Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fourth Line Forecast

In recent years it seems like the fourth line guys are the ones who are quickest to endear themselves to the fans here in New York. From the HMO line (Hollweg, Moore and Ortmeyer) to the SOBs that started this season (Sjostrom, Orr and Betts), these guys work the hardest and battle in the trenches - exactly the qualities that the Garden Faithful appreciate.

Well, it appears that we may have a whole new unit to embrace this fall. The SOBs are all unrestricted free agents and Glen Sather and John Tortorella certainly don't watch the same games we do. Sather is easily star struck and will do anything to fit more ridiculous contracts under the cap. And, of course, he would move into a slightly-better position to do that with NHL minimum contracts filling the fourth line. Every penny counts in this day and age and why not cut off something that isn't going to be used much, given Tortorella's preference in rolling three lines instead of four.

The bad news for us SOB lovers is that first piece to make the changeover is now in place as Jordan Owens was signed today. The good news is that Mitch Beck of Howlings was really impressed with this guy in Hartford this season. As Mitch wrote, Owens is "less expensive alternative and is likely to get a hard look for [Sjostrom's] job in next season's training camp." Seeing as the current top three centers aren't headed anywhere, Artem Anisimov should get a good look for the fourth line center position and the off wing can easily be filled by Voros, who Torts seemed to prefer over someone who could actually skate and fight and positively contribute to the team.

It is sad to see but just a simple fact of life as one of the Faithful: the Garden will do their damnedest to make us miserable. They trade away our heroes (Graves, Leetch) and raise prices (even though they pay around $13 million less in salary now than they did pre-lockout). And yet we keep coming back.



Schram said...

I hope your wrong about this one Scotty, getting rid of the SOB line would be completely stupid especially since BS were the best people to kill off a powerplay.....boy if I ever see Sather in public you may never hear from him again.......

Sammael said...



I can't make that frowny face big enough.
I love the chemistry Betts and Sjo had going. Betts is still the only Ranger I have NEVER cursed at. Ever.

If this happens, I think I may start questioning my faith... in hockey. Bettman already has me questioning the almighty NHL front office...

Don't take my Betts and Sjo too!?!?!

Unknown said...

Can I just start the rumor wagon? If you notice in Dallas is a fourth line center who seems to share the same last name as a certain prized goalie the Rangers posses. Niedermayer left NJ even though they threw every cent they could at him to keep him playing there just so he could play with his brother. I don't think the Rangers would dump Betts but I wouldn't be surprised to see Joel playing LW next season.