From the desk of: RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS
NEW YORK RANGERS: I Think Glen Sather Could Have Paid Ryan Callahan, But Ultimately Soured On The Very Popular Captain, And Salivated Over Martin St. Louis.
Later this month, Knicks fans are going to protest team owner, James Dolan, in front of Madison Square Garden. I say Rangers fans should additionally rise up, don their jerseys, join them, and make the recent uprisings in Ukraine look like a frat party.
Woe to all of us. But, at least for Garden hockey fans, Glen Sather (in name, because no one ever sees him) is the buffer between us and ownership. Knicks fans do not have such luck or separation. When it comes to the Garden's basketball team, the owner has become very hands-on, and attends every home game. With the Rangers, Dolan hired Sather, then left the building. But I honestly could not tell you how much better off the Blueshirt Brotherhood is because of it.
Glen Sather has to be one of the most unaccountable team executives during my lifetime as a New York sports fan. In a bit of irony, former Knicks GM's Al Bianci and Isiah Thomas are also on my short list. Not coincidentally, two of these men were hired by James Dolan.
Now, the ol' spineless silver back, Sather has stuck again. After failing to reach a contract agreement with Ryan Callahan, the GM traded the now former Rangers captain to the Tampa Bay Lightning, in exchange for 38-year old sniper/forward Martin St. Louis.
Simply put, I'm pissed off as all hell, and yes, it's purely emotional. With respect to sports, favorite teams, and athletes, the older you get, the more jaded fan you potentially become. When the more impressionable days of our youth are long gone, it gets harder to draw up a list of favorite players. There is less interest in doing so, than say, a 10-year old might invest. By the time you reach my age, you've been completely polluted by the business side of sports, and all the varied nuances of the modern athlete.
Ryan Callahan was an exception. He was a joy to root for. Sports still brings out the kid in all of us. Even today, sometimes a player comes along that you can't help but welcome into your private circle. Sometimes a player comes along and leaves a lasting impression on even the most cynical older fan - one who makes you root like a kid again. Currently, maybe Derek Jeter, David Wright, or Eli Manning makes your list. But, Ryan Callahan was most certainly on my short list of home team dudes - "my guys" as Bill Parcells used to say. It's an increasingly harder club to get into.
That's pretty much the extent of any rant I might want to deliver. I'm just very sorry to see Ryan Callahan go, and Glen Sather stay. Woe to all of us indeed.
The GM wound up trading three draft picks leading up to Wednesday's deadline. Two draft picks accompanied Ryan Callahan to Tampa, while Sather sent another to Vancouver for a defenseman. The lost draft picks my very well become inconsequential matters, but at this rate, Sather is making them quickly disappear. A pick is still a pick. I guess less picks only makes Gordie Clark's off-season research that much easier to tackle. The Rangers will be without a #1 pick in 2015, and are now minus two picks in the 2014 draft. Back in 2013, Sather traded his 2014 #6 pick in the Justin Falk deal, but previously picked up Minnesota's #6 pick in the Gaborik trade.
While Ryan Callahan may have been stiff on his end regarding negotiations, I feel the GM and Callahan were too close not to reach a deal. So, I put the failure to sign Callahan squarely on Sather, and point at his complete and utter mismanagement of the now nine-year old salary cap system.
At the same time, I do not believe Callahan was deserving of such a large contract. Without securing an additional player, a pure scorer that is, inking Callahan to such a deal would have been nothing short of prohibitive. And truth be told, his offensive output just did not warrant such a pact. Goals are what the Rangers need most, and Callahan was finding the net far too infrequently. Sure he was one of my favorite players, but you know - money changes everything.
Sather actually commented this afternoon, saying if this deal hadn't come together, that he had a second trade option in hand. That may be so, or not. There is a strong sense Sather simply soured on Callahan, and salivated at the chance to secure Martin St. Louis' scoring potential.
Despite his advancing age, Martin is still an elite scorer, and one hell of a hockey player. For this year and next, the Rangers will be getting a genuine goal scorer who can create his own opportunities. They will benefit from having him. I'm sure Brad Richards is happy.
Beyond that, the Rangers will get nothing, similarly as if they would have let Callahan walk away as a free agent.
On that note, I'll end this here, as the Toronto Maple Leafs just scored in overtime, to defeat the Rangers by a 3-2 final........