Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nash will be BlueShirt Smash - Rick is a Ranger!

A Ranger who Scores Goals - why didn't I think of that?

Yes, I was there in February.  Dave Pucks and Pucks Junior were among the faithful at MSG in February chanting “We Don’t Want You” at Rick Nash when he scored that game-tying goal in to send the game into Overtime.

But that was then – and this is now (as Micky D once sang)

And today, brothers and sisters, I am one happy Ranger fan.  Happy that Rick Nash, the two-time 40 goal scorer, is here.  Happy that Sather did not give up Stepan, or Del Zotto, or Kreider, or McDonagh to get him.  Happy (and amazed) that Glen “Slats” Sather was patient, smart, and determined to get the right guy at the right price.  It took a while, but we kept our youthful core and didn’t even take on salary.  I have to tip my cap to the old man – he made a great deal – and remember – this guy works for James Dolan (the guy that dumped Linsanity - and do not get me started on that).

What are we getting in Rick Nash?  A 28 year old former first rounder who has averaged 34 goals a season over the past 8 years (that’s better than Gaborik over the same span).  A former team captain with leadership skills and 323 assists to nearly match his 324 goals.  An all-star who can score – a missing piece of the puzzle that kept the Rangers from winning the cup last year. 

There are nay-sayers (I hate those guys) who will point to Rick’s stats and say he’s declining.  I would look at the team he came from – the Blue Jackets were a last place club – cutting salary and rebuilding.  Nash – the lone scoring threat – was the focus of opponent’s defenses.  And it’s natural to get demoralized when the team around you can’t deliver.

Under Tortorella – on a team that got within 2 games of the Cup Finals – in a media center like New York - we’ll see a revitalized Nash who will redouble his efforts and revitalize his career.

Remember – Nash had a no-trade clause.  He wanted to come here.  And we got him.

And what did we give up?

We love Brandon Dubinsky.  He loved being a Ranger.  He showed effort every night.  But his career derailed last season – and while so many of his teammates were thriving under Tortorella’s system –Dubi seems to stumble.  He scored just 10 goals last year – less than half his 2010 totals – and having – by a wide margin - the worst season of his young career.  It was the time we expected Brandon to take a step toward stardom – but instead - he struggled.  So, reluctantly, we have to admit the Dub-warrior was not earning his contact.  So – we’ll miss you Brandon – but it was a good move to make this change.

Artem Anisimov.  So talented – but the bigger the contest – the smaller he played.  He was not the grinder that Tortorella needs.  And we watched as he fell lower and lower on our rotation.  He scored in the teens each of his three seasons and does not seem to be taking that next step.  Still – farewell to the man we’ll always affectionately call “Anis” (alternate spellings welcome).

Tim Erixon? Not a leading defenseman for our team and not worth his contract.

So all this leaves us with more offense – and a first line, 6’4” 216 star Left Winger.  And when our right wing Marian Gaborik gets healthy in November – we’ll be able to put a line out there that can rock and roll with anyone out there.  Anyone.

So, yes, I was there in February chanting that I didn’t want Ranger Rick.  But I was wrong.  I do want the guy – and now I’m glad we got him.

Get psyched Blueshirt Brothers.  Your Ranger team that was 6 wins away from the Cup last year – just got better!