Even though I said it'd be delayed, here is the first of what we can assume will be many rambling thoughts on the NYRs and their now over 2009-2010 season:
Should He Stay or Should He Go?
A handful of home games ago, I stopped and took note of who I wanted on the team next season, even before all of the late season push had gotten underway. I viewed at it "in an ideal world" of no contracts, no ties, just who I 100% wanted:
Not a bad team, really. Short 3 defensemen (gosh help us) and a line. But still...
(And please no one take offense that Dubinsky is absent from the above. I'm going on what I felt at the moment so in fairness I will not change now. Stones down, please ;) )
Voros and Boyle were borderline players to me as in I like what you did (Voros does deserve praise for being such a good teammate and stepping in during the 11th hour when needed. No hard feelings) and I'd keep you, but I'd rather fill those places with younger players, if we are being honest.
Eriksson was a nice complement.
And Jokinen, well, he was as useless as everyone in Florida, Phoenix, and Calgary could have told us.
However, if we step out of fantasy land and into the land of realistically speaking, the NYRs most likely are stuck with Drury, Redden, and Rozsival. So that changes the whole landscape.
And takes the fun out of my little game...
The season that passed and the way it ended. Want some initial thoughts? Sure. Okay.
The New York Rangers were only half a team when it counted. Only less than
half a team all year.
I want to reward the guys that did show up for this team. The ones that got
it. The ones you felt contributed.
Keep those that made strides or got it done before. Cally, Dubinsky, Del Zotto.
And try to not blow up the rest. Maybe they don't need a full rehaul. Maybe
they just need to retool one or two things.
But can they?
Age old question. Drury is going into year 4 of 5. Redden, year 3 of 6.
Rozsi year 3 of 5.
And still, I don't know how you combat that. And as much as you can never blame
them for accepting Fisher Price Glen's contracts and as much as you can't
forgive them for not performing anywhere half of what those contracts are
worth, where exactly is the middle ground? When do you cut the ties?
And I ask that more of R&R than Captain Mumbles, because let's face it.
Although Drury is worth one third of his contract, he's the most non-pc for
Torts to part with and the quickest to go away contract wise. I can live with one of
three and its his that they can best do the same.
But two years ago the hockey experts and I said R&R's contracts would
cripple the NYRs for years to come.
How is that any less true two years later?
I'm not saying two moves would make this team a contendor. I'm saying two
more moves would better prove just how far away they really are or aren't.
A real defensemen besides Staal. A real secondary or support scoring player
These are no less important than they were two years ago. In fact, they are
drastically more important.
The teams around the NYRs are getting better, not worse. The Rangers saw
relative mediocrity get them into the playoffs in the past and within one
shootout win of it this year.
That won't be the case next year. We can lie to ourselves. They can lie to
themselves, but really now... Even if they did, how far would they go?
I liked this team better, surely. I loved that they didn't trade the farm
on draft day. I love that shedding Kotalik and Higgins got us Prust! I
And as much as it sucked to go out when they did, I wasn't torn up.
Dissapointed yes. As much as they play for the chance, we root for the same
And it didn't happen.
But to say it wasn't something we were legitimately expecting would be ludicrous.
Meanwhile. It may be a good thing. Too easy to sneak in at game 82 and
ignore games 10 through 70. Its not my job to analyze what went wrong,
thankfully, but I hope to goodness someone uses this time off to do so.
Players. Coaches. Management.
As much as I would have liked those 4 extra games to cheer for, I would
like this even more.
I will be fine, watching other hockey. Teams like the Coyotes who jumped
from 25th to 4th (and 4th in pts) in the league.
Say it can't be done? They are proof that if you build a team of the right players who buy into the right system of the right coach - yes you can.
Seriously, you can.
I guess as much as we would all have liked to think so, the NYRs were just
not that close.
And won't be.
I do hope that someday - someday soon - the NYRs will give us the promise that
is possible for them too.
Because, it feels damn good to be a Rangers fan sometimes. Friday night was an example of that.
I hope next year we get to feel more of THAT!