At The Crossroads

Will the Broadway Blueshirts head uptown or down?

"With us, we never paid before. I found out quickly when I got to this market that all the stuff I believed in, like saving draft picks, didn't matter here. All that mattered was the Stanley Cup. 'Get us to respectability, get us close or we'll get someone else here who can.' And they were clamoring for stars [like Messier], and we were able to do that. We made trades to win. But I said when we were going for it, 'We'll pay for this later because we've given up young people who have a lot more longevity.' Maybe if we waited for those guys to develop it would never have culminated in a Stanley Cup. So we won. But we paid."

Smith is now trying to collect young talent again, and "hoping people will have the patience to let us do it that way." He's got Harvey, Schneider, Knuble, Niklas Sundstrom, young goalie Dan Cloutier, rookie Manny Malhotra, and more. But will the fans, media, and ownership give them time? Will hegive them time? If a true star, a real scorer, a Pavel Bure is offered, could Smith resist the opportunity to sacrifice the future for a hard, quick shove away from the crossroads?

Eventually Smith will have to choose a path, and the wheel will turn.

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