It's been a couple days since Bobby Ryan's comments to the New Jersey Courier Post. My emotions have run their cycle. (I have two fully written, angry posts from Friday and Saturday about this subject that I'm glad I didn't publish. I sound like a psycho hose-beast.) it's time to objectively look at what BR said.
Reading through the comments on some of our stories that came out after the Courier Post article was published, showed me just how passionate Ducks fans are on this subject. It became clear to me that there are two different factions when it comes to Bobby. Group #1 is sympathetic to Bobby's plight and feels like he has every right to be angry. Group #2 believes Ryan is acting like a spoiled brat and he doesn't understand the business side of hockey.
We've known all along that this guy is overly sensitive. By the way he reacted to us on Twitter for misunderstanding a story, it's obvious that he doesn't take perceived criticism well. In the Courier Post article, he admitted that he 'takes things personally'. For the most part, everyone agrees that's a bad mentality for a professional athlete to have.
He might be right that Bob Murray doesn't feel he's the correct piece for the Ducks success anymore, but what Bobby misses the most out of this situation is the realization that professional hockey is a business - not a personal relationship. Ryan looks at 'being on the block' as a knock against his abilities and contributions to the team. In his eyes, he's done everything asked of him: lose weight, play on a billion different line combinations, try to be a center, score 30+ goals in four straight seasons, etc., but they still don't want him. It's outright rejection in his eyes.
I looked back at his OHL and AHL careers. He hasn't been traded at the semi-pro or pro level - ever. Granted some of it is because of parent club restrictions, but it's still important. He's always been one of the best players on all his teams, including the Ducks. To his knowledge, he's never been seen as the 'expendable one'. (Up until his MVP season, Corey Perry had been seen as the 'expendable one'.) Bobby doesn't know how to handle this.
Think back to November of last season. This was the first time all of us heard that Bobby was available. When talking to the OC Register, he was remorseful but not angry. He acknowledged that he was struggling. After the coaching change, Nick Kypreos reported that BR was officially off the market and HIS desire to be moved was no longer an issue. He was in control in November and now he's not.
I've had an opportunity to meet and briefly chat with Bobby in person a couple times. I can attest to the fact that he is polite, friendly and genuine. That's why he's a fan favorite. The Bobby Ryan in the Courier Post article is angry, egotistical and vindictive. We've never seen this side of him, which leads me to believe it was a knee-jerk reaction to a situation he's not used to being in. Think about some of the things he said that were so off-putting.
"Anaheim to me has been a team over the past year that really have shown me nothing to prove that they want me here."
They decided to keep Bobby and fire Randy Carlyle. Those two rarely saw eye-to-eye. Picking a player over a Stanley Cup winning coach is a significant move.
"I don't care. Move me ... because it's just tough going to the rink every day knowing that if something goes wrong, you're going to be the guy moved."
He hasn't been at the rink since April. Even prior to that, Bob Murray made a blanket threat to trade everyone except for Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. That sure as hell woke the team up. They went on an incredible run until they exhausted themselves at the end. As for the 'I don't care', he just said that he takes things personally.
"He's an incredible, one-of-a-kind player. I'm very fortunate where I am with (Anaheim linemates) Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry when we're together, but Claude Giroux has done things to elevate his team to a new level. If I were to come to Philly, I would love to be alongside him."
Let me say right away that I think Claude Giroux is phenomenal, and I can understand why Bobby would want to play alongside of him. But that's a contradiction to what he said after the season. He wants to get out from under the shadows of Getzlaf and Perry. The shadow around Giroux is a million times darker. Also, I'm sure Bobby meant no disrespect to Perry, but he at least deserves to be applauded as much as Giroux. He saved the team's arse when they weren't performing - including Bobby.
Those quotes show that this is not the Bobby Ryan we came to adore. This is a Bobby Ryan that is desperate to regain control over his career. This is his way of getting the team's attention and forcing their hand.
My personal feeling is that Bob Murray was just testing the market to see what he could get for Bobby. It's what GM's do. Call me crazy, but telling Bob McKenzie that 'Matt Beleskey is available' isn't going to garner much attention. This also screws with Columbus on getting rid of Rick Nash, someone who Bobby is compared to. Ryan is younger than Nash and is less of a cap hit. Teams aren't going to give away top players and/or prospects for Nash if they think they have a chance at Ryan. It's business as usual.
At the end of the day, the Ducks are going to lose Bobby Ryan and they really shouldn't be. He isn't devious enough to have had this planned out all along. I doubt his agent had anything to do with it as well. I just can't see Murray and Bobby working this one out. No matter how many times someone takes back what they said, the words are still there. Real shame.