On July 1, when the news broke that the Rangers signed Donald Brashear, I was outraged. How could they sign they guy who decapitated Blair Betts? It was the clearest sign that the Rangers organization was in the midst of another huge roster turnover, and most fans were furious that it started with the hated winger. But then I started to really think about Brashear’s place on the team, and moves other teams in the conference made prior to the signing.
The biggest (literally) problem in the Atlantic Division right now is Chris Pronger. The Rangers were fortunate that they only needed to face him once or twice a season when he was in the West, but now they have to face him six times a year. He solidifies that Flyer blue line, and will provide an intimidating presence, especially the first time he lays out Marian Gaborik on the rush. So what would prevent him from taking a run at Gaborik? The looming presence of probably the most feared fighter in the game, Donald Brashear.
What about the Toronto Maple Leafs, who committed to ex-Ranger Colton Orr for four years? GM Brian Burke is on the record stating he wants his team to start hitting and fighting more. You can bet your house that Orr’s PIMS will increase next year, definitely eclipsing the 200 minute mark. Who will step up for the Rangers when Orr fulfills Burke’s wishes, and starts with one of the Rangers? Donald Brashear.
The Islanders? Brendan Witt. Devils? David Clarkson. Penguins? Eric Godard.
The East, and specifically the Atlantic Division, is filled with tough enforcers, who will mess with the Rangers high priced talent if not kept in check. Of all these enforcers, the most feared in the league is Donald Brashear, and now he’s a Ranger. He is no longer our problem, he is now the rest of the division’s problem. Having the threat of Brashear on the bench is much more effective than Orr on the ice. Remember, Brashear will be on the 4th line, and maybe getting five minutes a game with John Tortorella at the helm.
You don’t have to love the guy, but you should be cheering for him, he is a Ranger for the next two years. The first time you see Brashear knock out Pronger, he will win everyone over.