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This Is So Stupid

All This Spending Is Destroying The Sport

11:45 AM EST on December 21, 2022

Bars of gold in the vault of the Bank of New York. (Photo by michael norcia/Sygma via Getty Images)
Michael Norcia/Sygma via Getty Images

To those who might worry that all the spending teams have done recently to fuel the rosters in an allegedly dying sport is bad for sports, well, here's your proof if proof were needed: The Ottawa Senators just committed a scandalous $18.4 million over four years to defenseman Artem Zub.

Yes. That Artem Zub. The only Artem Zub you will ever need to know.

The Senators, who are still trying to figure out who will buy the team from the estate of deceased (and therefore former) owner Eugene Melnyk, didn't even have to undercut the Winnipeg Jets (the San Francisco Giants of the NHL, as is well known) to secure Zub for this emperor's ransom. They already had cornered the market on all things Zub, and were bidding for his continued services against, well, nobody. They merely did this, as far as anyone can tell, because it is so damned much fun to say the name "Artem Zub," and to type the name Zub as though it were a Kahleresque typo.

The Senators didn’t really need to make Zub the 76th-highest paid defenseman, between Ben Chiarot and Chris Tanev, except to increase their relevance in a province dominated for more than a century by big-ticket rivals. Zub has played only 14 games this season and has been out since the start of the month after taking a puck in the face, so he does have an injury history that could potentially rival Carlos Correa's, but once you have a Zub you never want to risk losing him.

So the Sens acted with the swiftness of Steve Cohen, even as the bulk of their days are spent trying to figure out if actor/mogul Ryan Reynolds is serious about buying into the franchise as part of his growing sports empire. Zub could be the centerpiece of Reynolds's next version of Welcome To Wrexham, thus making him worth every Canadian dime in both attention and star power. Hey, nobody's making Welcome To Citi Field, are they?

Still, it seems somehow cheap and tawdry that the Senators would be so brazen in stealing the stage from the Mets just because they have the star power of Zub and the checkbook of—well, that part’s unclear—while the Mets merely have Correa and Verlander and a gigantic money-burning kiln in Cohen's backyard. We have come to expect that New York teams would demean the pristine world of professional sport with needlessly splashy expenditures, but Ottawa? Our culture is truly forfeit.

At least Zub got his. Pending a physical.

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