As fans it's natural - or some may even say our duty - to heap praise when something goes right, and cast blame when something goes wrong.
And yesterday, things went terribly, terribly wrong.
I posed this question on twitter yesterday: Who do you blame for Ryan Suter signing with Minnesota and the Predators getting nothing in return? David Poile or Ryan Suter?
The results were mixed. Fans seemed to be split right down the middle on blaming the GM or the player, citing various reasons for each. So, I thought it might be a good idea to look at each side, and then ask you, our OtF readership, to give your thoughts on the matter.
The case for blaming David Poile
The writing has been on the wall since the summer. Nashville couldn't agree on a long-term deal for Shea Weber and were forced into arbitration - a bad omen with Ryan Suter set to enter unrestricted free agency just a year later.
The year dragged on and still a deal wasn't done. We heard the pandering from both sides, Poile saying he's committed to signing Suter to a long-term deal, and Suter saying he loves it in Nashville yadda yadda yadda.
But as the trade deadline approached, Suter said he didn't want to talk about his contract because it would create too much of a distraction. Right. Because him not signing wasn't a distraction at all.
Poile held firm when he certainly could have gotten a boatload of assets for his star defenseman, "going for it" at the trade deadline, and coming up empty when Suter left town and left the Preds empty-handed.
Suter also wanted to see Poile make a commitment to winning, namely bringing in a scoring forward. All he ever got was Mike Fisher, Andrei Kostitsyn and a handful of games from Alex Radulov.
No matter what was said between Suter and Poile, actions speak louder than words, and Suter's actions never indicated he wanted to sign in Nashville long term.
The case for blaming Ryan Suter
Everything Ryan Suter said this last season and into the offseason led Predators fans and their general manager to believe he wanted to stay in Nashville long term.
He talked about how he had made a life with his family here, how the media pressure was tame compared to other markets, and how he'll never have a better defensive partner than Shea Weber.
But it turned out Suter was just that girl who leads you on for months and months, only to shoot you down when you finally want to make a commitment. And on July Fourth, a day where Americans celebrate their loyalty to this great nation, Suter went back on everything he had said and left town.
David Poile said as much on his conference call, indirectly calling Suter a lier even.
Dirk said it best, leading off his Sidney Crosby contract post by saying, "This is what star players do when they believe in their team and their city:" Suter led us to believe all year that he believed in this team and city, but ultimately did the opposite.
So where do you find yourself on this issue? Personally, I think Poile is at fault. He should have seen this coming long ago, but instead decided to let it ultimately come to this. Hindsight is 20/20, but Poile gets paid the big bucks to make these kind of decisions and, frankly, he messed this one up by not bringing in that dynamic forward and not trading Suter when he had the chance.
What say you? Is this Poile or Suter's fault?