Bobby Ryan is walking a dangerous line in the press right now. Eric Stephens recently published some mildly disturbing comments from the young winger. At the bottom of a series of topics, Bobby discusses what he sees for himself as the next stage in his career. I'll quote the entire response so as to not be accused of taking him out of context. Then, I'll offer my analysis after the jump.
"My next step ultimately would be to break away from Getz and Pears. I think we’ve had chemistry. But at some point, you’re going to have to prepare for life after Teemu [Selanne]. I’d like to fill into that role and have that second line be built. I think I can step into Teemu’s role. I think I can put up 35 to 40 goals year in and year out.
"Personally on the ice, I’d like to be able to break games open a little more. Sometimes when I play with Getz and Pears, I get the feeling like I’ve got to be a secondary guy. The opportunities for me to break away from it and try to give us a secondary scoring option on another line, it’s working right now. When those guys [Selanne and Saku Koivu] leave, we have to build a second line. I’d like to do it around myself and be able to make adjustments to my game"
The obvious problem is that Bobby doesn't seem to like being the secondary guy to Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. He attempts to contextualize his desire to get away from them, by claiming he wants to be the replacement for Teemu Selanne. Here's something I've been wondering about for a while. Does Bobby Ryan really want to play with the Twins? The answer is clearly no, and the justification seems to be that he wants to get out of their shadow and be the guy on his own line.
I can see how people would find his desire to increase depth scoring as admirable. However, I can't help but wonder if the real drive is simply for him to be The Man. I think these comments beg an important question: Does Bobby Ryan play for the Ducks, or does Bobby Ryan play for Bobby Ryan? I'm not going to choose one answer or the other, although, I have my suspicions. I would however note that comments like this can be a detriment inside the locker room. When the season started, we wondered if Getzlaf would be motivated to match his friend, maybe we should have been wondering if Bobby was jealous.
In the article, Bobby also refutes that tension between he and Carlyle led to Randy's dismissal. However, one has to wonder if these residual sentiments had simply reached a boiling point under Carlyle. Was Carlyle's inability to give Bobby the sufficient opportunity to break away part of the reason the top line struggled early? How long has this been an issue for Bobby, and did Carlyle know it was an issue?
These comments really only open a can of worms for rampant speculation and deserve to be analyzed. They at least give us some insight into what could potentially be tension between Bobby, Getzlaf and Perry. Recent success might have parlayed that tension, but if it's there, it will inevitably need to be resolved. Discuss.