Sunday, June 5, 2011

No Tweeting Allowed

Sometimes I think New York Ranger and New York Islander fans read way too much into things than maybe they should. Sure one can understand being passionate about their team but sometimes you got to wonder if perhaps a little too passionate.

Say hi to Michael Del Zotto who has a Twitter or Facebook account; not sure which one he was using to post but boy did I get a lot of emails over him.

It seems that Del Zotto was playing around with his postings and it gave off to some Ranger fans the idea that Del Zotto was not being serious, that he was not training hard or did not care. If you were one of those who did not like what Del Zotto was supposedly doing then may I suggest that you don't follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

There is a double standard at work here as it seems is it OK for the world to joke around on Twitter or Facebook but tweeting is not allowed if you are a Ranger or Islander? The other day I was on Twitter and I was trading "Moses" jokes with Russ Cohen and Chris Wassel.

I know when Russ Cohen is covering prospects that he is all work (and quite good at it) and when Chris Wassel is posting his work at "The Program" that he is all work. Sure the 3 of us are media and not athletes but it is OK for us to be joking around.

You know there is a time for work and a time to play? Because I can joke around with a Russ Cohen or Chris Wassel then it allows me to be just like anyone else; a person. Cohen and Wassel are going to understand how hard we have to work to get the stories that we do which is a giant help when you are tired or dealing with writer's block.

My first reaction to hearing that Del Zotto was having some fun was "good for him he needs it". Being a first round draft pick of the New York Rangers at times is perhaps one of the worst positions to be in.

Thanks to previous first round picks who failed to make the cut then a Del Zotto is already facing a fan base that does not have a whole lot of faith that he will make it. Sure I know that there are some of you who do not have any sympathy for Del Zotto but how he handles this pressure is also a way to judge if he will make it.

If Del Zotto was constantly tweeting or posting about his workouts then I would be really worried that the pressure was getting to him. There are times when we forget that when a Del Zotto takes off the uniform that he becomes a 20 year old male.

And ask any female of any age that 90% of 20 year old males have their moments when they can be so immature. I for one can give thanks that there are no pictures from when I was 20 or as it is best known "young and dumb"

Anyone who thinks that Del Zotto is not going to show up for training camp wanting to regain his spot then you are making a mistake. I can offer about 1,020,500 reasons why Michael Del Zotto is going to want to bust his tail.

For starters, when Del Zotto takes the ice this year it will be the 3rd year of his entry level contract. As a player on the first contract he cutting right to the chase has zero bargaining power; even less if he is not on the Ranger roster at the end of next season.

When Del Zotto was sent to the CT Whale what he was making changed drastically as with the Rangers Del Zotto had a base salary of 875,000 with bonuses that can raise it to 1,087,500. Down on the farm Del Zotto makes a base salary of 65,000 and it is very doubtful that there are any bonuses offered for playing in the AHL.

And Del Zotto does not get a "do over" as the money he lost when he was demoted to the AHL is not going to be given to him. It is gone for good and if Del Zotto does not make the Rangers again then that he will lose a whole of money once again.

We are not even counting the various perks of being on the Rangers and in the NHL but it is a guarantee that it is a whole lot better than being in the AHL. So let Del Zotto act like well a 20 year old and don't worry about him having a good time.

Let him have some fun now while he can because come the fall then Del Zotto is going to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. The Rangers would be a much better team with a Michael Del Zotto and his offensive potential than with out him.

Take a good look at this picture because it is a sight that is not going to happen again. It is a picture of Kirill Kabanov wearing his Lewiston Maineaics uniform and as of this past week the Maineaics no longer are a franchise in the QMJHL.

Citing serious losses and unwilling to take on any more debt, the QMJHL purchased the Maineaics from the owners and shut the franchise down. The players were made available to other teams in the QMJHL in a dispersal draft which was held on Friday.

Kabanov was selected 16th by the Montreal Junior but the question that is going to be on everyone's mind is "How will Kabanov handle living in Montreal?" Playing in a smaller community like Lewiston Maine was good for Kabanov as there was no glaring media spotlight and it really looked like he turned the corner as a player and person.

Before we go any further we want to stress that the Montreal Junior are one of the smarter run junior teams in the QMJHL and we like the coaching staff as teachers which is always important. For Kabanov this is a good program which will offer him a chance to be not only one of their top players but will help Kabanov become a more complete player.

Another good reason to like this move is that Joel Bouchard is one of the assistant coaches for the Junior. Bouchard's last NHL team was the Islanders where he was a teammate of current GM Garth Snow which we view as a big plus for Kabanov.

The concern is going to of course be how strong the changes that Kabanov made while with Lewiston will hold as he moves to Montreal. Lewiston as a small US city in Maine had none of the distractions that Montreal will offer Kabanov.

Kabanov grew up a lot in Lewiston and this is such a talented player that we so badly want to see him make it. But a lot of what Lewiston was able to offer Kabanov will not be there in Montreal.

The biggest loss for Kabanov is going to be not having Andrey Markov with him as the duo was very good for each other in Lewiston. Kabanov being more outgoing and people happy helped Markov adjust to playing in North America.

Markov in return gave Kabanov a chance to become more responsible to help his younger teammate. The two Russian from all accounts were just about joined at the hip which does wonders to ease things like homesickness or for Kabanov curing him of his being late for practice.

This is going to be a giant test for Kabanov as the Montreal media will be watching him as will so many of Kabanov's critics looking for any reason to pounce on him. We hope that Montreal does choose to carry a 2nd European on their roster (they only had 1 in 2010-11) as it will help Kabanov not feel out of place on the team.

We will be rooting for him to make it.

(Del Zotto/NHL Media, Kabanov/Lewiston Maineaics)

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