The plan was for Tom Renney to be in Hartford yesterday to assess the “Rangers’ young talent”:http://www.courant.com/sports/hockey/hc-wolfpack0222.artjan22,0,1808799.story?coll=hc-headlines-hockey, and I doubt there are many among you who would have a problem if he came back to New York with a player or two (or eight).
Still, there are two variables to consider should the team start stocking its roster with prospects, and both trace back to Renney and Don Maloney’s insistence that the likes of Brandon Dubinsky and Nigel Dawes aren’t yet ready for “the NHL:”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2007/01/11/and-now-time-for-your-favorite-topic/
One is that those players truly aren’t ready but the Rangers, now in full desperation mode with 34 games to play, have no other choice. The other is that they have been ready all along, and this team is now readily admitting its errors in judgment.
Of course, I suppose there is a third option that falls somewhere in between, which is that the Wolf Pack’s strong play of late (they’re now 25-17-3 after a dismal start) has finally made an impression on the Rangers’ upper management; and that the team is no longer in a position to be so picky. I’m not sure, but if it does result in a call-up (and not just for a couple of games) you wonder if the team could have come to this conclusion a bit earlier in the season.
As for what this might do for the Rangers’ activity on the open market, that’s a good question. Again, I doubt the Peter Forsberg trade is likely, but the team surely has its eyes open for someone else who might mesh better with Brendan Shanahan (it pains me to admit this, but Jason Krog is not the answer) on the second line. And that’s the other part to consider with Renney’s trip to the farm: if the coach might have a clearer picture of who he wants on his roster, he might just as easily realize who’s expendable as well.
A few other thoughts:
Speaking of which: my colleague Brian Heyman’s working on a story about frustrated New York sports fans, and naturally if you’re a devoted follower of the Rangers, you fall squarely into that category. If you live in The Journal News coverage area (Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties) and want to offer your take, shoot me an e-mail at sweinman@LoHud.com and we’ll go from there.