If you want to know one of the real disappointments of the Rangers’ current position it’s that with football over and with spring training a few weeks away, hockey has suddenly reappeared on people’s radars.
Take a random practice like today at the MSG Training Center, where it wasn’t just myself and the usual core of beat guys, but a few extra camera crews, and even a handful of reporters from the Czech Republic who are busy preparing a three-volume biography on the life and times of Marek Malik (OK, not really, but they were here).
For at least a little while, the Rangers have a share of the sports stage. The question is what they intend to do with it.
And that’s especially relevant now given that there are eight games left before the Feb. 27 trade deadline. All along the assumption has been the Rangers will be making moves to upgrade, but as Glen Sather told Larry Brooks at the Post, the idea of the team becoming sellers hasn’t been ruled out, either.
Naturally, it would likely require a tank job of the first order — even worse than what we’ve already seen — but according to Jaromir Jagr, the memories of the 2004 sell-off alone should serve as incentive.
“That was awful. It was not easy to play that way,” Jagr said. “I hope that’s not going to be the issue this year. We have a good schedule. We’re not far off, six points, and 28 games is still more than a third of the season. That’s a lot. So it’s a different situation than a few years ago. So I just hope we’re going to be in the race after eight games.”
Aaron Ward, who could conceivably be one of the veterans discarded if the Rangers move fall further out of the playoff picture, said a sell-off isn’t a concern yet.
“I think that upper management is operating under the assumption that we can make the playoffs and go from there,” Ward said. “I think the philosophy is how to better the team and not dismantle it.”
“This was certainly an upgrade to our lineup,” Renney said. “In retrospect after his first game it’s one of those things where you’d like to have done it a little bit earlier.”
“It was more making sure we had room for Sean and getting Colton in the lineup,” he said. “Cam didn’t do what he usually does and maybe it was because Colton was in the lineup. Those are the decisions coaches have to make in order to win. It’s always at the expense of someone but it really doesn’t go further than that.”
OK, apologies on the long post. More later…