Sunday, July 03, 2011

Brad Riches

Brad, I love Torts, Richards has become the latest millionaire to arrive on the New York sports scene. Richards follows a whole bunch of assorted players in New York, including the many who have worn the Ranger Blue. For the sake of brevity and my sanity I will not discuss any of the previous high rollers who have put on the Blue shirts with bravado and have left town with their sticks between their legs, though much richer if not wiser.

The Stealth's stimulus packages have roamed far and wide with little regard to the status and reputation of the players. How else to describe a Richards signing and a Rupp signing? This has also been the pattern over the years of signing a top notcher and coupling that with a so so role player. However, both type players have become equal opportunity flops and the money will have been better spent on ethanol crops in Iowa.

Much will be expected of Richards as he must get Gaborik going. To me the pressure is on the wrong guy. It's Gaborik who has to pick up his game, not Richards. The great goal scorers of the past scored goals regardless of who their set up guy was. I still believe that Gabby quit on coach disagreeable last year. There are only so many times you can be tossed under a bus without having the tire tracks embedded in your body.

Then there's Rupp. I won't quite describe Rupp the way my buddy, Scotty Hockey, describes him but Scotty is close. Why Rupp? To me it's coach disagreeable's call. Rupp will be the coach's get rid of Sean Avery plan. Is Rupp as talented as Avery? No. Is Rupp as effective as Avery? No. But when a coach is more interested in a personal vendetta and not a players talent then the player is going to be no more than a footnote. Look for Avery to be gone by the season's opener.

So there we are. What's that old line? Hope springs eternal. The Rangers have been singing that song since 1940 and everyone only got in tune once, 1994. Then it was a super human effort by the greatest leader and Captain any sports has ever seen, Mark Messier. Sorry Brad Richards you are no Mark Messier.

Related Articles by Categories


  • Luke said...

    Well put, Pundit. I'd love to be in some of the more optimistic camps out here in the blogsphere....

    But, sadly I couldn't agree more with you. Well put.


  • mike said...

    Luke-Thanks. I've been around too long, so I call them as I see them.

    Also, the Stealth's track record and the propensity of coach disagreeable to blow off reporters make it likely that it will be another year of battling for 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th.

  • Section 335 said...


    I am not as planning on drinking from the Cup this year, but I do see a finish in the top four in the East and at least two rounds in the playoffs.

    I can also see a serious run at the conference finals IF Torts makes one adjustment. He needs to put Avery on the first line with his buddy Richards. Why? Cause the line needs someone who will do the dirty work and Sean is great at it. He is better along the wall and in front than anyone else on the team. Every time he gets the puck out to Brad or Gabbie, we get a scoring chance.

    I know you might say we tried it before, and it worked when Sean behaved. Well, that is my next point. Richards should be able to remind Sean what his role is and what it is not.

    The added benefit is keeping the second line together. They work. Breaking them up by moving Dubbie to the first line would be a big error.

    And, if Sean behaves on the first line, he could easily get 50-60 points and a new contract. That should be plenty of motivation.

  • jb said...

    Sec 335,
    Wow, you are certainly going out on a limb. Seeing the Rangers going to top four in the East, plus two playoff rounds is certainly a cup half full guy.

    I confess I'm still more in the cup half empty camp. I sort of expect more of the same. As Mike alluded to, I think the Rangers are in the mix for 7,8, 9, or 10th.

    I guess I don's see Richards as the catalyst that you do. If he can get Avery going and 50-60 points that would be awesome. I'd love to say that I'm wrong, but I just don't think the Rangers can hit on all cylinders. Injuries, an off year from Lundqvist, Torts' grating personality getting tuned out by the players; I think there are many hurdles to overcome. But, I'll happily eat crow.

    Hope springs eternal with the Rangers, but pessimism goes to the bone.

  • Section 335 said...

    mike & jb,

    Yup, going out on a limb. Let me say this much.

    1. I have a track record. For the past two years I had the exact right point total for the Rangers.

    2. I have a method. The most accurate way to predict how a team will do is goals scored. Vancouver was #1 and Boston was #5 - they were in the finals of course. TB and SJ were #8 and #6. It is not surprise that the final four were in the top eight. We were 20 goals short of the top eight.

    3. Why do I think the Rangers will be much better? Because I think Richards will make the power play and the first line 20 goals better.

    Let me be careful about my prediction. First, it is not final. Second, I rather say at this point that the Rangers are not a cusp team (7 or 8). We could be a five or six since the Devils might be back at the top. But, I do not see this year being a last minute drive to a spot. We can play with anyone else with (1) two strong scoring lines, (2) a solid young defense and (3) the best goalie in hockey.

    Do you honestly think we will not score 20 more goals? Do you honestly think our power play will not get 10 more of those 20 goals?

    Brad Richards is not a first line center like Messier, but he is not dead space like Christensen or Drury were in that position.

    I think you should start thinking about how you are going to prepare that crow :)

  • jb said...

    Sec 335,
    I wouldn't be surprised if the Rangers come out of the gate like a house afire, like they have done the last couple of season. So I might be salting that crow in Oct-Nov. But it's a long season and the Rangers always seem to hit that slump that sends them down the standings.

    So a mere 20 extra goals separates us from have a really good season? I agree, that doesn't sound like much, given the addition of Richards.

    However, I'm sadly stuck in the old paradigm of the Rangers new free agents being "Serial Underachievers". I proposed that term to Mike as a title for a future article here at the Ranger Pundit.

    I think you are right to point to the power play as critical. If they can get that going then your scenario looks good. The defense is certainly young and improving.

    But, I'm slightly worried that Lundqvist's best days might be behind him. He turns 30 in March. So those 20 goals you add offensively might get subtracted by and off year at goalie. Don't get me wrong I absolutely admire Hen-rik, but I think he'll need Biron to be there in a big way this year.

    I also agree with Mike that Rupp gets playing time at Avery's expense.

    I could certainly be big time wrong, and I might be begging for a seat on the band wagon after eating my crow. That wouldn't be so bad, my ego has been bruised before.

  • Section 335 said...

    I understand your concerns. They are valid. I just think this time is a little different. The young defense will help the Prince and his backup should stay healthy.

    As to Sean, it is really important for him to realize that now that Rupp is here, it is not his job to be the bad boy. He is one fast SOB. If he can just skate, skate, skate and get pucks to Brad who will either shoot or dish to Gabbie (as Sean crashes the crease) we will see a point a game out of the first line. If Sean can show Torts some discipline, he can stick on the first line.

    Sean is a very important piece of this team getting to the next level. Brett Hull was not an idiot to see his potential value (remember, BH would wait for a pass and fire rockets - he would have loved Sean on the ice with him).

  • jb said...

    You have some serious card carrying members of the Sean Avery fan club here at the Ranger Pundit. So you're preaching to the choir about Sean's talents.

    I think Mike is on to something when he points out there is something going on between Torts and Sean. I hope its just his play "discipline" that is the issue, like you say.

    I will add that Avery turns 32 in April, so I pray he still has that speed this year. He's going to need all of it.

  • mike said...

    Section 335 & jb-Nice discourse.

    Too bad The Stealth and coach disagreeable don't have that kind of talkfest.

    Nice job guya.