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OTG POLL

What do you think of the Rangers season so far?

Quite surprised
Modestly surprised
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 INJURY REPORT
Vladislav Namestnikov 12/14
Expected to be in the line-up tonight
 
Fredrik Claesson 1/16
Will be out until February with a right shoulder injury
 
Neal Pionk 1/16
Will be out of the line-up until after the all-star break
 
Kevin Hayes 1/16
Could be back in the line-up as soon as Thursday
 
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SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2014
CAPTION THIS
Read the submissions so far and see if you can come up with the best caption for today's photo

Best Of:
2014-15 ~ 2013-14
2012-13 ~ 2011-12
2010-11 ~ 2009-10

RUMOR MILL

Tuesday - October 25th

Either Josh Jooris (New York Daily News) or Dylan McIlrath are likely to find themselves on waivers when Pavel Buchnevich returns from back spasms.

The team is expected to cut the roster down to 22 players, and as such one of the two will need to be either moved or sent down.

  MORE RUMORS...

Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

Ray Markham - 1958
Joel Bouchard - 1974
Cristoval Nieves - 1994

  SEARCH BIRTHDAYS
  RANDOM RANGER

GERRY CARSON
(1928-1929)
  Born: Oct 10 - 1905  
  Pos: Defense  
  GP: 8  
  G: 0  
  A: 0  
  Pts: 0  
  PIMs: 5  
 

Grass Isn't Always Greener
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - March 4, 2009

As of March 3rd, 2009, the Rangers sat in eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, six points out of home ice advantage for at least one round, and just one point ahead of the ninth placed Hurricanes. With just eighteen games remaining, the Rangers are not focused on building momentum for the playoffs, but are simply striving to make the post season.

It's a position that cost Tom Renney his job last week, and saw the return of the volatile Sean Avery to New York via re-entry waivers yesterday. And as it so happens, it also coincides with this year's NHL Trade Deadline and an added sense of nervousness in the Rangers' locker room.

You see, today is the same day that Glen Sather makes a trade. It's been the case for every year he's been with the Blueshirts, with the exclusion of his first season and of course the lockout season. In every other year, Sather has used the trade deadline to tinker with his roster, often bringing in depth players, but on occasion making some substantial changes. Put this year's deadline day dealing in the latter category.

Perhaps it was the prevalent booing at MSG in recent games that makes him feel like he has to do something. Maybe the departues of Tom Renney and Don Maloney, two moderating voices since the lockout, has removed his inhibitions, but whatever the case, Sather has elected to take the high risk route.

Obviously the Rangers needed change, but the question has to be asked. Is this too much too late?

John Tortorella is just three games into his second tenure with the Rangers and already he's lost five of the players - that's almost a quarter of his team - from the day he stepped in the door. Erik Reitz was the first to go, claimed on waivers this morning by the Maple Leafs. He was followed by Dmitri Kalinin, Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha, who all were sent to Phoenix. Finally Aaaron Voros was put on waivers, and will likely now be reassigned to Hartford.

In their place, Sather immediately puts his new coach in a difficult position by bringing a guy back who was openly criticized, not only by his new coach, but by players still on the roster. A guy who also had a not so flattering critique of a couple of this year's free agent signings, and quickly fell out of favor with his new team, after departing New York for "greener" pastures.

He then adds an inconsistent forward, who drew criticism from his own GM for not playing hard enough, a forward who has played for only one NHL team his entire career, and must now quickly adjust to playing with new team mates. And last - and perhaps least - a defenseman whose career path has been following a remarkably similar track to one Wade Redden, a former promising blueliner who has struggled to find his form in recent years, including a stint with a fairly credible Colorado Avalanche squad a couple of years back.

Sure, on paper all three look good, but all three are high risk in terms of what they are likely to do for the Rangers this year.

So what? You may argue. It's not like the Rangers gave up a lot to make the changes. After all, it was only a second round pick (and a conditional undisclosed pick), a UFA defenseman who wasn't well liked, and a couple of smallish, underachieving forwards, both of whom will be RFAs this summer.

Yes on paper that is all true, but the reality is often different and I believe a case of history repeating itself.

Taking a look at the last ten years of Stanley Cup winners, there has not been a single instance where a team that finished outside the top four in their conference has won The Cup. At eighth spot, just one point ahead of the ninth placed Hurricanes, the Rangers should be more worried about actually making the playoffs than whether they can not only catch the Flyers, but somehow also pass the three teams in between them.

If you're still not convinced, perhaps taking a look at the previous deadline day deals under Glen Sather and your initial thoughts on them compared with the reality are in order. Ask yourself, how many of these trades lived up to expectations?

2008 - Al Montoya and Marcel Hossa sent to Phoenix for Fredrik Sjostrom, Josh Gratton and David LeNeveu
2008 - 3rd round pick sent to St Louis for Christian Backman
2007 - Pascal Dupuis sent to Atlanta for Alex Bourret and 3rd round pick
2007 - Aaron Ward sent to Boston for Paul Mara
2006 - 3rd round pick sent to Anaheim for Sandis Ozolinsh
2004 - Martin Rucinsky sent to Vancouver for RJ Umberger and Martin Grenier
2004 - Greg de Vries sent to Ottawa for Karel Rachunek and Alexandre Giroux
2003 - Cory Cross and Radek Dvorak sent to Edmonton for Anson Carter and Ales Pisa
2003 - Johan Holmqvist sent to Minnesota for Lawrence Nycholat
2002 - Mike York and 4th Round Pick to Edmonton for Tom Poti and Rem Murray

Then there's a question of depth. With the loss of Erik Reitz today, the Rangers are back at a position they were earlier in the year, no depth on the blueline. If there as an injury to any of the top six blueliners, the Rangers will now be forced to use a rookie blueliner to plug the gap.

The only defenseman in the Rangers system who has NHL experience is Corey Potter, and his three games were all this year. Behind him you have Brian Fahey, Michael Sauer and Bobby Sanguinetti - none of whom have yet played in the NHL, a precarious position this late in the year.

Perhaps the only positive that can be taken out of today's dealings is that the Rangers didn't give up a first round pick, and traded only players that had already had a good look at the NHL level.

Certainly there's some question as to whether Dawes and Prucha would have generated more success under Tortorella, but with a relatively small forward corps and the two of them both producing only sporadic offense and limited defense, it seemed likely they'd be the first to move.

Finally the second round pick given up by the Rangers represents another lost opportunity to continue to keep the prospect funnel full. In a salary cap world - and a reduced UFA age - it's essential that there is a ready supply of players from within the organization to continue to replace higher placed players with lower cost alternatives.

The trade of a pick that the Rangers have had better success with in recent years, coupled with the loss of two relatively cheap forwards, potentially puts further pressure on the organization this summer. Dubinsky, Callahan and Zherdev headline a group of impending RFAs the Rangers will have to deal with this off-season.

One thing seems almost certain, the chances of Nik Antropov and Derek Morris playing here next season are relatively slim. The prospects of a 2010-11 season with a cap drop that might be as much as 10-20% has most GMs unwilling to take on commitments like those given to Scott Gomez (5 more years), Wade Redden (5 more years), Michal Rozsival (3 more years) and Chris Drury (2 more years).

Well at least those who were hoping to see some of the Rangers prospects play next year will likely get their chance.



Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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