by now and that was probably the same line of thinking that brought Ehrhoff to his decision.