Saturday, July 7, 2012

Good New On a Bad News Day

(Moose Jaw Herald)
Friday was one of those "really great news day"ruined by some "really bad news" from the New York Rangers. The good news was the Rangers finally hiring Jeff Beukeboom to become an assistant coach with the CT Whale.

It's a move that I've been wanting to see the Rangers make since the 2005 draft when they selected Marc Staal and Michael Sauer. Nothing against Jim Schonfeld or J. J. Daigneault but Beukeboom in my eyes will be the better teacher.

Beukeboom is more than just a hitter or fighter as he was a very good defensive player who's ability to read the ice and disrupt the other team's attack was more valuable than some people realize.

But I disagree with those who think the main reason to hire Jeff Beukeboom was to mentor Dylan McIlrath. McIlrath, yes he will benefit from having Beukeboom as a coach but it's the players who aren't first-round picks who will benefit the most.

Jeff Beukeboom is the kind of coach that you want to bring in to help the guys like a Samuel Noreau or a Peter Ceresnak who are project players. It's much easier to get your students attention when you are bigger than your own students (it also does not hurt having 4 Stanley Cup rings).

You expect your first-round picks to already have a higher level of a skill set but the real sign of a coach is turning the lower round picks into contributing players. That is a much tougher job because those player don't always have those skill sets and thus require more teaching.

At the same time since we're adding teachers then would somebody please take that microphone out of Brian Leetch's hands and get his butt on the ice? Brian Leetch the player is somebody I will always remember as a great player.

Brian Leetch the intermission commentator is stiff as a board and no offense looks lost. But turn Brian Leetch into a mentor to Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon and that will do a whole lot more for the Rangers than 5 minutes on commentary.

No offense to Jim Schonfeld but Michael Del Zotto was not even born when Schoenfeld last played. Brian Leetch on the other hand doesn't need any introduction, Del Zotto and Erixon just need to look up to the rafters of Madison Square Garden and see that number "2" there.

If you want to get the best out of Del Zotto then Brian Leetch is the ideal mentor for him. Show me who among the Ranger coaching staff would be a better teacher to Del Zotto on areas like "end to end" rushes or how to become a better puck handler or decision maker?

Del Zotto gives the Rangers the closest they have had for an offensive weapon on defense since well Brian Leetch. Who better than Leetch to teach him then?

As for Dylan McIlrath, the news about his having to undergo surgery for dislocated kneecap is just as bad as if he would've torn his ACL. This is one of the worst types of injury for any athlete to suffer from.

The dislocated knee is more commonly known as a dislocated patella. This is not a very pretty subject to talk about so if injury details are not your interest then I suggest you stop reading right here.

If you play a contact sport, you can suffer a dislocated patella if someone hits the inside of your knee, forcing the patella to move too far to the outside. This is not a very common way for this injury to occur, but it can happen.

And this is exactly what happened to Dylan McIlrath when he collided with Kyle Jean. Two big guys going full speed at each other, causing one a major injury.

The news doesn't get much better from here:

Most patellar dislocations take awhile to heal. The first 3-4 weeks are a protective phase to allow the tissues to heal and tighten down. After that, strengthening can progress. You should be back to normal in 3-5 months after your injury.

Some patellar dislocations may require surgery to re-align the patella or to repair the damaged tissues. Surgery is usually not performed unless conservative rehabilitation fails.

in this case, surgery was performed which is an indicator of the seriousness of the injury. McIlrath is a fast healer from my experience with him but I believe the Rangers will choose the conservative rehab and expect McIlrath not to start playing again until January.

I know there are people who are second-guessing the Rangers for holding this camp but don't because one injury should not be a reason to stop something that has been a proven success for the Ranger prospects.

These camps do a lot more to help the prospect with his off-season conditioning and training. Yes the injury hurts but I submit that McIlrath could have just as easily suffered this injury had he been working out back in Moose Jaw.

How will it affect his potential? An honest answer has to be, you don't know for sure. He's young and the Rangers have a great medical team as well as training staff so McIlrath will get the best of care.

This part might sound cruel, but for the other Ranger defensive prospects; this is an opportunity for them to step up and earn a job. If you are a young hockey player then you have to take advantage of this kind of opportunity so let us see which prospect steps up.

In the meantime let's hope McIlrath has a great and speedy recovery.

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