Roman Hamrlik last laced up his skates for a regular season game on April 1st against the Winnipeg Jets, he had just 4:30 TOI and has been a healthy scratch ever since. Kinda funny how his last game as a Ranger was on April's Fools Day... almost feels like everything that has happened with the team since then could just be a cruel but beautiful dream we are all sharing. Someone should look around for Leo DiCaprio's top from Inception and make sure it isn't spinning.
As we all know, the Rangers found themselves in desperate need of some help on the blue line when Marc Staal went down with a horrifying face/eye injury and it just so happened that Hamrlik became available on the waiver wire. Picking up a veteran blue-liner, even though he wasn't right-handed, without having to give anything up but some of Dolan's money seemed like a pretty sweet deal to some of us at the time. For the record, I still understand and support the Rangers picking up Hamrlik off the waiver wire. We all know how poorly it all worked out but the Rangers were in one hell of a tight spot and dressing Matt Gilroy and Steve Eminger for an extended period of time (especially without the foresight of acquiring John Moore). Sather and company should have known that Hamrlik was available for a reason but they snatched him up anyway.
It's ironic that Hamrlik has been replaced by Moore in the Rangers lineup. Hamrlik makes the smooth-skating Moore look like the lovechild of the Flash and Florence Griffith-Joyner... sans the red spandex and the six-inch long nails, or perhaps Quicksilver (if you're more into the Marvel universe) and Marion Jones... sans the lilac spandex and the steroids and all that stuff. Hamrlik, now 39 years old, played just twelve games with the Rangers before it became evident that his lack of speed and conditioning rendered him ineffective. Though it seemed that his inefficacy and lack of conditioning was apparent to everyone from early on, including John Tortorella who scratched Hamrlik for two games for not being in shape.
Just how slow was Hamrlik? It appeared to everyone that Roman Hamrlik was ambling about on the playing surface by wearing what are commonly known as ice skates. We see a lot of ice skates in ice hockey. They are more or less essential to playing the game on ice. Just so we're all clear here is what ice skates look like:
I can't say whether or not Hamrlik's skates were made of cement, lead, or some material that had the density of a dying star but we did all SEE that he was indeed wearing ice skates. However, that is not what it seemed like he was wearing. What it seemed like he was skating around the ice on was something more like:
Get it? Hammers... Hamrlik? You're right. I should be ashamed of myself.
Hamrlik has had a career that most people who play or follow the game can only dream about. He was selected with the first overall pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and as of the writing of this article has played in 1,395 NHL games for seven different teams, including two original six franchises. There aren't many players who are still playing the game at Hamrlik's age and there aren't many who are currently playing that will come anywhere close to achieving what he has in his career but his best days are very clearly behind him. Who knows, maybe Hamrlik will be called into service down the stretch or even in the playoffs and redeem himself and be remembered in a better light by Rangers fans but I just don't see that happening.
Hamrlik was a necessary gamble made by the Rangers that seems silly now that Moore has been acquired in the Marian Gaborik trade but let's not forget where the Rangers were and how we all felt after Marc Staal went down to the ice clutching his face in that game against the Flyers.
John Moore is all kinds of promising and has all of us very understandably excited but let's make sure not to set our expectations for him too high. Saying that he is an improvement over Hamrlik isn't really earth-shattering and profound but the Rangers blueline certainly looks a heck of a lot better with him on it. Hopefully the blueline will stay healthy and look even better when Marc Staal joins the fold and we won't have to see Hamrlik back in the lineup anytime soon. In the meantime someone should seriously check Hamrlik's skates and see how heavy they are and make sure that Taylor Pyatt and Ryane Clowe aren't sporting a pair of hammer-skates (patent pending).
How ecstatic are you about John Moore and his play? Anyone else want to try and walk around in shoes with hammers attached to them with rubber bands? How important is team speed? Marvel or D.C.?
Let me know what you think in the comments.
Let's go Rangers.
NOTE: This is a humorous article that does not take itself seriously... this should be self-evident because it has a picture of some hammers attached to a pair of my old sneakers with rubber bands in it. Perhaps you shouldn't take it too seriously, either.