An NHL star makes it known he wants to leave his team, though he never comes out and directly says it himself. The team’s GM explains to fans that the player wants to leave for unspecified "family reasons." It’s pretty clear, though, that the GM is in a tough spot dealing the player and won’t get full value for him. Sound familiar? That was Chris Pronger in 2006. It’s Ryan Smyth in 2011. [...A] number of Kings fans on blogs and message boards are OK with Smyth pushing for this deal. [On] the L.A. Kings Insider blog, one fan, #1fanvegas, writes: "Whenever family is involved, I’d jump in a heartbeat. [...] I will still cheer him on, no matter what uni he is wearing." And at the LetsGoKings discussion board, SmytheKing wrote his fave has nothing to be ashamed of: "I don’t think Smyth has a quit bone in his body for the record. If he does, it’s been broken a dozen times." But other fans are as close to be as riled up as most Oilers fans were when Pronger asked out of Edmonton. Here is the reaction from LA Kings Insider:
Matt George: My adoration and respect for RYAN in all this is waning by the second.
Dominick: Smyth, your not going anywhere, so just suck it up buttercup, and you can see your family next year. Why do we have to sacrifice a left wing? Why can’t his family move to LA (where he spends most of his time) … Does LA suck that bad?
PK: Didn’t smythers think about this when he signed a PROFESSIONAL contract? i understand you miss the wife and kids, but that’s the sacrifice you make for 5 million $$$"
Kings of Pedro: Is it too much to ask for a Q&A with Smyth to get the specific reasons for the request? "Family reasons" are one thing, but is there a compelling issue that I haven’t heard about (illness, etc.)?
Bootz: I refuse to watch Smyth skate 4mph and shoot flutter pucks at the net this year. I hope he’s traded soon. .. I’ll watch the Kings (just renewed my mini-plan), but when Smyth gets the puck, I’ll close my eyes.
Puddle: Forcing your GM’s hand like this in the last year of your contract is uncool, regardless of what your family situation is. People have to work through unenviable work situations all the time and most of the time they don’t get paid millions of dollars for it, and most of the time they don’t have only one more year until it’s over. I agree with whoever it was that said if it’s so damn important to move back, then Smyth should just retire.
King_Stoner: If a deal can’t be reached, he needs to be bought out. No need for him to be on our roster if he doesnt wanna be here.
Gretz98: Even if you want to say "it’s a business," he made a pretty cruddy business decision.
Rainman: [...]The Kings should trade him to the Islanders since Smyth didn’t re-sign with them in 2007.
My take? First off, many of these comments and themes certainly sound familiar. Straight outta 2006. Can’t say I blame the Kings fans for feeling bitter here. I’d feel the same way. In fact, I did back in 2006. [...] The Smyth situation again highlights that the players have most of the cards in the NHL these days. If those cards favour Edmonton, well, that’s how this game works. We might not like it, but in Edmonton, we’re certainly used to it.