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.
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.
If Prust walks, who should the Rangers target to replace him?
I love Prust, we all do. I think he exemplifies what the Rangers bottom six forwards are all about, but should he test free agency and sign elsewhere I think Sather could always make a minor trade or signing to replace him. Tortorella knows how to coach and teach these types of players two-way hockey. He knows how to get the most mileage out of them. While I’d like to resign Prust for a reasonable deal (call it $1.8m per tops), if not, leave it to Torts to recreate the next Prust. Konopka would probably be my primary target.
Do you think the Rangers will take a chance on either Alexander Radulov or Alexander Semin?
Mark Recchi once said joining the Bruins prolonged his career. Why did he say that? The system. The Bruins played a very conservative 1-4 forecheck, meaning four skaters form a wall in the neutral zone and only one skater goes in deep trying to force a turnover. It is a system that requires less skating and forechecking, thus saving Recchi’s 43 year old legs from the inevitable.
Just a reminder to the BSB faithful that our weekly live chat will be held at 3pm today. We’re in full on off-season mode at this point, so were talking UFA’s, possible re-signings, trades, the Draft, whatever you want. See everyone at 3pm!
Last week we recapped John Tortorella’s interview from the Michael Kay show on ESPN Radio. Since that time Tortorella has made the rounds with the media preaching the good word with Mike Francesa and now Bob Costas. I am not going to recap these interview as I did last week. I think they’re really worth a listen in their entirety.