This quote comes courtesy of my friend, who I was at the game with:
“We should get a refund for this game. If the Rangers don’t show up, there’s no reason why we should pay.”
Yup, that sums up last night.
This quote comes courtesy of my friend, who I was at the game with:
“We should get a refund for this game. If the Rangers don’t show up, there’s no reason why we should pay.”
Yup, that sums up last night.
Preface: This rant has zero organization. Read at your own risk.
You don’t have to be an avid Ranger fan to know that when Glen Sather and John Tortorella decide to send Matt Gilroy to Hartford, but retain a whopping 15 forwards on the active roster, that something isn’t right. Sure, Brandon Dubinsky is hurt, so technically it’s 14 forwards. But a third of those forwards are of the Erik Christensen ilk.
Sending Matt Gilroy to Hartford to find his game definitely alleviates the cap situation for a little while. He doesn’t have to pass through waivers when he is called up, unlike the rest of the defensive corps. But if someone could tell me why this team is retaining 14 forwards, of which 5 are no better than third liners, I would greatly appreciate it. I mean, there has to be a method to the madness. Right?
The pickup of Erik Christensen, while puzzling, isn’t a crippling move. His salary is low enough that it alone doesn’t make or break the Rangers. But when you start adding on the little contracts that are wasting away on the bench (Aaron Voros – $1 million, Donald Brashear – $1.4 million, Enver Lisin – $790k), all of a sudden you have four players making roughly $4 million to play 7 minutes a game combined. That’s almost $500,000 a minute.
The Rangers have cap issues because of the ridiculous contracts given to Wade Redden, Chris Drury, and Michal Rozsival, that much is certain. What cannot be ignored is the complete mishandling of the cap by the Rangers in the makeup of the rest of the team. In addition to the $4 million above, you have $3 million in Ales Kotalik, who can’t sustain third line time on a team that has zero scoring depth. Did Glen Sather really pay $3 million for someone who can only play on the powerplay?
Fans would be understanding of the cap situation if the team was at least balanced. But yet, there is still no seventh defenseman, which this team still needs. But as of now, the Rangers will need to put three forwards in the press box for games. As per Andrew Gross, the odd man out (aside from the injured Dubinsky and Brashear), is P.A. Parenteau.
On the bright side, things can only get better. I hope.
Let me preface this by stating that the title of the post is complete sarcasm.
In the past two games, the Rangers have been outscored 13-4. That’s pretty terrible. Actually, it’s not pretty terrible, it IS terrible. And don’t think that this is a coincidence that Wade Redden is out and the Rangers fall apart for 13 goals against. There is definitely some correlation there. But, as optimistic as I am, it has become abundantly clear that the Rangers that started the season 7-1 are not the real Rangers.
This team is rebuilding. I have said it numerous times, they are rebuilding. Rebuilding in New York is extremely tough, because you have to remain competitive while rebuilding. Us New Yorkers expect W’s, regardless of the team that is being put on the ice. In order for the Rangers to be successful this year, they needed outstanding defensive play from their veterans, and have only received that play from one player, who is now injured. Dan Girardi and Michal Rozsival have been awful, with Marc Staal not that far behind. Micheal Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy are rookies, and you have to take the good with the bad with them, not much was expected, although both have been pleasant surprises.
In order for the Rangers to be successful, they needed the secondary scoring to come alive. It hasn’t. No need to get into this one again.
They needed primary scoring. Well, one out of three ain’t bad.
Not only are the Rangers rebuilding with youngsters in the lineup, but they are rebuilding with a different system in place. The reason why the new guys (veterans and youngins) have adjusted to this so well is because they didn’t have to completely unlearn the Tom Renney system first. When you have to unlearn something, and then learn the complete opposite, it takes time and is extremely difficult. That’s why the accounting profession is so damn hard (side note, if you understand this reference, I’m impressed).
Is this current Ranger squad a playoff team? I said they are before the season started, and I still believe they are. They will hopefully make the playoffs, as a lower seed, probably a 7 or an 8. But, as the playoffs has shown, a hot goalie AND a potent offense can carry a team in the playoffs. The Rangers have both. It’s just a matter of timing at that point.
As per Steve Zipay’s twitter, quoting coach John Tortorella:
Tortorella: Drury has concussion, Dubinsky probably out for awhile
Clearly, this is not good news. The Rangers were just physically beaten down by Calgary last night, and no one stuck up for Drury after the blindside hit by Curtis Glencross. The Rangers are a soft team, and people will continue to take runs like that at the skaters, and the runs at Henrik Lundqvist that we have witnessed entire season. You have to protect your players. Sean Avery, your comment of “He would have preferred the two points”, also per Zipay’s twitter, is just stupid. Sometimes, you need to make a stand. You can’t get two points in the future if everyone is injured.
The Rangers are lucky in the sense that they now have four days off to allow the other injured players to recoup a bit, specifically Lundqvist. It will be interesting to see who gets called up to replace the two centers. With Hartford playing a game Wednesday, we may not hear anything until then. But for those expecting Evgeny Grachev, don’t get your hopes up. His cap hit is $933,000, and the Rangers only have cap space for an $850,000 hit. Expect P.A. Parenteau, with the four centers being Vinny Prospal, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, and Avery.
Behind every star player, there is an intimidating force that strikes fear into the opposition. This fear is what prevents players from targeting stars. Wayne Gretzky had Marty McSorley, and Dave Semenko before him. Martin Brodeur had Scott Stevens. Mike Richards / Jeff Carter have Chris Pronger. Cindy Crosby has Hal Gill. John Taveras has Brendan Witt. Enforcers aren’t necessarily goons, but they are the big physical force that will make you think twice before laying out any of the stars.
The Rangers brought in Donald Brashear, and to a lesser extent Aaron Voros, to protect their stars. Brashear and Voros (and now Dane Byers) are out to protect Marian Gaborik, to ensure that no one takes any unnecessary liberties with one of the stars on our beloved Blueshirts. After all, if Gaborik is hurt, the Rangers are at a severe disadvantage. We’ve seen it the past week.
But what about that other star? The one that in the long term, means more to the organization than any player on the roster, and any player since Brian Leetch was forcibly removed.
Henrik Lundqvist seems to be on the receiving end of many an opposition hit lately. I say hit, because usually when running a goalie, the opposition at least pretends to avoid the netminder. But when it comes to running Lundqvist, it looks like players are lowering their shoulder and just plowing into him. They do this because there is no penalty for doing so, and I’m not referring to sitting in the box, although a few calls might help alleviate the situation.
When he was in the lineup, Brashear did nothing to punish the opposition for running their most important star. Voros has at least tried to fight. I’ve seen Michael Del Zotto, all 19 years of him, get in the face of some Phoenix Coyotes. That’s about it though.
How many times does Hank need to be down for an extended period of time before someone makes the opposition pay? Sooner or later, he’s not going to get up. Everyone’s heart skipped a beat when he didn’t get up immediately in Montreal. How many more times does that need to happen?
Someone needs to step up, it doesn’t matter who it is. If Del Zotto can face wash people twice his age, then someone else can step up and dish out some punishment. Sooner or later, Hank won’t get up.
The Rangers are going to get hurt by Sean Avery this year, not from his antics on or off the ice, but by his previous antics. Sure, there are going to be plenty of times that he takes penalties trying to get under the skin of the opposing team, but there will be plenty more calls comparable to what we saw in the preseason game against New Jersey. To quickly jog everyone’s memory, Avery collided with goalie Yann Danis, while he was being defended by defenseman Mike Mottau (I believe it was Mottau), and proceeded to get punched in the face by Mottau. The result of the play was a double minor for Avery, and no penalties for the Devils.
There were three things wrong with this play, but only one was a blatant bias against Avery. We have seen that any contact with the goalie, accidental or not, will earn you a penalty (Ryan Callahan bumped Tuuka Rask while being defended and was called for interference). So based on the consistency there, and only based on the consistency of the call, the penalty for goalie interference on Avery was the right call. You can argue that the ref didn’t see Mottau deliberately punching Avery in the face, and that’s a valid argument. If the ref doesn’t see it, you can’t call it (see: Betts, Blair). But then to slap on the two minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is just throwing salt in the wound. I can understand one of these scenarios happening to any player in any game, that’s hockey. But to have all three happen to the same player on the same play just screams bias.
Sean Avery, rightfully so, has earned himself a reputation as a pest. But a reputation does not give the zebras an excuse to call more penalties on the winger. There were many times throughout the season last year, after the Rangers re-acquired Avery, that he was the victim of phantom calls. All a goalie needs to do is flop when Avery is near, and the penalty will be called. It doesn’t matter if Avery was tripped and subsequently slid into the net, Avery will get an interference penalty. It’s the unfortunate truth of the matter.
His reputation also does not give them an excuse to just look the other way when opposing players try to mug him at gunpoint on the ice. I, nor does any Ranger fan, know what it takes for Sean Avery to draw a penalty. Does someone need to swing a stick at him? What about attempted gang-rape at center ice? Sure, there’s a bit of an exaggeration there, but we know it’s not that far off. Last season, players were allowed to get piggy back rides from Avery without a whistle being blown, and that’s with very little exaggeration.
The fact here is that Sean Avery’s reputation is going to cost the Rangers some penalties. In a game where one powerplay can cost a team the game, reputation penalties are extremely costly, and just unfair. Let the man play, and call the real penalties, the ones where he trips someone, or hooks someone, or jumps off the bench too early. What the NHL is allowing to happen in the treatment of Sean Avery is not only unfair, but unprofessional. League officials (meaning Gary Bettman and his ilk) are looking the other way when it comes to the unfair treatment of Sean Avery, and it needs to stop. This is going to cost the Rangers games.
Dany Heatley. Just when I thought all the drama was over, he goes and “speaks out” abouthis trade demands, bringing himself right back to the center of attention. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that his “diminished role” is the reason for his trade demand. He wants to be the center of attention, and this “interview” is just proof that all he cares about is himself.
His statement about the Edmonton deal shows his ignorance to the business of the game as well. When you demand a trade publicly like that, your team loses a lot of negotiating power, thus the deal your GM will want probably won’t be offered. Edmonton was the only team left, once the Rangers signed Marian Gaborik, with a legitimate offer on the table. That’s how the business is run Dany boy. You were never going to be presented with 29 options. I don’t see why you turned down Edmonton either. There aren’t any real superstars on the team, you would definitely be the center of attention. Isn’t that what you want Dany boy?
This just shows the selfishness of some of today’s athletes. Don’t you wish the game was filled with people like the 1990′s Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine, three Hall of Fame pitchers who took salaries that were rumored to be $3 million less per year to stay with Atlanta? Or even, dare I say it, Cindy Crosby, who took $2 million less per year to stay in Pittsburgh? What about Brendan Shanahan, who took an incentive-laden contract to stay in New York?
What about the good old days when issues were settled behind closed doors? Players, and their agents, know that with today’s internet-based media and instant news that they can use the media to really push the public opinion. Usually it works too. I mean, you can drop a team name and an offer to a media outlet, and all of a sudden 10 other teams are coming up with better offers. It happens in baseball all the time, that’s why Scott Boras is the best agent in the land. The risk you run is if it doesn’t get settled quickly, you run the risk of people’s eyes bleeding every time they see another story about you. Don’t think it’s possible? Ask a baseball fan about steroids, and his eyes will bleed. He may even go into a seizure. It’s just that played out. Eventually, stories get to the point where no one cares.
Well done, Dany boy, no one cares about you anymore. You played this perfectly.
So my past two posts have been 350 words ranting about rumored trades, and 425 words ranting about Dany Heatley. Is it September yet?
Considering my passion is the business of hockey, I love the offseason. Analyzing trades and signings from a business standpoint is a lot of fun for me. I know I’m not the only one that loves analyzing this stuff, and making up my own trade scenarios to get the players I want on the Rangers. But before we go any further, please note that if NHL ’10 (or ’09, or ’08) accepts your trade, it doesn’t mean that real life GMs will accept the trade. Actually, the trading system in the NHL games is incredibly flawed, because it undervalues prospects and over values players like Marek Malik. Need more clarification? I traded Malik to Anaheim for a 1st round pick in NHL ’08.
No, not all trade scenarios are straight from NHL video games, but some are still equally ludicrous. Let’s start with the hot topic of Brad Richards. The “rumored” deal was Richards to the Rangers for just Dubinsky, Rozsival and a 1st round pick.
Last time I checked, robbery is still a crime in New York.
My personal feelings of this deal aside, that’s a ridiculous steal for the Rangers and a deal that gets the Dallas GM (who is it nowadays anyway?) fired and burned at the stake. The Rangers would have to throw in one of Sanguinetti / Del Zotto / McDonagh and probably an additional pick or a lower level prospect. Consider it this way, Brad Richards will cost the Rangers more than what Scott Gomez cost les Canadiens.
Yes, Tom Hicks is in financial trouble, but considering the size of his financial problems, dumping what amounts to be $3 million isn’t really a big breather for him. So that becomes a moot point.
The other deal is the same package “rumored” for Dany Heatley. At least we are consistent with these packages for stars. The same argument applies, except it’s an even bigger steal. You have to throw in the same logic that the Rangers would have to throw in one or two of their front-line prospects.
Like it or not, this is the cost of a front-line player. Dany Heatley and Brad Richards will not come cheap, and I can guarantee that if you keep begging for them, you will not be pleased with what goes the other way.
Also remember that quantity =/= quality. You will not be able to throw 25 Jordan Owens’ at a GM to get Brad Richards.
Basically, when thinking of if a trade would work, think about it from the opposing GMs point of view: “Would this trade make my team better?” In both of these trade scenarios, the clear answer is no.
When it comes to credibility in the blog-o-sphere, I have zero credibility. I am not a writer. I do not have a degree in journalism. I have an MBA and a degree in Computer Science, which gets me nowhere in terms of recognition by the professionals (but the MBA definitely helps with my passion, which is the business of hockey). The internet is a great thing, fans like me get to post their feelings on a blog, and have faithful readers that visit daily to read what I have to say. We here at BSB are very appreciative of the following we have (over 1,000 visitors daily, which is amazing, thank you very much to everyone who frequents our tiny sliver of cyberspace). However, it seems that some of us, fans and writers alike, have trouble being optimistic and finding the good in what the team, and its management, does.
I’m sure many of you have read this article by Larry Brooks of the NY Post. To quickly sum it up, he rips on Sather for a lot of the moves he made this summer. While it is Larry’s name to the article, he is definitely not the only person to feel this way about the Rangers moves this summer. Some have been questionable (2 years to a 37 year old Brashear, not resigning the best PK duo on the planet), but others have been downright perfect (dealing Gomez and getting an actual return, filling that huge void of go-to scorer). Say what you want about Gaborik, that deal needed to be made.
I am not a Glen Sather fan. However, I must admit, his trades have usually been on the good side. Dealing Tyutin, who was making $2.875 million and was essentially a 3rd pairing, for Zherdev was the RIGHT move. If you argue otherwise, you are blinded by your hatred of Zherdev himself. No, Zherdev didn’t work out in NY, but it’s not like anything of value went to Columbus.
The only knock you can really make on Sather (aside from the outlandish contracts) is the massive turnover of the roster for two straight years. No matter which way you look at it, 35% of the roster has been turned over for two straight years, and only ten players who were on the opening night roster last year are on the roster this year, of which only four of them are forwards. That’s a little bit extreme. There are other minor issues, such as the Al Montoya/Lauri Korpikoski/Petr Prucha situations, but they really are minor issues. So let’s omit those for now.
A little bit of optimism on the Sather deals can’t hurt. Gaborik was a big signing, and the approach he took was perfect. The Gomez deal was a downright steal, and McDonagh is going to be gold. Brashear, even if he is signed for one year too many, is an upgrade over Colton Orr. He is leaving open spots on the roster for young talent to make the team. The roster this year, on paper, is better than last year’s team.
I don’t know about you, but I am a Ranger fan. I want them to succeed. Just because I don’t agree with some of the deals they make doesn’t mean that I want them to fail miserably. Please, a little confidence in Sather, I think he earned a little bit this offseason.
Well, its finally official. The Rangers have officially said no to Z’s $3.9 million award, making him an unrestricted free agent. Zherdev’s value and upside have been discussed ad nauseum on this and other Rangers websites, and hopefully this will be one of the last posts in an otherwise tragic story of seemingly untapped potential. Even though it removes a scoring threat from an already anemic offense, the departure of Nik Zherdev and the way it all transpired speaks volumes of who this guy really is and how people really see him. And when you consider the chain of events, it was really a no-brainer.
Consider this…at just 24 years old, and having only played in two full 82-game seasons, Zherdev has amassed 99 goals and 239 points. All these totals were achieved on relatively stale, offensively-inept teams. But when you also consider that the Columbus front office and head coach Ken Hitchcock, whom is very well-respected in hockey circles, repeatedly clashed with the young winger, it makes you wonder where this kid’s head is at. Zherdev actually went as far as threatening the Jackets to remain in Russia if his contract demands weren’t met after his 27-goal season in 05-06. The Jackets broke down and decided to pay him $7.5 million over 3 years. How did Zherdev respond? By putting up 10 goals and 32 points in 71 games. Columbus or not, if you demand that kinda cash and claim to be a rising star in this league, you need to perform, regardless of where you’re playing. Zherdev rebounded the following year with 26 goals, but the coaching staff still failed to get the youngster to reach his maximum potential, and his work ethic was called into question. The Columbus front-office decided they had enough, and traded him to the Blueshirts for essentially nothing. Don’t get me wrong, Fedor Tyutin is a great defenseman and I loved him when he played in New York. But a sniper’s value is a whole lot more than a defenseman’s.
His time in New York was short spotted. He got off to a promising start, and after some spectacular dangling and stick work, everyone thought they got through to him. But somewhere along the way, he just fell off. There was no injury, no sickness, no talk of any dispute with coaches or the front office. He just stopped playing. We can’t even blame it on Tom Renney, because it continued after he was cut loose. When Tortorella arrived, he made it very clear to everyone that there was going to be accountability. Zherdev was benched for periods on end on more than one occasion, and he never responded mentally or physically. Even after 23 goals in the regular season, fans and coaches were still wanting more. And when push came to shove in the playoffs, Nik Zherdev was just abysmal. His playoff stats don’t even tell the story, because its hard to tell a story with a bunch of zeroes and negative numbers. He was skating in mud and quicksand with a lead vest on him, and many of us were caught screaming at the TV for hours begging him to finally make a play….and it never came.
The truth is that Nik Zherdev is a poison for any franchise Not a poison the way Terrell Owens, Brett Favre, or Jessica Simpson are, but a much more dangerous one. You don’t see or don’t hear how infectious he really is until you’re cured of him. He doesn’t speak bad about his teammates, his city, or the front office. He literally does nothing but play hockey, and its difficult to motivate him to do that to the best of his ability. You almost wish he was more outspoken to show you that he actually cared. But it seems he only cares about taking the ice 82 times a year, playing hard when he wants to, and demanding absurd money when the season is over. Can you imagine what his work ethic would have been if he was given the $4+ million he was asking for? Credit Glen Sather for not giving in. That now makes 2 NHL executives in less than a year that have been more than happy to see Nik Zherdev walk out of their locker room for very little in return, and in the Rangers case, nothing. Now, Zherdev is without a home in the NHL, and will likely head back to Russia. He has burned some serious bridges along the way, so its probably best for him to go back to his roots and figure it all out. Hopefully for his sake, he fires whatever person is giving him advice and learns to find a love for the game he once had. Maybe I was a bit harsh on him here, but it bothers me to see a player of his talent simply go through the motions and think he is entitled to whatever he wants. The fact of the matter is that this is still a young player with a ton of potential. But until he gets his head right, no one will ever regret the day they let Nik Zherdev pack his bags and walk out the front door.