-In my last post earlier this week I wondered about Manny Legace's future with the Blues. Not because I had any inside information that he was about to be waived...but because he had all the earmarks of a player who was headed for a trainwreck. So, I have to say that his being sent to Peoria to "work things out" didn't really shock me as much as some others. When you come out with a statement like "I was the worst player in the NHL tonight", you probably expect something not too great to happen yourself.
But beyond the headlines, I think this is the story of a guy who was headed for a difficult stretch in his life...i.e. older player facing possible retirement, the lack of interest in his services, diminishing abilites...all of the things that an older athlete has to deal with eventually. And I tend to believe, since he reportedly fired his agent after being waived, that the representative steered him down the wrong path in dealing with those issues. I'm guessing that the agent told him to be out front with his feelings about being underpaid (at least compared to Chris Mason) and to attempt to play on his status as a fan favorite to "up the ante" on Blues management. Well, that negotiating in public thing hardly ever works for any athlete. All it usually serves to do is make the player look like an overpaid, pampered prima dona or crybaby who doesn't appreciate his position as one of the few in the world to play sports and make money at it. And Manny was coming off that way big time lately.
While, again, I don't have have any facts to back it up, it appears by jettisoning his agent Legace was "clued in" by somebody during the day Friday that he needed to "take a 180" in his public relations efforts. After being waived he gave a number of interviews in which he expressed shock, anger at management, and that he felt like he was "dumped on". Later, after clearing waivers on Saturday..and even before that... he seemed to go in a totally different direction with comments like" I look forward to the challenge in Peoria"and "playing there will be fun..I look forward to helping out".
Perhaps one of Mr. Legace's fellow athletes got to him with a bit of advice to straighten up and fly right. If he's going to get another NHL contract, in St. Louis or elsewhere, he's going to need to not only play like an elite goalie, but back that up with his off-ice actions. His "legacy" depends on it. I wish him all the best.
By the way, this whole thing was done by the Blues front office at the risk of fan alienation of enormous proportions. But once again Davidson, Pleau and the gang have made the right call at the right time and given us even more confidence in the top decision-makers with The Note.