Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where's The D?

So many people are taking the signing of Ales Kotalik in so many different ways that the poor guy has not even put on a Ranger jersey but the betting has already begun as to when the Garden faithful will start calling him Alice.

Some are viewing the signing of Kotalik as the sign from the heavens that Nikolai Zherdev is DOA as a Ranger but boy is that really a stretch. When did Kotalik become a first line talent?

Yes he has scored 20 goals or more 4 times in his career but look at his career numbers. His career high is 62 points in the 2005-06 season and the rest of his numbers (43 points twice and then less) ought to make you feel a bit nervous.

Before people think that Kotalik is the ideal replacement for Zherdev then go look at some of the scouting report on him. Kotalik has been viewed as a top level talent who does not always show up to play.

Here is what Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News told David Staples of the Edmonton Journal about Kotalik:

I've been suggesting, writing, saying for two years that he needed a change in scenery. This season, however, he made things more interesting because he's deadly in shootout.

My biggest beef with him was that he's a big, strong guy who plays small. He's a perimeter player and plays virtually no defense. Perhaps it will change when the message comes from a different coach.

The "Run Zherdev out of Town" parade might want to stop for a second and take a closer look at what they are trading here. Now Zherdev is not one of our pals right now for the dumb move he made but the knee jerk reaction thinking Kotalik is a better option might be off the mark.

In 445 career games Kotalik has put up 121-130-251 over 7 seasons, in 365 games (or 5 seasons) Zherdev is 99-140-239 so for those who think they are getting similar production it is not the case as 12 points over 80 games is not a fair trade off for a player who is older and is just as much a coaching nightmare.

Like Zherdev or not at least he has broken the 25 goal mark twice something Kotalik still has not done. Which we have to ask is worse the devil you know or the one you do not?

But here is one big thing that still is being overlooked is that the Rangers still have not done a thing to improve their defense. Wade Redden is still on the roster as is Michal Rozsival but now you also have 2 maybe 3 openings on the blueline.

The Rangers have made all these additions to the offense but it is very hard to believe or accept that they will go into next season with as many as 3 rookies on the blueline. As much as we want to see the kids to get a chance to earn roster spots the Tortorella system requires a strong defense because of the chances the offense take.

What is more frustrating is that this is a road the Ranger keep traveling when it comes to failing to improve the blueline. Yes Staal and Girardi are good starting points but the Rangers still need that stay at home defender who will be the stopper like Beukeboom used to be.

Another area that the Rangers still have a hole at is the first line center as they have at best two second line centers in Drury and (if he ever gets signed) Dubinsky. The Rangers keep trying to forcefeed players who are not first line centers at that position and it does not work.

Basically what we have here is the same old story of the Sather era, the Rangers spend money and pray that it works. The fans get excited because the Rangers bring in name players that they like but eventually that excitement turns to frustration and then anger and disappointment when the players just do not fit in as a team.

And next year we will be right back here talking about the next "fixes" that Glen Sather will try to pass off on Ranger fans.

Why does the movie "Groundhog Day" fit in so very well here?

(Kotalik courtesy of the NHL)


Ryan McFadden - The Manic Ranger said...

the writing is the on the wall, kotalik is replacing zherdev. there was talk that the Rangers might not re-up Z but now with Kotalik, the Rangers don't have the cap space unless they trade Rozy. They have around 8 mill to sign 4 players including dubi and cally. so thats around $4 m for another forward or two defenseman.

Ozzinine said...

how do you know that the new players on the roster won't pan out? We have a new coach with a philosophy that preaches accountability, honesty, conditioning, and mental toughness, so what should be the problem with getting the best out of the players on the team? We should wait to see what happens before we criticize.

Jess Rubenstein said...


Ron Low was a new coach
Brian Trottier was a new coach
Tom Renney was a new coach
John Tortorella is a new coach

Glen Sather is the same General Manager making the same kinds of moves despite whoever is the coach.

You can not purchase chemistry

It is not how much money you spend it is how well you spend it.

How many years do you want to give Glen Sather before you see that?

Ozzinine said...

I'm not trying to argue with you because you know much more about the rangers than I do for sure. I just believe that fans won't be happy no matter what Sather does. Being a ranger fan since the late '80's, I have seen my share of bad teams. Bad signings too: Fluery, Robitaille (because we gave up Zubov), McCarthy, and Lindros. However, I applaud Sather for ridding the team of Gomez and his burdensome contract. Brashear is another story, but even though we replaced Gomez with Gaborik for the same cap hit. The difference is that when healthy, Gaborik deserves every cent of his salary. On Kotalik, he's fast and has a good shot. Maybe he can rekindle his chemistry with drury. Again, I'm not here to argue, but we should at least see how the team plays before draw any conclusions

Jess Rubenstein said...


Ranger fans have every right not to be happy with the job Sather has done.

Sorry but what you seem to be missing here is that you want to give him a pass for not doing what he should have done a very long time ago.

Rebuild the franchise from the ground up.

I am sorry but you keep missing the point

Ozzinine said...

I always want the rangers to rebuild, but I know that Sather will never let it happen, so I just try and make the best out of him buying players. The "win now" philosophy in my mind in the wrong way to go, but that's the way Sather does it, and I have to support it because it won't change. Hopefully, Sather can come to his senses and either rebuild or step down...