Monday, August 28, 2006

SummerWind

"All summer long we sang a song And then we strolled on golden sand Two friends and the summer wind."

While losing Tom Poti is a positive what does Aaron Ward bring to the Ranger D? Scouting reports rate him no better than a fifth or six defenseman. It certainly didn't bring any toughness. While there may be made a case for not shelling out huge bucks for Zdeno Charo why no offer for tough stay at home Brendan Witt? We will certainly see plenty of him as we face the Islanders eight times and be able to compare Witt vs Ward.

Matt Cullen is a big improvement over Steve Rucchin by why not Jason Arnott? I was in Tennessee the July 4th week and the Predators management was ecstatic over signing Arnott. They felt he was the final piece to their puzzle. He was overjoyed that he would be the first line center. Here is a guy that would protect Jagr and give the Rangers some much needed toughness.

Toughness is a word Ranger management seems to run from. It was given a serious blow with the illness to Jed Ortmeyer. A pulmonary embolism is a serious condition and most likely will sideline Ortmeyer for a good portion of the year if not the whole year. Besides his aggressive checking, Ortmeyer is a key penalty killer, led the forwards with 75 blocked shots which ranks him seventh in the league at his position. Considering the amount of ice time he gets a game (5-8 minutes) it is a remarkable stat. He will be missed.

Ryan Hollweg is all that is left of the fearsome HMO line. With Moore traded away and now in Pittsburgh, Hollweg is definitely the Rangers designated hitter among the forwards. In fact he may be the only hitter among the Rangers forwards. It is asking too much to expect Brendan Shanahan to be throwing his 37 year old body around.

The Rangers keep concentrating on speed, which is fine but you need grit and toughness to win in the NHL. The league caught on to that at the tail end of the season and it was prevalent in the playoffs. The Rangers found that out. Is there anyone on the roster among the forwards besides Hollweg? I don't see any. I may be wrong and I hope I am but this looks like a soft Ranger team that may not make it down the stretch.

"And guess who sighs his lullabies To all the nights that never end? My fickle friend, The summer wind."

Umm...the summer wind.



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