Monday, February 02, 2004

Is it really this bad in New York?

Bad as the Rangers are, as underperforming as that multi million dollar line up is, could it possibly be so bad that Iron Mike is the only answer? That appears to be the decision that New Yorkers have come up with, as the sad sack squad dressed in Ranger blue stumbles through the season. What started out as a whisper campaign a few months ago is turning into a full fledged chant, We Want Mike, We Want Mike. In fact, Iron Mike himself apparently has offered up his services to the Ranger braintrust (if such a word dare be used in the same breath).

Would it work, would Mark Messier gladly cut back on his ice time. How would a Jaromir Jagr react to Iron Mike's headgames and histrionics. Would Eric Lindros even bother to try yet another comeback, or would he decide one headache is more than enough. How many goaltenders would the Rangers need to acquire to make Iron Mike happy, he's not a content man unless he can pull at least two of them a period. All questions that the Rangers must ponder from the executive skybox far above the Gallery Gods in the Garden.

Is there room in New York for two egos one Sather, the other Keenan. How would the team split with a Keenan addition, it would be an us against them environment who would be on the Keenan side, who would stay with Sather. Hell this crew would probably just do their own thing anyways, the rot in New York so deep no one can salvage this mess.

The media, always a caustic voice of concern in New York has turned on Sather, some calling for the return of Iron Mike. That vote of confidence that Sather received last week may not have a long shelf life, especially if the bottom line is at peril. This is New York, the actual box office take (as are the fans) is irrelevant considering the huge TV money coming in from MSG Network. So while the booing and chants of "Sather sucks" may bruise Sather's tender ego, it's when they stop watching TV that he'll have to worry. The question the New York owners have to work on is; will there be a larger audience with the Sather long march or will an Iron Mike return spike the numbers onwards and upwards.

For the players they have no one to blame for this but themselves. Underperforming and perceived as overpaid, they are the poster children for poor money and asset management. They go into games and show no passion and interest, just show up and go through the motions and off into the night they go. To the bars, the clubs, some even manage to go home. If this is all you can get for your millions and millions of dollars, then don't be surprised when the folks welcome the addition of a guy "that will kick em in the butt". Sather can't, or won't , Keenan hasn't been shy in the past, the Ranger faithful are ready to turn the season over to him and let the bodies fall where they will.

Sather is apparently cool to the idea, but the time may soon come when the decision won't be his to make. Keenan will be in the building Wednesday night, part of the ceremony to retire Mike Richter's sweater (never mind the retirement, have the guy put it back on and get in the nets!!). It should be interesting to see where the fans send their allegiance to that night, who they cheer and who they boo! If I'm Sather, my fashion accessory Wednesday night will be ear plugs.

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