Mighta beens


I was reading Larry Brooks’ piece on Sunday about the decade in hockey (which was excellent, by the way). For the second week in a row he mentioned that worst draft day ever, when the Islanders traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokenen to Florida for two stiffs, Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha, then drafted Rick DiPietro instead of Marian Gaborik and Dany Heatley, among others. And just last week I was thinking the Isles also had Zdeno Chara and the draft pick that became Jason Spezza (both dealt for Alexei Yashin).

Got me thinking about the what-ifs around the Rangers. Obviously they could have drafted better through the years, especially Neil Smith’s final years and the great Hugh Jessiman mistake by Glen Sather.

But what if they could have just undone some bad trades and not made some bad signings.

They could right now have a first line of Mike Knuble, Marc Savard and Marian Gaborik. They could have Marek Zidlicky on defense and Ian Laperriere on their third line, and maybe Sergei Zubov would still be playing, but if not he’d be a Rangers immortal by now. And if they weren’t handcuffed by the Drury and Redden signings, they’d have had some cap room to compliment Gaborik’s signing this past summer.

Oh, well.

But that also got me thinking about this past summer. If you could go back and do the Gomez deal and the Gaborik signing all over again, then undo the other stuff … would you rather, right now, have Zherdev and Antropov and Orr and Sjostrom and Korpikoski on your forward lines than, say, Higgins and Boyle and Lisin and Kotalik and Brashear?

I would.

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  1. wicky, no, despite my efforts, I’ve not been that lucky yet….hope to at some point, if the heavens align properly (and Hil is out of town :)

  2. Completely agree with you, Carp. A one to one comparison of the players you mention is no contest about which group would be better to have…

  3. We could’ve had Jagr, Zherdev, and Gaborik if Glen played his cards right instead of just folding on Jags and Nik. Even Zherdev with Gaborik would be amazing to watch.

  4. Yes, Carp that aricle by Brooks was very clever.
    Mathieu Schneider and Mikael Samuelsson wouldn’t be bad eaither.

  5. Yeah yeah, woulda shoulda coulda.

    Stupid moves are stupid moves — and Sather’s made more than most — but you can’t blame GMs for all moves that go wrong. Zubov is my favorite player, but even I thought it was a great trade at the time. Who knew Lucky Luc, the most consistent scorer in the game, would suddenly go bust?

    Events cause chain reactions. Would Gaborik even be on the team today if NYR had Knuble and Savard? Doubtful. And what if the Wings had never traded Knuble to NY to begin with? Etc, etc. I’m a fan of criticizing bad moves that have clear impact today — like Sather’s bad signings — but there’s only so far back you can go.

  6. I do have to say, Higgins and Boyle are much better than Sjostrom, Orr, and Korpedo and cost about as much as they do. Higgins is a skilled forward that is just inconsistent with finishing and Boyle is a big guy who is a solid skater and plays with some grit. Also he can jump in on the offense and chip in a few goals. Korpi was funny just too soft, Sjoie was awesome but could only focus on skating or shooting instead of both at the same time, and Orr is one of the top fighters, but can’t do anything else out there.

  7. I think everyone knew the Savard move was stupid. Savard had like 47 points as a rookie in a low scoring NHL. Plus unlike Johan Witehall, Christian Dube, and Daniel Goneau, many Rangers fans remember Savard as a rookie that did good things on the ice, not stunk it up.

  8. I don’t understand the love for Z. He put a effort in only when he wanted to,never would have meshed with Torts. Not having Higgins means having Gomer no thanks. I agree with the rest of the thoughts though. Got to free some cap room, trade something good with one of the R&R boys and demote and eat the other contract and start over. Sather doesn’t get that chance again, bring in Schoenfield to clean up the mess.

  9. Been away for a few days. Hope everyone had a good holiday(s) (seeing as many people in NY incorporate a couple of different beliefs).

    – Interesting tete a tete going on between Olga and Orr.

    – Nasty is still looking for his vintage Rangers cap. I stopped by the NHL store the day after Christmas, they had the style of hat that Nasty so highly covets, but alas no Rangers. I did the wife a Hartford Whalers knit cap with a big green/blue pom pom on top. The hat was such a hit at Christmas (the Mrs. family is mostly from CT) that I had to go get two more afterwards. And the NHL store was having a buy 2 get 1 free special on hats so I got myself a vintage looking Quebec Nordiques hat. Simple, light blue front with the fleur de lis.

    – Missed most of the Rangers-Isles game, turned it on just after Dubi’s 1st goal. I know some people are down on him and there were some lofty expectations that he’d turn into a 60-70 point player after his new contract, but he’s still young and while not an elite talent he’s the type of player this Rangers team lacks in abundance and if playing on the top line sparks his season then so be it.

  10. Sjostrom, Betts, Korpedo and Orr over the Higgins, Boyle, Kotalik and Brashear any day of the week. Betts and Sjostrom were the the best PK tandem in the league, Orr was (and still is) a beast, and Korpikoski was a developing player who never really got much ice time. As a whole, all of those guys were much more effective in eating up minutes than the current bunch.

    This team wouldn’t be any better or any worse without Higgins, Boyle, Kotalik or Brashear. No impact on the game whatsoever. Higgins consistently gets put on the ice when the rangers need a goal, for some inexplicable reason. Boyle does a good job trying not to screw up most of the time, Kotalik is indifferent to what happens in the game, and Brashear screwed the Rangers twice in one year – first by injuring Betts in the playoffs, and then by stealing 1.4 million of the Ranger’s dollars to lumber around the ice and lose a fight every 5 or 6 games.

  11. True fans bleed RW&B on

    Glen’s a dreamer, that’s what it is. He expected redden to return to all star form, Higgins to score 25-30 again, and drury/Gomez to continue 37 goal seasons and Gomez to return to 95 point form. Who knows why he gave up on Jagr and why he thought kotalik would be a better signing than zherdev, and rozi how could he resign him?! Ugh. That makes me nauseas.

  12. And if it weren’t for Mike Danton, AKA Mike Jefferson, AKA “Mr. I hire a hitman”… we would have had Bure and Jagr.

  13. Not to excuse Slats by any means but Sather inherited a mess of a farm system from Smith. Even Smith didn’t have a whole lot to work with though after winning the Cup.

    The draft classes were pretty thin throughout the 2nd half of the 90’s. Even the first rounds were very pedestrian. Case in point, top 5 picks of the 95-99 drafts:

    95: Berard/Redden/Berg/Kilger/Langkow
    96: Phillips/Zyuzin/Dumont/Volchkov/Jackman
    97: Thornton/Marleau/Jokinen/Luongo/Brewer
    98: Lecavalier/Legwand/Stuart/Allen/Vishnevski
    99: Stefan/Sedin/Sedin/Brendl/Connolly

    97 was clearly the best year, with a top 10 forward and top 10 goalie chosen. Marleau has reached the fringes of the upper crust of centers in the league (still a bit behind the likes of Jumbo Joe, Crosby, Malkin, Datsyuk) and Jokinen has been ok and plagued by being on bad teams most of his career. This decade basically every draft since the highwater mark of 2003 being fairly deep.

    However one must take into consideration the impact of the salary cap and how much it emphasizes building a team through the draft. Thinking of the better teams of the 2nd half of the 90s and you’ll see a lot of veteran-laden teams. There were of course the homegrown centerpieces to each franchise but 10 years ago there were no teams like the Pens/Caps/Hawks. The Wings and Avs had pretty established vets in the key positions. Out of the elite teams the Devils probably had the best mix of experience and youth.

  14. guys, go check out torts post game press conf. on the rangers website. listen right at the very beginning. torts says and i quote”i thought we fart hard” i know he meant fought, but clearly says fart. the guy mustve been holdin back one of those pressure cooker type turds that make your stomach expand and bloat and then u get cramps and gotta squeeze those cheeks so hard or else boom!! loudest damn air biscuit u ever heard. did it in gym class onetime. thanks to all teh noise it went un noticed even after it echoed off the walls

  15. honestly, i just wish we would’ve kept antro here. as frustrating as his play can be at times, i think he would’ve been great for gabby. he’s having a monster year in the assist column.

    all these what if scenarios just make me depressed. we’re still years out from any kind of cup run.

  16. mama
    no what??? Are you confusing me with someone else?? That hurts mama, that hurts!!!

    thanks for that last thread link, I agree with brooks (man that scares me) 100%, even right to the point of the usage of brashear (and voros as well).

    ok, someone needs to post a link with a pic of the female that cannot be mentioned!!!

    I would like to have antro back, but other than that, pretty meh on the rest…I liked orr and sjo, but orr would be getting the brash treatment with torts so the contract is for less yrs with brash but 400k more so they are a wash. Sjo has been a healty scratch for the flames recently so whatever I guess!

  17. Antro has been scoring some goals lately. Id still take him for that amount of money, instead of giving it to Kotalgeek. Also id give that dough to Nicky Z. The guy has creativity, and potentially could have had great chemistry with Vinny, and Gabby.

    Instead we waste money on a loser for the next 3 years, and probably wont be able to trade him, just like the other losers on the team that can’t be traded.

  18. Leatherneckinlv on

    I agree…Dont forget Betts…Betts, Orr and Zherdev should have remained Rangers. Byers over Sjostrom for the 4th line. Its not too late, never is, we can still salvage bt figuring out a way to trade for Kovolchuk and in giving up an arm and a leg we can demand they also take Redden. Roszival is easier to trade. Honestly though..the has to be built from within..as mentioned of the Islanders woes..had that nucleus syayed in tact we would be talking Rangers vs Isles Rivilary of past not the crap I watched last 3 games between the two teams..the Isles would have won atleast 1 cup…We need to hire the scouting staff and accept a few years of being bottom dwellers to build a good championship team…

  19. Speaking of Lima beans. How do supermodels like Adriana Lima, Allesandra Ambrosia, and all the others have babies, and then like a week after they give birth, they’re back to the way they were before.

    God damn black satanic magic !!!

    Babes !


    Wy do we need to keep Betts ? We have one of the top PK’s in the league. Everyone jumped down my throat last summer when i told them that anyone can do what Betts does. I guess i was right.

    No need paying Betts money for something Boyle, Artie, and others can do.

    Good move by Slats to pass on him, bad move by signing Brashit. Ive come to take the good with the bad with this guy.

  21. Lol, did anyone read Samuleson’s reaction to getting snubbed by Team Sweden ?

    “Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they can go (fugg) themselves,” was his reaction following the Canucks win over Calgary Sunday night.

    Haha, i wonder if Dreary will say something similar when he gets passed up.

  22. i actually like higgins. he is having a terrible year but the effort is always there. he has Mike Ricci luck

  23. Prospal’s absence will hurt. May not right away, but if he is out for 3 weeks, he’ll miss a lot of games in January. I think Voros will be unprucha’d for now.

    And do you fellows work?! No wonder our economy stinks.

  24. THE REAL MikeyNJ on

    Great so 10 days to 3 weeks with no Prospal

    So who goes up to the top line and does Christensen get lucky now and get to actually play some meaningful minutes to see if he has anything left?

    Or do we call up Someone from HArtford, again?

    I think PA has shown what he can do, but does someone else get a look?

  25. I don’t think we could have had both Antropov and Zherdev at the salaries they demanded, but I would have loved to have Antropov in there somewhere. Higgins was part of the Gomez trade, so it’s unlikely that he would be let go as an RFA, but Boyle looks almost as bad as his worse counterpart in the first round of the 2003 draft. I definitely would have picked Orr over Brashear at the same contract that Toronto gave to Orr. Sjostrom and Korpikoski are forgettable, and I think Lisin and Kotalik have the speed and offensive potential to do better than those two. However, if we kept Antropov, there would likely be no Kotalik.

    I don’t really want to go back and search the game day blog from Saturday, so I apologize if this was already discussed. I was able to watch most of the game with my dad, and we had differing opinions about who was responsible for the Islanders’ shorthanded goal. I feel like Del Zotto did the right thing because he was in better position to take out the player instead of the puck, even though it looked like he could have reached the puck first. Kotalik, not being an actual defenseman, made the mistake to leave his man and go towards Del Zotto’s side, leaving Comeau wide open in the slot. Of course, my dad saw it differently, thinking Del Zotto should have gone for the puck and would have had it, and that Kotalik was somehow not to blame. What were your thoughts?

  26. And This One Will Last A Lifetime on


    Very stupid exercise. “what coulda beens?” The most important and influential position in hockey is the goaltender. In the eras you are talking about…Partick Roy, late 3rd rounder, 51st pick, Dominick Hasek, late 10th round (don’t even have 10 rounds anymore)199th pick, Lundqvist 7th round, 205th pick…what could have been ?
    By every team…

    A pick that could be a franchise player, say Cherapnov, that dies due to tragic events, can set a franchise back 10 years (see Boston Celtics / Len Bias).

    Discussing what is and what can be is much more relavent than what coulda been

  27. Carp, I have a post-festivus grievance. I was watching the Jets postgame interview with Sanchez, a reporter said to Sanchez something like: “Talk about your revievers”. To me that’s lazy. Ask a question. Sanchez should have said something like, “They were so good I’m speechless”. Do you notice alot of that happening when you do post game interviews? I’d like your thoughts.

  28. I didn’t see that goal, but I know plenty of times DZ steps up way too much and leaves his other d-man out to dry. Not that its a bad thing because it’s good to see him play physical, but there are times when he does it at the wrong time and he’ll leave a 2 on 1 or odd man rush. He’s just got to learn when to hit and when to play the puck.

    Also I know we’re probably half and half split on Zherdev, but trust me, the guy cared. He just had a different way of showing it. I admit it wasn’t the best, but when the shit hit the fan last year, he was trying too hard to do everything instead of playing simple hockey and when he got frustrated, his game just went downhill. Torts not talking to him and putting him on the 4th line didn’t help either…

    Also, Boyle was drafted too high, I said that when he was drafted, but he is 10x better than Betts. Skating is a wash, but Boyle has great hands for a guy that is 6’7″ and is a much better offensive player than Betts will ever be. I think the only 3 players that would’ve been an upgrade would be Zherdev, Antro, and Orr (strictly for fighting because Brashear has much better hands and is a better overall hockey player that fits into Torts system where Orr would be the odd man out).

  29. Well I think you need to start your criticism of Sather with the last minute prucha-dawes-kalinin for derik morris deal.
    If I were building this team it would look more like this..



    yeah i know.. really young defensmen, but with all of that dead weight you waived, you could make a play for some veteran defensemen, and you could have went after phil kessel in the offseason…

  30. Just think of all the time that Prospal will get in the tanning booth now. He’s going to come back and look like Robert Downey Jr’s character from Tropic Thunder.

  31. CT, good looking out man, thank you so much. I have the guy at Mitchell and Ness locating one for me from one of their retail stores. They are, on the case. Very nice of you to look though. Thank you again.

  32. i couldn’t care less aboot kalinin making the team Russia or not…but i would definitely take him over Rozi or Redden in a heart beat…

  33. off topic

    i was watching Dick Cheney’s biography just now

    It was pretty funny to listen to the biography of a person named DICK!

    “Dick was a shy one”

    “Dick played baseball and football”

    “Dick didn’t date much”

    “Dick never jumped off cliffs but he wasn’t a stick in the mud” <<< I LOVE THIS ONE!! LMAO


  34. Wow, Nasty this is becoming quite an endeavor. You’ve organized a national search party and everything. I’m starting to consider letting you have the hat in exchange for a bar tab at W77. If you don’t mind a “gently” used hat.

  35. Callahan For Captain on

    Korpedo is not developing into a star player, but even allowing for this at the time of his trade for Lisin, I hated it. First, Korpedo was a Rangers system product, and complemented the cohesiveness of keeping young players together in the minors and in the big show. Second, looking at Lisin’s “credentials” when the trade was completed, two things jumped out at me: he is a “minus” player, on the ice for far too many opposition goals, relative to his own team even-strengh goals, indicating that he is a defensive sieve. Also, his assists totals, relative to his goals scored, are abysmally low, indicating an on-ice selfishness and the unwillingness to look for and set up teammates with scoring chances.

    This is exactly where Sather’s entire philosophy of constructing a team is so desperately flawed. The Rangers could never come out ahead, on balance, on a trade like this, even if Lisen were to outscore Korpikoski. The Rangers underachieve because the sum of the individual parts does not equal the whole. Next to go, undoubtedly, will be Sanguinetti, who will bring in some hack with better stats, but who will also fail to mesh, cohesively, within the system and with the rest of the team, for at least a couple years.

    It never friggin’ ends with this cigar-chomping moron who has no conception of the significance of on-ice cohesiveness and chemistry, on hockey team. And a free agent mercenary the Captain of this team, ahead of more productive, loyal, and spirited Rangers system players is an infantile, myopic oversight.

  36. Possible big trade with Washington and Columbus…from the Columbus Dispatch and Rotoworld…

    The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Washington Capitals are reportedly on the verge of making a potentially blockbuster trade.

    Although the players involved are not yet known, the Capitals will have Karl Alzner spend Monday’s game in the press box. Alzner’s omission from Monday’s game has fueled speculation that he’s involved in the deal, although it would take a fair amount for the Capitals to part with him. Nikita Filatov may also be involved in the deal. Filatov left the Blue Jackets to play the remainder of the season in the KHL because he felt Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock never gave him a chance. Stay tuned.

  37. i have a lot of running around to do before the game but i just wanted to stop by and say i mailed out the signed photos. i mailed em in a manila envelope w/ bubble wrap inside. it says handle w/ care on the envelope so i hope they get to their destinations unharmed.

  38. If I were looking at it from the really really big picture perspective…

    I’d go back and let Renney finish last season, miss the playoffs, fire him then. Fire Slats after that… Bring in a whole new front office, bury Dru’s, Gomers, reddens, rozy’s contracts in the AHL, if we couldn’t move them, and start over with the group of under-25’s we have.

  39. And oh yeah: NEW YORK (AP) — Rangers top-line forward Vinny Prospal is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery that will keep him out for at least 10 days, and maybe up to three weeks.

  40. I wonder if Higgins is partying too much in NYC.

    He said he didn’t like his dad and brother living so close and having so much access to him;
    Torts said that some guys need to see NYC as a reward for hard work, and not put night life first,
    we have the fact that he is having his WORST year in his career….

    just wondering….

  41. DEP

    That wouldn’t happen. Get used to it, cause Slats isn’t going anywhere until he decides to retire. Sad but true.

    It will be a nightmare to be a Rangers fan for a few more years.

    I wonder if Slats ever thinks aboot all his mistakes while eating Mrs. Slat’s fresh meatloaf with bacon strips laid across, with a nice white wine.

  42. tr
    mrs wicky sends her much appreciated thanks!!!!

    no worries

    Some of us are working and don’t have time to just google all day…..sheeesh!!! (wink wink)

  43. I would ABSOLUTELY prefer Zherdev, Antropov, Orr, Sjostrom, Betts and Korpikoski, than have gone for Brashear/Lisin/Kotalik/Higgins.

    Though i’m glad Prospal came with it, the guy plays with passion and grit.

    Zherdev and Gaborik on a line would have been great to watch, even having Antro or Dubi on that line would create some magic i imagine…

    Derek Morris, Paul Mara.. heck even Toots…. i do miss those guys. Morris wanted way too much money though.

    As constructed…. we’re screwed next season. Major cap issues. Something may happen… but Sather doesn’t make me optimistic, even WITH the Gabby signing, which has been the best thing he’s done in recent memory.

  44. Absolutely stunning and right on the money questionnaire.

    I was amazed when they dumped one of their most dedicated lines,albeit a bit short in the talent department with Orr, but he more than made up for it in other areas. But to drop Mara,Betts and Sjostrom for what they wound up with is

  45. Truly amazing that Sather still has a job.

    Rangers should avoid tri-state players in the draft (first round in particular).

    I wanted Giroux in the 2006 draft – naturally he went one pick behind Sanguinetti. Should’ve drafted him or Berlgund.

    Carp has already covered the debacle that is Glen Sather’s free agency history

  46. redded and roszi are in hartford, im pretty sure drury has some trade value left don’t you think ? maybe a few draft picks…

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