Lesser Known Rangers – Volume 10
You know, it’s incredible how when looking at rosters for research for this article, how many obscure names you can come by, some you can vividly remember and some you don’t. Seeing as the Rangers have been around since the days before World War II, many people have come and gone through Madison Square Garden and donned a blueshirt. So, strap yourselves in and grab a coffee, as we go down memory lane and take a look at some Ranger players you more than likely forgot…
Karel Rachunek, Defenseman.
Time with Rangers: 78 games split over two seasons (03-04, 06-07)
After originally being drafted by Ottawa, Rachunek was dealt to the Rangers in March of 2004 for Greg de Vries. After playing out the season with New York, Rachunek went overseas before the lockout for Lokomotiv Yarosalvl (RSL) and Orli Znojmo (CZE) before coming back to the Rangers in 06-07 for 66 games. Both campaigns with New York, he registered a plus/minus of -9 and registered 30 points combined in his stint as a Ranger. He was your typical second pair defenseman who was not a flashy kind of guy. What you saw, is what you got.
After his time with New York, Rachunek went to NJ before going back overseas to Russia to play for Dynamo Moscow and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
Tragically, Rachunek was one of the 44 members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team that perished in the September 7th, 2011 plane crash in Russia.
Sandis Ozolinsh, Defenseman
Time with Rangers: 2 seasons as a Ranger
Known to be an offensive defenseman, Ozolinsh was acquired by the Rangers from the Ducks for Villie Nieminen. Winning a cup with Colorado, Ozolinsh was meant to be an anchor for offensive production on the back end.
Playing in 14 points in 19 games in the 05-06 season, Ozolinsh helped New York advance to the playoffs, for which the Rangers had not qualified since 1997. In the following season on the heels of a 6–1 loss to New Jersey in December, the Rangers placed Ozolinsh on waivers. The experiment was over and after being assigned to Hartford, he was placed on injured reserve from a knee injury. The plan did not work out for New York. After his stint in New York, Sandish headed to San Jose. After his time out west, he bolted to the KHL, where he played for a few more seasons before retiring. Ozolinsh did come out of retirement briefly to play for Team Latvia in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The team finished 8th.
Alexei Semenov, Defenseman
Time with Rangers: A few preseason games, not enough for his wife.
I remember Alexei Semenov very well. I liked his game when the Rangers used him in camp before the 2009-10 campaign. He was a big body that could’ve been a big help to an undersized team. I was actually excited to see someone on the back end do well in this role and was expecting him to have a nice, little season as a bottom pair D, who can play the physical game. Then, out of nowhere, he’s gone. Just vanished. Disappeared into thin air. What happened?
Apparently, there are different stories that contradict each other. One report came out stating that Semenov agreed to a contract after his try out, only to be nixed by his wife. Yes, you read that correctly, his wife allegedly nixed the deal..
“He agreed, his agent agreed, but his wife didn’t,” Sather said. “He couldn’t talk his family into it. In all my years of dealing with players, I’ve never had that happen before. He was crying.”
Before Sather’s comments, Semenov, whose wife lives in Russia, told Newsday he “would love to be here, but I don’t think it’s going to work out.” Asked if he might play in Russia’s KHL, he said, “Maybe, we’ll see.” Steve Zipay/Newsday
Once this report came out, ANOTHER report came out nine days later stating that Semenov was not swayed by his wife but rather, felt the contract didn’t pay enough. I guess whatever the wife says, goes. I will not argue with him on that!
Either way, his time here was quick and thinking back on it, he would’ve been a nice asset to have, but if the wife says so, I guess you can’t argue with that! Semenov is currently playing in the KHL.