After an embarrassing loss to the Boston Bruins on national television -- a 6-1 defeat that saw his team basically cease to play midway through the second period -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was asked what words of encouragement he would share with his team the next morning. He recoiled before he responded, his body language screaming, "You've gotta be kidding me!"
"Let me breathe. Let me get through this. I'll figure this out. I'll sleep on it," he said. But the message wasn't his to give on Thursday. It was sent in a letter by Rangers president Glen Sather and general manager Jeff Gorton, officially raising the white flag of surrender on the season and signaling to the fans that painful roster adjustments were forthcoming.
"As we approach the trade deadline later this month [url=http://www.officialauthenticbroncosshop.com/WOMENS-VON-MILLER-JERSEY.html]Von Miller Jersey[/url] and into the summer, we will be focused on adding young, competitive players that combine speed, skill and character," they wrote, "This may mean we lose some familiar faces, guys we all care about and respect. While this is part of the game, it's never easy." (This of course does not mean any discounts on Rangers tickets for what is now officially a lost season, but we digress.)
It was, without question, one of the most dizzying 24 hours in recent memory for an NHL franchise: entering Wednesday night with 55 points, three back of the wild card; ending the night having been thoroughly humiliated by the hottest team in hockey; beginning Thursday by waiving a player signed to a four-year extension last summer, on his birthday, no less; and then getting the kind of letter from management that one expects to read when a coach is fired, which Alain Vigneault very much wasn't.
The decision all but assures that Rick Nash and Michael Grabner, both with expiring contracts, will be dealt before the trade deadline. Defenseman and captain Ryan McDonagh, who recently sold an apartment he owned in Tribeca, would fit the label of a "familiar face" the team could lose, especially given that he is signed at a manageable cap hit ($4.7 million) through 2019. But what about some of the other names on the Rangers' roster whose futures are a bit more clouded?
I worry about Zuc, by far the Rangers' most popular skater. He's signed through 2019 with a very cap-friendly hit ($4.5 million) and has no trade protection. But if you want the definition of "part of the solution, not part of the problem," it's the Norwegian Hobbit Wizard. Yes, he turns 31 this September, [url=http://www.officialsramsprostore.com/Jacob_Mcquaide_Jersey_Cheap]Jacob McQuaide Womens Jersey[/url] and the law of diminishing returns for forwards over 30 is well established. Yes, he's having a down offensive season, as his goal scoring has been swallowed up in the Sarlacc Pit of this lost season. But the Rangers have some young centers in the pipeline, and there are worse things in the word than having them learn from and skate with Mats Zuccarello. I'd hang on to him, but he has value, for [url=http://www.officialpanthersfootballstore.com/Vernon_Butler_Jersey]Womens Vernon Butler Jersey[/url] sure.
Chris Kreider. Kreider's injury -- he has started skating again after leaving the lineup because of blood clots -- is one of the reasons this season has gone off the rails for the Rangers. (Along with those to Kevin Shattenkirk, Marc Staal, Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich.) Any number of teams would love to have a 26-year-old power forward signed through 2020, but the Rangers going 3-8-5 since Kreider's injury isn't a coincidence. He's a piece for the future.
Marc Staal. Pop the champagne, because Staal has been something slightly better than terrible this season when healthy. But his contract is just atrocious, given the return: $5.7 million against the [url=http://www.sharksofficialauthenticshop.com/Mikkel_Boedker_Jersey_Adidas]http://www.sharksofficialauthenticshop.com/Mikkel_Boedker_Jersey_Adidas[/url] cap through 2021, with a full no-move clause. Since 2014, Staal has a 46.12 Corsi percentage and a Corsi plus-minus of minus-660. Look, it's going to be hard to purge this bloated, awful deal, but we're living in a world where David Clarkson's contract has been traded twice, so anything's possible.
Henrik Lundqvist. Here's the brutal truth: The Rangers would be much, much better off without Lundqvist. He still has good hockey left in him, and he cares, which means he's antithetical to a rebuild. Heck, there's a chance that -- despite the letter and their trade-deadline purge -- the Rangers could still make the playoffs if Hank has two good weeks.
He [url=http://www.bengalsfootballprostore.com/BRANDON-LAFELL-JERSEY-CHEAP.html]http://www.bengalsfootballprostore.com/BRANDON-LAFELL-JERSEY-CHEAP.html[/url] turns 36 next month, and has an $8.5 million cap hit through 2021, but still has a window of effectiveness that could bring a return via trade. And here's the further brutal truth: The two best destinations for Lundqvist are the two places the Rangers would never trade him. That would be the Philadelphia Flyers, flush with picks and prospects and looking for a stop-gap until Carter Hart is ready; and the New York Islanders, who seem determined to make Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss work like they're Gretchen in "Mean Girls" dropping "fetch" into a casual conversation.
Alas, all of this is academic because Lundqvist has a full no-move clause, loves living in New York and loves playing for the Rangers. "I want to play for one organization. This one. I love it here. I want to be here and battle through the ups and downs, the good and the bad. It's important to me," he said earlier this month. Oh well. [url=http://www.buywholesalejerseysstore.com]cheap jerseys 90[/url] [url=http://www.GoJerseysStore.com]mlb authentic jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.cheapjerseys90.us.com]nhl jerseys wholesale[/url] [url=http://www.wholesalecheapjerseyschinastore.com]cheap jerseys free shipping[/url] [url=http://www.cheapelitejerseyoutlet.com]nike nfl jerseys size chart[/url]
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