“No one wanted to believe ol’ Kiz because we all thought the trade for Iguodala was good for the Nuggets – but he was right – because he saw firsthand Iguodala’s reaction to the news. And I believe he’s right about O’Reilly based on the reaction of this Avs front office person’s standoffish attitude toward him.”
The “Ryan O’Reilly Situation” is something that has now unfortunately become a fixture of the Denver sports fan’s vernacular. And as we careen toward the Avs celebrated center’s salary arbitration hearing this Wednesday, it may be something you won’t have to hear about for much longer.
I had a feeling it was all over after I heard Mark Kiszla mention something about it on the PressBox, the radio show he does from high atop the Denver Post building. Kiszla, referring to the “Ryan O’Reilly Situation”, said something to the effect that people in the organization downplayed O’Reilly’s involvement as a leader at the end of the season, and this seemed to signal to Kiszla that they were headed for a nasty divorce.
What Kiszla implied was that O’Reilly is and has been an outsider since he forced the Avs hand a few years ago into paying way more money than they thought they should back in 2012-2013 season. O’Reilly’s holdout allowed Calgary to sign him to a fairly generous offer sheet of 10 million that the Avs had no choice but to match. Now as he and the team head to the tumultuous meeting in Toronto, he’s forced their hand again. Something that probably hasn’t played too well in the front office and worse, the dressing room.
Kiszla was dead on when told everyone that Andre Iguodala was not pleased when he was told he was being traded to the Nuggets back in 2012. No one wanted to believe ol’ Kiz because we all thought the trade for Iguodala was good for the Nuggets – but he was right – because he saw firsthand Iguodala’s reaction to the news. And I believe he’s right about O’Reilly based on the reaction of this Avs front office person’s standoffish attitude toward him.
Talking to Mile High Sports Ryan Boulding on the latest South Stands Denver fancast seems to corroborate this. Boulding hinted that maybe the Avs have had enough of O’Reilly’s antics and once the arbitration hearing is over, it could be the end of O’Reilly’s tenure with the Avs. The front office has probably had enough of going through this yet again and O’Reilly himself has probably reached his quota of acrimony with the organization.
Boulding said as much on the show. “The Avalanche don’t want to keep a guy around who doesn’t want to be around. He doesn’t seem to have bought in like Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog or Nathan Mackinnon have.”
Which is the vibe that Kiszla had gotten from that member of the Avs organization. He isn’t really a part of the core group that has been building and gelling with the other players. Boulding added, “I haven’t really seen this leadership quality everyone has talked about. It seems like something he had before, but it’s not really there now. And the more I think about, I just don’t see it.”
Pretty strong words from someone who is around the team on a regular basis.
So what about that picture of O’Reilly sitting dejected after the game seven playoff loss to the Minnesota Wild? My guess is that it sucks to lose no matter how bitter you are toward the team. But while that photo gave fans hope that O’Reilly cared and was in it for the long haul, the comments from people who cover the team should quickly toss a well soaked blanket on any optimism you have.
We won’t know the full scope of the damage until the hearing this Wednesday, but it will certainly dictate where the Avs and Ryan O’Reilly’s relationship goes from here. The “Ryan O’Reilly Situation” sounds like a great name for a band, but for Avs fans, they just don’t want to hear that record played anymore.