Pack your bags
I was in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room after morning skate Monday when I noticed something a bit off.
While most of the players were either speaking to the media or headed out the door en route to the team bus, Dale Weise was packing.
What the what?
In a matter of minutes Weiser had a jacket and tuque on, a Canucks hockey bag over his left shoulder, three taped-together sticks in his right hand and he was headed out the door.
He stopped to say goodbye. We hugged it out and he was gone.
Weise had been traded to the Montreal Canadiens, I found out moments later. Just like that, no more Weise.
I don’t care if Weise scored the Stanley Cup winning goal for the Canucks, or averaged one minute a game – he was a part of the team, part of the family. Unless you’re fired, in very few professions can you be forced to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice and Weise took it in stride. It’s part of the business, I guess, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
“It sucks, there’s not much else to say,” Brad Richardson said as we walked into the team hotel.
Although never traded mid-season, Richardson understands what Weise is going through in terms of being traded at all. He was moved to Los Angeles from Colorado in the summer of 2008. We all know how that turned out for Richardson, he’s got a Cup ring as a reminder.
“This will be good for Weise, he’ll get some good minutes there hopefully and it’s a new opportunity. Still sucks to see him go.”
Richardson said the process is emotional and it’s never one you get used to. Weise was already riding some emotions, so this could be a trying time for the forward.
From the outside it seemed as though Weise had fallen out of favour with the coaching staff. He was scheduled to be a healthy scratch when Vancouver played in Winnipeg (Weise’s hometown) last Friday, but drew in when Tom Sestito became ill pre-game. Weise played 4:57 and was benched in the second period.
He told me it was great to be able to play in front of friends and family in Winnipeg, but he was frustrated with his role at the moment.
Now he gets a chance to win over the Canadiens coaching staff and work his way into a role in Montreal.
Same fresh start for the incoming Raphael Diaz, who will meet the team in Boston Tuesday and is guaranteed to be the favourite player of two three-and-a-half year old boys, my son and his best friend, because of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles namesake.
I’ve never experienced a trade from inside the dressing room before and while it’s part of my job to not only announce the trade and keep Canucks fans focused on what we’re gaining, not what we’ve lost, it’s still hard to say goodbye.
Weise and I didn’t get to share that slurpee and nip in Winnipeg after all. Luckily we travel to Montreal this Wednesday, so we’ll all get a proper chance to say goodbye.
Forget the slurpee, another hug is what’s on the menu then.
P.S. – Big congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on their Super Bowl domination Sunday. Thank you for cheering them on with me and caring about my fantasy world!