Ryan O'Reilly and the Calgary Flames
I was studying some monotonous garbage at your local community college when in a moment of boredom, I casually glance down at the twitter feed from my cell phone. "Calgary Flames sign RFA Ryan O'Reilly to an offer sheet." Indeed, this had been a low blow in that Calgary was coming to Denver to take on the Avs. I thought about how the unique circumstances of the game may make it worth while to record, even if we were ranked 14th in our conference.
By the 14:59 mark of the 3rd period, I looked at the score, 2-0, and felt embarrassment. One half of the dynamic duo that carried us through the (full) 2011-2012 season was going to sign with a long time division rival. And with so much politics surrounding our under-performing, injury-ridden team, the team still came out flat. Our organization was getting shown up on a league-wide scale by an tired team of old men and burnouts that should have began their rebuild three seasons ago; plus, they were using a replacement goaltender.
Evidently Sherman was feeling the heat, too. Immediately following Calgary's second goal of the game, the Avalanche announced that they will match the offer sheet tendered by General Manager, Jay Feaster. The Flames would score one more goal before the first intermission.
Avalanche Coach Joe Sacco "called some guys out." according to team captain, Gabriel Landeskog. When asked what was said in the first intermission, Paul Stastny simply said, "A lotta negatives." A message was sent, emotions were dealt with, and through the final 40 minutes the Avalanche dominated. Recording this game was, in fact, a good idea.
All at once, for the first time of the season, all our offensive weapons played with purpose. Gabriel Landeskog had his first 3-point game (1g, 2a), Stastny had his 100th multi-point game (1g, 1a), Duchene had 2 important points, earning an nifty assist on the first goal, a capping the game off by putting away the game-winning goal at 10:52 of the third period. It was the Avs second regulation win in 11 games.
This come-from-behind win, when coupled with the signing of Ryan O'Reilly, has sparked excitement into the team. The team is 8-8-3, 3 points out of playoff position, and they're starting to get healthy. Other than Ryan O'Reilly (wearing his new number 90), defensemen Erik Johnson and Ryan Wilson returned to practice.
It feels good to be an fan of the Colorado Avalanche again. After the missing the playoffs, missing games due to the NHL Lockout, having to deal with the Ryan O'Reilly contract dispute, a plague of injuries, and often frustrating play for the first 19 games, this feeling is a relief.
Management (Colorado vs. Calgary)
Calgary GM could be in trouble after failing to see the risk in signing Ryan O'Reilly to an offer sheet after he had played to games in the KHL after the lockout had ended. Some interpretations of the new CBA indicate that he would have had to put Radar on waivers in order to have him on their roster. Colorado would have possibly received Ryan O'Reilly, as well as the draft picks that they would have had to pick up. Calgary's reputation keeps taking hits and Jay Feaster is likely being closely monitored by his superiors.
Colorado GM Greg Sherman, also was a little embarrassed by his handling of the Ryan O'Reilly situation. Some speculate that he may have gotten Ryan O'Reilly to sign for less money (especially with Ryan O'Reilly earning over 6 million dollars next season). He's a core player, and things got too out of hand. I wouldn't be surprised to see some minor shifting could be done in the Avalanche front office.
Sherman should have expected Ryan and his representation to conduct business as he plays hockey. He came at them hard, he grinded it out through the high points and lows, and he came on top. Good man, hard worker, intelligence: that's the kind of man you want earning the big bucks. Here's to hoping he stays longer than 363 days. Cheers, Radar. I'm over it.