Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thinking It Through

The easy thing to do is to scream "Fire Sather, Fire Tortorella, or Sell the team Dolan" as I am seeing in the New York Ranger universe this evening after another by loss by the team. The problem with the easy thing is that it mushrooms from where the fault lies to everything and everyone in the entire system.

But what the easy thing turns out to be is exactly what has been done by the Dolan/Sather Era and that in itself is the biggest problem in the Ranger Universe. As much as the management is guilty of what they have done; there are too many fans who want a rebuild but are unwilling to give up a playoff spot for it.

I can not count how many times I hear "I do not care if it is a first round exit, it is better than nothing." Sorry but nothing would be better as there is a big difference in what you can select when you are in the lottery rather than picking in the teens.

Still if you really truly want to fix the Rangers then you have to have a real plan and a willingness to stick to it. No short cuts, no long term free agents and no getting away from the plan.

Right off the bat forget about getting rid of the Dolans as nobody has the Billion Plus dollars it is going to take to get them to sell Madison Square Garden so instead you have to take a totally different tactic. You have to speak to the Dolans in the language they understand which is "How much money will this make us?".

A rebuilding team has less salary, has smaller contracts because of the CBA and because they are young; you get to control their salaries for about 5 playing years. Rebuild and you can cut the Ranger payroll by 20-25 million a season.

Hire a President to run the hockey operations but also to oversee what the general manager is doing. If it was my choice I would bring in Jim Nill who I suggest you click on the link to read his resume and remember the last person the Rangers hired with a similar resume and what he did (before he also messed it up).

Nill has a long proven track record in all of the areas of hockey operations which is what your team president has to have. Sather was never good at drafting and left it in the hands of others to take care of it.

For General Manager, while it would be Nill's call but ours would be Paul Fenton who is an Asst Gm with the Nashville Predators. Fenton used to work for the Ducks and it was on his watch that the Ducks built their Cup team.

For Coach, the Rangers need to stop with the polar opposites as what they really need with the incoming youth is someone who is going to develop and TEACH players how to become NHL players. I dip into the OHL and hire Bob Boughner before someone else does.

Boughner has built the Windsor Spitfires into the winners they currently are and having spent 10 seasons as an NHL player understands what a younger player needs. While Boughner is a great teacher, he is also a strict disciplinarian when needed.

Ever hear of a coach who during a game got so mad at a couple of players that he not only benched them but told them to go get dressed and go home. It is a true story but what makes the story as most would have expected him to dump them; nope both returned to the Spitfire lineup and have been productive players.

We also replace the Hartford staff with a coaching staff that will use the system that Boughner wants to use with the Rangers. We draft players like the Devils do who are suited for the system that Boughner was to use not because they are the best athletes.

Then we build even if it means missing the playoffs for a season or two; turning around a franchise is not going to happen overnight so either you support it or find another team. No more short cuts, you follow the models of the Red Wings and Devils who draft and then plug in players every year.

Of course you can always do it the "Easy Way" and keep doing the same mistakes that Sather keeps repeating. We all know how happy people are with how that has worked don't we?


So remember last night when I wrote this about Roman Horak:

Do not get us wrong we like a player who can stay out of the penalty box but that does not mean every once in a while show some emotion out there when someone is running at you.

So what does the Ranger's 2009 5th round draft pick go out and do? If you said drop the gloves and fight someone you are ever so right. Horak got checked from behind in the 3rd period and dropped his gloves for the first time this season.

Good for him to stand up for himself as like we said, staying out of the penalty box is great but one of the best ways to prevent cheapshots is to let the world know that you will not just take them. Sadly we do not know how Horak did in his fight but the bigger issue is that he at least tried.

As for the game, Horak had a secondary assist for his 46th point of the season and added a +2 to bring that total to a season high +16. Cut the bonus check to the Ranger's European scouts for finding this solid 2 way player.

Even better is that the Bruins defeated Prince George 7-4 to set up a final 2 games where the Bruins can jump from 8th to 6th with wins and some help.

Sam Klassen and his Saskatoon Blades followed up a key win with a bad loss as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Regina Pats. Klassen was quiet in this game but this is a bad loss to a team that is not even heading to the playoffs.

If you want to look at the positive side of the poor play the Blades have played in losing 4 of their last 6 games; one early exit in the playoffs means the Wolfpack will get a defenseman they need with all their injuries.

(Horak courtesy of the Chilliwack Bruins, Nill courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings)

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