That’s what tonight’s game is. About Wade. It’s all about Wade Redden, because this is the first game of the rest of his Rangers career. And that career could be a long time.
The question is, does the Rangers front office and coaching staff have the onions to actually banish him to Hartford if he doesn’t get his stuff together? The contract isn’t going away, and it sure isn’t move-able. But the player can be sent up the road and down to the minors and forgotten by all but those who have to sign those mega checks for the next four and a half years.
I suspect Redden will play with some fire and emotion tonight. What other choice does he have? He can quit on this coach and his team, but that dooms his career. At 31 he’s too young to do that. For all those millions of dollars, no 31-year-old with any pride at all wants to go collect it while riding buses and playing minor hockey.
Actually, I should adjust that thought. Any of us, or all of us, would take $6.5 million a year to do pretty much anything, anywhere, with anyone for the next four and a half years. I would have a hard time thinking of something I wouldn’t do for that kind of cash (though I certainly wouldn’t leave this blog for any amount of money).
But a former NHL all-star would take NHL over AHL any day, if all it meant was playing with a little care, a little pride, and a little responsibility.
It’s up to Redden now. And then it will be up to John Tortorella and Glen Sather and Jim Dolan to decide if they are going to hold him accountable to play better and harder, not just tonight and in the next few weeks, but for the next four and a half years? Or if they are going to have the courage to admit an awful mistake and bury it in Hartford.
And, by the way, Redden sure hasn’t been their worst defenseman this year. But the Rangers sure have a right to expect a lot more than he’s given them for their bucks.
New poll down the right side.