If only we still had what's-his-name

Players never look as good in Chicago uniforms when they're playing as they do when they leave for another team.

Bulls:

Hunter said 6 hours, 19 minutes ago

We needed Nate Robinson and not Kirk Hinrich last night. Second ball-handler/attacker/scorer. I'm going to have that feeling a lot this season and into the postseason.

Blackhawks:

Luke Han ·  Top Commenter · Toledo, Ohio

we HAD a spectacular back up i.e. emery! letting him go was a crime!

Reply · 1 · Like · 22 hours ago

The Bulls lost their season opener to Miami last night, and I generally prefer Doug Thonus' blog to anything KC Johnson writes, yet I can already tell you that Nate Robinson will be mentioned after most -- if not all -- Bulls losses.  The Bulls got pretty much blown out last night to Miami but a 5'7" streaky shooting guard would have changed the game?  Make no mistake -- I wanted Nate back and think he could help, but he's a bench player that only helps your team every once in a while, and Nate is just as likely to hurt your team.  I wanted him back, though.  I've read comments almost daily last year about the Bulls needing Omer Asik.  I do think they kind of bumbled that one when Houston offered a contract that would break the Bulls' cap situation.  At the same time, Asik getting a starting job for another team is exactly how the salary cap is supposed to work.  It was certainly the best thing for Asik, if not the Bulls, and I don't think he becomes the player he is playing 12-14 minutes a night in a backup role as he did as Houston's starter.  If I wasn't reading about Asik, I was reading about Kyle Korver, a guy who disappeared against the Heat in the playoffs.  I wonder if people will cry about Luol Deng when he's gone, because they sure have cried about him while he's been here.

The Blackhawks beat Ottawa 6-5 last night on the strength of a Jonathan Toews hat trick.  I have a feeling he's going to be a good player.  Who is not a good player anymore is backup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.  "The Wall Has Crumbled" writes John Jaeckel, my favorite Blackhawks blogger, referring to the nickname, "The Bulin Wall," which seems humorous after the guy has gotten lit up his past 2 games.  He got pulled last night after giving up 4 goals, this coming after a game in which he gave up 5.  He looked bad in both and his career may have come to an ignominious conclusion.  So of course, the comments section on the main Trib story by Brian Hamilton is pining for last year's backup, Ray Emery.  Emery was brilliant last year but wanted a chance to start, so he fled to Philly for similar money to what the Blackhawks supposedly offered, only to be a backup to a bum in Steve Mason.  Poor move by Emery, and a shame the Blackhawks couldn't keep him.

But roster turnover is a part of sports in 2013.  You simply cannot and will not keep every good player every year.  No team does, not in any sport any more.

I imagine this goes on with other teams around the country, but those in Chicago remember every player who ever played for their teams and at the first sign of something going wrong, the comments section ALWAYS fills with complaints and cries for that player we had last year that we let go.

Ray Emery.  A backup goalie with a degenerative hip condition who the 'Hawks took a chance on.  Dave Bolland's name will come up soon enough.  He was a poor fit as a second line center and the 'Hawks have other options for the third so they traded him away for cap relief and draft picks. He's off to a great start in Toronto. Michael Frolik anyone?  The fourth liner was another cap casualty, and I'll be the first to admit he's missed on the penalty kill.

But the Blackhawks won the Stanely Cup last year in a sport with one of the hardest caps to manage.  Did you really think they'd bring the whole team back?  Which players would you have dealt or traded instead of a backup goalie, third line center and fourth liner?  Re-signing Corey Crawford, Bryan Bickell and Niklas Hjlamarsson while keeping Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Keith Seabrook is pretty outstanding work by the front office.  Ok, so they missed on the backup goaltender, nobody's perfect.

Moving to the Bears, earlier this year I read a comment about the Bears complaining that we lost Greg Olsen.  After seeing what Martellus Bennett can do, those cries ended quickly but even without Bennett's emergence, Greg Olsen???  A good-but-not-great pass-catching tight end who never lived up to his first round billing, never showed the speed he was supposed to have, and never developed into even an average run blocker.  He wanted to get paid well and I for one was happy to see him go instead of see the Bears pay him.  Give the money to a great pass-catching tight end, not a good one, or at least a 3-down player like Bennett.  And the cries for Brian Urlacher get louder with each Bears loss.  I don't see how making the defense older and slower would solve the problems they're having.  At the risk of crying, I'd rather have Nick Roach.  At least no one's crying about losing J'Marcus Webb.  [Edit: Since posting this, I have seen the statement that letting go of Israel Idonije was the worst Bears' move of the offseason.  In light of all the injuries to the defensive line, Idonije would no doubt help, but we're talking about a 33-year-old career rotational player. He's not going to fix the run defense or the pass rush nearly as much as the current guys they have all playing better).

I spent the entire summer reading about how the White Sox needed AJ Pierzynski.  AJ is one of my all-time favorite White Sox, but an aging, slow team that finished 30 games out of first place really wasn't going to be saved by a 37-year-old catcher who is below average defensively.

The grand daddy was the 2011 Blackhawks, following the salary cap purge which followed their Stanley Cup victory.  It was a tough go for all Blackhawks fans, no doubt, but no one could really agree on what was the tough part.  I read a lot about Antti Niemi, a departure I still lament, but they made the right choice between him and Hjlamarsson.  But the biggest complaint was Dustin Byfuglien.  I have a pretty good idea that these were "fans" who started watching during the playoffs because they know not what they write.  Big Buff was -- and still is -- a highly talented but maddeningly inconsistent player.  He's never lived up to his potential and didn't live up to his contract with the Thrashers, probably because he's reputedly lazy and universally accepted as quite fat.  The one exception in Byfuglien's roller coaster career was the 2010 playoffs with the Blackhawks, where he scored at a pace that would translate to 40 goals in the regular season.  He was a key player for those few weeks, but only those few weeks.  I didn't miss him then and I don't now.  I missed Kris Versteeg but even more, I always wish we could have hung onto Andrew Ladd but everyone was too hung up on the higher profile Niemi and Byfulgien to notice the absence of those two.

So while I do wish Nate was still a Bull and Ladd was still a 'Hawk, roster turnover is an inevitable part of sports in 2013, especially among good teams in sports with hard salary caps.  Every team loses players every year.  Every team has good former players playing on other teams, some of whom they'd want back if they could.  Managing who stays and who goes is the most difficult part of managing a team and I don't think for a second I'd do a better job than the guys who make those decisions, not consistently, year over year.

Roster turnover is a part of sports in 2013.  Deal with it.

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