First of all, thanks to Sam Weinman over at The Journal News for writing an article on Prucha and his unbelievable character.
There hasn't been a ton of press devoted to Prucha - minus Larry Brooks who's been arguing on his behalf all year now - so any is appreciated.
Pete is now playing with confidence. He always played with heart, but confidence makes a big difference. It is a pleasure to watch. I'm sure - scratch that, positive -there will be a time for me to delve deeper and again into the enigma that is Prucha's time with the New York Rangers. But I think I'm going to take a pass on that for today.
Instead, word has come out courtesy of Larry Brooks, saying that contract talks have begun with Nikolai Zherdev.
Yes, pick yourself up now.
I am not saying that for the reason I don't want him on the team.
I absolutely do.
As one of the few - oh precious few - that can dazzle and make things happen offensively, I'd love to have him.
Just one teensie little problem.
The Rangers, thanks to Skipper Slats, are handicapped for the foreseeable future. How long is forseeable?
Well they are a half year into Redden's 6 year deal. They are one and a half years into Gomez's seven year deal. One and a half years into Drury's five year deal. Half year into Lundqvist's six year deal.
As I highlighted in one of my personal favorites: "Does it Really All Add Up Rangers Fans... (http://naturalhattrick.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-it-really-all-add-up-rangers-fans.html). . . these four players make approximately 49% of the Rangers entire team salary allotment.
And out of the lot, only Hank deserves what he's getting.
Therefore, the foreseeable future becomes anywhere from 3.5-5.5 years from now.
That's 3.5 years where other "significant" players cannot be signed unless these "insignificant" players are moved. Comparitively speaking.
And do you really think anyone is going to bite at Redden at his $6.5 million per year? Drury at his $7.050? Gomez at his $7.357?
I just don't see it happening. It would be a gift - a rare gift - if someone would take any of these players at THOSE salaries. A gift!
And frankly I just don't see the other GMs in this league playing Santa Claus to Mr. "If I had the payroll of the New York Rangers, I'd win the Stanley Cup every year" Sather.
So Zherdev wants to stay in New York for the long term. He loves it here. (Face it, of course he loves it here.)
But unless someone owns a time machine to go back and erase July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008 from everyone's memories, I don't see how it happens.
And if it does - if it does - that's going to be that much less money they are going to have available to sign anyone else to play with those five players. (Well ten players actually if you include Naslund, Staal, Girardi, Voros, and Rozival as well who are also under contract for next year.)
And you want to presumably keep Staal, Mara, Girardi or someone that can actually PLAY defense beyond this/next year?
I'd now like to quote the Everly Brother's hit song:
Dre-ea-ea-ea-eam. Dream. Dream. Dream. Dre-ea-ea-ea-eam.