Friday, September 26, 2008

The Season That Didn't Happen. . .for the Guy Who Gave it His All . . .

Maybe I'm being short-sided on this (and it has happened before) but I find it hard to believe the Rangers cut Petr Nedved, when he honestly seemed to be one of only 2-3 guys that were scoring on a regular basis this pre-season. (Lauri Korpikoski and Brandon Dubinksy being the others). And granted maybe having the "Korpedo" score was enough. He looked very good. And honestly, if is just a situation of having Korpikoski over Nedved, then I agree. Lauri has waited a long time and he is ready and I already said that I don't want to sacrifice a young guy for an old guy when it doesnt make sense to do so. That being said, I guess I just don't know if I'd choose Betts over Nedved. I don't. And with no disrespect to Betts, I say that. I have watched this team fail to score before and it's a bad feeling. I hope that this is just an issue of needing more time to mesh and getting some timing down, but if the guys who make so much money do not score, or do not make the players they play with better, then what is the point? It's going to be a long season on Broadway.

I might be a little bitter and admitedly I'm sad for him he didn't make the team. I have not made it a secret, I am a fan of him in all regards. And I would have liked to have him be successful here. Maybe that is short-sided. Maybe that is selfish. I'm not sure. But at least they let him go now before the trip to Europe. A few people have suggested maybe Glen Sather never had any intent of keeping him at all and perhaps it was Tom Renney who felt he had a hard decision to make on who to have play. I think that's lousy if that's the case. You do what's best for the team. And if that means hurting someone's feelings. Fine. (See blog on Shanahan "With apologies to one of hockey's greats. . ." to clarify). I just am not sure why (if the Rangers did not spend sooooooooo much money and are on such tight cap margins right now) Nedved couldn't have a role on this team. Have Betts play the games that were going to be 1-0 anyway, like those against a Boston team. Have Nedved play when you need an offensive boost. Unlike Shanahan, I don't think he wanted big money. And, unlike Shanahan, I think everyone could see exactly where he fit in so well. 4th line center to be both defensively responsible, be able to penalty kill, and be able to score.

I don't like to say this, but I think his playing with PA Parenteau and Petr Prucha hurt him last night. And I love Prucha. Have not made that argument yet and won't today. But not for nothing, Prucha is massivly lacking in confidence right now. Nedved should have been playing with a Voros or a Callahan, or Korpikoski on wing, someone who is firing on all cylinders. I think that would have given him a better chance. Unfortunately almost everyone looked flat last night. And in the end, that was the last they saw of #93. And what they remembered.

It's a hard call and I'm glad I don't have to make it. I really am. But I am disappointed. On a personal level I am. But, I still have to hope this team does the right things and plays well and goes forward in a good direction. I've done it before. I will again. Because they are, after all, my team. And as I grew to love guys like Nedved, post-Messier's departure, and guys throughout the years, I will too grow to love others. You always doubt it can happen, but the heart always surprises you.

But if this team with all their "talent" does not score more than 2 goals a game, I am going to be very, very ill. And with the "talent" they do have, one wouldn't think it would be a problem. But....I guess you really never know do you.

To Neddie: Best of luck in Czech Republic. Thanks for giving it probably the best shot you could have. A lot of people were surprised you didn't make the team, and many were the same people that said they didn't originally want you to in the first place. You are a class act and, yes, you still have the talent to be here. Make no mistake of that. And if and when the Rangers are 3-10 going into November, I'll think about you and wonder, what if.

Quick shots-

- Colton Orr's fight with Tampa's David Koci was a thing of beauty. Stars all around for Orr. He ....might just be my favorite player on the team right now.

- Korpikoski does deserve a place on this team. If HE replaces Betts on the 4th line, I'm all for it.

-Prucha is not lacking skill or ability; he's lacking confidence. Part of that is situational (injuries at not so great times last year when he was just finding his groove) and part of it is the way he was constantly shuffled around last year. (It was a line juggling circus, let's be honest). Now that Petr Neds is gone, I will pray mostly that Pete Pruchs nets a few goals immediately and gets that confidence back. A confident Prucha is a dangerous Prucha. I hope for his sake, he gets the chance.

- Is it me or are neither Dmitri Kalinen or Wade Redden doing anything impressive? Quite the opposite? I hope Corey Potter or Brian Fahey take Kalinen's spot, to be honest. I mean I guess we are stuck with Redden's 6.5....but Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, and Paul Mara should be the other guys. And so far, Girardi has looked great. Mara has looked good. And Del Zotto (cut the other day) has passed better than most of them.

I look foward to tomorrow with a mixture of anticipation and dread. . . .til then.

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