Nice guys finish…where exactly?

31

True story: after getting home well past midnight last night, woke up early this morning to help get my wife and son out the door, then went back to sleep for a few hours. Woke up again, realized I was late for the morning skate out in Jersey, and rushed out the door with my shirt untucked and my jacket in my hands.

Ten minutes down the Hutchinson River Parkway, I realized I wasn’t going to make it, then remembered it was an optional skate and that most of the team wouldn’t be there anyway. So I turned around, came back home, and here we are.

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The moral of the story — other than the fact that I’m a complete idiot — is that you’re better served getting an early start and having a plan. I’m not sure the Rangers have had much of one lately, so instead they’ve been like me, flailing around aimlessly in their efforts to make up for lost time.

Naturally, this would seem to apply to yesterday’s acquisition of Sean Avery, a deal that might help energize a team that is devoid of any real punch, but isn’t likely to be enough to get them into the playoffs. Had the Rangers held off the Red Wings last night at the Garden, I might have a slightly different outlook. But that game was “so devastating on so many levels”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070206/SPORTS01/702060381/1034/SPORTS I’m not sure they can ever recover.

With that in mind, a few other thoughts:

  • My failure to get to the skate aside, I am told Avery is with the team and will play tonight against the Devils. What’s unclear is who he’ll play with, which we might not know until tonight.
  • Same goes for Jaromir Jagr, who depending on your perspective, may have bowed out rather meekly last night after re-aggravating his hip flexor. Jagr said he didn’t see the need to push it. If he’s trying to save himself for the playoffs, someone might want to clue him in there might not be any.
  • Yes, according to the Toronto Sun, Mark Messier has “expressed interest in being the Rangers’ next GM”:http://torontosun.com/Sports/Hockey/2007/02/06/3540092-sun.html. Given the thousands of Glen Sather loyalists out there, I know this is a difficult thought to fathom.

    OK, more later when I have it…

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    31 Comments

    1. Longtimerangerfan on

      Sam, last time I was on the “Hutch” was over the holidays when my daughter, son (apologies to them for making them Ranger fans)and I went to watch the Ranger’s lose to the Icelanders at the Garden. I had a feeling then that they weren’t going far this year. I also watched them earlier in the year at the RBC center in Raliegh with pretty much the same results.

    2. longtimerangerfan,

      Are you referring to me personally or the Rangers? The Rangers, as you probably know, moved out of Playland a few years ago and are now at the high-end MSG Training Center in Greenburgh.

      I, on the other hand, skate mostly at the Rye Country Day School rink, although I do still occasionally play at Playland as well.

      Sam

    3. Are we supposed to run around screaming “hallelujah” that Mark Messier wants to be the GM of the Rangers? So do most of the posters on this board — and they didn’t sacrifice all they had achieved in 94 by sticking around for too many years, subjugating the team to their ego. Not to mention being Sather’s guy. In the article Messier says he wants to come in after Glen Sather — who may do this “another 5 or 10 years.” My god. There won’t be an NHL in 10 years…

      Sorry to be bitter, especially about Messier, but so many of this teams problems seem to lead back to his later years and to his relationship with Sather. How about getting a guy with some real GM experience and some cajones and then letting Messier work FOR him for “5 or 10″ years first.

      Am I crazy? Stupid? Both?

    4. Sam –
      Is Jagr definitely out tonight?
      And actually what do you think about Avery trade? There should be something else cooking, isn’t it?

    5. Rangers lose last night with no heart ONCE AGAIN… and today’s skate is optional.

      What a surprise.

      BTW… My show this morning ONCE AGAIN killed hockey highlights from the sports block. Again, what a surprise. I need a new job. Anyone out there in TV land hiring? :)

    6. A couple of responses:

      Jagr did not skate this morning, but seeing how it was only an optional, that might not mean anything.

      Now, my take on the trade:

      I’m on the fence, but hear me out. I think we can agree Ward was expendable. From what I’m hearing Cliche had some upside, but given the number of potential second and third-line guys the Rangers already have in the system — Callahan, Dubinsky, Dawes — he was someone the Rangers were willing to let go.
      Plus, I definitely think the Rangers need more grit — they’re too nice, as my headline suggests — and I think Avery will provide it.

      My reservations: one, here’s hoping the Rangers don’t get burned by losing Marek. Two, Avery may be a cantankerous sort, but there’s a question about his character and his maturity. I don’t have a problem with a guy who’s a bit on the edge, but given some of the things he’s said, you worry if he’s a guy who too often crosses the line.
      Lastly, you wonder if this deal handcuffs them from making a better deal down the road.

      Bottom line: for a team that’s looking to make a playoff push, this is an OK move. But for a team in as desperate a spot as the Rangers, they either need a lot more than this, or they need to be thinking only about next season. I’m still not sure where they fall.

      Sam

    7. Thanks Sam. How does our cap look like right now? Ward was getting like around $500k? How about Avery?

    8. My take is simply this, poor trade and poor effort equals no playoffs.

      So who gets to sit so Avery can play, Hall, Holloweg or Hossa? Of those three it should be Hall in my opinion, but my fear is that it will be Prucha since Renney doesn’t seem to have much use for him this season.

    9. REPOST>>>I just hope Sather gives Messier the GM job . There is no other way out except to get Sather to take a back seat or retire, especially considering who the owners are.

    10. I pretty much agree with Sam here. I usually agree with Dubi, but over at BB he is screaming bloody murder on this trade (unless Jess wrote the article today). I think this one could turn out for us. And while most people are getting upset about Cliche, I think if anything burns us in this trade, it will be Marek.

      Also, to touch on the Messier thing, I think its a terrible idea. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see him being an effective GM. I think he’d make a better coach. I think he’d have trouble letting a coach do his thing.

    11. Time will prove this to be a great trade for the Rangers. The fans will love him and he’ll add some identity to an otherwise faceless collection of players. Forget Ward (healthy scratch) and Marek (may never even come to NA), Cliche is a simply a good third-line prospect with a history of serious injury that’s still several years away from a possible shot in the NHL. Now wonder LA fans are p.o.’d that they got so little for him – they in fact DID.

    12. hockeymanrangers on

      Sam why is it do you think they won’t bring Callahan up??? I don’t care if they have to get rid of someone to do it, why wouldn’t they at this point. I have lost all hope, ask my wife I don’t scream at the TV anymore I just sit there and watch them lose b/c I know it’s going to happen.

    13. Oh yeah, and the concept of Messier as GM is a scary thought to me. Do you think Sather would “retire” if that were to happen? No way. They’ll give him some vague title like “VP of Hockey Operations” and he’ll pull strings behind the scenes while Mess “learns” how to lead (picture Robert the Bruce and his dad from “Braveheart”. I’d pass. The only way out is to sever all ties with Sather and that Edmonton crew.

    14. Wake up the choice is sather as pres/gm , or Messier as GM. It doesn’t take more than 1 second to make that choice.

    15. I’m not sure about the Avery move either, although I don’t see it necessarily so much as a short term trade, but one that could potentially help the Rangers in the next couple of years. He’s an RFA this summer, which means the Rangers can offer him a multi-year deal if they are so inclined.

      His $1.1M is right on the edge of what you want to pay a third liner, and with a raise next season he may end up being a relatively expensive 3rd/4th liner. And I say 4th liner, because he was that in Detroit, and there’s no guarantee he won’t become that again in NY.

      As for what the Rangers gave up, it’ll be interesting to see what the Kings end up doing with Marek. He should command a pretty good offer out of Russia, which means the Kings might have to lay out a million or two for a guy who hasn’t even played here and will be a UFA at the end of whatever deal they decide to sign.

    16. I could give a rats behind if Jagr is in the lineup.

      I was thinking about this the other night when contemplating the Rangers. I am 34 yrs old, and the only time I can remember the Rangers really being near the top of the league was when Messier was playing througout the 90’s.

      The Rangers have historically been a small, passive, middle of the road team, who once every blue moon will go far in the playoffs.

      This season is just another typical season on the timeline which is the New York Rangers.

      Oh yeah, Jagr, you can sit out the rest of the season as far as I am concerned. Go back to Russia. Do whatever you want to do, but stay out of the Rangers locker room.

      I would like to see a letter written from Leonsis/McPhee and Craig Patrick on why they got rid of this guy.

    17. As for Messier as GM…

      There’s not a lot of precedent for players becoming GMs in the last few years, without being coaches or assistants first. The obvious exception would be Garth Snow and the Islanders, but I think the jury’s still out on that one.

      Mike Barnett went from being a player agent directly to being a GM for the Coyotes, with not a lot of success so far.

      So the question remains, can Messier be an effective GM? On the positive side, he’s got the demeanor, credibility and personality to deal with the tough New York media and fans…on the negative side he has a connection to the past and particularly Glen Sather.

      Then there’s his conduct with the organization. He came in and accomplished something the Rangers were unable to do for 55 years, and the team had a high level success through most of his first stint here. On the other side of the coin he failed to lead his team anywhere in his second stint, in an organization that seemed to be very disorganized and without a plan…something you would think he would’ve been able to influence if he so desired.

      Add in his influences on player moves (the Kurri/McSorley deal was reportedly greatly influenced by Messier according to Smith), reports from some of the Hartford players of his general unwillingness to engage with them when they were the team, and his reported favoritism of certain types of players and it doesn’t add up to a good recipe for success.

      Unfortunately I can’t point you to these reports in print, so I’ll leave it up to you assess the validity, but if you’re a Messier supporter chances are that anything I say is unlikely to sway you.

      What scares me most is that given the history of this organization under Jim Dolan, I fully expect them to announced Messier as the next General Manager of the Rangers, and at this point I would take even Glen Sather over him.

    18. Sam,

      Why will the Ranger not bring Callahan up? I know that some of the prospect in Hartford are not ready (i.e. Dubinsky, Montoya, Korpikoski and I personally dont think Baranka is ready) but Callahan and Dawes I believe can be successful in the NHL. Why will they not give them a CHANCE?

    19. Vogs…

      The reason that Patrick got rid of the guy was simple…it was a matter of economics. The Penguins had their budget slashed and couldn’t afford to keep him.

      In terms of the Rangers success, it’s true the Rangers are far from the model NHL franchise given their history, but there have been some extended periods that have had sustained success with the organization. The past 10-11 years though have been a real drain, if for no other reason than an “average” franchise should make the playoffs about 55-60% of the time over that period…the Rangers have made it about 9-10%.

    20. The why does Jagr get booed everytime he goes back to Pittsburgh? There must be some reason why he was let go, besides economics. It’s not that cut and dry.

    21. Then why does Jagr get booed everytime he goes back to Pittsburgh? There must be some reason why he was let go, besides economics. It’s not that cut and dry.

    22. Vogs…

      He gets booed because he “left” because of the money…as opposed to Lemieux who put up his own money and a discount to play for the team. Besides which Jagr gets booed in Philadelphia and he has no connection there…

    23. from Sam Weinman above…

      >>>>>>>

      way to go, Sam. I’m glad a media guy finally has the fortitude to point out where a lot of the Ranger meekness is coming from.

      this shows why he is a boo baby in the cities he used to play in.

      he is in full-fledged pout mode lately.

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