It's hard to admit, but Larry Brooks nailed it in The Post this morning. He wrote what every Ranger fan has been thinking. Everyone else (TSN, CBC, Yahoo Sports, etc.) over the last 48 hours has been criticizing the Rangers organization for taking advantage of the salary cap situation by burying Wade Redden in the minors, suggesting that if Redden were a $3 million dollar a year player that this never would be happening. How wrong they are and Brooks says it nicely:
Let's be clear about this: Wade Redden earned yesterday's demotion to the AHL for his two miserable seasons on Broadway after signing with the Rangers as a free agent out of Ottawa.
If he were making $3 million rather the average of $6.5 million that he is getting under his six-year, $39 million contract -- which may represent the worst free-agent signing in the history of hard-cap pro sports -- he still would have had those two miserable seasons and he still would be in Hartford this season instead of Manhattan.
Redden, who will report to the AHL Wolf Pack tomorrow after clearing waivers at noon yesterday, is not a cap casualty.
Rather, Redden is a casualty of his own deterioration as a player that ranged from a steady decline his final couple of seasons with the Senators to a complete collapse with the Rangers. No doubt, this is a player who had a distinguished career in Ottawa and who seems to be an exemplary individual, but he brought next to nothing to the ice upon his arrival in New York.(full article here)
We've all lived through this level of criticism -- yeah, yeah...Glen Sather overspends, Glen Sather awards big contracts....this is all true, but if any of these critics dared to watch any game with Wade Redden it would be obvious that he was not able to keep up with the game any longer - and three days of training camp was obvious enough to make room for some younger, fitter prospects.
The NHL is faster and smarter -- and some are left behind, Redden being one of them. Not since Marek Malik has the Blueshirt faithful boo'ed one of our own at The Garden in the starting lineup for two seasons straight. We as fans make it known when we can no longer stand behind someone who plays substandard hockey. Ice Darwinism, folks! His fate to Hartford was pre-determined, well before camp.
For Jimmy Dolan and his management puppets, just think how horrible it must have been for them to watch Wade Redden's progress as a Ranger over two seasons - and then to eat $25 million plus in the minors just to improve the team. If he were actually a $2 - 3 million dollar asset (and still paying $6.5) he would be used on this team... but he's not even that. 29 other teams were unwilling to even consider picking him up even at a discount. Hhhmmm......
The most unfortunate event now is that the AHL affiliate Hartford Whale now has a bloated contract veteran on it's books, and it's not allowing a younger and faster defenseman to have his shot....
More later on how those Hartford games go...