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.