Jussi Markkanen

An Important Addition

by Timmy Corbett

Jussi Markkanen could currently be the most important ranger on the roster.  “Bull!”, or something harsher, you say?  Seriously. Any fan of hockey can agree that a goalie will always have a harder time adjusting to the big leagues than any other position, defensemen need to adapt to forwards, likewise forwards to defensemen, but both positions have players to rely on. In the flow of the game, the goalie is truly alone, predicting the forwards shots, as well as the defensemen’s errors!

The fate of the franchise has rested firmly on veteran goalies for years.  John Vanbiesbrouck came out of Wisconsin, ( ’83 rookie season) with a solid reputation, good poise good reflexes and tremendous knowledge of angles.  The “Beezer” was good and grew to greatness, his understudy?  Those who know call him “the pudgy little prospect”.  I still get a chuckle out of that today, we call him Mike Richter now, (89 rookie season) world class, Stanley Cup winning Mike Richter.

Very competent keepers, to say the least.  Mike Dunham has been great for the Rangers, let’s not kid ourselves, when the defense has failed (often), Dunham has made not only the save, but stood on his head and stole a couple of games the Rangers had no right winning.  He is our anchor, our go to guy… who’s next?  Should we have Blackburn rock the pine and wait?  We made that mistake with Cloutier.  Time on the ice, mistakes or not, have given him outstanding numbers in an astounding West Coast conference.  Should we throw him to the wolves?  We did that in back-to-back seasons when Richter was down with injuries. Should we do the un-thinkable in recent ranger history?  Should we develop and value our talent… and possibly our next franchise player?  Would a season or two in the minors mold a future for the Rangers after all?  Only time will tell, but the signing of a capable backup would allow that.  Jussi Markkanen may never be placed in the Ranger record books, but he may allow Blackburn’s name to be there.

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