Tanking is Painful
The players are not tanking. A $72.5 million payroll is not a tank job by the management or the owners. Then who is the one doing the tanking? How can a team “tank”?
Well, let’s define tanking.
Tanking, in my dictionary, is the act of purposefully losing despite having the ability to win. The result may be a high draft pick depending on the odds, but for sure will be a loss of fans and franchise value. It is painful to tank. Just for example, look at Ryan Miller‘s situation.
G – Ryan Miller
- 35 years old, 12-17-8 record
- .915 save percentage, 2.64 goals against average
- One more year left on a three-year, $18 million contract
He has done tremendously in the past couple of months when the team was struggling the most. Now he is caving in himself, unable to contain the mess that the Canucks have amassed in front of him.
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Aging past his prime, Miller knows that he is not the franchise netminder in Vancouver. The job is Jacob Markstrom‘s to take as soon as Miller’s contract expires, but Miller dare not ask to be traded this season. With the extra year left on his contract, his modified no-trade clause almost becomes redundant for Miller. Just have to wonder if he wants out from Van City after going through a tough period of rebuilding already in Buffalo.
So he can’t be traded, he is getting all the hate from the youth movement folks for going 1-5-2 in his last eight starts while Markstrom has gone 5-2-1 in his last seven, and he still has to play knowing that he is going to be shown the door (or the boot out the door) as soon as next season is over. Heck, he might not last the year if the Canucks plan to trade him as a pending unrestricted free agent!
So you know that Miller won’t be tanking. Not for his own sake. The youth has nothing to tank for, too. They want to grow in the NHL by playing well and earning minutes. The Sedins are too classy to put on a tank job.
Jim Benning even has expressed that he may consider adding pieces at the deadline if the team is still in the running for the playoffs. The owners will never tank unless the management suggests such thing.
So who is going to lead a tank? Who has the ability to lose despite having the ability to win?
Next: Tanking: A Willie Tale