This will be a bitter cup of coffee for the Ranger Pundit when he returns from Italy. His guy Kasper has been put onto the waiver wire.
The good news? Well, he'll be glad he missed that 5-0 embarrassmant to the Flyers at the Garden. The team building exercises and shoot'm up paintball games at West Point might have helped the Blueshirts get ready for the pre-season opener against the Devils. A youth movement is also apparently underway? However, the young and old hockey trigger fingers were not working at all versus Philadelphia.
Will Mike like the new jerseys? Kaspar did, and that was a bad omen.
Anyway, he will probably want to say his own good-bye to Kaspar. So, for the record, here are some of the stories regarding Kaspar's departure:
Only Darius Kasparaitis, newly chiseled after shedding 20 pounds over the summer, seemed impressed.
"I look sexy," he said.
John Dellapina at The Daily News:
... yesterday, the heart-and-soul defenseman got the news he was dreading a little earlier than he was anticipating. Rangers coach Tom Renney informed Kasparaitis that the club had placed him on waivers and - at least for the time being - did not consider him part of the plan for 2007-08.Sam Weinman at Rangers Report:
"I was upset, but at the same time, I knew this could happen," Kasparaitis told the Daily News. "I'm still very anxious and I hope somebody will pick me up. If not, I'll go down to the minors and continue to try to prove that I'm still an NHL player.
"I knew that it was probably a long shot to make the Rangers because of the success they had last year without me. And I know my salary is an issue for the team. But at the same time, I felt like maybe it could happen. But it's not a blow."
It is, however, most likely the end of Kasparaitis' quest to play in the NHL this season...
Sam Weinman at The Journal-News:
I asked Renney if he still thought Kasparaitis could play at the NHL level, and the coach said he believed he could. Bear in mind it’s in the Rangers’ best interest to have another team pick him up off waivers, so it wouldn’t make sense for the coach to elaborate on all of Kasparaitis’ deficiencies. But the answer merits passing on.
“I think he’s a terrific competitor,” Renney said. “He has leadership qualities. I believe in a simplified game with the right partner, he could definitely play. But I believe strongly that we have more depth than we’ve had in a long time and that cost Kaspar an opportunity here.”
Of course, whether that’s enough for a team to take on a nearly $3 million cap hit is another story. If Kasparaitis clears waivers, he’ll head back to Hartford and will again play for the Wolf Pack.
Steve Zipay at Newsday:
After shedding 20 pounds during the offseason to work himself back into shape, the veteran defenseman's sluggish start to the preseason landed him on waivers yesterday. Teams around the NHL have until noon today to claim the 34-year-old Kasparaitis. Should he go unclaimed, the Rangers will reassign him to Hartford of the AHL, where he spent part of last season.
"We're trying to help him," Rangers coach Tom Renney said before last night's fight-marred 5-4 overtime loss to the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. "I don't see Kaspar playing hockey for us, and we'll do everything we can to help him play somewhere else. And if not, he'll go to Hartford, and in the kind of condition he's in, and the mental approach he's taken, you never know."
While Kasparaitis' condition was drastically improved from last year, when he reported to camp out of shape following offseason surgery, he struggled through training camp and in Friday's preseason opener...
Blue notes -- For veteran defenseman Darius Kasparaitis, the new NHL is not only for the fleet afloot, it's a numbers game. And yesterday, his number came up. Kasparaitis was waived, almost certainly ending his five-year Rangers career. "It was completely a hockey decision," Renney said. "In my mind, we're deeper than we ever have been - and as attrition takes its toll, Kaspar showed in certain areas that he's diminished."