Nothing oficial has been announced but all signs are pointing to the fact that Jaromir Jagr will be named the new Ranger Captain for 2006-07. Its a natural fit. This team is as much Jagr's team as the Stanley Cup Champions were Mark Messier's.
This Ranger team is more Jagr's team than it is Tom Renney's team. Jagr is already speaking out on what needs to be done. There is no danger that the Rangers will not be in the market to upgrade the team for the next season. Jagr has already put Ranger management and the drive by media press and the fans on notice that the team needs at least two or three players for next year. So the die is cast and Jagr will be an integral part of the Ranger process for upgrading the team.
Jagr adds a credibility to the process that neither Sather or Renney or Don Maloney for that matter bring. Remember there were top players last year who refused to even talk to the Rangers. Jagr all but admitted that the other day. So the way he was an on ice coach for most of the season, he will be a behind the scenes GM on player acquisitions. He must be, as he is the Ranger fans last hope for being a contending team next year. After this years surprising, in some ways, 100 points and a playoff spot, the fans expect nothing less than challenging for the Stanley Cup.
There are some key free agents to be available during the summer. Five come to mind. Three are defensemen. Wade Redden and Zdeno Charo from the Senators are two blue chippers. The other is a solid back checker, Brendan Witt. Witt, formerly of the Washington Capitals, was traded to Nashville at the trade deadline. He has been in the NHL for 10 years and is 31 years old. Redden is 28 years old and Chara is 29 and both, believe it or not, were Islander draft picks.
Another key free agent is Jason Arnott who played on two Devil Stanley Cup teams. Arnott had a career year with Dallas, 32 goals, 44 assists and 76 points.
Then there is Patrik Elias, of the Devils. While it is hard to see the Devils not signing him there are problems in Jerseyland. It is called the cap. The famous new NHL cap. Is it possible that the Devils could lose Elias? No way you say. Remember Scotty Niedermeyer? There was no way he would leave Jersey right? Wrong, he left.
Imagine a line of Arnott, Elias and Sykora? That would be the second line. The first would be Jagr, Prucha and Immonen. Not bad, eh!
UPDATE: Sad news-
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - New York Rangers defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, who spent time this season in the NHL's substance abuse program, was arrested Tuesday on a drunken driving charge, police said.
Ozolinsh was stopped Tuesday in White Plains, where he was allegedly driving 66 mph in a 40-mph zone, police Inspector Daniel Jackson said. A field sobriety test estimated the level of alcohol in Ozolinsh's blood at 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
He was charged with driving while intoxicated and released for a May 16 court appearance. Ozolinsh was also issued summonses for speeding and driving without a seat belt, and his blue 2006 Nissan Altima was impounded.
Rangers defenseman Ozolinsh charged with DWI [MSG, May 3, 2006]