Thursday, July 9, 2009
Welcome Alice! I Mean, Ales!
A guy at work asked me this afternoon how long it would take for the Faithful to start calling Ales Kotalik by the warm, feminine name Alice. My guess? Not long at all. It's the Garden after all. But, like every new Ranger who hasn't proven to be past his prime (Naslund, Redden) or a criminal (Brash), I am willing to give him a bit of leeway at the outset.
Last season I only saw about a half dozen Sabre games so I made an txt inquiry to a Buffalo fan (my buddy Pockets) to get a scouting report. "Great potential very good whens hes on takes too many days off sick shot. Not bad for the 3rd line. Good o point for pp."
Well, that sounds ... disturbing. Given that Kotalik is surely slotted for second line duty, enigmatic forwards don't seem to flourish with Tortorella and there hasn't been a capable forward regularly working the point on the power play since, since ... I can't even think of one. Then again, the second and third lines should see about the same amount of time, Torts certainly doesn't seem afraid of tackling the tough head cases and he may very well be willing to try something new to jumpstart the yellow-bus-special special team.
We definitely have to hope so, especially if Kotalik is really signed for the rumoured three years at three million per. He needs to at least put up 46 points to match the output lost by Naslund's retirement. But, numbers aside, the biggest part of this signing may be the reverberations felt on the roster. Well, one member of the roster. The removal of Nylander turned game-breaking superstar Jagr into reclusive, muttering mediocre Jagr; the impact of the addition of Kotalik may have the same magnitude - in the opposite direction. It could spark Drury into rediscovering the inner former Cup-winner within. Dru never looked comfortable last season as he struggled with the pressures of the captaincy and the coaching change. If Kotalik can spur him to find the form that earned him the Captain Clutch moniker (and the contract that came with it) , it will be well worth the investment.
As for the Alice thing, well, that will take a little more - 75 points, a willingness to sign autographs, participation in Toys For Tots and the Rangers challenging for the division lead. Hey, if we can't dream now, when can we?