When New York Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather signed ex-Washington Capitals enforcer Donald Brashear, the move was met with a widely negative reaction from most Rangers fans.
Almost everyone but Sather seemed to think signing Brashear was the wrong move and bringing Colton Orr back would have been the right decision, especially considering the grudge Rangers fans had with Brashear for knocking former-Ranger Blair Betts out cold with a blind side hit in the 2009 playoffs.
But like every other disastrous move that has been made by Sather, Rangers fans could only sit and watch, as he pulled off yet another absurd offseason contract.
Maybe Brashear has never really been given a fair chance by Rangers fans, who became increasingly angry after realizing that signing Brashear was not a joke at all, but reality. Fans unified and booed him before the season even got underway, greeted him with more boos at the first home game of the season, and continue to boo him now.
We are now 55 games into the season and Brashear remains Sather’s biggest mistake from this past offseason. Brashear has had a laundry list of injuries this season and has skated in just 35 games with New York.
As the season continues to progress, the Rangers’ lack of a real enforcer continues to loom large.
Even when he does play, he in no way exhibits the presence that he once had. Teams are no longer afraid of Brashear and opposing players are not scared to take a run at any Ranger player on the ice (like Henrik Lundqvist or Marian Gaborik). With no real threat on the team who can protect these star players, the Rangers remain one of the softest teams, if not the softest, in the National Hockey League.
Thursday night’s Rangers-Flyers game was a disaster for New York on so many levels, perhaps the most meaningful being the 2-0 shutout loss, but it goes deeper than that.
The organization should never allow Gaborik to fight someone like Dan Carcillo. If Gaborik were to get injured in that fight, which was a very real possibility given his injury-plagued history; the Rangers’ season would be at a loss. The Rangers could then forget any type of push to make the playoffs without their No. 1 goal scorer.
This is where the Rangers’ enforcer should’ve been present, but unfortunatley, he was sitting out with yet another injury.
It would be the enforcer’s job to protect Gaborik on the ice, so Gaborik wouldn’t have to feel the need to protect himself.
As stated above, Brashear has missed almost half of the season so far with a variety of injuries and he missed yet another game on Thursday night when the Rangers could have used a “tough guy” against the rival Flyers. But even when Brashear is in the lineup, he really doesn’t provide any security that normal enforcers in the NHL have on a daily basis.
Would that fight still have taken place if Brashear wasn’t injured? It’s hard to tell, but there’s a good chance that Gaborik would have still been targeted.
Brashear’s skating and offensive play with the puck isn’t even as advertised.
Sather felt, at the beginning of the season, that Brashear would be a better fit into head coach John Tortorella’s up-tempo system (in place of Colton Orr), but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Orr was working on his offensive skills with the puck last year, whereas, Brashear is seemingly even slower than Orr and less coordinated.
Brashear is a washed-up enforcer who has no place in New York and seeing his name on the roster (whether injured or not) just highlights yet another Sather mistake.