Impeaching Neil Smith

But should The Rangers GM be removed?

Yes, his Rangers picks have been less stellar, but he's been drafting here with fewer high choices. Still, Smith grabbed Kovalev, Niklas Sundstrom, goalie Dan Cloutier, and, last year, Manny Malhotra.

The last three were the price sought for Bure. There are rumblings that Vancouver might have taken less (in the end, they did from Florida), but amid the spin doctoring in the trade's aftermath, that can't be proven. However, if you're trying to rebuild, if you're not truly chasing the Cup, why sacrifice the team's future for one great player? Plus, Bure's net-crashing style has caused him numerous injuries, including a '95 knee reconstruction. Another serious injury to Bure (Hey, whaddya know— he's hurt right now) and where would the Rangers be?

It's hard to swallow, of course, that Bure got more goals in two weeks than Malhotra has for the season. But Malhotra is 18 and the kind of player who one day might give the Rangers their identity— if not the next Messier, maybe their Ron Francis or Yzerman. With his size, strength, intelligence, and skill, he's projected as a minimum 30-goal power forward with good hands and defensive instincts. Plus he brings an intangible type of leadership. "He's really a great kid," says TV analyst John Davidson.

"Who would you replace Neil with?" Gitler wonders. "I value Neil for bringing the Cup here. But I also respect his hockey smarts, and I think he's the man to bring them back. Not every trade he's made has worked, but it's not fair to criticize him for the trades that brought the Cup. He's shown a dedication to rebuilding the team this year, and I think you've got to go with him and let him do it. If you want to replace him, give me the name of someone who is going to do better."

The defense rests.

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