So Ryan Whitney burned his bridges to the ground today. Not a lot was said, but it was clear he wasn’t just upset at himself for not giving himself the opportunity to play (through good play). I thought all year that this was what he meant in a lot of his comments to the media about being upset about not playing.. turns out I was wrong. It turns out he is pissed at the Oilers.
Well, I was wrong about what Whitney said, but I don’t think I was wrong about the player. He was once good, but his foot problems have made him an awful player for the Oilers. Could he be good somewhere else? Possibly. He could probably get away with playing lots of powerplay time, and playing even strength time with a guy who can save him from embarrassment when his flaws (namely agility and foot speed) are exposed. But here, he was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. He showed flashes of brilliance towards the end, but sorry, it was too little too late. The Oilers have to purify themselves of these types of players. They need guys they can rely on nearly 100% (preferably exactly 100%) throughout the season. With Whitney, we had a solid d-man for about 10% of this short year… never mind what we’d get out of a full year. He’s done here, and both sides should be happy about it. Did he need to throw the team under the bus in his exit interview? I don’t think so. Here is what was said:
“I’m not going to name any names, but there were definitely some other guys who could have been scratched.”
“I’m hoping to sign on a really good team. I’ve made enough money and I’m hoping to prove them(Oilers) wrong.”
Really, the 2nd quote is fine, but the first quote is pretty piss poor, if you ask me. I’m not sure what gave him the misunderstanding that his play has been anything better than sub-average, on average for the last 2 years at least, but to take his (former) teammates down while on his way out, is just sour grapes. Yah, he didn’t name names, but I don’t think that helps any. We can speculate who he was talking about, however I’d rather not.
Anyways, the thing I like most about this is that it ensures he won’t be back. I hate seeing more black marks on the organization (think Sheldon Souray’s handling), but if he thinks that he was scratched unfairly, he’s dead wrong. He was poor for most of the year.. it wasn’t until a handful of games near the end that we saw him really do anything positive, and by then it was too little too late. He was a far cry from the good player we saw when we first picked him up, unfortunately.
I believe that Ryan Whitney will get picked up.. it will be for cheap… and he will play fairly well and be a good bargain for his new team. But this is a break-up that was quite overdo.