Respect for Robidas
Most of the talk on Tuesday centered around Ian Kinsler, who had some not-so-kind words about his former GM Jon Daniels and wished his team the ultimate failure of losing all 162 games they play this season. Opinions on Kinsler dominated the sports talk airwaves, his comments coming off as sour grapes and bitterness from a deal that was actually just part of the business.
Meanwhile another longtime Dallas sports staple was in the process of moving on, himself, traded to California in a deal that, unlike Kinsler’s, was agreed upon by all parties, including the player himself.
And the only comments being said were all 100 percent positive. Thus is the case when one word dominates the situation and basically defines the player.
Everyone respected Robi, the consummate professional. He was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, a move that was good for the Ducks, good for the Stars, and good for Robidas.
Credit Stars GM Jim Nill on making a deal that, in the end, was really Robidas’ decision (he has a no-trade clause) and gives the veteran defenseman the chance to win a Stanley Cup.
Nill was approached by several teams over the last week about Robidas’ availability, so the GM went to the player and asked him if he would like the opportunity to move to a contender and have a chance to win a championship.
Robidas, who just turned 37 and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, was probably not going to be re-signed by the Stars. Anaheim has the best record in the league and Robidas is the perfect addition for depth and grit among its blue-liners.
The cost – a conditional fourth round pick in 2014 (which can improve to a third round selection for the Stars if the Ducks win two rounds and Robidas plays in 50 percent of the Anaheim’s playoff games).
Sounds like a good deal to me. At least that’s what all parties involved said.
Even Kinsler, who is a hockey fan, probably said the same thing about the trade. Only Robidas gets to take the respect with him as he leaves town.
It makes sense for Dallas since the team has gelled recently and is playing very well (despite last night’s loss at Columbus). Robidas has been out since breaking his leg on November 29 but should be back in action within a couple of weeks. While I don’t view the Stars as either a clear buyer or seller at today’s trade deadline, this was an easy deal to consummate.
Robidas discussed it with his family and decided to give it a green light, especially when Nill worked to make sure that he landed with a contender and not another team simply fighting to make the playoffs.
There’s that word, respect, coming into play again.
Lost in the deal is the fact that one of the all-time great people and teammates to ever come through the Dallas Stars locker room is now gone. Robidas had two stints with the Stars over the last 11 years, and each time he did whatever he was asked to do. And he gave a true pro’s effort.
Remember the 2008 playoff run? It doesn’t happen without Robidas. He began that post-season with (another) broken nose from a Todd Marchant clearing pass vs. Anaheim and blood and tissues up the nostrils followed. He continued to play. Robidas was huge in game six of that series, tying the game at 1-1 early in the third period before setting up Stu Barnes for the game-winner just 52 seconds later. In the next series vs. San Jose, Robidas made the key pass at 1:24 am in the fourth overtime of game six for Brenden Morrow to score and send the Stars to the Western Conference Finals.
Those were big plays. But mostly it was the little things that made him such a great asset for the Stars. Robidas is always in good position, he makes good breakout passes, and his leadership in the room is unmatched. Plus his toughness will never be questioned.
Usually a 37-year-old out with a broken leg since November wouldn’t get much interest from other teams at the deadline. But Anaheim knows the intangibles that Robidas brings. No doubt Ducks GM Bob Murray consulted Anaheim players Sheldon Souray, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Souray knows first-hand what Robi means to the locker room, and Getzlaf and especially Perry know how hard it is to play against him each and every shift.
Stars fans know it too. Robidas was there giving his all every shift during his tenure with Dallas. The Stars have some very good young talent, both on the roster and in the system at Cedar Park. But it’s going to take a special individual to match the impact that Stephane Robidas brought to the team.
I’ve worked for both the Stars and Ducks franchises, something I now share with Robidas. I’ve met some quality individuals at both stops. Robidas is among the best on the list.
I made a congratulatory phone call Tuesday afternoon to a good friend in Anaheim’s front office. I told him that they just got one of the best in the business. Some players simply improve the team with their presence in the locker room and their dedication to being a pro.
The Ducks just got better. That I am sure of.