if [if] conjunction 1. In case that; granting or supposing that; on condition that: Sing if you want to. Stay indoors if it rains. I’ll go if you do. 2. Even though: an enthusiastic if small audience. 3. Whether: He asked if I knew Spanish. 4. (used to introduce an exclamatory phrase): If only Dad could see me now! 5. When or whenever: If it was raining, we had to play inside.
Two small letters carry so much expectation of what might come; of what could have been but never was. They’re two letters that could easily be applied to Wojtek Wolski.
The Colorado Avalanche saw something in the Poland-born, Canada-raised left winger to warrant using their first-round pick (21st overall) to select him in 2004. The Rangers hoped that a change of scenery would help Wolski find his scoring touch, and in turn, help them produce more offense after Alex Frolov went down for the 2010-11 season with a knee injury.
Unfortunately for both player and team, it didn’t work that way. In the 37 regular season games he played as a Ranger last season after being acquired on January 10th in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival he managed 6 goals and 13 assists. He was hampered by injury to start this season – first diagnosed as a groin, then a hernia and has not been able to get back in the lineup with any regularity. Wolski has played a total of 9 games, his last being January 15th in Montreal and in those 9 games, was virtually invisible.
Today Wolski became a former Ranger, as the forward was shipped to the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor leaguer Michael Vernace and their 3rd round draft pick in 2013. The Panthers now become his 4th team since the 2009-10 season. The Rangers regain $3.8 million in essentially wasted cap space in advance of Monday’s 3pm trade deadline.
If. If Wojtek Wolski lived up to the expectations people had for him based on his talent, perhaps he never becomes a spare part sitting on the sidelines, his Rangers days now over. Perhaps were he providing the offense Glen Sather had hoped he would when he acquired him last season, none of this Rick Nash talk would even be happening.
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About the Author: Likes: Hockey, the New York Rangers, King Henrik, singing the Rangers goal song, "The Save", the sound skates make against ice, heckling Marty Brodeur. Dislikes: 3-point games, front-office mismanagement, Denis Potvin, overpriced arena beer. Interested? Follow me on Twitter: @CC_927