I was supposed to be taking a break, enjoying time with the family, but the Colorado Avalanche and Gabriel Landeskog decided to make my butt clench tighter than a kid in the presence of a priest. C’mon guys! Stop dragging it out and put a ring on it!
In case you’ve been buried under a rock, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog came out to the media venting frustration that a new deal was taking so long and that the sides weren’t even close. Not exactly news you wanted to hear if an Avalanche fan. I think fellow Vendetta cohort Emma Brown said it best when she tweeted:
Here’s the thing, this Colorado Avalanche team is Nathan MacKinnon’s. The superstar center along with forward Mikko Rantanen and defenseman Cale Makar are the forces that will be celebrated if they capture a Stanley Cup. But what Landeskog brings to the team is something none of the three currently possess. Leadership, calmness, and experience.
Most have two of the three in some order, but not all three. Landeskog has all three, hence why he’s a captain. Losing him during this offseason needs to not even be an option.
If General Manager Joe Sakic has any qualms about this, he needs only to look at who faces the media first every time this team loses? Who’s the first to welcome back players who have held out in contract negotiations (Rantanen)? Who meets a rookie defenseman at the airport and drives him to his first-ever NHL game during a playoff series (Makar)?
I idolize Nathan MacKinnon and believe he is the best player currently in the game, but he’s not that guy. When not spending every waking hour trying to improve, Nate wants to be at home playing Fortnite, not doing media availability. While the few interviews I have seen of number 29 he’s come across well, I’ve also noticed that there’s an aura of I don’t want to be here about him too.
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You just have to look at Adrian Dater’s unbelievably stupid question after the Vegas exit and MacKinnon’s response to see why he’s not at more of these media scrums. He got agitated, as most would after a playoff loss, but that’s not Landeskog. While he can show his disappointment, he maintains the utmost professionalism.
Sunday morning’s news that Landeskog was left unprotected in the expansion draft is even more worrying. Both Makar and Philipp Grubauer, the other unrestricted free agents, were protected, while Landeskog was left out to protect Logan O’Connor as the seventh forward. While it’s unlikely the Kraken choose Landeskog due to his status, there’s always the possibility they sign and trade him to give the Swedish forward the money he is requesting.
I trust Sakic to get this done and Landeskog to be in an Avalanche sweater with a ‘C’ on his chest next season. That doesn’t stop the nervousness especially considering what happened with Alex Pietrangelo last season. Anything can happen, even if you don’t particularly want it to, so Colorado Avalanche and Gabriel Landeskog, please just sit down and hash this out. I don’t want to watch a season without the Swedish man-rocket.