Excellent road win by the Rangers. Thank god Gaborik is back. But what’s with these recent management/coaching decisions, or at least the ones being bandied about. As I’m sure you know by now, Kotalik was going to be traded but the deal fell through. I have no bones with moving him. Since October he’s sucked. And it’s a large 3-year contract. What I do not understand is telling him he’s being traded before it is official. Now we have a disgruntled player that had to be sent home. What happens if another player is injured? And what message does this send to the rest of the team. Poor managing. (The only way I think I’m wrong on this is if he was being moved for Souray, and the deal fell apart only cause he broke his hand fighting — but even them wait till it’s official. So on second thought, Sather was just wrong. As usual.)
So the trades being publicly discussed now are Higgins/Kotalik for Olli Jokinen and a big body. Sure, why not. All players are underachieving and this gives us a center who, theoretically, can play. Higgins will turn around, but this is basically a wash with some cap savings next year. I’ll buy into it. But the other trade I heard was substituting Higgins with Gilroy. WHAT!?!?!?!?!?! Obviously Gilroy is underperforming, but he’s a rookie. (25, but still a rookie.) Perhaps he’s underperforming only in comparison to the incorrect high expectations New York has for its players. IT IS WAY TOO EARLY TO GIVE UP ON HIM. At least in terms of in exchange for an underperforming veteran. This is a multi-year marathon Glen, not a sprint. Don’t be that GM that mortgages the future to save his job. Be better than that.
Which brings me to my other management critique. This one of Tortorella. (Shocking, I know.) Del Zotto’s ice time has plummeted recently. No question his play has been sub-par. He even admitted so after the loss to Phoenix in which he was directly responsible for at least 2 of the goals was a -3 through 2 periods. BUT HE IS ONLY 19!!!! The whole point is to let him learn from his mistakes. The only way to do that is to play him. And then hope he is strong enough mentally to excel. Which it seems he is. Also, he could just be tired. He has looked slow recently. He’s not used to playing this many games, and on an expedited schedule cause of the Olympics no less. The break will give him 2 weeks to rest. Let’s see what happens after that. If he’s still underperforming, then we resort to Plan B, which is something I never thought I’d write 2 months ago. I’m actually okay with sending him down to the AHL for a short stint. Think what they did with Gilroy. Dominating sometimes has a way of waking up players. Plus, cause he will be so much better than most, he will be able to focus on fundamentals without worrying that every time he pinches he’s going to get scored on. Whatever the solution, he should never sit. He should be playing as many minutes as he can, either in the NHL (my preference) or in Hartford. Play the kids and lets go for the Stanley Cup…in 2012.