Monday, November 9, 2009

Eliminating our Middlemen - Rangers hurting at Center

Long before this season got underway, the army of self-hating Ranger fans were out in force.

"Gomez's contract is killing us" they said. And when the Rangers traded him - were they happy?

No. They said "Now we don't have a first line Center".

And then the angry Ranger fans said: "We don't have one pure goal scorer on the team". So when the Rangers went out and got Marian Gaborik - were they happy?

Of course not. They said - "Gaborik is useless without a first line center to get him the puck"

So, we started the season with a lot of angry question marks at the Center position. But to the credit of John Tortorella and Glen Sather - the Rangers used Prospal, Dubinsky, Drury, and Anisimov quite well to produce an offensive output that was a huge improvement over last year - and that, in fact moved us from near the bottom to near the top of the league in scoring.

And Gaborik seemed to be getting the puck just fine. In fact he's one of the league's top scorers - and is netting over 20 percent of his shots - so he's getting the puck just fine, thank you very much for asking.

My point (and I do have one) is that despite all the angry rants from unhappy critics - your New York Rangers were doing just fine at the Center Position.

That is - until now.

Because on Saturday night - we started our game with the Calgary Flames with 4 legit Centers - but ended the game with just 2.

In the game's first minute of play, Chris Drury was blindsided away from the puck with a cheap, ugly hit from the Flame's Glencross.

What was the result of that hit? A concussion for Captain Chris - and the expectation he'll be out of the lineup for several games at least. And what was NOT the result of that hit? Any sort of penalty by the refs - or retaliation by the Rangers. (Very NOT GOOD - but that's a rant for another day).

And as if losing one Center wasn't damage enough - later on in the same game Brandon Dubinsky took a slapshot puck off of his hand. The result: a broken bone and about three weeks out of the lineup.

So, what I'm saying is: after the Rangers proved this season that they were just fine at Center - suddenly they're not.

Who's left on the active roster to play the middle? Prospal for one. The rookie Anisimov for two. Brian Boyle in a pinch. Add them up and you get - - well, you get a pretty big problem, is what you get.

Thankfully, the schedule comes to our rescue. We're off until Thursday and we only play 3 games in the next 15 days. So John Tortorella has some time to think, yell at his players, try some player combinations, yell some more, call around to our minor league affiliates, yell at them, and so on until he has some idea of what to skate out there to take faceoffs until Drury and Dubi get back on the ice.

It’s not like we were firing on all cylinders before this happened. But now – well, the only team worse off at center than we are right now is the New York Knicks!
Where we Stand: Rangers have dropped to 5th place in the Eastern Conference - one Point behind the hated NJ Devils.


  1. it's brandon dubinsky.

  2. Thanks Anon. I will throw in the occassional lame error to pull in a comment or two: just to see if Anybody Is Alive Out There as Springsteen would say. (And not Irving Springsteen - I mean Bruce). Thanks for the comment - it's fixed now.