Maybe he saw this coming, maybe he’s still seething inside, but the Darius Kasparaitis I spoke to this afternoon wasn’t the indignant veteran I met up with when “he was first sent to Hartford back in November”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2006/11/01/you-wonder-why-the-whalers-ever-left/.
As opposed to then, when Kasparaitis made it clear that he didn’t feel like he was getting a fair shake from the Rangers, the waived defenseman today was fairly diplomatic, saying he merely has to work hard when he clears waivers and heads back to the Wolf Pack, and maybe there’s still a chance with the Rangers.
Kasparaitis said he had just returned from a run around the MSG Training Center when summoned by Tom Renney today. That’s when the coach told him he was being put on waivers.
“They said I have to play hard and they think I have a chance. You know the story,” he said by phone. “I don’t have to say anything else. It’s not been a fun year for me but sometimes this is what happens.”
I asked Kasparaitis if he still felt like he had NHL hockey left in him. This may have been the only time when his true disappointment came through.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do believe in myself. I just need the support and a chance,” he said. “I know they gave me that chance, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tough when you feel like every game could be your last. But I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blame anyone. I guess in my career things happen. Last time I was in Hartford it made me work harder. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to do.Ã¢â‚¬?
I’m with a lot of you, that this was the right move given the opportunity it creates for a younger, more effective player. Truth is, Kasparaitis has been a shell of a player he once was, and if it wasn’t for the intangibles he brings in the dressing room, you wonder if he would have made it through training camp.
Still, it’s sad. All it takes is one call into the coach’s office to potentially end a career. Yes, Kasparaitis could always get back to the NHL, but right not that doesn’t seem likely.
I hope for his sake he proves me wrong.