Monday, December 20, 2010

The Donald Vs. The Boogeyman

The Rangers will play their 36th game of the season on Thursday when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning and the news has broken that Derek Boogaard will not play. Boogey's status is unknown as, in addition to the shoulder strain that he has been out with, he is suffering from headaches - one of the tell-tale signs of a concussion. It would not be the first time he missed time because of a brain injury; Boogaard missed the preseason and first few games of the '09-10 campaign in Minnesota as well.

If you did not see it, both shoulder and head injuries pretty clearly happened in the quick ass kicking handed to Boogaard by Matt Carkner earlier this month.

I posed the question on Twitter last week: which was the worse signing, Boogaard or Donald Brashear.

The circumstances of the Donald Brashear signing can not be brought into the conversation, as that would easily tilt it towards the old man. The guy nearly killed the Rangers' Blair Betts, a hit that essentially won the playoff series for the Caps as it knocked the penalty killer (and fan favourite!) out. And then Glen Sather had the nerve to bring him into the Blueshirt locker room. Despicable.

But that was before he pulled on a Ranger sweater so what needs to be considered in the argument is everything that he did while wearing a Blueshirt. The Brashear contract was two years, $1.4m per. At the time the GM said, "We think that Brashear gives you a couple of other things. He is quicker (then Colton Orr), he can get under the puck a little faster and under the style of game we are going to play we think he will be more effective for us."

Well, he wasn't.

Brashear played 36 games total as a Ranger, missing 17 of the team's 53 matches due to injuries before being benched for good ahead of his banishment to Hartford in February. He is now in the Quebec senior league, apparently rediscovering his scoring touch but as a Ranger Brash had no goals despite 18 shots, collected one assist, was -9 and had 73 PIM on nine fights. He went 3-4-2 in those battles, according to Not one of those fights were in the defense of a teammate, in retaliation of something the opposition did or at a time when the team needed the energy boost.

After letting Brash's replacement Jody Shelley go to the rival Flyers, Sather ignored prolific tough guy (and faceoff wiz) Zenon Konopka for the heaviest of the heavyweights, Derek Boogaard. He handed him a four year deal worth a total of $6.5 million ($1.625 cap hit per year according to CapGeek). This time Sather said, "Derek is obviously the biggest and the toughest. We need that. Too many times last year I saw guys scraping snow into Henrik's face, and I didn't like it. I don't think we'll be seeing that anymore."

Except we have.

Like Brashear, Boogaard has yet to fight in a spot when he was needed and he has done nothing to discourage opposing teams from hitting Hank. Also plagued with injuries, Boogaard has played 22 of the 35 games to date. He has had a goal (on just four shots) and an assist, was even (+/-), 45 PIM on seven fighting majors. Hockeyfights has him at 4-2-1 but perhaps his finest moment was not in a game, but prior to one - when he slid between Avery and Carcillo.

Now we can't definitively say that Boogaard has been a bust. His tenure is not at an end, or at least not that we know of (concussions are nothing to mess around with). But the debate can be raised: which was the worse signing, Boogaard or Donald Brashear?


Dave Hollenberg said...

Hard to say Boogy's been a bust. Hasn't even been half a season. But he does need to get healthy and start contributing, because at this pace, he's headed towards Brashear territory.

jb said...

Both are deadwood. Letting Orr go was a massive mistake. The Stealth GM is penny wise and pound foolish. Orr got what? He's listed as getting $1M per year thru the 12-13 season. Boogy's $1.65M thru 13-14. Orr was a bargain, he's younger, and his game has been improving. He has 2 goals and a game winner this season. What is this fascination with these guys who have a reputation, but are over the hill? This is just more bonehead management.

mike said...

Boogaard should get one season before he's called a were so right about Brashear Scotty, he was a total waste of cap space.

Wasn't there a rumor about Torts not liking Colton Orr so much? He scratched him a few times down the stretch and in the playoffs if memory serves.

David said...

If you ignore the timing of the two, it seems like everything would point to Brashear. Boogaard has him in almost every category and the book isn't closed on the big man yet. However, when you consider the situation surrounding Boogy's signing, I have to go with Boogaard.

When Brashear was signed, Sather was looking for some toughness and opted for reputation over substance, letting Orr go and signing Brashear. While it looked like a bad signing to most, there was at least the idea that the mere presence of this renowned heavyweight would discourage the other teams. This was flawed to begin with and was proven to be nonsense throughout the season. What makes the Boogaard signing worse was that Sather and Torts had the experience with Brashear fresh in their mind and essentially did the same exact thing again! Who would you rather have, a capable Jody Shelley or another big man that doesn't do much enforcement and isn't even a deterrent (ask Matt Carkner how deterred he is by Boogey)? I'd rather have Boogey than Brashear in a pinch, but I'd have to give them prize for biggest mistake to the Boogey signing.

Craig said...

I think Boogyeman's best days are ahead of him. Hopefully the headache and shoulder have time to heal up together and we can see him in February/March when things get heated. He was BELOVED in minnesota, who seem to have a good fan base. Let him earn his stripes hear before throwing him under the bus prematurely. He is still pretty young at 28.

per djoos said...

minnesota wild has two goon free agents.

rangers sign one of them for a stupid amount of money across four years. he quickly does nothing of consequence.

blackhawks sign the other to a 2-year contract for a minumum salary. he quickly establishes himself as the heavyweight champ.

which one of these organizations is well-run?

Puck Central said...

per djoos -

John Scott is not the NHL's heavyweight champ. Nice try though.

Also, too many people still assume that Sather let Orr walk and if Sather offered Orr the money he'd still be here. From what I've read since that summer, Orr was going to Toronto no matter what b/c he wanted to play there, probably b/c he knew that Brian Burke had a reputation for letting his fighters get a lot of playing time, which clearly isn't the case w/ Tortorella (at least it wasn't back when Orr was a NYR).

Brashear was at the end of his career when he came to NY. He never was the champ while in NY. Boogaard is still the most feared man in the NHL, without a doubt. He's also still fairly young. Hopefully he gets better soon. There's a major difference b/n the washed up Brashear and the injured Boogey Man

Anonymous said...

Why did we ever let Shelly go he was much cheaper and more effective, he even scored some important goals now and then.

Derek Felix said...

You're pushing here. Boogey has fought and also throw the weight around on shifts. I like him a lot more than Brash. So, he got hurt. That's part of fighting. Leave the guy alone.

Dave W said...

They're both not Konopka, so I will say both of them can die in a fire.

Hey, did you see they sent Weise back to work on his Gatorade bottle skills and called up MZA? Neat.

per djoos said...

puck central, you be missing da point.

while he may not be the 'heavyweight champ' despite not having lost a fight this year and having issued more smackdowns than boogy, john scott in fact does all the things boogy is reputed to do for a fraction of the cost.

the boogy signing is a waste of cap space. sign a guy for that kind of money, and he should play 12-15 minutes a night at least, kill penalties and fulfill some function besides engaging in largely useless tangos.

scott plays the same amount of minutes and has become just about equally feared by the opposition. for a fraction of the price. that's good economic sense, and good management.