Friday, July 31, 2009

Some sorta-news, and some things we forgot about 'cause we don't care

Welcome back! To me. I've been very busy, with work, and with moving, and hell, nothing terribly interesting has happened anyway. Here's all the "news" about which I have chosen not to inform you:

--Derek Morris signed with the Bruins. Well, there goes the best of our "shitty" teir of defensemen. Morris was never bad, just never great. One in a long line of failed quarterbacks. And...we knew he wasn't coming back, the end. I read an article that said he might get to play opposite Chara. Okay.

--We signed some other depth D-man named Sam Klassen. He's 6'0", 196 lbs, 20 years old, born on New Year's Day. Expect him to compete against our other defensemen at training camp, and expect him to not make the squad. But remember the name in case it comes up in a few years.

--We have learned that Enver Lisin's 1-year deal was for $850,000. So, I'm cool with that.

--Uh...I dunno...Christopher Higgins performed in some comedy show or something?

Okay, here's why I actually decided to post something today, though. No, it's not actually news. Today is a date we totally forgot about on account of we don't care: Nikolai Zherdev's arbitration hearing! That means in the next 48 hours (or 48 hours from noon, or whatever?), the NHL's (or NHLPA's? I'm unclear) third-party neutral arbitrator will pick a number out of a hat, somewhere between whatever offers the Rangers and Zherdev threw out, to accurately represent Nikolai Zherdev's hockey skills.

Are you as excited as I am?

Remember that the Rangers originally offered $3.25 million. Zherdev then filed for arbitration to the tune of $4.5 million. The Rangers had the opportunity to give the arbitrator another counter-offer (which could have been lower or higher than the $3.25 million), and it is that new figure along with the 4.5 figure that the arbitrator will use as his or her high and low bounds. It is not known what figure the Rangers used. The Rangers are in no way obligated to sign Zherdev to whatever number the arbitrator chooses, even if it's beneath the original $3.25 million they offered.

So, what's gonna happen? The arbitrator is likely gonna choose a number somewhere in the high $3ms to low $4ms. I believe the Rangers have no interest in keeping him on the squad at that price. As Larry Brooks points out, we still haven't signed Dubinsky. I imagine that we will either reject the arbitrator's offer outright, leaving Z on his own in the world, or accept it in the hopes of trading him for someone we actually need. If we're still looking to make some kind of substantive move, Zherdev acts as much better trade bait than anyone else we're looking to part with. That's the only reason I can think of that we'd accept such an offer.

If the arbitrator turns around and says Z is worth $3 million a year, on the other hand, then we might have to consider it. But frankly, I'd rather take my chances with Kotalik. Anyway, sit tight: once the Zherdev thing is settled, one way or another (more likely another), I imagine Dubinsky's contract is not far behind.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

News that isn't news

Hey, we signed Enver Lisin! No shit we did! Details yet undiscovered. Like I said, it's a horizontal move from Korpikoski to me so far. Here's hoping the contract was around a million dollars or less, and we didn't do something stupid.

Friday, July 17, 2009

More Stuff to Know

--The Coyotes released Nigel Dawes on waivers, and the Flames picked him up. He filed for arbitration.

--Remember Jed Ortmeyer? Man, I liked Jed Ortmeyer. The Sharks signed Jed Ortmeyer to a 1-year contract.

--There have been whisperings of Brendan Shanahan coming back. Apparently the rumor mill says that both the Rangers and the Devils are interested. I'm not sure how much credence to give this: probably about as much as I give Zubov rumors. They make a little sense, but that's probably the only reason they exist as rumors. I love the shit out of Brendan Shanahan, and if we can find a place for him, I'd love to see him back in Blue. That said, if he's taking a chance away from a kid, am I just being a Sather about this? Let's sign him and put him on the left wing of the 4th line.

--We have traded defensive prospect Brian Fahey to the Avalanche for defensive prospect Nigel Williams. The bitter school of thought says that it is very hard to commit to a core corps of youth when you keep trading them away. It certainly is astounding how many personnel changes we've made lately. However, as Adam Rotter over at SNY Rangers Blog says, "Anytime [sic] you can trade a 28 year old depth defenseman for a 21 year old defenseman who is 6-4 226, you have to do it." I'm inclined to believe this is a very good move - Fahey was already 28 and nowhere near as promising as kids like Del Zotto, Sanguinetti, Gilroy, Sauer, and Potter. In exchange, we get a huge prospect 7 years his minor about whom people are still very excited. I think Sather gets a gold star for this one.

--As I sometimes do, let's end with comforting words from John Tortorella. Aw, hell, just go read it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stuff you'll know once I tell it to you

--Mike Sullivan, Torts's assistant coach back in Tampa, is now coming to the Rangers as ours. That's unsurprising news for us. Probably means Schoenfeld is heading back to Hartford? Although I wouldn't mind keeping him on as the other bench coach, too - though I have nothing against Mike Pelino. This information provided entirely free of opinion.

--Phoenix signed Korpikoski. No surprises. Sather, are we, like, also gonna sign Lisin? Or was this one of those one-way trades?

--Dane Byers re-signed with us at $500,000, as it turns out. No surprises there either. He's a 4th-line candidate, and possibly one of the extra men on the roster. But possibly not.

--We re-signed Corey Potter, no terms announced, but Steve Zipay is guessing around $590,000, which is as good a figure as any. He probably won't be top 6 this year, but look for him to show his face as a potential 7th D-man now and again.

--The schedule was released yesterday. We open in Pittsburgh. Ironically, I'll be seeing Springsteen in Jersey the next night, but I'll probably try to go anyway. Only time will tell. Also: banner raising. I wonder if there are any statistics on win-loss percentage of Stanley Cup winners' first games of the following seasons. Meh. Not like any of these Rangers were around last season anyhow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Interesting but meaningless facts about Lauri Korpikoski

1. We drafted him with a pick we acquired from Toronto in exchange for Brian Leetch.

2. When we drafted him, Travis Zajac was still on the table (getting picked immediately afterwards by the Devils).

3. Also, Mike Green was still on the table (getting picked 9 spots later by Washington).

4. At least we didn't trade him to get Nigel Dawes back.

Enver Lisin

Wanna start rooting for the Coyotes?

Since Don Maloney left as Sather's assistant to be the GM of the Coyotes (after the '06-'07 season), Phoenix has brought in Marcel Hossa, Nigel Dawes, Petr Prucha, and now Lauri Korpikoski. (And, like, Dmitri Kalinin, and backup goalie Al Montoya, but who cares?) That's 5 starters to Phoenix in 2 seasons. Coincidence? Yeah, almost totally. But it's kinda funny. Also funny: the end of Maloney's wikipedia page, which reads "although he has the title of general manager [sic], Maloney serves primarily in an advisory role to Coyotes managing partner and head coach Wayne Gretzky, who has the final say in hockey matters."

Anyway, Enver Lisin. 6'2", 190 lbs, 23 years old. Plays right wing (which has now somehow become less desirable than left, thanks to Gaborik and Kotalik joining Callahan on our right flank). Word on the street is that he's a scorer (as opposed to a playmaker), which juxtaposes fascinatingly with his 13-8-21 in 48 games with the Coyotes. Word is also that he's fast. Here is an article from January 28 talking about how Gretzky is all impressed by how fast he is.

He sounds like another unproven kid with a moderately high ceiling, I think. That's not so bad for a third line winger. It's also pretty much what Korpikoski was. Jury's out on whose ceiling is higher - let's hope it's Lisin's. I can't imagine this guy being a first- or second-liner, or playing on our new "DONALD SMASH" 3-minutes-a-game fourth line, so it seems likeliest that this guy would switch over to left and play right where we had imagined Korpikoski playing, opposite Callahan on Anisimov's line. It stands to reason that he'd make the cut over Voros, anyway.

Seems Lisin made $850,000 last season, so he's probably a little cheaper than Korpikoski as well. Assuming we end up signing him, of course. If we don't, we probably start to feel a deficiency, and we wonder why Sather couldn't pony up the money to keep Lauri around. (Then we stop wondering, because we remember why: Wade Redden's contract.) But really, both Korpikoski and Lisin are guys you put on the third line and say "he's got potential, let's see what he can do regularly. "So far, knowing the little I now know about Lisin, this feels to me like a completely horizontal move.

My only real complaint is that oh my god this team has a turnover rate of like 2 weeks. Assuming we even bring back Dubinsky (please please please bring back Dubinsky), we will most likely open the season with exactly 5 forwards that we closed last season with. FIVE! Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky (who remains a "maybe" until we seal that deal), Sean Avery, Ryan Callahan, and Aaron Voros. Those are the only 5 forwards that we were playing with - not at season's beginning, but through the Caps series - that we'll open this season with. That's kinda nuts-tacular. Anyway, Korpikoski for Lisin - there you go.

Callahan numbers, Goodbye Korpikoski

First of all, the numbers on Callahan: $2.2 million this season, $2.4 next - exactly the $2.3 million cap hit we'd been using as a projection. So, that's taken care of. Hooray.

Meanwhile, looks like we won't be re-signing Korpikoski after all. He's off to Phoenix, for some guy named Enver Lisin. No idea. I'll do research tomorrow. Good night.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick happy news before I go

Reports are in that we signed Callahan. No word yet on numbers, but it's supposedly a bunch more, for multiple years, according to Steve Zipay. Good!

Free Agents

This story comes to me by way of Save Prucha, with whom I've temporarily decided to stop feuding, because he posted this story that I now get to repost. Also: an internet feud is just me yelling at a guy who's never heard of me? Anyway, the point is: Sports Illustrated, following in the grand tradition of making sports-related lists of stuff, has made a list of 25 NHL Free Agent Busts: the 25 worst NHL free agent signings of the last...arbitrary period of time (the list goes back to 1997, but 20 of the 25 are from this decade, and 13 are since the lockout).

Now, before we get into it, I just wanna go on record here: I think these lists are a dumb idea, I think this shows sportswriters' incredibly short memories, and I don't agree with some of their conclusions at all (Daniel Briere to the Flyers? Kasparaitis to the Rangers? Really?) So, generally, this list is another big hunk of bullshit from the sportswriting (or, in this case, sportspicturetaking) community. That said, I think it's pretty funny how shitty we (the Rangers) are at our job.

There are actually 26 signings listed (Paul Kariya is counted as only 1 of the 25 for being signed by the Avs in 2003 AND the Blues in 2007). Those 26 are spread among only 11 teams (of the league's 30). The runner-up spot for "most shitty signings by a single team" goes to the Blackhawks and the Avalanche, each with 3 on the list. The Rangers, the only team with more, claim 8. Eight. And three more on the list were Rangers immediately before the signing listed (Sean Avery before becoming a Star in '08, Michael Nylander before becoming a Cap in '07, and Theoren Fleury before becoming a 'Hawk in '02).

Now, obviously, that can be meaningless: Avery, for example, was a shitty move for the Stars, but great for us. Fleury and Nylander? Less so. The point is that, even discounting those 3, and even though SI is wrong about some things (I still stand by signing Kasparaitis, and I liked the Holik move, we just used him wrong, which is a coaching problem), we are responsible for 8 signings on this list, and our runner up is responsible for 3. Something Is Wrong.

(For the curious: Scott Fraser in '98, Stephane Quintal in '99, Valeri Kamensky in '99, Darius Kasparaitis in '02, Bobby Holik in '02, Chris Drury in '07, Scott Gomez in '07, Wade Redden in '08)

Dates Dates Dates

Date: July 23rd
Day of Week: Thursday
What: Ryan Callahan's arbitration hearing
Expect: The Rangers and Callahan to come to terms before this date, rendering this hearing unnecessary

Date: July 31
Day of Week: Friday
What: Nikolai Zherdev's arbitration hearing
Expect: The Rangers to reject whatever offer the NHL decides on, leaving Zherdev scrambling through August to find another team willing to pay an unmotivated, unproven winger $4 million a year.

Date: July 15
Day of Week: Wednesday (this Wednesday!)
What: NHL announces 2009-2010 regular season schedule
Expect: Not enough games against division rivals, too many interconference games, and my girlfriend and I to start making travel plans.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another maybe fourth-liner

Dane Byers resigned with us. He played a game with us, once. Terms not yet known, but expect them in the $500,000 - $750,000 range. Maybe he'll be that 23rd guy we carry around. Or not. We'll see after camp. I'll let you know terms as soon as I find them.

Another guy we'll miss terribly

For some reason, this gets me a little despite my knowing it was obviously going to, and probably had to, happen: Paul Mara is "officially" gone now as well. Incidentally, he signed with -- you guessed it -- the Canadiens. We'll miss you, Mara. Also: why are we just switching teams with the Canadiens this season?

Bank Error In Your Favor

As 100% sure as I am that no one noticed this, I feel obligated to correct myself - I was off by a million dollars! I am sorry for being the worst!

Back in the entry wherein I started to really explore the cap, after discovering my new favorite website, I started to go through figures, and at one point, I made the claim "That brings us to around $49.5 million, leaving us $6.3 million to play with under the cap." Then I've been working off of that figure the whole time. I was playing around on OtG today and couldn't figure out why I was a million dollars off from their figures. Of course, the answer is that a $56.8 million cap and a total salary of $49.5 million leave us $7.3 million to play with, not $6.3 million. So, I'm a dumbus. That means every time I've complained about the cap since then, we've had a million more to spend than I thought we did. Yesterday, when I talked about Boyle, Arnason, and $3.6 million of room, it should have been 4.6. And so on. Sorry about that, two people who care. Sorry.

So, I was going to do an "updated numbers" post anyway. I'll go back and add that million back in to do so. You'll see who I've considered "making the roster" - obviously, some of these players won't make the cut at camp, but since we're talking total salary cap, I want to include them for now, to see what we have to play with. Also I've un-rounded the cap room number, for greater accuracy.

Assumption: Qualify Korpikoski at $1 million
Assumption: Qualify Dubinsky at $700,000
Assumption: Keep Callahan after arbitration at $2.3 million

Centers: Drury, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Boyle, Rissmiller, Arnason
Left Wings: Higgins, Avery, Korpikoski, Voros, Brashear
Right Wings: Gaborik, Kotalik, Callahan
Defensemen: Staal, Girardi, Gilroy, Sauer, Rozsival, Redden
Goalies: Lundqvist, Valiquette
Cap room: $1.5425 million

That cap room is plenty to also carry Corey Potter (or someone similar) or left winger Dane Byers (or someone similar) onto a roster of the maximum 23. Obviously, I expect to be fairly wrong about the "who makes the cut" stuff, since training camp doesn't even start for a month and a half, but the numbers probably come close (Sauer, Potter, Sanguinetti, or Heikkenen will each cost half a million to a million, as will Byers, Parenteau, Voros, Rissmiller, or Arnason, et cetera). This gives us some breathing room, in case we want to give Dubi a little more or make another move (like trading a $1.4 million left wing for anything else at all).

Again, I'm sorry I'm so bad at subtraction. Thanks for not hatin'.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Holy Shit Ales Kotalik!

Yes! Another move I really like. We signed Ales Kotalik for $3 million a year for 3 years. Win! Kotalik is only 30, in the middle of his career, we paid the right amount for him - he's the perfect replacement for Zherdev. Actually, he might have been the best move we could possibly have made. How weird is that? Check out our theoretical top 9:

Higgins - Dubinsky - Gaborik
Avery - Drury - Kotalik
Korpikoski - Anisimov - Callahan

That is not so bad at all, it isn't!

For those of you who missed him, Kotalik has been in Buffalo. I think he even played on Drury's wing back when Drury was beating the shit out of us on the Sabres. He was traded to Edmonton at the trade deadline last season. He's 6'1", 227 lbs, and has a killer shot. He'll stand at the point and shoot the puck 476 miles an hour, Drury will stand in front of the net to make sure it deflects off of him at the right time, and Avery will get everyone else out of their way. Goal!

Oops, did I forget to include Zherdev in that top 9? No. Bye, Nik. Go find some other shit team to overpay you, like our other Nik did.

No Core

My father is fond of saying that (one of) the big problem(s) with the Rangers is that they lack a core and an identity. I am fond of saying that he's right. I was playing with my new favorite website today, and their database of every Ranger ever, and I decided to do some research. Our turnover is astounding, and while we all kinda know this, I thought it might benefit us if I added some numbers to the feeling we have.

For the purposes of this discussion, for a player to count as "still on the Rangers," he needs to have not traded away to any other franchise in there (Sean Avery) and he needs to have played more than 1 game for us that season.

The '07-'08 season was really only 2 seasons ago, right? Well, from that team 2 seasons ago, we have retained only 8 total players. Including both our goalies. We have only retained 6 skaters since only 2 seasons ago. And please notice that my definition of "retained" includes Dubinsky and Callahan, who we haven't actually signed contracts with.

We only have 6 players left from '06-'07. Again, this includes the 2 goalies, and again, this includes the 2 non-contracts of Dubinsky and Callahan.

Finally, going back one more season, to only 4 years ago - we have exactly two players left from that season: Henrik Lundqvist and Michal Rozsival. Two players retained over four seasons! 6 to 8 players retained over only 2 seasons! Who does that?

Anyway, just thought you'd find that interesting. This is what we mean when we say we have no core of players. There is no team culture because there is no commonality. There's no time to build one. No one identifies as "a Ranger" 'cause no one stays here. We can no more call ourselves the team of Darius Kasparaitis than the team of Donald Brashear, and that's a problem.

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.

I've decided I have an enemy

Because the Internet is more fun when you declare meaningless anonymous war on someone who will never hear of you, ever. Check out my deal. I was minding my own business, reading the shit I usually read in the morning, and I found myself at The New York Rangers Blog, which tends to be a pretty good aggregator of links to various facts and opinions surrounding the Rangers (with some small commentary from the author). It's one of my staples. Anyway, I was looking at the particular post I just linked you to, and down at the bottom, I saw the blurb: "Brian over at Save Prucha says after initially hating the move, now understands the logic behind Sather sign Brashear."

Sorry, Brian over at where now? "Save Prucha," naturally was a this guy.

Okay. Hold on a second. Let's notice some things.

1. Look at this page for a second. Look at it. I know, he's using a Blogger template, and he doesn't have a ton of choice, but...look at this thing! You've got a bunch of different "Blogger gadgets" over on the left, stacked awkwardly one on top of the other, with no regard whatsoever given to how well a given gadget fits in its space.

2. Look at the "Followers" application. Even if I thought it was a reasonable idea to show off how many people read my blog, on my blog itself, wouldn't I want to do so in a text color that shows up on my background? I'm not claiming to be a design student, and I'm sure there are countless little things wrong with the look of my blog, but if I'm putting up a page that contains information, I'd like my readers, however few there may be, to be able to read that information, at all!

3. I started my blog literally the day before Prucha was traded to the Coyotes. I decided to keep the name, both because it's a pain in the ass to change a blog's name, and for the same reason I still wear my Prucha shirt - I loved him as a Ranger, I wish him the best in Phoenix, and I want us to keep playing people like him. This guy started his blog well after Prucha was gone, in this off-season, and puts a big-ass picture of him up as the welcome. What does "Save Prucha" even mean? He's an NHL player. He's playing under coach Wayne Fucking Gretzky. What, exactly, are we saving him from? Save him from the Coyotes? Bring him back to New York, where he can play 6 games a year again? What do you mean, "Save Prucha"? It's July. He's been a Coyote since March. He and Dawes will be happy there. Shut up.

4. Google Ads? Really? No one cares.

5. This one is the real point. This is the one that really pisses me off. "Save Prucha" was started 3 days ago. How the fucking hell is he already being linked to from The New York Rangers Blog?? Yes, I'm envious - you got me. Read through his 3 posts ever (actually, don't - I'll take care of it for you soon). There is no way that that writing was just so spectacular that he became an overnight Internet sensation. So how did he get a free ticket to the Rangers blog inner circle? How do I get one? I'm so much cooler than this hack! Come on!

That is all. Next stop: his content.

Boyle, Arnason, and other numbers

So, the numbers have come through on Boyle - we're paying him $525,000 this year. If you'll recall his salary of last year, this means we're saving a few bucks. That's cool. Not a big deal, but I like it when a quarter of a million comes up in that direction.

Competing for his position will likely be Tyler Arnason, one of the 3 guys I told you I don't care about. His salary seems to be $700,000, a bit above the $500,000 Locke and Parenteau are making. Reason says, now, that if we're including Boyle on our list of centers, we're including Arnason there, too (at 30 years old, we're not paying Arnason extra to keep him around as a prospect).

So, updating my numbers from the other day, that puts us at:

Assumption: Qualify Korpikoski at $1 million
Assumption: Qualify Dubinsky at $700,000
Assumption: Keep Callahan after arbitration at $2.3 million
Assumption: Bring up Matt Gilroy

Centers: Drury, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Boyle, Rissmiller, Arnason
Left Wings: Higgins, Avery, Korpikoski, Voros, Brashear
Right Wings: Gaborik, Callahan
Defensemen: Staal, Girardi, Gilroy, Sauer, Rozsival, Redden
Goalies: Lundqvist, Valiquette
Cap room: $3.6 million

Not the hugest change since we last spoke - as you can see, we save $0.3 million on Boyle and lose $0.7 million adding Arnason to the lineup. Why do we keep signing so many shitty centers instead of finding a decent one? Anisimov, Boyle, Rissmiller, and Arnason are gonna compete for the 3rd- and 4th-line spots? Anyway, don't make too much of this - we probably won't keep 6 centers under the cap, so assume that we're getting back half to three quarters of a million, we're just not sure which of those centers to be discounting.

Meanwhile, Outside the Garden's numbers are interesting - in addition to the people I have listed (without, of course, Dubinsky, Callahan, or Korpikoski), OtG brings up not only Gilroy, but Grachev, Locke, and defenseman Brian Fahey. I'm not sure where this info comes from, but I'm finding it hard to believe that we'd bring Grachev up this early given our current left wing pool (although I can think of someone I'd be willing to send to Hartford in his stead), or that we'd bring up a seventh center (Corey Locke), or that we'd bring up Fahey before Del Zotto or Sanguinetti. At any rate, I thought I'd share their numbers just so you have that perspective: subtract Dubinsky, Callahan, and Korpikoski, and add Grachev, Locke, and Fahey, and we have $6.7 million of room.

Basically, ignore most of this post - the important point is that Arnason's contract is for $700,000, and Boyle's is for $525,000.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Terms with Boyle?

The Rangers web site reports that we've made some kind of actual deal with Boyle. I believe a qualifying offer would have run us something like $800,000, but I'll keep you posted as soon as I find some actual numbers on this. If it's a figure around there, then this is no big deal - it was expected, it was one of the assumptions I was comfortably making back in that "real salary cap" post yesterday. I'll post when someone confirms a number.

Two Quick Things

Quick Thing One: I sure hope this is just a bullshit rumor. I'm gonna keep assuming it is.

Quick Thing Two: My new favorite website has an awesome feature called "Random Ranger." Scroll down to the bottom right of the home page. Every time you refresh the page, a different random Ranger and his stats show up. That's pretty neat.

Wait, what now?

Reports coming in (from The Fourth Period) that the Rangers are still in talks with Derek Morris. Yeah, remember him? The shitty half of the Paul Mara defensive pairing, latest in the list of veteran blue-liners we brought in to quarterback the power play? In fairness to Morris, he was never as bad as to come anywhere near some of the top Blueshirts on that list (Sandis Ozolinsh and our boy Redden), but he certainly wasn't, like, noticeably good. He was, for the most part, a non-factor (which, yes, made him the 4th best D-man on the team a lot of the time).

You'll recall Sather's recent commentary about defense, "Gilroy, Sanguinetti, Del Zotto, Sauer, Potter - there's five guys who are banging on the door to play...There is opportunity there." That commitment to youth he kept mentioning was, other than The Great Montréal Robbery of Aught Nine, the one thing that made me feel really good about Glen Sather this off-season. Well, given the two pair we've already got in our hand (Redden-Rozsival, Staal-Girardi), it seems like if Slats really felt that kind of commitment, he wouldn't be trying too hard to sign another defenseman.

I don't know what kind of pay cut they'd be talking about, but Morris earned $3.95 million last season. Given the holes we've been talking about in our squad of forwards, and the limited cap room we have to play with, it seems to me that, even if he takes a 50% pay cut, we can't possibly re-sign Morris without telling Gilroy to spend another year in Hartford. Or am I wrong? Is this money magically appearing from somewhere? Bear in mind that, if we sign Callahan for $2.3 million, qualify Boyle, Korpikoski, and Dubinsky, and bring up Gilroy, we have $4 million in cap room remaining - that's without Zherdev. We need some right wings. How can we possibly offer Morris even half of last year's salary without leaving Gilroy in the minors? Where, again, is that commitment to the youth, especially on the defensive squad?

On the other hand, I can think of $1.4 million I'd be happy offering Morris...

Thoughts? Comment!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I have a new favorite website

And it is called Outside the Garden. The site seems to actually keep up-to-date numbers on everyone, which is the super-awesomest. Here's what I learned that I didn't know before:

-Brian Boyle is a restricted free agent with us, we haven't made him an offer yet (this gives him the same status as Dubinsky and Korpikoski).

-We don't have numbers on Arnason, but Locke and Parenteau are each making $500,000, and all 3 are tentatively assigned to the Wolfpack.

-While Gilroy remains technically assigned to the 'Pack (I do not see this lasting), apparently Michael Sauer ($0.85 million) and center Patrick Rissmiller ($1 million, you may remember him from being discussed last season) are assigned to the big club.

-Theoretically, Corey Potter (who is also a restricted free agent to whom we have not yet made an offer) would be assigned to the Rangers, not the 'Pack.

Of course, all of this, especially the assignment to the Rangers vs. the Wolfpack, is subject to change. But it gives us a good jumping-off point for conversation. Building off of my last roster discussion, let's talk about where we are, salary cap-wise, considering this new information.

We have committed $45.3 million to 3 centers (Drury, Rissmiller, Anisimov), 5 wings (Gaborik, Higgins, Avery, Brashear, Voros), 5 defensemen (Redden, Rozsival, Girardi, Sauer, Staal), and 2 goalies (Lundqvist, Valiquette).

Let's assume a couple of things that, at this point, seem fairly reasonable:
-Gilroy comes up to the majors
-We resign Dubinksy, Korpikoski, and Boyle with qualifying offers

This would cost us another $1.75 million for Gilroy, $0.7 million for Dubinsky, $1 million for Korpikoski, and $0.8 million for Boyle. That brings us to around $49.5 million, leaving us $6.3 million to play with under the cap.

Now, we know we're going to sign Ryan Callahan back. The question is how much he's going to get out of us first. The scholars on the subject seem to think he's going to ask for a bit over $2 million, and we're going to agree to it, no arbitration necessary. So, where would that leave us?

Centers: Drury, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Boyle, Rissmiller
Left Wings: Higgins, Avery, Korpikoski, Voros, Brashear
Right Wings: Gaborik, Callahan
Defensemen: Staal, Girardi, Gilroy, Sauer, Rozsival, Redden
Goalies: Lundqvist, Valiquette
Cap room: $4 million

And remember this is all assuming we can keep Dubinsky for his qualifying offer. I'd like to talk about addressing our weakness at center, but first we need to address our emptiness at right wing. And a $4.5 million contract to Zherdev might not be the answer. Now, can someone tell me how we're seriously trying to talk to Koivu or Richards, given these numbers? Not without offloading some salary, we're not. Rozsival and Brashear to Dallas for Richards? I wish.

Slats, look at these numbers. Seriously, I know a great way you can save $1.4 million.

Zherdev's Big Ask

Rumor has it that Zherdev is asking in the neighborhood of $4.5 million. That's a great deal of money for a completely unproven wing. Brooksie thinks the Rangers are absolutely going to walk away from that offer. It would make sense. If Antropov's play in his time with us wasn't worth a $4.5 million contract, I'm not so much seeing how Zherdev's was. That said, however, we've kind of already said Zherdev is on our list of "young people we would like to be our future" - we have enough offense to consider ourselves even slightly contending without him? Are there enough people left that we could pick up with that $4.5 million that would do us a better job? If not, maybe we think we can let this go to actual arbitration and watch the 4.5 come back down a little. If it comes down to, say, $4 million, do we really believe Sather wouldn't pay the extra $750,000? He might not, but I'm not nearly as sure as Brooks is.

Let's try to gain some perspective, together, by looking at the potential roster pool we have in front of us.

Chris Drury (actually under contract)
Brandon Dubinsky (RFA not eligible for arbitration)
Artem Anisimov (actually under contract)
Brian Boyle (actually under contract, I think?)
Tyler Arnason (Wolfpack)
Corey Locke (Wolfpack)
Evgeny Grachev (Wolfpack)
Left Wings
Sean Avery (actually under contract)
Donald Brashear (actually under contract)
Aaron Voros (actually under contract)
P.A. Parenteau (Wolfpack)
Lauri Korpikoski (RFA not eligible for arbitration)
Christopher Higgins (actually under contract)
Right Wings
Marian Gaborik (actually under contract)
Ryan Callahan (RFA currently awaiting arbitration)
Nikolai Zherdev (RFA currently awaiting arbitration)
...holy shit we don't have any right wings
Wade Redden (actually under contract)
Michal Rozsival (actually under contract)
Dan Girardi (actually under contract)
Mark Staal (actually under contract)
Matt Gilroy (actually under contract)
Michael Del Zotto (Wolfpack)
Bobby Sanguinetti (Wolfpack)
Michael Sauer (Wolfpack)
Henrik Lundqvist (actually under contract)
Stephen Valiquette (actually under contract)
Chad Johnson (Wolfpack)

(Sidebar: Chad Johnson is, I hope, the only name you've never seen before on this blog. He's a goalie prospect. Ready for the really sick part? We traded a 5th-round pick to the Penguins for him a week and a half ago. Who did the Pens draft with that pick? Belleville Bulls center Andy Bathgate. The grandson of the Andy Bathgate. No lie.) don't look great? I started this post looking for how comfortable we'd be without Zherdev. Frankly, I'm not particularly comfortable with him. Reason says if we choose not to pay Zherdev his big bucks, we use that money to try to go after a Brad Richards (yes please!) or something. Too bad we've been watching big names get taken day after day this whole time. I wonder who will still be available when the smoke clears?

Sather, if you're listening, I can think of a way you can clear up an easy $1.4 million...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Higgins II

Word is we signed Higgings for $2.25 million for 1 year. Fine. That's half a million more than he made last year, totally reasonable. Just keeping you informed.

Kovalev II

Well, that was expectedly fast. Kovie signed a 2-year, $10 million deal with Ottawa. A $5 million cap hit? You wanna tell me we couldn't afford that, if we dropped Brashear? Oh, well. So it goes.


Okay, now, for the record, Higgins definitely isn't filing for arbitration - he signed a contract with us. So, there you go.

More on Brashear

I really hate the idea of rooting for Donald Brashear. However, I am learning that every other Ranger fan also agrees with me. Even the guy behind the counter at Hot Bagels in Glen Rock, NJ. So that helps a little. I have this vision in my head of opening night and the entire Garden booing when his ugly mug comes out in our Broadway Blue. Aw, hell, this is the internet, right? Can anyone help make sure that happens? Home opener, everyone boo Brashear please. And also every time he touches the puck, at every home game, if possible. Make it obvious that he's unwelcome. That'd be sweet.

Here are Larry Brooks's thoughts. I feel so strongly about this that you don't even have to click on that link: I'll just reprint the article here for you. The rest of this post is Brooks's "Rangers Broke Bond by Signing Thug Brashear" from the New York Post:

Apparently it's considered a greater sin in Rangerland to step on the logo sewn into the carpet on the locker room floor than it is to attempt to decapitate one of the players actually wearing the uniform.

Let's get this straight. The decision to sign free agent Washington thug Donald Brashear -- who appeared to spend an inordinate amount of time since the end of lockout attempting to injure Rangers before finally succeeding with the Game 6 blindside blow to Blair Betts' head that knocked him out of the playoffs with a broken orbital bone and concussion -- represents an indelible stain on the family concept preached by head coach John Tortorella.

Brashear is a headhunter with a repugnant rap sheet who mugged Jaromir Jagr to such a degree when No. 68 was a Ranger that Brendan Shanahan, of all people, felt the need to drop the gloves and finally challenge him at the Garden on Dec. 30, 2007. He is a bully who sickened the Garden, the league and Rangers fans in fulfilling his seek-and-destroy mission against Betts, who is on the free-agent market after not being invited back to Broadway.

Brasher earned a five-game suspension from the NHL for his violent act. Fewer than three months later, he has earned a two-year, $2.8 million contract from the Rangers for his violent persona. Again, it's sickening.

Maybe it isn't quite the Mets bringing Roger Clemens to Queens the offseason after beaning Mike Piazza and throwing a piece of a bat at him, but it's the same principle. You don't bring people into the family after they've hurt a member of the family. You don't do everything possible to promote loyalty to the team and engage in this act of disloyalty.

Brashear is no better player than Colton Orr, the enforcer he replaces, despite the propaganda disseminated by the front office. He's an oafish fourth-liner who will get approximately eight minutes a night and will be expected to inflict serious damage on the opposition. He'll no doubt be suspended during the season.

Obviously neither Tortorella nor GM Glen Sather thinks so, but it's our belief the signing of Brashear breaks a bond with the team's fan-base as well as with the team's players. It shouldn't matter whether Betts is here or not. This should not have been done. Or does anyone believe Lou Lamoriello would ever consider bringing Sean Avery to New Jersey?

Other long-lost friends

Let's drop Brashear and scrape together the funds to bring Kovie home to New York!!!!

In other news, Perry Pearn is joining the pilgrimage of new people to Montréal this season - he'll be an assistant under Jacques Martin. So, there you go.

OMG Can we get him pleeease can we can we?

Look who's not actually going to be a Canadien this season.

Prospect Camp, Arbitration

Prospect Camp was last week, and wrapped up on Friday. Apparently, as you'd expect, everyone paid attention to Matt Gilroy, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Borque, and Chris Kreider. Apparently, Evgeny Grachev joins Kreider on the list of children we might be supposed to be excited about one day. Steve Zipay tells us that he expects defensemen Gilroy, Del Zotto, Ilkka Heikkinen, and Tomas Kundratek, along with forwards Grachev, Justin Soryal, and Chris Chappell. I'd provide more details, but as it's speculation about speculation, I'll wait until it matters. List of people from Prospect Camp I am personally excited about: Matt Gilroy.

Remember my post about salary arbitration? No? Ugh, fine. No, you don't have to go back and read it, I'll explain it again. attention this time.

Arbitration is pretty simple: the deal with restricted free agency is that a team has the right to retain a player who is a restricted free agent (which means their contract is up, but they do not yet qualify for the open market, because they're too young or too new to the NHL) if they're willing to provide a "qualifying offer" (an offer worth 100-110% of the player's current salary, depending on the age of the player). Obviously, this could screw some players into being way underpaid, if their skill level is way above their current salary, for the first big chunk of their careers. To combat this idea, some players (also based on age and tenure) are eligible to arbitrate.

Salary arbitration is exactly what it sounds like. The player is still under contract to that team, because they made the qualifying offer, but the player is allowed to propose a new salary to the team. The team is then allowed to propose a different one, and so on, back and forth, until an agreement is reached. If no agreement is reached by a deadline sometime before the next season starts, some NHL-based third party arbitrator will make a decision as to an appropriate figure between the two parties' proposals. The team then has 48 hours to reject the decision (at which point they lose their claim to the player, who becomes an unrestricted free agent) before the player is committed to the team at that salary.

Here's the point: Nikolai Zherdev and Ryan Callahan both filed for arbitration. The deadline for filing is 5:00 tonight, so don't expect other Rangers to do so also (I think Higgins is the only one eligible anyway) - it's just Zherdev and Cally. You'll recall that we qualified Zherdev at $3.25 million and Callahan at $660,000. This season's (possibly every season's?) arbitration hearing dates are July 20 - August 4. This means that a hearing will be scheduled sometime in that range between the Rangers and Zherdev, and another between the Rangers and Callahan. We have until each player's hearing to settle on a salary with that player. If we don't, the NHL will pick one for us, which we'll have to either accept or not.

We pretty much knew Cally was going to file. He's worth way more than $0.66 million, and he knows it. I talked about this in my "what is Brooks talking about with the salary cap?" post a few days ago, but I fully expect him to ask for something in the neighborhood of $2 million, and I fully expect him to get it, from us. I will be very surprised if the Callahan hearing has to take place.

The Zherdev thing makes me a little sad. $3.25 million is probably right around what he's worth right now, in my opinion - if anything, it's high - he's clearly got a lot of talent, but his value on the ice is largely unproven. I have high hopes for him, and I believe that if anyone can bring out his best, it's Tortorella, but I think $3.25 is plenty to spend on that gamble, even if I think it's the right gamble to make. It'll be interesting to see how much he thinks he's worth. If he's trying to milk us for another quarter to half million or whatever, we will probably do it, but if he's looking for way more than that, he may be trying to test the open market. I can't imagine spending more than $4 million on this kid (though Sather has spent far dumber money), but that late in the summer, I don't know what other options we'd really have to try to build a squad. If we look at our current roster and subtract Zherdev, this year quickly starts to look like a "rebuilding" year. I think we want to keep him, but not if he's extorting us. We'll see what he's asking. Hopefully we'll sign with him for not too much more, either before or after a hearing.

That's pretty much the summary. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, Larry Brooks thinks we'll go after Sergei Zubov again. That's pretty funny, whether it's true or not.

3 guys I don't care about

The Rangers, over the weekend, signed 3 guys I don't think I care about. None of them can have cost us very much, so I wouldn't worry about their salary cap implications. I certainly can't find any contract info on them.

1. Tyler Arnason (Center). 30 years old, 5'11", 204 lbs, free agent. Made the All-Rookie Team going 19-20-39 back in 2002-2003, then never got too much better than that. Went 5-17-22 in 71 games last season. Probably another, smaller 4th-line candidate. Oh boy.

2. Corey Locke (Center). 25 years old, 5'9", 168 lbs, free agent. Has played 5:59 of NHL time ever, 9 shifts on January 8, 2008, in which he went -1, took 1 shot (which was blocked), and won 2 of 5 faceoffs in helping the Canadiens beat the Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime. Another, even smaller 4th-line candidate?

3. P.A. Parenteau (Left Wing). 26 years old, 5'11", 195 lbs, name should sound a little familiar 'cause he's from the Wolfpack. He went 29-49-78 in 74 games there last season, with 142 penalty minutes, which is nothing to scoff at, but there's no real compelling reason to believe he'll necessarily make the squad next season.

We'll see how camp goes, but we could very well see all of these people playing for the 'Pack next season. Just keeping you informed.

I'm back from New York

I had a dream that the Habs hadn't actually signed Mike Cammalleri, and so we did.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


We knew this would happen, too, but it's official: Antropov has found a new team. Originally seeking $5.5 million a year from us, the big lug settled for $4 million a year for 4 years, from the Atlanta Thrashers. There you go.

Cap room or not?

Once again, Larry Brooks has written an article that confuses me. Read it, for context. He lists what he believes to be the players we now have under contract (or have qualifying offers out to) and the total cap hit we're looking at. And, of course, I'm confused. By...all of it. Let's have a look-see.

He lists Drury, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Boyle, Avery, Higgins, Zherdev, Callahan, Korpikoski, Brashear, Redden, Rozsival, Girardi, Staal, Gilroy, Lundqvist, and Valiquette at a total of $42 million. Here are the numbers I've seen (all numbers in millions of dollars, forgive the shitty formatting): Drury - 7.1; Dubinsky - 0.7; Anisimov - 0.8; Boyle - 0.8; Avery - 1.9; Higgins - unknown, earned 1.7 last year; Zherdev - 3.3; Callahan - 0.7, but eligible for arbitration, will probably sign in the 2-mil range; Korpikoski - made around 1 million last year, probably the same again; Brashear - 1.4 (ew); Redden - 6.5; Rozsival - 5; Girardi - 1.6; Staal - 0.8; Gilroy - 1.8; Lundqvist - 6.9; Valiquette - 0.7.

So, the point is: my total comes to $42.7 million, assuming Higgins and Korpikoski do not get raises at all, and not allowing Callahan to arbitrate (which he is, again, eligible to do, as Brooks says). So, add all these up, and put Callahan up at Brooks's figure of 2.3, and we're committed to more like $44.3 million for these players (again, without upping Higgins's or Callahan's contract). This puts Brooks's figure of "just under $15 million with which to invest" at more like 12 and a half million. Still enough to give Dubinsky the $3 million Brooks is afraid he deserves (he does), but not quite as comfortably.

And then you realize: that Gaborik fellow Brooks mentioned didn't make into his list of players. No way was this an omission from the list and not the money: that kind of contract is not going to sneak into Brooks's $42 million figure. In fact, Gaborik was offered $7.5 million a year ($100,000 more than Gomez). That's...quite the omission, Brooksie. That'll stick the figure up at $51.8 million, 5 million shy of the cap.

Now, let's go back and give Dubi the $3 million we might need to offer him (if he does go seeking bigger offers from other teams). That's another 2.3, putting us at $54.1 million. And then we get to the "didn't you forget somebody" portion of today's lesson. To my understanding, Aaron Voros signed a 3-year, $3 million contract at the beginning of last season. That makes him absolutely not a free agent. Also to my understanding, he has in no way been traded from the Rangers at any point thus far. So, he's under contract to us. Another million, under the cap.

So, Brooks lists 4 centers, 6 wings, 5 defensemen, and 2 goalies and comes up with $15 million left to spend. I'm afraid the situation turns out to be 4 centers, 8 wings, 5 defensemen, and 2 goalies, with $1.7 million left to spend.

Am I misunderstanding something here? Even if Voros is technically in the minors, still, we're looking at 4 centers, 7 wings, 5 d-men, and 2 keepers with $2.7 million left. It's some maneuvering room, but it sure isn't a ton.

Olympic Update - Canada and USA

I think we may have covered most of this, but to make sure:

John Tortorella will be assistant coach of the 2010 US Olympic hockey team.
Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan are two of the 19 forwards invited to camp for the 2010 US Olympic hockey team.
Marc Staal is one of the 16 defenseman invited to camp for the 2010 Canadian Olympic hockey team.

Poll on SNY Rangers Blog

"Are you happy with the Rangers moves so far?"

Yes - 34%
Undecided - 20%
No - 8%
Everything but Brashear - 38%

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The good news (and some regular news)

You had to know some was coming, eventually, right? First of all, we didn't sign Chris Neil. Now, you know that if I had to pick Neil or Brashear, I'd pick Neil. Then, failing that, I'd pick burning in the fire of the sun, and then Brashear. But we already had Brashear, and our choices were sign Neil for $2.2 million a year or don't. Neil stuck with Ottawa, callooh callay.

Meanwhile, Freddie Sjostrom's status is no longer "we're probably not bringing him back." He signed with the Flames, 2 years, $750,000 per year. It still blows my mind that we didn't qualify this guy, but I guess we had no room for him, what with all the...wings...we have? I really don't get this non-move, it seemed like a no-brainer. But, I guess we'll bring up more of our kids, or whatever.

And, of course, the big news: Marian Gaborik. For $7.5 million a year over 5 years, we have a young goal-scorer. Forgive me if I sound dubious. I've seen this movie before. But, Gaborik is one of the elite forwards of the league, and I'm excited to give him a shot. So, Sather did his job. A little.

What happened to Heatley? No one fucking knows. It seems like he was probably holding out to try to go to us, but the Sens wouldn't budge on asking for Dubinsky, and Sather (thank Lord Jesus) wouldn't budge on keeping him. Where is he headed? We still don't know whether he'll end up an Oiler or stay with Ottawa. Either way, I can't imagine him being liked. Oh, what a guy.

As for Brashear, I'm afraid he's not going anywhere. Sather said, of replacing Orr with him, "I think Brashear gives us a couple of other things. He's quicker, he can get in on the puck a little faster. The style of game we're going to be playing, he's going to be a little more effective for us." Great. So I actually have to get used to trying to root for this pig.

In "yeah, we figured that by now" news, apparently "our RFAs are protected." I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but Steve Zipay tells us it means people like Dubinsky, Callahan, and Korpikoski will continue to be Rangers next season. Sweet, some fucking familiar faces.

Finally, still a little concerned about our centers. We have Dubinsky, Drury, Anisimov, and Boyle right now (assuming Betts goes - I know they're professionals, but I can't imagine Betts taking to kindly to not being pursued and then asked to fill in as the center for Brashear). I sure would love to pick up another centerman, but I can't be too picky here... The good news is that right now, Sather seems to think that if we don't pick up another center, Dubi can be our first-liner. Overall, we're not in a terrible position, I just really hate rooting for a team that is okay with Donald Brashear.

As always, we'll see what happens next.


Oh, and while Heatley hasn't made a decision yet (What The Butt), word is we're out of the running for him. This morning, I would have been happy about that. Now, I'd like to see us do anything at all that will bolster our offense? Whatever. There's a lot of off-season left.

Update to thought exercise

Darren Dreger reports that our 4-year offer to Neil was $2.2 million per. Which means that, in my previous exercise, Betts would have to be asking more than $2.5 million for this plan to save us any money at all. If he gets less, we're talking about downgrading Sjostrom-Betts-Orr to Neil-Boyle-Brashear and losing money.


Add to the list of players we should have been trying to get today, but missed out on because we were too busy pursuing Donald Brashear and Chris Neil: Michael Cammalleri. He signed with the Habs.

Man, yesterday, Sather seemed like a guy who knew what he was doing, too...


Now I hear we've offered a 4-year contract to Chris Neil.

Time the fuck out. I see what's happening here. You know that movie The Parent Trap? Glen Sather and Bobby Clarke got into a fight. And they switched bodies! And now the Flyers are sitting around signing Brian Boucher and little else, while Sather is going out trying to collect all the goons I hate on the same team!

Quick, someone call Disney! Maybe they can sue us back into reason.

Okay, quick thought exercise for you. First, a recap: We know we decided to let Orr go, and we know he signed for another team for $1 million a year. We know we decided not to qualify Sjostrom at $0.88 million, but did pick up Brian Boyle at $0.83 million. We also know we decided not to pursue Betts. We signed Brashear for $1.4 million a year, and now we're going after Neil.

Now, let's be as generous as we can to Sather. Let's say that he can get Neil, outmaneuvering 2 other teams that are bidding for him, without spending more than $1.5 million a year. That seems a little low, but we're being generous. Let's also say that Betts is going to go for $2.5 million a year somewhere else. Again, very generous to Sather - maybe that price tag is why we're not pursuing him. Even with those numbers, which 4th line would you rather have:

Sjostrom - Betts - Orr, for $4.4 million
Neil - Boyle - Brashear, for $3.7 million

Just sayin'.


Colton Orr: 6'3", 222 lbs, 27 years old, plays every game, knows how to play hockey, but has no hands - can't put the puck where it needs to go, clean player, tough guy, $1 million a year

Donald Brashear: 6'3", 240 lbs, 37 years old, plays a minute and a half a week, big and dumb, slightly tougher guy, dirty pig, $1.4 million a year

We'll be starting next season with one forward suspended. You'll recall the reason why, because it was against us. You'll recall Blair Betts's orbital bone.

If he is not a part of a package to immediately send somewhere else, I cannot abide this. I will feel sick every time he takes the ice in my colors. Who's next, Jarkko Ruutu? Blair Betts is a Ranger. Donald Brashear is bullshit.

Maybe Torts is a 3-line guy. Maybe the 4th line will never see the ice. Fine. Then explain why we didn't resign Orr for $1 million, and paid $1.4 for this fucker. Remember that $5.5 million we saved by trading Gomer? Donald fucking Brashear is 1.4 of it. Wonder what other fucking gems the other 4.1 will find us.


We didn't resign Betts, we signed Brashear?!?!? WHAT THE FUCK! I'm angry. Liveblog stopped. Calling father. Will be back.

no no no no no no

please please please do not let this be true


or, Kovie's agent says Kovie's still on the market. So...we'll see how that develops. Doesn't matter, we're not getting him anyway. (His agent reportedly said "That is 100% not true - unless they signed another guy named Alex Kovalev.")


Kovie resigned with Montréal for another 2 years. We probably weren't gonna pick him up even if he didn't (which he was pretty much always gonna do), but it was nice to dream.

Orr Thoughts

I'm gonna miss Colton Orr, we need a tough guy (and do the Leafs really need a dozen of them?), but we knew this was likely to happen. We're gonna have a brand new fourth line this year - to complement the brand new rest-of-the-fucking-team. I'm gonna be sad the first time Orr kicks Aaron Voros's ass. Still, a million a year for 4 years? Whatever. Bye, Colton.

Colton Orr

We knew he wasn't coming back, but now it's official - Colton Orr has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

People to pay attention to

Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Mike Knuble (?!?), Mikael Samuelsson (?!?), still Dany Heatley somehow

It's noon!

I'm freaking out! Here we go! Let's go Rangers!


The Sedin twins are staying in Vancouver, 5 years at around $6.1 million a year each.

The waiting game

Well, Dany Heatley sounds like a gem. Two seasons ago, he signed a 6-year, $45 million contract extension with a no-trade clause with the Senators. Last season, he was named Alternate Captain. Then he decided he wasn't happy with this team (who was building around him) and wanted out. He complained to everyone, and requested to be traded. This in the face of his $4 million bonus coming up July 1. Other teams, such as ours, tried to make deals for him, but none of them made Bryan Murray terribly happy - mostly because Michal Rozsival doesn't exactly make up for Dany Heatley. Then, at the zero hour, Ottawa struck a deal that satisfied them sending Heatley, who had said he wanted to "move West," to Edmonton. And they all lived happily ever after.

No wait, that's not what happened at all! Heatley refused to waive his no-trade clause! After complaining about the team, and asking to move West, now he refused to waive his no-trade clause! So Ottawa couldn't send him to the Oilers! What the fuck is this guy waiting for?

So, as it turns out, the NHL has ruled that as long as Heatley is moved by midnight EDT tonight (July 1), Ottawa's off the hook for the bonus. Which gives them some more maneuvering room. But what the hell are they supposed to do? Either Heatley is using his contract to strong-arm Ottawa into not getting a fair deal for him, or he's holding out on the no-trade clause to make sure he gets the $4 million from the Sens as opposed to from his new team. Who the fuck does that? I was all about picking up Dany Heatley, but trading Gomez's $7.4 million contract for Heatley's $7.5 is starting to sound pretty unattractive to me.

Meanwhile, we're waiting to see what happens. According to Larry Brooks, off-loading Gomez saved us $5.5 million, giving us about $13 million to play with. This is some room to play, but not a ton. Last year, at this time, Sather dropped a whole lot of money on very little defenseman. There's buzz, as you'd expect, about the Rangers trying to spend some of this on a "power forward" or whatever term you want to use - a Martin Gaborik or the Sedins or even, as Brooks suggests, Brad Richards. I'd love to see another big move here - rather than Sather eating most of this money on one big guy, he now has the freedom to make a trade - try to get Rozsival (as Redden is completely untradable) and his contract off to someone in exchange for an expensive-ass forward, leaving us some playing room. We'll see how good Sather is at his job. RFAs go unrestricted in 2 hours.

And Dany Heatley's bonus gets paid at midnight.


OK, that link in my last post used to say that Heatley was going to the Oilers (which still says is true), but now it says he's refused to waive his no-trade clause?? After talking about wanted to leave? Is this just to get the $4 million? Ugh, do we even want this guy and his $7.5 million a year contract? Fuck, who knows?

Heatley not a Ranger?

Heatley's cap hit apparently averages $7.5 million. Oh, and he's probably gonna be an Oiler?

So, now what?