Monday, March 5, 2007

A Call for Francis Lessard...

Larry Brooks says the Rangers should call up Francis Lessard for the remainder of the year. Of particular concern for Brooks is tonight’s game against cross town rival Islanders. Says Brooks:
SO who's going to be willing to take a game misconduct the first time Brendan Witt, Sean Hill or any other Islander runs Jaromir Jagr tonight?

Make no mistake. The story of the Islanders' sweep of the first four games of this season's Battle of New York is written in their overall physical dominance of the series and their ability to abuse the Rangers' most important player, and it's written in bold.

This is, therefore, a call for the Blueshirts to promote 27-year-old, 6-6, 240-pound enforcer Francis Lessard from Hartford and insert him into tonight's lineup. Lessard, the winger who entered the Wolf Pack's match at Hershey yesterday afternoon with 187 penalty minutes in 37 games, is laboring under an AHL contract and has to be signed to an NHL two-way deal today in order to come up.

True, the move would burn one of the Rangers' four allowable minor-league recalls the remainder of the season, but first things first.

Renney is a vital factor here. It's clear he does not relish being known as an eye-for-eye coach. No one will ever confuse him with, say, Lindy Ruff. But the head coach must recognize how the Islanders' search-and-destroy tactics have
succeeded against his team.
While I agree with Brooks on quite a bit of topics, I think he is a little off base on this one. In the toughness arena, the Rangers have Colton Orr, Sean Avery, Ryan Hollweg. The Islanders have Chris Simon, Brendan Witt, and Aaron Asham. Toss in some occasional toughies in Ortmeyer and Shanahan from the Rangers and Ryan Smith from the Islanders and you have two fairly even teams on paper. At the same time, the code prevents Francis Lessard from fighting anyone on the Islanders not named Chris Simon. And I’d imagine Simon’s knuckles are still a bit tender from his battle royal with Todd Fedoruk. So long story short, if the Rangers want to match size and toughness with the Islanders its not a matter of inventory; they have what they need on their current roster.

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