New York Rangers: Getting the Facts Straight

Mr. ControversyCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2008

I have read so many articles on Jagr, Avery, and Shanahan that I figured it was time for me to write my own. Some of you may not agree with what I say, some of you might, but either way, I am going give you the facts.

Let's start with Jaromir Jagr. Jagr already made his decision to leave New York and the NHL before last season started. During a brief interview last year, he slipped up saying that this could be his last game. No it wasn't meant towards the end of the season, Jagr said on more than a few occasions that he wanted to be closer to his hometown .

His father is building an ice rink there and wanted Jaromir to be a part of it and help him out. Going to the Russian league gave Jagr the chance to play hockey and be closer to his home. It wouldn't have mattered what the Rangers—or any other team—offered him.

Toronto made him a very good offer that he refused. His time in the NHL was over before last season even started. Looking at his stats and watching every game the Rangers played last year, maybe it wasn't a bad move for the future Hall of Famer and the new New York Rangers, who went younger, stronger, and faster.

Maybe his head wasn't in the game, or maybe he was just out-played. Whatever the reason, Jagr had his worse year ever last season and it would have carried over to this season if he had stayed in the NHL.

He will go down in the books as one of the best there ever was and I for one am grateful to have the chance to watch him play. His time here was done. I wish him the best of luck in Russia.  

It is a known fact that Glen Sather did not like Sean Avery. And although offering a four year deal for $12 million was a good offer, Sather had to know another team would offer him more.

If Sather really wanted to sign him, he would have tried to seal the deal or start negotiations before the end of last season, as he did with most of the players. Avery decided to go with Dallas, who offered him a four year deal worth $15 million. That's $3.5 million MORE over four years.  The Rangers would have tried to match if they really wanted to keep him.

Avery did not leave for the money alone. Dallas, who did very well last year, is an equal—if not better—team than the Rangers.  Maybe he went with the team he felt had a better chance at winning the Cup this year. The extra money just helped him make up his mind.

Avery is the best at what he does, and will be a big loss to the Rangers, who had a better record with him in the lineup. The chaos he causes on the ice for the opposing teams is done to perfection and although some would disagree and say he is a dirty player, He's proved that he does whatever it takes to win. 

The Rangers made a big mistake by letting him go. This mistake can come back to haunt them when the Rangers play Dallas. As a life-long Rangers fan, I hope not, but let's be real. Who can stop Avery from doing what he does best?

Brendan Shanahan is one of my all-time favorite players. There is so much talk about how he should retire and/or the Rangers should sign him. So let's get the facts straight. Yes, he is  going to be 40. Yes, he isn't as fast as he used to be. Yes, he is past his prime.

Well, there are three reasons he should retire. Some question his production. This past year, he notched 23 goals, his lowest total yet. For this reason, I made up my mind to write this article.

The same people that say he had his worst year and should retire are also the ones that don't give you all the facts: Shanny was third in goals last year, behind Drury and Jagr who were tired for first with 25 each.

He was fourth in points at the end of the season. This was from a guy who logged minimal ice time and missed two weeks due to injury.  Despite missing time, he still did better than most.

Retire? I think not!

But we are not done yet. Shanny was awesome in the shootout. He was definitely one of the best and won many games for the Rangers last year. The first half of last season, Shanny was head to head with younger superstar Chris Drury in shots on goal, goals, and points.

Retire? I don't think so!

The leadership that Shanny brings is unmatched. He took young rookie stars like Dubinski, Dawes, and Callahan under his wing and their progress showed in every game. Every player young and old turned to Shanny. This includes the great Jagr.

The Rangers need that leadership this year more than ever. With a young core, the work ethic and experience that Shanny provides is more valuable then what any salary they give him.

He has one of the best shots in hockey and still looks to drop the gloves if need be. He is a true blue shirt and leader. If the Rangers don't have him, it may cost them dearly. Coaches don't make great teams, great players and their leadership do. The Rangers' GM better get that in his head real soon before that opportunity slips away.

I say give SHANNY one more year, third line and powerplay, rotated, then coaching staff. The guy is still too good to let go. It's certainly a foolish move to let him go.



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