Monday, February 20, 2012
Rant answers: Ranger fans gone wild!
By Pierre LeBrun
The Rant Blog doesn’t take a week off just because everyone is focused on trade talk. There are still people who need to blow off steam. Let’s start with a couple of gems from Rangers fans:
dthenn: What is Glen Sather thinking? This guy has a job now because he coached probably the greatest team ever drafted. A team, by the way, that could have coached itself and still won. The Rangers have a young team that has chemistry. Not knocking Rick Nash at all, I believe he is a true talent. For years the Rangers have been a joke because of the money Sather would spend that always amounted to nothing. If it wasn't for the salary cap, the Rangers never would have been as good as they are now. All this young talent we have now would have been spread throughout the league, with other teams in horrible trades made by Sather bringing in unproven talent or players who were past their prime. Nash is not the answer for the Rangers, and his cap hit would make it hard to re-sign players whose contracts expire over the next couple years. We have promising prospects and Chris Kreider is a 6-3, 225-pound power forward who plays physical and is just as fast as Carl Hagelin. To me that is the ideal power forward you could want. He can be brought up in a system and learn to buy into it just like the everyone on the team has now. The Rangers in interviews are quick to point out teammates as to why they are doing well but take the blame for themselves or as a team when they lose. Never blaming each other. They can say all what they want that the Rangers need a stud player to score goals, but it has been proven a hot goalie can get you further. Sather is the least popular person to the fan base and the owner needs to stick to messing around with the Knicks. This Rangers team shows everything we as fans have waited for. A coach who preaches team, players who are a close-knit group that bought into what John Tortorella has been saying and gives us their all. Like all teams, we have spots where we need to improve but it's not worth to trade away key pieces and our future for one player.
away0921: Good afternoon, Pierre, I will get right to the point. If the Rangers trade either Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh for Rick Nash, or anyone, really, then Glen Sather really screwed up. The team is successful because of its chemistry, great defense and goaltending, tough gritty attitude and everyone buying into Tortarella's system. That mix of attributes has has them near or at the top of the Eastern Conference the majority of the season. You don't trade away two of your most important cogs in that system in one of the league's plus/minus leaders and one of the league's shot-blocking leaders, especially for an aging and highly paid player.
My take: I agree with you, away0921. While I do believe Rick Nash is a big-time difference-maker, you trade for him only as long as key personnel on the current NHL roster aren’t touched. And to me that includes Del Zotto and McDonagh. But if you can convince the Jackets to take a package of your best prospects plus top it off with a Brandon Dubinsky -- who to me has become less crucial to the team dynamic this season -- you do it if you’re the Rangers. It’s all about what the price will be in the end. Nash is a worthy add-on, a clutch goal scorer who played incredible hockey under the most intense pressure at Vancouver 2010 -- but everything has its price and the Rangers must be careful here.
Scott78860: While I wouldn't have a big issue with even a relocated American team such as the Coyotes around Metro Toronto, can the NHL come to its senses and not move the Coyotes to Quebec City? Maybe it would mean more money and a quick cash grab, like Atlanta to Winnipeg (average ticket price $98 there; thanks, NHL); however, it will slowly but surely carve the path to the oversized CFL that it was before 1991. I don't want to go back to that in America. Seattle, Portland, Houston and Kansas City, even though you might not have the passion that you do in QC, all would be an improvement over Phoenix. Wake up, NHL.
My take: Believe me when I tell you the NHL has Seattle very much on its radar, especially after the recent arena/NBA announcement last week. If the Coyotes need to be relocated for next season, my money would be on Seattle over Quebec City. However, the league remains optimistic that the Coyotes situation can be salvaged in Glendale. It’s not over yet there ...
IcemanSabre: I know we somehow pulled out a win yesterday over the Penguinos, but I'm torn as to whether the Sabres should let the incompetent team of Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff finish the season and ensure us a high draft pick, or clean house now so that Regier can't make short-sighted trades or hand out dumb contract extensions before he's canned in the summer. This GM/coach duo's biggest success was 13 years ago; isn't it time we moved on from the stale voice in the locker room who consistently employs the defensive shell when we have any kind of lead that is ultimately blown (Sunday being an oddity) and an underperforming GM? Knowing our luck, the Sabres will go on a win streak and win just enough that we miss out on the playoffs and a good draft pick, as usual.
My take: Let’s wait and see how this trade deadline plays out before we judge the GM. From what I’m being told by other team executives around the league, Regier has been quite busy on the phone over the past few weeks. The sense I get is that he’s willing to shake up this team in an important way. Let’s revisit this next week.
stavi14: I'm an Islanders fan, so I have gotten accustomed to losing --- but enough is enough. This team has far too much talent to still be an Eastern Conference doormat. This team needs a new coach and I find it hard to believe that a reputable coach wouldn't like a shot to coach a team with a superstar in John Tavares, potential All-Stars in Moulson, Streit and Parenteau, and so much raw potential in Okposo, Niederreiter, Hamonic, Strome, Grabner, Nielsen, McDonald, Ness, Bailey and DeHaan, not to mention another lottery player coming this year. The team is going to be playing in a new building in 2 years, whether it's Nassau or Brooklyn, 1-2 solid free agents and good coach with a goaltender like Nabby and this team could be one of the best. Enough is enough!
Shiggityshwa22: I give up this year. The Islanders have ripped my heart out and thrown it in the gutter. Hockey gods, have mercy.
My take: Honestly, and I’ve said this before, there is no fan I feel more empathy for than those of the Islanders. You talk about loyalty -- and heartbreak. I really thought they might get in the playoffs this season. I look at the young core, and I see a team that would be knocking at the playoff door. Isles GM Garth Snow told me a few weeks ago that he had no intention (at least at that point) to move Evgeni Nabokov. But I think now that it’s clear the Isles won’t make the playoffs after Monday afternoon’s horrible loss at home to the Senators -- another lost chance at narrowing the gap. So, if I were Snow, I would see what he can get for Nabokov. A second-round pick is a solid return. You can’t let Nabokov walk out the door July 1 and get nothing in return.
RepSD4Life: I can't believe how terrible the Kings are, with how many goal scorers they have. I'm a huge Kings fan and I watch every game, and it's so disappointing. Their offense is so bad that they struggle just to get it out of their own zone. They have no speed entering the other team's zone and their puck and stick-handling skills are atrocious. They can't pass, so all the other team has to do is put on a good forecheck and the Kings will lose the puck before they even get it into the other team's zone. Doughty passes up wide-open shots and then ends up losing the puck before he can even get a pass off. Every single shot the Kings take is blocked. They have no accuracy on their shots. They don't do cross-ice passes to get the goalie out of position. I can go on and on with how terrible this offense is. I'd rather the Kings trade one of their defensemen (Jack Johnson) and try to get a goal scorer. I'd rather give up defense in order to get goals at this point. Hopefully, Lombardi will make the right decisions.
ancientmariner909: If we trade Johnson, then our offense better step it up. Lombardi's job is on the line this season. If L.A. misses the playoffs, then he's definitely out.
My take: Is there a GM with more pressure to make a move before next Monday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline than Dean Lombardi? Don’t think so. Last in the NHL in offense, the Kings have held talks with Columbus both on Rick Nash and Jeff Carter -- they would rather have Nash but will settle for the latter if they strike out on the former. Another option for the Kings is Ales Hemsky, if the price is right. Having said all that, and I doubt anybody in his or her right mind would believe me, but I’m telling you this team isn’t this bad offensively when these players on their normal game. Right now, this looks like more of a mental challenge than anything. It’s like if they haven't scored 10 minutes into a game, their shoulders collectively slump and they think there’s no way they’re going to buy a goal. The battle between the ears, to me, is of greater concern right now than the actual talent on the ice.
ndg09: Pierre, the time has come to ban goaltending in hockey. Just think about it, all we ever do is complain about how they cheat using equipment that is too big and how they're a little "out there" when compared to other players. Plus, I'm now convinced this is the only way my Flyers will ever win a Cup anytime in the near future. We can't find a goalie to play well in Philly, so we might as well just try to get rid of goaltending because I'm beginning to think it will be easier than actually fixing the problem. Seriously, though, should we hold out hope for Bryz or is he a lost cause?
My take: This gave me a good chuckle so I had to include it. I certainly feel for Flyers fans and their two-decade-old goaltending issues. Still, I think it’s way too early to write off Bryzgalov. His adjustment to big-market hockey (after earlier stops in Anaheim/Phoenix) has been longer than I anticipated but I still believe he can live up to his massive contract. Give this time to play out before you give up totally on him.
lebo0508: Why Paul Martin?!?! Why do you do this to Pittsburgh every single game? The guy gets paid a huge (completely unearned) salary and looks about as intelligent on the ice as 10-year-olds in peewee leagues. On the attack, defense, with the puck and without it he ALWAYS looks lost out there on the ice, and in most cases is out there every time the Pens give up a goal. I love Ray Shero's past work (Neal, Dupuis, Kunitz et al) but the Martin contract was a HUGE bust! What can they do to finally rid us of this expensive liability to make room for players with talent? (I'm talking about you, Depres!)
My take: Terrific rant. Boggles my mind how disappointing Martin has been this season. And you’re right, Pens GM Ray Shero doesn’t often miss his mark. But I’m not sure anybody could have predicted this one. Not after the kind of hockey Martin played in New Jersey.