Sarich: "I definitely did not demand to be traded"

Jonathan Willis
December 04 2011 11:57AM

Two days ago, Rhett Warrener reported that veteran Flames defenseman Cory Sarich had requested a trade. While he did talk with Flames general manager Jay Feaster, and while it seems the possibility of a trade was discussed, Sarich wants it clear that he did not demand to be moved.

From the Calgary Herald this morning:

“We discussed a wide variety of topics,” Sarich said. “It was initiated by me, because I just wanted to be open and honest with him. I really wanted to express to him that I want to contribute to this team. I want to be part of this team.

And, a little later on:

“I definitely did not demand to be traded,” he said. “As long as I’m in Calgary, I want to be here, I want to contribute . . .

As many pointed out in the comments section where Warrener's report was first discussed, this fits a little better with the reputation that Sarich has. The idea that he just wants to play, and that he would approach Feaster to talk over the options, makes more sense than the notion that he stormed up to the Flames' GM and demanded to leave.  If a trade was discussed - something that seems probable - it was in that context, rather than the context of an entitled player demanding something from management.

Unfortunately, it doesn't change the basic problem: Sarich is 33 years old, was never blessed with an abundance of foot-speed, and has a big-money contract. In the short-term, at least, it's difficult to imagine NHL teams falling over themselves to pick up that combination.

In the medium term, it's more conceivable that the Flames could get something for him. Every year at the NHL trade deadline, some contending team needs to add a depth defenseman, and the things that Sarich is known for - his toughness, his experience - are typically the sort of things that general managers look for. The Flames have done it themselves, acquiring Steve Staios from the Edmonton Oilers for precisely those reasons.

It's not even unreasonable to assume that Sarich could be a good pickup for some team at that point. He has an expiring contract, teams will have a little more salary cap room to play with, and nobody wants to get caught without enough healthy defenders. The 2006 Buffalo Sabres, one game away from the Stanley Cup finals, discovered that the hard way - a rash of injuries decimated their blue line, forcing them to go into their most important hockey game of the post-lockout period with a defense that included Rory Fitzpatrick and Doug Janik in the top four, and Jeff Jillson and Nathan Paetsch to round out the group.

In the meantime, Sarich knows what he needs to do. From that same Herald piece:

I’m just trying to stay ready now for whenever I get a chance to play.
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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 suba steve
December 04 2011, 12:23PM
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this fits with what I heard from Warrener on the radio. Unhappy with his playing time in Calg. he requested a trade to a team that could/would use him. No biggie. Why all the theatrics?

Same with the Iggy issue, best thing for the organization is to find him a new home near the trade deadline. Could turn into the best thing for Iggy too. No drama, let's do business.

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#2 Pat Steinberg
December 04 2011, 01:31PM
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@RKD

Rhett did nothing wrong. He's doing a job and can't worry about distractions for the team. I also will defend my co-worker, because I think he reported accurately.

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#3 Pat Steinberg
December 04 2011, 12:43PM
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Yeah, this is about in line with what Warrener said; requesting a trade and demanding one are different things.

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#4 otto
December 04 2011, 12:49PM
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I can't blame Sarich for wanting to find out where he stands with the team.However I do blame Warrener for either A.Spreading a unfounded rumor or B.Blabbing to the media about something a friend told him in private.I would have thought a former player would be more sensitive to this kind of thing.

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#5 Kevin R
December 04 2011, 01:07PM
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otto wrote:

I can't blame Sarich for wanting to find out where he stands with the team.However I do blame Warrener for either A.Spreading a unfounded rumor or B.Blabbing to the media about something a friend told him in private.I would have thought a former player would be more sensitive to this kind of thing.

There could be a different spin, maybe Warrener was doing it as a favor to Sarich, look at the games he was scratched & it's away to cause a controversy to get out to other teams.

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#6 negrilcowboy
December 04 2011, 01:13PM
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demands and requests are significantly differing. a happy wife requests, and biach demands. perhaps the message was magnified for hype. it did draw a fair amount of attention from the underling fact that the flames need to committ to a plan. so whats the plan, rebuild or pseudo rebuild.

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#7 RKD
December 04 2011, 01:17PM
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I think with all the Iginla trade talk, it would have been better for Rhett not to say anything.

The last thing the Flames need are more distractions. When and if Sarich is traded, Jay Feaster will let us know.

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#9 otto
December 04 2011, 05:00PM
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"Most fans prefer when reporters report, rather than hoard information." If Sarich knew Warrener was wearing his reporters hat when they had the had the conversation then I have no problem with it.

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#10 Kent Wilson
December 04 2011, 05:09PM
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@otto

There's no indication that Warrener was sharing a personal conversation he had with Sarich. He may have come by the info in any number of ways.

Personally, I vastly prefer media who share the info they have. That's ostensibly the point of having guys with access to the team.

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#11 rubbertrout
December 04 2011, 07:52PM
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I for one, hope Rhett keeps doing what he's doing. He's been a welcome shot in the arm for the Fan team and it would be a shame if he started censoring himself.

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