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May 24, 2007

Comments

John Dellepina must have been in tears when he heard about Leetch.

Leetch never seemed to feel comfortable after his days as a Blueshirt ended. I cannot help but think the trade itself was a big factor in the end of his great career.

I only hope I can get tickets....

When are the rangers going to get some heat for there drafting. These first round picks passing up better players all the time. AS for leecth good luck Brian. You were a great rangers. Maybe you can do a better drafting job?

Why should the Rangers regret drafting Korpikoski? He could still turn out to be a much better player than any of those you mentioned. He's got gobs of potential, he's much bigger than Zajac, he's a better skater than all of those players you mentioned. Wait about two more years and then you can make a judgement on that.

Well, Don Maloney went from calling Korp a home run on draft day to worrying during last training camp if he was ever going to make it in the NHL, so I'd say that counts as regret, especially when the other two forwards are already 17- to 22-goal scorers as rookies and the defenseman is in the Cup final in his second NHL season. Korp scored 11 goals and 38 points in 78 games in the AHL -- I hope Hugh Jessiman isn't going to hold his breath for two years waiting for him to surpass Zajac, Wolski, and Meszaros. By the way, Zajac is 6'2-205, Korp is 6'1-195.

I know it's fun to slam the Rangers for their poor draft record (I do it all the time!) but it is entirely too early to write Korpikoski off. The kid's got a ton of raw talent and at times was the most dynamic player on the ice in Hartford. If he can pull it all together, and display that talent on a consistent basis, it's not at all out of the question for him to surpass Zajac, Wolski and Meszaros (who still makes a ton of mistakes and probably would have been better off taking a slower route to the NHL.)

Korpikoski is not Jessiman.

the rangers drafting in the first round has been atrocious for years now.with the exception of staal,no one really has stood out.even a guy like sanguenetti,who i saw play in hartford,did not look impressive to me.that is exactly why there is a perception that we have no true blue chip offensive talent.

Which team will be the first to offer to trade their player one on one straight up for Korpikoski? The Devils, Senators, or Avalanche?

Dubi - Right now, not one of them. My point was that it's too early to write him off -- that's all. That's just my opinion based on seeing him play in Hartford. You're certainly welcome to disagree -- it's your web site. I was just trying to contribute an alternate point of view to the discussion.

Boys...where are the pro-Leetch comments? I guess that will be for me and John D. to write about.

I actually talked to John via email today, noting how much a treat it was to watch Brian during his incredible career in New York. I always thought, from beginning to end, that he was a dominant defenseman, and cover still assert his authority on the game in many ways. This was most notable on the power play, but I always thought Leetch's defensive skills got a bad rap, and were largely undeserved. He was one of the best offensive defenseman, for sure, but he WAS a great defenseman, in the purest sense of the word, as well.

Ask most fans what they think of when Brian Leetch's name comes up, and they'll say it was his presence on the team, and how he carried himself as a Ranger. He not only represented the Rangers well - he represented hockey well. He didn't complain, did his job (exceptionally), and was a class act by all accounts.

When Brian was dealt with the Rangers, it was a dark day in my book. I thought on many occasions that he'd return, and when he didn't, it was tough to stomach. But today is the closest thing to a reunion - aside for the upcoming jersey retirement at MSG. Brian is retired, but he's a Ranger once again (though he always was), and no matter what the cost, I'll be there to see #2 raised up high.

Thanks for the memories, Brian.

*and could assert (not "and cover still assert")

wondering whether having a Leetch night this year means there won't be a Gretzky night when Coyotes come to town...

I think when a player of Brian's caliber is dealt away, you should see enormous returns. Look when we dealt guys in 1994 to get Larmer, did we not give up big time players? Of course we did to get a proven guy like Larms. We gave up Darren Turcotte and James Patrick.
Same should have been true when you give up a Brian Leetch to a team trying to make a run for the cup. We should have had big time young guys that should be mainstays on the Rangers.
I had to look up who we got in that trade.

"Leetch was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs just prior to the trade deadline for prospects Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, and a first-round pick in the 2004 draft, which became Lauri Korpikoski, and a second-round pick in 2005, which became Michael Sauer."

Looks to me that if this trade will ever be justified Sauer and Immonen need to make their mark with the big club. I just hated that he was traded for an assortment of projects, prospects and picks. If those two I mention become half the player Leetch had been, it will be worth while.

Still I hate to see the way Brian was treated by the Rangers. Pack your bag and hit the road and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

Leetch is probably the greatest Ranger of all time.

One late-April evening in 1998, I happened to run into Mike Richter and Brian Leetch while waiting for a light to change on Columbus Avenue. At first, I didn't want to approach them, but then figured that as a card-carrying fan, I have the right. So I sidled up to them at the crosswalk and made some blathering nervous chatter about being a blueseater and did they happen to notice if the Pens were winning their game that night and Ricky, naturally, was all smiles and small talk and even talked about how good Ron Francis was.

After I asked them to sign my schedule, I lamely said something like "Except for all those ties, you guys had a great season. Thanks!" Without missing a beat, Leetchie snarkily replied, "Yeah, great season. Except for missing the playoffs."

I'll never forget that he CARED, you know? He showed that emotion on his sleeve--to a stranger. That he also always gave his best to his country won't be forgotten either. Class act and I'll be there for his number's retirement, no doubt weeping for what was lost and the gross way it was handled.
***
Hey Dubi, in the slow summer months, why not run a column called "Close Encounters" and solicit remembrances of fans seriptitiously meeting Rangers? I'll bet there are lots of great stories! Then I can tell you the funny thing Richter said about Gretzky :-)

Kondratiev became Sykora, I think.

FYI - I voted for Gomez with age the deciding factor over Drury. Then someone from Hartford. Then a trade. Then Briere. Then Forsberg. Then another UFA.

To be honest Leetch the player was great, Leetch the Ranger Captain was a mistake and in my book hurt his career via his play.

I feel bad that he was not allowed to end his career as a Ranger but for all he did he is not the greatest Ranger of all time in my book.

I also want to add my two cents on Korpie as Dubi is right there are way too hints that the Rangers do regret drafting him and that is sad because he is a good kid who did not ask to be a part of this situation.

I agree that he is no Jessiman but he also is not Lauri Tukonen who so many wanted and was taken by the Kings at 11 and has not been able to make it to the NHL as a full timer either.

"Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero announced that (the Penguins have) signed undrafted free agent defenseman Jonathan D’Aversa to a three-year NHL Entry Level Contract."

The Newark Star-Ledger sports section has an article about Leetch's retirement. In it, Leetch confirms that TOM RENNEY himself offered a spot on the Rangers to Brian and that he turned it down in part because of sour feelings towards GM Glen Sather. How sad!!!

Leetch was the greatest d-man in the history of the Rangers, but his utter failure as a team captain, and this kind of crap with his feelings being hurt prevent him from even being considered in "greatest Ranger of all time" conversation. You wear the sweater for the fans and the team, not the GM. Slats traded him to a team that was a legitimate Cup contender, you would think he was traded to Siberia...

Leetch's feeling for Glen Slither had nothing to do with his reluctance to play for the Rangers last season.

"I didn't want to run and chase teams, try to predict who would be good and move the family around," Leetch said, referring to wife Marybeth and their three small children. "It wasn't until (Rangers coach) Tom Renney called me personally about a week into free agency that I got that little shot of adrenaline again and started getting myself back into it."

"But then I had a tough time the next six weeks getting myself physically to where I wanted to be. I didn't want to go back to New York - especially New York - and not be 100% or at a level I was comfortable with. I didn't want to not be good right from the start there - though I'm sure people there would have given me time and the benefit of the doubt."

He continued, "When training camp was about to start, I didn't feel ready to make a commitment," Leetch said. "Still, I felt I could get settled and keep in shape and be ready to go. But more and more, I found it harder to feel I could come back and help the team and not embarrass myself.

"And it slowly started to sink in that this was the end."

- from the NY Daily News article

Leetch loved playing hockey, and he loved playing for the NY Rangers. He loved the fans and the city. It's that simple. And he was treated shabbily by the general manager. Slats seems to have no loyalty to the team, and that's worrisome to me. That's why Maloney is so important in the AGM position.

But Leetch did not have the personality to be Captain. His leadership was of the quiet kind, his personality a bit more introverted and therefore the C sewn to his sweater seemed to be made of lead. Yet he never wanted to let his team down be declining the C. A strange situation.

I've missed him and his play these last few years, and what we received in exchange for him makes it seem worse, but only time will tell what will happen with a lot of our prospects. But yes, we've drafted poorly in many instances.

Dubi

If you have a problum with Portland deal with it!! They just had some problums this season! But next season they will kick butt! So dont diss Portland!!

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