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02-23-2007, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Edge View Post
But that less ambitious lineup was not a Messier problem. Even with him gone we haven't gone with a less ambitious lineup, nor did we when he wasn't here from 97-2000.

From 98-2004 the Rangers had 7 first round picks.

They picked 6th, 4th,9th, 10th, 12th, 6th and 19th in those drafts and there were plenty of star players who came after their picks. That falls on the scouting department, not Messier and the lineup.

The real problem with those teams were younger/ more capable guys not playing up to their potential, which in a not so surprising outcome, is something that has again hurt this year.

Lindros after one season was essentially a guy who became a fragile shell of his former self. Nedved's career was already in the decline and Holik was never given a proper role here. In one of those season's Messier missed half the season and the outcome was no different. Truth be told, the outcome isn't all that much different this year. What did happen is that Messier became the scape goat for some people even though right now his 20 goals and 40 points is still better than any center not named Nylander on this squad.

Let's be realistic, outside of October-January of last season, this team is not all THAT different than it was. The big difference is that they have more prospects in the cupboard. But you and I both know that if Messier were here he would be blamed for Jagr's up and down performance, for the defense lapses the team is making, for Matt Cullen not finding his niche, for the Tkachuk rumors, for opressing Shanahan, for Renney's stupid decisions, etc. etc.

Players are still failing, young players still aren't taking the team by storm, the team is still hovering around .500, the coaches are still making questionable decisions and life as we know it is still pretty much the same.

The difference? Messier isn't near this team to somehow be the evil catalyst.

So Jagr doesn't seem to be carrying the team this season and Shanahan hasn't been a scoring threat since December, does the same expectation fall on them?

How about the younger guys Messier played with? Nedved? Holik?Lindros? What was there excuses?

The problems on this team went far beyond Messier and they still exist today. The same things we discuss today we discussed then.

Now don't get my wrong Ish, I can at least understand the mindset behind saying he hung on too long, but I'm personally not a fan of just how much the story has grown around here. It's gotten to the point where Messier is almost on a Lex Luther like level.
I'm not quite how to break up the parts of your post to respond to each part, so bear with me here.

As far as the 00-04 teams having a similar mindset to those from 97-00, I would argue that one would think they would have learned after three miserable years (97-00) that maybe they should change their approach. Instead they kept at the same brutal plan, which I think was partly due to Messier being around. I feel they always felt like they "owed" him for '94. I feel like they weren't going to bring him back and not go for it. 2000-01 was one thing but did we have to try it three more times? (Let me add that I was all for bringing him back, thinking like a lot of people did that the team couldn'tpossibly continue to deliver poor efforts under the leadership of Mess.)

I think there is one major difference between the last year and a half annd 00-04, that being that the root of our problem now is not a lack of chemistry or effort. Very rarely, if at all, since the lockout ended have I felt that the Rangers were dogging it or failed to show up.

I honestly think the biggest problem by far for all those bad years was a horrible work ethic. They gave some of the most lazy, pathetic efforts in pro sports history. Sure, we had a coaching carousel, lots of different personnel, etc, but there is no excuse whatsoever for the team consistently not playing hard. In my book part of the blame has to go to the captain. What team with such a rough four year stretch (I realize a lot of teams had worse records over 4 years like some early Caps teams, the early Sens, but we were worse than our record IMO) ever had a constant captain throughout that time? I bet no one has. When the captain himself is dogging it what reason does Val Kamensky have to backcheck?

The current team (this year and last) might be a little disjointed at times (I think Renney is to blame for that) but they always give an honest effort for the most part. It's a lot easier to deal with losing when you left it all on the ice. When you're not that good and you give it all you've got and still lose, what are you going to do? You're just not that good. (Example: I never hated Dave Karpa; he tried, he just wasn't terribly gifted for an NHL dman). When you're talented and lazy and the supposed best leader in sports history is just as guilty as the next guy I have a major problem with that.

No, I can't say I truly know just how much power Messier had within the organization in those years but I do know what I saw on the ice from him, which was one pathetic, lazy effort after another.

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