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New Rink Developments, Ryan Murphy and John Gibson

From the outside looking in, it's been a pretty quiet week in Rangers Nation. The team has only played 2 games so far, and has really come out strong. Playing last night in Saginaw, the Rangers skated to a 4-1 win thanks to some strong play from net minder John Gibson. Anyone remember the last time the Rangers won a game based on a strong performance in net?

The really interesting story is brewing in Carolina, where Rangers defensemen Ryan Murphy remains with the Hurricanes. He's had a very strong camp with the Canes, showing them that he is capable of high level talent. The question being asked is, has he got what it takes to be in the NHL this year? Of course the vast majority of Rangers fans want him back on East Ave, myself included. Not because we want to see him fail of course, but because we always want our boys in blue to do well.

Glancing at the stats, the Hurricanes have 7 defensemen signed to contracts on their roster. This means that eventually we'll most likely see Murphy sent back down. Why should he spend a year sitting on the bench in Carolina, when he can spend it on the top line in Kitchener showing the new kids how it's done? The most likely outcome of this is Murphy will spend up to the maximum 9 games with the Hurricanes before his NHL contract kicks in, then he'll be sent back to Kitchener. He could also be sent back before then, as he hasn't played in the last 2 pre-season games for the Canes.

This of course is not a knock at Murphy's skill. He clearly is a top of the line defensemen, the kind of guy any GM would want on his team. One day he'll be a big NHL star, but he needs more development time.

The other big story breaking out of Rangers Nation this week was the announcement that the plans shown last summer for the expansion of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium have been officially shelved. The plan can be seen here:

The plan called for an additional 3000 seats, which would have seen the Aud expanded to a capacity of just under 10,000 when standing room was included. However the City Of Kitchener expressed concerns that it would be impossible to complete the project on time, and therefore the Rangers were essentially told no. At this time, according to the City, there is no money for a new Arena in this city. So in order to buy a few more years at the Aud, the Rangers will be investing $9.6 million to expand the Aud by 1000 seats.

The question being asked about this is why bother? Even with an additional 1000 seats, this city is growing at a very fast pace. Even if the Aud today was 1000 seats bigger there would still be a need for a new arena. Band-aid solutions, in my opinion, are a temporary waste of money. I'd like to see a new rink built as soon as possible. However I do understand the concern of taxpayers not wanting to get stuck footing the bill. The City has invested millions in the downtown core in recent years. My opinion is that a new Arena downtown would be even better than any of the other work thats been done.

The Rangers play Saturday night in the Soo, then return to Kitchener on October 7th for an Oktoberfest showdown when Saginaw comes to town.

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