Wednesday, June 30, 2004

SATHER DISSES LINDROS

Eric Lindros now knows how Brian Leetch and Adam Graves, two Ranger legends, felt and still feel after being dumped on the quiet, without a word from the exalted one-Glen Sather. Lindros will enter the free agency market tomorrow as the Rangers will not pick up Lindros' option for a fourth year. It is reported that Lindros has not heard from any Ranger official since the end of the season. There is nothing wrong with not offering a player an option year. But what is wrong is that the President, GM and former coach, Glen Sather, neither had the time, the inclination or the guts to tell Lindros that he was no longer wanted. The Exalted One didn't have the time to tell Brian Leetch, a seventeen year Ranger icon, that he was traded. He let Adam Graves, another Ranger great, flounder but never gave him the official word either. For those Ranger fans who booed Lindros let me remind them that in his first year 2001-2002 he was leading the Rangers to the top of the league until he came down with a concussion. In fact in his three years with the Rangers he averaged .82 points per game. More often that not he led the team in hits given and taken. Many times the opposition took liberties with Lindros with no retaliation from his teammates. This has been a Ranger liability for years. Did we address that in the draft. No, we got another goalie. Eric was the subject of much criticism from Sather during the year and never spent as much as a week with the same linemates. He never uttered a word and played the same, in your face, game whether 7 minutes or 20 minutes. I salute Eric Lindros and wish him well healthwise. A healthy Eric Lindros is a force to be reckoned with. I hope he signs in the Western conference. Eric, you will be missed. Good luck.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Draft Day Brings Chill to Ranger Fans

As a Ranger fan we often think it can't get worse, unfortunately it did yesterday at The Theater at the Garden. The fans (season ticket holders) booed when Dave Maloney, brother of assistant Gm Don Maloney, mentioned that the Rangers might take Al Montoya, goalie from Michigan. When it was officially announced the crowd booed lustily, chants of 'fire Sather' went up and at least one third of the crowd got up and left. While the Rangers need size,quickness and toughness they picked another goalie who by ESPN's admission played in front of a great Michigan defense. So Montoya joins Blackburn, who may never play another game for the Rangers; Lundqvist, who has another year in Sweden; Mike Dunham, and Jamie McClennan last years holdovers. But Sather is the story. Every time his face was shown on ESPN he got booed. It should be a great season with him not showing up for any games. Remember he was a no show at Mike Richter night. No big deal he has been a no show as President, GM and coach and is as arrogant as they come. In three years he has the Rangers worse now than when he showed up. But he has accomplished one thing. He now has Ranger fans speaking fondly of Neil Smith. While Jim Dolan thinks he is the smartest man in hockey and would never fire him, one more missed playoff will put Sather out and maybe even take Dolan with him if we are lucky.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Ranger Draft Day (Another Deep Freeze?)

First of all congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fine young coach, John Tortorella, Ranger reject among other notables. So the Rangers go into draft day without a coach so the resident genius, Glen Sather, can style the team in his image and then criticize the coach for not making it work. The Rangers go into draft day with the 6th and 24th picks. The prize seems to be Alexander Ovechkin the Russian phenom. But there may be a surprise in store for those of us attending draft day at Madison Square Garden. A few years ago Neil Smith, then Ranger GM pulled off a blockbuster by nailing Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark for an assortment of players and picks. Unfortunately that didn't work out as Brendl is floundering around the league and Lundmark plays infrequently despite the Ranger's futility. I believe that both will make it yet as both have too much talent. Brendl in goal scoring and Lundmark in playmaking. Which brings us to tomorrow's draft. The Rangers could put together a package of their two first round picks with defenseman Tom Poti and forward Jamie Lundmark, include some bucks and pry Ovechkin from the Capitals. As for the coach, the Rangers should look no further than Hartford and their own McGill and stay away from the name coaches. Sather has already lost some 'big name' coaches and still has eyes on Larry Robinson in New Jersey. No sale on that one. NJ will not let him go with Pat Burn's illness. So stay with the young guy, McGill, and get out of his way and let him coach. Sather also lost Martin to Florida as he signed with his good friend Mike Keenan. Now how many of you really believe that Keenan has a good friend? Wait til 'Iron Mike' imposes his will on his friend and watch that relationship go poop and Mike will take over as the coach. For Sather it could be a winner. Pull off the deal, stay with the young coach from Hartford and go back to Edmonton and watch the games on TV.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Ten Years of Agony

NY area TV is doing lots of ten year anniversary stories about the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in 1994. Knowing how terrible the last ten years have been would Ranger fans trade that cup for some better teams over the last decade? The Rangers have been to the playoffs 3 times in the last 10 years. Before you answer consider all the lousy coaches, general managers and players that have been flushed through this organization over the last 10?

The answer: Yes, it was worth it. But, only for the last 10 years. Torture us with another 10 years of futility and organizational chaos and we will not be as sanguine in 2014. Never mind a cup curse brewing over the Rangers how about someone in authority doing some basic organizational incantations to remove this perennial playoff hex? Let's start by materializing a decent coach we can respect.

Monday, June 07, 2004

The Best of Times

For any true sports fan it doesn't get any better than a Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. It doesn't matter if you know a hoot about hockey, tonight's game will be a compelling drama in three acts or more. Given the lack of goal scoring it will feel like sudden death from the opening face-off. Picked Tampa to win, but the heart is with Calgary. Not much else going on in the sports world tonight, so it's hockey's chance to show off its best. Too bad every game isn't a game seven-guess that kind of excitment has to be saved for the big sports bar in the sky.

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