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Archive for Chris Drury


Drury’s Knee May Prevent Buyout

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Per Larry Brooks, following up on a story by Arthur Staple, Chris Drury’s knee injury appears to be much more severe than anyone has let on.  After knee surgery late last season, Drury returned to the Rangers for the last game of the season, scoring one of the most important goals of his Ranger career, and for the playoffs.  Although Drury scored that goal against the Devils in the first period to tie the game, it was clear that he was either a step behind, or that his knee injury was still bothering him.

Recently, there had been discussions and confirmations that the Rangers would indeed buyout Drury’s contract when the buyout period opens on Monday (48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, not including weekends).  Staple refuted that report a few days later, citing Drury’s knee injury as a potential cause for disruption of the buyout.  Per the CBA, a team cannot buyout am injured player.  It prevents teams from cutting ties with players because of significant injuries, and really protects the players.

With Drury’s knee injury now being referred to as “degenerative”, this may fall under that clause in the CBA.  This, of course, is bad news for the Rangers and their offseason plans.  Freeing up that $3.3 million was crucial in their pursuit of Brad Richards and their desire to get all of their key RFAs under contract.  Instead of dealing with a $3.7 million cap hit over the summer, it is now a full $7.05 million cap hit.  Naturally, that goes a long way in staying under the summer cap.

While the panic for the offseason plans is well deserved, any panic for the regular season should be brushed aside.  Assuming Drury’s knee injury is so severe that he cannot play, he will be placed on LTIR immediately.  While LTIR does not save the Rangers cap space in the general sense, it allows them to spend Drury’s cap hit in cap overages.

The soon to be 35 year old center and captain of the Rangers also has one other option.  This is an option that I have been predicting since we heard that Drury’s knee injury might be career threatening.  That prediction is that Drury will do what Markus Naslund did, and retire.  This, of course, is pure speculation on my part.  But considering the severity of the injury, is it really that preposterous now?

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Drury to be Bought Out

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According to reports coming from Jesse Spector at the Daily News, the Rangers are truly intending to buy out the final year of Chris Drury’s contract and end his disappointing and expensive stay on Broadway. Thanks to the NHL contract buy out window of June 15-30, the move, if it does indeed happen, is expected to happen soon and will mean the Rangers have even more ‘playing room’ when the club gets to July 1st.

Drury has been a massive disappointment on the ice as a Ranger. While it wasn’t his fault for taking the ridiculous contract offered to him a few summers ago (every Ranger fan, capable player or not would have taken it) he simply couldn’t live up to his contract or even his former glories at Colorado and Buffalo. Rangers’ fans never saw much of ‘Captain Clutch’ at any stage of his Rangers tenure.

As with any move that the Rangers make prior to July, how does this affect the Brad Richards scenario? Well simply put, the Rangers have more margin for error when it comes to a contract offer. That one fact may make many Rangers fans nervous if Glen Sather decides to get Richards at all costs. As discussed here countless times, Richards is absolutely what the Rangers need, but whether he should come at any cost is highly debatable.

Back to Drury. The current  Rangers captain had an awful season last year as he only managed a single goal and four assists in his injury shortened campaign, which offered no hope at any stage that he could get back to his old level. Not everything Drury has done in NY has been bad though. He may be a bland interview, but he was respected throughout the dressing room, he had a great relationship with the coaching staff, and he seemed to be a great connect between the players and staff. A great defensive player who gave up his body to stop a shot, Drury was a rare Ranger that was efficient in the faceoff circle. Will it be Richards that replaces Drury’s veteran presence and face off skills? Only time will tell. Assuming the reports of Drury’s buyout are true of course.

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Any Rangers fans that thought the Rangers would be relatively inactive during the free agent frenzy starting July 1st, well you were probably going to be wrong and if you weren’t wrong before the news broke about an increasing cap limit then you certainly are now.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, speaking at a Lawyers’ conference in D.C. recently discussed the increase in league revenues and he also made mention of likely cap increases. The revenue for the league expects to rise, close to $3 billion, up from $2.7 billion.

“It appears our salary cap will be going up.” Projects new cap will be $60.5M to $63.5M, up from $59.4M this yr.

So, looking at the middle ground as a safe bet the cap could be close to $62m, up considerably from the current limit of £59.4 million. What does this mean for the Rangers? Well simply put, potentially a great deal. The Rangers do have important roster players to re-sign in Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Boyle (among others) yet looking specifically at Callahan and Dubinsky – even if they more than double their salaries there will be a lot of money left. This cap increase of course has a knock on effect throughout the line up. Chris Drury’s potential buy out becomes easier to absorb (making it more likely?), Wojtek Wolski and players such as Erik Christensen’s future may also be under threat. So much, so many players are affected by the final cap figure.

The Rangers have a big decision to make. If Sather and his team think the core is set and it ‘merely’ needs some top level talent added to it to become a serious contender in the East you may indeed see the likes of Drury jettisoned. With the extra cap space Drury’s departure creates, in addition to the cap space created by the truly awful circumstances around Derek Boogaard the Rangers may become very aggressive in free agency. Given Sather’s free agent dealings in the past however, that makes many fans nervous and for good reason when you think of Redden, Wade and Gomez, Scott to name a few. Of course the Rangers may not be active in free agency……. (Tumbleweed)

The Rangers are almost certainly going to go after Brad Richards. The extra cap space the aforementioned cap fall out creates could see Sather also go after a defenseman such as Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Kaberle, James Wisniewski or Joni Pitkanen to name a few. Of course all this speculation about cap space then spirals out of control. Would the Rangers consider going after restricted free agents? Cap space, depth in the organisation and picks may allow Sather to deal for a star such as Shea Weber or an underperforming elite talent such as Zach Bogosian. The mind wanders with all this talk of spending money. All that is left is for the cap figure to be finalised and to watch what Sather does next. Nervous?



Thoughts and Musings; Jagr Anyone?

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Thoughts and Musings time once again. As we get deeper into the Rangers’ off season more and more rumours and players names will get circulated. If they do, we’ll discuss them. For now, put up with me.

Let’s not pussy foot around: Jaromir Jagr. If Selanne can do it, I sure as hell believe Jagr can. He can make plays and if he has kept himself in good condition then he can still be a 50 point player for an NHL club. The question for me is dollars. If he truly just wants to return to the big league (don’t forget he was the first NHL player to earn $100m) then he’ll play for a sensible amount. He makes sense for the Rangers. He can help Gaborik and do not forget the chemistry he and Dubinsky had. Don’t think he can help Dubi go to a higher level now he’s maturing? Think again. Jagr makes sense short term.

I’m revising for end of year exams, the first of which is a week today. Study is not going well. Twitter, the Rangers and my dog are significant distractions!

Ryan Callahan is a 50 point player whether the Rangers bring in a Jagr type vet or not. He’s becoming one of the top 10-20 all-round players in the league all things considered. What are those things?  Physicality, leadership, effort, two way ability, skill, hustle, defensive conscience, hitting and attitude.

Chris Drury; I will personally donate a small amount from my personal ‘fortune’ to charity should you choose to retire. That is all.

So how was the World Championship for our Rangers? Mixed. Stepan has really kicked on and it will have helped him. McDonagh will benefit from the experience as will Kreider but it was another ‘mixed’ occasion for Gaborik. He needs to take a big deep breath this off season before heading back to NYC.

I’ve given some thought to someone’s recent idea of moving Brian Boyle. If a team is willing to give up something good to get him, I’d consider it. I like him a lot, love his size and dedication but I’d rather Richards-Stepan-Anisimov down the middle and get something for Boyle rather than waste him on the 4th line. If you can get a good pick or prospect for him, do it?

I need a holiday, preferably soon. Why can’t the Rangers play in July/August?!

I am repeatedly amazed at the ability of Sean Avery to be a newsworthy sports athlete in spite of his sport. He hasn’t been newsworthy on the ice for a good while yet here he is being a huge topic of conversation once again this past week. I’m more intrigued to follow his post NHL career than his current one and I’m a big Avery fan.

I think Mike Del Zotto has a bounce back year next season (lord does he AND the Rangers need it). He would instantly solve a big headache for the Blueshirts if he can find his form once more. This team is defensively better equipped now, to allow him so leeway too.

Who is the most irrelevant Ranger of the season? Jeremy Williams or Chad Johnson?

Speaking of Chad; been nice knowing you kiddo. You were still worth the low pick that we gave the Penguins. 6 games played, 2.59 GAA, .911 save percentage… not bad pick up, was worth the ‘risk’. Yes, I think he is not re-signed.

So what position do the Rangers draft this June? Do you think they draft up or down or stay pat?! I’d like to see them move down and accumulate assets (picks or prospects) unless there’s another ‘can’t pass up kind of guy’ falling to them.

The curious case of Vinny Prospal. How much will he ask for to return? He wants to come back, and you have to assume he knows he’s not a priority. If you can have Jagr and you already have Fedotenko and Prospal – who do you choose of the three? One or more? Depends on which prospects the Rangers think are ready. I don’t think Prospal or Feds have a contract any time soon, that’s for sure.

Please, Rangers fans, no one suggest this summer the idea of another season of Nik Zherdev. Thank you.


Categories : Musings
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To win in the playoffs you need your stars to play to their capabilities, but you also need a few unsuspecting players to step their game up and bring more than might be expected of them.  For the Rangers heading into their series against the Washington Capitals Wojtek Wolski and Chris Drury are two wild cards that would greatly improve the chances of victory with strong play.  From game to game you might know which version will show up, but at their best each can help in their own ways.

Wolski started strong for the Rangers and then tailed off to point of being a healthy scratch, but he played a critical role in each of the team’s final two victories during the regular season.  The skill has never been the question for Wolski, rather the effort and impact he has on the ice.  Wolski can be a top line talent and since being put with Derek Stepan and Vinny Prospal he has shown more of that talent.  Against the Bruins he played excellent hockey and was instrumental in both Vinny Prospal goals that gave the Rangers life to make the comeback possible.  Against the Devils he scored early in the second period to tie the game after the Devils had taken the lead late in period one.  If that goal does not happen when it did there is no telling how the rest of the game plays out because of the tension both in the crowd and the team the longer it took for them to get back to even.  These two games are the kinds of efforts that could make Wolski a key piece that isn’t necessarily accounted for when first analyzing the Rangers in a series.

Chris Drury has had a horrendous season.  Between battling injuries and a lack of production when he has been on the ice the Rangers captain has been written off by many.  What Drury can bring to the team is playoff experience, penalty killing, faceoffs and leadership.  Do not expect him to go out and produce a lot of points, but the intangibles he can bring are important to a team as young as the Rangers are.  In the right role, Drury can still be a valuable asset to this club in the playoffs.

Neither of these two players will win or lose the series by themselves, but in each series role players can find big moments to have an impact and both of these players, whether it be the skill of Wolski or the experience of Drury have the ability to change a game in one of those crucial moments.

Categories : Analysis, Playoffs
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Drury, Zuccarello, Gilroy In; Avery, Eminger Out

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As per Andrew Gross, Rangers captain Chris Drury will return to the lineup for the first time since having knee surgery on February 4th, a surgery that was expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season. Drury will take Sean Avery’s spot, who probably lost his spot when he failed to clear the zone in the second period Thursday night, resulting in the first Atlanta goal.

Also in today are Mats Zuccarello, who was recalled yesterday, and Matt Gilroy. Per Gross, Gilroy is in today because he presents more of an offensive threat than Eminger, and can move the puck out of the zone quicker.

Categories : Lineup Changes
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It is impossible to replace Ryan Callahan in the lineup. He brings more to the table than his stat line, which says a lot considering his stat line makes him a top-two scorer on the team in goals and points. The hits, blocked shots, power play points, and short handed minutes are what makes Callahan one of, if not the most important Ranger skaters. His loss is going to hurt this team in the playoffs, but it also provides an opportunity for two veterans to step up and lead this team during it’s potential run.

The first player that needs to step up is Marian Gaborik. The Rangers most skilled player, Gaborik has underwhelmed this season, with a line of 22-25-47 in 60 games this year. He was almost a ghost in the beginning of the year, but has really turned up his game lately. He has started to take control of the play, and create opportunities for his teammates. Unfortunately, this isn’t leading to goals for the sniper, as his last goal was on March 20th, seven games ago. Gaborik needs to start putting pucks in the net, especially on the power play. Callahan had ten power play goals this season, Gaborik has seven. It’s not that big of a difference, but one extra goal with the man advantage in the final two games can be the difference between the playoffs and playing eighteen.

As for Chris Drury, he will need to show that he is not washed up when he returns. According to reports, he looks good, and should be back relatively soon following knee surgery. Drury is going to be needed to fill in the defensive void left by Callahan. Blocked shots, short handed minutes, and hits are going to have to be Drury’s calling card for the rest of the year if the Rangers plan on making a run. We all know Drury can win face offs, but with Cally out, it’s time the captain started earning more ice time.

The Callahan injury is nothing short of devastating. The Rangers lost one of their top scorers and top penalty killers with one Zdeno Chara slap shot. Callahan really stepped up this season in the absence of veteran production from Gaborik and Drury, who were expected to produce more offensively and defensively, respectively. Now with Cally out, it’s time for these two veterans to assume the role of veteran leaders, and take over the production that Cally was producing all year. The good thing for them, is that they don’t need to do it all, they just need to compensate for one aspect of Cally’s game.

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Drury’s Chance

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With the news Ryan Callahan is out long term a unique opportunity at redemption(?) may have come about for the current captain Chris Drury. Veteran center, Drury is not held in high regard by the vast majority of Rangers fans because he doesn’t come close to earning his big contract and the fact that progressively throughout his Rangers tenure, his offensive game has disintegrated. However, it seems hard to imagine all wouldn’t be forgiven should Drury come back in Callahan’s absence and re-discover his game to the point he becomes an impact forward once again. The timing wouldn’t be better.

Drury was known for his clutch play throughout his career and has playoff pedigree. Should the Rangers get in, they’ll need it more than ever with Callahan not likely to be back for a long time. Should the Rangers go deep, it’s hard to think Drury wouldn’t have had an impact. Drury back covers the absence of Callahan on the penalty kill; he makes the team better defensively and would take a lot of key draws. The pressure/hole comes on the offensive side of the puck. This year, Callahan has stepped up a level to the point where he is a legitimate, consistent threat to score, something Drury no longer is. If Drury can even get back to his Rangers self of years 1 and 2 (and not this year) he’d be adding offense to the team – much needed now a man down.

If Drury could get back to his Sabres days or his Avalanche ways then the impact the Rangers would feel by Callahan’s loss would be minimised. Granted, it’s hard, unlikely, to expect Drury to find any kind of impact game given the time he has missed and the rust he’ll likely have but if he can, the Rangers would be so much better off. Should Drury do the unthinkable and find some offense, a lot of the boos he has faced as a Ranger would turn to cheers, especially with a deep playoff run. A chance awaits Drury, a chance for redemption (of sorts)


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If/When Drury Returns, Where Will He Fit?

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In case you missed it, the Rangers have been without Captain Chris Drury for quite some time this year. He missed a good portion of the early season with a broken finger, and has missed the past several weeks with a knee injury. Without him, the Rangers have developed four solid and well balanced lines with a useful 13th forward, and do not seem to be missing their captain on the ice. However, knee injuries don’t last forever (generally speaking), and at some point, Drury will be back on the ice. If that is this year, then it becomes a question of who, if anyone, sits.

There’s no doubt that Drury’s game has slipped this season, but if it’s because of the knee, we won’t know until he returns. He has clearly lost a step, and was getting beat on a regular basis. But, Drury has been a consummate professional on and off the ice, and has been a great role model for the kids who have taken over the team in his absence. His presence is not missed on the ice, but is missed in the locker room, which may be enough to force coach John Tortorella’s hand in playing the aging center upon his return.

Should Tortorella succumb to the pressure to play Drury, who will sit? Right now, the Rangers seem to have a rotation for the 13th forward with Sean Avery, Wojtek Wolski, and Erik Christensen. Whoever plays the worst sits for a game or two. It’s fairly simple, and the Rangers have been on a five game winning streak since that was employed. Throw Drury into the mix, and then the Rangers have a $7 million Captain who should be in that rotation. Ice time will be reduced significantly for one or even two of those three already in the healthy scratch mix. The question remains though, does Drury deserve to be inserted back in the lineup on a regular basis?

Out since February 4 following knee surgery, the initial timetable for Drury’s return was six weeks. Six weeks has become almost eight weeks, and there is still no indication of when he will return. When he does return, the biggest question won’t be about his ability to play, it will be about where he fits into the lineup. The Rangers clearly don’t miss him on the ice, and while his leadership is important, is his $7 million price tag worth the leadership and declining skills?

Categories : Injuries
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Guest Post: Oh Captain, Where Art Thou?

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This morning’s guest post is courtesy of Brian:

First off, I’d like to start by saying this. I NEVER ONCE questioned the decision to give Chris Drury the “C”. In fact, I thought it made perfect sense. Here is a guy that despite size (or lack thereof) has been one of the most integral factors to any team he’s been a part of. He’s an Olympian and Stanley Cup winner. We’ve all heard the stories of a little league world champ who has won at everything that they’ve worked at in life. He has always been a top notch competitor on the ice, and a gentleman off of the ice (two things which any and every NHL captain should be able to claim true).

Here’s the thing. At some point one has to realize that past successes don’t equal future success. Jordan didn’t win as a Wizard. Gretzky never won again after leaving Edmonton. Messier eventually returned to a Ranger uniform and would guarantee a playoff berth but fail to deliver. None of the above mentioned names are anything short of incredible athletes that anyone would be lucky to be compared to. While we hoped Drury’s presence on the team would play out as it has in many a Cinderella stories throughout his life and career. It has not, plain and simple. Sometimes the name on the back of a jersey and the memories attached to that name can build a certain expectation. As we have learned in the past this is not a reliable method of predicting a team’s future (google a Rangers’ team that boasted the name Jaromir Jagr and Eric Lindros at the same time for reference).

I digress. The way to fix a problem isn’t to keep re-establishing the problem. It is to look at solutions. The name ringing in my ears while writing this post is not Drury. It is Callahan. After years of waiting, we are lucky enough to bode a strong homegrown team. I look back at some of those names from before and see a young Michael Jordan toting his first of many trophy for the Chicago bulls. I picture Sid “The Kid” Crosby lifting his first Stanley cup. I picture Jonathan Toews hoisting the cup over his head. I see a young pair of players named Gretzky and Messier hugging after their fourth consecutive championship victory. In more cases than not it came down to homegrown, youthful talent. Respectfully speaking, and with this seasons fragility in mind, I would be afraid Drury trying to lift Lord Stanley’s silver would put him out for the next season with a back issue. When Vinny Prospal returned, after 53 games missed, it was immediately announced that he would not be seeking the “A” for Alternate (or assistant) captain, back. He would forfeit this privilege and honor to a young, core teammate by the name of Marc Staal. Such an honorable move, from a true gentleman of sport is commendable. A true leader can spot that same quality in others and stand aside when needed. They also understand the importance of a true leader going into battle with you, not watching from the sideline. Imagine the revolutionary war had George Washington been calling shots from a press box.

I wish Chris Drury would prove me wrong. Fact is, it is time to pass the torch. Even Wayne Gretzky finished his career only lighting the lamp 9 times and missing the playoffs. Mind you, the “great one” did not wear a “C” as a Ranger except when Brian Leetch was injured. If someone like Wayne Gretzky who arguably saved the entire league single handedly did not command a “C” as a Ranger. Why does Drury? At over 7 million dollars a year and zero productivity, he is too expensive of a piece that we can’t put to use. Especially, when there is a player as dedicated and productive as Ryan Callahan on your team, a player that bleeds blue. He fights, scores, defends, and represents everything you are trying to instill in your youth. He is your captain. The letter on a jersey doesn’t matter. Accountability does. Oh Captain, Where art thou?

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