A Closer Look At Mike Mottau

By Brandon LeBourveau
Contract problems kept 22 year old Boston College graduate Mike Mottau
out of camp for the first few weeks, but since coming to camp on a tryout
agreement last week, Mottau has made a huge splash in only 2 games.

Although I did not get to see Mottau’s first preseason game, a 2-1 loss
to the Dallas Stars, I heard Mike played excellent in that game…even better
than in last night’s 8-2 loss against the Devils. If if Mottau played better
than he did last night in Dallas, I can’t wait to see what the future holds
for this potential Brian Leetch clone. Although Mottau is only 6’0 192, he
plays like he’s 5 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier. He is a great open ice
checker, and reminds me of Mike Peca a little bit. His offensive talent is
probably the best part of his game, as he impressed me on the power play last
night. He made quick tape to tape passes in the offensive zone, and read the
play very well. He knew where to be at every moment, and even snuck behind
the New Jersey defense and was alone in front of the crease, but the Rangers
were unable to feed him the puck, or he would have had an easy tap in. One of
the most surprising things from that game was that he wasn’t on the ice for
any of the 8 goals against. And this isn’t saying much since practically the
whole team played poorly, but Mottau was clearly the best player on the ice
for the Rangers, with the possible exception of sophomore Michael York, who I
thought played well too.

The Rangers coaching staff has liked Mottau’s play so much, that they
have sent Terry Virtue, Tomas Kloucek and Drew Bannister to Hartford of the
AHL and are giving Mottau a better chance to make the team as a possible 6th
defenseman if he can beat out someone like Rich Pilon. I was hoping Kloucek
would have made the team as well, but I suppose he didn’t impress enough,
although Ron Low said if there was an injury to the defense, he wouldn’t have
a problem recalling Kloucek from the minors. The Rangers still have 4 games
remaining, including a game tonight in Columbus, and if Mottau plays just as
well as he has the past 2 games, he will definitely be on the opening night
roster, if he has a contract by then. But he is more than deserving of the
money he’s asking for after what he has shown so far…