Unpopular Opinion: If You Love Them, Set Them Free

Photo by Rob Carr

Photo by Rob Carr

It’s been no secret that one or two of the fragile eggs in the Capitals basket have been discontent with their nest. Most recently, Martin Erat, Michal Neuvirth, and Dmitry Orlov have all publicly requested trades to other NHL franchises. With each player in a completely separate stage of his respective career, it is impossible to formulate an overarching reason as to why they would want to leave our beautiful city. However, if they are not receiving the ice time they expected (or arguably deserve), why would we expect them to remain completely unhappy in their current spot?

Listen up, kids. I’m about to draw a parallel between the elite, cutthroat sport of hockey and the finest Disney film ever made.

In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is a literate French lady that saves her loopy dad from a dungeon with the whole “take me instead” bit. She unwillingly sticks around this animal-man’s awesome castle house until he basically buys her love with a library (who are we kidding, that would totally work), and they live happily ever after. Now, it’s mildly disturbing considering we’re led to believe that this is true love as Belle didn’t really have to stay in the end, but she ended up wanting to.

This brings me to my parallel with our disgruntled Slavs. They are towards the beginning of Belle’s weird journey, they want to leave. They’re unhappy with the talking teapots and would very much like to jump ship, even if that means going somewhere terrible like Florida or Ohio. They’ve blatantly asked for a change of scenery, but instead of granting their wish and, I dunno, not dealing with their #drama, GMGM is doing the Beastly thing and keeping them holed up in hopes that if they stick around long enough they won’t know any better.

Martin Erat is getting old in hockey years at the age of 32. The years he has left in which to tenderly mouth kiss Sir Stanley are waning and the chances of him earning the title of Olympian are nonexistent. Since the acquisition of his talents in 2013 for the trade of power rookie Filip Forsberg, his ice time dwindled to an average of that of a fourth liner per game until Oates blew him off as a healthy scratch. Due to the absence of any faith Oates would have in him, the Czech National Coach Alois Hadamczik bypassed him for a roster nomination in Sochi. So, Erat is not only severely unpopular, but also pitifully misused. He has missed his final chance of playing in the Olympics for his country due to his unsuccessful career in Washington. Everyone knew that the initial trade to bring him to DC was unwise, as we would never gain any value for him. Cut the loss, move on.

Michal Neuvirth has been one hell of a saga to watch since he’d risen from the depths of Hershey, Pennsylvania to make the big leagues. He was the Capitals’ knight in shining goalie pads that swooped in when all other groins were brittle and broken. But like any mild success story, he has long since been forgotten. If the Capitals were to let him go as he has ever so politely requested, he could potentially enjoy success elsewhere. The Caps were never going to get another Ovechkin in return for Neuvy, and hanging on to someone longer than necessary doesn’t increase their value.

The business defense of the pitchfork-and-torch-bearing mentality is tired. In fact, considering that hockey is a business, the disgruntled employee seeking alternate employment should receive respect and encouragement in their endeavors. Leave the slot for a fresh face that wants it, that will fight for it, and will actually enjoy being here. Don’t be a Beast and expect the pretty girl to stick around just because she may learn to love it.  Stockholm Syndrome is not a healthy relationship. Shut it down.

  • Diller M

    You’re assuming that there have been trade offers to turn down? I would imagine the problem with Erat is there are not many suitors. Neuvy announced his trade demand right before the roster freeze, additionally there are tons of young goalies on the market right now. I think demand just isn’t there