Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The ten most annoying things GMs say at the trade deadline

It’s trade-deadline week, which means at some point you’re going to be hearing from your favourite team’s GM. Whether it’s a press conference, a segment on the local radio station, an impromptu scrum between periods, or even just an off-hand comment or two relayed through the media, communicating with fans is part of a GM’s job this time of year.

And some of them are better at it than others.

Occasionally, a GM will offer up some real insight into their deadline approach, hinting at a broad strategy and process without giving too much away. But most of the time, we just get clichés and filler, and sometimes stuff that doesn’t even make sense. If you’re a fan hoping for actual insight, that can be annoying.

So today, let’s count down the 10 most annoying things a GM might say in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Feel free to print a copy and check them off as your team’s GM makes the media rounds.

No. 10: “We’re open for business.”

You hear this one fairly often this time of year, although it’s one of those points that’s often fed through the media rather than offered up directly. Either way, it’s always a strange one. When it comes to making trades, NHL front offices are supposed to be open for business. At this time of year, that’s kind of their whole job.

And yet they seem to feel the need to remind us that they are, in fact, open. Maybe someday we’ll get the other side of the coin, and some team will proudly announce that nobody should bother calling because they’re closed for business. They could post one of those signs on the front door, with a little clock and a handwritten note reading “Be back in the off-season.”

Until then, it’s probably safe to assume that everyone is indeed open, and just skip this cliché entirely.

No. 9: “We’re not going to make a deal just for the sake of making a deal.”

This one’s annoying for two reasons. First, and most obviously, nobody has ever suggested that a team should make a deal just for the sake of it. This well-worn quote (and its cousin, the always popular “we’re not going to make a panic move“), is a pre-emptive strike against a scenario that literally nobody is asking for.

And yet GMs still pull it out time and again. Most of the time, they even sound vaguely proud of themselves as they say it, as if they’re reassuring the fanbase that they’re firmly in control of the situation. It rarely works.

All of that is frustrating enough. But then comes the kicker. The deadline arrives, the clock ticks down, and inevitably some team having an otherwise quiet day will beat the buzzer by trading away a career minor-leaguer in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick. Hey wait, that’s a trade just for the sake of making a trade! You can’t fool us. You knew you were going to get ripped by fans and media for taking the day off, so you cooked up a meaningless last-minute deal to break the shutout.

No. 8: “Only one team wins the Stanley Cup every year.”

We’re cheating a bit here, since this gem typically gets offered up after the deadline. Usually right after, and usually by a GM who couldn’t get much done and wants to preemptively make the case that it probably wasn’t going to matter anyway. If 97 percent of the league isn’t going to win the Cup, the logic appears to go, then what’s the point of even trying?

This is, it goes without saying, nonsense. Put aside the fact that in the age of parity, every team that makes the playoffs has at least some chance at winning it all. “Only one team wins the Cup” implies that every other team is a failure, and that anything else that might happen during a post-season run is worthless. That’s a miserable way to market a product — “Come watch the NHL. There’s a 97-percent chance you’re wasting your time. Eat at Arby’s.”

And it’s not how sports fans think. Sure, we all want our favourite team to win it all. But plenty of great sports moments — from Brad May to Jose Bautista to Stefon Diggs — came during playoff runs that didn’t end in championships. Imagine trying to tell fans that those were all a waste of time.

Make a deal to get better now, and maybe you win the Cup. But yeah, you probably won’t. That doesn’t mean it can’t be worthwhile to try.

>> Read the full post at Sportsnet

No comments:

Post a Comment