Trying to understand Brashear


Somebody posted this link last week, on the day the Rangers signed Donald Brashear.

Whether you like or dislike (or love or hate) the signing of this arch-enemy, you still might find this story interesting and it may help you, as it did for me, understand some parts of Brashear’s personality. It’s a sad story, indeed, of a kid born into a messed-up family life, which eventually disintegrated.

A member of the Rangers forwarded the story (written by Mike Wise of the Washington Post after Brashear’s suspension for the late hit on Blair Betts in Game 6) to me again today, and I finally had a chance to read it. I think it’s worth all of you giving it a look. Maybe it will change your minds, maybe it won’t. Perhaps you will have some compassion for him, perhaps you will never.


Thanks to Adam Z. for the heads-up on this TSN story, in which Bob Gainey said Alex Kovalev is done as a Canadien.

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  1. Slats needs to get Z and Cally signed a-sap. Like i said yesterday, they are both 20 goal scorers, at the very least, we cant lose both.

    And i traded Rozi and a 1st round pick to the Stars for Richards in NHL 09. Greedy bastards !!!

  2. Hmm… Maybe Darth Sather things the third time is a charm for Kovalev? Him and Gaborik on a line would be scary.

    Zherdev has a plus/minus to arbitration… on the plus side, he led the team in points, on the minus, he did NOTHING in the playoffs. Could get ugly…

    Cally should just get paid. Period.

  3. Can’t say I agree with Brashear, but if this is all we do, then I give Sather credit for holding onto our youth and let them grow. Getting 1 or 2 scorers isn’t getting the cup here next year so lets stick to the youth plan. With that said, NO TO KOVALEV!!!!! 3 strikes and you’re out.

  4. roughly 13 million left to the cap, and we need to sign Dubi, Cally, Zherdev, Higgins, and Korpedo. Not too much flexibility after that.

  5. KingLundqvist30 on

    Great story on Brashear…explains a lot of why he is the player he is on the ice. Some of us think we have it rough, this guy puts a whole new perspective on that statement. Can’t wait to have him lay out Pronger…

  6. steve trac (sec 303) on


    honestly, I don’t care what the story says or care about his life or growing up. a thug is a thug is a thug and he shouldn’t be wearing Ranger blue…

  7. Sad story, but it doesnt change who he is. I dont care if he just gets his rocks off by hitting defenseless players, he’s still a dirty thug who doesnt deserve to put on the Ranger blue. If anything, it makes me even more uneasy because it makes him sound like a sociopath who could snap at any minute.

  8. I don’t see Zherdev coming back, I will miss him. I am sure he would be a better hockey player under Torts, and I am still hopeing he is signed.
    Callihan will be signed for sure. I just could not see Sather letting him go after last year. He was great last season. With more to come I’m sure

  9. This may sound weird but I don’t hate Brashear. I just take him for what he is. I think he’s definitely done some scumbag things, but he’s like Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders in that you never want to play against him but he’s a guy you’d want on your team.

  10. Joe in DE (the real one) on

    Steeeeve, 100% agree. The dude sounds like he could become unhinged at any moment. With Avery on the team, there could be shootings at team dinners. That said, I guess it’s better that he pisses the bed as a 7 year old than sh*t the bed in the playoffs

  11. for the gazillionth time … there is no way Callahan and Dubinsky are not going to be signed by the Rangers. These restricted FA contracts just take a little more time because the club holds all the cards.

  12. What about the teams (ie: Edmonton/Renney) that are thinking twice about signing Betts? Will he have post concussion syndrome? Will he ever be 100% healthy?
    Does anyone know if his head is back on straight?

    If the season started today….lol!


  13. and for the gazillionth time why does Sather feel he needs to nickle and dime are 2 best young talent??

  14. in this case, it’s because he needs to have some money left over to further improve the roster. And because he has leverage in this case, unlike the UFAs.

  15. If Anisimov has to play with Voros and Brash, he may as well stay in the minors.

    That’s a sad story about Brash. But I didn’t read any words in there discussing McSorley’s actions and Brash’s elbow to Betts’ head. I believe Brash is a victim and had a brutal upbringing. Hope he finds peace and manages not to pass on that rage and violence onto his own kids. But I’d also like to see him on another team or retired before he hurts someone else or shames the Rangers.

    Rick, you hearing anything out of the Ranger organization that you can share? Something that isn’t merely vague rumor or pointless speculation?

  16. Carp …

    Is it true that once a player files for arbitration, no other team can “offer sheet” that player. The rights exclusively belong to the team until after the hearings??

    If so, this is a good move because it takes Cally and Zherdev off of the “possible offer sheet” list while they work out a contract. Now we just have to worry about Dubinsky … although im not really all that worried to begin with

  17. let zherdev go..he is garbage and torts hates him.. dump his salary..traded roscival and redden for a bag of baked lays…salt and vinegar preferably.

    i guess pearn is going to destroy the habs pp now.

  18. I still think that Brashear is insurance incase somebody from Hartford can’t fill the role. How effective is a 37 year old enforcer?

  19. Speed Ranger on

    Pearn in MTL…. looking forward to the Habs upcoming year being what the Rangers’ last year was. Olé

  20. hey maybe Brashear can pick up some endorsments like a cameo in a gieco caveman commercial!!!!!
    That would be sweet. The cavemen take action this time rather than bitch, moan and sue LOL

  21. They wouldnt give Brashear $1.4MM per year to be insurance. He’s there to fight in the regular season and take a seat in the playoffs.

  22. Rick,

    Are callahan and dubi going to be resigned?!!!!!!!

    Zherdev is interesting, i really thought once the season ended he would definitely be a goner, but now im thinking he is coming back….

    would you guys rather have zherdev for 3mm or year or try to get koivu in here for 2 year maybe at 4mm per?

  23. Carp –

    While I think it it’s EXTREMELY unlikely we’ll see Callahan or Dubinsky anywhere but the Rangers, it could happen. In Dubinsky’s case, look at Dustin Penner. If a team offers Dubinsky a ridiculously large contract, NYR might not want to match it. In Callahan’s case, if the arbitrator awards a ridiculously high amount and NYR doesn’t want to match it, he becomes an unrestricted FA.

    Again, extremely unlikely, but Penner was a prime example of the crazy stuff that can happen.

  24. Hi, Mr. Carpiniello !

    I am from Germany and still found out couple of minutes ago that Dennis Seidenberg from the Carolina Hurricanes is an unrestricted free agent still unsigned. Due to the fact, that the Rangers obviously don´t want to retain either Paul Mara and Derek Morris, would you rate him an upgreat on the Rangers` defense ????

    Would he fit into the Rangers salary cap situation ???

  25. Guys for the love of god keep Aaron voros out of any projected lines. The guy is absolutely a waste of space.

    Unless he serves as the speed bag for Brashear to practice on in the locker room before games. We all know Voros is a punching bag once the game starts.

    Brian Boyle For Dummies Video


  26. carp…enough with this pro-Brashear campaign…hes a goon and a clown and is a terrible signing who will never be accepted by most ranger fans…rightfully so

  27. I can’t believe people are all up in arms about the Brashear signing. In Tort’s 3 line system he’s going to play 3 minutes a game at best. Let it go people.

  28. JT

    “July 6th, 2009 at 1:09 pm
    carp…enough with this pro-Brashear campaign…hes a goon and a clown and is a terrible signing who will never be accepted by most ranger fans…rightfully so”

    I disagree with you 100%.

  29. Read the article last week, Carp… it’s an interesting one but my opinion has not changed on Trashear.

    Let’s just try and get past that we signed an over-the-hill cheapshotting thug that can barely fight over a younger, cheaper, more skilled (currently) enforcer who knows the meaning of honor.

    I’m hoping Brashear gets KO’d when they drop the gloves and we call someone up who isn’t a worthless trashball .

  30. The sad thing about Brashear is that when he’s done playing hockey, he’s a candidate to lead a violent life, and an unfulfilled one. It’s really sad. I hope he can find some peace in his life.

  31. “July 6th, 2009 at 1:11 pm
    I can’t believe people are all up in arms about the Brashear signing. In Tort’s 3 line system he’s going to play 3 minutes a game at best. Let it go people.

    It’s that the signing made no sense whatsoever. If it’s a 3 line system, why pay the less skilled, more expensive fighter to not play?

  32. “The sad thing about Brashear is that when he’s done playing hockey, he’s a candidate to lead a violent life, and an unfulfilled one. It’s really sad. I hope he can find some peace in his life.”

    Hopefully he can have a book ghostwritten and focus many of the chapters on the Marty McSorley hit in an attempt to make us feel sorry for him.

  33. The worst part of the signing is, nobody is intimidated by him now. Ever since he was knocked out by Belak, now everyone jumps at the chance to fight him, and he gets bullied. Orr has always had trouble fighting him, but finally he beat him up this year.

    Brash*t’s best years of fighting are way behind him. He will get the crap kicked out of him by all the heavyweights of the NHL.

    Ugh, i cant get over this. I really hope Torts doesn’t play him that often.

  34. not that i’d read it or anything…

    anxious for the Cally and Dubi signing… this shouldn’t take long I hope

  35. “The worst part of the signing is, nobody is intimidated by him now. ”

    Exactly. But the one good, albeit dishonorable thing that scares the @#$% out of eveyone, is that he will stick on of your best players in the face. Nothing to be proud about, but the option is always there cuz Brashear has turned into a huge pansy and would lose to every heavyweight on just about every team.

  36. More Brashear bashing. . . . .

    I am gonna take notes off all the losers crying about Brashear, and in November, I will post a poll question: Brashear or Orr?

    THEN, I will post the names of all the fools that mocked this signing. Just like I did on another site about the IDIOTS that thought Jarko Imonnen was a tremendous loss. Or the same fools that thought Sean Avery was a disaster that cost us Marc Andre Cliche’.

    Stay tuned. . . . .

  37. You can’t blame Brashear for taking what was offered…Sather didn’t have to sign him. This is a new team now with Torts, and I’m not complaining because the old team wasn’t getting anywhere. Sure, he delivers cheap shots, but you know what, so does Pronger and he has a cup, along with countless other guys. Torts won’t play him if he doesn’t feel the need to.

  38. Chris F., if I had some info that wasn’t just rumor or speculation, it would be up top instead of a reference to a two-month-old newspaper story.
    Somerset, I don’t know about that part of the CBA. You can read the CBA at the NHLPA site.
    I think we all do too much speculating on Torts and Zherdev. We will know exactly where they stand after the arbitration, when the Rangers either keep him, walk away from the award, or trade him.
    JT, if you’ve paid attention you’d know I was the first to bash the Brashear signing on July 1. I have not run a pro-Brashear campaign.
    Matthias, I’d spend my money on forwards, not defensemen, for this team. If he can run the PP expertly … well, I still don’t know if they can afford to sign a d-man at this point.
    Orr, the plan is for Sullivan to be Tortorella’s only assistant. His contract just expired, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before they work it out … unless Sullivan is up for a head-coaching job somewhere.
    Seth and nyrblue, you worry too much. Callahan and Dubinsky will both be Rangers … unless one of them is involved in a blockbuster trade. No way the Rangers lose either one to an offer sheet.

  39. . . . and how can ANYONE say Brashear is a less skilled player than Colton Orr? Orr could fight, but he skated like a drunken bear? He was the worst ankle bender in the NHL?!?!?! He did work to improve his game, and I give him all the credit in the world. But don’t say he has better skills than Brashear. He just doesn’t.

  40. “I am gonna take notes off all the losers crying about Brashear, and in November, I will post a poll question: Brashear or Orr?”

    Take note on the $400,000 more he’s making at the age of 37 after he gets his @$$ kicked by any real enforcer as well, will you?

  41. cgwatii: Brashear doesn’t exactly skate like Pavel Bure.

    4th line irrelevant garbage.

  42. Sather deserves even more credit for his genius:

    The NYR locker room was becoming a country club. Adding guys as surly as Brash, Avery, etc, may change the culture in that locker room.

    No more Mr. Nice Guys on this team.

  43. bull dog line on

    i think the out cry is more about losing Orr, than it is getting Brashere.
    fans get attached to there enforcers. i agree that Orr can’t play, his only value is that he can fight. Brashere has always been, and will continue to be a more effective player than Orr.
    I still am having a hard time liking the signing.

  44. I don’t understand the self righteous posters here. It’s not as if these guys are your friends. Or your drinking buddies. Or banging your sister. Just sit back and enjoy your ever improving NEW YORK RANGERS!!!!!

  45. Rick, my post was sarcasm! trust me i know one thing in ranger land and one thing only-i totally agree with you dubi and callahan are coming back-they are not only two of our best players but by far the hardest working players on the team who give 100% effort every shift out there…..

    i mean honestly who thinks orr has more skill then brashear? that is just embarrassing, you can of course say the team chemistry might be an issue with donald and that orr was well liked but come on orr has very limited hockey skill -if you are watching the games night in night out you are surely aware of this-this is a FACT

  46. Brashear = allstar forward I take back what I said.

    They should bump him up to the 3rd line and skate him 15 minutes a game (at least).

  47. There are not a few kids that grew up like Brashear and made it to the big show in some sport. For every one of them there are 10 others in prison or living a life of crime. Avery grew up in Cole Harbour, N.S., same place as Crosby, but he played with DiPienta, the guy who was with Anaheim in 07. DiPienta said Avery would not listen to anyone, his father, his coach, his teacher. He was out of control even then. He still hasn’t grown up. None of this is really relevant. The question is what they bring to the table. I think the good thing is that Brashear is still hungry and between him, Avery, and Tortorella, there’ll be no more going through the motions in half the games like last year under Renney.

  48. I love goons,i love the game they play and the energy they bring to the ice. My two favorite players growing up are Probert and Domi. Adding Brashear to the team will only help the Rangers play with a little bit more of an edge. I think he definitely brings more to the team than a guy like Orr does (while I think Orr is the best fighter in the league). His attributes away from fighting don’t out weigh those of Brashear’s.

  49. “It’s one thing to sign a cheap shotting thug, but we already have a cheap shotter in Avery. ”


  50. somerset –

    You are correct about the arbitration/offer sheet thing. I’ve read a bunch of the CBA over the past couple seasons. Once a player or team requests arbitration, no offer sheets can be made.

    As I said above, if the Rangers decide that the arbitrator’s award is too high, they could walk away, making Z and Cally UFA, but that’s extremely unlikely. I think at this point, we can confidently say that they will both be Rangers and the salary is now in the hands of the arbitration board. However, we won’t know the results of the hearing until some time between July 20th and August 6th.

  51. Uncle Rick, oooooh I am feeling tired right now always waiting on news coming out of the offices of the Rangers for a new forward…And as you know we guys tend to get tired anyway, because of our diet..!!!!

    I would rent you one of my gigantic ears that you get a clue about what`s up with the Rangers:):):)

  52. UESBlueshirt on

    Hm, as much as you can feel some degree of sympathy for him due to his upbringing, Brashear sounds like a ticking time bomb. I wonder how he’s going to do deal with NY outside of the rink?

    As for people getting upset at Orr leaving, it’s a business. Let’s be honest, his hockey skills are marginal at best, no matter how much he’s improved so it’s not so much about the Rangers not wanting to re-sign him but Orr now gets a guaranteed paycheck for 4 years.

  53. Carp, the one thing that I’m not really getting through my head, and I think some other posters as well- is the Dubi situation…

    If he is not elligible for arbitration, then other than signing an offer sheet what other recourse does he have to make more than the QO $ amount? In your opinion will the Rangers try to lock up Cally and Dubi to long-term deals or will they simply play it year to year with these guys?

    Also, is the minimum that Zherdev can get in arbitration the 3.25 QO? Could the Rangers argue that he should be paid less?

  54. bull dog line on

    all things always lead back to Betts and Sjoostrom. the Rangers do not look like they feel the same way about Betts and Sjoostrom as you.
    torts has said in the past that his best players will kill penalties, like all good teams. the best players play in all spots PP,PK, and 4 on 4. who was the league leader in SHG’s last year? it was not some 4th liner, it was Mike Richards.

  55. Who is going to kill off penalties?

    Drury, Callahan, Korpi come to mind

    Brashaer is a 4th liner who will play 5 minutes. Why is he getting 10 times the attention of Higgins or Gaborik?

    Who cares, honestly..

  56. PruBelongsOnTheIce on

    Donald has no friends because he is a piece of brashear of a human being.

  57. fly line, I think it’s a simple negotiation process. Dubinsky can accept the QO or try to negotiate a better deal.

    No idea what the minimum is on the arbitration hearing for Zherdev.

  58. Noonan – name one Cheap Shot Avery has ever Given as a Ranger. Keep in mind all the little things he does, ie. the love tap on Thomas’ head, and the love taps to Fatso, the Screen wave, all his yapping etc… are designed to take players off their game, and in no way are meant to injure players. Can’t be put in the same Category as Chris Simon’s BS against Hollweg, or Brashear’s elbow to Betts. Hell, even Gomez taking out Ryan Miller could be classified as a cheapshot ahead of anything Avery has done.

  59. Right Carp, but why would the Rangers negotiate? Don’t they hold all of the leverage unless he signs an offer-sheet? And I think you hvae been on record saying that no one would sign him to an offer sheet- Would the Rangers just give him a better deal out of the goodness of their heart?

  60. I suppose they would try go be fair to a degree. They could be SOBs and just say take it or leave it. But that’s not good for future negotiations, or for the morale of the player. I believe what I said is it’s unlikely they would get offer sheets because the Rangers will just match the offers.

  61. After reading the story, I have to admit I feel sorry for him. Most of us have experienced things in our past that haunt us to one degree or another. However, I can’t imagine growing up in that horrible of an environment. It is really sad that he had to endure that much pain and suffering. He must be fighting his personal demons daily, based on the description of his current living quarters. At this point I honestly hope he has a good stint with the Rangers, and can help the team, while he gets his life in order. Also, as one of the other fans noted, it would be great to see him lay out Pronger!

  62. Ranger Steve on

    I would have kept Orr over Brashear for the following reasons: (1) 10 years younger; (2) cheaper; and (3) goons breakdown and (4) Blair Betts incident.

    Dubi and Cally are not going anywhere unless it is a major trade – you all need to RELAX. As for Zherdev, I would try to keep him. Sign him to a one year deal and let his play dictate a long term contract. The downside to this is that if he kicks ass this year, it will cost a lot more to resign him next year. Maybe think about a 2 year deal. Whatever they do, don’t let him walk for nothing. He was your leading scorer, he’s 23 and yeah he played like crap in the playoffs, but so did a lot of other guys. At least he has upside – also, he actually played his best game in game 7, besides Avery, he was the Rangers best forward that game.

  63. Laurel Babcock on

    I’m late to this post, having been away the past few days, but I found one glaring absence from that story….maybe it’s known to other folks and I’m just stupid, but I would like to know how a kid from that upbringing managed to become so big in the NHL…..

  64. adding brashear adds security. he brings a presence. anyone who has ever played hockey against a bigger and stronger team knows that a Brashear on your team bolsters confidence.

    good addition. will build confidence in the young guys when they go up against Philly etc so many times a year.

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