So a player who seemed to have the talent, but lacked the heart is gone after one disappointing year under the tutelage of two different style coaches. Neither the slumbering coach clueless or the firebrand Tortorella could get Nicolai Zherdev out of his lackluster play. So another Stealth GM experiment has gone awry and if one looks at the current roster one surely understands that there will be more angst and more disappointments ahead for both the Rangers and their faithful, loyal and frustrated fans. Let's face it. Right now it looks like a first round exit, if we are lucky enough to make the playoffs.
This year's team looks no better than the team that opened the 2008-09 season. Matter of fact, it looks worse so don't think the playoffs are a lock. The Rangers are going into this season with no number one center. The player they are counting on to be "The Man" has great talent but is subject to many injuries. If he stays healthy we have a gamer, if he gets injured we are in deep trouble. Higgins is a good addition but the rest including the detestable Donald Brashear are nothing more than window dressing, which The Stealth has had a love affair over the years. To make matters worse the strength of the team, the penalty kill, number one in the league, has been completely dismantled with the release of both Blair Betts and Fredrik Sjostrom. Trust me, the undisciplined Rangers will rue the day they broke up this dynamic duo.
The defense has lost one of its stalwarts when Paul Mara was allowed to leave. We are still stuck with the awful tag team tandem of Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden and their combined yearly salary of $11.5 mil. Mara was a great team man who often jumped in to protect his teammates. The only thing that Rozy and Redden will protect are their bloated contracts. Tortorella claims that only the performers will play and it has nothing to do with contracts. Don't bet on it. Rozy and Redden will continue to log in excess of 20 minutes per game, regardless of their performances and plus/minuses. The opportunity is there for a youngster or two. Will we finally get to see Bobby Sanguinetti? Or will the Stealth go to the NHL graveyards and dig up some retread? Oh, did I mention that we still don't have a power-play quarterback?
So it's good-by to Nicolai Zherdev. Zorro, we barely got to know yee.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Posted by mike at 6:23 PM