Thursday, July 9, 2009

My First FJM

Once upon a time, there was a blog called Fire Joe Morgan. It was a baseball-related blog, sure, but it existed pretty much to call out shitty sports journalism and tear it apart. It ended a few months ago, but its spirit lives on. In tribute to this great blog, the term "FJM" has come into use, at least among my friends, to mean going through an article in the style of Fire Joe Morgan. Here's my first attempt.

On Tortorella's Team, Brashear>Orr

You can see why I went after this guy, now. It's not just that I'm bitter that he's somehow already linked to by legitimate blogs, whereas I'm still an illegitimate bastard, it's also that he's about to give people some reasons they should like Donald Brashear. I bet I won't agree! Let's learn.

Almost immediately after Colton Orr signed with the Maple Leafs and the Rangers announced the signing of enforcer Donald Brashear, Ranger fans took to the forums and blogs blasting Sather for being the most incompetent General Manager in the history of the NHL.

Well, sort of. Almost immediately after Sather traded away Adam Graves, Ranger fans took to forums and blogs blasting Sather for being the most incompetent GM in the history of the NHL. And after he traded away Brian Leetch. And after he signed Eric Lindros. And Pavel Bure. And Sandis Ozolinsh. And, more recently, after he signed Wade Redden to a $39 million, 6-year deal. And then, yes, after signing Brashear. The point is: it's been more of a cumulative effect. Simmer.

How can you blame them?

I think I just made it pretty clear that I don't. Weren't you listening?

Brashear is (and has certainly earned the term) a thug. One doesn't have to look any further than his uber cheapshot hit on Blair Betts during this past season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, resulting in Betts, the Rangers best face-off man and best penalty killer, missing the rest of Game 6 and Game 7. While on the other hand, Colton Orr stuck up for his teammates time and time again, and did so legally. He was able to transform his game from nothing but a brawler to a solid 4th line NHL hockey player. He wasn't going to remind anyone of The Great One, but he got the job done and Ranger fans grew to love Colton Orr.

Yeah, exactly. Okay, sounds like we agree. Time to go home. Maybe I don't hate this guy.

At first, just like everyone else, I hated the move. But after thinking about it a little more, I started to understand the logic behind it, especially after the Rangers signed Marian Gaborik.

Right. Because last season's Rangers squad wasn't worth protecting, so having an enforcer like Orr was sufficient. It was cool to let everyone bang us up. But now that we signed a real star, we'd better upgrade our enforcer to match him. Yeah, that's totally reasonable.

In Brashear, the Rangers now boast the most feared enforcer in the NHL.

Milan Lucic? Georges Laraque? Or, did you mean "feared" as in "most likely to club you in the knees when no one is looking," rather than "really good fighter"? In which case: Jarkko Ruutu?

Say all you want about how much Orr improved as an enforcer; Brashear got the better of him almost every time: example 1; example 2; example 3. Heck, do any of you really think that Orr could hold his own again Chara? Video evidence shows that Brashear can. If you really watch these videos, you can see that Brashear's long arms allows him to land powerful punches, even when he is in tight with the opponent.

So, now that we have established that Brashear is the superior brawler, I move on to my next point.

I was gonna try to point out some video evidence of Orr being an excellent fighter, also, but it's not worth it. The fact is that Brashear is a better fighter than Orr. Not by a ton, but he is a tougher guy. So I'm not gonna argue. The point is: he's not a whole lot tougher, and he is a total scumbag.

Under the Tom Renney regime, Colton Orr and the rest of his linemates enjoyed around 10-12 minutes of ice-time per game. Renney fell in love with matching them up against the Ovechkins and Crosbys of the league, and Ranger fans would often pull their hair out watching Betts, Sjostrom and Orr on the ice with the Rangers losing by a goal with only minutes left in the 3rd period.

BAAAAAAAAAAAH. Wrong. Ranger fans would tear their hair out watching Redden and Rozsival on the ice with only minutes left in the 3rd, sure. But our 4th line (and our goalie) was the reason we were such a fortress this season. When Betts's line took the ice, we felt relief, not panic.

However, under John Tortorella, this will not be a problem. Once Renney was canned, Colton Orr only saw the ice for around 5-6 minutes a game.

Now, if Renney was still around and the player in the enforcer role was going to play 10-12 minutes, Orr would be the better fit. He takes less penalties, and is a better defensive hockey player.

So...wait. Orr is less of a defensive liability. And yet with the final minutes ticking down, you would tear your hair out when he took the ice? I can't imagine what we'll do with our hair when Brashear jumps out there this season.

However, for only 5-6 minutes a game, I can live with a few extra penalties here or there from Brashear knowing that he strikes more fear into opposing teams than Orr ever will. This fear will make opposing teams think twice about hitting Gaborik so hard, knowing that Brashear will likely go after their best players for payback.

With notoriously rough players such as Pronger, Laperierre, and Beauchemin now residing in the East (the first 2 on the Flyers) and players like Neil and Komisarek staying on this coast, the Rangers will need to have the biggest thug in the league to ensure that those players don't make our new Slovakian Sniper a $7.5 million spectator.

Ah, we've reached the thesis: Orr is better at hockey, but Brashear is scarier, and we won't play him much anyway. Because the 4th line will never see the ice anyway, we've replaced our skilled 4th line with threats, sitting on the bench, threatening to cheapshot the star players of anyone who hits us.

How is the conclusion not that that's bad??? Why would you want to support a hockey team that does that??? Yes, Brian, we all understood the logic behind it - "oh, I get it, Brashear's going to play 3 minutes a game and threaten to injure any star on any team that fucks with us." We know. That's exactly what we're not happy about! How can you think that's good??

Seriously, send him to the minors forever.