The end of former New York Ranger captain Chris Drury's 12 year NHL career deserved a much better ending than this:
TORONTO (August 19, 2011) – Chris Drury announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League (NHL) following a 12-year career.
After being drafted by the Quebec Nordiques with the 72nd pick in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Drury went on to play 892 career NHL games with four different teams (Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers).
We can say that Chris Drury deserved a better exit than a brief unemotional press release from the NHLPA. We can say that both Drury and the New York Rangers badly mishandled Drury's departure but we cannot deny that it was a departure that had to happen for the New York Rangers to be able to move forward.
Pride sometimes is a really tough meal to swallow and for Chris Drury, his pride cost him the kind of exit a player like Drury deserved. It seems that everyone but Chris Drury knew that his playing days with the Rangers were over and one can make a case that knee injury or not; Drury's body had betrayed him in the end.
Power Forwards do not just age gracefully in the NHL as when their bodies wear out they go out in a hurry as we saw that with Adam Graves and Brendan Shanahan. It is not just one part of their game that goes as it is the entire game and it is the price they pay for making their living in the slot area.
Glen Sather said all the nice things about Drury on Friday:
"Throughout his career, Chris Drury was always a great competitor, a tremendous leader and teammate, and the heart and soul type of player that every team would love to have. His commitment, determination and will to win were apparent each and every day.
"Those characteristics will have a lasting impact on all those who were fortunate enough to learn from Chris over his 12 years in the National Hockey League."
In the end none of this will be remembered as what Ranger fans will remember was a contract that hurt both Drury and the Rangers for its size as well as conditions attached to it. Maybe in 20-30 years someone is going to remember that Chris Drury was the first to win both the Calder Trophy and the Hobey Baker.
One day maybe someone is going to realize that Chris Drury was just the second American to be the captain of the Rangers. That he was one of the few players be a captain on 2 different teams or even that Drury was a 2 time silver medalist with Team USA.
There are so many things we should be saying about the career Chris Drury had but we really can't because of his exit from the Rangers. We can wonder why someone did not monitor the rehab that Drury was undergoing for his knee injury.
As soon as it became clear that Drury was not going to be able to play in the 2011-2012 season then the Rangers should have sat him down and made him an offer to allow both team and player to save face. Off him the buyout money if he retires so the team does not have to take a double cap hit and Drury the embarrassment of being bought out.
If we are to believe what Glen Sather said about Chris Drury then pay him to work with the kids down in Hartford rather than this kind of exit. Nothing in the CBA says that the Rangers could not have hired Drury as a "consultant" once he retired rather than this kind of exit.
Instead of talking about the 12 years that Chris Drury was a class act in the NHL we are left with a couple of press releases that are reminders of the cold harsh reality that the NHL in the end is a business.
Real Game Action
The QMJHL got their 2011 exhibition season underway on Friday and Samuel Noreau (2011 5th)'s Baie-Comeau Drakkar got their season going with a 6-2 win over the Chicoutimi, Saguenéens. It might not seem like a big deal winning an exhibition game but the Drakkar are coming off a 12-46-6-4 season so a win to start their season off on a good note is important for this team
Noreau dressed and played a regular shift for the Drakkar (which means Viking Ship) but was mostly a quiet night for the Ranger prospect. Noreau is huge listed at 6'5 225 for the young defender.
Noreau took one shot on goal and was called for boarding in the 3rd period. Wish we could tell you more but information on the French speaking teams is still limited for us but we will be working with the QMJHL to see how to improve coverage of Noreau.
(Drury courtesy of the New York Rangers, Noreau courtesy of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar)
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