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10 October 2007

Random Ranger Thoughts

Some random Ranger thoughts while waiting for the first of 8 regular season installments of the Ranger-Islander rivalry:

Relax, Ranger Fans

I understand that last season's second round playoff appearance combined with the free-agent signings of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez created high-expectations for the 2007-08 season. But, it seems some Ranger fans expected their team to roll through the schedule like the 1970's Soviet national team. There's no doubt the Rangers are a good team, but it's going to take a little time for Drury and Gomez to get acclimated to their new teammates. I fully expect this team to get better as the season goes along, and should play its best hockey at the most important time.

Lundqvist off to Fast Start

The good news for the Rangers is that King Henrik seems to have picked up where he left off last year, and has kept his team in both games this season. His teammates took advantage with a four-goal rally in the season-opener against Florida, but they were unable to break through against Martin Gerber on Saturday.

Missing Avery

The Rangers must find a way to maintain their level of toughness, energy and abrasiveness during the four-week absence of the NHL's most hated player, Sean Avery. Avery suffered a separated shoulder on a tough and clean (despite all the nonsensical hysterics from Stan Fischler) hit from Ottawa tough-guy Chris Neil.You may not like Avery (chances are, if you're not a Ranger fan, you don't), but his addition to the roster last season brought the Rangers the necessary intangibles the team had been missing as it aimlessly wandered through the first two-thirds of the 06-07 season. Now that he will be lost for the next month, the Rangers must not revert to their pre-Avery form.

Jovo Not Coming to NY

Not that we should take anything Eklund reports seriously, but everyone needs to stop talking about any trade of Ed Jovanovski to the Rangers. In his blog today, John Dellapina of the NY Daily News explains why this makes no sense:

Do not, under any circumstances, consider this a precedent. Because I have no intention of spending time and space on this blog shooting down ridiculous rumors - I already have a full-time job, thank you.

But as so many of you have asked about "reports" that Ed Jovanovski is headed to the Rangers, I'll make an exception.

This makes no sense on so many different levels it's difficult to know where to start. But let's start with some simple math:

• The Rangers currently have $51.3 million committed to salary and bonuses this season. That is OVER the team salary cap of $50.3 million and is only permitted because $2.8 million of that is bonus money that Brendan Shanahan will get after playing a few more games that falls under a very specific classification of bonuses. The Rangers will be charged next season for whatever amount over this year's cap that Shanahan's bonus money puts them.

Take away Shanahan's bonus money and the Rangers have $48.5 million committed for this season -- or $1.8 million of cap room.

Ed Jovanovski has four years and a total of $25.5 million left on his whopping contract for an annual cap hit of almost $6.5 million. In order to trade for Jovanovski, the Rangers would have to shed nearly $5 million to make room (Jagr for Jovo, anyone?)

• Of course, all this presupposes that the Rangers want Jovanovski and that he'd want to come here -- because he's got a no-trade clause and just built a house in the Phoenix area and doesn't want to move. Fact is, the Rangers have no interest in paying $6.5 million per season to any defenseman not named Niedermayer or Lidstrom or maybe Pronger. With $7 million per committed to forwards Scott Gomez and Chris Drury for the next five to seven years and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist due to sign an extension for more than $6 million per in January, how can the Rangers ice four lines and three D pairs if they shell out $6.5 million more to a defenseman who isn't a Norris Trophy type?

Other than all that, it's a good rumor. After all, didn't Don Maloney recently work for the Rangers? That's enough reason to believe a deal is about to get done. Isn't it?

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