Monday, June 1, 2009

Brother Can You Spare a Price Hike

Got to hand it to the Rangers as if there was a way to divert attention from our system wide look at the Rangers, it was the announcement that they were once again raising ticket prices. Raising ticket prices during a recession when you have just had a piss poor year and wasted several millions on poor player decisions.

What was the letter writer thinking when they wrote this? It is mind boggling that someone would try to pass off this kind of letter and think that Ranger fans would buy off on it.

The letter of course:

Rangers Subscribers,

Five years ago, we made it our priority to build the New York Rangers team for long-term success by developing a core foundation of young players and adding key veterans as our youngsters matured. Our philosophy remains steadfast, and this past season, six young players whose NHL careers began here in New York played major roles in taking us to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

Yes 5 years ago after wasting the previous 4 years that did nothing but alienate the Rangers from their fans. The problem though is your philosophy is actually the core is overpaid free agents brought in while the young players have to be world beaters who never make any mistakes before they get their chance.

Although we were not satisfied with this past season's results, we believe we are on the right track. We continue to focus on the development of players and are excited about several talented prospects in our system. At the same time, we still have work to do as we strive toward our ultimate goal — to compete for the Stanley Cup each and every season.

Whoever wrote this letter and there is no way we would believe that Glen Sather actually wrote these words must think Ranger fans are the biggest idiots in the world. If the goal is to compete for the Stanley Cup then they are in very serious trouble.

It has been 9 long years since Glen Sather was hired to fix the Rangers and they can not tell us they are getting any closer towards competing for the Cup. If anything wasn't it last season that the Rangers were singing how that with Jagr, Shanny and Avery all gone that Tom Renney finally had a team that would get past the second round.

We all know how well that worked out.

The real goal of the Rangers is just make the playoffs nothing more as one round or two keeps not the Ranger fans happy but the Dolans. Look all over the NHL and see GMs who have done more with their teams get fired when the team fails to show forward progress.

Under the Dolans, forward progress is making sure there is black ink on the ledgers not red. As long as Sather and people make money then they have no reason to fire Sather.

Under the direction of our new Head Coach, John Tortorella, you will see a retooled Rangers team in 2009-10 that will feature a system that emphasizes aggressive forechecking and puck possession. This up-tempo approach has made John an accomplished winner in the NHL, earning a Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year and delivering a Stanley Cup to Tampa Bay in 2004.

The Rangers have "retooled" every year under Sather, every couple of years Sather will say the franchise made some mistakes and they were committed to fixing them. So why should Year 10 of the Sather Era nothing suggests things will be different even under John Tortorella.

If the Rangers really truly want to retool then change the person who builds the roster, change the person who has the final say on who gets signed, traded and promoted. If you think that Glen Sather is going to change his stripes then you believed the contents of this letter.

The key objective for this off-season is to complement our strong defensive play and league-leading penalty-kill with more goal-scoring, stemming from this aggressive system. We are determined to add players who make significant contributions in 2009-10, enabling us to dictate the pace of the game on a regular basis.

How? The Rangers as we speak hardly have enough money to sign their own RFAs so where is all this money going to come from? Despite the increase in ticket prices, the salary cap is not going to increase so the Rangers are not going to be able afford the top level goal scorer this team needs as well as sign their own restricted free agents like Callahan and Dubinsky.

Will the Rangers actually buy out Wade Redden? Trade Scott Gomez? Where are they going to get the cap space to make these moves?

With an All-Star goaltender, and a mix of accomplished veterans and hungry youngsters, we expect to make our fans especially proud this season. Your loyalty and enthusiasm has always made The Garden a very intimidating place for visiting teams, and you will see a team whose style of play makes it even tougher.

A goalie who was worn out at the end of this season, those "accomplished" veterans did more harm than good but the Rangers want you to believe things will get better thanks to more of your money.

We remain humbled and thankful for your energetic support and look forward to seeing you at The Garden for a great season of Rangers hockey.


Glen Sather, President and General Manager, New York Rangers

Humbled? Did the writer of this letter know that Glen Sather once described Ranger fans and media as "assassins"? Somehow it is very hard to believe that Sather said any of this given his relationship with Ranger fans

Truthfully it is hard to believe that the Rangers really care if the current season ticket holder renews because they got their savior.

That good old waiting list for tickets is back to where the Rangers know that supply and demand once again works in their favor. They know that Ranger fans who have worked their way to a good seat is not going to gamble on losing that seat so he will pay.

The percentage of season ticket holders who do not renew is small enough that the Rangers know selling out is not going to be a problem. As long as the Rangers know that people will keep coming to the Garden then change will not happen and they can keep raising ticket prices every year.

It took 7 straight years without playoffs and a bad boast from James Dolan to get a 10% price cut. It is going to take the fear of red ink to force the Rangers to change their ways and that is the saddest realization of them all. As long as the Rangers can manage that one playoff round with 3 home games then they will be content.


June 1st was the deadline in which the Rangers needed to sign Antoine Lafleur to a contract or allow him to re-enter the draft. That there was no announcement by the Rangers of a signing then the 2007 2nd round draft pick can re-enter the draft but it is very unlikely that another team will use a pick on the overage prospect.

As critical of the Rangers as we have been in this case there can be no blame on the team for not signing Lafleur or even the choice of the selection. Lafleur was worth a 2nd round pick at the time but the blame here has to go on the player.

After being drafted Lafleur never was able to show forward progress, never able to show consistency and sadly never able to be the same prospect who was very solid in the 2006-07 season.

Every one loses here as the Rangers lost out on a very talented prospect and Lafleur in our eyes had the tools to become an NHL goalie. Now the Rangers must use a pick in the upcoming draft on another goalie in our eyes to establish depth at the goaltending position.

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