Now that "the trade" has been
completed many fans have progressed from shock to acceptance to a quiet
excitement for the upcoming season. If you're like me you were
probably already excited about seeing a team that would feature more youth
than in recent years, a team that probably wouldn't make the playoffs but
would put forward an honest effort each night. But with season
ticket renewals down, and an increasing number of empty seats each game it
was obvious that not all fans were willing to bear the brunt of the
Then came the Lindros rumors that
eventuated in the trade that was completed just this past Monday.
Gone were Jan Hlavac, Kim Johnsson and Pavel Brendl, three of the
cornerstones of the expected youth movement, and in their place a player
who had some serious question marks looming ominously over his head.
While we grieved over the loss of the
youngsters, the Rangers organization continued to promote their latest
signing dismissing any questions about his health while seemingly putting
the press gallery under some sort of spell. Realistically we
probably couldn't expect anything else, far be it from Sather and co. to
question their signing in public and create further outcry over the
"one-sided" trade and though many fans were initially angry, the
momentum has slowly shifted towards Sather's point of view.
So what is the likelihood of another
concussion? In the aftermath of the trade it appears six concussions
may have been exaggeration. Bobby Clarke himself expressed his
doubts believing that at most that there were four. Rumors about
faking injuries and "concussion diagnosed over the phone" hit
the newspapers and were quickly picked up by television and radio.
However many concussions and to what grade
they were is difficult determine in this post-trade honeymoon but one
thing's for sure, there's not a lot of evidence within hockey one way or
another to aid us in predicting the future. Paul Kariya's recovery
from Post Concussion Syndrome is well known but the Anaheim winger's game
is light-years away from the physical style that Lindros plays.
Numerous other players have managed to come back from one or two
concussions (Mark Recchi and Gary Suter come to mind), while closer to
home Pat Lafontaine and Beukeboom show the negative side.
Hlavac's career stumble as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers?
Only hindsight will be able to judge
accurately the risk has been taken, but to expect more than 70 games from
#88 this season is probably going against the odds, concussions or no.
On the other side of the trade Philadelphia
appears to have done well. Kim Johnsson provides a dimension to the
Flyers defense, that has been lacking for some time. It remains to
be seen whether Barber and Clarke will tolerate his lack of physical play
in the defensive zone, but his offense and what he can do on the power
play could certainly help the team. Hlavac may end up having the
toughest time adjusting to his new team. Playing behind Leclair and
Gagne, the left winger may find it tough to get ice time, especially on
the power play and at critical junctures in the game. Unfortunately
for Jan, this move may not help his career and it would not surprise this
observer to see Clarke shipping him out by the trade deadline in 2003.
Pavel Brendl remains the big unknown,
perhaps Barber can find a way to motivate the young winger into realizing
his potential, either way future reviews of this trade will probably be
tied to the success that Brendl does or doesn't have.
Before we close the door on this trade
please let's have a moment of silence for those that were Rangers.
Farewell Kim Johnsson, Jan Hlavac and Pavel Brendl, we hardly new you but
now you're working for the enemy.