Saturday, June 26, 2010
What A Way To Spend A Friday
Billed as a Ranger Draft Party, the Friday night get-together at the Hills was more of a 'cram Ranger fans into a hot hipster lounge where they will drink and wait to be disappointed.'
And disappointed they were. As well as dismayed, angered and utterly baffled.
Three things were lustily booed: Gary Bettman, the Islanders draft table and Glen Sather. Sather garnered the loudest boos ... and that was before the Gordie Clark announced the selection of Moose Jaw's Dylan McIlrath 10th overall.
Afterwards, well, there was a whole lotta shock, some quizzical looks and then some head shaking. Oh, and me laughing my ass off in the back. The Ranger braintrust and I apparently were on the same train of thought as they selected the same player I picked for the team ... just waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay earlier than I would have. They clearly decided to draft for a need rather than picking the best player available and were afraid that that player would be gone quickly. Considering how wacked out the round was after the top few picks, perhaps they were right.
But we will never know.
The Rangers added a big and mean defenseman who, should he improve his skating, could provide a perfect compliment to the skill of Michael Del Zotto. Ryan McDonagh would not have been the partner that McIlrath can be. McDonagh is a strong, solid two-way defender who hopefully will head to Broadway and be a good Blueshirt for a long, long time. But McIlrath could be the Beukeboom to MDZ's Leetch.
When Beuk was out there, Leetchie could freelance all he liked because there was a rock behind him. Should the puck come back the other way, Beuk was the big body to stuff the zone and intimidate the opposition from crashing the slot in numbers. He bought time for the team to backcheck and used his physicality to keep players from getting any rebounds Richter would give up. Trust the goaltender to make the first save, and either clear the puck yourself or keep the bad guys from getting it.
Yes McIlrath at 10 was a huge stretch but it possibly filled a void that desperately needed filling. Plenty of skill was left on the board and there are plenty of holes left to fill but that will be what Saturday is for. So relax for now and know that the franchise is stronger. Is it as strong as it could have been? Well, history will decide that. No use getting angry over a failure that hasn't happened yet and (hopefully) may never occur.