Petr Nedved

Lost In The System

by Jess Rubenstein

I used to tell folks that very little shocks me anymore, and when they ask me why then I tell them it is because I am a Ranger’s fan so nothing shocks me anymore. All I can do these days is shake my head in wonder when I see the next great move the genius who pretends to be the Ranger President/GM/Coach makes to supposedly get the team going. To be honest the one thing that has driven me crazy this season has been that nobody with the Rangers, the beat reporters or even my fellow fans can ID the supposed system that the Rangers are using this season.

What I do know is that it sure isn’t the Debbie Trap, it isn’t the Red Wing Lock and that it isn’t the 1-2-2 trap used by many teams. Other than that I for the life of me either don’t see the system or the spin-doctors are pulling my chain with their imaginary system. At least every time the Rangers get a couple of days off someone associated with the team will tell the beat reporters that the team is buying into said system and things are coming together.

Tom Renney was the last one to do it earlier this week and of course the Rangers showed how they were coming together by losing to the Habs at home. Maybe it is the “We don’t like to work hard for 60 minutes” system because that was the system I saw in place that night. I do wish to offer Coach Renney a friendly suggestion though. Next time you want to tell Ranger fans that the system is working and the team is coming together please do it when the team is winning not while they have lost 3 out their 4 games (now of course 4 out of 5 losses) like you did. It doesn’t help your credibility a whole lot when you say one thing and the team takes a dump on you.

However I do wish to offer a suggestion for the kind of system I would like to see the Rangers use. I call it the “Playing Young Kids who want to bust their butt for 60 minutes every night” system. It is best used when you have players (mostly young ones) who want to work hard and give 60 minutes of effort every night.

Moving on to another rant of mine is the question: Has anyone seen Nedved or Hlavac’s game and if so would they be so kind to return it to them? In a way it is sad to talk like this about the very popular players that they are but really that both of them have seen their game go into the toilet like it has over the last month. In Nedved’s case to be honest it wasn’t something I expected to see happen, sure Nedved has this habit of being a slow starter for the season but he has always still played a smart defensive game while waiting for his offense to catch up.

Not this season as Nedved has been making the kinds of boneheaded plays that is so unlike him and for the life of me I can’t point a finger as to what the cause of it is. It is as if he has lost his desire to play but I don’t think that is it for if it is then he picked the wrong year to quit on himself. Hlavac on the other hand though I hate to say this but I was against his signing because I questioned how he could lose his game like he has since being traded for Lindros.

I could understand him not fitting in with the Flyers, as they don’t play the kind of game suited for his style of play. What doesn’t make sense is that he couldn’t fit in with the Canucks or Canes, which are 2 teams that were ideal for him. The red flag should have come up when he failed badly for Marc Crawford a guy who will give you every possible chance to find a role on his team. Crawford tried Hlavac on every line with every possible combination of players and still failed to make it and played his way out of town. I have this feeling the way he is going he will be playing his way out of North America after this season.

Perhaps the worst part of this season is watching the numbers of long time Ranger fans giving up not only on this season but on the team itself. I post at several places on the web and going back to the second half of last season I have watched too many a Ranger fan get so disgusted that they announce they are walking away and that is it. I am not talking about the casual fan either as I am talking about long time Ranger fans who in some cases have been not only fans but season ticket holders since before I was born. They cite their disgust with the way the Dolans have run this franchise and how they have alienated the fans. While I do understand and feel for their frustrations I won’t allow the Dolans to chase me away from a team I have rooted for since the day I was born. My father and grandfather were Ranger fans and they got me addicted to this team. As a kid the Rangers were a team that allowed 3 generations to bond together to give us each something to bridge the generation gap with.

I will never allow the Dolans to chase me away, why you ask because even though they claim ownership of the team for now the Rangers belongs to US FANS not the Dolans or any other owner. Owners will come and go but the fans will always be there (yea I too wish they would go yesterday too). I have seen the Rangers being bought and sold several times in my 44 years of rooting for them so I cling to the hope that the day will come when they will sell out. When that days comes we Ranger fans will party for a long time but know this that day will come.

In the meantime I suggest that we the fans take our frustrations out not on each other but in any possible way to embarrass the ownership. Whether it be wearing bags over our heads at the Garden, calling all the sports talk radio shows and ripping away or even refusing to put one dime directly into the CVC coffers. Whatever we do we must keep the pressure up for if we walk away in silence then we allow the Dolans to win and continue to screw up a proud franchise.

Finally one has to ask if there is such a thing as ethics in journalism anymore for if there are could someone please send some over to Larry Brooks. Brooks is someone who ask acknowledged in interviews that “He likes to stir things up” and that “He doesn’t care what people think of him just as long as they spell his name right”.

Give him credit for being able to turn himself into the most talked about beat reporter covering the Rangers. Every time he writes one of his “rumors” he is getting us to do what his bosses want which is to (a) read what he writes, (b) talk about what he writes and most of all (c) generate publicity good or bad for the Post.

Take for example his “Jagr to the Rangers” rumors and you see what I mean. Just about every Ranger fan site has been talking about it whether it is to discredit him or not. We are all falling into his trap which is to do all of what I listed above and at the same time as mad as we get at him he doesn’t give a rat.

So perhaps I will offer this suggestion as to how we should deal with Mr. Brooks and try to put an end to his nonsense whether it be rumors that are so out of this world that they won’t ever happen or even his weekly Slapshot’s columns. I say we simply stop reading his nonsense and look elsewhere for our doses of Ranger information. If we know that he has a writer has no credibility then why bother reading him?

If we stop generating hits at the Post website or purchasing the Post outright then we the fans can send a message that we are tired of misinformation. If Brooks loses his audience then sooner or later he will be replaced as the Post is in the business of making money. If Brooks isn’t making money or generating publicity then they have no need for him.

I for one am going to boycott the Post and stop reading the nonsense he writes. It isn’t as if I can’t find other sources of Ranger information so I will draw my line in the sand. I won’t read him, won’t post about him and after this article write anything about him. Call it one person’s fight to seek a change in responsible reporting.

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