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  • Rick Haley

Andrew Copp: Doing the Right Thing, The Right Way

Let's address the recent (and assumingly ongoing) noise and static in regards to players seemingly not wanting to play hockey in Winnipeg. Alert. This happens in all markets and all sports. Players get upset with coaches, management and teammates. They ask for trades. Sometimes they get them and sometimes they don't. If you play in the NBA and you're half decent, you get to move around till your heart's content. In the NHL, you need to wait until you are 27 years old.

Yes, Winnipeg is a small market and a small city. Yes it gets cold here and there aren't many direct flights to any where nice (aside from Regina). Yes, it's in Canada so you get taxed up the yin yang. It's why Kevin Cheveldayoff has a hard time attracting unrestricted free agents to Winnipeg. Assuming that many players in their late 20s may be married and possibly have a family, you can imagine what this convo looks like at home. Player: "Hey honey, we have offers from New York, Tampa, Vancouver, LA and Winnipeg. Where would you like to live and raise our family." No knocks against Winnipeg. I have lived here all my life and I love it. But if you haven’t been here and you have a choice… You get it.

Now lets look at some of the recent players that have expressed the need for a move. Rumours about Evander Kane began to swirl the first year the Thrashers arrived. He denied demanding a trade after only being here a month. Whether it was social media issues, dining and dashing or being benched, it was clear that Winnipeg was not big enough for Kane's bigger head. He played only three and a half seasons here before being traded to the Sabres. Jacob Trouba is unhappy Jet number two. He stayed for six years but appeared to be inherently unhappy. He would say he loved Winnipeg and the next day his agent would go public with a trade request. He eventually voiced a need to be a top pairing right side defenseman. It didn’t look good at the time being behind Byfuglien and Myers. Trouba was traded to New York and ultimately said the reason was that his girlfriend needed to attend school in the United States. Ironically, Trouba would be on the right side, top pair had he stuck around.

Next up: Jack Roslovic. Roslovic, being a first round pick thought he deserved all or a combination of more minutes, top six line placement and preferably a centerman's role. He held out, did not report to camp and publicly demanded a trade through his agent. Again, had he not been a part of the Laine trade, he could/would have slotted in next to Paul Stastny on line two. Lastly, snipemaster Patrick Laine. Not happy. Wanted to be on the top line. Begrudgingly had to learn how to play defence. Demanded a trade. Sent to Columbus.

And this brings us to Andrew Copp. Maybe it's where he got drafted. Our four fickle friends above were all first round picks. They had stellar junior or college careers. Like most players in the NHL, they were likely always the best player on their team. It is hard for them to not get what they feel have earned. A true adult skillset is seeing where you fit in the big scheme of things. Some figure it out in their teens. Some adults never get it. Andrew Copp has had to work for everything that he has earned. He was drafted in the fourth round. Though a center at Michigan, he has mostly played wing here. He made a weak Jets team in his first year but it was mostly fourth line with not a lot of minutes. He scored 13 points and started year two with the Moose.

But here's the difference. Instead of demanding a trade or have his agent go public with how unhappy he is, Andrew Copp has silently been getting the job done. He is literally climbing the ladder. From 4th line to 2nd line. I don’t think Andrew Copp is a goal scorer. He has never had any big numbers even, in college. He is probably overachieving right now and will likely cool off as the season goes on. But what won’t stop is Copp's work ethic and the professional way he handles himself and Winnipeg fans can expect more of the same. It’s why we like guys like Andrew Copp. We are a blue-collar town. We’re the Green Bay of the NHL. We get up in the morning, go to work and pay the bills.

We don’t whine and complain. Yes Andrew Copp went to arbitration two summers ago. Arbritration is not fun. You think you are worth more than your employer is willing to pay you. You have to brag about yourself and your boss then compares you to players you feel are below you and points out all your shortcomings. Copp enjoyed it though. He has that kind of confidence. He handled the situation professionally. He is going to get a raise when this contract expires.

The Jets need more Andrew Copps...

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