Larry Brooks in the Post today “introduces a curious dilemma”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/04182008/sports/rangers/conn_job_107080.htm awaiting writers should the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup finals this spring (it’s also a fairly far-fetched dilemma at this point seeing how the team isn’t even yet out of the first round).
The gist of it is this: with Jaromir Jagr able to trigger the option year on his contract by claiming the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, it will basically be in writers’ hands to determine whether he can return to the Rangers next year at a discounted rate (i.e. with the Washington Capitals picking up half the tab).
Brooks touches on the many trouble spots with this scenario: how Rangers writers would be in a position to help the team they cover, how they could conceivably overlook another worthy candidate as a result.
Not to be overlooked as well is the fact that many of us who cover Jagr might want to have him back in New York simply because he’s such an endless source of amusement.
There’s obviously fertile territory for humor here — hey, we can name our price! — but it’s actually a serious matter. I’m pretty sure I can speak for the other writers who cover the team when I say we’ve all been taught as journalists to not become part of the story (never mind my endless self-indulgent meanderings in this blog). And given the affection we have for the game, I doubt any of us would want to see such an important award turned into a farce.
This would hardly be the first time writers have a say in such important matters. It happens every year with awards and even the Hall of Fame in a variety of sports, and there’s even a precedent with Jagr. It was only two years ago, after all, that he was essentially robbed of the Hart Trophy when writers — perhaps biased against Europeans — “voted for Joe Thornton instead”:http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=169401. Had Jagr won that trophy, he would have triggered his option year for 2008-09.
Now this year’s Conn Smythe remains his only hope. I’ll resist the temptation to say he better stay on my good side.
Meanwhile, some other news:
<li>The Rangers are having an optional skate at the Rock. I doubt there will be any lineup changes tonight. But I’ll check in later..
<li>Just like Obama and Clinton, the Rangers can expect to do battle in Pennsylvania should they get past the Devils. The Flyers are up 3-1 on the Caps “after last night’s double OT thriller”:http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=234577&lid=sublink01&lpos=headlines_nhl, so if they close out that series and Montreal beats the Bruins, the Rangers would open the second round in Pittsburgh next week.
Of course, the Bruins also blew out the Habs last night in the third period to pull back to within 3-2 in that series. Should they win the next two and the Flyers win their series, the Rangers would actually get home-ice in the next round against Philadelphia.