It is bad enough that for a franchise record 6th season in a row that
the Ranger failed to make the playoffs. It is just as bad that Ranger fans
are going to have to endure the taunts of Fishie and Debbie fans because
of the failure to make the playoffs. It however gets worse when you see
the comments made by Junior Dolan and Glen Sather not only as to why this
team didn't make the playoffs but what we fans should expect for next
Let's start with our pal Slats the wonderful President/GM/Coach of the
Rangers. If anyone still believes that this is the man who is going to
turn the Rangers around then I wonder if they also believe the words of
the Iraqi Information Minister when he says Iraq is doing fine in the war.
I guess I don't know which angered me the most his comments that the
roster only needs a bit of tweaking or that Ranger fans have themselves to
blame for why this team failed to make the playoffs.
If he thinks a roster that lacks a true left wing, a true defensive
stopper, and players who have not only heart, pride and a solid work ethic
is just tweaking then heaven help us if they decides the roster needs his
version of an overhaul. This is a team that lacks a lot more than most
people realize. It is a roster that isn't built to play one specific
system or even a specific conference. It simply is a bunch of name players
brought together under the Slat's doctrine of "We couldn't let a
player of this caliber go by".
Tell me when Slats has brought in any players has anyone ever heard him
say "He will be a fit to what we are wanting to do with the team
within our system?" It has always been if he has a name then go get
him for the team regardless if he addresses a team need. The thought it
appears has never crossed Slat's mind that one needs to take into account
where a player might or might not fit in on the roster, just go get him if
he is available.
Someone pointed out that against teams that go with gameplans and line
matching the Rangers do poorly against. Someone else pointed out that in a
wide open game the Rangers do poorly as well. To me when I see comments
like that it shows that the Rangers aren't built to follow any one system
and that will not get you into the playoffs no matter how much one spends
on player salaries.
It also seems that in 29 other NHL arenas that fan noise really doesn't
have much of an effect on the team play. At least that is what I have
heard over my many years as a hockey fan. Of course we all know that
"Hockey is different Here" so it should not come as a shock to
anyone that Slats says the team will only play better when the fans are
cheering. He actually had the nerve to say that when Ranger fans boo they
are hurting the team with their negative reinforcement.
Of course Slats doesn't want to acknowledge what causes the fans to boo
in the first place nor does he explain how this affects their performance
on the road either. Instead it is the fault of the Ranger fans as to why
this team will come out with poor efforts, why they turnover the puck so
much and even worse why they take dumb penalties at the wrong times. I
suppose Slats can get away with alienating the fans like he does when he
works for perhaps a better liar than he is.
Had it been any other pro sports team other than one owned by
Cablevision then odds are it would have cost Slats his job for treating
the fans the way he does. I have never seen in all my time following
sports in my life someone blaming the people who support his team for the
failures his tenure has had. I have seen some great excuses used by others
trying to explain why their team failed to get the job done but never ever
have I seen the fans of the franchise be blamed for the poor performances
by his team.
Then again it leads us to his employer one Junior Dolan, the man who
still after owning the Rangers since 1997 says he is no hockey expert. I
guess I must be strange but if I owned a team that spent 85 million of my
dollars I would fast become an expert to know where my money is being
spent. Junior tells us that Slats can always spend money he just can't
waste resources so what I want to know is how would the non-hockey expert
know if Slats is wasting resources?
Really when one thinks about it, is Junior that stupid that if he asks
Slats if he is wasting money that he expects Slats to tell when he does?
The truth is sadly that Junior in my book likes to play the role of dummy
so people can excuse the ineptness that runs the Garden. If people think
he is stupid then he has a ready made excuse when things go wrong.
The problem though is when you look at what Junior does you realize
that he is actually trying to play Ranger fans for fools. He said that
because they didn't make the playoffs that he won't raise ticket prices
for next season. Want to bet that those empty seats at the Garden had a
role in it? Want to also bet that as the season went on Cablevision and
MSG found out how angry Ranger fans have become? They can claim all they
want that Ranger fans have been supportive but one listens to talk radio
or reads the various letters to the editor so they know Ranger fans are
not only angry but many aren't interested in coming back next season.
Then the part that really showed me that Junior is playing Ranger fans
for suckers is his promise that if they don't make the playoffs next year
then he will lower the ticket prices for the following season. OOPS I bet
it slipped Junior's mind that the season he is talking about will be the
2004-05 season. You know that same season in which the NHL is expected to
lockout it's players when the CBA expires.
Gee whiz what a wonderful guy offering to lower ticket prices for games
that most likely won't be played. Notice he wasn't willing to offer a
refund of 10% to those ticket holders for next season eh? It is the lies,
distortions and misleading tactics that have led to the kind of rift that
now exists between the Ranger ownership/management and their fans. Few if
any Ranger fans nowadays believe or trust the current leadership of the
Rangers to fix things.
That Junior and Slats are ignoring what just about every hockey media
person has said about how badly the Rangers need a total overhaul from top
to bottom does not bode well for the hopes of next season to be better.
Why only Junior and Slats think that things are getting better is a very
scary sight to behold if you are a Ranger fan.
The saddest part about all of this is that the off-season hasn't even
started so they have plenty of time to make matters a whole lot worse.
Mark these words if the current roster doesn't have a major makeover
like it needs especially on defense then by next winter Ranger fans will
be praying for a long lockout to spare them the misery of an 8th season in
a row without playoffs.
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