After all the Rick Nash hullabaloo has now calmed down, here’s the final part of the greatest European Rangers series. It’s subjective and meant for debate and how much one man’s opinion truly matters is really open for debate. Some players like Ulf Samuelsson and Radek Dvorak don’t make the debate, some people may disagree but that’s the beauty of lists like this. Anyway, enjoy. (part one and part two are here).
The hugely popular Jan Erixon was a one club man in the NHL, representing the Rangers over 550 times during his ten season stop in New York. Unfortunately for Erixon he went back to Sweden before the Rangers cup season. Although not offensively outstanding (just 216 points and 57 goals) Erixon was known as a character player and a defensive specialist.
While some of the Ranger clubs Erixon played on boasted Mark Messier, Amonte, Gartner, Graves, Zubov and of course Brian Leetch Erixon was still a key player that did the dirty work for the offensive stars to thrive. If the Rangers win the cup in the 2012/13 season the Erixon family will have an unfortunate claim to fame with recently traded Tim and Jan both leaving the organisation directly before cup winning seasons.
Having arrived in New York after the lock out following an underwhelming (at best) season with the Kings and Penguins, Straka became a great free agent find for the Rangers. Straka, along with Michael Nylander and Jaromir Jagr was a key part of the Rangers return to competitiveness after the lock out. Like some of the other Europeans we’ve discussed Straka wasn’t the longest tenured of Rangers’ but with 187 points in 224 games and two seasons where he averaged a point per game in the playoffs with New York, Straka’s impact was both unexpected and undeniable.
This info was sent to me last week. Since I was moving this past weekend, I could not get to posting it until now. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is hosting a new youth instructional hockey camp in the New York area, and it sounds like a great event.
Join New York Rangers goaltender and 2012 Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist for hockey instruction and fun at the 2012 Henrik Lundqvist Hockey ProCamp.
Open to boys and girls ages 7-15, the two-day event is August 25-26 with two sessions split by age: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM for ages 7-10 and 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM for ages 11-15 at Brewster Ice Arena.
Lundqvist will be on site the entire camp to direct camp activities, provide instruction and give daily talks highlighting the finer points of the game of hockey and beyond. He will be joined by a selection of the top prep and collegiate coaches from the New York area.
For more information, visit www.LundqvistCamp.com or call 888-389-CAMP (2267).
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact the Camp Marketing Coordinator, Reese Hicks, at 513-745-5873 or at email@example.com.
During the first post discussing the best European Rangers of all time we discussed a couple of Scandinavian wingers, and the great Jaromir Jagr. We also discussed a certain Swedish goalie that may well end up as the greatest Ranger ever, period. Let’s take a look at a few more great Europeans who lit up Broadway.
I’m old enough to remember Zubov traded and for many Rangers fans it’s still a painful memory. Zubov won a Cup in New York – as a home grown Ranger – and was a dynamic offensive weapon and for those reasons Zubov’s Ranger tenure should be fondly remembered. People forget that during the cup winning season of 1994 Zubov led the Rangers in scoring during the regular season with 89 points, an unthinkable total for a blueliner today. An in-his-prime Zubov would command obscene amounts of dollars from clubs in the current NHL era.
You could make a valid argument that 165 games as a Ranger isn’t enough to be in this discussion but when you average almost a point/game as a blueliner (156 points/165 games) in the regular season and grab 30 in 32 playoff games, including 19 in 22 during the Cup season, the impact is undeniable. Another draft steal (5th round, 1990), his trade to Pittsburgh still hurts.
When Kevin wrote his review of I’d Trade Him Again, it got me thinking about the time I spent reading Barry Meisel’s book Losing the Edge: The Rise and Fall of the Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers, which takes a behind the scenes look at how the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion Rangers were built and destroyed in a little over one calendar year.
The book begins with how the Rangers came to hire Mike Keenan, and how then-GM Neil Smith knew that Keenan was the only man that could bring the Rangers to the Promised Land. Meisel has some great quotes and detailed stories of the behind the scenes of how Smith convinced his bosses that Keenan was the only man for the job, despite numerous other qualified coaches that were available.
Meisel then details how the Steve Larmer trade came to fruition, and how Smith realized the trade was a big win for his team. He was able to nab Larmer for what Smith said were “spare parts that wouldn’t be part of a championship run, a late first round pick, and a prospect with no future with the organization.” That quote there really illustrates how GMs view trades when they are made, and really struck me as interesting. Think of how many fans were in love with James Patrick and Darren Turcotte.
We’ve entered the dog days of the hockey calendar so there’s no better time to start discussing some of the best players in the Rangers long history. With that said, being ‘stuck’ here in the UK I thought I’d discuss the best European Rangers of all time.
What helps classify a player as an all time great for the franchise; Production? Tangible success? Longevity? Breaking down the best of the best in a series of posts, there’s a host of players worthy of discussion.
Some people may think Jagr doesn’t deserve to be considered as the best European Ranger of all time because his time with the franchise was relatively brief and team success was minimal but Jagr almost single handidly brought a once proud franchise off its knees and back to respectability. Jagr played on some patch work Ranger teams that were lacking in the skill department but was still able to rack up a 123 point season followed up with a 96 point effort.
Jagr had the best season offensively in the franchise’s history and was at times unplayable as a Ranger. His historic 123 point season saw him win the Lester B Pearson award, the first major individual award in many years for a Ranger. Accumulating 319 points in just 277 games as a Ranger, Jagr bounced back from an underwhelming spell in Washington in emphatic style and also goes down as perhaps the biggest (trade) steal in Rangers history. After Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, it can be argued that Jagr is the most talented player to have ever been a Ranger. He may not be the Best European Ranger ever, but he’s certainly one of them.
This site doesn’t usually do book reviews and I don’t usually write them, but I felt I had to bring this to your attention.
I just finished reading I’d Trade Him Again – since renamed The Puck Talks Here – a biography of former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington that charts the story of Pocklington’s life and how Wayne Gretzky was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles in 1988.
Just a reminder, we will be hosting our weekly live chat today at 3pm. Make sure to stop by with questions!
Don’t forget to join us this afternoon at 3pm for our weekly live chat. We’re talking new additions, Rick Nash/Bobby Ryan, remaining roster holes, whatever. Be sure to join us at 3pm!
For a while in early December it seemed like realignment was a done deal and the NHL landscape would look dramatically different for the 2012-2013 season.
The players ended up vetoing a plan passed by the owners that would have reshaped the league, but realignment will again be a topic of discussion as collective bargaining negotiations get underway. It’s a good bet that the previously approved plan will be a close match to what is eventually agreed upon between the owners and players as part of the new CBA.
It’s a silly exercise, because A) it doesn’t matter and B) so many other circumstances would have been different, but let’s take a look at what might have been in 2011-2012 if the most popular realignment plan was already in effect.