This being my second season covering the Rangers, this is also my second trade deadline.
Already I’m seeing it from two different perspectives: whereas last season the sputtering Rangers were obviously in need of something to kick them in the rear (their last game before the deadline saw them blow yet another two-goal lead in a loss to Columbus), this year you could at least make the argument that the team should stand pat.
For what it’s worth, I still don’t see this team making any major deals (and really, last year’s deadline acquisitions of Paul Mara and Alex Bourret were not exactly blockbusters, either), but I do see them doing something.
I base that on a couple of factors:
1. Common sense. This “5-0-2 run the team is on”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080225/SPORTS01/802250373/1108/SPORTS01 is great and all, but it’s only a run. It doesn’t hide the fact that the Rangers, while obviously better as a group, are still thin at defense; and it certainly doesn’t obscure the fact that the power play especially is lacking. Of greater importance, it must be remembered that every team around them in the playoff race is looking to upgrade, so just standing still could be the equivalent of losing ground.
2. Tone. You do a lot of interpreting in this job, mostly in trying to decipher what guys mean when they don’t seem to be saying much at all. And so last night when everyone from Tom Renney to Scott Gomez said that they believed in the team as is, but it’s not up to them, I took it to mean they expect something to happen before tomorrow. That’s my interpretation at least, but I took only one psychology class in college and I don’t remember much from it.
3. What others are saying. Larry Brooks has some “good nuggets in the paper today”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/02252008/sports/rangers/still_hot_for_boyle_99191.htm, namely that the Rangers are still looking at Dan Boyle, and are also talking to Edmonton about minor league forward Rob Schremp. Again, a lot here depends on price.
This, in my view at least, is the most important part. While Hugh Jessiman is cited as a possible trade chip, it’s also made clear that Jessiman alone won’t be enough. And that’s where the decision-making gets tough.
Meanwhile, a couple of ground rules about the next 30 hours or so. I’ll obviously be monitoring the situation closely, and I’ll be happy to pass along anything I uncover on my own, or see somewhere else.
But what I won’t do is respond to blind rumors being floated on message boards or rogue sites because I’m pretty sure “Is Gretzky really coming out of retirement?” isn’t going to get me anywhere.
Still, it should be fun, tomorrow especially.