I love one day contracts, AND HERE’S WHY!
It’s just a symbolic gesture between the player and the team he’s likely most identified with, and beyond that, it’s showing that there are no hard feeling between the either party, especially for the fans of both. The fans being the whole reason for the player having a job/career and the team…well, having a team; lest we forget that professional sports is entertainment for the masses. The contract that players sign for this one day is a Professional Tryout Offer where no money changes hands and the player doesn’t count towards the limits of the team (if it did, I think the ‘Canes might be in trouble for having too many goalies).
I find it interesting that Sal mentions Cam Ward and Bryan Bickell, two players switching between the same two teams, in his article on Thursday. Ward’s best years were clearly with Carolina, and while he put up a great effort in the Windy City, he wanted the end of his career to be with the team that meant the most to him; this isn’t any slight at Chicago.
Ward’s time ended in Carolina out of necessity of ripping the band-aid off: season after season, a goalie was supposed to finally take over the starting role and allow Cam to fall in to the backup position, but this never happen (in my opinion, because Bill Peters has no idea how to handle goalies, but that’s a discussion for another time). Fredrick Anderson left the organization long ago because he did not see himself getting a chance to emerge from Wardo’s, and reentered the draft. If Scott Darling was ever going to have a chance at redemption, the training wheels had to come off.
Now Brian Bickell is a similar but different story. When he was traded from Chi-town TO Carolina, it was considered a salary dump with a sweet, sweet, sweetener called Teuvo Teravainen. Imma stop right there for a second so Sal the Blackhawks Fan Supreme doesn’t miss that part.
OK, I’ll continue now. Understandably, Chicago as a fanbase and as a team loved Bicks for his playoff heroics that nabbed the city a Cup (hey, just like Ward in ’06!), and he was rewarded with a hefty contract that he didn’t live up to for reasons that were in no way his fault. MS sucks for anyone who has to cope with it, and I doubt the Blackhawks would have traded him if they had known at the time. It wasn’t until his next season down south that it became apparent and Carolina afforded him every opportunity to figure out what he wanted to for himself and his family. He decided to battle back and showed some amazing late game heroics by the end of the season that will endure him to Caniacs for a long, long time. Not one of those fans felt any slighted in anyway for his wanting to sign a one-day contract back with the Blackhawks just for the sake of saying ‘thank you’ to Chicago fan and the team for the best years of his career, but still thanked Carolina for giving him one more chance as well. The back of his last hockey card might read ‘Carolina’ but nobody reads the back of hockey cards anyway, so who cares? And Ward returned the favor by thanking Chicago fans for getting behind him in the twilight of his career.
It’s what we do as fans. We shouldn’t fall in love with the players, but many of them find their way into our hearts due to their outstanding play but also the endeavors they show both on and off the ice. They’re humans and we find that connection with them. Having them sign that one-day contract contains no malice toward any fanbase or any team; but it’s a valentine and a bridge mending toward a specific team and fanbase showing that there’s no hard feelings and there’s still plenty of love to give! There’s enough bad news on the TV today, it’s nice to have a happy ending every once in a while.
A lot of fan bases HAAAAATE to see Crosby or Ovechkin come into their building and light their team up, but those fans that still love the game FOR the game and the humanity around it will feel sad on the day those two guys hang up their skates. Now I’m not saying either of those guys will ever get traded, unlike Mitch Marner (#torontotriggering), but if they did no one would blame them for signing a one-day contract with their old clubs. Hell, even John Tavares might sign a one-day contract with the Islanders in 10 years (#longislandtriggering). Let the love flow hockey fans, at least until October.
Because hate has only one place in this world: in a box of Panini. ■
Jim Howard is a Carolina Hurricanes fan and reformed baseball card collector who is trying to keep the hockey collection from becoming overwhelming. And while he wishes he could give Crosby the business with his mitt, he is in fact NOT the goalie for the Red Wings.