Protecting Your Stars

Behind every star player, there is an intimidating force that strikes fear into the opposition. This fear is what prevents players from targeting stars. Wayne Gretzky had Marty McSorley, and Dave Semenko before him. Martin Brodeur had Scott Stevens. Mike Richards / Jeff Carter have Chris Pronger. Cindy Crosby has Hal Gill. John Taveras has Brendan Witt. Enforcers aren’t necessarily goons, but they are the big physical force that will make you think twice before laying out any of the stars.

The Rangers brought in Donald Brashear, and to a lesser extent Aaron Voros, to protect their stars. Brashear and Voros (and now Dane Byers) are out to protect Marian Gaborik, to ensure that no one takes any unnecessary liberties with one of the stars on our beloved Blueshirts. After all, if Gaborik is hurt, the Rangers are at a severe disadvantage. We’ve seen it the past week.

But what about that other star? The one that in the long term, means more to the organization than any player on the roster, and any player since Brian Leetch was forcibly removed.

Henrik Lundqvist seems to be on the receiving end of many an opposition hit lately. I say hit, because usually when running a goalie, the opposition at least pretends to avoid the netminder. But when it comes to running Lundqvist, it looks like players are lowering their shoulder and just plowing into him. They do this because there is no penalty for doing so, and I’m not referring to sitting in the box, although a few calls might help alleviate the situation.

When he was in the lineup, Brashear did nothing to punish the opposition for running their most important star. Voros has at least tried to fight. I’ve seen Michael Del Zotto, all 19 years of him, get in the face of some Phoenix Coyotes. That’s about it though.

How many times does Hank need to be down for an extended period of time before someone makes the opposition pay? Sooner or later, he’s not going to get up. Everyone’s heart skipped a beat when he didn’t get up immediately in Montreal. How many more times does that need to happen?

Someone needs to step up, it doesn’t matter who it is. If Del Zotto can face wash people twice his age, then someone else can step up and dish out some punishment. Sooner or later, Hank won’t get up.

6 Responses to “Protecting Your Stars”

  1. jurgenno88 says:

    Dave

    its a point thats been well documetned but its a good point none the less. I like to think Byers adds toughness but even though i dont mind Brashear being here (not for 1.4m tho!) i dont thinkw e ahev what it requires. We need the refs to act and we need a collective effort to address this issues.

    We dont have a witt, a Lucic or a Pronger… but can Byers be a Lucic? maybe a lesser version best case scenario, anyway….

    its gonna take the collective and (i think) Torts really addressing this bluntly with the team to make the necessary change.

  2. Dave says:

    Byers was a second rounder, so he has the potential to at least mimic what Lucic does. He needs the opportunity to do so.

    A big part of this is the lack of calls, but regardless, the team as a whole needs to step in and start scrapping with opponents who do this.

    • jurgenno88 says:

      agreed…. the refs need to make calls but we need to address, at the very least, the non calls!

      and i have been high on Byers since he really started to play well for the pack 2-3 years ago. IF (big if) he’s given sustained chance i think he can be a real presence for us and be a 10-15 goal guy who makes teams respect us. Really, exactly what we need on the lower lines…..

      will he get that sustained chance? not so sure. He has deserved it and up to now its been injury thats held him back. I just dont understand the constant attempts to keep Voros around at 1m, and i think they’d play Brashear (when fit) regardless to justify the cap hit.

  3. cat says:

    Crosby plays for the Pens and Gill plays for Montreal. Crosby dropped the gloves with Zidlicky this wknd while Malkin is out injured.

  4. spins says:

    I have to agress watching recchi just fall on top of hank the other day and a half hearted stall pushing him off.