Monday, July 16, 2007

Your Attitude Makes Me Defensive

Beyond all of the Rangers-friendly free agent signings now potentially establishing two of the strongest lines in the Atlantic Division, Glen Sather, general manager of The (new) New York Rangers, hasn't been addressing the biggest problem the Blueshirts face this upcoming season - our defense.

Yes - management avoided taking Henrik Lundquist (our prized goalkeeper) to arbitration and decided to work out their differences, he signed for a one-year deal for $4.25 million, which will probably lead to a five to six year extension deal sometime this fall; truth be told, the Rangers should have never dangled our defensive crown jewel in this fashion. The goaltender's price had obviously gone up in the aftermath of the large sums gained on the open market by free agent forwards Scott Gomez, Daniel Briere and Chris Drury, not one of whom is as valuable as the 25-year-old franchise goaltender. "The King" Lundqvist went 37-22-8 with a 2.34 goals-against average in 70 games last season -- his second in the NHL. The 37 wins were the second-most in a single season in Rangers history.

Henrik is an upcoming 'great' goaltender -- his inaugural last two seasons have instilled a pride in the team, a taste of the playoff life and the potential beyond, but no one goalie can cover for a weak defensive team. Our defensive roster needs to improve in experience and skill, and perhaps Henrik can maintain and never get hurt. I do believe he is the next Marty Brodeur, the biggest difference in that Henrik has a fan base that pays and shows up to the home games (on a side,
thanks Lou for Scottie Gomez, Detroit thanks you for Rafalski, you can have Rachunek -- and Devils fans should brace themselves for "Lamer-ello" to fire their next coach - preferably when you're in first place in the division and Lou decides he doesn't like you anymore -- Brent Sutter is the new coach of the New Jersey Devils, a rookie NHL coach...I know, another Sutter!? Good luck Brent, see you in Newark).

The last 20 games of the regular season, we saw our Rangers demonstrate some of the strongest penalty killing in the league - a strong defense, consisting of an over-bloated/paid/rated veterans (Malik - the skating 2 x 4), Rachunek (now a Devil, "wimp"), Darius Kasparitis (soon to be a proud AHL Hartford star again and already 'outed') and surprisingly supported by a cast of farm team graduates, mostly due to a great up-and-comer Dan Girardi. Let us not forget the honorable mention of Fedor Tyutin and recent trade Paul Mara. October and November will show us if our 'killer on paper' roster has something called defense to worry about. A rarity, The Dark Ranger is concerned.

Without question Lundquist supported the defense of this team last season -- and now that most of the 2006-7 Blueshirts are re-signed, which includes Brendan Shanahan, Petr Prucha, and Sean Avery (in arbitration) we are at 'the cap' limit. A 'powerhouse-offensively-minded' machine with a Super Goalie. There is no question the upcoming season is an exciting and hopeful one, scary for all if the front lines don't connect.

Ode to The King.
'Cause You Have a Lot of Work Ahead of You.


1 comment:

  1. teebz,...i see i've been tagged. need to work off some jetlag before tackling that impossible task. feels like revelations on Stern.


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