Since the start of training camp, there was never more than an outside chance that Brendan Shanahan was going to return to the Rangers. Now there’s not even that.
Larry Brooks gets the story “this afternoon from No. 14″:http://www.nypost.com/seven/10292008/sports/rangers/shanahan_wont_wait_for_rangers_135879.htm, who says he is done waiting for Glen Sather and will now begin fielding offers from other teams.
“I’ve told (agent Rick Curran) that I can no longer wait and that it’s time to move on,” Shanahan told Brooks today. “Until now, Rick has been under instructions to tell inquiring teams that my focus was on re-signing with the Rangers, and that I was not accepting any other offers. That has changed.”
Shanahan says he harbors no ill will toward Glen Sather, who had left the door ajar with the future Hall of Famer since the start of free agency.
“I am disappointed that I’m not going to be here, but I’m not bitter at all. I believe Glen was always being honest with me. It just didn’t work out. I’m sure it’s going to, but it’s going to be somewhere else. I’m looking forward to getting on the ice and playing.”
Update, 7:21 p.m.: As for my own thoughts on this, I suppose there’s very little about Shanahan’s decision to look elsewhere that counts as surprising. But the news today is noteworthy nonetheless.
As much as I and others played down the chances of Shanahan returning for a third season, it was never something you could dismiss entirely as long as the player was unsigned. Throw in the fact that Sather hadn’t officially closed the door on Shanahan, and that the player was still skating at the Rangers’ practice rink, and it was a prospect you at least had to entertain until given reason otherwise.
Today was that day. How much did the Rangers’ fast start kill Shanahan’s chances of returning? A lot, probably. Or put it another way: if the Rangers were anywhere below .500 and seeming to lack Shanahan’s gravitas in the locker room, we all could have been chronicling his return game tomorrow.
And this isn’t to say the Rangers have it all figured out already, because they don’t. But they are obviously doing OK for themselves, and I’m with many of you who thought bringing Shanahan back for another run would be a contradiction from the team’s stated goal of trying to get younger and faster.
Still, the 39-year-old Shanahan was a great player for much of his tenure in New York,Â and a treat to cover — probably the most thoughtful, articulate, and clever hockey player I’ve ever been around. Plus, he fought Donald Brashear, which was kind of cool, too.
So good luck, Shanny. Wherever you go, here’s hoping you have some gas left in the tank, and that you have as positive an impact on your next team as you did on the one you just left.