Thursday, February 21, 2008

Still wondering if that really happened

Update: My apologies. Ales Kotalik is in fact not a defenseman. When I saw he was an UFA, I thought of Dmitri Kalinen. For some reason. I don't know why. I was just going to take it out of the post and hope no one caught it, but I have to be a man and admit the mistake. Sorry about that.

I haven't written since the Rangers' five goal lead turned into a five goal implosion and the Habs made an improbable comeback in a shootout. Is it because I didn't have the heart to accept that it really happened? Yeah, maybe. Or is it because I didn't have any answers for anyone? Well, that too.

Actually, it's been busy here again, and when you have Derek providing extremely timely and accurate wrap-ups, I can afford to be away from the website for a day or two. Since it's old news now, I won't get into the Montreal game too much. I just want to say that from where I was sitting, it didn't look like the Rangers gave up per say. They did let up a little, and then the Canadians really turned it on. The fans had an impact that the Rangers can only hope for upon returning to Madison Square Garden. All in all, it was a great game to watch, it's just too bad it didn't end up better for us Ranger fans.

Moving on. Some quick hits to start your Thursday morning.

- If Colton Orr cannot play, or any other forward goes down, Tom Renney needs to call up a winger from Hartford for a game. Jason Strudwick is a decent defenseman, but he only looked like he belonged on offense on one or two shifts on Tuesday. No harm in calling up Greg Moore or even Dane Byers for a game for other wingers to get healthy.

- Marc Staal looked like he tired out on Tuesday as well, but that was expected. In looking over some message boards the last couple of games, he was criticized a bit, and unfairly I believe. He will be the staple of the Rangers' blueline for years to come, and one mediocre third period coming off losing 10 pounds in two days won't change that.

Onto the trade deadline now.

Philadelphia got a third round pick back last night, this time in a trade with Calgary. The Flyers sent defenseman Jim Vandermeer to the Flames in exchange for the pick. They may not be done either.

Contract negotiations are still going slow with both Marian Hossa and Brian Campbell. I would love to have either one (or both, but that is a little out of the question) but I am unsure about the price tag. The cost to acquire them will probably be similar to the price tag of Peter Forsberg last season, a young talented, NHL established player, a highly touted prospect, a first round draft pick and another young, non-established player. What that comes out to would probably be Something like Nigel Dawes or Peter Prucha, Bobby Sanguinetti, first round pick and Al Montoya. That's just an example, but look how much talent is potentially there. All for a playoff rental. Whoever gets Hossa, Campbell or even Mats Sundin should make it their business to sign them to an extension before finalizing the trade. It would be bad business not to.

Let's look at other options. One the intrigues me is Ales Kotalik on the Buffalo Sabres. He is an UFA and wouldn't cost nearly as much as Campbell. He's no-where as shutdown, but why not send Marek Malik and a young player over and see if he can provide a little more on defense for us. Dan Boyle would be nice also, but expensive. Just say no to Rob Blake.

The youngsters like Dawes, Prucha and Ryan Callahan should be untouchable right now. Montoya, Parenteu, Moore or even Bourett might be good options to explore, if the Rangers end up needing to add youth to a deal to bring a difference-maker in. With eight days to go, it should get interesting real soon.

I'll check in again before Saturday's tilt with the Sabres. Here's to hoping Tuesday's game was an eye opener for the Blueshirts.

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