Friday, July 22, 2011

Dubinsky Says He Is Ready For Higher Expectations, To Take Next Step

This morning I took a look at the four-year, $16.8 million contract Brandon Dubinsky and the New York Rangers agreed to yesterday and said that Dubinsky would have to raise his game to match the increased expectations.  In the course of that discussion I said that the consistency of his play was the key to Dubinsky being able to reach that higher level because he has shown over stretches that the talent to do so is clearly there.  In talking with Blueshirts United today, Dubinsky said he was ready for the challenge and agreed that consistency was the key for him going forward.
"There's a lot of weight that comes with the contract I just signed, and a lot of expectations that come with it, but I think I am ready to take that step and make sure that I play up to those expectations. I think I am improving and getting better each and every year, and I don't think this year will be any different. I look forward to build off the success I had last year. But to take that next step, personally, I need that consistency every night, the consistency in the level of my play. With the responsibility I have to the team, consistency is a big part of it for me."
The fact that Dubinsky is self-aware of where the issues are in his game is a great sign that he will continue to improve with each passing year and hit his potential during this contract.  When Dubinsky gets to his peak level that contract paying him $4.2 million per season will look like a brilliant investment on behalf of the Rangers organization.

For more on Dubinsky, the raised expectations and whether he will meet them check out this morning’s analysis.

Aaron Boogard Formally Charged In Relation To Derek Boogaard's Death

Yesterday it was reported that Aaron Boogaard, brother of the late Derek Boogaard, was being held in prison awaiting drug related charges.  Today the charges were filed and the tragic story of what has happened to the Boogaard family since May 13 only intensified.  According to Associated Press via, Aaron Boogaard was the one who supplied his late brother with the pill that would eventually take his life.

The younger Boogaard was charged with unlawful sale of a controlled substance, a felony that also applies in instances when drugs are given away for free. He was also charged with interfering with the scene of a death for allegedly misleading the coroner or concealing evidence.

This story gets more and more tragic with each new turn.  Nothing good was bound to come from a situation where Aaron was apparently the one who was regulating the usage of the medicine by Derek and then to read that Aaron disposed of the rest of the pills by flushing them down the toilet before emergency personnel arrived is horrific. 

Rangers Prospect Mikhail Pashin Leaving KHL For North America This Year

According to Laurie Carr at Beyond the Blueshirts, Rangers Prospect Mikhail Pashnin has passed up a contract to stay in the KHL in order to come over to North America this year in hopes of eventually playing in the NHL.  
“Pashnin’s contract with CSKA has ended.  We offered him a new [contract] but he has decided to try to make the NHL. He has an offer from the New York Rangers and is currently negotiating with them,” Nemchinov told RIA Novosti.
“We were glad to have him on our team, but he has made his choice in favor of the NHL club.”
Pashnin was the Rangers 2009 7th round selection and has spent the two seasons since he was drafted playing in the KHL.  Each of the last two years he has made an impression on the coaching staff during Development Camp with his physical play.  While he is only 5-11, 190 lbs, he loves to throw his body around and be an intimidating presence.  The only issue with a player who loves to hit is when they become too focused on hitting and take themselves out of the play which came out in some of the reports from this last month's prospect camp.   

He is another stay at home defender with limited offensive upside, but if they can focus his desire to use his body, then he could definitely be a threat to make the NHL down the line.  He has little to no chance of making the team this year, but adding Pashnin to the Connecticut Whale gives the Rangers yet another excellent defensive prospect growing in the AHL.  Having played against men in the KHL and the fact that he is said to play a North American style with how much he likes to hit should certainly help him with the adjustment to the AHL this season. The combination of Pashnin, Valentenko and Kundratek gives the Whale an excellent young foundation on defense who will all be motivated to make themselves the next in line for a shot at the NHL.

Will Brandon Dubinsky Meet The Higher Expectations More Money Brings?

The wait for Brandon Dubinsky to get his long-term deal with the New York Rangers is now over, but with the new contract and $4.2 million he will earn per season, the raised expectations are just beginning.  Expectations for Dubinsky are nothing new amongst Rangers fans who have expected big things from him since his rookie season when he held his own playing with Jaromir Jagr.  The frustration with Dubinsky not taking the next step, but he did this year, at least for the first half of the season.  Now with the money attached to his name the expectations for Dubinsky will only rise further as he judged not only by point totals in the abstract, but against the dollars he is getting paid.

The key for Dubinsky next year and for the life of this deal will be to find the thing that his plagued him most in his four seasons with the Rangers; consistency.  For the first half last year he was a consistent force nearly every night and was carrying the team offensively, along with Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov, in the absence of Marian Gaborik.  Dubinsky was playing at an All-Star caliber level racking up 17 goals and 21 assists in 47 games. 

Just before the break it was revealed that Dubinsky was playing with a stress fracture in his leg and was shut down for the rest of the first half.  He came back quicker than expected, but never found the same level in his game for the rest of the season.  Over the final 30 games he played his production dipped back to past levels as he scored seven goals and added nine assists in that time span. 

Overall the numbers still look good as he had 24 goals, 30 assists and 54 points, which all led the team, but now that he has the new deal he has to be more consistent during the season and hit that 60-65 point level.  His capability to do so is not in question on the skill side, but now he has to put together the consistent production over the course of an 82 game schedule to see it happen.  If it does, then the Rangers will have gotten a steal in locking up the 25-year-old for $4.2 million a season over the next four years.  If it does not, then the criticism for Dubinsky will grow and questions will rise about whether paying him was the right move for the Rangers. 

Dubinsky is the most outspoken and honest of the Rangers on the roster when it comes to how things are going on a given night, now with his new salary he will have to not only be the one to stand up and be accountable to the reporters for the team’s effort, but to the critics for his own production.  Obviously with players like Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik making more than him and having more expected of them, criticism will fall to them first for team struggles offensively, but that does not mean the fans will not be paying close attention to see if Dubinsky is earning his money as well.

Expectations are rising for Dubinsky with each passing year, and now the expectation will be 60-65 points this season, but luckily for Rangers fans so has his production and expect that trend to continue next season.  I for one expect that with the attention that Richards and Gaborik will command from the opposition this season, all three of Dubinsky, Callahan and Anisimov should have career years offensively as long as they don’t get comfortable with waiting for the big names to produce for them. 

Update: Dubinsky Says He Is Ready For Increased Expectations