One of the posters (Tommy G to be exact) over at the Blueshirt Bulletin asked a really good question: "did Dolans lawsuit against the NHL have anything to do with Jagr's exit?". I responded that "no it did not" because Sather has a free rein when it comes to running the Rangers.
Then it dawned on me that maybe Sather's free rein is the biggest of all problems with the Rangers these days. Because the Dolans who have always said that they know nothing about how to run a NHL franchise so they defer to Sather's "expertise".
The question then becomes who oversees Sather so the Dolans know that it is time to make a change? After watching the moves that the Rangers have made this week one has to wonder about the direction of the franchise as when you take all of the moves and put them together then you have to ask what the master plan truly is.
It is as if for every forward thinking move that the Rangers took steps backwards with the next moves or in some cases non-moves. It is not about judging the players taken but rather judging whether or not the lessons of previous seasons were lost.
Wade Redden is a move I can understand as it is a move that addresses improving the defense even if I think the Rangers overpaid on the overall contract because of the foolish contracts that others gave out. Redden was a need and a drastic improvement over Malik, Backman and despite his heart Strudwick (who I have to believe gets another year because he will work for next to nothing).
However then the Rangers resigned Rozsival to a 4 year deal worth 20 million which was a very bad deal once Redden was signed. Paying 5 million a season for a player to be the "3" on your defense when his defense was second rate is a bad move. Give Rozsival 3 million for 3 years would have been the smarter move but 20 million was simply too much.
Then we watched as the Rangers sent us the message that Sean Avery was not going to be resigned by first signing Aaron Voros a left winger who was more suited to try to replace Colton Orr than Sean Avery. Sorry but Voros in our eyes was a waste of a signing because if you wanted toughness then Orr is tougher (and a better defender too).
People are acting like this is a good move but truth be told it is not as all it is in my eyes is a waste of time and effort. Besides PIMs what will Voros bring to the Rangers? Answer not much because did anyone look to see when Voros scored his last goal of the season (he only had 7) and if they did they would have seen it was Dec 26th (34 games with just 1 point period).
Compounding the head scratching is on the day the Rangers also add Patrick Rissmiller from the Sharks. Rissmiller also is a left wing, also has size but despite having a ton of hits, really is not an actual banger. It does not take much to be credited with a hit in today's NHL but what does stand out is that at least Voros will drop the gloves; a trait Rissmiller seems to avoid at all costs.
Like Voros I am left trying to figure out why they traded for Rissmiller as if he is going to be a 4th liner then shame on the Rangers because 4th liners are players you should be able to develop from within. You want to sign a George Laraque then that one I can see because he is in fact one of the top NHL heavyweights
Signing both Voros and Rissmiller leaves me scratching my head especially when while one for depth is understandable but both again makes me ask why? Even worse is as so many Ranger fans have already noticed the glut of forwards on the roster.
But wait the Rangers then traded for Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fristche from Columbus which to act like Yogi Berra is half good move and 3/4ths gamble. Since I wrote about this deal yesterday I am not going to waste space by rehashing it so I will move on to Thursday's moves which I am sorry to say I totally think were steps backwards.
Sather said he did not want to wait for Jagr anymore so that was his logic behind giving Markus Naslund a 2 year deal for a reported 9 million. Are you kidding me as this move is more a return to the cash and spend days of Ranger's past.
Yes Jagr had a down year but at the end of the season his game was coming together something that nobody can say for Naslund who's game clearly has been on the decline for the last 2 seasons. At least with Jagr they could have waited to see if the NHLPA would have agreed to extend the CBA for another season to see if they could offer him an incentive filled contract that would have carried over to 2009.
Naslund does not give the Rangers that luxury and Ranger fans will see firsthand that Naslund of today is nothing like the one most Ranger fans had heard about (given this foolish schedule few Ranger fans got to see him on action). All of a sudden Scott Gomez is going to fix everyone's career first it was Zherdev and now Naslund.
What happened to Gomez and Drury together which was the rumor prior to June 1? How about what happens now with Dubinsky, Dawes, Callahan, Prucha, Korpikoski and Greg Moore? Where does the development of the kids fit in with all these signings?
My answer is that their development may get damaged and/or retarded as you do not sign Naslund and you do not trade for Zherdev to have them become secondary role players. I may not like what a lot of those out of the woodwork posters are saying on the message boards but at the same time I too have to say I share a lot of their concerns.
Ah but I can not leave out the signing of the new Marik Malik in Dmitri Kalinin from the Sabres. By new Malik I mean a new boo bird target as when Kalinin is not on the injured reserve (he has only play an average of 66 games a season over his 7 full years in the NHL) then Kalinin has people questioning his heart, his work ethic, his productivity and just about everything else.
Yes the Rangers had a hole to fill on the blueline but there were a whole lot more options that would much better than this one. Seeing the press release on Kalinin brought back the bad memories of so many of the Sather defensive moves before the lockout.
So again the question begs to be asked who is going to judge whether or not Glen Sather is doing a good job with these moves? If the Rangers do not show progress, if the moves backfire then while Tom Renney would be the first head to roll; when would Sather's become under the microscope?
The coach can be fired when the team struggles but what if the coach has his hands tied by the moves made by the GM? I really was believing that Sather was more of a figurehead GM these days but the moves that have been made said I am wrong.
Either that or Sather decided that another 2nd round exit required his services to be more active once again. In that case I am very very nervous as at what price will the Rangers and Sather pay to advance past the 2nd round?
I do not want to be a gloom and doom type of thinker but it is hard to have faith when the moves are eroding that faith in the staff. These moves do not inspire confidence in the franchise at all especially when there is no checks and balances to put an end to any freefall.
If anything I have to admit that my faith in the progress that this franchise has made over the last 3 years has been very much shaken over the last few days.
Time will tell but right now the clock is not saying a whole lot of good
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