Mark Messier

20-1 Odds To Win The Cup

by Gary Pino

THN has given the Rangers 20-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup this year! Surprised? Not really! With a revamped lineup and new coaching staff the Rangers may be a force in the Eastern Conference this year? With the heavyweights like Toronto and Philly losing key players, and add the huge void the Islanders will have to bare with the loss of Michael Peca for at least the first quarter of the season, the Rangers can slip into a comfort zone if they come together?

Radek Dvorak will be ready for the start of training camp and will fit nicely on any line the Rangers choose to use him on. Without Messier being signed as up to this point, I really have to think it would be beneficial for the Rangers to move on and get a Murray or Lundmark some playing time with the Rangers this season instead of Hartford? As far as projected lines, there is none! What is set in stone is Lindros and Holik will be slotted numbers 1 and 2 respectively, and Nedved possibly being the 3rd center for an organization that has been depleted in this position for years.  If the Rangers are thinking post Messier right now, the thought of Jamie Lundmark on the 4th line-playing center may well be in the mix as we speak?

Another subject I want to discuss is this league intervention with the Rangers regarding Holik and Kasparaitis, and signing bonuses. Where was the NHL when the Colorado Avalanche hoodwinked the entire league last season when they had resigned Roy, Blake and Sakic before the clock struck 12 for the beginning of free agency? I think with the owners and GM’s such as the Pat Quinn’s crying to the league about how unfair it is that the Rangers and Stars can sign all these great players and the small market teams get nil! So the league makes some kind of ridiculous ruling on the signing bonuses the Rangers handed out on the 1st few nights of free agency. Then they retract the ruling and say the Rangers have to restructure the contracts and everything is now all of the sudden OK? Seems to me this was a smoke screen passed on down to the rest of the smaller market teams to pacify them into thinking the league is investigating the big TV network teams? If the signing bonuses were so illegal why did they pull a 180 and take the collar off the Rangers in 1 day? “Can’t sell me on that one Mr Bettman”!

With the Rangers opening their pre-season in a few weeks I cannot wait to see some of the younger kids we have acquired via trades and free agent pickups. The young defensemen will be on display along with the new coaching staff. This to me is going to be very different and somewhat gratifying since I ferociously lobbied for Lows job to come to an end at the halfway point of last season. Also one more thing that will also be set in stone, ”Brad Smyth will not make the club this year” shocked?

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