(Moose Jaw Herald Katie Brickman)
Boy can you imagine what the New York Ranger brass were thinking when they saw 2010 first-round pick Dylan McIlrath collide with invitee Kyle Jean and there was McIlrath grabbing his left knee in pain?
From experience I can tell you that Dylan McIlrath does not do pain very well and he knows how to scare the heck out of everyone when he suffers an injury.
The first time McIlrath suffered a knee injury while with Moose Jaw, he let out a bloodcurdling scream that they could hear at the top of the arena; you thought he had just been shot the way it sounded.
The Rangers say that the knee injury wasn't serious and that McIlrath is now listed as day-to-day but don't be surprised if you don't see him in any more scrimmages this week.
Nobody's ever asked, but what does happen if a prospect like a McIlrath who is between pro status and junior status suffers a major injury at a camp like this? I'll be honest and tell you that I don't have the first clue and I have heard several different answers to this very question.
It's one of those things that you have to measure risk versus reward and at the same time, knock on wood that nobody has ever been seriously injured at one of these camps.
McIlrath should be fine but several members of the Ranger management are probably getting their hearts checked out to see if they started beating again. I'm kind of surprised that they let McIlrath on the cruise out of the fear of him falling overboard.
Restricted free agency, a.k.a. Pretend free agency
It's an annual event that we go through as those players whose entry-level contracts are just expiring have reached the status called restricted free agency. I call it "pretend" free agency because the only ones who even think about offering other teams RFA's offer sheets are the fan GMs among the bloggers and chat rooms.
NHL GM's and NHL agents play a bit of a game knowing that most players have zero leverage so they are stuck really with what generosity their NHL GM is in the mood to show.
Oh, don't even bother playing with the various compensation levels because they really don't matter when it comes to restricted free agency. No GM wants to incur the wrath of his peers which is why you almost never see anybody offer another team's player an offer sheet.
It's not about losing compensation, but rather losing the trust of your fellow GMs. Go after somebody else's RFA and force a team to either match an offer sheet or lose a player and you're in trouble.
See, it's not the compensation but rather it made another GM look bad as witnessed to the childish's public spat Los Angeles and Edmonton got into over Dustin Penner. You know what they say about payback don't you?
Go to try and sneak somebody through waivers? Not going to happen as other GMs will go after you. You'll find that each GM in his own mind set thinks of himself as master of his little corner of the universe.
If you don't touch his players, then he won't touch your players and when you pick up the phone looking to make a trade; he will answer it. Try to poach one of his players, and boy, they can make your job that much more miserable.
So which direction do the Rangers take on July 1?
It almost sounds like a really bad joke; a defenseman, a forward, and the goalie all walk into a bar and the bartender asks whose first?
If you the New York Rangers, you've got those three primary needs to address and despite all the talking about how much cap room that the Rangers have; that is subject to change depending on how the NHL/NHLPA negotiations go.
This is how I look at it, in the system there is Tim Erixon who by all rights should be close to NHL ready after a full year in the AHL. You also have Dylan McIlrath, but you really don't want to use him unless you truly have to.
And Michael Sauer reportedly is seeing new doctors and so far things are looking a little brighter. I still think you have to go into the season expecting not to have Sauer because it's easier to deal with extra defenseman then it is one fewer defenseman.
So imagine my surprise when I went over to CapGeek.com
selected UFA defensemen using real-time stats who the first name was kicked out? Milan Jurcina of the New York Islanders of all the people
and once I got over my shock, it really did not seem like a bad idea.
Jurina is 29, a defensive defender and considering some of the other options that are out there for the cost. This was a cheapie as you only really need him for at the most 1-2 seasons before McIlrath or Sauer are ready.
Marion Gaborik is supposedly out until (depending on who you listen to) November or December or January or February. You are thinking about adding another forward anyway so who do you go after?
So many of you were laughing at me when I suggested PA Parenteau
, but if you take a look at this list and see who is fourth, then it's not as much of a joke as you think.
If anything this list is almost a nightmare to look at as really besides Parise, who would you really want the Rangers to sign? Take a good look at your choices there people and it's not pretty. So do you want to get stuck giving some of these guys a multiyear contract worth serious money?
I will take my chances on Parenteau thank you because if he really just wants 3 years 3- 4 mill then he buys you the time you need for Thomas, Miller, Fast, St, Croix and Fogarty to develop.
Just give Marty Biron another 2 year deal with a nice raise, promise his a job when he retires and be done with it. Biron's value to the Rangers goes way beyond being Henrik's backup. Biron is the perfect voice in the locker room encouraging teammates and accepting of his role on the team.
But there is more from his willingness to work with the younger players, showing them what they need to do to stay in the NHL. Biron is going to one day make a very good NHL head coach hopefully with the Rangers and not against them.
No Hall of Fame for Shanny?
So many people are in a state of shock that Brendan Shanahan was not elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame but actually I'm not. There are in fact several people who might not like Brendan Shanahan as a person.
For some, it might have to do with Shanahan choosing to work for the NHL instead of the NHLPA. I'm not saying it's right but there are those who believe that Shanahan would've been a difference maker in 2004 for the players union.
There's also those who know about a line that Shanahan crossed back in 1994 when he was with St. Louis. Reportedly Shanahan was in an affair with teammate Craig Janney's wife (now Mrs. Shanahan for the last 14 years) and that is something some people won't forget and will be a while before they forgive.
And there are also those who are holding Shanahan's current job against him because there are those who foolishly believed that changing from Colin Campbell to anybody would've had a real effect on NHL discipline. It doesn't matter who does that job because they work for the Commissioner, not the game.
One thing about hockey grudges and that is that they last a very long time. Maybe next year Shanahan might get in; then again , maybe he won't.