With money back in Glen Sather’s hands once again—after the Gomez trade—it was expected for Ranger fans to be skeptical of what he would do with it. And in the beginning it seemed as though Sather was going to prove those skeptics correct. When the Donald Brashear signing hit the fan many of you were upset. Why let Colton Orr—a blue chip player who works hard every shift go—for a cheap hit artist who is 10 years older. Then the Gaborik signing came into play and everything started to make some sense. So let’s dive right in.
While you were listening to the Radio show, and if you didn’t then you better next time, you heard me call the Brashear signing a great one; now let me explain why. At first glance it doesn’t make any sense, but when you sift through his baggage you see what Sather was getting at. Last year Lundqvist was hit and bumped regularly, along with most of the team, as other teams tough guys took liberties. And although Colton Orr was a great teammate he was never one to settle the score. Enter Brashear, the single most intimidating hockey player since Tiger Williams, to take care of that. No more hits on Lundqvist after the whistle, no more liberties on Callahan or Zherdev; at least not without retribution. Even with all of this fans still did not understand why Brashear has to be signed after the Rangers acquired—former LA King tough guy—Brian Boyle, another guy who will knock out some teeth.
Enter Marian Gaborik the sniper the Rangers—and their fans—have been begging for. All of a sudden the Rangers have some cargo they need to protect and who better than Donald Brashearand Brian Boyle? Now do not get me wrong, I was and am 100% against the cheap shots Brashear is known for. The fact that he is wearing a Ranger’s jersey doesn’t change the fact that those are unacceptable, and you will see me keep true to this until his contract expires.
Onto Gaborik. Now some people might thing that the 5 year 7.5 million dollar contract is too steep for the oft-injured sniper but I disagree. Gaborik, when healthy, is top 3 snipers in the league; behind Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. If you disagree with me name the players that feed Gaborik the puck ... Exactly, I thought so. Gaborik will help the power play become lethal, and he will help round out the lines because the Rangers finally have a legit 1st line winger. 5 years might seem like a lot but Remember that he was originally asking for 10. And if that’s not enough for you then think about his age, he is only 27 which means he is entering the prime of his career.
Now let’s quickly discuss the injuries. Word from those I listen to tell me that his hip injury is 100% healed. They also say that his groin injury is also healed, although those tend to linger so he will have to be careful. Last year was his injury year, there should be no problems from here on out. If you need more proof look at this from Steve Zippay at Newsday. (Look at this well it is very telling. The Rangers team doctors are very prestegious and would have evaluated him thouroughly, we can trust what they say.)
One glitch in the picture could be Gaborik’s health. In four of the last five years, he has played 65 games or less. But Sather said the team’s doctors had evaluated him and spoke to the surgeons who performed hip surgery last season.
“The first game he played against us, he was dangerous anytime he was on the ice,” said Sather. “We looked at medical reports, he’s very healthy.” Mario Lemieux and Michal Rozsival had the same surgery,” Sather said. “We don’t expect any problems.”
End of the day grades (I know you love these)? I give Sather an A overall. The Brashear signing was great now that I know that Gaborik is on-board. And guess what? The Rangers saved cap! And now the Rangers have source fir the coming free agencies.
Other Ranger news: Freddie Sjostrom is gone,went to Calgary for 2 years. Betts is rumored to be gone but as Jim says its hockey anything can happen. Expect Callahan, Dubinsky, Zherdev and all the others offered qualifying deals to be signed within the coming weeks. Zippay reported that Sather said that:
Our RFA's are protected. Dubinsky. Callahan, Potter, Zherdev, Korpikoski, Byers, etc. Said they had enough money to cover them and he didn't think anyone was going to take a run at them at this stage....
And for you Sather haters word is that the Heatley deal ended when Ottawa demanded Dubinsky and Callahan. I personally applaud Sather for sticking to his guns and not trading the kids. He did very well this off season, so far, nothing to complain about. Things are starting to heat up, I am excited ... are you?