Alright, I will start by saying this isn't exactly a groundbreaking topic of conversation. I started this off in the game preview chat, but just kept going with my thoughts, and thought this might be a more appropriate forum for such a lengthy post.
The O'Reilly Situation:
This feels just like the lockout. Due to the factors in play, I really don't know who to side with. From the Avs perspective sure O'Reilly may be asking for $$ outside what you want to give him. But let's think about this for a second. If we were to trade O'Reilly what would I want in return? My answer is a young top line winger who scores 25-30 goals a year, and puts up 60-65 points a season. O'Reilly has value in areas other than points, and while he doesn't have a track record yet in the league, I would feel ripped off getting less than that in a trade for Radar. He certainly would help our penalty kill that currently has more holes in it than the golf courses Avs players will be enjoying this spring if they don't get it together soon. That's a good argument to pay him well, and get him in the lineup.
The Avs have been quiet on the free agent market in terms of spending big dollars, because they were building a core of young players through the draft. Obviously O'Reilly is one of those guys. It hurts as a fan to put my trust in the plan, and then see the plan fall apart over a few extra dollars. Especially when ownership is playing with house money in a sense, because they saved money on salaries due to a lockout that wiped out half my season of enjoying hockey.
From O'Reilly's perspective, look... you have been in the league for 3 years. You have never been a 20 goal scorer. You are a minus player on your career. Yes, you have been called a great defensive forward, but that stat still exists. You have had point totals of 26, 26, and 55. Anddd you were a second round draft choice. Your fellow draft class alumni Matt Duchene, taken 30 picks ahead of you (A player with 2 20 goal seasons on his resume) took a "prove it" deal, and put the team first. Show some loyalty to the team that invested in you in the draft and with early playing time Mr. O'Reilly. Show some loyalty to your teammates.
To me saying "sports is a business" is a paraphrase for "both sides are stubborn, unrealistic, and unwilling to compromise... creating a lose-lose situation for themselves, the fans, and the team." Those involved have realized that the sports fan is a stupid, loyal, and passionate type, who will show up and support their team no matter what. We will forgive your past trespasses if you play well in our jersey. We will tolerate ownership's inability to put the best players on the ice possible, as long as the players they do have wear our team's jersey. Not many businesses have the luxury of sports in that way.
I miss being 12, not understanding the "other side" to sports, and just being able to watch my idols Sakic, Forsberg, Roy, Footer, Drury, and Hejduk make magic on the ice! That's what sports are all about. All I really want is to see Ryan O'Reilly working his magic on the ice with the Avs.