Friday, January 21, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Blueshirts Should "C" Things Differently

NEW YORK RANGERS:  The Organization and this newer, younger version of BLUESHIRTS requires a Change in leadership on the iCe.

It's time to take the C off Chris Drury's jersey.  That's right I said it!

He can skate onto the ice in a clown's costume and no one would notice.  He's been that inconsequential.  It's not my want to be critical of Chris Drury who is one of the all-time classy guys in the Milky Way.  But being nice doesn't win the Rangers hockey games.  And in the case of Drury, C unfortunately does not stand for "cool".  Games go by without his name being mentioned even once during a telecast.

While I am still giddy we were able to trade Rozsival, with all the concerns surrounding Marian Gaborik's disappearance and the calamity of injuries suffered by this team occupying our minds, Chris Drury's insignificance has flown under the radar.  Not really; the complaining just seemed to get put on hold with other things on our plate.

Need I remind anyone, the C stands for CAPTAIN.  Inherent to being a Captain is leading.  In Hockey, Leading takes place on the ICE.  There's one mission when a player takes the ice and that mission is to win games.  You win games by being effective within the plan and with your personal play.  Those who can be effective on the ice AND inspire their team-mates to play up to a certain standard of effort, with intelligence and concentration, and who also have that innate ability to draw from others what they won't do for themselves on ice and in-game, are seen as leaders.  They get others to excel because players cherish getting respect from their peers.  And yes!  Players do look up to team-mates; not all players and not all the time...  But generally, - Yes. 

Here's the trick.  The good Captains know how to be tactful enough to make things a matter of respect for one another.  The special CAPTAINS make it personal.  They are skilled at creating on-ice chemistry and forming bonds.  Great Captains demand stuff, impact more games than not, and never disappear.

Perhaps the appointment of Drury as Team Captain was appropriate at the time of his signing.  We needed to transition away from Jaromir Jagr.  But roster turnover and injuries especially, have greatly transformed this team from the one Chris Drury originally signed-on to.  Additionally, he is yet to really mesh with the rest of this team after missing the start of the season and considerable time while healing from a twice, broken finger.  While he was out of action, the team and it's demeanor changed.  And your Captain, just can not..., can not, be a fourth line player for your team at any time.  A player may play his way on or off that line, but your Captain must never step foot over it.

From the beginning of this 2010-2011 season to now, the New York Rangers have done a 180 degree turn from Glen Sather's original plans for this edition of Blueshirts.  Injuries have dictated who finds themselves on the current roster more than any other factor.  Glen Sather's Plan-A is on crutches while Coach Tortorella, in addition to pleading for the youth movement, has been coaching the kids through a relatively effective initiation and transition into the NHL style game.  If you remember, Ranger fans got a little queasy over the thought of Drury coming back and disrupting much of the chemistry that had been formed in his absence.  That may be a stretch to say,  but the kids showed how willing they were to be Coached and all seemed pretty gung-ho about going through a wall.  There's the rub;  they do it for their coach, as they should, but their current Captain is inconsequential to the youngster's equation in my opinion.  I'd be willing to guess Chris Drury may be a locker-room marvel working on his new team-mates minds there, but on the ice, he does not figure into their formula.  That's something we see with our own eyes.

Without a doubt, the Ranger future is here.  The veterans with hefty contracts are officially waiting for the meteor to make impact and render them extinct.  Well, at least that's what Ranger fans want.  Unfortunately, good-guy Chris Drury is one of those.  Let's face it, we are not winning a Stanley Cup for the remainder of Drury's, Prospal's, or (gasp) Frolov's time left on Broadway.

I will not make this about Glen Sather over-paying for Chris Drury and giving him first-line type money when every Ranger fan knew then he was clearly only worth second or third-line type money.  But I won't deny him the credit for being a very good hockey player, and always being in the right place at the right time during many memorable moments in his career.  Glen Sather's folly is not Chris Drury's fault.

But this current Rangers team as presently constituted, and considering the direction they are taking, needs to rethink their Captaincy, to more accurately reflect and define the Rangers commitment to rebuilding their future from within.  They need someone emblematic of "a new" - but what we will strive to call - THE RANGER WAY.  You want someone who takes the ice every night and who will be the on-ice personification of the team logo.  This player must be symbolic of what the organization stands for and what every player should strive to be like in terms of dedication to his craft, devotion to the Blueshirt he wears and the way things will be done here.  This player must Bleed Blue having been born in the Rangers' system.  His seed must have been planted, ripened and picked from our own Garden.  He must have graduated to the Big Club and succeeded to show others coming-up the right way to make it on Broadway.

This honor must be bestowed upon our most indispensable player who takes the ice every night and is rapidly becoming, not only an ALL-STAR (he's already done that..), but a League Best at his position.  He is a player from Us, for Us, by Us.  He's still young in his own right, but he is now our Veteran who our newest crop of skaters look up to.  Chris Drury is not that player.  Marc Staal is.

Marc Saal is the Rangers' CAPTAIN on a nightly basis.  When you turn this way or that way, Marc Staal is present and accounted for.  Dan Girardi should donate a huge portion of his salary to Staal's favorite charity for what Marc Staal has meant to his career.  Michal Rozsival was the last blue-liner over 30 years old; and then there were none.  If you don't think there are 5 other defensemen hanging on every word Staal says, or watching everything he does, you are mistaken.

We may be able to whether the storm of injuries to our forward lines.  Maybe.  But there is no way we survive if the same misfortune befalls our Defensive Pairs.  No way!

Marc Staal had solidified himself as one of the leaders of the Rangers' new Future.  He, along with Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky have been the core, and ARE the core since they came up the Ranger Way together.  The future prospects of Stanley Cup contention rest with these three (as it presently stands) and how Glen Sather compliments them,  and how Coach, coaches them.

If this team really wants to take a huge step in forwarding their new organizational values, this would be a great way to clarify their position.
Marc Staal should be the CAPTAIN Ol' TEX's RANGERS.
Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky are your A's.

It's Obvious!


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