Saturday, February 26, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Lucky Is The GM Who's Plan Fell Apart

NEW YORK RANGERS:  Blueshirts Acquire Florida's Captain; D-Bryan McCabe.

GLEN SATHER:  In the Eleventh Year, Our GM Finally Has A Clue.  But that Clue is named John Tortorella.

It's only taken him 11 years, but Glen Sather seems to be on to something.  I'm not quite sure what.  But he's on to something.  There are far more bad things to point out than good when talking about Glen Sather's time here as GM.  Let's not forget the GM's initial plan for the season was hinged on Michal Rozsival, Wade Redden, Chris Drury, Alex Frolov, Vinny Prospal, and Derek Boogaard.  But I'm not here to go through all the horrific moves Sather has authored over the last ten years as GM of the Rangers  We're fans, we know all about it, and there's no need to revisit the past although when it comes to Sather, we'd ritual chant to a picture of Lester Patrick if we thought it could get Sather fired.

The Rangers are where they are today, (seventh place in the Eastern Conference and seemingly surging again), because Glen Sather's plan for this club fell apart.  We've officially been on Plan-B since Thanksgiving.  That can not go under-spoken.  A kid like Michael Sauer or Ryan McDonagh doesn't get a chance to help the Rangers if Rozsival or Redden are still here.  Kids like Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello, and Artem Anisimov don't get the ice time, nor does a tough Kris Newbury... -  A guy like Erik Christensen doesn't get to be a hero with two goals against the Washington Capitals Friday night if guys like Drury, *Prospal, Frolov, Boogaard, and *Fedotenko were around ineffectively gobbling up minutes for most of the season.

This season, injuries have been Glen Sather's saving grace; - that, and Coach Tortorella.  Coach Torts battled with Glen Sather over personnel matters even before the season started.  The biggest proponent of all the Blueshirt call-ups has in fact been Coach John Tortorella.  This club's reliance on the call-ups in my opinion is directly linked to Coach Torts.  Without him, the Sauer's and Stepan's; the McDonogh's and Anisimov's would all have been goners; all traded away.  I still believe the single most reason for this team's "success" this year has everything to do with John Tortorella and the way he is coaching, pushing and meshing the youthful roster.  And I believe when it comes to Glen Sather, the loudest voice in his ear is again, John Tortorella and Coach's insistence they follow this plan of youth and building a winner this way.

So when it comes to crediting Glen Sather for making a series of really good moves this year!...We are talking about just that; This Year ~ And lucky is the Man who's plan fell apart.  A decade of folly is hard to forget or ignore.

Miraculously ridding the team of Michal Rozsival and getting Wojtek Wolski in return still has me stupid with glee!  Recognition of the fact Wade Redden could not play for this team, this year, and going through the necessary steps to demote him was at a minimum, most prudent.  And No;  Glen Sather did not trade away the farm at any time.  It's also worth mentioning, he didn't trade away a farm he helped rebuild.

Once upon a time, when Don Maloney ceased drafting players for the New York Rangers and took a job working for Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix, I remember saying to myself, "we're doomed".  Who's going to draft for us now? - Glen Sather again?  If there was a worry about losing Don Maloney to Phoenix it's because we were the post-Lock-Out Rangers now, and the rules would be better suited for skating etc etc.  We made the playoffs riding Jagr's wide hips and we thought we were OK.  But hindsight is never wrong and we all realized and understand now Tom Renney wasn't tough enough and Don Maloney drafted what everyone always drafted for the Rangers; Smurfs.  You know who they were.  But after Don Maloney, Glen Sather put Gordie Clark and Jeff Gorton in charge of things.  What the hell, give a shout out to Jim Schoenfeld too.  And well, here we are.  If there's too much between us and Sather at this point, let's admit he hired good people and that our farm system is better than it has been in a very long time.  But that's just it, it's taken a very long time under this guy named Sather. 

Having said all that, the GM we love to blame for everything, is having himself a nice little bounce-back year.  In my most recent post, I questioned whether there was any life emanating from Sather's office as the trade-deadline neared.  Because a lot of times we don't even know he's alive.  He doesn't talk to the media.  He's hardly ever seen.  He's a friggin' avatar to us most times.

But let's give credit where credit is due (where ever he is).  Glen Sather traded for Florida's Bryan McCabe giving up Connecticut's Tim Kennedy and a (who cares) pick.  Brilliant!  My fear was Glen Sather grossly over-paying to acquire another washed up candidate for the Glue-Factory.  But Bryan McCabe is the perfect player to shore-up the Rangers' blueline and it cost us nothing we should concern ourselves with.  I think I understand Florida's angle.  McCabe will be 36 this year and Florida is just getting a pro-active jump on a roster shake-up.  But McCabe is a much needed influence on our young Blueliners and for the moment takes a lot of pressure off Marc Staal.  Bryan McCabe will be a definite help and is a very welcome addition.  He just may breathe some life into our power play also.  It may prove to be a very savvy trade by Mr. Sather indeed.

FINAL:  NEW YORK RANGERS 6;  Washington Capitals 0

The Rangers out-everything'd the Capitals Friday.  They Hit them; they Fought them; they Beat them down.  That was Playoff Game Minus-Twenty on the countdown.  Enjoy it...G'head.

Finished?  Good!  It's time to move on. 

Here's what sucks about Playoff-Pushes, they're never fun until you make the playoffs....; For us at least.  It's Miserable Fun.

This compliments a game from earlier this season when the Rangers drubbed the Capitals 7-0.  Forcing Alex Ovechkin to be responsible for his defense is really paying off for the Rangers.  Thank you Coach Boudreau, for the change in philosophy.  And welcome New York Rangers, to the 70 point club.  They've earned it the hard way and are deserving of a blow-out once in a great while.  Only, who knew they'd come at Washington's expense?  Our Boys looked good didn't they?

This game against Washington, coupled with the win against Carolina were HUGE!  The Rangers continue to be a very good road team.  These two games are also reasons why we are forced to pay attention to the Rangers all the way to April 9th no matter what happens between now and then.  They were perilously close to spinning out of control as recently as two games ago after suffering losses to Detroit and the Devils, and more than need mentioning.  But they regrouped splendidly these last two games with a shoot-out win and a blowout. 

Now they come back home to MSG where they haven't played as well as they have on the road.  Sunday, we'll try to gain some ground on Tampa Bay.  But more imperative to our cause is that we keep Buffalo at bay with a win over the Sabres on Tuesday.  Like many more games down the stretch, the Tuesday night game is one we can't afford to lose.  The Rangers need to make sure the teams below them, stay below them.

"Playoff Game Minus Nineteen"
P -19

Tampa Bay Lightning
35-18-7   77 Points
1st Place, SouthEast Division
33-26-4   70 Points
3rd Place, Atlantic Division

New York City


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