Mikster vs. Spector

It’s a face off, who will win this one between me and Spector? Find out…I was just amazed how so many people looked at this trade and thought of other ideas on how to criticize it because you cannot really criticize this trade. But, unfortunately, a lot of people did. Of course, if it was the Toronto Maple Leafs this deal would have been a glorious one and TSN and Sportsnet would have worshipped the Maple Leafs for pulling off such a steal. It’s the Rangers though, and any kind of trade they do it’s a bad one. And, even if it is a good one, it still turns out to be a bad one.

So anyway, I was a bit surprised when I saw Spector’s comments on this trade, and I thought “Oh no, he got brainwashed as well by the Toronto Media.” Of course he didn’t. He’s a great hockey fan, very knowledgable. I just wish I had a bottle of wine with this one.

Anyway, let the face-off commence.

I started the discussion by sending a message to Spector, then Spector replied, and I will reply to his. S is Spector and M is me.

S: “Well it’s official: Rangers GM Glen Sather is now in panic mode. This is a desperation move, plain and simple. The season is slipping away and he’s feeling the heat from the fans and media and most importantly from ownership.”

M: Well, usually a GM who is running a high pressured team that has been missing the playoffs for six straight years does somewhat panic. However, how is this panic mode? How is this truely a desperation move? On what basis?

The season is not slipping away all that much. Before the Islanders’ win over the lowly Hurricanes, the Rangers were only two points out of a playoff spot. I would definitely not call that “slipping away”. If anything, this is the closest they have ever been in a playoff race at this point of the season than in previous years.

Sather’s reltionship with the fans and media is very particular. First of all, he dislikes journalists and the rumors. That is why the NY-Media, specifically Larry Brooks, has it with Glen Sather. He is not the kind sharing General Manager that Neil Smith was. He rarely gives a Yes or No answer too. So, if anything he could care less what the media thinks as he even made fun of the Canadian Media when TSN.ca and Sportsnet.ca embarrassed themselves by stating that Lindros was put on the waiver wire. His relationship with the fans is quite distant as well. I am a Rangers fan who dislikes a lot of Rangers fans as well. They are impatient little girls. He shuts his ears to the fans and he even blamed them once, and rightfully did so. Rangers fans are the worst to deal with.

So, that pretty much proves that Sather was not pressured at all by the media and the fans.

Furthermore, Spector, you say that this was a depseration move. I would not call that 100%. Look at the trade and it is completely saying that the Rangers did a favor for the Capitals. If it was a depseration move, then Sather would have acquired Jagr a while ago and definitely either Jamie Lundmark, Fedor Tjutin, Jed Ortmyer, or a 1st round pick would have been involved. Trading the team’s worst defensive player (Carter) with a -12 for an all-star player and having the other team pay $20M off his contract is not a desperation move. It’s a steal. A steal is not a desperation move.

S: “For those who believe the acquisition of Jagr will turn the Rangers around, just remind yourselves of the acquisitions of Lindros, Bure and Kovalev. This deal is just like those.”

M: Ok, letting you remind me. With Lindros, there was a time when the Rangers were the #1 team in the East with Lindros, unfortunately an injury to Richter and Theo Fleury’s problems, plus Lindros’s injury did not help the Rangers make the playoffs. It’s tough not making the playoffs when your #1 world class goalie is injured. With Bure, Bure did an awesome job as a Ranger. I cannot believe certain media sites and fans even put underachieve and Bure in the same sentence. Bure’s numbers with the Rangers are fantastic and would be even better if he was healthy last season, which he was not. Bure was never healthy last season, had surgeries, so you can’t even include him in your discussion, you can’t judge it. As for Kovalev….I agree in the summer of 2003 with TSN’s Fantasy Hockey Guide saying that Kovalev would score just 67 points because he left his old teammates in Pittsburgh, specifically Mario Lemieux. Kovalev is only an impact player if he has the right teammate to play with, especially on the power play (Jagr). Also, Kovalev has been doing two jobs at once with the Rangers. Scoring and defensive checking with top +/- leaders Holik and Rucinsky.

S:”It’ll do little to improve the Rangers as a team, and nothing to improve their defensive game, which has taken serious hits of late with injuries to Darius Kasparaitis and Greg de Vries.”

M: Absolutely, it has nothing to do with defense. But what does defense even have to do with this trade? Does this deal tell you that the Rangers will not make another trade? Does this trade tell you that they ignored the defense? It shouldn’t because: 1) They acquired just a fill-in body (Pushor) 2) Sather said he is seeking TWO defensemen. He has YET to deal for the second one. Can things be done in a finger snap? Would you ever let such a trade slip by?

You’re telling me that you’d actually tell Washington Capitals GM George McPhee that you don’t want to trade Anson Carter, who is the worst defensive player on your team, for Jaromir Jagr and that you decline his offer of paying $20M off Jagr’s salary? My hockey friend, you’d be one of the worst general managers in the history of sports, not just hockey, but sports. Sather will be looking for another defenseman, he said so. He has been saying so since the begining of this week.

Just to prove to you how the Rangers badly need Jagr, the Rangers power play is not working. When it was starting to work and they ranked 17th, they went undefeated in four games. But, that did not last long. Rangers power play could have MANY times scored the game winner, given them the lead, or give them the tying goal. In fact, the Rangers are 9-4-1-1 when they score two power play goals. Had their power play even been 8th or 10th, they would be racing with the Canadiens. So, those are just facts for you to use.

S: “The only winner in this deal, if such a thing can be declared, is the Capitals, who manage to get out from under Jagr’s contract, which they foolishly signed him to back in 2001.”

M: Meh…I am not buying that. Yeah, they accomplished their goal that still defines them as losers of this deal. First of all, they are desperate to trade away Kolzig, Gonchar, Lang, and even their franchise player Bondra. So, not like they solved much. Trading Jaromir Jagr is just solving a portion of the big problem that Ted Leonis and GM McPhee created. Leonis should have planned this out better. It’s his mistake. The Capitals lost three of their prospects, plus sent a cheque` that was worth around $4M to the Penguins to then just acquire Anson Carter and still pay $20M. So, the big losers are the Capitals as they even helped the Rangers get rid of their worst defensive player.

***Now, this is Spector’s reply towards my comments.***

M: Well, usually a GM who is running a high pressured team that has been missing the playoffs for six straight years does somewhat panic. However, how is this panic mode? How is this truely a desperation move? On what basis?

S: Let’s see, Mike Dunham was struggling between the pipes before he suffered a mild concussion. Darius Kasparaitis and Greg de Vries, two of his best defencemen, are sidelined for lengthy periods with injuries. They gained only 1 point in their last four games and have slipped to tenth overall in the Conference. With the possibility of missing the playoffs for a seventh straight season looming, the fans and media are snarling-mad (“Fi-re Sa-ther, clap, clap, clapclapclap, Fi-re Sa-ther, clap, clap, clapclapclap”…). And undoubtedly ownership is starting to put pressure on him. Most importantly, this move did NOTHING, REPEAT, NOTHING to improve the Rangers goaltending, blueline or their team defensive game…the last two having consistently been their downfall since 1997-98. So I’d say there’s PLENTY of basis for my claim Sather panicked.

M: The season is not slipping away all that much. Before the Islanders’ win over the lowly Hurricanes, the Rangers were only two points out of a playoff spot. I would definitely not call that “slipping away”. If anything, this is the closest they have ever been in a playoff race at this point of the season than in previous years.

S: Seems to me they were closer back in December 2001. And how did that end?

M: Sather’s reltionship with the fans and media is very particular. First of all, he dislikes journalists and the rumors. That is why the NY-Media, specifically Larry Brooks, has it with Glen Sather.

S: Brooks and the rest of the New York media thought the sun shone out Sather’s arse when he came to New York. They cheered the Lindros, Bure and Kovalev acquisitions. They all pointed out how much better the Rangers seemed to play last season when Slats took over as coach. But with Jagr now supposedly a better acquisitions than those three, they’re not impressed. I think that has more to do with the fact those deals did NOTHING to improve the Blueshirts than with any personal dislike over Sather.

M: He shuts his ears to the fans and he even blamed them once, and rightfully did so. Rangers fans are the worst to deal with.

So, that pretty much proves that Sather was not pressured at all by the media and the fans.

S: Curious then, the timing of this move, coming after weeks of grumbling from the press and media, which came to a head with Rangers fans openly chanting for the first time that Sather be fired. Of course, that’s not the primary reason why Sather made this desperation move. But it’s a contributing factor as I noted above.

M: Look at the trade and it is completely saying that the Rangers did a favor for the Capitals.

S: If Sather is making trades to do fellow teams a favour, no wonder the Rangers have made little progress from the latter years of Neil Smith’s tenure! Sather didn’t do this to do the Caps a favour anymore than his acquisitions of Bure and Kovalev were to do the Panthers and Penguins a favour. Sather saw struggling teams carrying players they couldn’t afford anymore and used that to his supposed advantage. The same applies here. The Caps desperately wanted to get out of Jagr’s contract, and Sather, desperate to save the season and perhaps even his job, used that to his advantage. Sather doesn’t do favours.

M: If it was a depseration move, then Sather would have acquired Jagr a while ago and definitely either Jamie Lundmark, Fedor Tjutin, Jed Ortmyer, or a 1st round pick would have been involved.

S: Ah, but for the first three months of the season, the Rangers didn’t need Jagr now did they? They were battling for seventh and eighth overall with the Canadiens and Islanders. But now, having slid to tenth, with the Habs nine points ahead and the Isles looking to pull away from them for eighth, the situation has changed.

M: Trading the team’s worst defensive player (Carter) with a -12 for an all-star player and having the other team pay $20M off his contract is not a desperation move. It’s a steal. A steal is not a desperation move.

S: And who obtained Carter to the huzzahs of the Rangers fans and press last season? Glen Sather. If this move were such a steal, why did Sather wait until his club was in danger of sinking out of the playoff race to do it? The Caps have been desperately trying to move Jagr’s contract and stated several times they’d be willing to absorb a significant portion of it to get the deal done. So why wait for now? The Caps were just as desperate back in June, August and November as they were now. Why? Because Sather IS desperate.

M: With Lindros, there was a time when the Rangers were the #1 team in the East with Lindros, unfortunately an injury to Richter and Theo Fleury’s problems, plus Lindros’s injury did not help the Rangers make the playoffs.

S: Every team has injury problems. But with the depth of talent on the Rangers, they should’ve been able to absorb the punches and carry on. Look at the Toronto Maple Leafs! They’ve got 30 million in talent on the sidelines with injuries, several of them serious, yet they’re still the top club in the Eastern Conference! Look at the LA Kings? Most of their top players are out for the season, yet as of this writing they’re only 1 measley point out of the 8th spot in the West and have played .500 hockey in their last ten games! Why? Because those clubs are playing like teams! Something the 2001-02 Rangers…and their subsequent versions, weren’t.

M: It’s tough not making the playoffs when your #1 world class goalie is injured.

S: So why didn’t Sather trade for a better backup, instead of tossing Dan Blackburn to the wolves?

M : With Bure, Bure did an awesome job as a Ranger. I cannot believe certain media sites and fans even put underachieve and Bure in the same sentence. Bure’s numbers with the Rangers are fantastic and would be even better if he was healthy last season, which he was not. Bure was never healthy last season, had surgeries, so you can’t even include him in your discussion, you can’t judge it.

S: Everyone knew his injury history regarding his knee problems. Most pundits believed landing Bure would automatically put the Rangers into the playoffs. It didn’t. The Canadiens, with their best forward out battling cancer for almost the entire season and with a far smaller, weaker roster than the Rangers, hung on and bested them. Care to explain that?

M: Kovalev is only an impact player if he has the right teammate to play with, especially on the power play (Jagr). Also, Kovalev has been doing two jobs at once with the Rangers. Scoring and defensive checking with top +/- leaders Holik and Rucinsky.

S: So why did Sather trade for him? What’s the good of bringing in a player who won’t hit those high offensive totals if he doesn’t have the right teammates? That’s ridiculous!

So after obtaining Lindros, Bure, and Kovalev, the Rangers failed to make the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. How did their acquistions make the Rangers better? Did it achieve the goals intended? Even with Bure out of the lineup, why is it that a team with Lindros, Leetch, Kovalev, Holik, Kasparaitis, Nedved, Carter, Poti and de Vries be struggling to hang onto the last playoff berth in the East?

M: Absolutely, it has nothing to do with defense. But what does defense even have to do with this trade? Does this deal tell you that the Rangers will not make another trade? Does this trade tell you that they ignored the defense? It shouldn’t because: 1) They acquired just a fill-in body (Pushor) 2) Sather said he is seeking TWO defensemen. He has YET to deal for the second one. Can things be done in a finger snap? Would you ever let such a trade slip by?

S: The Rangers have two serious problems right now: 1. their starting goalie, who’s struggled since late November, is now out with a mild concussion. 2. Their blueline corps suffered two serious blows by losing Kasparaitis and de Vries. Jagr may score goals in bunches, but if they can’t keep the puck out of their own end and out of their own net, what’s the good? Pushor is obviously a stop-gap, but he couldn’t even make it as a regular for the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets! So forgive me if I don’t give Sather a big cheer for this deal! When your team has problem areas, you don’t ignore them to add to your strengths. If Carter was a tradeable asset, Sather could’ve used him to bring in a quality defenceman. And don’t poo-poo that notion! How do you know such a deal couldn’t be done?

M: You’re telling me that you’d actually tell Washington Capitals GM George McPhee that you don’t want to trade Anson Carter, who is the worst defensive player on your team, for Jaromir Jagr and that you decline his offer of paying $20M off Jagr’s salary?

S: Trading for a moody, selfish forward who doesn’t like defensive hockey and is still carrying a big salary even after the Caps bought out his contract isn’t a smart move when your goaltending and blueline are your primary concerns. If the Caps were desperate to dump salary, I’d have pursued Sergei Gonchar or Brendan Witt or Olaf Kolzig. Those would’ve been deals worth doing and which I would’ve applauded.

M: My hockey friend, you’d be one of the worst general managers in the history of sports, not just hockey, but sports.

S: I certainly could do no worse than Glen Sather has over the past four years!

M: Sather will be looking for another defenseman, he said so. He has been saying so since the begining of this week.

S: And pray who does he pursue? And what does he offer up? Jamie Pushor was an affordable stop-gap but as I noted before, he couldn’t even crack the roster of the lowly Blue Jackets! With deals like that, the Rangers aren’t going to get any better anytime soon, although I’ll admit Pushor will play better defensive hockey than Jagr!

M: Just to prove to you how the Rangers badly need Jagr, the Rangers power play is not working.

S: When a team possessing genuine scoring talent like Lindros, Nedved, Kovalev, Rucinsky and Leetch can’t make things happen on the powerplay, what does it say about their team play?

M: M: Meh…I am not buying that. Yeah, they accomplished their goal that still defines them as losers of this deal. First of all, they are desperate to trade away Kolzig, Gonchar, Lang, and even their franchise player Bondra. So, not like they solved much. Trading Jaromir Jagr is just solving a portion of the big problem that Ted Leonis and GM McPhee created. Leonis should have planned this out better. It’s his mistake. The Capitals lost three of their prospects, plus sent a cheque` that was worth around $4M to the Penguins to then just acquire Anson Carter and still pay $20M. So, the big losers are the Capitals as they even helped the Rangers get rid of their worst defensive player.

S: Where did I dispute the fact the Caps made a dumb deal for Jagr? Fact is, the Caps wanted to get out of the stupid contract they signed with Jagr and were willing to give him away to ANY team willing to pick up over half of his salary. Now, if the Rangers weren’t such a star-studded collection of overpaid underachievers, I’d say they won this deal. If Jagr were one of the best goalies or defencemen in this business, hands down they’d have won. But Sather did what he’s always done as the Rangers GM: address their defensive problems by bringing in another offensive player.

Again, why didn’t Sather ignore Lindros, Bure and Kovalev and instead trade for better defencemen? Or better two-way forwards? Or better team players? Why not trade for promising young talent, as he did during his latter years with the Oilers? His moves did NOTHING to improve the Rangers, as they didn’t make the playoffs.

***That was Spector’s reply towards my comments, and now I will reply to his comments***

S: Let’s see, Mike Dunham was struggling between the pipes before he suffered a mild concussion. Darius Kasparaitis and Greg de Vries, two of his best defencemen, are sidelined for lengthy periods with injuries. They gained only 1 point in their last four games and have slipped to tenth overall in the Conference. With the possibility of missing the playoffs for a seventh straight season looming, the fans and media are snarling-mad (“Fi-re Sa-ther, clap, clap, clapclapclap, Fi-re Sa-ther, clap, clap, clapclapclap”…). And undoubtedly ownership is starting to put pressure on him. Most importantly, this move did NOTHING, REPEAT, NOTHING to improve the Rangers goaltending, blueline or their team defensive game…the last two having consistently been their downfall since 1997-98. So I’d say there’s PLENTY of basis for my claim Sather panicked.

M: Again, what does goaltending, or defense, have anything to do with this trade? How does this trade state that the Rangers won’t get a defenseman when Sather is still looking to add one and when Sather has made inquiries regarding Sean Burke? I mean, your arguement is only valid if the Rangers do not get a goaltender and if they do not get a defenseman. And, there is nothing that says that they won’t. So, the arguement of defensemen and goaltending is nothing concrete when discussing the Jagr trade. Because if he gets Burke next week, or say a defenseman like Matvichuk, your arguement is crushed. Criticizing with speculation is not concrete, just as the criticizing of the pre Jagr trade of people saying that the Rangers will give up youth and draft picks. Gets you nowhere.

S: Seems to me they were closer back in December 2001. And how did that end?

No, not really. By this time last season, they pretty much lost all hopes as they faced long strecthes of winless streaks and their competitors had like 3 or 4 games in hand.

S: Brooks and the rest of the New York media thought the sun shone out Sather’s arse when he came to New York. They cheered the Lindros, Bure and Kovalev acquisitions. They all pointed out how much better the Rangers seemed to play last season when Slats took over as coach. But with Jagr now supposedly a better acquisitions than those three, they’re not impressed. I think that has more to do with the fact those deals did NOTHING to improve the Blueshirts than with any personal dislike over Sather.

Well, the ending of the Neil Smith era was great for the NY Media and bringing Sather is portrayed things better. One thing that gets unnoticed is that the Rangers future is much brighter than ever, and their farm system is top notch. Although the Hartford Wolfpack is facing tons of injuries right now (if Fedor Tjutin was not injured, Rangers did not need to seek a defenseman) they still remain a top defensive team in the AHL. Rangers are producing their own players in their farm system that are playing a very good defensive system installed by Sather and Tom Renney. That is what Sather talked about when he was hired, and that’s what he has been doing. He has failed with the other part of his plan, the Rangers, but at least he is completing the other key part as well.

However, Sather changed the Rangers PR and does not allow the Rangers organization to have a relationship with the media. I have been in the NY metro area for a long time, I was Rangers Correspondent for three years, and talking with sources, they cannot stand the fact that they can’t get much out of the Rangers when it comes down to trade rumors or signings. They are all bitter with Sather.

S: Curious then, the timing of this move, coming after weeks of grumbling from the press and media, which came to a head with Rangers fans openly chanting for the first time that Sather be fired. Of course, that’s not the primary reason why Sather made this desperation move. But it’s a contributing factor as I noted above.

Well, there is speculation that Eric Lindros has a concussion, so you never know. If so, this was the perfect move. Also, it’s better to do such a trade now rather than later. Acquiring Kovalev and Bure was “too late” into the season. Your arguement is just speculation of the timing, not enough concrete.

S: If Sather is making trades to do fellow teams a favour, no wonder the Rangers have made little progress from the latter years of Neil Smith’s tenure! Sather didn’t do this to do the Caps a favour anymore than his acquisitions of Bure and Kovalev were to do the Panthers and Penguins a favour. Sather saw struggling teams carrying players they couldn’t afford anymore and used that to his supposed advantage. The same applies here. The Caps desperately wanted to get out of Jagr’s contract, and Sather, desperate to save the season and perhaps even his job, used that to his advantage. Sather doesn’t do favours.

Obviously no one does favors in the NHL. That’s an expression that is used. Like, back in October…..why would anyone do a favor to the Red Wings in acquiring Cujo? That’s not really a favor, just a way of saying though. Jagr is an impact player on the ice and to substitute Carter with Jagr…..could not be any better than that.

S: Ah, but for the first three months of the season, the Rangers didn’t need Jagr now did they? They were battling for seventh and eighth overall with the Canadiens and Islanders. But now, having slid to tenth, with the Habs nine points ahead and the Isles looking to pull away from them for eighth, the situation has changed.

Well, again…..this goes back to people just not resisting to not criticize the Rangers. They criticize the Rangers for not keeping his team in tact. That they keep making moves and that they give no time for their team to play together. So what’s it now? That they should have made moves before? First of all, Jagr’s salary for this season is half paid and that plays a huge factor. They are in 10th, but only 4 points behind.

S: And who obtained Carter to the huzzahs of the Rangers fans and press last season? Glen Sather. If this move were such a steal, why did Sather wait until his club was in danger of sinking out of the playoff race to do it? The Caps have been desperately trying to move Jagr’s contract and stated several times they’d be willing to absorb a significant portion of it to get the deal done. So why wait for now? The Caps were just as desperate back in June, August and November as they were now. Why? Because Sather IS desperate.

Again, Sather gave the players time to build something together and they have at times and times they have not. Every GM evaluates his team around the halfway mark into the season. As for Carter, no one expected him to play this poorly. He was given every chance to play with Lindros, Holik, Nedved, and even Messier. He has 10 goals, but almost half of those were small rebound tip-ins. He has been playign with the Nedved line for quite a long time, and again….you ignore the factor that Jagr is mainly an upgrade over Carter, and one that makes sense where Jagr can play well with Nedved and make Nedved better as well, and Kovalev on the PP too.

Either way, your arguement of “why wait now” is pretty insignificant since you would have the same opinion if this trade happened a month ago. There really isn’t much of a difference between now and then. If it happened then, now the Rangers would still be needing a defenseman or a goalie and they’d be seeking one as they still are.

S: Every team has injury problems. But with the depth of talent on the Rangers, they should’ve been able to absorb the punches and carry on. Look at the Toronto Maple Leafs! They’ve got 30 million in talent on the sidelines with injuries, several of them serious, yet they’re still the top club in the Eastern Conference! Look at the LA Kings? Most of their top players are out for the season, yet as of this writing they’re only 1 measley point out of the 8th spot in the West and have played .500 hockey in their last ten games! Why? Because those clubs are playing like teams! Something the 2001-02 Rangers…and their subsequent versions, weren’t.

Mehh….not buying that. First of all, the Leafs are slipping because of injuries and if it was not for Owen Nolan and Eddie Belfour earlier in the season, they would have dreamed about being in 1st place. Take Belfour out for the rest of the season and we’ll see how well they do. Take Brodeur out for the rest of the season and it’s almost a definite that the Devils would be just a little above the playoff race for 8th seed. I heard a lot of sorrows back when the Habs were plaued with injuries. And, the only reason why they beat the Rangers to the playoffs that season was because of Koivu’s magical comeback and Theodore’s Vezina winning performance. Take those two pieces out and they would have not made the playoffs. As for LA, because of injuries they have only won two games in their last 10, are out of the playoff berths, and will be surpassed by the Coyotes and Wild anytime soon. So, I don’t see your arguement being that concrete.

S: So why didn’t Sather trade for a better backup, instead of tossing Dan Blackburn to the wolves?

Refering to the Rangers missing Richter. Well, it’s so easy when you say that, no? Look back at that time (not last season). Who was really available? Rangers back then did not even have enough depth to trade for a solid goaltender, and could not afford to trade prospects. Looking at last season (now you may), they gave Blackburn a chance, did ok at the start, but got rusty and then Sather got a goalie (Dunham). He again addressed this issue in the summer by acquiring Markkanen. This season he already contacted the Coyotes regarding Sean Burke. It’s not easy to make a trade. You know, you got to give up something in order to get something. But, it’s not easy. Sather does not want to trade valuable youth for a short-term fix.

So, again…..I see nothing concrete as you don’t even know how much teams wanted in return. We all don’t know what a team wants in return now for a defenseman or a goalie. Jamie Lundmark? Better be a solid defenseman that is in his 20’s. Why should the Rangers trade a valuable asset for a quick fix bandage? How do you know that teams did not want Carter in return for a defenseman of theirs? You don’t know these things, so how could you even create an arguement if you have nothing to back it up?

S: So why did Sather trade for him?

Regarding Kovalev. Adding depth and he does play well with Holik and Rucinsky. If you needed a player to sub-in for Pavel Bure, and you knew you could get Alexei Kovalev for just a bunch of waiver pick ups, you would not do it? You need depth, someone to help the power play, and you’d ignore that trade? Why? You have not witnessed this, but ask any Rangers fan how many times Kovalev missed an open net or hit the post and they’d answer “I lost count”. So, not like he’s been playing so poorly, he just can’t put the damnpuck in the back of the net. And by the way, he is the team’s leading point getter. Jagr could easily boost Kovalev as well, on the PP.

S: The Rangers have two serious problems right now: 1. their starting goalie, who’s struggled since late November, is now out with a mild concussion. 2. Their blueline corps suffered two serious blows by losing Kasparaitis and de Vries. Jagr may score goals in bunches, but if they can’t keep the puck out of their own end and out of their own net, what’s the good?

Well, goalie issue is hard to deal with here. Who is really available and what to do with Dunham? No one expected Dunham to play so inconsistent. Curtis Joseph, not available. Nik Khabibulin, not available, yet. Sean Burke may be available but at what price? Lundmark? No thanks. Tjutin? No thanks. Moore? No thanks. It can’t just be a Dunham for Burke trade. So, while it is easy for you to say, it’s not easy to do. I was thinking, as some Rangers fans brought this up, maybe Tommy Salo?

Anyway, yes their defense suffered two blows, but de Vries should be back in a little over a week. They mainly need one quite good defenseman, but not a costly one. Why should the Rangers have traded Anson Carter, who probably could not even buy you a defenseman like Nortstrom (not exactly Norstrom, but a defenseman of his calibre) for a good defenseman that won’t make that big of an impact? You seriously think that one defense could make such a big difference and push the Rangers in the playoffs? Weakening the offense, “bettering” the defense by not much will not put the Rangers in the playoffs. Unless, you’re talking about a trade that invovles a player like Denis Gauthier. In your dreams, right? They are not going to find an impact defenseman, too much to give up. They just need a decent defenseman like LaChance or maybe Karpotsev. Someone that comes in cheap and does a decent job. You don’t trade Carter for that.

Also, the defense has not been bad on even strength. And by the way, an arguement of yours regarding the Rangers PP and how it stinks with all those players. Well, how did the Flyers power play stink last season with the likes of Roenick, Recchi, Johnsson, Amonte (later in the season), Primeau and LeClair. Rangers PP is not so bad, they move the puck very well it’s just that someone does not shoot enough. When they shoot, they score and when they score two power play goals, and a lot of time they had 5 or more PP chances, they go 9-4-1-1.

Anyway, the Rangers have been horrible on the penalty kill, but on even strength they only allowed 89 goal against and scored 99 even strength goals.

They are not a bad 5 unit team at even strenght. Not at all. I am not worried about even strength, in fact….I wish they keep themselves out of the penalty box more often. They do, they’ll start winning more. And, they capitalize on their PP chances, they will definitely win more as well. And that’s a concrete statement because of facts, numbers shown.

So yes, they do have to get a goaltender, although it is not easy to acquire one now and not trading an injured Mike Dunham. Not easy at all. For a defenseman….at the right price, yeah. Obviously I wish the Wolfpack team did not have so many injuries because Fedor Tjutin would have been the perfect defenseman right now.

S: Trading for a moody, selfish forward who doesn’t like defensive hockey and is still carrying a big salary even after the Caps bought out his contract isn’t a smart move when your goaltending and blueline are your primary concerns. If the Caps were desperate to dump salary, I’d have pursued Sergei Gonchar or Brendan Witt or Olaf Kolzig. Those would’ve been deals worth doing and which I would’ve applauded.

Please…..you would have applauded the Rangers trading youth to get Gonchar and Witt? Maybe Gonchar could have been had, but I seriously doubt the Caps would have only wanted Tom Poti in return. As for Witt, I seriously doubt he is trade bait. If the Rangers brought in Gonchar, guess what? It does not answer your arguement of the Rangers defense. While I admit he is better than Poti defensively, he is still not that good defensively at all. And, Rangers would have only added and subtracted a defenseman by acquiring Gonchar, which does not solve the problem you stated unless you think that Gonchar could have been had for Carter straight up.

This trade only meant the following:

-An upgrade on the right wing.

-A PP specialist.

-A booster for players like Nedved, Kovalev, and even Hlavac maybe (Rucinsky-Nedved-Jagr line expected to play tonight).

That’s all. The only real reason why you’re criticizing it, and others as well, is on;y because it’s Jaromir Jagr. If it was….say Carter for Arnott, it would not have been as highly criticized. Why? Because it’s a different player. However, it still is an upgrade.

I’d really would like to know what you’d say if the Rangers acquire a good solid, not high profile at all though….just a good reputation, defenseman next week or so. Would your opinion on this trade change? It should. You complained about defense, defense, defense, defense (and goaltending, but that’s a harder task for the Rangers to complete). So, Slats gets a defenseman……your arguement about this trade is almost completely worthless.

Now this was a ton of fun. Spector’s a great hockey man. Don’t just check his site out for Trade Rumors. I can do that for you since I wrap them up in my articles as well. Check out his other goodies on his site. Lot’s of good stuff. And by the way, neither me or Spector wins this face off. We have yet to see what happens to the Rangers. If they make the playoffs, if they acquire a goalie, and a defenseman. Who knows? We can’t predict the future. But, I’d really love to see the Rangers make the playoffs mainly because of Jagr so it’s a huge bitchslap to the mass hockey media.

And, by the way…here is the press conference:

http://msgnetwork.com/rangers.jsp

Right side where it says Multimedia.