Thursday, July 4, 2013

Where The Hell Is Vinny...?

Today, we sit on the eve of Free Agency, after the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted three prospects in the first round on Sunday -- two of whom had good-looking highlight reels, and one who was referred to more than once as a "Project."

I don't evaluate talent. There are writers in the CBJ Community who are multiples more qualified than I, to handle that sort of thing.

What I do know is that most of what has transpired since has been pretty good for the CBJ. Obviously, locking in Sergei Bobrovsky on a deal that -- while expensive -- favors the team and avoids the costly, long-term, flash-in-the-pan fiasco they suffered with Steve Mason (and to be clear, his team hung him out to dry on many of those painful nights). But they've locked in a guy who in a Lockout-shortened season looked to be the real deal. And there's room to talk in a couple years about something more long term.

Blake Comeau... sure. Good two-way forward, got some good stuff done after he came aboard.. and most importantly doesn't take up a lot of cap room. A million for a year, see how he does? Cool. Let's do it.

But Vinny.

Vinny, Vinny, Vinny.

I really need an explanation as to why Vinny Prospal is not under contract. As explanation as to how he has approached the team and they haven't gotten back to him yet.

Why the hell is there not ink drying on an NHL contract for Vinny Prospal in Columbus?

Okay, someone show me the stats on that. Obviously he contributed absolutely nothing to the team on the scoresheet last ye-- wait... no, his 12 goals and 18 assists led the team so it's not that. He was a vocal guy in the locker room, talking about leadership, and grit and getting your ass off the ice, so it's not that.

He celebrated every goal as if it was his first. Pure unadulterated joy, even when playing for the most godawful team in the NHL during the 2011-12 season.

I've reflected on a few occasions about the need to learn not to question hockey decisions based on sentiment, how much you like a guy as a player, or even feeling sorry for a player.

This question, however, is none of those. Prospal is a leader on the ice, and in the locker room... to the point where it was pretty much accepted that he would play year-to-year, and retire to a job within the organization, live in Columbus, raise his kids, etc. The Dispatch even said John Davidson had told Prospal he would honor the gentlemen's agreement to that effect.

We obviously know he can still play.

We know he can lead. Hell, he's the only other guy I'd consider for the "C" in 2013-14, other than Jack Johnson.

Vinny Prospal is a Columbus Blue Jacket.

So... why isn't he?

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