Big Ben Tuesday: Rangers Rebuild Goes Goon, Evander Kane Fixing Hockey Games

BEN-WHITNEY, Meet-The-Matts, Evander Kane, Ryan Reeves, Panarin, Google, Rangers, Pete Rose, Jim Dolan, NHL
The Kanes, Peter Rose, Ryan "The Assassin" Reeves

STAMFOR, CT – When Tom Wilson threw around New York Rangers like rag dolls last spring, it started a butterfly effect that altered the course of the team’s rebuild. The rebuild was coming along nicely, they had found several foundational players in Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller and Alex Lafrieniere, with several others looking promising. But the sudden insistence on adding grittier players has led them to overpay Barclay Goodrow and sign several guys that are tough, but not that skilled. The Rangers might not get manhandled anymore, but I’m not sure this abrupt change of direction will payoff in the long run.

The Tommerfly Effect

Wilson flapping his huge butterfly wings on the head of Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panerin led to a Jimmy Dolan had a hissy fit, who fired top executives John Davidson and Jeff Gorton. New GM Chris Drury has a clear directive to get tougher.

Generally, the blueprint is to have two scoring lines that can put the biscuit in the basket and two checking lines that can grind a team down. Ideally, your scorers would have a little grit and your grinders would have some skill. But you don’t need a team of Goons anymore. This seems like your classic rich kid overcompensation move by Dolan here.

Look at the Lightning, the champion of the last two years. They had lots of hard-nosed grinders, but they don’t give you much without the high end skill of Hedman, Point, Kucherov, and company. You find the skill, then you fill in with grinders. True skill players are much harder to come by then role players. The Rangers were well on the way to finding their skill guys but their petulant little worm owner got impatient and made a load of emotional decisions.

We need to find like a 90-year old die-hard Knicks and Rangers fan who is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the teams his loves and s*icide [stink] bomb Dolan’s owners’ box. The MSG Martyr would never be forgotten. (Just kidding, Big Brother).

Goon Squad

Ben “Goon”Whitney

The latest move was the trading for and extending goon extraordinaire, Ryan Reeves. If nothing else, it sure makes the Rangers’ opening night tilt vs Tom Wilson and the Capitals must-see TV. If they don’t fight in that game, it would be a massive letdown.

One of my favorite sports burns came when Reeves suspended in the playoffs last year. Reeves’ long time rival Evander Kane (more on him later) Tweeted that instead of suspending Reeves, the league should force him to play 20 minutes in all the playoff games. Meaning, he’s so bad at hockey that forcing him to play more would be more of  a punishment than taking him out of the lineup. Burn. Anyway, the hockey part of hockey is not RR’s specialty.

Big Divey Kane

Speaking of Kane, he’s in trouble for allegedly betting against his own team and losing games on purpose. The allegations were made on Instagram by he’s estranged wife, so we certainly need more evidence. But… the dude definitely had money problems in spite of a 7-year, $49 million dollar deal. If the stories about him being a big time gambler and jet-setting partier are true, then it’s possible. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

If it’s true he bet against his team, that’s so much worse than betting on your team, like Pete Rose supposedly only did. If you bet on your team to win, all you can is try harder to win. It doesn’t give you a better chance to win. If you bet against your team, a little oopsie here and there can decide the game and win you some beer money.

But more than other sports, it seems like it would be hard for a hockey forward to throw games without making it obvious. Sure, a goalie or even a D-man could do it, but I don’t know about a forward. He could turn it over here and there but they other team still has to score. And he’s likely only playing about a third of the time at most. He can’t put it in his own net and if he had egregious turnovers it would be too obvious.

He had a pretty good season last year too, so it’s no slam dunk. I would have to lean towards unlikely on this one, but the salacious side of me will be keeping an eye on this one.

That’s it for me. Come back for the foundational piece of the MTM rebuild in 1987, Angry Ward. He’s gotta be in bed by 9 though, so re-leash him at 8:45 please. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

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About Ben Whitney 313 Articles
Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.