Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wisniewski Suspended 2 Games....Hanrahan?

Yesterday the NHL suspended New York Islanders defenseman James Wisniewski for his gesture towards Sean Avery in Monday's game. For those who haven't seen it check it out here.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Personally I thought this was absolutely hilarious and I am a Ranger fan. It is these kinds of funny things that make hockey great and unique from other sports which have all but gotten rid of taunting all together. Hockey players show emotions and are known to be very funny guys. Wisniewski did do something somewhat obscene but honestly who cares? What is the difference if he says something to Avery or he makes the gesture? Imagine if players were getting suspended for things they said on the ice to other players? I am sure Sean Avery would be on indefinite suspension if that were the case.

But really the point here is the NHL continues its awful suspension policies. They suspend Wisniewski two games for a gesture and Niklas Hjalmarsson gets two games for concussing Jason Pominville of the Buffalo Sabres....something doesn't seem right with that. The inconsistency of Colin Campbell and the NHL's disciplinary team has been mind-boggling at times and this one is no different.

However, this is the NHL we live in...the NEW NHL. If this had happened before the lockout there wouldn't be any uproar at all. I am sure worse gestures and phrases have happened in the NHL and not even been addressed by anyone. Wisniewski just happened to get caught. We all know Sean Avery can be a pain in the behind and that is his game which I love. However, after reading some opinions from Ranger fans who think it was awful what Wisniewski did and that he should be suspended, I am reminded how being a fan for some puts on a lens that "Its okay if my players do it but if another team does then...".

Like I said, I love Sean and the way he plays, but if he is going to taunt other players and try to get them off their game then other teams have the right to do so as well. Its all part of the game of hockey and its personalities.

But what is done is done and Wisniewski has been suspended for two games...more funny moments to come this hockey season I am sure. Until then...lets ponder. How would the NHL handle something like this??

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two Young Defensemen Sent Down...Veteran Presence coming?

 As I mentioned in the last post the Rangers had a big decision to make when it came to their defense and they made that decision today as Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko were sent to Hartford.
 Matt Gilroy and Mike Sauer survive the cuts for now. Gilroy has shown alot of improvement from last season and certainly will be looked to show some of the potential he had while at Boston University. Sauer, who is the last holdover from the Brian Leetch trade way back when, will finally get his shot at the big time after being in Hartford for three seasons.
These two choices are not surprises to me and, as much as I may have wanted to see Valentenko, these make sense. These two players have had some NHL and professional experience. Valentenko is still adjusting to the smaller North American rink size while McDonagh needs to learn the transition from college to the professional ranks. The transition always takes awhile but for defensemen it is much more difficult. Reading plays and making the right decision must happen in a split second in the NHL, especially on defense, otherwise you are in trouble. Sending these guys down will help these guys develop that.
 A rumor of sorts has been circling around the hockey world that the Rangers are in the market for a veteran defenseman. This makes sense but it was confirmed on Twitter today by TSN's Bob McKenzie with this tweet:

NYR in market for experienced d-man. Could Torts-Shane O'Brien be reunited? SOB may be claimed by another team. Will find out noon Monday.

I am on board with finding a veteran blueliner. With a very young defense coming together it will be important to have a veteran presence back there to steady these guys. Rozsival is a solid veteran but more is needed in terms of experience. Shane O'Brien is a guy I am not interested in at all. He used to be an intriguing player but has since fallen out of favor in Vancouver.