2001-08-25 / Sports

Ode to the A-Train by Elio Velez

Ode to the A-Train by Elio Velez

Hello all you sports fans. I’m a little mad and if you’re a New York Rangers fan, the reason is obvious. The Rangers have acquired six-time concussion Forward Eric Lindros from the Philadelphia Flyer for Defenseman Kim Johnsson, as well as in return, Forwards Jan Hvlac and Pavel Brendl.

From New York to Banff, Alberta, everybody knew of Sather’s obsession to acquire Lindros. At the trading deadline last year, Sather had proposed a trade to Philly GM Bobby Clarke. When Jaromir Jagr was traded to Washington, Sather focused on other options to improve. His #1 idea, it has seemed all along, was to acquire Lindros.

Eric Lindros and Philly GM Bobby Clarke have been in a stalemate on a contract for a year. When Lindros got knocked out for the 6th concussion against New Jersey in the playoffs, that was Clarke’s opening. Clarke would not cave in to Lindros and his agent, and father Carl, on a new contract. That led to Lindros demanding a trade to Toronto and too much hijinx had occurred when the trade did not go through.

Sather kept obsessing about Lindros and his #88 sweater in New York. After chasing down Clarke, he started to offer live bodies for the 6-time concussion prone power forward. Clarke had Sather with the upper hand. Clarke knew that Sather had to bring a big name to NY and the holdout Lindros could bring in plentiful booty in a trade back.

Clarke had first asked for a package of wingers Radek Dvorak and Jamie Lundmark along with Kim Johnsson in a trade. Clarke was taken with the speed and scoring ability of Dvorak, but Sather didn’t want to give him up. Sather had asked to put in wingers Jan Hvlac and the prospect Pavel Brendl. The Rangers was down on Brendl for not coming to camp in shape, even though he scored 45 goals in the minors last year. Brendl was rumored to be involved in the Jagr trade and just about every other trade rumor.

What Clarke received are players that can help for this year’s Stanley Cup run. He gets a puck-moving defenseman in Johnsson, a 30 goal scorer in Hvlac and the potential of Brendl, who one day might be an annual scorer of 40-50 goals a year. What did the Rangers get?

They got a player who was once feared for his goal scoring, playmaking ability and his toughness. At this point in time, Lindros is best known for his concussions and his rumored surly nature, which may have offended the Flyers organization and the players. He comes to the Rangers with a lot of personal baggage. The Rangers want him to be healthy on the ice and with his teammates, especially with Captain Mark Messier. What do the Rangers hope for?

Sather has made a huge mark on his tenure as GM with this big risk of a trade. He believes that if healthy, Lindros will be one of the top 5 players on the NHL. Sather thinks that the center position will now be solidified on the 4 lines. If there is a big year for Lindros, the Rangers could once again attract free agents here. (New Jersey’s Bobby Holik and Boston’s Bill Guerin are some of the top candidates)

Every game and every minute he is on the ice, there will be an intense watch on Lindros’ health. Ratings should go up on MSG for those curious on when Lindros will get hit and fall for possibly the last time. This is a big gamble and most fans and media are on the attack at Glen Sather. Ranger fans better hope and pray that Lindros stays healthy. They don’t’ want Pavel Brendl to turn out to be the next Pavel Bure and score 50 goals. If Lindros is at home watching The Sopranos after his seventh and final concussion, Ranger fans will want Glen Sather to sleep with the fishes.

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