February 2010


The origins of this article go back to 2000 when I wrote for Ranger Fan Central. This piece served as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice”. Five years later, I updated it for the 25th piece. Now, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary, I have updated it again as we travel back to that fateful Friday night in February 1980 and the impact it has on my life.

It is fitting that just one night prior to the 30th anniversary of the biggest night in American hockey history, the United States hockey team pulled off one of its greatest Olympic victories in defeating Canada in Vancouver. It is further fitting because the USA’s victory was the first over Canada in the Winter Olympics since 1960 when America pulled off its first “Miracle on Ice”.

It is unfortunate that we often celebrate the exploits of the 1980 team while forgetting that America’s first gold was won in 1960 at Squaw Valley, CA. The seeds of the victory at Lake Placid were sown in Squaw Valley as the man behind the 1980 miracle, Herb Brooks, was the final cut from the 1960 squad. The Christian Brothers, now synonymous for their hockey sticks as well as their victory in 1960, served as link to the 1980 team through Dave Christian (son of Bill and nephew to Roger).

We also give short shrift to the USA’s 1972 silver medal hockey team, but those are subjects for a later date.

Still, is it at all possible that 30 years have passed since the greatest upset in the history of sports? Is it possible that 30 years have passed since a group of American college students defeated the Soviet Union hockey team – perhaps the greatest of all time?

“Do you believe in miracles?”

It is a question whose answer was burned into the minds of every sports fan and every American who was glued to their television sets on that fateful Friday night, February 22, 1980.

Roger Kahn immortalized the Brooklyn Dodgers of his generation as “The Boys of Summer”. The heroics of the 1980 Olympic hockey team transformed the youngest
American Olympic hockey team ever (average age 22) into “The Boys of Winter” – ironically enough, the name of Wayne Coffey’s book about the events of February 1980.

Now some 30 years later, my eyes still swell with tears whenever I hear those words echoing in my mind.

“Do you believe in miracles?”

There were times when we were younger when we believed miracles happened all the time. I know there was a time when I believed in miracles. Unfortunately, that belief
Came crashing down some six months prior to the start of the 1980 Winter Olympics. After a long and tiring battle with cancer, my mother passed away in August 1979. The time after her death seem like a blur to me now. I did know that it was a time filled with my attempts to put together a life that was ripped apart at the age of 15.

Prior to February 22, 1980, I had no reason to believe in the hockey miracle that would take place on that Friday night. After watching the vaunted Soviet Union hockey
machine dismantle the Americans by a 10-3 score two weeks earlier at Madison Square Garden, an American victory would rank up their with David’s victory over Goliath.

The powerful Soviets did not start playing Olympic hockey until 1956, but boy did they ever catch on fast. Except for America’s first “miracle on ice” in Squaw Valley in the 1960 Olympics, the Soviets had won every gold medal to be won in Olympic hockey as the Lake Placid games rolled around.

This was a Soviet monster that had not lost an Olympic hockey game since 1968 as they ran up an impressive 21-game winning streak. Heck, a year earlier the Soviets defeated an NHL All-Star team in a best of-three series that featured a 6-0 manhandling of the NHL’s best in the final game at Madison Square Garden in 1979.

“Do you believe in miracles?”

How could you when the Soviet lineup resembled a veritable who’s who of international hockey? Vladislav Tretiak was regarded as the best goaltender in the world. Valery Kharlamov, Alexander Maltsev, Boris Mikhailov, and Vladimir Petrov were to Russian youngsters what Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, and Maurice Richard were to Canadian youngsters.

The Soviets also featured future NHL players when they were in their prime. Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov were at the start of their international superstardom and would later unite as the KLM Line – a line that would strike fear in their opponents much in the same way the Production Line, the GAG Line and the French Connection Line struck fear in NHL opponents. Viacheslav Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov and Sergei Starikov patrolled the Soviet blue line in a way NHL fans never saw.

On the other hand, the Americans did feature players who would go on to star in the NHL. Names like Neal Broten, Dave Christian, Mark Johnson, Ken Morrow and Mike Ramsey proved that the games in Lake Placid were a prelude to bigger and better things in hockey.

Outside of Mike Eruzione and Buzz Schneider, the American team was made up of a bunch of college kids who were probably too young to realize how much their lives were going to change. During the prelude to glory, we all received a geography lesson and added the words Iron Range to our vocabulary. We even managed to meld “Saturday Night Live” into the hockey world, as the line of John Harrington, Mark Pavelich and Buzz Schneider were known as the “Coneheads”.

After pulling out a tie against Sweden in closing seconds of their opening contest (thank you Bill Baker), the Americans went on to route Czechoslovakia 7-3. What followed were three less-than-inspiring victories over such “hockey powers” like Norway, Romania and Germany – with the Romania game being the only one where the Americans scored first.

Wayne Coffey offers a glimpse at into the coach’s pre-game speech in his book “The Boys on Winter”. Brooks told his team, “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”

“Do you believe in miracles?”

Not bloody likely, especially when it appeared that the Soviets would take a 2-1 lead into the first period. However, appearances can be deceiving because someone forgot to tell Mark Johnson.

It started innocently enough as Christian fired a long-range mortar on goal as the final seconds ticked off the clock. As everyone on the ice relaxed, Johnson blew past two Soviet defenders and banged home Tretiak’s careless rebound to tie the score 2-2.

Or did he? The Soviets claimed that the goal had happened after time had expired. Replays showed the world that the man his teammates nicknamed “Magic” had beaten the clock — with one second to spare. For the first time I felt like the USA had a chance. It was at this point that I was swept with mixed emotions. I was glad that I had tombed myself up and not watched TV or listened to the radio. Yet part of me wished I did know the final result because I knew it would be agony watching the tape delay broadcast.

The Americans were alive as the great Tretiak found himself on the bench to start the second period. Vladimir Myshkin had gone between the pipes as the referees hurriedly dropped the puck to end the first period. With Tretiak benched, my emotions were running high. Yes, I was well aware that Myshkin was the goalie during that fateful 6-0 whitewashing on the NHL a year ago — but he wasn’t Tretiak. To this day we don’t know if Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov panicked, if Tretiak was hurt or if Tretiak was not mentally or physically ready to play. All that mattered was that the great Tretiak was out of the game. I was looking for an edge, grasping at any straws and whistling through any graveyard I could find.

I have to admit the old faith wavered as the Soviets poured it on in the second period and took a 3-2 lead early in the second period. Little did anyone know that Jim Craig was going shut the net tighter that a duck’s ass. The goalie on the white mask with the tiny green shamrocks on it would keep the Soviets off the scoreboard for the final 37 plus minutes — thus setting the stage for the most emotional 20 minutes of hockey.

For those of you who are too young too remember, the United States was in one of its lowest periods since the Great Depression. The Cold War with the Soviet Union was at its height. American citizens were still being held hostage in Iran. The Soviet army has invaded Afghanistan, thus prompting President Jimmy Carter to put into motion the series of events that saw the U.S. boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Both inflation and unemployment languished in the double digits.

By the time the third period rolled around it seemed like the American way of life was in danger. Once again those evil Communists were going to find a way to one-up mom and her apple pie.

Except someone forgot to tell the 20 hockey players wearing the red, white and blue proudly. They were not ready to go gently into that good night. Instead, they were ready to skate into immortality.

Once again it was Johnson stepping up and living up to his “Magic” moniker. The son of “Badger Bob” Johnson was in the right place at the right time — again. The opportunistic Johnson converted a Dave Silk shot that bounced off of Starikov’s skate. Myshkin never had a chance. Destiny was in the building and she was waving the stars and stripes.

A little more than a minute later Mike Eruzione converted on a Pavelich pass — and miracle of miracles — the U.S. was ahead 4-3. Eruzione’s celebratory dance may not have evoked memories of John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”, but it was enough to help usher in the beginning of the end of the Soviet machine.

I can remember thinking that the next 10 minutes of hockey were going to be the longest minutes of my life. Those 10 minutes felt like 10 hours because of the inevitable Russian onslaught that was about to come. I would not experience this dread of time standing still until the third period on June 14, 1994 as the Rangers held on to win the Stanley Cup.

The Soviets did come and they went at the Americans in droves. It was a scene that international hockey fans had lived over and over again. The Soviets would be on the verge of losing and then unleash an offensive barrage that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Twice during the 1980 Olympics the Soviets stared defeat in the face before the slumbering Russian bear woke up from its hibernation with a vengeance. Finland had a 2-1 lead with five minutes to go (half the time the American had to kill). In less than 90 seconds, the Finns found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-2 score. Canada held a two-goal lead in the closing seconds of the second period when they missed converting on a breakaway. The Canadians rued that lost opportunity as the Soviets won that game 6-4.

That would not be the case on February 22, 1980. For the first time since 1968, the Soviet machine could not find a way to win. They tried, oh, how they tried. This time an opponent, the Americans, found a will and a way to win. Whether it was a big time save by Craig here, or a blocked shot there, the Americans were not going to be denied.

As the clock slipped under a minute, the crowd in Lake Placid was on its feet. That 15-year-old in Mount Vernon, New York was on his knees praying for the clock to read 0:00. As the final second ticked off the clock, ABC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels uttered the most famous six words in sports history — “Do you believe in miracles?” and his equally famous one word reply, “Yes!”

It had truly happened. Hell froze over. A month of Sundays hit the calendar. Donkeys did indeed fly. And that 15-year-old in Mount Vernon cried, and for the first time in six months, they were tears of joy. In fact, my eyes are misting as I sat and wrote that last paragraph.

The impact of the game was so great that the March 3, 1980 “Sports Illustrated” cover (a picture of the post-game celebration) ran without any caption – a first for the magazine. Heinz Kluetmeier, the man who captured the scene explained why in a December 2009 interview with SI. “It didn’t need it. Everyone in America knew what happened,” Kluetmeier explained to Richard Deitsch.

Many people forget that the Americans victory over the Soviet Union didn’t clinch anything. It was still possible for the USA to miss out on a medal if they did not defeat Finland – a message that Coach Brooks managed to impart to his team prior to their final game.

In HBO’s 2001 documentary on the “Miracle on Ice”, Eruzione repeated that Brooks told them if they lost to Finland, “”If you lose this game, you’ll take it to your fucking graves … your fucking graves.”

On that Sunday afternoon, the Americans made “this impossible dream come true” (yet another great line from Al Michaels). While it was anticlimactic after the stunning victory over the Soviets, it was not an easy victory. Once again the Americans would have to summon their resolve for another third period rally.

The Americans trailed Finland 2-1 and were 20 minutes away from rendering their miraculous victory over the Soviets meaningless. They had fought too hard and for too long. They did not put their college and professional hockey careers on hold to come this close and not win the gold medal.

Six minutes into their final period of hockey together as a team, the Americans erased that one goal deficit on goals by Phil Verchota and Rob McClanahan. With four minutes left in a one-goal game, “Magic” Johnson struck again as the U.S. clinched the gold with a 4-2 victory and earned their place in sports history.

“Do you believe in miracles?”

There was a period of time when I did not believe. Then along came a group of 20 hockey players who would not take no for an answer. They were the personification of teamwork and dedication.

At the start of the Olympic Games, many people viewed them as modern day Don Quixotes. Instead of jabbing at the windmills with lances, they were using hockey sticks. Little did we know that they really would slay dragons with those lances and help a country find a way to start healing itself. Little did they know they would help a 15-year-old slay his own dragons and find a way to help heal himself.

“Do you believe in miracles?”

“Yes!”

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Now that Donnie Walsh has one-upped Glen Sather in the “How Many Bad Contracts Can You Dump” Game, what can Slats do to one-up his Knicks counterpart? Unfortunately, the Rangers President/GM might not be able to do much until the summer at the earliest.

Walsh has taken the Knicks from a team hopelessly over the salary cap and transformed them into a team that will be major players in the LeBron, D-Wade, Chris Bosh et al sweepstakes set to commence this summer. Sather’s task is a bit different because the Rangers need to sweep out contracts just to be able to have some flexibility – because the NHL’s hard salary cap does not afford free-spending teams any salary cap flexibility.

We have to give Sather credit (even though he was the one who put the Rangers in the salary cap hell they are in now) because he was able to clear out Scott Gomez’s contract without taking on a major salary commitment, and at the same time, also adding a prospect like Ryan McDonagh. He was even able to correct his Ales Kotalik mistake and get a mulligan on Christopher Higgins without adding a long-term salary hit because Olli Jokinen’s contract expires at the end of the season. However, Sather has to resist the urge to re-sign Jokinen to a long-term deal.

Despite those corrections, Sather will have to channel his inner Donnie Walsh and Anne Sullivan (aka “The Miracle Worker”) if he is going to move the onerous contracts of Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival. In fact, if Lyle Richardson of The Hockey News is correct, Sather’s best (and perhaps only) hope is to wait until the offseason – like he did with the Gomez trade.

“The difference, however, was that Gomez — despite his hefty contract — still had value in the trade market,” Richardson (the hockey writer also known as Spector) explains. “Plus, it’s easier to move expensive contracts in the offseason when teams have more cap space than it is late in the season when they have less to work with.”

Even if Sather were to find a willing trade partner, it is going to cost him dearly to move those contracts without adding any major salaries in return. Much like Walsh had to give away first round draft picks and 2009 first round pick Jordan Hill, Sather will have to sacrifice prospects as well as his younger/cheaper NHL players. Richardson brought up the name of Brandon Dubinsky as an example.

The other alternative is to try and trade Redden and/or Rozsival for another team’s salary problem in the hope that a change of scenery would be beneficial to both teams.

A good example is the Rangers reported interest in Edmonton defenseman Sheldon Souray prior to him breaking his hand in a fight with Jarome Iginla. Souray and Rozsival have similar salary cap hits that expire after the 2011/12 season. If the Rangers want to swap blueliners, the Oilers are going to want prospects and/or draft picks included since they are not getting any salary cap relief.

In the end, the Rangers are not solving their problem. Rather they are just trading for a different problem. If Souray’s deal were for less years, then it would end up being a plus trade for the Blueshirts in the long-term.

Another way it could turn out to be a plus deal for the Rangers is if the Oilers agreed to take Redden in the deal. In that case, the Rangers would save about a $1 million per year as far as the salary cap hit goes and they would be getting two years of relief because Redden’s deal expires at the end of the 2013/2014 season.

The question then becomes is it worth giving up a first round draft pick or two, a player like Dubinsky, a prospect like Derek Stepan or any combination of the three in order to trade Redden for Souray? It is a tough question and one I am glad that I do not have to answer. Then again, if I were the Rangers GM I would not have gotten myself into this mess.

If the Rangers are going to have to bribe another team by giving up any combination of the above assets, then any deal must bring back an expiring contract because the goal is not salary relief – the goal becomes salary salvation.

In that case, the Rangers could target a team like the Phoenix Coyotes who have approximately $16 million in cap space this season and get them to Rozsival or Redden plus “the bribe” in exchange for players like an Adrian Aucoin and Robert Lang (both who have contracts that expire this year) and/or Jim Vandermeer (who has one more year at $2.3 million).

Of course, many fans would say that the easiest thing to do is simply demote Redden and Rozsival and completely remove them from the Rangers payroll. That is a nice idea, but how many owners would be willing to park about $12 million worth of contracts in the AHL? Besides, there are other ramifications to consider.

How will their presence affect the other players in Hartford? You would have to imagine that both players would not be all that happy with the demotion so you risk screwing up any chemistry you might have. With Redden and Rozsival in the AHL, that means two prospects get to sit in the stands or play in the ECHL, which in turn, brings us back to the affect the Redden and Rozsival demotion would have on the team.

To be honest with you, I am not an NHL salary cap specialist so I do not know what implications there would be in reference to NHL rules. I am not certain what happens during the offseason with their contracts. Do their salaries ever revert back to the Rangers? In Major League Baseball, players on the 60-Day Disabled List do not count against the 40-Man Roster, but during the offseason those players must be removed from the DL and placed back on the 40-Man Roster. Is there a similar provision in the NHL CBA? If there isn’t, I bet the NHL Player’s Association would be quick to file a grievance. This is why teams employ capologists like Cameron Hope (the Rangers Assistant General Manager/Hockey Administration).

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It appears that Rangers President/GM Glen Sather is ready to admit to his “$2.8 million Mistake”. TSN’s Bob McKenzie twittered that the Blueshirts had placed Donald Brashear on waivers. Interestingly enough, Brashear’s waiving comes on the same day that Andrew Gross of NorthJersey.com wrote that Brashear believes his lack of playing times is a direct result of asking for a trade.

“It just shows me they don’t believe in me,” Gross wrote in article for The Record. “I ask for a trade, that’s more likely why I’m not playing any games. Usually, when you ask for a trade, they don’t play you.”

While the vast majority of fans panned the move from the beginning, even the most diehard Brashear hater would have to agree with the 38-year-old enforcer as he tries to rationalize the Rangers actions.

“I came here in shape ready to play. I thought I had a good camp,” Brashear admits to Gross. “You think, why sign me for two years if you’re not game to use me?”

Of course, that “why sign me” part is one every Rangers fans asked given Brashear’s despicable hit on Blair Betts during the 2009 NHL Playoffs. That same vast majority would have been very happy to see Colton Orr remain a Ranger – and those same fans will be shaking their heads as Brashear comments on Orr and the Rangers.

“At the same time, I don’t really understand what they expect,” Brashear asks. “Do they want a showman like they had in Orr or do they want a guy that can play and fight?”

Whether you are pro-Orr (like me), anti-Orr, or just plain who-cares about the matter, the last word anyone would use to describe Orr is “showman”. If he were describing Sean Avery or even Tie Domi, I would agree – but Colton Orr?

After looking over Brashear’s statement, I am not so sure what is worse: that he refers to Orr as a showman or that Brashear really believes that he can play and fight?

Whether it is age or injuries, the 2009-2010 Brashear is just a shadow of the enforcer he once was. Let’s face it, Brashear has probably lost as many fights as Aaron Voros has this season. However, Voros did not come to the Rangers with the “reputation” that Brashear did.

The odds are long that anyone will claim Brashear because he still has another year on his deal. The best the Rangers can hope for is to possibly trade him for another player who has a similar contract. Even then it will probably cost the Rangers some type of prospect to bribe another team to consider taking on Brashear. A team like Atlanta, a team who is rebuilding and has salary cap space, might be “convinced” to take Brashear if the Rangers make it worth their while.

While the Rangers could send him to Hartford if he goes unclaimed, all that will do is merely waste a spot better utilized by a prospect. According to Gross, Brashear’s salary will come off the cap this year, but does not next year because he is an over-35 player.

One has to wonder if Orr, who signed a four-year deal worth $1 million per season, would have signed the same deal that the Rangers offered Brashear. Given that the Rangers were the team that gave Orr is first shot at any regular kind of playing time, it is safe to guess that Orr would have remained in New York.

However, Sather and Coach John Tortorella over-analyzed the situation – which is perplexing given we are talking about a fourth line player on a team whose coach likes to run three lines more often than not. What they did not take into account was the diminishing returns for a player like Brashear (age and perception as a “villain” after the Betts hit) as opposed to “rewarding” a player like Orr who did the dirty work (and was pretty darn good at it) without complaining about ice time and shooting his mouth off about other players.

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There has been much debate on the Internet dealing with whether the New York Rangers should be buyers or sellers at the NHL’s March 3, 2010 deadline. It has been my contention that these two ideas are not mutually exclusive. Rather, it has been my stance that the Rangers should be both at the deadline by dumping as much dead weight as possible (hence the seller part) and looking to acquire as many assets as possible for next season (the buyer part). It looks like Glen Sather has finally listened to me.

Sather’s acquisition of Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust from Calgary in exchange for Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik represents the Rangers being both a buyer and a seller. From the buyer standpoint, Jokinen represents the Rangers best chance to dress a number one center this season. While his 11 goals and 24 assists do not support his $5.5 million contract (as per nhlnumbers.com), that figure comes off the books at the end of the season because Jokinen is an Unrestricted Free Agent – while Prust will be a Restricted Free Agent.

The trade is a win-win proposition both for this year and beyond. The Rangers are not taking much of a risk in the enigmatic Jokinen given that Higgins and Kotalik never panned out as the Rangers had hoped. If the 6-foot-3 and 215 pound Finnish center is a bust, the Rangers have still recouped the $3 million they would have had to pay Kotalik next season (and the year after). The Rangers will need every available penny if they want to sign RFAs Marc Staal and Daniel Girardi.

I have to admit that I though Higgins would be good for about 20-25 goals with the Rangers as he entered the final year of his contract. While his defense and work along the boards translated well, his offense got lost somewhere at the American-Canadian border. As for Kotalik, his play on the point during the power play was a plus early in the season, but he never found his game at even strength and he became a liability on the point when the goals stopped coming. It was extremely unlikely Higgins would return to the Rangers next season unless he was going to take a major pay cut.

If the Rangers can get lucky for a change, then they reap the rewards of a Jokinen salary drive as they find the perfect center for Marian Gaborik. If the Rangers get REALLY lucky, Jokinen plays well enough that they can trade prior to July 1, 2010 when he becomes a free agent. If the hockey gods decide to truly bless the Rangers, Jokinen decides to stay in New York at a reasonable contract while moving Wade Redden and/or Michael Rozsival. Hey, if you are going to dream, you might as well dream big.

Jokinen gives the Rangers a center who has scored 29 or more goals in his last six NHL seasons – including a career season in 2006-07 with Florida (39 goals and 52 assists) as he tallied 34 or more goals in his final three years with Florida prior to being traded to the Coyotes in June 2008.

Can the Rangers reasonably expect Jokinen to pick up his play? Sometimes an unexpected trade is motivation enough, if the following Jokinen quote from TSN.CA is to be believed.

“‘It comes with the salary, you make $5 million, 11 goals is not going to cut it,’ said a visibly shaken Jokinen. ‘It’s definitely a slap in the face to get traded.’

Jokinen did see an upside in heading back to the Eastern Conference.

“‘I get a chance to play with one of the better players in the league in (Marian) Gaborik.’”

Prust earns yet another chance to rack up frequent flyer mileage. The 5-foot-11 and 195 pound forward spent his first three plus season with the Flames organization before being traded to Phoenix as part of the deal that sent Jokinen to Calgary. Prust ended up back with the Flames after the Coyotes swapped him for defenseman Jim Vandermeer.

“I’m looking forward to going to the big city and playing in Madison Square Garden so I’m looking forward to it, but I’m sad to leave again,” Prust told TSN.CA.

While physically Prust fits the light heavyweight category, he will fight all comers as he is second only to Tampa Bay’s Zenon Konopka in fights this season.

You have to believe that Coach John Tortorella will give Jokinen every chance to mesh with Gaborik and Vinny Prospal on the first line. The 31-year-old center struggled to adapt to centering Jarome Iginla because Jokinen is not really a playmaker. However, as Rangers fans have seen, Gaborik’s playmaking abilities are almost as good as his scoring prowess and. in reality, it will Prospal’s job to serve as the playmaker.

If Jokinen doesn’t mesh with Gaborik and Prospal, Tortorella could put him on the second line and move Brandon Dubinsky back to the first line – with Chris Drury becoming the playmaker for Jokinen and Ryan Callahan.

What is less clear is how Prust fits into the lineup. You have to figure that Brian Boyle remains as the fourth line center with Torts shuffling Prust, Erik Christenson and Aaron Voros between the winger spots.

Hopefully, the Prust acquisition is the beginning of the end of the Donald Brashear Era (or is that Error). While the Rangers still have a little salary cap leeway (about $700,000 or so), they could free up even more space by placing Brashear on waivers and then sending him to Hartford if some team isn’t dumb enough to claim him. Shipping Brashear out would clear up about $500,000-$600,000 in additional cap space when you prorate his salary.

With about $1.2 million in cap space, the Rangers could be in the hunt for a veteran seventh defensemen (if they do not recall Ilkka Heikkinen) or a veteran backup goaltender if they want more experienced netminder backing up Henrik Lundqvist post-Olympics. They could even use that cap space to upgrade at forward if they decide to move a RFA like Christenson or Enver Lisin.

After spending a lot of years bashing Sather for his shortsighted moves, this is one time I actually have to praise him. Now if he as good as Jim Dolan really thinks he is, Slats will channel his inner Donnie Walsh and dump off the other two bad contracts still remaining (Redden and Rozsival). The Rangers have not shot to move Drury’s contract because he has a no-movement clause that prevents the Rangers from doing anything (trade or demotion) without Drury’s consent.

Scouting Reports (From thestar.com):

OLLI JOKINEN

ASSETS: Is a big presence up the middle and a good face-off man. Has above-average hands and the instincts of a natural goal-scorer. When motivated, he plays a complete game.
FLAWS: Is a better scorer than playmaker, so he tends to get off his game when paired with other goal-scorers. His leadership skills, along with the rest of his game, lacks consistency.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Moody scoring center.

BRANDON PRUST

ASSETS: Works hard and loves to get in the face of his opponents. Has solid defensive instincts and is an aggressive forechecker.
FLAWS: Needs to play with more discipline. May not score a lot of points at the NHL level, since he lacks natural ability.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Physical agitating winger.

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