Conflict of interest alert: I went to UNH, which is where the 31-year-old Krog was a Hobey Baker winner in 1999.
We overlapped for one year, when I was a senior and he was a freshman (I’m only a year older, but Krog entered school late out of juniors). But outside of some mutual friends and the occasional “Hey man, where’s the keg?”-type exchanges, it’s not like we had any sort of relationship that’s going to compromise my integrity.
And that being said, I’ll be the first to admit Krog hasn’t panned out as a pro, in a career that Don Maloney just said has seen him “morph” from a playmaking center in college, to now more of two-way player. He had only a goal and three assists in 14 games with the Thrashers, but in the Rangers’ estimation, the addition of Krog gives the team another body in the middle.
And besides, he’s a Wildcat, meaning like me, he’s intelligent, good looking, and kind to children and small animals.
“It gives us a little more depth in the middle, which is the weakest part of our organization short-term,” Maloney said. “If you look at our middle now, you have Michael (Nylander) and Cullen and Blair Betts and that’s it. It just seems like a good fit.”
Now, before you decide to burn down the Garden in protest, just read some of the other things that Maloney said just now, which might serve as a backdrop. I’m not saying you’ll agree with everything, but it at least gives a window into the team’s thinking.
For one, contrary to popular belief, there is a plan in place. But as much as the Rangers have looked into upgrading, the way the league is operating now makes it difficult to do much.
“If you think there’s going to be some major movements, it’s just not happening. I don’t think it’s going to happen anywhere. Maybe closer to the deadline. Glen’s been very active on the phones, but it’s no different than it’s been for the last three or four months,” Maloney said. “It’s very difficult to find the right fit, whether it’s a player’s contract, his age, the compensation involved. It’s very hard to make a deal.
As for the lack of Hartford call-ups, Maloney said there’s a reason for that, too:
“It’s an ongoing conversation that we’re having every day. Glen and our hockey staff. I know there’s people who say,’why don’t they bring up eight young guys from Hartford?’ Well, our young guys are still very young, and the way our team is structured, to bring up 20- or 21-year olds and not be able to afford him enough ice time, it doesn’t make sense. It’s all part of the deal, even with someone like Jason Krog. People ask about Brandon Dubinsky. This allows us to keep Brandon Dubinsky playing a lot at Hartford, getting his power play, his penalty kill, all those good things. He’s playing well. That’s what we constantly assess. Is it the right time?”
The other part to consider is Maloney said pretty much every team that the Rangers have talked to has asked about their prized prospects, which isn’t something they’re willing to part with. I know, none of that makes much of a difference if those players are never given a chance at the NHL level. But I suppose it’s better than hearing the team is willing to dump all those players at a moment’s notice.
Some other thoughts:
“I really respect that they’re willing to admit their mistakes. If I had to apologize for every mistake I made as a coach, I’d never make it to the rink. But last night would have been a huge, huge win. It really could have have given us some bona fide momentum into the rest of our season,” the coach said.
OK, this might be the longest entry yet. I’m exhausted…