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10-10-2004, 03:01 AM
Brooklyn Ranger
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Originally Posted by NYR469
i gotta say that i will be EXTREMELY disappointed if everyone is healthy and the pack go with the lineup suggested by the courant...

the way i look at it, that lineup tells me that the pack are putting the priority on winning and putting out the team that has the best chance of winning the calder cup, NOT putting the priority on developing the top prospects. and if the rangers are rebuilding, like they claim to be, then the developing those top prospects needs to be priority #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. during a rebuild the top prospects and future rangers MUST play over ahl-lifers (does anyone think that macmillan, grenier, gillies & cuthbert are part of the rangers future? or more importantly have a better chance of being part of the rangers future then helminen, pock & liffiton?)

and the reason why this is a concern to me is that simply i don't trust sather to stick with the rebuild completely post-lockout, and i think that they are putting priority on winning so from a PR standpoint they can promote the 'rebuild' by telling fans in ny that the pack are in 1st place and hope that people accept that to mean that the future is bright. instead of doing what SHOULD be done and putting the focus on actually developing the right guys and not on how it can be spun in the media. and IMO until the rangers start worrying more about actually fixing the problems in the organization and worry less about public perception during the process, nothing is going to change.

and don't get me wrong...i want the pack to win, but the objective should be to win while developing the top prospects. if the top prospects win, that is awesome...but winning without developing those guys is pointless (and does anyone really think that the pack won't be a top team by playing helminen over gillies?)

the way i see it the following guys MUST play (if all healthy) Balej, Helminen, Hollweg, Murray, Moore, Wiseman, Ortmeyer, Betts, Giroux, Tyutin, Kondratiev, Pock, Lampman, Liffiton...and that leaves 1 defensive spot and 2-3 forward spots for Nycholat, Taylor, Ulmer, Grenier, Gernander, Gillies, Macmillan, Henrich, Weller, Falardeau, Stals, Cuthbert, etc to fight over...a guy like liffiton might struggle early in the year compared to macmillan, but playing liffiton is far more important for the future of the organization and i think that by mid-season liffiton will be rock solid.

and not only would my lineup make sure the top 14 prospects are getting playing time, but i'd argue that the team would be BETTER then the one suggested in the courant because it has more skill, more speed, more potential and with those 3-4 extra spots there won't be a lack of experience, leadership or toughness either...
While I mostly agree with you, I think you might be overlooking something very important: one of the things that this organization has been missing is a winning attitude. How many times have we heard over the last 7 years..."we tried hard, but didn't get the lucky bounce...didn't get the call...faced a team that was hot..faced a goalie who was hot.."

How many empty excuses have there been? How many nights when something went wrong early and you just knew that there was no way the group of players called the Rangers were going to overcome that misfortune, even though you've seen other teams overcome the very same thing and go on and have a winning season.

In other words, winning IS important.

Another thing to think about; Good teams need a mix of experience and youth--even in the AHL. There are so many new prospects, playing professionally for the first time and are quite raw. I suspect it's very hard to evaluate them all. They do not know how to play at this level yet and need experienced players around them to show them how to do it, on and off the ice. It's nice to talk about the need to develop young players by giving them lots of ice time, but leave them out there to sink or swim alone is inviting disaster. They need to develop AND win. Throwing them out there without support--especially in a season when the level of competition is higher than normal--is not the best way to teach them how to win at this level.

In any case, regardless of whether the lockout lasts all season, there will be significant turnover and I have no doubt that the roster will look quite different.

I have been one of the biggest critics of the way this organization has been run and I'm still extremely skeptical that this whole youth movement is more than window dressing, but, so far--other than the lack of talent being signed from Europe (not surprising given the lockout, but unfortunate nonetheless)--I really can't complain about the way things are going with the Wolfpack. Give me and the Wolfpack a couple of games and we'll see though.

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