This will be the third time I will have had a chance to sit down and chat with Chris Kotsopoulos, who spent one season with the Rangers back in 1980/81. He has always been good to me when I've needed an interview, so before I get to the main body of this article, I just want to tell everyone to check out his blog where he covers the Rangers, called "Kotsy's Korner".
GC: With the deadline ending Wednesday, are you surprised that the Rangers didn't make a trade? Do you think they would have gotten Souray had he not been injured?
CK: Surprised? Not really. Although they did make a minor deal a major trade is a lot tougher to complete because you have to have willing and equal trading partners today with the Cap situation. As for Souray, Yes.
GC: Last time we talked, you mentioned how this team needed to get tougher. Do you think the acquisitions of Brandon Prust and Jody Shelley will help this? And what was your immediate reaction to Donald Brashear getting sent to Hartford?
CK: Absolutely. With the acquisitions of Prust and Shelley you have instant deterants to any liberties being taken with the Ranger players. It was a must to acquire them. Don't want to beat up on Brashear and I won't. He's been a tough guy for a long time in the NHL and I think his longevity has caught up to him. It simply didn't work for the Rangers.
GC: With the acquisition of Alex Auld, do you think the Rangers will rest Henrik Lundqvist more?
CK: First off, Auld was a good pick up. It's all up to "King" himself. He should be the one that decides as to when he needs a break or not.
GC: Marian Gaborik is injured again and no one knows how severe it is. What do you think the situation is? And can the Rangers make the playoffs without him?
CK: Lower Body injury, so your guess is as good as mine. (Laughs). You know anything can happen in hockey, but my answer is no.
GC: For the Rangers to make the playoffs, what are the most important things that need to happen for this team, besides improving offense?
CK: Lundqvist has to be spectacular, the defense needs to tighten up in all areas of the ice, special teams need to be special, and they must be physical and make it hard for teams to play against you. Essentially, realize that as a team, you are in playoff mode now!
GC: As a Canadian, how much did you enjoy the gold medal game on Sunday? Do you think it helped to boost hockey popularity in the US?
CK: It was great to watch. Obviously I enjoyed the victory by Canada. The USA team was an admirable opponent and my hat's off to them. Canada in the end earned it. But more importantly to me it's a huge win for "North American Hockey". The USA has closed the gap on the world big time and hopefully America will take advantage and showcase this great game of hockey. Are you listening NHL?