Monday, February 26, 2007

Bring Up The Kids

Its over and done. Forget rentals. Clean house and I mean clean house. Its time to bring up the kids and see if all the prospects the Rangers keep bragging about are really that good. Why wait? If Jagr doesn't like it, tough! We went through a period of the last three years of Messier where growth was stifled and what did we get? No playoffs. We had Gretzky for three years but at least he got us to the conference finals. Messier came back from Vancouver and in three years did nothing but take up too much ice time that could have gone to younger guys. It looks like the same path with Jagr while kids like Dawes and Callahan come up for Cameo appearances. To top it off we have a coach who is totally clueless and has abdicated his responsibilities to the senior members of the team, Jagr and Shanahan. He has no strategy and no idea how to motivate a veteran laden team. Look at his power play deployment. Its called rounding up the usual suspects. Meanwhile, his two stars, Jagr and Shanahan are at odds how to run the power play.

On defense the only ones I would keep are Tyutin, Pock and Girardi. I would put all the others on the block, though it is doubtful any other team would want them. Lets give Pock a legitimate shot to be a top defenseman before he decides to leave next year. Lets bring up Ivan Baranka, Bryce Lampman and David Liffiton from Hartford to give them much needed NHL experience. Finally on defense, isn't it time to take the wraps off of Marc Staal and let him join the rest of his brothers who have been so successful?

As for the forwards I would keep Jagr, Shanahan, Avery, Betts, Hollweg, Ortmeyer, Prucha and possibly Hossa. If this makes Jagr unhappy, then so be it. Bring up Callahan, Dawes, Dubinsky, Korpimski and give Jarkko Immonen a chance to prove that he is an NHL center. Who knows they might bring some excitement back to the Garden.

Drastic? Yes. But what is the alternative? Last year we caught everyone by surprise but it was a rejuvenated Jagr and a surprising Henrik Lundqvist that carried the day. This year they are less than sensational. What last year did was buy reprieve's for Sather and Renney. In a sense it was bad that we made the playoffs last year. It was fool's gold. Only Dolan and his pockets profited from last year. He rewarded the fans, you remember that group, with an increase in ticket prices, silently, with no notice. So we made the playoffs and what did we do?

We screwed up in the free agency market. We signed two players, Aaron Ward and Matt Cullen, who profited from winning the Cup with a strong team, the Hurricanes. We ignored impact players like Witt and Arnott who may have demanded a bit more cash but you know that old saying, you get what you pay for. Now one player, Ward, is reportedly battling with Jagr, and Cullen has bounced from one line to another and one position to another.

What is the coach's response to all this? Pronouncements. Happy with blowing a two goal lead against the Devils and getting a point. Failing to inspire a team that keeps losing to the bottom feeders. He changed the power play for a few games and it seemed to work and then back to the same old perimeter game where Rozsival always passes the puck to Jagr regardless of who is open and then predictively loses the puck at the point causing shorthanded rushes. But hey, didn't we sign Rozsival to a big contract?

We have been trapped too many times by this rental bugaboo that goes on in the NHL. Lets take a different tact for a change and go big time for the youth. Unfortunately, with Sather and Renney and Dolan it doesn't seem possible. So don't hold your breath for a youth movement.



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2 comments:

  • Anonymous said...
     

    Sure Jagr is the Captain, but he has not been "Captain-like" this year. Should he be cleared out and/or booed out of the Garden? I think a revolt is brewing.

  • mike said...
     

    anonymous-Not Jagr. I don't think he is 100% physically. Lets boo Renney and Sather out of the Garden.

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