by Steve Giacobello
In what probably won’t be the last attempt to save the most disgraceful season in the history of the New York Rangers, GM Glen Sather, who guaranteed that his team will make the playoffs, increased the Rangers payroll to nearly 80 million by trading for Alexei Kovalev from the cash starved Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh sent Kovalev, Dan LaCouture, Mike Wilson, and Janne Laukkanen to the Rangers for Rico Fata, Joel Bouchard, Richard Lintner, Mikael Samuelsson, and cash believed to be in the amount of $4,000,000.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Rangers stole Kovalev and by far got the better of the trade/sale, but bringing Kovalev back to the Rangers after trading him to Pittsburgh in 1998 has left many Rangers fans asking one question….WHY????? Kovalev is an extremely talented player, no doubt, but is he the type of player that the Rangers need at this point? Looking at the hole the Rangers dug themselves into, I doubt there’s any one player in the league that can come in here and save the day, not to mention get this team into the playoffs and make a serious run at the Holy Grail.
The Rangers need help, lots of it, at keeping the puck out of their own net, not scoring goals. The Rangers have allowed 6 or more goals 7 times this season. Defense has been pitiful all season long, so why bring in a player that will contribute absolutely nothing defensively? Glen Sather allowed Mike Grier to go to Washington because he said he couldn’t free up the money, (Grier’s salary is $1,483,625) but he sure found the extra $4,600,000 for Kovalev with no problem, not to mention the cash amount of 4 million and the salaries of the other three players also acquired in the trade.
The bottom line is this….The Rangers continue to spend money foolishly, and with little or no result. Consider the money that has been spent and the names that have come and gone here, and then look at 5 (going on 6) years without a playoff appearance. The performance of this team the past 6 seasons has been an absolute disgrace, but they just continue to pay big money for big name players that bring nothing to the table to help this team be successful. “If at first you don’t succeed, buy, buy again” should be the Rangers slogan.
Kovalev is a superstar in this league, we all know that, but he’s going to solve nothing here in New York. Scoring 5 or 6 goals a night is great, but it’s useless when you give up 7. The Rangers had Alexei once before, but he drove players, coaches, and fans crazy with his all out offensive minded type of game. Kovalev’s game hasn’t changed one bit and he’s been quoted as saying he has no plans of changing his style.
So what’s the logic in the move? Only Sather can answer that, and so far this year, he hasn’t had any answers to many questions. Kovalev may steal some wins for the Rangers, but I’m sorry
everyone…he’s not the answer.