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"Off The Post: Inching Closer to the Future"
Long Island, NY • United States • 25 Years Old • Male
I've finally decided that instead of continuously posting on the boards about the potential trade of McCabe and Blake back to Long Island, that I'll just rant and rave here for my second post in one day....yes...I sadly do not know where my priorities are...or maybe I do And since my last blog had plenty to say about Bryan McCabe, this one will discuss that speedy cog, Jason Blake.

Jason Blake was one of the most vital members of this Islanders squad for the past few years. He loved playing for Ted Nolan, and even after his departure, and feeling black-balled by the team he poured his heart and sweat out too, he still found kind, heartfelt words to say about the team. In an article printed in the Toronto Sun back in early November, Blake was quoted explaining the reasons why the Islanders had so much success last season.

A) Ted Nolan - Blake cited him as the best coach in the NHL - that says alot considering he was playing under Paul Maurice.

B) Brendan Witt - one of the most underrated defenceman in the league.

C) Rick DiPietro being one of the greatest up and coming goaltenders in the league. So good that he predicts him to win the Vezina within the next three years.

Sounds like someone is missing his home. A lot of fans are on the fence about a rumor of Blake coming back to the Islanders. Some fans may argue that if Jason really wanted to stay, then he never would have left. However I do understand why Blake did leave. For the first time in his career he was being accepted as a top-line winger and had to take a chance that he may never get again. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out for him thus far. We also can't forget how much effort Blake put in every night - much more than our captain at the time. Then we trade for Ryan Smyth and solely focus on re-signing him and him only, as we offered a contract to Blake that we knew he would refuse. Put yourself in Blake's shoes; after dedicating six years of your life to help this team in every way that you could, you're then forgotten because of the 23 games that Ryan Smyth played - and remember, Smyth didn't have a choice in the matter since he was traded. To me, I can understand why he left a team where he felt he was disrespected. Though sometimes you need to swallow your pride and Blake was unable to do so and found out the hard way.

As for the trade it's been reported as "nothing imminent" between the two clubs, but the fact that they were talking is enough to intrigue any Islanders fan. An article from the Bleacher Report claimed the only piece preventing this trade from going through is the supposed asking price in return that has yet to be disclosed. You have to wonder what that asking price is - and another thing to keep in mind is that a trade like this may require some of our younger players, and if Snow is firm on not trading our young guys like he's promised, than this is a good sign.

But here is to why I think Blake would be a valuable player back on this team. Sure, he's battling leukemia, and that in itself is a gamble. But Blake is a proven worker; someone who battles through everything, giving 110% on everything and anything, including his fight with cancer. If cancer isn't enough to scare Islander fans about bringing him back, then his stats are surely a fright with 4 years remaining with $15 million left on it. But this is where I'll pretend to do my own Johnnie Cochran spin that was cleverly used in a South Park episode with the Chewbaca defense...although this time it won't be Chewbaca...it will be Czerkawski.

This is Czerkawski. Czerkawski began playing for the New York Islanders several years ago. He had some solid seasons and was even once voted to the All-Star Game. After the 2001-2002 playoff series, Milbury vouched to make his team tougher, and decided to trade Mariusz to the Montreal Canadiens for Arron Asham. Chow started off high on the Canadiens line-up, but soon found himself on the fourth line. If that wasn't bad enough, he eventually was demoted to the minors for his severe lack of production. The season was over, and Chow was back in free agency, facing potentially a trip back home to Poland. But Mad Mike came knocking on his door and re-signed him to a one year deal, and Chow returned to old form, posting 25 goals and 49 points. He was back home, and he let his fans and owners know how happy he was to return with a solid outing.

But he still managed to find himself back in free agency, picked up by guess who...the Toronto Maple Leafs. And just like his outing with the Habs, he was benched and eventually traded to the Boston Bruins, and he finished his NHL career where it began with dismal numbers and a head full of bad memories.

Now what does this have to do with Jason Blake? Everything. I'm willing to argue that if Jason Blake returns to the team that he never wanted to leave from, the team that he for many games carried on his shoulders and helped lead to playoff births and so on..that he would return to form just like Mariusz did. He may not necessarily score 40 goals again, but would provide that energetic spark that this team has been missing. I could only imagine the damage he could do if lined up next to Comrie, with Guerin on the other wing. His tenacity and hustle has never been questioned. Some players only perform there best where they feel comfortable, and there's no question he was more comfortable at the Madhouse on the Meadowbrook.

In Toronto's case, If the player doesn't fit, you must acquit! Will Blake, if he does get traded back to Long Island, necessarily have the same story played out for him as Mariusz? Absolutely not. But it does present a case that is very possible.

This is one Islander fan that is saying as long as he doesn't require a ton of picks, (high ones in particular) or major prospects, he welcomes back Jason Blake with open arms.
Filed Under:   Islanders   Blake   NHL   McCabe   Leafs  
February 19, 2008 5:33 PM ET | Delete
You say he never wanted to leave but it was his choice. If he liked LI so much a price cut shouldn't have meant that much
February 19, 2008 6:32 PM ET | Delete
Very nicely written. It's good to hear some have not given up on Jason. I'm a Leaf fan who likes him a lot, but with the position this team is in, he must surely be available, and at a relatively cheap asking price. It's also interesting to note the contract was relatively front loaded, and the cap hit of $4 000 000 is an actual paycheck of $3.75 or so. I don't think the Leafs ever had the right fit playing with Jason, but, if you can't fit in with Mats Sundin, I'm a little iffy.
February 19, 2008 8:09 PM ET | Delete
Would want him back if it weren't for another four years at four million per. Still can't understand how he got a five year deal at 34.
February 20, 2008 12:34 AM ET | Delete
Ive gotta say... that was a fantastic read. Thanks a lot for a very insightful and interesting unbiased opinion.I really like Jason Blake, and admire his work ethic. Hes one of those guys you never boo if hes playing poorly, you just will him as much as you can to succeed. He would be a great fit with the Islanders, and since Toronto has already paid a bunch of the front-laden contract, hed be a nice fit financially too. Ditto for McCabe.McCabe Blake at a combined 7M is pretty solid IMHO.I dont see Snow moving the 1st, but I could definitely see a roster player, a young prospect or two, and a mid rd pick.
February 20, 2008 9:57 AM ET | Delete
The Fans booed the Hell out of him when he came back to the Island. The team didn't even have a thank you or video for the guy. This was a player who bled for your team for years and the crowd and management spit in his face. He wanted market price and wasn't offered it by Wangster. he never wanted to leave but was forced out plain and simple. The Islanders should admit they shit the bed and take him back.
February 20, 2008 10:02 AM ET | Delete
I'm glad to see a few Leaf fans and even Ranger fans agreeing with me. CAPMESS11, the only thing you missed is that they did play a video for him, but it was barely 30 seconds long if that. But you're right, they should realize they were wrong and take him back.
February 20, 2008 10:51 AM ET | Delete
Heh, because we all know that no other teams fans (the Rangers especially with that just peachy NYC attitude) boo traded or lost-to-free-agency players.I agree completely and enjoyed the short-lived South Park reference. Management definately spit in Blakes face when they focused more on Smyth, who didn't even want to be here, than him. Todzilla - It's not always entirely a matter of the player wanting to stay. You're talking about a guy who gave it his all every single night he played, and he received an offer that's widely considered to be an insult to the guy. He loves the team, and I think that made it all the worse for him.
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