Eulogy: Remembering the 2016-17 Toronto Maple Leafs - *(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we’re bound to lose some friends along the journey. We’ve asked for these losers, gone but not forgotte...
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But at Madison Square Garden -- home of the NHL's Rangers, NBA's Knicks and WNBA's Liberty -- 61 percent of vendors were cited with violations. At one stand, inspectors found "53 mouse excreta" (38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit), according an inspection-report excerpt.So not only are we eating the garbage they put on the ice every game, but we are literally eating garbage food behind the counters. Fun stuff. And to tell you the truth, it probably won't change all my eating habits at The Garden (though, I'll pass on the bowl of chili) and I wouldn't mind a little excreta if the team were better this year -- because we as Rangers fans have been fed crap for about three seasons already --- what's stopping us now? Why would we expect if they weren't putting a superior product on the ice/court that we'd expect a superior product behind the countertops?
First off, the Blueshirts currently have approximately $7.89 million in cap space, partly due to the escalator that was approved by the NHLPA a few weeks ago. This is before RFA defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are re-signed, however, and that is a main priority at the moment. Assuming each player gets the money they want, most of that $7.89 million will be gone rather quickly. What does that mean? Well, it means the Rangers will again be very limited in what they can do as far as roster adjustments go throughout the upcoming season and at the deadline. Waiving Redden would obviously change that.Poor, poor Wade....don't worry kid, my mother always said don't marry for money, divorce for money. Slats knows all about it. Forget about making lemonade, as you'll always be our' lemon in Blue'.
Although he could have returned to Wisconsin as captain of a Badgers team that he helped lead to last spring's NCAA championship game, McDonagh felt the week he spent at the MSG Training Center made his decision to leave much easier.
"The camp was important for a lot of reasons," he said. "First and foremost, I got to meet some of the Rangers staff members face to face and to have them meet me as well. Second, I got to know some of the other players in the organization. I thought it was important to build some relationships with them during a tough week of camp and getting to know them. The third thing was more for myself. I know the pro game is different from the college game, and I wanted to see if I was physically ready and mentally ready and everything like that."
McDonagh was one of the best players on the ice throughout the four days of scrimmaging, and his fitness level was never in question, since Gordie Clark, the Rangers' Director, Player Personnel, still marvels over McDonagh's performance at the NHL Combine three years ago prior to the 6-foot-1, 222-pound defenseman's draft day. Clark was one of the many people that McDonagh spoke with extensively while at the Training Center.
"The camp went really well, and it got better every day," said McDonagh. "I just felt great after the camp and felt like this was definitely a spot for me. And they felt the same way as well. It worked great. It was perfect."
The Blueshirts have one of the better systems in the NHL when it comes to their prospects. They have more depth than most organizations and the plan is to eventually bring that depth to the professional level where they will have the chance to develop into a solid contending squad. This is the process that the Chicago Blackhawks had to go through. This is the process the Pittsburgh Penguins had to go through. This is the process the Washington Capitals had to go through. Well, look how those teams turned out. Just look at them now and for once, imagine the Rangers finally being that good.I couldn't agree more -- and from your lips to the hockey Gods' ears, may we find the re-building we've all been asking for. Though, it would still be nice to dump Redden in the minors, free up 5 to 6 million in the cap and bring in a Bobby Ryan or untouchable Ilya Kovalchuk, wouldn't it? Remember we still need to score goals...and free agency can allow that to happen.
As Herb Brooks once said "Great moments are born from great opportunity." That is what the Rangers have here. They have great opportunity to slowly but surely become a contending team again. One that will actually have fans at the edge of their seats instead of slouched down ashamed to show their faces. Whether management and staff realize that, I cannot confirm for you, but I will say that is the correct direction to move this team in. It is the right way of doing things and it will eventually lead to success on the ice of Madison Square Garden; something we are not used to at all.