Found December 09, 2011 on Blue Seat Blogs:
PLAYERS: Carl Hagelin
TEAMS: New York Rangers

Sometimes the best decision is the unpopular decision. The Rangers have begun to play some sloppy hockey this past few games, getting away with one in Tampa then losing against the one line Leafs before allowing Tampa to gain revenge Thursday.

When the team trails in games, coach Tortorella often (as many coaches do) shortens his bench and rides his top guys as he presses to get back in the game. Whether a player deserves to lose his ice time or not he finds himself watching the top six get double shifted.

An unpopular decision needs to be made. I was the one who called for Carl Hagelin ahead of his call up and he made me look like a genius. Thanks Carl. I am now that same person expecting he gets demoted. This isn’t about Hagelin himself, who had a spectacular introduction to the NHL (for a so called defensive forward). This is about the lack of ice time he is beginning to receive, in part thanks to the Rangers’ play leveling off.

The past two games Hagelin has played less than 9 minutes in each culminating in less than 7 against Tampa. For a good prospect who has shown he can change a game with his speed (and intelligence) that is far from an ideal situation. If Tortorella will up his ice time, sure, keep him with the Rangers but long term it is certainly in the young Swedes’ interest to go back to Connecticut and play 19 minutes a game and get back to scoring consistently in that league.

Being sent down wouldn’t be an indictment on Hagelin, it’d be an acknowledgement that the Rangers need to sort their own collective play out and focus on waking up passengers such as Brandon ‘what’s a goal’ Dubinsky.

Hagelin being sent down in fact benefits numerous parties. The Whale get another potential game changer back in their line up who already looked like a difference maker at the AHL level. Hagelin gets quality ice time and can put himself forward more (significant) minutes in NY and the organisation doesn’t potentially retard the development of a highly promising prospect. Perhaps the only loser in the event of a demotion would be the NY fans who have fallen in love with Hagelin – quickly.

This shouldn’t be about popularity, this should be about winning and development: both of which might mean Hagelin should be in the minors. Don’t shoot the messenger.

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