Devils’ Coleman Trade: It’s OK to Feel Bad

When I woke up this morning, I thought it was all a dream. Unfortunately, I realized it wasn’t when I looked down and found the Blake Coleman picture I clutched in my grasp as I cried myself to sleep last night. It was true, Coleman was no longer a New Jersey Devil.

Honestly, I feel bad for Blake Coleman. I know I shouldn’t, considering the circumstances. He’s leaving a cellar dweller New Jersey team to a contending Tampa Bay Lightning that’s nothing short of a powerhouse. With the Lightning once again favorites to win the Stanley Cup, there’s a better than most likely chance he even gets his name on the Stanley Cup come this season’s end.

The trade to Tampa Bay is great for Coleman’s hockey career, but what about Blake Coleman the person? He and his wife have made a nice life for themselves in New Jersey that they might have to leave behind. And with the Coleman’s expecting a new arrival, not of the trade variety (his wife is pregnant and due soon), the timing for a move down the Sunshine State isn’t opportune. In fact, when news first broke that Coleman had to leave Prudential Center Sunday night, I didn’t speculate “trade,” I speculated “baby.” Obviously, I was wrong.

On Sunday night, Coleman did what almost every traded athlete doesn’t and released a statement on Twitter. In the usual “thank you to the team and fans blah blah blah I’m happy to join insert new team here,” Coleman revealed that his wife would stay in Jersey, at least for the time being. That in itself shed a light on the hassles of life as a professional athlete. It also revealed what could be an attachment of the newly married couple to the New Jersey area. Andy Greene, who was traded to the equally local New York Islanders, had it easy when it comes to changing commutes. The Colemans aren’t as lucky.

At the end of the day, we have to remember that these athletes are human, with human lives and human problems. Unfortunately for them, they are in a business that can be inhumane in nature, treating people like commodities instead of husbands, fathers, sons, and friends. And Sunday’s trade showed us that.

I don’t blame Tom Fitzgerald. His job is to make the New Jersey Devils a better team for the future and he did just that. It’s not his fault the timing for Coleman’s personal life wasn’t optimal for a trade. I, like pretty much every Devils fan, wish Coleman could have stayed in New Jersey. But for his own sake, I wish he could have stayed in New Jersey as well.

We wish you much-continued success in Tampa. Hopefully, your family can go down to the land of orange juice, alligators and Walt Disney World to see you soon. Let’s hope it’s an easy adjustment for you guys.

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