Pretty much from the moment he came to New York two years ago, Brendan Shanahan became Shanny. Just Shanny. That journey ended yesterday as Shanny told Larry Brooks (NY Post) that he was telling his agent to open talks with other clubs. The time had come and gone for his return to NY.
I already wrote ( "With Apologies in Advance to One of Hockey's Greats") a while back and stated that I don't think Shanahan should come back. And not for not liking him, appreciating him for what he did, or appreciating who he is. But for the fact that there is no way that he'd play fourth line minutes. It would take a matter of a few weeks before the lines would be juggled and Shanahan would be on the top powerplay unit and playing 20 minutes a night. Trust me. And to have him on the top line, taking time and a roster space away from other younger players is wrong, in my opinion. If Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka were told, thank you, but we're moving in a new, youth-oriented direction, and then the Rangers signed Shanahan a few months later, it would seem odd to me. (I guess by the same token it would seem odd if and when Mats Sundin comes around this year, but that's neither here nor there). Again, this is only my opinion, but given the past, and given the constant line changes that go on nightly at the Garden, one can hardly blame me.
Without repeating too much of what I said back in early September, I am glad Shanahan became a Ranger. I know it changed the dynamic of the team and I think for the better for the most part. Nothing is perfect. And yes, if given the right role, he could still play, absolutely. It's more about lack fo trust that will happen the right way, than lack of trust Shanahan is still an admirable and effective player.
Bottom line, if Shanahan never signed with the Rangers, I'd still think of him as one of those guys that won championships with Detroit. And that's short-sided and wrong. Shanahan has been a tremendous hockey player with a great, great career. He should be proud. And I'm proud he was a Ranger.
That being said, he was a Ranger for 2 years. A proud Ranger. A loyal Ranger. All very admirable. But it was 2 years. There were a lot of other guys that played here longer, that did more, that are no longer here.
Shanahan wasn't my favorite Ranger. He will probably never come close. But he was loyal and he had moments on Broadway I will remember. And he had this smile and this funny way of telling stories. I'll miss that. One of my favorite moments was watching him fight Donald Brashear in December of 2006. Showed his character. One of my least favorites was being there to watch him and Mike Knuble collide. Showed how fragile a game hockey is. Anything can happen at any time to anyone.
That being said, I wish him all the success in wherever he goes (if he does), and if not, I thank him for his two years here, and for all he did in his career. I applaud the good guys. And he is a good guy.
As a tribute to a great guy and a tremendous hockey player: