Live From the Blue Seats: The Zuccarello interview, and should the Rangers buy out Lundqvist?

Mats Zuccarello made international headlines with a tabloid interview on Saturday, weighing in on a range of topics and heavily criticizing the Rangers for their handling of both his exit and Henrik Lundqvist’s current situation. Is Zucc’s ire justified? The gang also discusses potential compliance buyouts, and Dave comes prepared with receipts. The NHL continues to work through scenarios for a return to play, and Becky, Rob and Dave answer a fan question about how the Rangers might address their need for a left-handed defenseman.

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  • Re: the comparison of Kreider’s situation to MZA’s, Kreider is more than 3 1/2 years younger than Zucc — that’s a huge difference when it comes to a long term contract.

    Re: the goalies, Georgiev may inevitably end up being trade bait in a year or two or three, but that shouldn’t influence their decision on whether they should have traded him this year. The market will determine the WHEN, not Hank or the inevitability of Georgiev getting traded. The Rangers believe Georgiev is a young goalie who if not for Shesty could be their future starter, that’s the value they’ve assigned to him (rightly or wrongly). If the right trade comes along, they’ll probably trade him.

    Re: Torts ruining Staal and Girardi, the opposite is true. They were at their best under Torts.

  • Since it looks like Igor is going to be No. 1, the question becomes: Does it make sense to have Hank and his $8.5 million cap hit serving as his backup?

    Sure, Hank would play some (though he has historically detested infrequent play or layoffs) and true he could be a role model for Igor, but is that enough to justify having Hank here? Allaire is going to be the real go to guy to bring Igor along. I can’t see the King being in a happy place in a greatly reduced role.

    I don’t necessarily like it much, but it appears the Lundqvist era is likely at an end. How to end it gracefully?

    • Hank plays a part in a graceful exit strategy — for someone who has proclaimed his love for this franchise he should step up and be part of the solution. Just because you might have a few years of play left in you doesn’t necessarily mean you should play those years out. Whatever his capabilities are NOW, they aren’t what they use to be.

      If the goal is to chase a Cup, then go to a TRUE Cup contender (and accept that you may not be the #1); if the goal is to be a starter again, go to a team that has weak goaltending (i.e., not the Rangers); if the goal is to finish your career as a revered hero who only played for one team, retire and accept a management position with the Team you love … if if if … I (as well as everyone other than Hank, his wife and a few insiders) know what the goal is … but if the goal is to be the starting goalie for the Rangers, that ship has unfortunately sailed.

      I understand the ego and pride of an athlete, but just like we say about trades and signings: better to do them one year early than one year late. That same principle applies to retirement, at least that’s my opinion — nothing is sadder than leaving on a low note.

  • This will be a business decision that will be based on money..If leadership still considers Staal as serviceable, then Hank could be bought out….

  • Many good comments here. Let’s assume that next year we are playoff bound. Let’s also assume that we do not buy out Hank, and instead let him do a “goodbye tour”. Remember he is/was the face of the NYR for the last 6 years. This would be a graceful move.

    Then it is Stall or D.Smith. I personally would buyout Smith and let Staal be the 7th D. This also forces DQ’s hand on playing a kid on the 4th line instead of Smith.

    • The problem Sal is that Smith isn’t a good buyout candidate, we save very little money with a Smith buyout. He’s also more tradable than Hank or Staal.

      Look in a perfect world we would all like to give Hank a special send off, but the world is far from perfect.

  • If I’m to buy out anyone it has to be Hank. $8 + million in cap savings, we do an awful lot with that kind of money saved. The man WAS great, and his number will hang from the rafters, but his expatriation date has come, and he should be gone.

    Sorry but this is a business, and Hank has to accept he isn’t king of the hill any longer, the kids are taking over. If he thinks that he can still play the game at a high level, take the buy out, and prove it elsewhere. I suspect he will not shine again, and that’s too bad………

    • Hey Walt!
      What’s an “expatriation date”?
      Sounds like something to describe Tom Brady’s end with the Pats! Lol.

      Be well, my friend.
      – Ranger Joe

      • Joe

        That’s the damn auto spell check……..We’ll be outdoors soon enough, and I have a years supply of face masks, so let the sun shine. Take care big guy!!!!!!!!

        On a side note, you should coin that expression Joe, it sounds great…………..

  • “Time waits for no one, no favors has he,” so the Rolling Stones have said. If Hank believes he still is a #1 goalie in this League, then inform the Rangers. Its pretty simple. Either let them buy you out, or let them trade you.
    If the rest of his tenure here is going to be a pity party, and reports from surrogates about how badly he is being treated….then cut bait now.
    IMO, the only thing the Rangers did wrong to Hank was not getting rid of him during the deadline-purge 2 seasons ago, or the ensuing summer. That’s on them.
    However, since then, its on Hank. He knew what was coming in terms of Georgiev and Shestorkin. Granted, neither one has really cemented their place yet, but really, is anyone STILL calling for Hank to be the starter? He could have requested a trade or a buyout at anytime. He didn’t. Why? That’s for him to answer, not the Rangers.
    Its pretty obvious that he doesn’t want to be nothing but a mentor; and really he shouldn’t. If he believes he still has a Cup in him, then move on, and try and go for it. But make sure to get it, because if you don’t, that will be on you…not the Rangers.
    IMO, retirement makes the most sense, and I know, its not my money I’m leaving on the table. But I just have a hard time seeing him trying to latch on to supposed contenders, on one year contracts every year(Jerome Iginla,anyone?)trying to win a Championship just to cement some sort of legacy. He’ll always be known as a Ranger…thats not gonna change. Why not just face the truth, walk off with a great legacy and be done with it?
    I know, its not me and who am I to tell him what to do…..just seems to me thats the way a real King would act…IMO.

      • Do you not live in the real world? If the Rangers would have made it worth his while(and that could only be in his bank account), you don’t think he would have waived his NMC? Taking into account that he wasn’t going to get the minutes he was used to getting, and would be phased out in the next 2 years after that deadline purge? Come on….money soothes all bruised feelings. Now, if they made that kind of offer to him, and he turned it down….then they did their due diligence. But if they never made that type of proposal….knowing that they were entering a complete rebuilding phase…then, that’s how it would be on them!

        • I think you lack the understanding of how contracts work in the NHL, they can’t throw more MONEY at a guy who is already signed to earn a specific amount. That’s the REAL world here. Besides, not everyone is motivated purely by money — thank God.

          There is only one way to get someone to waive their NMC if they don’t want to — disrespect them – scratch them, sit them, don’t play them until they ask you for a trade.

          • “I think you lack the understanding of how contracts work in the NHL.” (as I pause to stifle my laughing)!

            And there are no instances where teams have made promises or commitments to players to skirt around the strict “letter of the law?” Are you for real? Especially to a player of Lundqvist’s caliber and importance to the team? Really?
            As I asked before, do you NOT live in the REAL world?

          • Oh right, Sather was going to force Hank to magically waive his NMC — again, the only way to do that is by disrespecting the Player. Instead of doing your best impression of some of our worst politicians, why don’t you provide some actual proof of your position.

          • Obviously what I’m talking about is way over your head. A sizeable contribution from a third party to a player’s pet charity…access to company assets that the normal player may not be privy to….insurance payments….. preferable loan conditions…all things that can and do exist in the real world….but I forgot, your mind doesn’t think that way. Obviously, I have no proof that they would entertain such kind of offers…MSG being such the upstanding, letter of the law, ownership that they are(as I roll my eyes). The fact that you’re bringing Sather into this shows just how small your brain works. Remember this, when they embarked on the Lindros debacle, it wasn’t Neil Smith that was the final say..it was Paramount. And if you believe that Quebec was just looking for players and not “other” considerations, well, again…..the real world.
            Whatever the case, they have to find a way to solve their situation. He can’t be on this team going forward; whenever that may be.

          • Yes you are because you’re totally “out there” … I’m sure you believe in a litany of other conspiratorial ideas of some sort. Clearly almost anything is possible, but you totally neglect the most obvious possibility that Hank wanted what he wanted and wasn’t willing to settle for anything less. Instead you prefer to cling to this idea that nefarious dealings involving secret charitable donations, preferable loan conditions (as if Hank couldn’t get them on his own when he’s making $8.5M per year), etc. could have been negotiated. Clearly you just hate Sather so you try and invoke these unlikely possibilities to heap some extra criticism of his regime.

            No need for hyperbole my friend, the Sather Administration made its share of mistakes … you don’t have to pile on with made up issues of which you have ZERO proof or knowledge.

          • I never mentioned Sather…I have no idea why you even brought him up. Obviously I’m discussing possible scenarios that are WAY above your fighting weight,(ie. the real world).
            Bottom line, if they REALLY wanted him gone, they could, and should have made it happen. If they didn’t, then it’s ON THEM!
            As long as hes here, get ready for more criticism as to how he’s being treated.

          • Your scenarios suck, that’s the problem. It was NEVER on the Rangers and always on Hank. He controlled his destiny … anything short of the Rangers permanently putting him in street clothes or having him be the backup all the time when they decided to “rebuild” the team wouldn’t get the job done. I know it’s that simple and that the most logical way of looking at this situation eludes you … maybe you suffered a brain injury.

          • Its been a week, and you still feel the need to put your limited intelligence on display for everyone(still interested) to see. When you have to resort to insults and childish reasoning…well, really there is no need. I think anybody who read any of your drivel already got the picture. For some reason, you have a major hate on for Lundqvist, and won’t even entertain any thought that maybe the Rangers screwed themselves here. That’s fine, your opinion…I just don’t get the need to feel superior or the need to “win.” Then again, I do(to be honest); just trying to be polite.(By the way, I see you forgot to give yourself a thumbs up…better get on that!)
            This will have to be it….I’ve reached my moron quota for the month…oh no, I’ve stooped to your level! My bad!

          • Far from it, I don’t hate Hank at all … it’s actually the opposite. That said I almost always value the TEAM over the individual in these matters. I’m done with the somewhat veiled insults of your intellectual prowess, but you clearly started that downward spiral early on in this discussion. Be well mickeydee.

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