The Rangers are off the ice today, so time to catch our breath and offer some thoughts…
<li>Don’t forget, live video chat tomorrow at 1. (Here’s “the link”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081007/MOGULUS05/310070015 that will take you there). Possible discussion topics: Patrick Rissmiller’s demotion, Chris Drury’s slow start, how I intend to dominate my own recreational hockey season (and by “dominate,” I mean show up regularly).
<li>I think we can all agree Patrick Rissmiller’s placement on waivers yesterday — he has until noon today to clear — was a necessary concession to the team’s salary cap and roster predicament. By demoting or perhaps severing ties outright with an expendable wing, the team frees up some needed salary cap space and allows itself the flexibility of calling up a seventh defenseman when needed.
But placing a veteran on waivers is hardly the ideal route. As unimpressive as Rissmiller was on Monday, he’s still a forward who could conceivably help the Rangers in a pinch at some point this season. But should the Rangers try to recall him, they risk losing him to waivers on the way back up, and then are on the hook for half his salary.
With that in mind, what Glen Sather has done is taken a $3 million investment and simply buried it in the minors.
Again, not ideal…unless it’s the first step of a more involved process. Because there’s always the chance that Sather has made one move in an effort to now make another. I don’t think it’s Brendan Shanahan, who Michael Obernauer notes today “is still waiting patiently in the wings”:http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/rangers/2008/10/21/2008-10-21_rangers_making_forward_progress-2.html.
But whereas the Rangers had virtually no room to work with a short while ago, they now have at least some. So stay tuned…
Update, 10:13 p.m.: I realize every one of the salary cap sites that I frequent as well has Rissmiller as having a one-year deal. But I’ve been told from a definitive source that it’s three years at a $1 million apiece. Doesn’t make sense, does it? As one astute observer noted about Glen Sather’s stockpiling of so many forwards, “Maybe Glen just lost count.”
<li>My story in today’s paper deals not with the above issue, but instead looks at “the remarkable progress Colton Orr has made in his tenure in New York”:http://www.lohud.com/article/20081022/SPORTS01/810220401/-1/SPORTS, particularly this past offseason. In seasons past, I had grudgingly accepted that Orr served a purpose in the Rangers lineup, even if his skating and puck skills left plenty to be desired.
But this season Orr has proven to be a far more complete player thanks to the countless hours he put in over the summer skating at the MSG Training Center and working out at a gym in Brewster. Curiously, Orr didn’t start skating or playing hockey until he was 11, so a case can be made he’s still in the formative years of his development.
“It’s been a long haul for him,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “He came from Boston, and they saw no value in him. We saw otherwise. The obvious reason was he could fight and fight anybody. But we saw hockey sense. It’s very important. You ask any tough guy in this league if they want to be recognized as a hockey player or a fighter and they’ll tell you they want to be known as a hockey player. And that’s what he is.”
Of course, Orr only has a single assist this year, so it’s not like he’s in the running for the Art Ross. But he’s always been a smarter play than he’s given credit for, and now he’s fit enough to make plays.
<li>Zip has more on “the John Giannone-Sean Avery situation here”:http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/blog/. As I mentioned in my original post about this, I had been told it was a remark from Avery that escalated things, which I don’t doubt for a moment. But it’s hard to get Avery’s side of the story when he refuses to comment.