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Old
06-10-2013, 10:55 PM
  #176
DM23BK30
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Originally Posted by Bluenote13 View Post
Very early in his career. Yeah, when he was healthy, once that style of play took its toll, he went downward fast. Late twenties should have been his prime yet it was his downward spiral.

He was a physical player that didn't add much else, trading him for a #1 was stupid, too high a price for a one dimensional player, one that you get after you've already acquired your top players. Same old same old.
You said he was inconsistent his first 6 years of the league, which he most certainly wasnt. If you consider shot blocking, finishing his checks, and being a top-pairing on very good Quebec teams, then you must think McDonagh is inconsistent too.

Look at the names he was picked ahead of the the Canada Cup.

A high price? What first rounder did they trade to get him? They traded Poddubny, who was the epitome of a one-dimensional player. He was a center who didnt check, didnt win faceoffs, didnt score in the clutch.

Trading Poddubny was so crushing to the Rangers, they went on to win their first division in 50 years 2 years after the trade. Man, they really missed him!


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06-11-2013, 12:17 AM
  #177
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You said he was inconsistent his first 6 years of the league, which he most certainly wasnt. If you consider shot blocking, finishing his checks, and being a top-pairing on very good Quebec teams, then you must think McDonagh is inconsistent too.

Look at the names he was picked ahead of the the Canada Cup.

A high price? What first rounder did they trade to get him? They traded Poddubny, who was the epitome of a one-dimensional player. He was a center who didnt check, didnt win faceoffs, didnt score in the clutch.

Trading Poddubny was so crushing to the Rangers, they went on to win their first division in 50 years a year after the trade. Man, they really missed him!
Poddubny was fine while he was here. He played on the Espo teams which were all pretty awful. At least he was one of a few guys who could score.

Rochefort stepped it up in the 90 playoffs when Leetch was hurt.

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06-11-2013, 02:16 AM
  #178
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Originally Posted by White Plains Batman View Post
Poddubny was fine while he was here. He played on the Espo teams which were all pretty awful. At least he was one of a few guys who could score.

Rochefort stepped it up in the 90 playoffs when Leetch was hurt.
Yeah, he could score. I liked him as a scorer, but when you consider that the Rangers were pushed around a ton in 1987 and 1988, the trade made sense.

Poddubny, like Rochefort, had injuries that were going to end his career. When you consider Lafreniere was also a touted prospect at the time, it was a good trade.

The Rangers offense actually improved the year after after Poddubny left. Carey Wilson did a great job as a No. 1 center in 1989 and they got him for nothing.

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06-11-2013, 06:42 AM
  #179
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Originally Posted by bernmeister View Post
This was also very sad, as you note, a transaction, not a trade.
Another gem by Cat Francis, trying to show he runs the show.

Yeah, you screwed us up for years, you *******!
Bite me.

Did we move this guy for a great asset? Potential? No, waiver deal. Cash.

The whole fan base rooted for DETROIT RED WINGS the entire friggin game.
Ed-die
the whole game.

Remembered by Ranger fans to this day.

Taught you, ya *******!
Whoa....hatred towards Emile Francis! Totally uncalled for.

I was a big Giacomin fan. I was there when he made his NHL debut at the old MSG and was present, cheering along with everyone else when he returned to the Garden two days after he was sold to the Wings. One of the most moving nights I have ever experienced. I was upset by the deal and remember exactly where I was when I heard about it. Eddie was the heart and soul of the Francis era teams, as popular with the fans as Lundqvist is today. I hated to see him go and felt betrayed by the move. But in hindsight, Eddie's best years were behind him, the Francis era team was on the decline, and the Rangers had a young John Davidson ready to play regularly. All they could have gotten for him was a marginal player or prospect. It was one of the deals that made you see hockey as a business.

There are few people of greater importance in Ranger history than Francis. When he took over in the mid 60s the Rangers were a moribund disaster. He took many of the pieces left to him, added to it, and built a powerhouse team that for about five years was one of the elite teams in the NHL. The roughly ten years he was in charge remains, to this day, the longest, sustained stretch of success this franchise has experienced since roughly 1960. During his tenure, the present MSG was opened, youth leagues took off in the NYC area, the Rangers returned to radio and television, the Garden was an exciting place to be, and the Rangers became relevant and were just as popular as the Willis Reed era Knicks. The only blemish, and its a big one, was that we were never able to bring home the Cup. Our peak coincided with the peak of the Orr era Bruins. When we began to slide but were still good, our finesse teams (Francis always modeled his teams after the great Montreal teams of the era) could not compete with the emerging Broad Street Bully Flyers.

The Francis era followed the classic curve: taking over when they were terrible, rebuilding, emerging, peaking, and declining. The 75 team was in decline and aging. The trade with the Bruins was a classic trade trying to drastically shake a team up. I have, to this day, mixed feelings about the trade. I was a big Espo fan and had been since his amazing performance in the Summit Series of 72 against the Soviet Union. Paul Henderson gets the credit for the goals, but it was Espo's inspired leadership and refuse-to-lose mentality that really pushed Team Canada to victory. I was thrilled to have him on the Rangers. Carol Vadnais was a pretty darn good defensemen. Not in the class of Park but darn good. And, as great as Park was, many Ranger fans, including me, always felt a bit disappointed in him and considered him a bit of an underachiever. In retrospect, the trade did not work out. The Rangers continued to slide and eventually Francis was fired and replaced by John Ferguson. Ratelle and Park led the Bruins to two Cup finals against the Canadians. But Espo and Vadnais were key players when we lost to the Canadians in the finals in 79. In many ways the trade was a wash but that became clear only in retrospect. It wasn't Francis (I could be wrong, but I believe it was John Ferguson) who traded Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge. The trade had unintended consequences but that's life.

Emile Francis never had to prove he was in charge: he was, in fact, always in charge. Three times he replaced himself as coach to concentrate on his job as GM, three times he had to take over when the changes did not work. The first time, with Boom Boom Geoffrion, was popular with the fans but Boomer was not cut out for coaching and had health issues. The second, with Larry Popein, was not a good move, akin to Sather hiring Trottier. The third, a the end of the era with Ron Stewart, was when he were in decline and nothing would have worked.

Yes, we didn't win the Cup during his time, the Giacomin deal hurt and the trade with the Bruins earth-shattering, but Francis built perhaps the best Rangers teams (aside from 94) that I have ever seen. He made some great deals also. He returned the Rangers to relevance and laid the foundation for the franchise that exists to this day. Hatred for him is totally uncalled for.

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06-11-2013, 08:21 AM
  #180
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Not sure if it was mentioned before, but...

Mike Knuble for Rob DiMaio? Ugh....

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06-11-2013, 10:25 AM
  #181
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Good stuff alkurtz, Francis had some bad moments but overall his successful teams are some of the most memorable in Ranger history, hard to ignore how good he built that team in its peak.

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Originally Posted by White Plains Batman View Post
Poddubny was fine while he was here. He played on the Espo teams which were all pretty awful. At least he was one of a few guys who could score.

Rochefort stepped it up in the 90 playoffs when Leetch was hurt.
Ok, Rochefort wasn't pure crap, just felt that way since he was here during the worst years I was a fan, after some fun 80's teams and before the Messier years.

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06-11-2013, 05:52 PM
  #182
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Whoa....hatred towards Emile Francis! Totally uncalled for.

I was a big Giacomin fan. I was there when he made his NHL debut at the old MSG and was present, cheering along with everyone else when he returned to the Garden two days after he was sold to the Wings. One of the most moving nights I have ever experienced. I was upset by the deal and remember exactly where I was when I heard about it. Eddie was the heart and soul of the Francis era teams, as popular with the fans as Lundqvist is today. I hated to see him go and felt betrayed by the move. But in hindsight, Eddie's best years were behind him, the Francis era team was on the decline, and the Rangers had a young John Davidson ready to play regularly. All they could have gotten for him was a marginal player or prospect. It was one of the deals that made you see hockey as a business.

There are few people of greater importance in Ranger history than Francis. When he took over in the mid 60s the Rangers were a moribund disaster. He took many of the pieces left to him, added to it, and built a powerhouse team that for about five years was one of the elite teams in the NHL. The roughly ten years he was in charge remains, to this day, the longest, sustained stretch of success this franchise has experienced since roughly 1960. During his tenure, the present MSG was opened, youth leagues took off in the NYC area, the Rangers returned to radio and television, the Garden was an exciting place to be, and the Rangers became relevant and were just as popular as the Willis Reed era Knicks. The only blemish, and its a big one, was that we were never able to bring home the Cup. Our peak coincided with the peak of the Orr era Bruins. When we began to slide but were still good, our finesse teams (Francis always modeled his teams after the great Montreal teams of the era) could not compete with the emerging Broad Street Bully Flyers.

The Francis era followed the classic curve: taking over when they were terrible, rebuilding, emerging, peaking, and declining. The 75 team was in decline and aging. The trade with the Bruins was a classic trade trying to drastically shake a team up. I have, to this day, mixed feelings about the trade. I was a big Espo fan and had been since his amazing performance in the Summit Series of 72 against the Soviet Union. Paul Henderson gets the credit for the goals, but it was Espo's inspired leadership and refuse-to-lose mentality that really pushed Team Canada to victory. I was thrilled to have him on the Rangers. Carol Vadnais was a pretty darn good defensemen. Not in the class of Park but darn good. And, as great as Park was, many Ranger fans, including me, always felt a bit disappointed in him and considered him a bit of an underachiever. In retrospect, the trade did not work out. The Rangers continued to slide and eventually Francis was fired and replaced by John Ferguson. Ratelle and Park led the Bruins to two Cup finals against the Canadians. But Espo and Vadnais were key players when we lost to the Canadians in the finals in 79. In many ways the trade was a wash but that became clear only in retrospect. It wasn't Francis (I could be wrong, but I believe it was John Ferguson) who traded Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge. The trade had unintended consequences but that's life.

Emile Francis never had to prove he was in charge: he was, in fact, always in charge. Three times he replaced himself as coach to concentrate on his job as GM, three times he had to take over when the changes did not work. The first time, with Boom Boom Geoffrion, was popular with the fans but Boomer was not cut out for coaching and had health issues. The second, with Larry Popein, was not a good move, akin to Sather hiring Trottier. The third, a the end of the era with Ron Stewart, was when he were in decline and nothing would have worked.

Yes, we didn't win the Cup during his time, the Giacomin deal hurt and the trade with the Bruins earth-shattering, but Francis built perhaps the best Rangers teams (aside from 94) that I have ever seen. He made some great deals also. He returned the Rangers to relevance and laid the foundation for the franchise that exists to this day. Hatred for him is totally uncalled for.
You're entitled to your opinion as I am of mine, as we all are.

The hatred of Francis is TOTALLY called for!!!!

It was both what Francis did AND the way he did it.
I applaud you for rationally looking at how Davidson was in the wings.
I agree, Eddie could not remain the starter.

Now, if we traded him for serious assets during the year, that would have been one thing, that would have been business. Might tug at your heart strings, but no sacred cows. However that was NOT the case. It was a cheap waiver deal.

Giacomin was entitled to finish out the year, and be offered backup. That would have the proper and classy thing to do. We could have also entertained better offers during the offseason if his contract was still in effect (don't remember) and done so in consultation with Eddie G.

I totally disagree with you saying Francis "never had to prove he was in charge: he was, in fact, always in charge". Only to the extent his name was on the biggest desk in the biggest office. He knew the players generally were becoming more independent and getting away from the authority of club brass. The Rangers were no exception. So the Giacomin transaction was a follow up to the worst deal ever.

Sorry, it was not a wash.
Vadnais, if I remember going back to his early days with the Oakland (or was it California) Golden Seals --- yes good, but not even remotely in a class with Park. And Ratelle HEAD AND SHOULDERS in every way was a better player than Espo.

So no, clearly, this was Francis saying, I run the show, I can break you any time I want. For that, he can still kiss my ass. His arrogance cost us two or three real shots at the cup with a better team. And of course, once we got espo here, that lead to downfall, though it is not his fault that Don Murdoch, who could have been as good as Mike Bossy and was drafted higher, couldn't lay off the sneeze cheese.

Vadnais was a very good player. But not for Park.
Espo was a good player overall (totally overrated, sucked on D, but he could score if setup), but again not for Ratelle.

Like, Love is all you need, and not hate, and love is given and respect is earned, and if the Cat needs a transfusion of my blood to live, he can have it. That is love. That is meeting your Maker with a clean conscience.

But respect is another matter.
He didn't ruin it for us because he made an error in judgement, like the guy who took Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning.
He ruined it because of his arrogance.
He forgot that the Rangers belonged to the fans first and foremost, and in that sense he was subordinate to that.
But instead of bending, buckling and breaking to us, he abused his authority to our detriment.

So yeah, it's deserved, Cat can have some of my blood if he needs it, but otherwise, as to the respect thing, he can kiss my ass.

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06-11-2013, 06:02 PM
  #183
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Originally Posted by Bickel41 View Post
I totally disagree. I think the Espo trade was a good trade for the Rangers. If you go by individual stats the trade was a disaster but the Rangers with Ratelle,Park,Hadfield,Seiling Giacomin and Gilbert had reached a point where they were not going to win a Cup and it was time for a change. Espo bridged the gap to to the younger players like the Maloneys, Duguay, Davidson, Greschner and they reached the 1979 finals led by Espo. Ratelle and Park are great players but I don,t remember then winning any Cups with Boston. It was time for a change when that trade was made. The Middleton trade killed the Rangers and gets associated the with the Espo trade which is unfair. Espo fit more into the late 70,s Rangers than Ratelle and Park would have.
We agree to disagree. I respect your right to your opinion, but I must disagree.

You said "If you go by individual stats the trade was a disaster". The inference is there is some hidden x factor, some invisible chemistry which makes a difference. The answer is no, there was none.

The gap could just as easily have been bridged by the no less able, more talented duo of Park and Ratelle and the result statistically can be expected it was likely to be better than it was under Espo and Vadnais.

Yes, we got a shot in the arm with the Maloneys, Duguay, Davidson, Greschner, but that was irrespective of these two different pairs.

As to how much success they had in Boston afterwards, it's irrelevant. The Canadiens and then others were too strong. For both the Rangers and the Bruins in the second half of the 70s. But we would arguably, statistically, been better with Park and Ratelle.

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06-11-2013, 06:09 PM
  #184
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Originally Posted by alkurtz View Post
Whoa....hatred towards Emile Francis! Totally uncalled for.

I was a big Giacomin fan. I was there when he made his NHL debut at the old MSG and was present, cheering along with everyone else when he returned to the Garden two days after he was sold to the Wings. One of the most moving nights I have ever experienced. I was upset by the deal and remember exactly where I was when I heard about it. Eddie was the heart and soul of the Francis era teams, as popular with the fans as Lundqvist is today. I hated to see him go and felt betrayed by the move. But in hindsight, Eddie's best years were behind him, the Francis era team was on the decline, and the Rangers had a young John Davidson ready to play regularly. All they could have gotten for him was a marginal player or prospect. It was one of the deals that made you see hockey as a business.

There are few people of greater importance in Ranger history than Francis. When he took over in the mid 60s the Rangers were a moribund disaster. He took many of the pieces left to him, added to it, and built a powerhouse team that for about five years was one of the elite teams in the NHL. The roughly ten years he was in charge remains, to this day, the longest, sustained stretch of success this franchise has experienced since roughly 1960. During his tenure, the present MSG was opened, youth leagues took off in the NYC area, the Rangers returned to radio and television, the Garden was an exciting place to be, and the Rangers became relevant and were just as popular as the Willis Reed era Knicks. The only blemish, and its a big one, was that we were never able to bring home the Cup. Our peak coincided with the peak of the Orr era Bruins. When we began to slide but were still good, our finesse teams (Francis always modeled his teams after the great Montreal teams of the era) could not compete with the emerging Broad Street Bully Flyers.

The Francis era followed the classic curve: taking over when they were terrible, rebuilding, emerging, peaking, and declining. The 75 team was in decline and aging. The trade with the Bruins was a classic trade trying to drastically shake a team up. I have, to this day, mixed feelings about the trade. I was a big Espo fan and had been since his amazing performance in the Summit Series of 72 against the Soviet Union. Paul Henderson gets the credit for the goals, but it was Espo's inspired leadership and refuse-to-lose mentality that really pushed Team Canada to victory. I was thrilled to have him on the Rangers. Carol Vadnais was a pretty darn good defensemen. Not in the class of Park but darn good. And, as great as Park was, many Ranger fans, including me, always felt a bit disappointed in him and considered him a bit of an underachiever. In retrospect, the trade did not work out. The Rangers continued to slide and eventually Francis was fired and replaced by John Ferguson. Ratelle and Park led the Bruins to two Cup finals against the Canadians. But Espo and Vadnais were key players when we lost to the Canadians in the finals in 79. In many ways the trade was a wash but that became clear only in retrospect. It wasn't Francis (I could be wrong, but I believe it was John Ferguson) who traded Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge. The trade had unintended consequences but that's life.

Emile Francis never had to prove he was in charge: he was, in fact, always in charge. Three times he replaced himself as coach to concentrate on his job as GM, three times he had to take over when the changes did not work. The first time, with Boom Boom Geoffrion, was popular with the fans but Boomer was not cut out for coaching and had health issues. The second, with Larry Popein, was not a good move, akin to Sather hiring Trottier. The third, a the end of the era with Ron Stewart, was when he were in decline and nothing would have worked.

Yes, we didn't win the Cup during his time, the Giacomin deal hurt and the trade with the Bruins earth-shattering, but Francis built perhaps the best Rangers teams (aside from 94) that I have ever seen. He made some great deals also. He returned the Rangers to relevance and laid the foundation for the franchise that exists to this day. Hatred for him is totally uncalled for.
Great post--Emile saved hockey in New York City. Only one thing you didn't mention: the day Emile Francis looked out of his window and saw two kids from Hell's Kitchen playing roller hockey.

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06-11-2013, 06:11 PM
  #185
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Originally Posted by Juban912 View Post
Not sure if it was mentioned before, but...

Mike Knuble for Rob DiMaio? Ugh....
In all fairness Mike Knuble played like a cream puff when he was here. No scoring, no hitting, no effort.

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06-11-2013, 06:43 PM
  #186
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Nilan brought us respect, which we lacked for years...Bob Froese, definitely up there with the Rick Middleton trade
My first Rangers game was in 1987/88 ,i was 9 and my favorite player was bob Froese,lol,only player I knew

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06-11-2013, 06:45 PM
  #187
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I have to say even though it isn't "worst" but the Prucha deal sucked kinda since one of the guys (Did we get 2 or 1) went back to Phoenix like, right after that season.

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06-11-2013, 07:33 PM
  #188
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I have to say even though it isn't "worst" but the Prucha deal sucked kinda since one of the guys (Did we get 2 or 1) went back to Phoenix like, right after that season.
Prucha sucked at that point, consider it a wash.

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06-12-2013, 11:48 AM
  #189
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As to how much success they had in Boston afterwards, it's irrelevant. The Canadiens and then others were too strong. For both the Rangers and the Bruins in the second half of the 70s. But we would arguably, statistically, been better with Park and Ratelle.
The Habs were too strong, yet in your other post you say that trade cost us a chance at 2 or 3 Cups......?

Wasn't Espo one of the big reasons we were in the '79 finals? Davidson was a beast, but Espo was no slouch.

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06-12-2013, 12:07 PM
  #190
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...
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The Habs were too strong, yet in your other post you say that trade cost us a chance at 2 or 3 Cups......?
yeah, we would have had a better chance with the two better players.
We still needed a deeper, slightly better team, but we would have been [more] competitive, IMO. The better a team is, the better chance an underdog can upset on a break, etc.

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Wasn't Espo one of the big reasons we were in the '79 finals? Davidson was a beast, but Espo was no slouch.
Yes. But across the board, year per year, on average, all factors into account, we would have been better with Ratelle.

My knock on Espo as a player is that he was one dimensional, and unlike Stamkos who can manufacture on his own from the slot (though he prefers MSL when available), Espo was better off getting fed. Ratelle manufactured more on his own, and was still a passing threat.

My knock on Espo as a GM is stated, but he was not as bad as Francis, who in one fell swoop undid much of the good he did. He raised us up, yes, but crippled us too, when we were otherwise in striking distance. And again, it was not a matter of bad judgment on talent. He was putting himself and his arrogance ahead of the fans to make a statement.

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06-12-2013, 12:44 PM
  #191
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It's amazing to think how differently the history of this franchise would be if the Espo trade never took place. Rangers hang on to Park & Ratelle. Who knows how they fair in the late 70s. Couldn't have been worse right? They probably hang on to Rick Middleton. Espo doesn't eventually become GM, doesn't give away Bobby Carpenter and a 1st for an aging Marcel Dionne and the 2 year experiment that was Michael Bergeron.

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06-12-2013, 12:52 PM
  #192
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yeah, we would have had a better chance with the two better players.
We still needed a deeper, slightly better team, but we would have been [more] competitive, IMO. The better a team is, the better chance an underdog can upset on a break, etc.


Yes. But across the board, year per year, on average, all factors into account, we would have been better with Ratelle.

My knock on Espo as a player is that he was one dimensional, and unlike Stamkos who can manufacture on his own from the slot (though he prefers MSL when available), Espo was better off getting fed. Ratelle manufactured more on his own, and was still a passing threat.

My knock on Espo as a GM is stated, but he was not as bad as Francis, who in one fell swoop undid much of the good he did. He raised us up, yes, but crippled us too, when we were otherwise in striking distance. And again, it was not a matter of bad judgment on talent. He was putting himself and his arrogance ahead of the fans to make a statement.
Espo hurt us, trading Ridley/Miller, then a 1st rounder for Bergeron was a huge waste of assets that could have been parlayed into something later on instead of having to deal Weight and Amonte, for instance.

In hindsight, the Habs would have beaten us even with those players, then no one was beating the Isles or Oilers in the remaining years of those players careers. Maybe Francis outstayed his welcome after setting up the franchise nicely, the return on Park/Ratelle should have been better, I agree. But crippled us? Nah, just wasted some assets, like thats something new in Rangerland

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06-12-2013, 02:36 PM
  #193
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The 75-76 Rangers were old and in decline. Keeping Ratelle and Park would have perhaps made us somewhat better (but not that much over Espo and Vadnais) but not staved off the inevitable.

We only improved when the next generation (Mike McEwen, Dave Farrish, Lucien Deblois, both Maloneys, Greschner, Davidson, Pat Hickey, Don Murdoch, et al) developed. Some of these guys were drafted or acquired by Francis, some by John Ferguson).

Francis recognized the team's decline: he was never one to cling to older players and was always committed to youth. In the early years of his ascendancy, our second line was a veteran line of Phil Goyette/Donnie Marshall/Bob Nevin. Within a few years he had replaced them with a totally homegrown young line of Walt Tkaczuk/Bill Fairbairn/Steve Vickers.

And it wasn't Francis who made the disasterous trade of Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge. I strongly believe that even if we had kept Park and Ratelle we would have continued to decline until this next group became the core of the team (along with later acquired Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson).

Espo's time as GM has no bearing on the on-ice performance of the late 1970s Rangers.

The 75-76 Rangers had an old core. We just didn't have enough top end youth to plug in at that point. The draft then wasn't what it was now. The 73 draft produced Middleton and Hickey (who went to the WHA for a few years). The 74 draft produced Dave Maloney, Ron Greschner, and Eddie Johnstone. 75 wasn't so good with Wayne Dillon (who also went to the WHA before coming here) and Doug Soetaert.

By 75-76 our D had gone backward from its peak circa 72: Seiling was gone, Nielson was gone, Dale Rolfe was gone. Francis tried to shore up our D with stop gaps such as Gilles Marotte, Doug Jarrett, and Nick Beverly (ugh). Maybe you can fault Francis for not doing more circa 74 when the team started to slide from its elite status. But not for the Ranger/Bruin trade. That didn't hurt that much. When the trade was made we were 5-8-1.

Even if you fault Francis for the decline of the team, a slide that would cost him his job, it does not take away from all the great things he did for this franchise from the time he took over circa 64-65. Being a Ranger fan before he righted the ship was like being a Met fan now: sheer torture.

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06-12-2013, 04:02 PM
  #194
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It's amazing to think how differently the history of this franchise would be if the Espo trade never took place. Rangers hang on to Park & Ratelle. Who knows how they fair in the late 70s. Couldn't have been worse right? They probably hang on to Rick Middleton. Espo doesn't eventually become GM, doesn't give away Bobby Carpenter and a 1st for an aging Marcel Dionne and the 2 year experiment that was Michael Bergeron.
It would be interesting, given all the creativity that's put into stuff like Game of Thrones, to extrapolate what that would have been like, how that woulda turned out!

I'd pay to visit that alternate universe!

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06-12-2013, 05:31 PM
  #195
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Espo hurt us, trading Ridley/Miller, then a 1st rounder for Bergeron was a huge waste of assets that could have been parlayed into something later on instead of having to deal Weight and Amonte, for instance.

In hindsight, the Habs would have beaten us even with those players, then no one was beating the Isles or Oilers in the remaining years of those players careers. Maybe Francis outstayed his welcome after setting up the franchise nicely, the return on Park/Ratelle should have been better, I agree. But crippled us? Nah, just wasted some assets, like thats something new in Rangerland
We can be picky, my friend. Perhaps 'cripple' is too strong.
But more than any other single move prior to the Espo GM blunders, that was the worst deal.

I mean it was a substantial waste of key assets. Then again, like you infer, nothin new.

Cripple too strong or not?
Is the glass half full or half empty?

In either case I'll buy the first round.

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06-12-2013, 05:40 PM
  #196
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The 75-76 Rangers were old and in decline. Keeping Ratelle and Park would have perhaps made us somewhat better (but not that much over Espo and Vadnais) but not staved off the inevitable.

We only improved when the next generation (Mike McEwen, Dave Farrish, Lucien Deblois, both Maloneys, Greschner, Davidson, Pat Hickey, Don Murdoch, et al) developed. Some of these guys were drafted or acquired by Francis, some by John Ferguson).

Francis recognized the team's decline: he was never one to cling to older players and was always committed to youth. In the early years of his ascendancy, our second line was a veteran line of Phil Goyette/Donnie Marshall/Bob Nevin. Within a few years he had replaced them with a totally homegrown young line of Walt Tkaczuk/Bill Fairbairn/Steve Vickers.

And it wasn't Francis who made the disasterous trade of Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge. I strongly believe that even if we had kept Park and Ratelle we would have continued to decline until this next group became the core of the team (along with later acquired Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson).

Espo's time as GM has no bearing on the on-ice performance of the late 1970s Rangers.

The 75-76 Rangers had an old core. We just didn't have enough top end youth to plug in at that point. The draft then wasn't what it was now. The 73 draft produced Middleton and Hickey (who went to the WHA for a few years). The 74 draft produced Dave Maloney, Ron Greschner, and Eddie Johnstone. 75 wasn't so good with Wayne Dillon (who also went to the WHA before coming here) and Doug Soetaert.

By 75-76 our D had gone backward from its peak circa 72: Seiling was gone, Nielson was gone, Dale Rolfe was gone. Francis tried to shore up our D with stop gaps such as Gilles Marotte, Doug Jarrett, and Nick Beverly (ugh). Maybe you can fault Francis for not doing more circa 74 when the team started to slide from its elite status. But not for the Ranger/Bruin trade. That didn't hurt that much. When the trade was made we were 5-8-1.

Even if you fault Francis for the decline of the team, a slide that would cost him his job, it does not take away from all the great things he did for this franchise from the time he took over circa 64-65. Being a Ranger fan before he righted the ship was like being a Met fan now: sheer torture.
I respect what you say, but we agree to disagree.

I admit Francis did some good things. But I believe we would have been better with the increased production of the two better players. Logic supports this. This is separate and apart from the alternate universe of if Espo not traded here, he does not become GM, does not kill us with bad deals.

If we basically had the same team and could take an aging Ratelle and Park into 79 with that new blood instead of an aging Espo and Vadnais, we would have been better off in 79. And we could not have been worse than the reality was for the years from 75-76 to '79.

Again, if Francis had done things classy with the best of intentions, his transgression would not be so great. But it was his arrogance.

If you don't think so, look up Gilbert and ask him on the q.t.
I would expect his unofficial opinion at least jives with mine as to this.

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06-12-2013, 06:07 PM
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I'm trying to grasp where this arrogance you're talking about comes from, how it manifested itself, and how you know about it.

Obviously things were much different back in those days and us fans knew a lot less about what was going on behind the scenes than we do now. Was Francis hated by the players to such an extent as you are hinting at? Players had literally no rights in those days (free agency, arbitration, etc) and the whip was totally in the hands of the GM. We have no idea what went on in contract negotiations, etc but it would seem that if Francis was typical of GMs in all other sports at the time (baseball was beginning to change because of Curt Flood and the advent of free agency), he must have been disliked by most of his players. Complicating it was the fact that he was also coach. Did he limit ice time to certain players in trying to build up his role as GM? I have no idea. In fact, in thinking back to that time, I don't think that finances rarely, if ever, entered into our conversations as fans. Players belonged to teams, period. Players had no power, period. It was do as you are told or hit the proverbial road. Is this what you are talking about? If so, can it not be said that all the GMs, especially the oldtimers running Original Six franchises, did the same?

I saw the Giacomin trade as a trade of an older guy to make room for a younger guy. Cold-hearted, yes, but we all know that teams have little loyalty to their players, even long-standing, franchise players. How was it more than that?

I saw the Bruins trade as a trade to shake up a failing hockey team. Was it more than that? I know Ratelle has never forgiven the Rangers. Was their personal animosity between Park and Francis? Was the trade more than just a hockey trade? Wasn't Espo so angry at being traded that he threw a TV out of a hotel window? If so, wasn't the situation the same in Boston and just indicative of the player/GM power dynamic?

Obviously I've never talked to Gilbert. It sounds like you have. I remember that when he left the Rangers and retired a few years later, he felt as if he had been pushed out and was still productive. But, that wasn't with Francis. So again, we have a case of GM power and player powerlessness. Perhaps a source of players feeling GMs were arrogant.

So, can you please be a bit more specific about exactly how Francis was arrogant and how he differed from all other GMs at the time. Just so you know, in all labor-management, worker-boss scenarios I always come down strongly in favor of the worker.

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06-12-2013, 06:28 PM
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I agree with Allkurtz. I remember those Rangers teams fondly and they were an aging group that was not going to win a Stanley Cup as their window had closed. Francis tried to shake up the team with the Espo trade. If you remember the response to the trade it was very positive. The bottom line is that the Rangers did not win a Cup under Espo or Ratelle but Francis can,t be faulted for making the trade with Boston as that group was aging and needed to change. Getting to the finals in 1979 is not too shabby as the Blueshirts have only been there twice in 40 years and Espo was their leader in 1979.

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06-12-2013, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by alkurtz View Post
I'm trying to grasp where this arrogance you're talking about comes from, how it manifested itself, and how you know about it.

Obviously things were much different back in those days and us fans knew a lot less about what was going on behind the scenes than we do now. Was Francis hated by the players to such an extent as you are hinting at? Players had literally no rights in those days (free agency, arbitration, etc) and the whip was totally in the hands of the GM. We have no idea what went on in contract negotiations, etc but it would seem that if Francis was typical of GMs in all other sports at the time (baseball was beginning to change because of Curt Flood and the advent of free agency), he must have been disliked by most of his players. Complicating it was the fact that he was also coach. Did he limit ice time to certain players in trying to build up his role as GM? I have no idea. In fact, in thinking back to that time, I don't think that finances rarely, if ever, entered into our conversations as fans. Players belonged to teams, period. Players had no power, period. It was do as you are told or hit the proverbial road. Is this what you are talking about? If so, can it not be said that all the GMs, especially the oldtimers running Original Six franchises, did the same?

I saw the Giacomin trade as a trade of an older guy to make room for a younger guy. Cold-hearted, yes, but we all know that teams have little loyalty to their players, even long-standing, franchise players. How was it more than that?

I saw the Bruins trade as a trade to shake up a failing hockey team. Was it more than that? I know Ratelle has never forgiven the Rangers. Was their personal animosity between Park and Francis? Was the trade more than just a hockey trade? Wasn't Espo so angry at being traded that he threw a TV out of a hotel window? If so, wasn't the situation the same in Boston and just indicative of the player/GM power dynamic?

Obviously I've never talked to Gilbert. It sounds like you have. I remember that when he left the Rangers and retired a few years later, he felt as if he had been pushed out and was still productive. But, that wasn't with Francis. So again, we have a case of GM power and player powerlessness. Perhaps a source of players feeling GMs were arrogant.

So, can you please be a bit more specific about exactly how Francis was arrogant and how he differed from all other GMs at the time. Just so you know, in all labor-management, worker-boss scenarios I always come down strongly in favor of the worker.
I don't have inside info.
I was not aware of anything specific in the legal sense, i.e., I had direct first hand knowledge of it.

I have had the honor of briefly breaking bread with Gilbert.
I am not saying, officially or unofficially he said anything. His right to privacy, like everyone else's, is to be respected.

That said, in the proper context, if you ran into him, as someone who was there, and you asked him, to speak at least off the record, I would suspect that, obviously, Francis wanted to break up the team, but as a player, he would have his perspective of that.

When I make all kinds of proposals about lets move this guy for that, it is strictly business.

I don't mean to insinuate Francis did not want to improve the team.

But I get the idea that like Torts, he wanted, he insisted, things be done his effin way, regardless of whether or not that actually was better.

It was not, IMO, and this is subjective rather than objective, Cat saying, what can I possibly do to improve this team, let me do that --- and follow up. It SEEMS like it was all no, how can I make this team fit into MY design. Ego. Up the wazoo.

Yes, this was the dawn of player's rights and their unions.

But there is even today the old saying, 'it's easier to fire one manager than get rid of 25 guys'.

The Rangers team IMO thought they had progressed to a point where they were stuck with Francis and he was stuck with them, and they were going to do their usual season, good and bad (games), and bust butt come playoffs.

But IMO, Francis acted like it was CLEARLY as if he was saying, I made you, I can break you. Like he was God, or at least God's surrogate, and the team was in his image.

I would be less inclined to charge the Cat with such arrogance if there was a more reasonable sense of a deal.

Let's take Don Marcotte of Boston. Somewhat similar to Hadfield.
Usually I don't go for a deal when it's too much Coke for Pepsi, = no real improvement. But let's say there was a good BUSINESS reason to trade Hadfield. I would not have cried a river over it.

But there was no comparison IMO, and the stats prove it out.
Ratelle >>>> Espo
Park >>>> Vadnais

Joe Zanusi, if memory serves, a non-factor.

So it was NOT a biz decision.
It's like the Jets trading Namath.
If they did it due to rebuild, and there was real return, and courtesy, then ok.
But if it was hey, if I can send Mr. Guarantee to LA, I can send your sorry ass anywhere.

You'll never convince me it was an honest, good biz decision in good faith.
It was a statement trade.
But the statement was not, we're rebuilding, the statement was
if I think you guys are too complacent and I'm not happy with practices or this or that or for any reason, good or bad, if I want to remake this team, believe I can and will do it.

That's my bottom line.

The Giacomin deal as I said in earlier post could have also been done better on multiple levels.
I acknowledge there is SOMEWHAT a biz element to it in that moving Eddie G made space for Davidson.
But a sudden waiver move, as the best business return, I find hard to believe.
You would think that keeping Eddie as backup and then peddling him to a club that had an injury and a real need for a starter or realistically a co-starter would have been in everyone's best interest.

But no. It was a statement. And it was not one to be applauded.

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