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 Hockeyfights.com. 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?