Seeing how today was the last day of formal access to the Rangers for four months, my temptation was to dispense this gradually over the next few days. But in the immediate world of the Internet, my guess is that wouldn’t work, and so you get what will probably be the record holder for longest post of the year.
Come to think of it, I’m sure there will be items from break-up day today that will surface in the ensuing days and weeks. But for now, let’s get to the most pressing items.
Oh, before I forget, one clarification from the previous post: the player Tom Renney is referring to at the beginning of the audio clip is Marc Staal.
“My instincts are that I will probably play but it’s something that I’m going to think over and you know, as far as playing and coming here this year and being part of the Rangers, there’s nowhere else I’d rather play,” he said.
I posed the question to Shanahan about his willingness to accept reduced minutes next season. He joked about insisting he play just as much (“I would demand it,” he said. “I have it in my contract.”). But when pressed, he sounded like he’d be game for anything.
“To me it’s all about performance,” Shanahan said. “I play the game the coach asks me to play and I do what it takes on that night to help us get a win. And if that means playing 22 minutes or some nights playing 14 minutes, I do whatever I’m asked to do if it’s score goals or kill penalties or whatever.”
Curiously, while Shanahan said performance should be the ultimate requirement, he did allow that a tie between an experienced player and a younger one should go to youth. The reason this is noteworthy is one of the main reasons the Rangers might be reluctant to re-sign Shanahan is how he might eat into the minutes of younger players. But that’s just speculation on my part.
It’s unclear where the Rangers stand on Ortmeyer, and since we did not see Glen Sather today, we couldn’t ask him.
What is clear to me at least is that Ortmeyer brings a lot to the Rangers, both in how he plays and how he conducts himself. He is an energy guy on a team that will always need energy guys. The problem is his is a fourth line spot that could be threatened by a younger, cheaper, player. And if the Rangers are going to lock in Shanahan, Nylander, and maybe even a big ticket free agent, you wonder if it could come at Ortmeyer’s expense.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Gomez would be, I certainly wouldn’t mind playing with him, that’s for sure,Ã¢â‚¬? Avery said.Ã¢â‚¬?That would be big. That’s where the depth comes in. I think that’s the difference. As much as I can handle playing 18 minutes a night, a guy like that is a second line center or first line center, that’s his job. Then you just throw me on the wing to clean up all the dirty stuff.Ã¢â‚¬?
Avery wasn’t shy in other areas, and some of it was at his own expense. The left wing, who is a restricted free agent and said he too very much wants to come back, pretty much took the entire blame for the Buffalo series loss.
“I don’t think I played well enough in the second round. I think that was probably the difference, probably why we’re standing here,” he said. “When you’re in situations where you’re counted on, you’ve got to step up and maybe that’s an age thing and learning how to do it. That’s what I’m going to deal with over the next four months. But on the same point I’m definitely excited at where we went from when I got here to now.
“It’s not arrogance or anything,” he said. “I just think I was in a situation where I was counted on. I played the minutes where they are. I feel like I should have got a little bit more done. I don’t feel like I was good enough and maybe that’s just how I feel personally. There was pressure for us to win, of course there was. Dealing with it is a learning process.”
Avery, meanwhile, was asked if his wrist problems were the reason for his struggles. He said no, and this was where he threw his dig at Sidney Crosby and Roberto Luongo.
“I think that’s just something you battle through,” Avery said. “Those are for guys like Sidney and guys that have to keep themselves in the media, saying they weren’t hurt or they were hurt. I love when guys are done and say they were hurt or they had the flu. Roberto Luongo, reading the Canadian papers, he had the flu now. It’s a big mystery why he was late for overtime. It’s fine. You battle through things.”
Personally, I don’t know why Avery left out Martin Brodeur. At least then he’d have all three Hart Trophy finalists.
“I think I can be better than I was last year, or maybe the year before that, you know,” Jaromir Jagr said. “ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if I stay healthy during the season. But IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to make sure IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to be the best player IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever been.”
It’s a scary thought, and quite possible given how impressive Jagr was at the end of this season and the playoffs. And if it ends up being true, my guess is they won’t be having break-up day in May next year., but in the middle of June….