Note: This article does not represent this blog at large. It is only the opinion of the article’s author, and does not mean to represent the opinion of LakerHockeyBlog, LSSU, or any media partners.
I was hoping we weren’t going to see another mid semester signing after the headache that was Owen Headrick’s departure last season, who played in one series post-Christmas, and left just a few days before the start of the next series, leaving the team scrambling to pick up the pieces and fill in his role.
Now, whereas Headrick played in nearly every game during his tenure here, C.J. had only played in three games this season for the Blue & Gold, so it doesn’t leave a large of a hole in the team as it could have.
But really, that point shouldn’t matter. What matters is that you committed to a team, and you should see through that commitment until there is a break. Leave at Christmas: it gives the coaches time to fill the gap in the team with your departure, or during the summer. Leaving in the middle of a semester, without certain outstanding circumstances, is just low.
Now, that isn’t to say that I don’t understand this departure. Wanting to play and not being able to play must really suck, and in that I can’t really blame C.J. for leaving. No matter what you’re passionate about, or if it’s something you’ve dedicated your life to, you want to do as much of that as possible, and he wasn’t getting that here for whatever reason. And when you get a chance to play, and also get paid (well, paid is probably a strong term for the SPHL), then why wouldn’t you?
It still rubs me the wrong way though. Whenever I’ve interacted with C.J., he seemed like a nice guy, but it’s hard for me to see him in that same light with this signing. Put in the time and effort to earn your spot on the roster back. Work on face offs, hand-eye coordination to tip in pucks in front of the net, basically any skill that the team doesn’t have enough individuals for. Make the coaching staff question: Should we put in X because of his Offensive prowess, or his two-way play, or should we put in Y for winning face offs, or going to those dirty areas on the power play?
Yes, the Lakers have had a rough season to say the least, but it’s easy enough to see the team through rose-colored glasses and say that there’s ‘always next weekend’ or ‘always next year’. It’s a bit harder to do that when a player up and leaves in the middle of a season, let alone a semester.
Maybe there’s more to it than playing time; something in the locker room that us, as the general public, may never know about. If that’s the case, then it needs to get resolved ASAP. But from where I’m standing, I think it’s just a matter of playing time, or lack thereof.
So, despite my feelings about him leaving, I do wish C.J. the best in Southaven and for whatever else the future may hold for him.