Fully Examining Chris Drury’s “Rangers’ Legacy” And Why It’s He – And Not Jacob Trouba – That’s the Worst Captain in Franchise History; Rangers Remain Idle, The Detroit Debut of SpokedWheelRedShirts.com; YZERPLAN Revealed As Beefing Up On Former Blueshirts, Get Well Iron Mike, Lindgren Status, Future Blue, Matt Rempe & More

The 2024-25 campaign should be an exciting season for our “Marvelous Mo-Towners” – as while it might’ve admittedly taken some time for our Executive Vice President & General Manager Steve Yzerman to get there – but finally – we are now experiencing the final touches on his almighty “YZERPLAN,” following the events of this summer’s free agent frenzy! Let’s Go Red Shirts!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on SpokedWheelRedShirts.com. How about those Red Wings?!?!


And this too Part II: WE WANT THE CUP!

Steve Yzerman, the greatest player to ever wear the number nineteen on his back, and a true captain who led our dear Detroit team to three Stanley Cup victories, has finally revealed his blueprint (or is it “red print?”) to his “YZERPLAN” during this year’s off-season – and where such architecture will soon spill into its fifth NHL season (2024-25), after Stevie Y. became the twelfth general manager in franchise history – and as it came to be back on April 19th, 2019.

And yes – there’s something ironic about “Yowza Yzerman” replacing Ken Holland on the 19th day of the 19th year of this century too!

What a mouthful!

(And “HOLY WORD SALAD BATMAN” too – but just wait until our next paragraph!)

Yzerman, who has bled Detroit red for his entire life, and for an example, as opposed to his peer out in another Original Six city in New York, the non-true blue Chris Drury; he is on the precipice of building another Stanley Cup champion – and while Mr. Y. hasn’t won a Cup as a GM just yet – it shouldn’t be forgotten about either that he once was the man calling the shots for what eventually became the best “dynasty” ever since his days on the ice – the modern day Tampa Bay Lightning.

While Yzerman wasn’t around when the Bolts won their pair of Stanley Cups (2020 and 2021); there’s also an easy explanation for that.

Similar to when the Rangers came calling for John Davidson in 2019, who was at the time serving the Columbus Blue Jackets in a front office position, our ravishing Red Wings asked Yzerman to come back home – and where #19 was more than happy to oblige the request.

And unlike the man who they simply call JD out in the Big Apple – then Yzerman still remains in magnificent Michigan – and he never had to run back to Tampa with his tail in-between his legs either – and as JD had to do after no less than two-years under the woeful watch of lunkhead Glen Sather, via an assist from the worst Rangers’ captain in their franchise history, Chris “Et Tu” Drury.

If it wasn’t for some guy named Gordie Howe (you may have heard about him), then it would be Yzerman who holds every pertinent record in franchise history. Even so, while Yzerman ranks second-overall to Mr. Hockey in career goals, points and games played; Mr. Y. also holds the franchise record for most assists – 1,063 of them in total – and yep – where Howe is second-best all-time in this statistic, with 1,023 helpers of his own. Photo Credit: Detroit Red Wings

Yzerman, the longest-serving captain in league history (19 seasons – and yep – there’s that number again), had a tough task when first being installed as general manager of our beloved Red Wings.

For the man who pretty much pulled the franchise out of the “Darkness with Harkness Era” of motor city hockey history, including the Red Wings reaching the playoffs in a remarkable twenty-five consecutive seasons (1990-91 through 2015-16), and which took place largely under Yzerman’s leadership which first began when he was selected fourth-overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft; then it’s of no coincidence that this recent eight-year skid of no playoff appearances somewhat started when one of the greatest players in franchise history (and again – arguably second-best, only to Howe) was originally passed over for the team’s general manager job, in favor of Ken Holland, and as it was back in May of 2010.

It also comes as no surprise that the Red Wings’ last two playoff appearances (2015 and 2016) saw themselves on the wrong side of a pair of first-round losses to Yzerman’s Lightning either.

But for tonight, such information is not relevant – but it is a reminder nonetheless.

Everyone remembers how Yzerman always bested Chris Drury and the Colorado Avalanche in one of the most vicious and best feuds in league history – except for that one year (2001) where the league gifted a Stanley Cup to an end-of-his-career Ray Bourque! Photo Credit: My own card collection!

When you look at the Red Wings’ roster of today, and when compared to what it was when Yzerman first took over as GM (which was one-year prior to the pandemic for reference), then outside of captain Dylan Larkin (15th-overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft), Michael Rasmussen (9th-overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft) and Joe Veleno (30th-overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft) – and no one else remains.

In a short amount of time and Yzerman has been able to move and/or get rid of contracts such as Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha, Robby Fabbri, Filip Hronek, Andreas Athanasiou, Valtteri Fippula, Madison Bowey, Darren Helm, the maligned Filip Zadina, Luke Glendening, Trevor Daley, Adam Erne and Jonathan Bernier, amongst others, which also includes the retirement of franchise goaltender, Jimmy Howard.

While everyone was anticipating instant success following Yzerman’s hiring, while also hoping for the Red Wings playoff drought being rained upon; Mr. Y. constantly preached patience, while at the same time – he wasn’t accepting losing either.

And based on Yzerman’s Summer of ’24 – it’s never been more clear – losing WILL NOT be accepted anymore.

Nor should this current eight-years of no playoffs be extended to nine-years either.

Moving around players wasn’t the only part of the “Yzerplan.”

While Glen Sather (his Edmonton days – and most certainly not his 24-years of nothingness in NYC) may be the lone exception to the following; then most of the time, as in the other “Sather-less” 99.9% of the time, you need a strong head coach to get you over the hump.

And no one would know this fact to be more true than Yzerman himself, having played under arguably the best coach in all of league history, Scotty Bowman.

(Furthermore, the second-best bench boss in NHL history may be a former Wing too – Jack Adams – you know – the guy who the league named their annual coach of the year trophy in honor of.)

When it comes to the worst head coaches in franchise history, then the recently departed Jeff Blashill joins a short list of them, a list that also includes Wayne Maxner, Nick Polano, Harry Neale, and for another Ranger connection, Brad Park. Yes, that Brad Park!

And when you look at these collection of names, then no one served longer behind the Detroit bench other than Blashill, who in seven seasons (2015-2022) went 204–261–72 – good for a “winning percentage” of .447 – and where the team never reached the playoffs either.

Yzerman, who inherited Blashill, finally had enough.

On April 30th, 2022, Yzerman announced that Blashill’s contract, then up for renewal, wouldn’t receive such an extension.

Two months later, on June 30th, 2022, and Yzerman hired his first hand-picked head coach, Count Dracula Lalonde – government name Derek Lalonde.

For reference, and to go back to Drury, but only because he’s also a fellow GM from an Original Six city with some similarities to Yzerman; and the crown prince of the Colony Grill (Drury owns a chain of pizza restaurants in the Northeast part of the country – and I can promise you this – Drury’s hot oil pizza sucks – and comes nowhere close as being as good as the Ilitch family’s “Little Caesars” style of pizza) has fired two coaches (David Quinn and Gerard Gallant) – and is now on his third coach too (Peter Laviolette).

All of these bloated coaching contracts that Drury’s owner, James Dolan, is paying for?

They all ran congruent with one another – that is – until David Quinn was hired – and then fired – by the Sharks.

Today, the Rangers are now paying hefty money for two coaches, Gallant and Laviolette.

And all of this took place within a two-year time-span (2021-2023).

But that’s the Rangers – winners of only four Stanley Cups in one-hundred years – and as opposed to the Wings’ eleven Cups won in ninety-years.

And heck – the Wings, in their only Stanley Cup Final meeting with the Rangers, beat the Blueshirts for the championship in 1950. Praise the hockey gods for Pete Babando!

(And there’s no need to bring up the Falcons or Cougars here either, the two team names that Detroit used prior to becoming the Red Wings, which first was installed in 1932 – and as we still know, and love them as, today.)

As opposed to Drury, who didn’t have much of a relationship with either Gallant or Laviolette when hiring them; Yzerman indeed had a strong bond with Lalonde prior to his arrival to the city that boasts the likes of Eminem and Kid Rock.

Previous to Lalonde motoring over to Detroit, and both men had worked together in Tampa.

While Yzerman bolted the Bolts when the Red Wings first beckoned him home, Lalonde stayed on with the Lightning, and as a result, caught thunder and won two Stanley Cups as an assistant head coach to bench boss Jon Cooper.

Since Lalonde’s installment, and the Wings have improved year-by-year, all while Yzerman continued to find the perfect ingredients for his roster recipe – aka – “THE YZERPLAN!”

Following a seventh-place finish in the division in 2022-23, this past year, the 2023-24 season, and the Spoked Wheel, who actually finished with one more win (41) than the second wild-card of the Eastern Conference (Washington, 40), just missed the playoff cut-line – and only because of an antiquated tiebreaker ruling.

Yzerman wasn’t going to take this sitting down.

Yzerman is banking on defenseman Moritz Seider and forward Lucas Raymond to become the next cornerstones of the franchise. Photo Credit: Detroit Red Wings

As noted earlier, the only three players that have remained throughout the entire Yzerman era are Larkin, Rasmussen and Veleno.

Since taking over and Yzerman has taken advantage of the NHL Draft, having selected Seider (6th-overall in 2019) and Raymond (4th-overall in 2020).

Furthermore, defenseman Simon Edvinsson, selected 6th-overall in 2021, and following a handful of call-up games played during these past two seasons, should become a regular in 2024-25.

While getting young and hungry is what’s required – you also need a bevy of grizzled veterans too.

And that’s what Yzerman has brought in to accentuate his roster, as players like alternate captains Ben Chariot and Andrew Copp were acquired. Also joining the ranks were J.T. Compher, Jeff Petry, Christian Fischer, Olli Maata and Ville Husso.

And while this might’ve taken some time to get here – finally – the finishing touches on “THE YZERPLAN.”

All you can do is laugh out loud at the New York Rangers, as Drury rebuffed the advances of both Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko ever since the Blueshirts were embarrassed in the first-round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since that time? Kane, following his much public hip-surgery, went on to nearly average a point-per-game last season, while Tarasenko won the Stanley Cup in Florida. At least the Rangers have those two nincompoops, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko, still on their roster. That’ll show the rest of the league! Photo Credit: Getty Images

By now, we’re all aware that Patrick Kane returned last season with no issue following his hip-resurfacing surgery.

And some idiots thought that Kane, who scored 47-points in 50 games played last season, was COOKED!

And I’m still laughing at the Rangers considering their lotto pick bust, Kaapo Kakko, as “untouchable.”

At least Yzerman knew when it was time to part ways with Filip Zadina.

Kane, for his efforts, and as previously reported on this site, was rewarded for his strong efforts with a new contract on June 30th – thus forgoing and bypassing the whole entire free agency process.

Better than that, and Kane, who has only played for Original Six teams throughout his career, agreed to a team-friendly one-year deal – and a contract full of incentive bonuses.

In other words, then even if Kane completely falls off of a cliff, and which I can’t see happening either, then at worst – it’s one-year-and-out.

But the Ranger connections don’t stop and end with Kane either.

In fact, he’s the second former Blueshirt of a total of six to take his talents to Detroit, as previously, Ann Arbor native Andrew Copp, and as one of the best Rangers of their 2022 Eastern Conference Final run, signed a five-year deal worth $28.125M overall with Yzerman on July 13th, 2022.

While Copp hasn’t exactly lived up to his contract, he’s also been reliable as a third-line center – and where ironically – he may be joined with two former Rangers on his line next season – his former Ranger teammate in 2022, Tyler Motte, and the previously aforementioned Tarasenko – and where for more irony – Motte also played with Tarasenko in New York (2023) as well!

I mean what’s next?

Yzerman getting Justin Braun to come out of retirement?!?!?

Heck, what’s Brian Leetch up to these days?!?!?!

Motte is no stranger to Copp, and for that matter, no stranger to the Red Wings either. Photo Credit: NYR

Prior to the signings of both Tyler Motte (7/2) and Vladimir Tarasenko (7/3), then Yzerman, one day earlier on July 1st, brought in another pair of former Blueshirts to join Copp and Kane – defenseman Erik Gustafsson and goaltender Cam Talbot.

While Gustafsson and Talbot played during two different periods of Rangers’ history, both have had similar careers, as both players have become successful and reliable journeymen over the years.

Talbot, who was traded out of New York following the events of the 2014-15 season due to the monstrosity that was the Henrik Lundqvist contract, had the prime years of his career with the Edmonton Oilers and where he set single-season franchise records in both wins (42) and games played (73) with the blue-and-orange.

And let’s not forget that some feller named Grant Fuhr once suited up for the Oil too!

Since leaving Edmonton for Philadelphia at the 2019 trade deadline, and while no longer at the peak of his powers, and Talbot has had some good seasons for Calgary, Minnesota, Ottawa and Los Angeles.

And outside of Ottawa, then Talbot has started in the playoffs during his stops post Philly.

Now at 37-years-old, and Talbot will most likely split the net with Alex Lyon.

But of course, another former Oiler, one on the other end of the spectrum when compared to Talbot’s stint north of the border – the maligned, overpaid and jettisoned-out-of-town Jack Campbell – also agreed to a one-year deal ($775K) with the Spoked Wheel on 7/1.

While it’s most likely that it’s Talbot who begins the season with the varsity club; Campbell, who had varying degrees of success with two of his previous teams, the Kings and the Leafs, could become a strong insurance policy should Talbot and/or Lyon falter – and assuming that Campbell can pick up the pieces of his shattered career with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Swedish defenseman Gustafsson, who will turn 33-years-old next season, is coming off a one-year deal with the Rangers, and while it was an up-and-down campaign for the often-traveled rearguard – at the same time, one can not forget how admirably he filled in for 2021 Norris Trophy winner, Adam Fox, during the early months of the season.

Detroit will mark his fifth Original Six team, as previously, “THE GUS BUS” has made stops in Chicago, Calgary, Philadelphia, Montreal, Washington, Toronto and New York.

Furthermore, Gustafsson is also familiar with playing in front of Talbot, having done so previously in Calgary during the Flames’ 2020 playoff run.

Both Talbot and Gustafsson agreed to two-year deals with Yzerman, with the goalie receiving $2.5M per-season and the defenseman making slightly less, with an annual cap-hit of $2M.

And of course, these two were just the third and fourth former Rangers to be acquired, as a day later, Tyler Motte, from St. Clair, MI, signed a one-year deal worth $800K, making him the fifth player on the Wings’ roster to have played with the Rangers.

However, and if you’re of the belief that “a third time is a charm,” and “twice as nice” too, then Yzerman, and when still using adages here, “saved his best for last,” when he made Tarasenko the sixth former Ranger to join his club.

Tarasenko, now a two-time Stanley Cup champion, signed a two-year deal worth $9.5M overall on 7/3, and for a Detroit team looking to rely on veteran experience, then Tarasenko, like Kane, brings the bang for his buck.

While Kane and Copp were already at home in Detroit, in turn, and at the end of the day, and Yzerman, and similar to both Carolina and Tampa (no coincidence) who recently did this, is loading up on former Rangers as the final piece of his “Yzerplan,” following his quartet of signings – Gustafsson, Talbot, Motte and Tarasenko.

IN CAM WE TRUST! Photo Credit: Getty Images

When you look at what’s most likely the finalized roster as we approach the 2024-25 season in three short months, then for the first time in a long time – and the Wings shouldn’t only reach the playoffs – but they should be Cup contenders too.

Granted, while the division remains top heavy with the likes of Florida, Boston and Tampa, one team must break out and fly – and why not the Wings?

At the very least, and especially when considering last year’s finish – and the Wings should be buyers – and NOT sellers – come the 2025 Trade Deadline.

And who knows, maybe Jacob Trouba, previously linked to the Wings by some hack out of New York (Larry Brooks), could be the seventh former Blueshirt to join the club.

We just need someone to tell Dr. Kelly Trouba that her husband’s hometown team, Detroit, MI, has plenty of excellent hospitals too!

And should she be willing to accept a residency here – then she’ll get plenty of experience with bullet removal as well!

Rochester, MI native Jacob Trouba makes all the sense in the world for the Red Wings. Not only has he previously played with nearly half of this roster before – but with the Rangers retaining some of Trouba’s $8M annual salary – then the current captain of the Blueshirts would provide a ton of boom and value at the Red Wings’ blue line. Photo Credit: Puck Report

(FAKE) PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Red Wings’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

My first book, “How The Red Wings Have Honored Every Detroit Legend Imaginable in Franchise History,” is now available on Amazon.com.

My second book, “Tricks of the Trade – And How The Red Wings Stole Gordie Howe From the Rangers,” is also available on Amazon.

My third book, “One Game at a Time: Reliving The Red Wings’ Run to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final,” is also up for purchase on Amazon.

My fourth-and-latest book, “DETROIT KILLERS – And Those Damn Colorado Avalanche Too” is yep – you guessed it – also available for sale on Amazon.com.

I should be back later this month with a preview of the Traverse City Tournament – and a tournament that the Rangers have excused themselves from ever since the COVID-19 hysteria.

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

Well that was crazy – and even for me – and yes – now back to your regularly scheduled BlueCollarBlueshirts.com blog! However, I did want to present something unique, and I think that I accomplished that. Let’s just see how long Larry “The Crook” Brooks does the same!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I may have lost my mind – and as the 5,000 words that preceded this sentence exhibited!

Originally, I was just going to post the mock SpokedWheelRedShirts.com blog as a solo entry and then leave it at that.

However, since I thought that some readers may have been confused by it, then that’s why I’m finishing out the reminder of this manifesto with my normal Ranger rumblings – and regularly scheduled bitching-and-moaning too!

But if you got anything out of the SpokedWheelRedShirts.com “parody” (and is it really a parody – as the Wings should be good next season), then it’s this:

Chris Drury is no Steve Yzerman.

And I don’t think that I’m breaking any news to you here either.

Granted, when you look at Drury vs. Yzerman in their current places of employment – then yeah – Drury, as a result of his Presidents’ Trophy and two ECF appearances, has the leg-up.

But how much of that was truly on Drury?

After all, and as opposed to Yzerman, Drury inherited a lot from his predecessor, both good and bad, and that includes the likes of Artemi Panarin, Alexis Lafreniere, Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren, CZAR IGOR, Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil, et al.

(For reference, Mika Zibanejad was extended to 2030 by Drury.)

And when it comes to Drury’s trades and signings?

Well I have already recapped all of it on this site – and in this book too:

For more on Chris Drury’s regime as GM of the Rangers, then check out: “Tricks of the Trade Volume IV.”

And for my previous Drury related blogs, then check out these links:

As I presently write these words, then I still have no clue what idle Drury is doing right now, outside of hoping that he gets a repeat performance from his regulars (sans Mika, Kakko and Chytil), and that at least one of his prospects in the pipeline breaks out. I mean seriously – he still doesn’t have a top-six right-winger (Detroit now has two of them) – nor an insurance policy defenseman either (the Red Wings have one). And such thinking also requires you to assume that the Blueshirts are able to endure the season devoid of any injuries too.

When writing the stuff about Detroit (and sometimes, when writing, I come to realizations and realities that I wasn’t expecting), and then it hit me – Yzerman has completely turned over his roster – and where many of his stars were included in the process too.

The Rangers under Drury?

Outside of Barclay Goodrow, who was more of a Grade-A role-player than a superstar – then who has Drury really moved on from?

Pavel Buchnevich, where as noted before, that trade, where one-for-one, is one of the worst trades in Rangers’ history (but not top-five, and perhaps not even top-ten, and you can read my “Tricks of the Trade” four-volume set for all of it), was also born out of necessity, due to the NHL salary cap.

Furthermore, and as detailed before – Sammy Blais, the return from St. Louis, was never supposed to replace Buchnevich either.

Rather, “The Tooth Boy,” “Crybaby Vitali Kravtsov,” was supposed to be that guy.


And had Kravtsov, now back in the KHL, been able to live up to his potential – then no one today would be crying about Drury’s trade from July of ’21.

For as much success Drury had in his first season, the 2021-22 campaign, and where without a shadow of a doubt, he had the best acquisition period (free agency, trade deadline or otherwise) of his GM career too, and as he did as the 2022 Trade Deadline; the end result has still been the same – no Stanley Cup in sight.

And as opposed to two-years ago – it does feel like this core has peaked – as these Rangers, in their present state, doesn’t feel like a team on the rise anymore.

You also now have to wonder if Drury has become a “Ranger Killer” himself – and trust me – I know this subject back-and-front – and heck – I’ve also literally written the book on it!

While Drury had his career highlight as a player in Colorado (the 2001 Stanley Cup win); he also had many big moments, while in Buffalo, against the Rangers too. Photo Credit: Getty Images

None of what I’m writing right now is from a revisionist perspective – and where “hindsight is 20/20” need not apply either.

After all, I have never liked Drury as a player – and that’s a comment strictly pertaining to his Ranger days.

Hell, and while I’ll explain all of this better below, I must’ve opined 9876786798678679786 times on this site in the past how he was the worst Rangers’ captain of all-time – and one of the worst free-agent signings too.

Thankfully (at least in Drury’s sake), both Wade Redden and Bobby Holik were around, because if not – then Drury would be in the running as the all-time worst free-agent deal in franchise history.

Drury, who actually had the “Captain Clutch” moniker long before fleecing Glen Sather and James Dolan back on July 1st, 2007 (five-year deal worth an overall $35.25M), had some of the best games of his regular season career against the Rangers.

Put it this way: Drury, who spent four years with the Rangers (or 264 of his 892 career games – and to round up – 30% of his career was spent in NYC), has the best scoring totals of his career against our beloved Blueshirts.

In 21 career games against the Rangers, and Drury went 10-12-22, which means that he averaged more than one point-per-game against the Blueshirts.

Drury never averaged a point-per-game or better against any other team that he ever played against – and if you think that I’m making this up, then check out https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/d/drurych01/splits/ for the proof.

And of course, there was that whole 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs debacle too, where Drury’s Sabres upended the upstart Blueshirts, 4-2, in the second-round.


A series-high three goals, to go along with his two assists, for a total of five-points, second-best to only teammate Daniel Briere.


To this day, as in seventeen years later, and this is the last playoff series that the Sabres have won in their wretched history.

It was also Drury’s last season as a Sabre, as in the off-season that followed, and largely due to his success in Buffalo (and also helping matters was that he was a fan of the Rangers growing up, in addition to being a center), he signed with his boyhood team.

I’ve never doubted Drury’s devotion to the Rangers, his passion, his drive, and the fact that he’s pretty much won at every level of his career (including a Little League World Series too) – but as the Blueshirts’ GM – he’s left a lot to be desired following his rookie season in the position. Photo Credit: NYR

Drury’s moves as GM of the Rangers do deserve some explanations, asterisks even, as after all – he inherited what was perceived to be a soft, yet talented, team from the two men that he stabbed in the back, John Davidson and Jeff Gorton.

And being friendly with Senile Sather didn’t hurt either.

But for your consideration, and keep in mind that we’re only talking about a time-span of three-years, then what do the following names of Nils Lundkvist, Brett Howden, Julien Gauthier, Barclay Goodrow, Patrik Nemeth, Jarred Tinordi, Dryden Hunt, Greg McKegg, Ryan Reaves, Adam Huska, Tim Gettinger, Libor Hajek, Bobby Trivigno, Olof Lindbom, Sammy Blais, Ryan Carpenter, Erik Gustafsson, Nick Bonino and Tyler Pitlick all have in common?

All of them were signed – and then in one way or another, whether it was via a trade, a buyout, or something else – and all of these players then had their contracts removed from Drury’s books.

And one glance at these names, and outside of Goodrow, and we’re pretty much talking about the periphery here – as Drury hasn’t been apt to rectify what’s been plaguing this team from getting over the hump ever since taking over the reins – the core itself.

After all, and as mentioned in the stuff with Yzerman – Drury is now on his third coach (he decided not to retain DQ, so DQ counts as one of the three); yet, and despite all of the regular season success and playoff runs – and this team has yet to win twelve games in a postseason – much less the required sixteen.

(And if you see Detroit vs New York references in Larry Brooks’ next article, then you know where he drew such inspirations!)

I know that I’m like a broken record here – but until Drury decides to take a deep look at his core – then I can’t envision the Rangers being any better next season.

Heck, I predict that 2024-25 will be the Rangers’ worst season under Drury.

You only get so many kicks at the can – but I’ve previously decimated Drury’s 2024 Trade Deadline before – so I’ll let that dead horse lay without anymore warranted beating.

But this does bring us to our next segue-way – who is the worst captain in Rangers’ history?

Why such a topic?

Easy, because Captain Trouba, and mainly from millennials and younger fans who don’t know their history, are alleging that “THE GREAT EIGHT” is entitled to this dubious distinction.

(And to reiterate what I’ve previously said in this space – NO – I don’t blame Trouba for adhering to the parameters of his contract. Furthermore, the contracts of Mika Zibanejad, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko are much worse – and three core players that I’d move on from in a heartbeat. I may have explained this in-detail once or 7986786786969679 zillion times before too!)

Go figure: The worst captain in franchise history hand-picked the current one of today! Photo Credit: NYR

When you look at the worst captains in the near one-hundred years worth of Rangers’ history, then you’ll be very hard-pressed to find a worse leader than the current GM of today, Chris Drury.

And I’m not exaggerating here.

When exploring this topic, some may argue that you only judge captains by the teams that they led.

And as you may have surmised – this isn’t my sole factor when making my assessment.

After all, how can you knock Ott Heller, who captained one of the most brutal times in franchise history, the World War II era of Blueshirts?

Prior to succeeding Art Coulter (who was the second captain in franchise history), and who had to serve in the fight against Adolf Hitler and company; then Heller, a defenseman, was already a two-time Stanley Cup champ in New York, as a member of both the 1933 and 1940 teams.

And while I don’t have the time tonight to explain how World War II just completely devastated and massacred the Rangers (but you can find all of it here: “The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History”); but needless to say – you can’t blame Heller for those terrible seasons that went down during the early 1940s.

And you also can’t blame his 1940 Stanley Cup winning teammate either, the Class of 1967 Hall of Famer Neil Colville, who captained the team for the remainder of the decade, as the Blueshirts just had a terrible time rebuilding following the war.

(Not helping matters? Lester Patrick selling off the entire farm system, with the thinking that all of hockey would be shut down during wartime.)

Despite the Rangers’ poor percentage of winning hockey’s holy chalice, as this number is now two-years shy of reaching 4%, as in four Cups in one-hundred years; at the same time, they’ve had some spectacular captains too.

Without question, Mark Messier, who served the team in two separate stints, is not only the greatest captain in all of sports history – but obviously – in all of Rangers’ history too.

The only other former captain in franchise history who can challenge “The Messiah” for this claim is the club’s first captain, Bill Cook – the center of the best line in franchise history, “The Bread Line,” and who led the team to two Stanley Cup wins (1928 and 1933).

Among other luminary captains who served the team well from the early days and into the 1980s include Buddy O’Connor (1949-50), Frankie Eddolls (1950-51), Allan Stanley (1951-52 – 1953-54), Don “Bones” Raleigh (1953-54 – 1954-55), Harry Howell (1955-56 – 1956-57), Red Sullivan (1957-58 – 1960-61), Andy Bathgate (1961-62 – 1963-64), Bob Nevin (1964-65 – 1970-71), Vic Hadfield (1971-72 – 1973-74), Brad Park (1974-75 – 1975-76), Phil Esposito (1975-76 – 1978-79) and Dave Maloney (1978-79 – 1979-80).

And if you’re not aware, then one glance at the Hall of Fame will tell you – most of these names are Hall of Famers.

Starting with the 1980s and until Mark Messier’s 1991 arrival, and men such as Walt Tkaczuk, Barry Beck, Ron Greschner and Kelly Kisio all served the franchise as captain.

While Kisio was the least accomplished Ranger of this quartet; but as a captain, he was only second-best to the man they call “Bubba” – as in Mr. Beck.

When Messier left for Vancouver, Brian Leetch, the greatest defenseman in Rangers’ history, served the club as captain from 1997-2000. While much has been said about his time as captain, and where many believe that “the captaincy weighed him down;” at the same time, he was still the team’s best player.

He was also named to an All-Star Game too (1998) – which is more than you can say about Chris Drury.

Plus – it’s Brian Leetch – and to compare Drury to Leetch is a fool’s errand.

When the lockout pretty much forced an on-the-fence Messier into retirement, and Jaromir Jagr, another one of hockey’s GOAT’s, served the club as captain from 2006-2008.

With all of that said – this now brings us to Drury – who was first named as captain on October 3rd, 2008 – and where he remained in this role until his retirement, which took place on August 19th, 2011.

And to jump ahead just a bit before examining the worst captain in franchise history, “The Pizza Man” himself; following Drury as captain were nothing but fellow Americans, Ryan Callahan (2011-2014) and Ryan McDonagh (2014-2018) – and where ironically for these pair of Ryan’s – both of these players had their captaincy tenures ended at the trade deadline – after being traded to Tampa.

Following McDonagh joining Callahan with the Bolts at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline; then the Rangers waited four-years before naming their next captain, Jacob Trouba, and as they did prior to the start of the 2022-23 season.

Funny enough, and while I don’t share this opinion – many are claiming today that Trouba is the worst captain in franchise history – another act of irony considering the fact that it was Drury who made Trouba captain – and the first, and to this date, the only captain during this Chris “ZOOM ZOOM” Drury era – or error.

Drury’s time as captain was ill-spent.

Following a decent 2008-09 season where he scored 56-points (third-best to only Scott Gomez and Nikolay Zherdev, who each scored 58-points a piece) – and Drury was an absolute NO SHOW in the playoffs – which is pretty on-brand and comical when you think about his FAT CATS, his stars, of today.

In a first-round seven-game series loss to the Capitals – and Drury only picked up one measly goal – and worse than that, finished with a series low plus/minus rating of -5.

“Captain Clutch” was no more.

A year later, in Drury’s sophomore season as captain, and “Mr. Clutch” only scored 32-points in 77 games played – a far cry from Marian Gaborik’s production in that 2009-10 season, as Gabby scored 42 goals and picked up 44 assists for a grand total of 86-points. All of these numbers were team-highs.

This was also the only season from Lundqvist’s prime years (prior to “The Letter”) where the Rangers missed the playoffs – and if you don’t know what happened in Game 82 of that season against the Flyers by now – then do your own research.

In Drury’s third-and-final season as captain, and the last season of his career too, and the man who would become the King of Connecticut Pizza was limited to only 24-games, due to a crippling and chronic degenerative condition and affliction in his left knee.

It was known at the end of the 2010-11 season that Drury would most likely retire – and where had that happened – then the Rangers would’ve been off of the hook for the last year of his salary.

But alas, these are the Rangers – and this is also a tale of Drury hitting his home team’s well one more time – after sucking it dry for four years straight.

Rather than retiring and helping the team (and the men who he led as captain); instead, Drury negotiated a buy-out for the final year on his contract – and to be fair – I don’t blame him – as players do only have a finite amount of time to build their retirement nest egg.

But of course, at this point of time – and Drury, his family, and the generations following them, were already set for life.

On June 29th, 2011, Drury accepted his buy-out, which in turn, cost the Rangers $3.8M against the 2011-12 salary cap and $1.7M against their 2012-13 cap.

And knowing what happened in the 2012 Eastern Conference Final – then don’t you think that the Rangers could’ve used the near $4M that Drury cost them at the deadline?

Sad enough – and Drury, now as a GM, hasn’t even learned from his own history – as he waited way too long to put Filip Chytil on the LTIR last season – and outright refused to put Trouba on LTIR too.

And I guess since that he has his ring already, then none of this will ruin his Christmas either.

This also tells us that he doesn’t pay attention to the rest of the league either – and specifically Chicago (2010/Kane), Tampa (2021/Kucherov) and Vegas (2023/Stone).

But when you think that you’re the smartest man in the room, then more times than not, you soon become exposed as a dolt.

Some quick hits as we go home here.

Unless something changes prior to Ryan Lindgren’s arbitration date, then double-nickel, whose offer was qualified, will be going to arbitration with Drury. Photo Credit: NHL

It was revealed last week that Ryan Lindgren is one of the fourteen men in the NHL seeking arbitration, and where his date with the league’s lawyers hasn’t been announced just yet.

It should also be mentioned that more times than not, then that most of these contract disputes are resolved prior to arbitration.

We’ll monitor this story as it continues.

Gabe Perreault, in his first interview after being drafted by the Rangers, with roving reporter Ricky Otazu. Photo Credit: Ricky O.

When it comes to the events that transpired at the recent Rangers’ development camp from this past Tuesday (7/2) and Wednesday (7/3), then really nothing of significance, or at least things that were unexpected, took place.

As you all know by now, and if you don’t, then I’ll remind you one more time here – my sole concern about the Rangers is the Stanley Cup – and winning it in 2025.

Anything beyond that – and to be honest – it’s just not on my mind right now.

Suffice to say, I only have tunnel vision for a fifth championship.

But if there was anything to truly note, then it’s these following bullet-point items:

— E.J. Emery, the Rangers’ 2024 first-round draft pick, remains committed to the University of North Dakota. In other words, and as previously printed in this space – I’ll worry about Emery’s future in two-years – as he won’t be a factor next season for the Blueshirts.

— Gabe Perreault, drafted in the first-round one-year earlier than Emery (2023), will remain at Boston College for the 2024-25 season. However, and as we’ve seen in the past, and most recently with Zac Jones – Perreault could turn pro at the end of the campaign, where should that be the road he goes down – then he could get a few games at the end of the season with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

— Speaking of the ‘Pack, both Brennan Othmann (16th-overall in 2021) and Adam Sykora (63rd-overall in 2022), the two players the Rangers took with their top pick in these respective drafts, once again reiterated their desires to break out with the varsity club – rather than riding the buses that roam the roads in Connecticut’s capital city.

Obviously, due to both his age and draft status, then there’s more pressure for Othmann to be the guy to break out – but it was nice to hear Sykora express a similar sentiment.

And with the way that things are looking right now, meaning that both Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil, and for some reason, are still on the roster – then both Othmann and Sykora should get every chance in training camp when jockeying for a spot in the city that never sleeps.

That covers the future of the Rangers, so at this time, just some notes about the past – or for a better word – alumni.

Over time, and where both winning the Cup in 1994 and the passage of time are the biggest factors, and Mike Keenan is now revered as a HERO – and not as a traitor as he once was following his one-and-done departure. Photo Credit: NYR

On Saturday, July 6th, Mike Keenan, who was coaching the Italian national team, tweeted out the following:

Keenan, who will turn 75-years-old on October 21st, arguably deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

But whether that happens or not, then either way – here’s to a speedy recovery for one of the three men (Lester Patrick and Frank Boucher being the others) in Rangers’ history to ever win a Stanley Cup as a head coach.

While they were part of two separate eras of Rangers’ history; “The Rock & Sock” Ron Duguay and the head coach of the last Stanley Cup winner in franchise history, “Iron” Mike Keenan, have developed a close friendship over the years – and where the two are usually spotted together at various alumni events and signings. Photo Credit: Ron Duguay

While belated by the time that this blog goes to publication; a Happy Birthday goes out to former Ranger Ron Duguay, as #10 celebrated his 67th birthday this past Saturday, July 6th.

Also blowing out the candles that day was one of the best rearguards in franchise history, arguably the second-best to only Brian Leetch, #2 himself, Brad Park, who blew out the candles for the 76th time.

Another Detroit/New York tie-in?

Brad Park coached (and played with) Ron Duguay with the Red Wings.

Also in Detroit at the time?

“The Turk,” Gerard Gallant.

Small world!

Did you really expect me to write 10,000 words and not bring up Matt Rempe? Photo Credit: NHL

Last, but certainly not least, the following:

While I think that this boxing clip of Rempe shared from B/R Open Ice is more of a light-hearted ha-ha thing than anything else; but either way, then it’s good to see #73 at the office – and while we haven’t seen these clips yet – I expect that he’s working on his skating and skills too.

And to tie everything in together, what did the last Stanley Cup winning team in Rangers’ history have?


And wouldn’t you know it?

1994 Stanley Cup champion, Joey Kocur, formerly of Detroit, and who then returned to the Red Wings to win three more Cups (two as a player in 1997 & 1998 and one more as a video coach in 2002), only returned for one reason:

Captain Steven Yzerman asked him to.

And oh, one final tie-in?

As a “Rangers’ Road-Tripper,” then this season is not very accommodating to my work schedule.

Presently, I only have Dallas, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Vancouver, San Jose and now Utah, left to visit – and where all of these games this year are played mid-week.

(I usually try to attend Saturday road-games – as I only have to take off from work for one day – a Friday.)

However, while I did attend “THE JOE” before for the last-ever Rangers vs Red Wings game – I haven’t been to Little Casears, the new barn in Detroit – yet.

The Rangers play the Red Wings on the road in Detroit on Saturday, November 9th – and where I also have a free hotel room waiting for me at the Casears’ casino, located a stone’s throw away in Windsor, Ontario, too.

In other words?

Two blogs on November 10th as I fly back home  – a BlueCollarBlueshirts.com one – and a SpokedWheelRedShirts.com rendition too!

Oh the humanity!

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

My fourth title and tenth book is now available!

“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!

For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/

The hardcover version of my first book, available now at Amazon.com

My second plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:


For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today

My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.

My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.

To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/

To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”

The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!

“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.

All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.

To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com

To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com

For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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6 thoughts on “Fully Examining Chris Drury’s “Rangers’ Legacy” And Why It’s He – And Not Jacob Trouba – That’s the Worst Captain in Franchise History; Rangers Remain Idle, The Detroit Debut of SpokedWheelRedShirts.com; YZERPLAN Revealed As Beefing Up On Former Blueshirts, Get Well Iron Mike, Lindgren Status, Future Blue, Matt Rempe & More

  1. Keenan’s no hero in my book. What maniac benches Leetch and Richter in the ECF to make a point? A point he had 82+ games to make. And after pressuring Smith to get him every player he wanted, what other narcissistic psychopath would have the stones to negotiate contracts with other teams during the SCF?? The Rangers didn’t win the Cup because of Mike Keenan; they won despite Mike Keenan. And this is where the greatest leader in sports history came in. If Messier wasn’t there to slap this bitch down there’s no way this team doesn’t implode. I would have loved to have been in the room when Mess had his “meeting” with Keenan. The only reason all this was overlooked or tolerated was because we won and everyone was in a state of euphoria. No Messier = No Cup. That’s a fact.

    1. I totally and 100% agree with everything you’re saying here – but as you know – history (and revisionist history most certainly) is written by the winners.

  2. Is there any proof that Drury stabbed JD and Gorton in the back? Not asking this as a challenge but as a request for info. Without reading any definitive quotes my assumption (and that’s all it is) is that Dolan was incensed at the Wilson incident, the lack of response and the NHL DPS. The fact that JD and Gorton (wisely) didn’t back him or refused to sign the memo to the league calling for Parros’ resignation was what led to the firings. Also I did read that other teams wanted to interview Drury but the organization considered Drury to be a rising star and was being groomed to be the next GM anyway. Did I miss something? Do I have all the facts? Help me out Sean!

    1. Gorton hinted at it during his talking head role for ESPN during the 2021 draft. I can’t remember all of it verbatim, but he said something like “I heard they want to get tougher there, ha ha ha,” and then followed that up by saying, “Chris was always groomed for a GM spot over there – just happened faster than how I would’ve imagined.”

      I believe in another interview, he said something akin to, “you plant the tree and you want to be there to see the fruits of it develop.”

      You’re right about the Drury being a name – he turned down Pittsburgh and Florida for certain – and I know he talked to two other teams. I’d have to really dig deep into my archives for the exact specifics tho.

      Signing Ramsay immediately was another inclination.

  3. Think Dolan, what ever else you can say about him, was 100% correct about the Wilson debacle. What’s the fuckin’ point of “player safety” if you can have goons like Wilson kick the piss out of talented players like Panarin?

    Love JD way back, but he and Gorton shat the bed a bunch in the draft and in the trade market.

    The cap is a reality. You cannot sign everybody to long term deals for big numbers. This team, warts and all, was 2 wins for the SCF. And perhaps rather than making it all about Drury, take a good long look at 93 and 20 disappearing COMPLETELY in the ECF. Sometime, and in this case, IT’S THE PLAYERS. Panarin had Barkov all over him, and was great int he prior 2 series. What the fuck is the excuse of the BFFs? Plus, you can make book MSG is going to play the game 6 hat trick vs. the Canes all fuckin’ summer to just piss me off even more.

    1. I always felt that Panarin jumped on Wilson’s back and Wilson reacted to that.

      As far as your draft comment goes, and just based on JD (certainly not Gorton), and the 2020 Draft may wind up being one of the best in franchise history.

      I don’t think I’ve ever let Mika off of the hook on this site, but what you said about Panarin is true – especially on that ineffective powerplay in that ECF round.

      And I haven’t turned on M$GN once since the season ended.

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