Brooksie reported - but could not confirm - that Markus Naslund is calling it a career.
As I said when we signed him last summer, Naslund should have retired with the lockout. He truly was a game-breaker who was wonderful to watch back when the Canucks put him out there with Morrison and Bertuzzi but time goes by and the force faded with age. There were moments this season when you could see some evidence of his former superstardom but they were few and far between. Nazzy looked completely lost and a step behind come playoff time, which was when he was needed most. Perhaps he will completely step away from the game or will have a farewell tour in Sweden with Modo ... either way, his time in New York is through.
Inferno at Rangers Review sees this as the first domino to fall in a massive restructuring. While I am not so sure that is possible, I agree with another point that he made in that the money saved will help re-sign some of the team's free agents. Seeing as they made up most of the top performers - Callahan, Dubinsky, Betts, Sjostrom and Antropov - any little bit will help.
As for who will replace Naslund on the roster, I think that it is the perfect chance to promote from within - not only is it cheaper but this team needs to get away from the mercenary mentality and actually build a winner.
The pieces are there and Dane Byers might be the man to step up. Byers, who was hurt most of the season in Hartford, had seven points in nine games before his injury and returned for the playoffs where he had four points (three goals and an assist) in the six postseason games. He is a big, strong winger who could look fantastic across from Ryan Callahan - giving the Blueshirts a more talented, but just as relentless version of the Ben Eager/Adam Burish combination who looked so good for Chicago last night in Game 2 of their series against Vancouver.
Speaking of such, I am watching most every playoff game (gotta get my fix somehow!) and have decided to just root for a Original Six final. Of the eight teams still playing, there is no way I could ever pledge my allegiance to Cindy so the Pens are out. It would be nice to see the team that beat the Rangers go all the way, giving a little vindication, but Tom Poti keeps me from jumping on the Cap bandwagon. Ray Whitney is a personal fav but not seeing Pucky anywhere on their jerseys keeps me away from the Canes. The Ducks, well, are the Ducks: even though the Mighty is gone, they are still a product of the evil empire that is Disney. As for the Canucks, I'm sorry but those twins are creepy - astoundingly good, but creepy. That leaves Boston, Detroit and Chicago and you just can't go wrong there. Keep your silly baseball rivalry out of the hockey equation and root for former Ranger Marc Savard. I will go on the record and say that I feel that Nick Lidstrom is one of the top five defensemen of all time and it is easy to Commit To The Indian when they are so exciting to watch.
So what about you guys? Who are you throwing your support behind?
Oh, and one last thing - as you can see programming here at the blog has slowed but I can promise that it won't go away. There is always stuff to talk about, but it is nice to be able to catch up a little on life away from the rink. I am sure that Ranger season subscription packages (with their inevitable price increases) are coming, as is the Stanley Cup and the ensuing offseason. So stay tuned!