Tuesday, July 15, 2008

G-Bye Rye

Much to the glee of many Ranger fans, Ryan Hollweg's stay on Broadway has come to a close. The Blueshirts traded Hollweg to the Toronto Maple Leafs today.

The writing was on the wall for Hollweg when the Rangers acquired three fourth liners (Voros, Rissmiller and Fritsche) two weeks ago. There was simply no space for the floppy-haired, mustachioed dance machine.

And that is just a shame. See, I am not one of those who hung the Rangers loss in Game 3 to the Pens on Hollweg. Did he make a bad hit at a bad time? Yes, yes he did. Did it cost the Rangers the game? No. The ensuing penalty killers were trapped out on the ice and, despite being professional athletes - didn't have the energy to skate for two minutes. Then again, even that goal wasn't the difference maker - the Rangers were already losing thanks to a poor showing by Hank.

Hollweg made his share of bad hits prior to that but he also brought several good qualities to the team that are now lost - his on-ice energy and enjoyment of playing being two of them, and his goofiness and California cool being two others. People love to quantify contributions and in the case of Hollweg - as with Sean Avery before him - you just can't do that.

Do I think that dealing Hollweg was a bad deal? Not really. As I said, his spot in the line-up has already been given away to bigger, better players.

Do I think that dealing Hollweg is a big deal? No, not in the least. But it is another step in redefining the identity of the Rangers to something that is more benign. The reputations of the players that the Blueshirts have brought in classify them all as hard working but low key guys (outside of that Swede who won't likely make the team). I hate to say it, but that is boring. Where is the excitement? What is going to get you out of your now-pricier seat? I'm asking, because I just don't know. On paper, the new-look Rangers don't particularly look good, or even particularly entertaining. Let's hope I am wrong.

Either way, best wishes to Hollweg in Toronto. Some of us will miss him.

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