Hockey and the Circus seem to have an affinity for each other. The Circus in 1950 caused the Rangers to lose the Stanley Cup. Over the years watching the Rangers management team in action you would swear that the Circus was back in town and a series of clowns was running the Rangers.
Folks, the Circus is back in town and is playing on Long Island. Led by ringmaster Charles Wang, the Islanders have created a circus like spectacle in their offseason handling of their management structure. Wang started out with the unthinkable by hiring a coach, Ted Nolan, before hiring a GM. Knowing Nolan's long love affairs with GM's Wang's move was probably calculated. Nolan has now accumulated two GM's scalps. Maybe there was a reason that no GM wanted to touch Nolan with a ten foot pole.
Commissar Wang decided that he needed a corporate matrix management system and not the traditional top down from President to GM to Coach. The team would be run by committee. How could Neil Smith agree to this? Why would Neil Smith agree to this? How could a guy who was so smart on OLN be so stupid in front of a con man? Pat LaFontaine who was hired as special advisor, promptly resigned, cutting the group of four, Bryan Trottier is executive director of player development, to two. LaFontaine had suggested to The Commissar that he hold off on firing Smith. Wang ignored LaFontaine. Pat then suggested that Wang hold off on naming a new GM. Wang ignored LaFontaine. LaFontaine then figured it out that special advisor to the Commissar was only for decisions like, "where do we do lunch?"
So now the group of four, minus two and plus one, Garth Snow is the new GM (?), will continue to entertain themselves and embarrass their fans and the hockey world with their antics. Wait til Ted Nolan who is a tough coach gets into it with the habitual complainers in the locker room. That should be fun. But if it happens, Wang's Warriors will be ready. Yashin will be the coach and Trottier will center the first line. Who knows, Wang could be special advisor to Garth Snow.
The Rangers traded good guy Dominic Moore to Nashville for right wing Adam Hall. Nashville then traded Moore to Pittsburgh for a draft pick. It was inevitable for Moore who centered the fourth line also known as the HMO line. It was probably the fans most favorite line. The Rangers have Blair Betts, their best faceoff man, who basically does what Moore does but has a little more offensive skills. The move opens up a spot for a guy like Jarkko Immonen who could center a third line with wings Prucha and Hossa.
Adam Hall, who will be 26 years old in August, is 6'3", 205 pounds and was 14-15-29 last season. In his rookie year, 2002-03, he led all rookies with 8 power play goals. He is young and gives the Rangers some much needed size. The question is how much ice time will he get. We shall see. The Rangers also resigned Jed Ortmeyer who with Hollweg were the wingers for Moore.
Brian Leetch remains unsigned as a free agent. I believe there is too much bitterness in Brian to sign with the Rangers. It is also questionable whether Sather would bring him back. While he would be an asset on the power play where would he fit in the defensive set? The Rangers do seem to have a surplus of good defensemen, but the fans would love to have him back. Don't you think?
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Perhaps it was ten years late but the Rangers finally corralled veteran bruiser, scorer Brendan Shanahan to a one year $4 million dollar deal. Shanahan turned down more lucrative offers from the Red Wings and the Canadiens to sign with the Rangers. Brendan scored 40 goals and 81 points in 82 games with the Red Wings last year so there is still life in the 37 year-old winger.
The signing of Shanahan is the first impact player the Rangers have signed during the free agency period. While winger, centerman Matt Cullen and defenseman Aaron Ward are both solid additions they don't bring to the table what Shanahan does. Brendan, who is two goals shy of 600 career goals, will compliment Jagr, who is nine goals shy of 600, nicely. They should form a dynamic duo on the power play which went into hiding at the tail end of the season.
Shanahan is still a force in the NHL despite his age. Granted the Rangers are getting him at the tail end of his career he is still a valuable catch. Rest assured he is not Theo Fleury, Eric Lindros or Pavel Bure all who came to the Rangers with some form of baggage. Shanahan is healthy, rugged and his head is screwed on right. Is it all positive and rosy? No.
So what are the potential problems? First of all he is 37 years old and one never knows when a body breaks down, especially at an advanced sport age. Also remember the rules last year favored the free skating and shied away from the heavy hitting and tight checking. This favored the Rangers for the regular season. However the playoffs, as the rounds advanced, got tighter coverage and tougher checking. Shanahan only got one goal and one assist in six playoff games. He led the Red Wings in goals scored (40) in the regular season.
The addition of Shanahan takes ice time away from Petr Prucha. He would have broken Tony Granato's record for goals by a Ranger rookie (36) had he not gotten injured. Prucha will lose power play time as it is certain that Shanahan will be teamed with Jagr and that is how it should be. Prucha like Shanahan had 14 power play goals last year. Shanahan's addition probably means that Prucha will go to the third line. Third lines on the Rangers get less ice time, less opportunities. Petr Prucha is too exciting and productive a player to have his ice time reduced.
What about the prospects? Remember Matt Cullen has also been added to the roster. This does not leave many positions open. What about the Nigel Dawes's? Hugh Jessiman? Jarkko Immonem? Dwight Helminen? Is the Rangers vaunted youth movement over? Did the taste of a playoff, however disastrous, mean a return to normalcy at the Garden? Ticket wise it did as they raised ticket prices without the courtesy of a letter.
What about the locker room? The room has basically been the platform for Jaromir Jagr. It will now have dueling voices as the drive by sports media will surely find a way to try and get competing and controversial views from the two super stars. Last year it was one room with one voice. Jagr's voice was more credible and cogent than the coach's voice. Will this change? In Shanahan's defense he has been a unifier and a team player. He has been credited by some for bringing the lockout to an end and for getting some of the rules changed.
Overall this looks like a good move on the part of the Rangers. However, the proof is in the pudding and results will determine, as they usually do, the value of this deal. What do you think?
ICINGS: The laugh of the week, month, year, comes from Neil Smith the newly anointed GM by Committee announcing that Tom Poti will quarterback his power play. You heard that right, Tom Poti. The rationale was that he led the Ranger defensemen in shots on goal, I believe 220, and scored all of 3 goals. That's right fans, you count them. Over 200 shots on goal and 3 goals scored. WOW! Too bad the Jets can't get a quarterback that good.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
— John Hancock
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George
Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton