Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rangers Interest In Richards Serious; Thought of Callahan Involved Enrages Fans

The Brad Richards to the New York Rangers rumors are like a plague that cannot be killed because each time I finally start to think it is over with another hockey person brings it back up and starts the cycle all over again.  Each time the Rangers fans hear this rumor start again it is a combination of happiness in getting a player of his quality and offers that would if combined with 2.25 get you a one way NYC metro trip or as was the case last someone utters a name like Ryan Callahan and meltdown occurs.

The culprit in start this particular round is’s Pierre LeBrun who apparently on Hockey Night In Canada’s Hot Stove during the intermission of the Leafs Bruins game said the Rangers were prepared to give up “assets” for Richards.  I did not see the interview to know if actual names were named, but I did find the linked article from tonight and it says:
I was told Saturday the New York Rangers’ interest in Brad Richards (set to be an unrestricted free agent July 1) is serious enough that they’re willing to pony up assets before the Feb. 28 trade deadline to make sure he doesn’t go elsewhere should the Dallas Stars decide to put him on the market in order to get value before he leaves. This despite the fact the Rangers could get him July 1 without giving up any assets.

If something else was said on HNIC someone let me know because if it wasn’t the response I have seen from Rangers fans, including some having a meltdown has been completely disproportionate to what was said.  Maybe it was the shock that someone believed we would actually have to give up something worth while to get a top line center in a trade and not the scrubs everyone suggests we give them.  

The other possibility which a few people referenced to me was the Larry Brooks article from about ten days ago where he discussed the Richards issue and said that Sather was in no rush to make the move.  The problem was that in his article Larry threw out names people do not want to think about having to trade when he said the following:
You know what, if Rangers general manager Glen Sather cares to pony up Marc Staal or Michael Del Zotto and Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan, then the Rangers undoubtedly would have Richards, the blue-chip Dallas first-line center in the final season of his contract at a $7.8 million cap hit, in time for tonight's opening faceoff at Tampa Bay
Brooks to his credit did shoot that down in the very next part of the article, but my working theory or at least hope to explain the response to the LeBrun comments is they equated the “assets” with the names that Brooks mentioned the last time the topic was brought up.  We all know how the mere mention of trading Ryan Callahan can bring out the torches among many Rangers fans and that was the brunt of the freak out as I got it in emails, texts and calls after this went down tonight.  For the record I do not see any of those four being dealt for Richards, but I also don’t see the pipe dream packages of White, Christensen Rozi or now the new ones have Frolov getting it done either.

The most curious part of the reaction from the fans for me was how last year whenever Cally’s name would get mentioned possibly in a deal they automatically responding with wanting to send Dubinsky instead, but today what I saw and heard was a lot of people giving up Anisimov if we had to give up someone good from the NHL forwards.  The majority opinion was no on Callahan, Dubinsky, Stepan, but if they had to Anisimov was ok. 

I cannot believe that I have to do this but, seriously people?  Artem Anisimov is a 22 year old who while having slowed down with his newly juggled role was your number 1 center helping to carry your team the first 20 games of this season and now suddenly he can be tossed overboard to get Richards?  With that kind of reaction I can only imagine how much they must love the irrational line juggling of the coach since one stretch of not producing points made AA completely expendable.  I guarantee that would not have been the response 10 games ago.

If Sather does go ahead and make the move for Richards I hope that it doesn’t include Anisimov or Stepan or any of the four Brooks mentioned, but if it doesn’t I expect that it will mean deep cuts into the prospect pool I am looking so forward to maturing on into the future of this club.  After hearing nonstop about the core this and the core that if a guy like AA is moved for yet another big name then it will only prove once again that the man with the cigar is all about CYA and not about truly making this club better long term.  I am on record as calling Richards a great player, but being against the move as I wrote about here and nothing that has been said today by LeBrun changes that for me.  If anything it reinforces my belief that the price will be steeper than a lot believe to get Richards out of Dallas.  In the meantime when all the “rumors” come out can we keep a level head about them, especially when no names are specifically mentioned and if we cannot can we at least pretend to?

Use the comments to freak out if you like or just want to say your piece as always.