"Florida/Rochester dying a slow painful death, killing what was once a great place to play and be a fan."
- Former NHLer and Rochester native Rory Fitzpatrick, commenting on a rapidly deteriorating organizational relationship via Twitter.
Totally get that he's as frustrated as every other understandably disgusted Americans fan out there (and speaking of frustration, Sunrise city officials haven't yet diagrammed a parade route through the Sawgrass Mills Mall parking facilities) but he indirectly brings up a legitimate question: what big-league organization is going to meet roster-control demands issued by their minor league affiliate?
NHL teams in this age are going to welcome a Triple-A club shafting the "parent's" blue-ribbon prospects by handing over a lion's share of ice time to (admittedly proven) AHL lifers?
I'm not buying it.
Finding folks to back up a franchise with 55 years of rich history and community pride is not a tall order; the Rochester hockey legacy travels far beyond city limits, transcending eras and many generations with six league championships and the best fans in all of the "A".
It's not a case of This City hates That City; we're all on the same side, cheering for the same names. And let's be honest: the Blue Cross Arena's primary tenant got served a raw deal having to accept seemingly endless management changes and ownership hiccups from South Florida during the tumultuous six years of their partnership with the Cats. Panthers fans certainly didn't expect such garbage from within either, so both markets unfortunately have a lousy recent history in common.
If Calling The Shots is Rochester's goal - and as a stand-alone entity, it probably should be...in 1982 - then going independent appears to be the only option. Hope the pockets are deep.