Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You’re at a bar and meet the woman of your dreams.
She’s beautiful and bold. She was once named one of the most beautiful people in BC. And at the bar that night, she knocked out Fedor Fedorov.
The first year you were together, she was everything you’ve ever wanted in a woman. She’s independent, like the times she joins the rush, and at the same time, vulnerable, like the times she depends on you to cover for her ill-timed pinches.
12 goals and 42 points later, you were in love. She was your best defenseman and unsung hero. She was the wind beneath your wings, so to speak.
You knew right then and there that you couldn’t let her go. You showered her with gifts and gave her a contract worth $11.25 million over three years.
Fast forward four years later to today and the magic has faded considerably. In fact, it’s been fading for a while now. Once dependable, she’s had a couple of major injuries in the last couple of years. Her offensive forays, which once excited you, now piss you off. You hate that she takes off by herself and that you have to cover for her. You hate that she’s constantly out of position. You hate that she let Steven Stamkos sidestep her on Markus Naslund night to set up a helluva goal.
There are nights when you wonder if it’s time to move on or whether it’s time to trade her in for a younger model. Or draft picks or Dave Steckel.
Yet you stay with her because you can tell that she’s trying to be better. To be fair, there are signs that things may be returning to how they were in that first year. There are fewer mistakes and, in fact, she’s been playing some of her best hockey recently. In the Hockey Night in Canada spotlight against the Leafs on Saturday, she had two assists and was a plus-3. Last night against the Blues, she was a plus-1 and logged more ice-time than any other skater on either team except for Alex Edler.
Like any relationship, do you ride out the rough patch and make it work? Do you hope that things go back the way they used to be or do you cut the cord as soon as you can (like when Sami Salo comes back)?
(PS. Any reference to Kevin Bieksa as a woman in this post was done for thematic purposes only. I would never dare imply that Bieksa is a woman, plays like my grandma, fights like one, or other such stereotypes. Nor would I want to meet him in the back alley of a bar.)