So here we are, at the most important three-day stretch of the Rangers’ season, starting tomorrow.
It isn’t only crucial to 2008-09, but also beyond.
The Rangers will take today off, have their mini-camp, which is critical for new coach John Tortorella to better implement his system. The Rangers have done a pretty good job learning it with so few practices, but they will really be able to sink their teeth into it between now and Thursday’s game against the Islanders.
But a lot of other stuff will happen between now and then. First, Sean Avery is sure to be thrown into the mix like a grenade into a room. No doubt, he will have an immediate impact, particularly Thursday (a fight is a lock, and some other antics, too). No doubt, for the rest of this season, Avery will help, and in the playoffs, too, if they get there. And they should.
I still question whether you want Avery, even at a discounted $1.9M, if it’s going to limit off-season activity — the re-signing of young restricted free agents, the signing of much-needed unrestricted talent. That’s an argument for another day. Avery’s coming, so the Rangers have to deal with the here and now.
Then, of course, comes Wednesday. The trade deadline, as you all know.
And my question to you, to Glen Sather, to anybody, is simple: Buy? Or sell?
If you’ve brought in a new coach and you’re going to bring in Avery, then that says to me that Sather is buying. I think that’s the absolute wrong move at this point — giving up prospects, young players or draft picks for a Keith Tkachuk or a Bill Guerin type. That will come back to haunt in the long run.
Unless you believe this team, as currently constituted, can actually challenge — can actually make a run toward the finals — then that’s just crazy and short-sighted. But I do think, with the coaching change, the Avery claim, and with Dolan’s and Sather’s track records, that they will go for it this year.
I’m on record: Bad move. Sell.