You can never have too many Sams


The Journal News’ new sports columnist, Sam Borden, is a former goalie, so you immediately have to wonder if he’s got it completely together.

But in his hockey debut yesterday at the Garden, Sam is spot on “with his take”: that the Rangers should exhibit some patience with Jaromir Jagr.

Not all of you agree, apparently. At last check of our scientific poll to the right, some 300 respondents said they’d rather see the Rangers trade Jagr before the Feb. 26 deadline. I don’t see it happening, folks, especially with “this team starting to show signs of life”:

Either way, I’m pumped to have Sam aboard, not only because he’s an exceptional writer, but because along with Rick Carpiniello, The Journal News now has two columnists who know and like hockey.


In other news, the good folks at the always entertaining “”: couldn’t land the guy who takes out the trash at the Garden, so they instead did a “Q-and-A with yours truly”:

Check it out, although it’s a bit on the long side, so I recommend a short nap and a PowerBar about halfway through.

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  1. I completely agree with Sam B. You trade Jagr, and now that gives other teams’ best D-men the chance to focus on Gomez, Drury, Shanahan, etc. The fact is that every team still needs to focus its game plan on Jagr, and nobody can deny that. The Rangers, with their current roster, have proven they can beat anyone in this “mediocre” league. I’m willing to take the risk of losing Jagr to free agency this summer because:
    a) he’s not worth 8mm per at this point of his career
    b) what kind of players/draft picks would you get in return if you traded him now? clearly not as much value as you currently have with 68 in the lineup
    c) you owe it to him to keep him around for at least this stretch/playoff run since NYR would NOT have made the playoffs the past 2 years without him
    I am honestly discouraged with the one-way street fans who do not watch the entire game and only view Jagr based on how many goals he’s scored. Are we disappointed that he can’t score as much as he used to? Of course. But if you can’t see everything else Jagr does on the ice, along with his commitment to winning, then I’m not sure what you’re watching. Lest we all forget how he tried to play with a separated shoulder in the first round vs NJ in 2006, or how he’s NEVER missed one game. You need to keep Jagr around until the end of the season – otherwise, this team is not going anywhere.
    And enough of booing him at MSG – what was everybody chanting 2 years ago? Sounded something like “M. V. P.”
    Enough of booing any player that wears a blueshirt – and can we find another chant besides “Potvin S*cks?” That’s getting old too.

  2. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    Larry is praying that Holik comes back because when he was here, Holik was the only Ranger who would talk candidly with Brooks.

  3. longtimerangersfan on

    A “whore for attention” huh? Seriously, Sam, your blog is fun and enlightening to read. It’s also fun to read some of the bloggers who are clearly aliens from knick knack or some such place.

  4. I echo that sentiment Rob, Holik NOOOOOO!!!
    What a great weekend for Rangers fans – 2 wins, 2 good young defensemen locked up for 2 and 4 years at reasonable prices.
    Nice to see us getting our priorities straight – lock up the young guys and see whats left for free agents at the end.

    Looks like Hossa’s not re-signing in ATL – Marian to join Marcel in NYR? (obviously not right now as Marcel is in Hartford!)

  5. Good article by Sam Borden in the paper this morning — I was wondering who he was. And it’s great to see more news about the Rangers, instead of what the Yankees had for breakfast as the top story. It’s about time the Rangers made the front page of the Journal News sports section!

  6. Holik and his Great wood stick should stay in Atlanta where he can be just as effective as he was and would be with the Rangers.
    As far as Jagr goes, I have started to change my mind, at one point I would have liked to see what we could get for him. In my mind he still is not a good captain however, I never looked at the fact that he draws so much attention from the other team…freeing up Dubi. 2 examples: the beautiful moves by Dubinski the other night against the Sabres. So he may not be scoring, he might not be my choice for captain, and he may not be worth 8 mil a season at this point of his career but… we are only paying 4 mil for him and he draws enough attention away from other players on his line that it makes him a valuable piece to our playoff puzzle.

  7. We’re actually paying $4,940,000, so much close to $5 million for Jagr. I have changed my mind, too, though. I think it would be much better to keep around until the season is over. I wanted to gauge what we could get for him, but not necessarily trade him, even though I voted for trade in the poll. I now voted on another computer for keep and walk.

  8. longtimerangersfan, if you’re questioning my comments, please state your opinion on the issue instead of dis-respecting others. As a matter of fact, I’m a season-ticket holder (and have been for a long time) and go to every game. I’m just stating my opinion on what I see. It would be nice if everyone who blogged actually provided his/her true opinion instead of questioning others’ comments. If you’re comments were not directed at me, then I apologize for this entry.

  9. ante – I see what you’re saying. But you’d have to put on your ‘glen sather hat’ to look at it a different way. He doesn’t ‘OWE’ jagr jack. This is the guy that traded our beloved Leetchy for a bunch of nothing. No other city shows the world that hockey (or prof sports for that matter) is a business. In the state that the Rangers are in as a big picture, we’re a team that is continuing to build. You can’t build on a player that has 1 foot out the door already. Not to say anything directly about Jags himself, but just as a player in that position.

    Leave Holik right where he is. Can we trade Brooks to ATL??

    Some real positives have come from the last 2 games. It looks like the committment is there from all 4 lines…for a full 60min. 4pts from 1st and 4pts from ‘out’. Gotta love this stuff.

  10. Jagr is still a bargain player at this point. The real question is, if Jagr truly wants to play in NY next year, would he take a pay cut down to about $5-5.5M per year to do that?

    Not to mention, the Rangers are essentially forcing Jagr to consider a lower offer by filling up their cap space beforehand.

    Regardless of how it would happen, I would sign Jagr for $5M per year for 1 year, with a 2nd year option for $6M triggered based on a combo of individual/team performance (like his current contract).

  11. Agree with you Beer. I was thinking of it too much from a fan’s perspective. On that note, who knows what Glen will do? Holik – that would just be plain ‘ol dumb.. Larry is definitely drinking the kool-aid.

  12. Two weeks ago the majority of the people leaving comments here were saying Drury is a bust and to trade him. Where are those comments now?

    Leave Jagr alone, he’s not a superstar anymore, big deal, he is still a dangerous player that other teams need to game plan around. That makes him useful to the Rangers. I’d also sign him to a 1 year $5M extension.

    And stop booing Malik, it doesn’t help. He played fine yesterday and people still booed him when he touched the puck.

  13. I wouldn’t sign Jagr for anything near those amounts. Shanahan has been almost as productive and is a better leader, I’d sign JJ for no more that 4 mil

  14. I think Jagr should be traded now precisely because this team is showing signs of life. The life it is showing is in spite of Jagr, not because of him. Let’s build on this momentum, and ship him out for a D-man. Let’s face it, he’s simply not “dangerous” anymore.

  15. yeah, ante, that’s all I was really sayin. Not sure exactly where my opinion lies at this point with jags. He’s not worth a straight up $5mil. That’s one thing I do know. He’s eligible for a bonus laiden contract though. I’d have to look to duplicate shanny’s contract that he has this year, for jagr’s next contract with the rangers. Something along the lines of $2.5 with a mil for at least 10GP, and another mil for 30 goals or something along those lines. But no more than 1 yr, and NO ntc or nmc.

    This is just in the rumor stages at this point, I heard that it was broadcast on xm radio. That vinny has asked to be traded. And that being on the high of winning a cup there, he agreed to what he admits was a mistake.

    Waiting for the 26th, is like xmas as a kid man.

  16. More on Jagr: I think it is fair to criticise him based on his scoresheet, b/c that’s his entire game. He’s not like Drury, where if he’s not scoring he’s helping the team in other areas like winning face-offs, or like Avery’s agitating and delivering big hits. Scoring is Jagr’s game, period. I don’t agree that the team owes him anything. If it makes the playoffs this year, it will be w/o his help.

  17. Trade jagr NOW!!!!! He is a shell of his past and just can’t or won’t believe he isn’t that guy anymore. Sather should trade him now and get some draft picks id he can’t get a nasty d- man. As far as Hossa coming here from atlanta again pleasssssse no. The team needs to go more northamerica instead of bringing in more euro wusses, and it would probably mean his pansy waste of a brother won’t be traded or let walk this summer.

  18. KPH:

    That’s a simplistic thought that his whole game is on the score-sheet, because nowhere on the score sheet can it account for the attention — literally and figuratively — that he draws from the opposing teams. And, last time I checked, he has a some assists on that score sheet. JJ may be frustrating because of our expectations, but he’s still an asset to this team and I don’t think he should be traded for well below value.

    And Dr. O, that is dead on. Holik fed Larry Brooks more articles than anyone ever. And, probably, this is simply LB returning the favor. That would be a terrible signing. Talk about “Fool me once…”

  19. vincea – Our Hossa may not be what you want him to be, but to call him a pantywaist is hilarious. He’s been tougher in the corners and on the PP than almost anyone else on this team, when he’s played. He may not be great, or even good, but it seems unfair to doubt Hossa’s grind.

  20. KPH, I agree with you. Though chris f has a point too. Which makes Drury that much more valuable if you want to look at it that way. Jagr knows as well as anyone that his job is to put the puck in the net. We’ve struggled to get a center to do that. That’s why Drury hasn’t been the rigth fit with him. Both being finishers. Jagr hasn’t held up his part of his deal this season to put the puck in the net. We brought in one of the better playmakers out there in Gomez and Jags can’t take advantage of it. This team is not going in the direction of Jagr, which no one here can contest. So why not try to move him while you can?

  21. Look at Teemu Selanne’s career stats or Alex Kovalev’s — they both have had poor scoring seasons, and yet they came back to have successful seasons at older ages. Jagr has never really had a bad scoring season before, so this is a first, but he’s still second on the team in scoring, playing in a defensive system. Why would you give up on him?

  22. Jagr did a lot for us the past two seasons and I have accepted that Sather will probably not trade him (even though I would take picks for him), but why would you want him here next year. He may try and play defense and do other things but Jagr’s value is as a goal scorer. If he has shown that he can no longer score then he has no real value in my book. Do the top defenders still cover him? They sure do, but we do not know that our players would be ineffective without Jagr being matched up against the other teams top defenders. If we have to keep him this year then fine but I don’t want another season long headache of Jagr being the center of the team. Like Messier before him, as long as Jagr is a Ranger he will be given ice time based on his past accomplishments. And how many times do we need to change the lines around to find someone to spark Jagr. If they treated him like a third line wing I’d be fine with it, but he is not and never will be regarded as such.
    Bottom line if Jagr is back next year then it will probably be no more power play for Prucha and the Russian probably wont be on the team

  23. kc, I know for myself that I’m not ‘giving up on him’. Rather, trying to cash-in while you can get something back. If we end up going nowhere in the playoffs, or even worse, not make it, and he doesn’t resign, or slats decides not to low-ball him and he walks, then you lose in every way. The only way you can garuntee yourself SOMETHING is to make a deal. No, you don’t give the guy away, but you can improve your team in areas that you know need help. Namely the D.

  24. pete – well said. He’d never accept that he’s a 3rd line winger.

    So I’m saying, to solidify my position based on my prev post. I don’t want to trade him for the sake of trading someone. But there will not be a better time to do it than now. Past 2 seasons, past 15 years, who cares? That doesn’t get us where we need to go. We know that the pieces of the right Ranger Puzzle are not in our lockeroom yet. Jagr is a chip that can be dealt to bring in those pieces.

  25. czechthemout!!!!! on

    The most obsurd things I’ve read on this board is the notion that jagr makes other teams concentrate soley on him leaving space for Dubinsky and Avery.If that’s the case,how would one explain Dubi’s play with Prucha and dawes when he lit it up on the score sheet?Was that because of Jagr to?please stop the insanity.You can easily make a case now that Dubi is more dangerous and more creative than Jagr so please stop the insanity!

  26. Hey Sam,

    Just wanted to drop in and say thanks for chatting with us over at Rangerland. We fans can all formulate our own crazy and nonsensical theories about the team and the organization, but it was great to get a perspective on what’s like to travel with and report on them, and hear your thoughts about what you think sports journalism means.


  27. Why make any deals? Let Hossa go FA and get him then.

    Those who can figure out the cap better than me, I ask the following:

    What is the cap limit for next season?

    Have to work out the Math but I see definitely, barring trades, next year’s team as Gomez, Drury, Dubinsky, Dawes, Callahan, Prucha, Betts, Orr, Girardi, Tyutin, Staal, Lundqvist.

    Present team quesion marks are Avery (sign him in the 2.5 range or let him walk), Rozi (let him go to FA and see if we can get Boyle), Hollweg (doesn’t bring enough to the table and should be released), Strudwick (make him a coach somewhere), Mara, Malik, Hossa (don’t see the Rangers signing them), Jagr (think this is his last season as a Ranger), Straka (expressed desire to return to Europe after this season) and last but not least, Shanny, Valiquette (should come cheap, if not Wilkman). I would try to sign Shanny for one more year but don’t know if the Rangers feel the same way.

    Why? Nobody in the Ranger system can shoot the puck like Shanny (Drury comes close) and I can see Shanny playing on the 4th line with Orr and Betts and of course as one of the units on the PP. Nice to have a scoring threat on the 4th line.

    All that said, will there be enough cap space to sign a Hossa and a Boyle?

    Rangers still lack that big D. If Sather makes a deal before the deadline, it should be for a big D. Can use Hossa, Prucha and Montoya as trading chips. Not a good idea to trade a D for a D.

    Two big rugged defenseman are eligible for the June Draft both from the WHL. They are Tyler Myers and Colton Teubert. Hopefully the Rangers can draft one, or both. Probably have to wait a season or two before they make it to the NHL. Meanwhile, Sauer might be the closest to a rugged D we got. An unfortunate incident in Hartford where Sauer hit hit Pascal Morency and Morency went into the boards head first. The hit wasn’t bad, just the way he flew into the boards. Sauer got into a fight over that and won that battle.

    As far as replacements, Korpokoski (a speed merchant) taking Straka’s place, Byers or Dupont (both rugged types willing to drop the gloves) taking Avery’s spot, but hopefully he and the Rangers will reach a reasonable comprimise and be signed, and finally Hossa, if enough cap romm to sign) taking Jagr’s place. Hope Shanny is healthy enough to play one more year in a limited role.

    Going to be interesting from here to the trade deadline. a week from tomorrow.

  28. I bet the rangers are buyers if they do anything but will not give up the farm for anyone.

    this has been there tact the last 3 yrs…

    If Jagr leaves after this season it is not the end of the world and yes even at present he is a benefit ask Komisarek, chara, and others if he matters???

    the Rangers are the most stocked in the minors that they have been in yrs. Hartford has been good for 3 yrs at least and the young russians are on there way…

    all the prospects the rangers though could play in the nhl; staal, dawes, cally, dubi, etc. all have a chance of being good nhl players not bad HEY!!!!!!!

  29. I wouldn’t want a Boyle, he seems to be too injury prone, I’d rather see them sign Campbell from Buffalo.
    Also please NO HOSSA, he has proved nothing and I’d rather Sather use that money to sign a good d-man

  30. czechthemout!!!!! on

    bklynblue-No doubt others have done better but he’s been moved around constantly all year long.His ice time has been limited for the most part and he’s still learning.That being said,I firmly believe now that he is one of the most vital players on the team as evdidenced by his increase in production and his ability to make others around him better.

  31. Dubinsky at certain times this season was getting garbage time.

    There were many games where he played under 8 minutes per game.

    He was also juggled around on different lines a lot, making it very hard for him (especially as a rookie) to develop some flow.

    That said, I think he will be a PPG player atleast, in the future.

  32. czech – jagr is double-teamed, often by the opposing team’s most solid players, game in and game out. how you don’t recognize that or its impact is beyond me…

  33. Jagr should be given some credit for creating space for Dubinsky and Avery this weekend. The line played well together this weekend. I hope they keep it up.

    Just another value-added for having Jagr on the team…I don’t understand why a guy whose having an off year (while still being #2 on team scoring) is being pushed out the door by Ranger fans. His trade value is diminished because of his rental status and it sends an awful message to the rest of the team for this year’s playoff run.

    After enduring 7 seasons of futility, I don’t want a cornerpiece of our turnaround leaving too soon.

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