by Jon Jordan on 07/15/11 at 01:35 AM ET
It will get done, in due time, this second contract for Steven Stamkos, that is…
It’s all part of the process, standard negotiating procedure, part of a give and take… And so on and so forth.
That’s what’s being fed to the masses locally from several outlets – and make no mistake, that’s the company line.
These days, it’s downright blasphemous for anyone in these parts to even graze the reborn Tampa Bay Lightning with the slightest hint of criticism, so it’s no surprise we haven’t seen anything resembling as much in the fish wraps or on local airwaves.
Not to worry.
Move along, people…
Well, what is it, then, that has led to a full two weeks of restricted free agency for Stamkos to go by without anything tangible to fluff the pillows of the Tampa fan base and keep them sleeping at night?
People will take the team’s word as gospel these days, naturally. Faith in the franchise is unwavering for the first time in forever – and for good reason after a remarkable 2010-11 season and an even more convincing Stanley Cup playoff run.
But is there some stuffing in those pillows after all? Or is the collective head of “Bolts Nation” resting on a cushion of hot air?
Think about it for a second: What is it out there that’s really making people feel okay about this situation?
Anything? Anything at all? Anyone?
Look, the bottom line remains that in all likelihood, Stamkos will stay the now-and-relatively forever superstar of the Lightning, as a contract will eventually get inked. After all, with the majority of the NHL’s decision makers afraid – or at least leery – to go the offer sheet route and trade scenarios for Stamkos nothing more than a little pixie dust added to the annoying offseason rumor mill (until they aren’t), there aren’t many other end results that have at least one foot firmly planted in reality.
But the longer this goes on…
It’s only natural to wonder:
What’s taking so long?
We’re told the player has no desire to play anywhere else.
We’ve assumed all along – and bought into the organization’s assertion – that whatever is necessary to keep the player in Tampa will be exercised.
We’ve tossed around numbers here and terms there and, despite the uncertainty of a new CBA around the corner and the Lightning, specifically, not exactly possessing an unlimited amount of cap space for next season and several big ticket, lengthy deals for other players already on the books well into the future, a fair and sensible deal for Stamkos, even in the $8 million per season range, fits. The comfort level, in particular in forthcoming seasons, might decrease a bit at that dollar amount but it’s not as though the Bolts are priced out of keeping their wunderkind sniper.
With that in mind, once again, what is it that the Lightning faithful are supposed to be so unrelentingly confident about right now (aside from a video game cover, that is) with regard to the Stamkos contract situation?
This could have been taken care of, theoretically, not just in these last two weeks, but any time during the final year of Stamkos’ entry level deal. That is to say, to get all technical and such, as far back as July 1, 2010.
It could have been resolved, oh, some time after the All-Star break, say, maybe around the unveiling of the new logo and uniform design, perhaps?
And, really, if there aren’t any major gaps still left to be bridged, wouldn’t it be logical for one to think that this vitally important deal for Stamkos and the Lightning would have been handled by now?
Strike me for being the lone wolf willing to think aloud in this sacrilegious manner but one – or this one, anyway – has to think it should have been.
Rest well, everyone.
Nothing to see here…
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