Hot on the heels of the report the New York Rangers offered Chris Chelios a spot on their AHL team , right around the time they offered Mathieu Dandenault an AHL tryout , there's only one logical conclusion to be drawn: the Rangers are trying to rebuild the Cup-winning 2001-02 Red Wings.
Crazy you say? What about the fact that Brendan Shanahan, another member of that Wings team, is skating in New York, trying to catch-on with a Cup-contending team in the area .
New Jersey has already cut him loose once this season. The Flyers are capped out. The Islanders couldn't contend for the Calder Cup, let alone the Stanley Cup. The only other team in the area is the Rangers, where Shanahan played for two seasons.
And while it seems there's no room for Shanahan on the Rangers, at least not among their top nine forwards, let's not forget that it seems to have been former coach Tom Renney who didn't want Shanahan re-signed. GM Glen Sather always appeared to be a big fan of the winger with over 650 career goals.
And if Shanahan were to be re-signed by the Rangers, perhaps he would play on a line with Sean Avery, another member of that Cup-winning Wings team. And while Avery didn't see any playoff time that year, he did play in 36 regular season games for Detroit.
It's not surprising that the Rangers are trying to re-create a Cup-winning team in New York. The organization did so to great success in 1994, when they won the Stanley Cup with a transported version of Sather's Edmonton Oilers dynasty.
Eventually, Rangers management figured out it would save them a few steps to just bring Sather over directly, rather than having him get players for Edmonton and then ship them to New York. In essence, they decided to cut out the middle man.
And now, since Sather's Cup-winning idea well seems to have run dry, he's now trying to transport another franchise over to New York.
What's puzzling is why the Rangers are focusing on such old players. Are they going to try and get Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull out of retirement? Will they spring Sergei Fedorov from the KHL? Is this whole plan some kind of bizarre Ben Gay product-placement scheme?
And most importantly of all, why target the 2001-02 team? Why not try and recreate the 2007-08 Cup-winning team, which is almost 10 years younger? Sure, the core players are all under 10-15 year contracts, but there must be some useful pieces there that aren't locked down for the next few decades.
And for that matter, if you're going to go old, why not just go for it and try and recreate the Islanders dynasty of the 1980s?
The Rangers actually started that project when they signed Islanders great Bryan Trottier to be coach in 2003. What not many people know is that Sather signed Trottier as a forward, while Trottier thought he was being signed as a coach. The whole thing became so awkward, Sather let Trottier coach and canceled his meetings with Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin, declaring the Islanders transplant unviable.
And of course, no one knows the status of the Rangers project to re-animate Rocket Richard.