2006_03_sleetch.jpgEven two years later it is hard to handle. Brian Leetch is no longer a Ranger and last night he returned to the Garden for the first time wearing an opponents’ sweater and sporting an extra 2 on his back. Unlike Mark Messier and Adam Graves, Leetch’s return was not successful as the Rangers won the contest 5-2.

While it is sad to see Leetch in another jersey, you cannot argue with the results of the trade. Besides the productive assets it gave them, it also marked the beginning of a long overdue rebuilding process. The benefits of that process are clearly evident in today’s team. The Rangers are in first place with 14 games left to go because they stopped relying solely on stars and added some grinders like Jed Ortmeyer, Ryan Hollweg and Jason Ward. The question is, will it be enough to go deep into the playoffs?

Photo by Bill Kostroun/AP via Yahoo