Is telling someone they are making TOO much money a good or a bad hockey chirp?
It's long been established that no other professional league's players chirp each other quite like the players in the National Hockey League. The insults, while sometimes quite sophomoric, always seem to strike a nerve, and the back and forth has created one of the all-time great YouTube rabbit holes (NHL Chirps Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., are worth all 60-plus minutes of your Wednesday).
Every now and then, though, a hot mic picks up a puck chirp that leaves us all scratching our heads and wondering "was that actually a burn?" Enter Brandon Tanev, the Seattle Kraken winger who is enjoying a red-hot start to his 2021-'22 season with eight goals and five assists in 22 games. On Monday night, with the Kraken leading 5-3 early in the third period against Buffalo, Tanev made his way to the bench after a shift in which Sabres winger Jeff Skinner was also on the ice.
Skinner, a former member of the Carolina Hurricanes, was traded to Buffalo in the summer of 2018, and proceeded to have the best season of his career, scoring a career-high 40 goals and adding 23 assists, matching his career-high point total of 63. Buffalo proceeded to give him a massive eight-year, $72 million deal with an AAV of $9 million per year, putting Skinner among the top 30 AAV players in the league, which many believe he is not, Tanev included.
"Skinner, you f---ing suck!" Tanev screamed at Skinner, adding "how the f--- did you get that deal?" Check out the accidentally mic'd up clip below:
Believe it or not, this vicious, vicious burn is one Skinner has heard before. Last March, former New Jersey Devils winger Nathan Bastian, who is, ironically, now on the Kraken, told Skinner he was "the most overpaid guy in the world" while the two were chirping each other from their respective penalty boxes:
For the second time in eight months, Hockey Twitter is debating a simple question - is telling someone they are making TOO much money a good or a bad chirp?
On one hand, you could argue it is a terrible chirp. Every pro athlete wants to get paid that sweet, sweet guaranteed money, and once they do they can give a big middle finger to everyone if they want. On the other hand, considering what Skinner has done after signing the contract—he scored just 21 goals in 102 games prior to the start of this season—it has to be a little bit embarrassing to be getting paid more than Sidney Crosby annually and producing like you're a fourth-liner.
Another thing to note - Skinner scored twice against the Kraken Monday night, bringing his goal total to eight in 22 games and putting him on pace for the fifth 30-goal season of his career. So, he's attempting to earn that contract this year at least. With all that in mind, it's a low-quality chirp given the circumstances, but still a hilarious one nonetheless.