I Don't Want The Real Story, Marty
I have the feeling this could get ugly for Hawks fans, and I don't think that's right. First off, and let me say that once again I'm only parroting what Chris Block has already said at The Third Man In, but this whole twitter thing is just good PR. You can easily get your story, or at least your version of the story, out to the fans, whereas the Hawks have to weigh whether or not they want to go through the rigamorole of a press conference or press release or whatever. You can endear the fans to you with a mere few taps on your Iphone or Crackberry, despite whatever the real truth actually may be. Havlat's agent can put whatever he wants out there, but if Tallon, McD and Co. want to counter it, who do you think is going to come off as the petulant ones?
Here's what I'm guessing is the story behind this all, and I base this off nothing but my own gut feeling: We've heard about extension negotiations since February. I find it hard to fathom that at no point did the Hawks, from then, ever offer anything other than a 1-year deal. It wouldn't take that long, and you wouldn't go running off to give Hossa 12 years if you wouldn't give Havlat two for all this time. I'm guessing the numbers didn't work, or the lowering of the cap hit became complicated, whatever. But when Kronwall knocked Havlat to sleep, and the Hawks had more than a shoulder and groin to consider for his long-term durability, that's when the multi-year offers dried up.
From Havlat's point of view, this would be a total kick to the balls. Here you are, risking your career coming back out for Game 4 for this team and organization when you had no business on the ice, but now you're seeing your long-term future for that organization that you've put it all out on the line for disappear into thin fucking air. You'd be pissed, I'd be livid. That said, it was Marty's decision to play. I'm sure the Hawks would not have balked if Havlat said he couldn't go, maybe the old Hawks would have.
Simply put, the Hawks acted as a business, which is exactly what they should do. They gave the better player, the more durable player, the long-term deal they no longer felt they could trust to Marty. Because this group under Rocky and McD has done its best to act in the classiest manner possible, I doubt this will ever get into a he-said-she-said slap fight. The thought of Havlat rolling into the UC twice a year with a chip on his shoulder gives me nightmares, but the Hawks made the right decision.
That said, I'll miss JHC. Terribly so, in fact. I can remember the moment vividly when I found out he'd been acquired, I was about to get off the plane back from Europe after attending the World Cup in Germany. For me, that was the moment when the Hawks began their turnaround, if ever so slightly. They had acquired a bona fide star in his prime, and I couldn't tell you when that had ever happened in my lifetime. And all for the price of Whiskey-A-Go-Go Mark Bell. Yeah, maybe they gave Marty too much money right then and there, but judging by the contract he signed today and where we were then, certainly not by much.
It was only eight games that year, but fucking God were they electrifying. He couldn't be stopped, except for shitty Dallas ice. Who knows where he might have taken us if healthy. But that was always the "if", wasn't it? However, personally, I've never agreed with any Hawk fan or writer who called Marty soft, lazy, selfish, or a prima donna. He wasn't out with a bruise here, or a slight strain there. He was out with sprained ligaments in his knee, or a shoulder that was basically Monterrey Jack cheese. He always came back too early, and played when he clearly shouldn't have. His second year we all knew that shoulder would go out at a moment's notice, and yet there he was on the ice regardless, when he should've opted for major surgery long ago.
Last year was our reward, those of us who believed we would see the hellspawn of a hockey player again. Those who scream "contract year contract year!", still make me cringe, because Marty gave what he had. Whatever hesitence that may have looked like laziness would be chalked up to the fear that his career might be over any second. But deep down, we knew it couldn't last. That with every goal buried top corner, every pass right on the tape, every move that left opposing d-men looking like they'd just been labotomized, the price went up. And up. It was probably always going to end this way.
So please, Marty, just move on. I know you're hurt -- only mentally this time --, and upset, and very well may feel that you've been cheated out of a Cup, which isn't coming to Minnesota any time soon. But the Hawks made a business decision, and a sound one, and I know you know that. The Hawks will never come out and badmouth you, at least I hope they don't. So if you do truly appreciate us fans, as you say you do, you won't make us get caught in the crossfire.