Saturday, March 01, 2008

On the wrong Foote

There are some hurt feelings in Columbus these days, and they go beyond the fact players feel management threw in the towel too early.

No, what's really burning the folks in Ohio is Adam Foote's departure, something that was portrayed as a request but that Columbus Dispatch columnist Michael Arace says was more of a demand:
Jackets management wanted to continue negotiating with Foote. It wanted him here for the final stretch of the season. It was willing to lose him without compensation this summer, if it came to that — which is a testament to its soaring regard for the captain. But Foote wanted $4 million a year for two years, an exorbitant price — and if he didn't get it, his demand was to be moved to Colorado. And make no mistake, it was a demand.
It's probably worth noting that Foote was playing on a three-year deal that paid him $4.6-million per season, so "exorbitant" is a bit over the top.

And you could argue he didn't exactly get the supporting cast in Columbus he was looking for when he signed that free-agent deal:
When you're the captain and you dump your teammates and slight a city and its fans, be honest about your actions — especially after you've cashed $12 million worth of checks. Don't hide behind a contract demand that was never going to be met. Don't profess to be shocked at a trade when you know there's a private jet waiting at the airport. And don't talk about "downsizing."
After three playoffless years, Foote simply had had enough and wanted to go back to Colorado for a swan song.

Is there a good way to go about doing that? And isn't the Blue Jackets organization better off having the first-round pick for a 36-year-old defenceman that wasn't sticking around?

Of course, the real illusion at work is that Columbus still had a shot at the postseason, and that Foote sabotaged that chance, which frankly isn't true. It's a pipe dream to think they could have somehow run the table and snuck in on the low end of the playoff race, and it's a good thing GM Scott Howson went with the move he did.

Everyone else wanted to stay in Fantasyland.

UPDATE The Dispatch has revealed more details of the Foote situation, and it's not pretty.
According to numerous NHL sources, Foote threatened to be "a bad teammate, a bad captain and a bad player" the rest of the season if he weren't re-signed or traded to his preferred destination -- the Colorado Avalanche, where his best NHL years were spent.
Unreal. Unsurprisingly, Foote denies the allegations, so it's really a matter of who you believe.
.

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11 Comments:

At 5:38 PM, March 01, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

Look at it objectively (which is hard for me since I'm from Detroit and hate Foote) 4mil a season for him sounds reasonable to me... Kind of a strange article.

 
At 10:29 PM, March 01, 2008, Blogger Bethany said...

They just want something to bitch about...nothing better to write about. Trust me the complaining will continue for a LONG time. I was just sad to see him go but, I'm a Foote fan regardless of what sweater he has on.

 
At 11:49 PM, March 01, 2008, Blogger nebcanuck said...

Hey, if you were in the position of a Jackets' fan, and had yet to see a season in which your team came close to making the post-season, don't you start to dance with joy when your team is this close? And don't you get pretty peeved when your captain slash $4 million player walks on you?

Yeah, I know it's silly from the perspective of 90% of the league. But for a CBJ fan, that's a tough blow. Waiting even longer is such a hard game when you're in that position, I'm sure.

 
At 4:17 AM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be more impressed if Foote (and others) had the honesty to just come out and say (more or less like Brad Richards just did): "Look, it's a loser organization run by cheapskates. I couldn't wait to leave."
Instead, we get, "My wife didn't like living there" (cough)...

 
At 7:01 AM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous baroque said...

I can understand why the Columbus fans are disappointed. Sure, they probably wouldn't have made the playoffs, but just the fact that they were close enough to talk about a maybe is better than they've had before.

I feel bad for his teammates. I'm sure thye understand the business, blah blah blah, but it has to be depressing when one of your teammates bails out on the season.

 
At 7:52 AM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This had nothing to do with business. It had all to do with the fact that Foote didn't get what he wanted and took his stick and went home. It was all part of the plan he and Curran concocted. Plus he made a threat to divide the room if he did not get what he wanted. FOOTE QUIT on his teammates.

 
At 1:30 PM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From today's Columbus Dispatch:

"When Howson suggested to Foote that the sides continue negotiating beyond the trade deadline -- that the Blue Jackets' playoff hopes, faint as they are, deserve a hearty attempt -- Foote responded in a way nobody could have predicted.

According to numerous NHL sources, Foote threatened to be "a bad teammate, a bad captain and a bad player" the rest of the season if he weren't re-signed or traded to his preferred destination -- the Colorado Avalanche, where his best NHL years were spent.

The Blue Jackets made a final plea, urging Foote to consider all that the Blue Jackets' ownership group, the coaching staff and the fans had done for him the past three seasons.

Again, according to sources, he responded by saying that he "doesn't owe anybody anything."

It turns out the only "unfinished business" Foote claimed to have wanted to wrap up was in Colorado, not Columbus. See ya, Rent-a-Captain. Don't expect a warm welcome on your return to Nationwide in an Avs uniform next season.

 
At 1:41 PM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous smon said...

Well if you look at it from the perspective of the Blue Jackets it isn't hard to see why they would be mad. Foote's lost a step or two in the past few years, so I wouldn't price him at 4M a season and chances the Avs definitely won't. The thing is he had a good reputation and was not expected to make prima donna demands. The real kicker is the threats by him to play badly and divide the team's locker room if he didn't get either his money or his trade. If that's true, that's certainly not something that's been associated with Foote before and it isn't behaviour fitting of any captain.

 
At 2:18 PM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Blue Jackets made a final plea, urging Foote to consider all that the Blue Jackets' ownership group, the coaching staff and the fans had done for him the past three seasons.

Um, the ownership group paid him every second Friday in return for playing. The coaching staff coached and got paid. And the fans voluntarily exchanged money for tickets. Nobody owes anybody anything.

Every player has a right to decide what's best for himself. Who can blame Foote for using whatever leverage he had to get away from the Columbus gong show? Nobody in the real world sticks with a crappy organization when a winner wants you on board. Nobody.

Just because it's sports doesn't justify all the sentimentalizing.

 
At 4:33 PM, March 02, 2008, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

I don't think $4 million a year for a defensive defenseman of Foote's calibre is outrageous or "exorbitant": as you pointed out, James, it would have actually been a pay cut. If they weren't willing to give him what he was looking for (and he might get even more on the open market, as proven defencemen tend to be in short supply), I don't blame him for trying to get out of there and returning to a team that has a good shot. It's tough for Columbus fans to see him go, for sure, but I don't think he deserves this level of vilification.

 
At 9:34 AM, March 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a question of he said they said. Foote doesn't owe anyone anything for services rendered, but if what they are saying is true, he does at least owe them the professionalism of earning his paycheck and doing his best to uphold his end of the cotnract for at least the last few months. However, I find it hard to believe that Foote would pull such as stunt after being a class act for the better part of his career.

 

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