I sat through the Leafs-Sens game last night (I know, right?) and kept an eye on former Av Craig Anderson. I've gotta say, it was disheartening. Not necessarily because of his play, which was pretty good, but more his demeanor and his attitude. He had quick feet, seemed amped to be playing hockey as a profession, his head was on a swivel, he had the swagger he displayed last season in Colorado, he battled, and his body language was much more positive than the last several months. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't extremely frustrating and at times infuriating.The last straw for me was when he went to the Ottawa bench between regulation and OT and skated the length of the bench rallying his brand-new teammates. That showed a level of give-a-
fuckdamn that wasn't seen that often this season. So in an effort to put all this behind us, I thought I'd share a few thoughts:
- If speculation regarding a lack of negotiating for a new contract coming Anderson's way after last season is the true cause of his disgruntled behavior, then it boils down to a complete lack of professionalism. If he wasn't aware of the likelihood of that exact scenario occurring (e.g. management playing hardball regardless of on-ice performance due to a self-imposed budget) then Anderson needs to fire his agent or any other advisers for not making him aware of such a blatant FACT before he signed with Colorado. Frankly, he signed a TWO-YEAR contract with Colorado, not a contract contingent until he signed a better one. That kind of crap happens in the NFL, not the NHL.
- If he was unhappy with the team's direction or coaching and that led to his declining work ethic in practice (noticed by our own Beachie, Dater, Goalie Guild's Justin, etc.) and general lackadaisical behavior during games, well that's pretty damn unprofessional too.
- If it was something off-ice, there's still a pretty thick layer of unprofessionalism, but it becomes somewhat more understandable. Not necessarily to the level to make me feel much better about the whole thing, but still...
- If it was nagging injuries and the declining play of the team that piled on to a mental stew of discouragement and negativity then he doesn't have the mental chops to function as a professional goaltender at the NHL level. Simple as that. A full-time goalie coach may have helped with this, but if you can't watch game tape and self-evaluate to know that you aren't going 100%, then words from a complete stranger who happens to have played the same position as you aren't going to do much either.
I don't personally think that Anderson intentionally played his way out of Colorado. Others may, and I can see how they reached that conclusion. Such an intentional plan is doomed to failure as all it will do is lower your market value even if he rebounds with Ottawa. That will project a yo-yo tendency and earn you a "locker-room cancer" tag in the long run.
Now, our own beloved Adrian Dater has opined that we, the fans, and management gave up on Craig Anderson and that may have led him to give up on the team. Frankly, that's a chicken/egg argument that I don't want to get into. If Anderson (or management) are susceptible to the ramblings of this blog or the commentators on Dater's own square inch of intraweb, then there are bigger problems than Anderson's declined play. You can call it a double-standard if you want (cuz it is) but it's the reality of professional sports.
So in summary (for the 3 of you that read this far), I am not a fan of Craig Anderson. It has nothing to do with his on-ice performance this season for the Colorado Avalanche. It has everything to do with his attitude after whistles (goals), in practice, on the bench, and now in Ottawa. I would normally wish a traded player the best of luck going forward and thank them for the time the gave us in an Avalanche uniform. Not this time. I'm not trying to be malicious or petty. I've just reached the conclusion that Craig Anderson hasn't cared about the Colorado Avalanche organization (team, management, fans) for quite some time, so why should I care about him? Life is too short.
On a final note, I know that it's been a trend around here lately to boo hoo anybody who speculates on reasons behind Anderson's attitude (among other things). The common language associated with this is "you're not in the room"-type stuff. Frankly, if you've come to a FAN COMMUNITY/BLOG and expect something other than speculation, I'd like to humbly ask you to stop frequenting the site. It will be extremely frustrating for you since you seem to have a basic lack of understanding on what MHH is. If you want fact-based commentary from people in the know, you're pretty much screwed when it comes to the Colorado Avalanche. They don't tell anybody - reporters, officials, fans, ticket holders, etc. - jack squat. All you have is speculation. Realize this. Realize that people are going to try and draw reasonable conclusions based on observations and the few measly facts available. Sometimes the conclusions aren't going to be logical or reasonable. That's cool. But to try and explain to somebody that they're opinion/speculation isn't worthwhile because they aren't a shareholder or member of management is a tad hypocritical and terribly ignorant of what sports fandom is all about. So please, dial down the holier-than-thou rhetoric on these kinds of topics.