Dealing with Mixed Feelings

Mr. ControversyCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2008

 As the season draws near and I am constantly looking at the line up , trying to get all the news I can get from and on the Rangers . I can’t help it , I get mixed feeling and I'm still trying to find the answers to the questions that are driving me crazy.

So today I decided to take the initiative and find out for myself if my anger is justified ,or do I have a reason to feel happy when I do?

If you read my other article Getting the Facts Straight, then you know how I feel about the whole Brendan Shanahan situation . And as I look through this line up I can not pick one player out that I see to be a good leader for this team.

I'm not talking captains or assistant captains. I'm talking about a true leader. Like Shanahan was, and to an extent Jagr. And of course, like Mark Messier was. With a totally new team ( with an exception of twelve players), some who may not even see to much ice time , this team is in need of a leader.

I don’t see it coming from Naslund , Drury , or Gomez . I just can’t see them as a true leader . Naslund will be the oldest guy on the rangers roster as of right now at thirty- five, with Drury and Redden behind him at thirty-one; Gomez is twenty-eight. 

Other then winning the Stanley Cup in Colorado in 2000/01, you never heard about Chris Drury. He was your average player along with a thousand other players. It wasn't until 2005 -2007 seasons  in Buffalo, where he set career highs in goals with thirty and thirty-seven ,that everyone started to hear his name. Being a part of one of the most explosive teams at that time in Buffalo. Chris Drury started to make a name for him self in the NHL.

However his high energy and work ethics is definitely something you look for in a leader. Does he have what it takes to transform these many rookies and young players under his wing, lead them and get past the pressures of being a leader? I sure hope he can!

Naslund at thirty five who has struggled these past few years has never won a cup. Some would say it is because of Vancouver's defensive style, that caused the left wingers' points to decrease. Some would say he is just getting old, or maybe because he just didn't have the support he needed around him .

In the 2006/07 season, the Canucks clinched their division but the then 33 year old left winger only had 24 goals with 36 assists. One would wonder such as I have with his decline in goals and point for the last five straight years , did Renney go with his heart in stead of his smarts .

After all Renney did coach Naslund in Vancouver in 1996/97 . After really struggling for the past 3 years coming to a new team , is this guy ready to start leading players. I don’t think so . I just want him to get his head  back in the game and get to where he once was . That highly motavated , high scoring player , if he still has it in him to pull it off .

 Scotty Gomez has won two Stanley Cups in NJ , Playing with superstars like Patrik Elias and John Madden. He is not known for his leadership nor is he know for his great scoring ability . But one thing  he is , is a great set up man .

Although he has the touch to be a very good scorer . He looks for the pass first . He also has good work ethics and plays a very smart game . At 28 years of age does he have what it takes to lead what is gonna be a young team . For some reason I look at Scotty and I don’t see him as being able to fill that role . I can’t explain why . Its just a feeling I get .

Last is Wade Redden . Wade has been threw it all . Coming so close many times to win the cup in Ottawa , but falling short , and playing with great players suck as Daniel Alfredson , Dany Heatley and up coming superstar Jason Spezza . This line was one of the most feared lines in hockey . And with his awesome offensive ability and defensive smarts , his rugged work ethics I wonder if he has what it takes to be a true leader. With 3 consecutive years at being a Stanley cup contender ,  coming off a rocky season and coming to a new team . I don't expect him to want the leadership, rather then looking to get situated  with his new team mates and  producing like we know he can .

Out of these 4 players ,Iexpect Drury to be picked  , and i hope he can rise up to the challenge !

 It is more then being a good player to make a good leader . The willingness to teach young guys , the patience and time it takes . The hard work and dedication . To be able to communicate and get along with everyone on the team. To be able to give them the advice they need to help make them better players and dealing with the media . For some reason I just have mixed feelings on whether one of these guys is the right one.

And then I look at who was a free agent and who the Rangers went after .Who we kept .Was Naslund and  Kalinin the best they could of picked up? 

There are so many defense men to start with , that I would rather have, then both Naslund and Kalinin. I am glad we got Redden and even Kalinin whose contract is top secrete  , classified . How much is this guy getting for one year?  I know there is better that we could of went after if he is getting the 2.25 million he got with Buffalo or more  .

Brian Campbell

Mark Streit

Mike Commadore

Brooks Orpik

John Liles

Just to list a few...

As for the forwards here are just some who I think are better and wished we have went after:

Brian Rolston

Todd Bertuzzi

Vaclav Prospal

Daymond Langkow

Marian Hossa

The Rangers however did go after Hossa ,but were out bid by Detroit. I personally wish they bid higher, especially after the season they had, where no one could find the net. Hossa would have been the perfect fit. At least that is my opinion .

In any case these are just a few that were out there . Better , if not just as good .All were younger then Naslund , and would have came for less money . except for Hossa.

Last year one thing that the rangers were missing , was having that one big guy out on the ice . AN ENFORCER !!! I would of liked to see them snatch up bad boy Todd Bertuzzi to fill that role . He is the guy you can have play on the first or second line to protect and produce. But it didn’t happen . They didn’t even make him an offer .

So what was Renney and Sather thinking when they signed these two guys , both with issues coming in ? Naslund on the decline for the last five years . i am sorry but that does something to a player And it takes alot to rebound from it .  Kalinin plagued with injuries in 2005/06 season , as well  as missing 36 games last year do to injuries . Will he even be around to finish this up coming season .

Why are we keeping Betts , yes he does the little things . But so does other players out there that also put the puck in the net . After last years embarrassment , i want guys that can score and isn't afraid to check people . 

Out of 75 games betts  had 91 hits ranked 171 and being a forth line player , the checking line , that isn't good enough for me . When the better players are there for the grabbing as  free agents . You have to get rid of him and go after the real  players! anyone can block a shot and unless your Marik Malik , anyone can pass a puck , that's why there in the NHL!

Then the explosion that goes off in my head !

Voros , Rissmiller , Jamtin , Zaborski , Del Zotto , Fahey , Anisimov , Korpikoski , Fritsche and Zhedev ! OK 5 time all star Markus Naslund, Redden and the big checker Kalinin .

whose gonna play , whose not . I mean WOW , it looks great on paper . Some of there stats are very impressive . The hype on some of these rookies is over whelming . Whose gonna bounce back and who isn't .  This is gonna be an exciting  year. OR it gonna be total mayhem?  Like last year !

Then there is the Nikolai Zherdev situation . I was very estatic when the Rangers traded for this young guy . He has the potential to be a great player! I have followed his career up to this point and have been a fan of his since his debut in the NHL. How ever as a hockey fan I know and must say , this guy has the worse work ethics there is . Has a hard time staying focused through out the season , And comes with an attitude. He needs a role model , a mentor , a true leader. I want this kid to be as good as I know he can be. With out someone really working with him to change his ways , all his potential will mean nothing.

It takes alot before I give up on a player, but I will not be satisfied when a guy scores 25 goals when I know he can score 50. Stay focused, work hard and show the New York Ranger fans exactly what you can do Zherdev!  Or you will be booed!

What about these new guys , what if they don’t click ? Shoot last year it was Jagr , Drury , Gomez , Shanahan , Avery and  Straka , every one was psyched up , were going for the cup . Who would of thought it would of turned out the way it did . A nightmare of a season, barely making it in the playoffs.

Last game heroics towards the end of the season . Our best guys can't score more then 25 goals on the year . Is this what we have to look forward to ?

As a true Ranger fan. I do have high expectations for this up coming season . But i do hope it isn't gonna be another repeat as well!

But I ask myself . Who are these  guys? Some we know and heard of , some are unknown . I guess the answer to that is . That they are the future of the New York Rangers and we will find out this year who they are ,and what their made off . As psyched as i am . I still have mixed feeling on just how this season will turn out . 

Hope you enjoyed. Look forward to your feed back!


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