From the desk of: RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS
NEW YORK RANGERS - Providing For The Common DEFENSE, And Promoting The Blueshirt Welfare.
"Hey, hey Paula..., I wanna marry you!"
That little diddy was sung by Boone and his girlfriend Katie in the movie Animal House, while they were getting high at their college professor's house. And that's how I feel right now - high, and with a need to sing.
"Bye, bye Redden..., we're finally through with you!"
The New York Rangers will work out the terms to finally waive useless defenseman Wade Redden, and rid themselves of a financial albatross. He no doubt had to be one of the highest paid players in AHL history! In a nutshell, terms of the new collective bargaining agreement allow each team to jettison two costly club mistakes. This was the big break the Rangers needed. Damn the cap hit..., the season is a resounding success already.
Six years at thirty nine million dollars.... What the hell was Glen Sather thinking? Those were the years Sather was possessed by the devil himself; Mike Milbury. Redden, Scott Gomez; Chris Drury; - need I say more? By the way, Montreal called, they want their defenseman back. If I said it once, I said it a thousand times. If you want to pat someone on the back for turning this organization around, credit Gordie Clark and John Tortorella. But if you must, credit Sather for hiring Clark after Don Maloney left to work for Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix. These two have kept Glen Sather on the straight, and narrow, and have made him look far smarter than he deserves credit for. But hey, that's just me.
With or without Wade Redden, a compressed schedule poses a challenge for the Rangers blue line. The third and fourth lines are more important than ever. The onus will be on guys like Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy (who recently agreed to a deal), and Anton Stralman to gain Coach's trust, and share the burden he places on Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. Meanwhile, the Canadiens are no doubt kicking themselves in le posterior, after handing Scott Gomez a pink slip and watching Ryan McDonagh develop into a blue line star. And now that Michael Del Zotto is signed, we know the Rangers are confidently three lines deep. The trick will be in creating a good fourth line pair. Here's a nice stat that should go a long way. All eight Rangers defensemen are below the age of thirty.
On a more distressing note, I think Michael Sauer's career might be over. He is still unable to shake the effects of a concussion suffered back in December 2011 when Toronto's Dion Phaneuf checked him into the boards. Sauer missed the rest of 2011-2012, and all of last season.
I think the Rangers have the best collection of defensemen in the division. Sure the Penguins still have Kris Letang. But without Jordan Staal, I think they are substantially compromised. Philly's defense corp is unsettled. They are trying to infuse some youth among a collection of fossils like Kimmo Timonen and returning dinosaur, Chris Pronger. The Islanders? No, stop. Really.... But the Devils are the Devils. Their defense will be stout and physical. They played in the finals for a reason.