Tuesday, July 21, 2009

'A Wolf In Wolf's Clothing' Named Brashear

The criticism of Donald Brashear must come to an end.

We know what and who he is and he will serve an important purpose on the Rangers roster this season.

For fans of professional hockey in North America, Donald Brashear is an imposing 6-foot-3, 235-pound forward, one of the sport's most recognizable enforcers, a man whose skating and stick skills have been dwarfed by his ability to pummel opponents with his fists.

For now, he is wearing Blue on Broadway for the next two seasons and is the NYR resident enforcer. Not since before the lockout has the Rangers had a full-fledged fear-factor on the roster; we’ve had years of watching our star players get destroyed without collegial retaliation - let us not forget Jaromir Jagr getting man-handled year-after-year without anyone stepping in to send the right message. Let us not forget that Tom Renney relied on rookie enforcers and the NHL’s new rules to referee the physical misdeeds of the game.

We have watched Colton Orr grow into our enforcer over the last couple of seasons – it has been fun getting to know him, to watch his early Rangers years ‘enforcer-training’ getting his ass kicked to becoming a more confident low-salary-cap-eating player who had his heart in the game first. This past year he became a hard-working, okay-dokey hockey player, but mostly, a solid enforcing fighter. The new coach didn't like his level of play, so he left for free agency. What now Rangers fans?

We get one of the scariest of enforcers on the team during free agency, though Rangers' media and bloggers have spent the last three weeks labeling him a criminal, unwilling to accept the signing to our beloved Blueshirts. They have seen this as a bad thing and yearn for the Orr days of past and refuse to accept the ‘free agent Tortorella deterrent’ named Donald Brashear because he’s too brutal.

3 words: Get Over It!

For the redundant background, if you recall during our 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the April 26, 2009 game against Washington, Caps enforcer Brashear was given a 6-game suspension for both a pre-game altercation with NYR enforcer Colton Orr and a very obvious late hit on Rangers center Blair Betts (of which Betts suffered an orbital eye socket fracture as a result of the hit). Not cool.

But all is fair in 'love & war', as this past month Brashear agreed to a free-agent contract with the Blueshirts for two-years at @$1.2 million per year to fill our need of an enforcer after Colton Orr signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for four years at just over four million dollars.

After the altercation with the Rangers in the previous post season, NYR General Manager Glen Sather was asked why he chose to sign Brashear. He said, "Donald is a great player and we need a guy to fill the tough role. He is a tough guy and the man we need. He certainly will be the man his teammates can go to and I have no doubts in my mind his new teammates will accept him."

This I do not doubt, as for many hockey fans, “the fist” is an essential part of the game. Sean Avery has been an important component of the verbal necessity in the game, and distracted our opponents in a mental and physical fashion --- and in some strange way, he satisfied the fans need for blood & smack-talk (excluding crude non-hockey ex-girlfriend comments) and he won over the fans because his antics helped us to win games. He is our on-ice verbal enforcer. Donald Brashear, on the other hand (the left one specifically) serves the physical necessity in the game and distracts our opponents through fear and force. He is on the ice to protect our key players. He is our on-ice physical villain. He, too, will help us win games. No one can dispute this.

Every New York Rangers fan should expect our first home game against Ottawa to be an 'all-out fist-ballet' between Chris Neil and our very own Donald Brashear, and the Don will win in the eyes of Rangers’ fans everywhere. This has to happen and Donald knows he needs to win over those blood-thirsting 300 & 400 section die-hards. Just as Shanny dropped his gloves to then Washington Caps Brashear to win the hearts of the Garden faithful seasons ago, “The Donald” will find his audience in NYC. Some critics and purists will continue to curse his name and label him, but when it all comes down to it – we know what he is and he is one that we’d rather have on our team than face him with fists flying. This is a guy who has trained with boxing legend Joe Frazier and continues to train with legendary UFC Champion James “Hoss” Skelton.

As Donald Brashear was quoted as saying during this year’s playoffs, "To tell you the truth, I never liked fighting. I always wanted to be the type of player that plays hard, hits, body checks and scores some goals. But that's not what they wanted me to be."

And we wouldn’t want him to be anything other than what he is. Our enforcer.

The Dark Ranger embraces “The Donald” with a platonic, non-threatening bear-hug and welcomes this thug as ‘our thug’. Onward…



  1. Couldn't disagree with you more. Let's see how happy you are when his animal instincts take over and he loses us some games. Maybe we shoulda signed Chris Simon after he nearly killed Ryan Hollweg too, huh? Simon was a feared fighter. Too bad we couldn't get Todd Bertuzzi to come here when he got off of suspension when we had Greg Moore in the lineup too. Woulda been a good idea, after all, Bert can score, right? Who cares that he tried to kill someone?

    Then again, everyone wanted Dany Heatley to come here and he actually did kill someone so as long as everyone is entertained, right?

    I hope this idiot does fight Chris Neil, trips, hits his head on the ice and never plays another NHL game. He is a disgrace to a sport and his presence soils the honour, respect and tradition that the Ranger shield stands for.

  2. I really haven't understood the negative reaction to Brashear from the start. Everyone loved Orr, but he's moved on, and I can see Tortorella's thinking. He wanted a guy where if say Gaborik is getting bounced around all night, has just enough ability to play alongside him. Also they have two other situations. There is no muscle on the backline so it's an open invitation to run Henrik. Orr would challenge the guy, say Ruutu, to a fight, declined, and that's it. Brashear will give him an elbow that he'll feel for the rest of the night and serve two minutes. Avery has more guts than brains, but he gets mugged five times a game by guys bigger than him. Now Brashear is floating around like a big brother in the school-yard.

    Actually I'd take Bertuzzi even now. He's UFA. Bertuzzi is still the best shotgun for a star in the league. Naslund never had to watch his back and anyone knew if they touched Naslund, they'd end up like, well, Steve Moore. Just what the injury-prone Gaborik needs. I don't think it is going to happen but Shanahan wouldn't hurt to bring back.

    Despite all of Bettman's best efforts, hockey is not yet the Ice Capades. Signing Brashear is a solid hockey move.

  3. Again bringing up Dany Heatley and his car accident.. unreal. Who made you the supreme judge? One of his friends died because of his driving, as horrible as that is how does that make him a criminal? It was a tragic accident and it's probably that lives with Heatley everyday of his life since.

    Your right about one thing TDR, he's our thug now. The majority of us will be happy when he throws his mauls Sidney Crosby for the first time. I'm still against the signing, I'd be happier with Orr and I don't think Brashear will protect the players anymore than Orr would

  4. You guys definitely needed a real deal enforcer as every team in the Division has some sort of "muscle" . . . even the Penguins have Godard. The Devils has that french Canadian guy, and the Flyers just picked up Chris Pronger. The latter is the exact reason you add a Brashear. Anyone that is trashing this move is a moron.

  5. 1) While we agree that its nonsense for Ranger fans to be bemoaning the signing Brashear because of what he did to Betts last spring, we disagree that he'll be an upgrade over Orr
    2) We also disagree that his presence will dissuade from liberties taken with star forwards. Brashear isn't on the ice when these stars are. Ask any capitals fan if he was a deterrent last season and you'll be surprised to find that the consensus is he was not
    3) Like others have written he is more apt to take a bad penalty than be a useful member of the roster. On some nights(when the Flyers/Bruins are in town) it will be great to have #87 out there, but come the playoff stretch drive and the post season itself his role/importance will diminish significantly

  6. I never like Brashear and practically became ill after finding out we signed him. I have since done some reading on him and while I have found we have some things in common (like a rough childhood)and feel like I have a better understanding of him, I still probably won't be singing his praises anytime soon. To say he was a detrrent to running Ovechkin or any other cap last year is a bit of misunderstanding. After all, if you run around taking runs at people like Ovechkin did, you're going to get some payback no matter who's on your team.
    The true measure of this team, the tactic of signing Brashear and his effectiveness is not how big and brassy his balls are. Its how big the rest of the players balls are, knowing hes behind them. This is phase 2 of the Avery snarl factor. Torts has already commented on how soft the team was last season. Its hard to disagree. While Mara grew quite an impressive beard, I doubt anyone on the team played bigger knowing that Mara was out there to hug an antagonizers into submission or that Orr would be screaming real loud from the bench. Even with Brashear on the slide, he still presents more of an intimidation factor than we previously had.

  7. Ryan, if I was the supreme judge he wouldn't be in hockey.

    I wasn't saying we didn't need an enforcer, I'm saying we need one who isn't going to hurt the team as much as this neanderthal. As for the intimidation factor, with the instigator rule, there isn't much that an intimidating goon can do nowadays. The most intimidating player in the league IMO is Jarome Iginla, because he will go after whoever hit him directly and then score the game-winning goal. When Chris Pronger elbows Gaborik and Brashear comes out to beat up Riley Cote, is that really justice? Is Brashear's intimidation factor meaningful whatsoever? I don't think so.

  8. Scotty, as sick and twisted as it sounds. It's the neadrathal factor that scares people. Did Brashear target Orr with the late hit in the playoffs? He went after someone more valuable.

    When Pronger cheapshots gaborik, I'm not so sure it will be pronger thats sweating and looking over his shoulder as much as it will be Briere, Gagne, maybe Emery or anyone else on that team that wont be unsuspecting anymore as blair betts once was.
    Not defending Brashear or the tactic of trying to win games with brute force or intimidation, but till now its been an avenue unexplored. Brashear goes out and separates ovechkin from his conciousness with a dirty hit... I know I won't cheer it, but I'd be lying if I said part of me will be debating whether to lament it for its cheapness or simply just accept it as something that had to be done, then move on.


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