Sunday, October 08, 2017

Fright Night in Toronto

Halloween horrors are here before there is any frost on the pumpkins. This new edition of the NY Rangers is starting off the 2017-18 season by scaring the bejesus out of their fans. Twelve goals allowed in two games is horrible hockey. The Toronto game, an 8-5 loss, was a massive scream fest, for anyone, who could stomach the entire debacle. Who was that guy wearing the Lundqvist git-up?

Sean over at the Blue Collar Blueshirts blog pounces on the debate that looks to rage on all season: is the 35-year-old Lundqvist finished? Has the King fallen off his throne as hockey royalty, are the Rangers now crippled by carrying an expensive has-been goalie? Forget the sorry defense guarding the King. Lundqvist looks to be out there all by himself this year, and sadly the King has no clothes. Where are you, Dan Girardi?

Sean at BlueCollarBlueShirts writes:

By now, many of you know me as the guy who predicted the demise of Lundswiss. I’ve been saying it for the last three years. I wanted to keep Talbot. I wanted to keep Raanta. However, the Rangers have this insane idea, that no matter what they do, this will be the year that the “bedrock” of the franchise, in Henrik Lundwiss, will take this team to a Cup. That is fantasy and not reality.

Listen, many young fans will argue with me all day long, even after Lundswiss gets pulled after giving up five goals in one period (not the first time) like he did tonight. I was young once too. I remember how heartbroken I was when Don Mattingly was at the end. I have also told you my stories of being absolutely furious when Graves and Leetch were jettisoned out of NY. However, you need to leave the Lundswiss bubble and try to think what’s the best for the front of the jersey and not about an overrated and overpaid goalie.

The name calling is a little extreme, Lundqvist has earned a little respect, but all our hockey heroes are human. And right now we are very afraid for our hero, Hank. Can Lundqvist remain a top goaltender, and can he carry the team up Mount Stanley? The Shakespearean-like drama of King Henrik is going into its final act and it will be fascinating to watch.

King Henrik - a tragedy?


Speaking of great literature, one of our other hockey heroes will be coming out with a tell-all book later this month. Sean Avery teamed up with writer Michael McKinley for Ice Capades - A Memoir of Fast Living and Tough Hockey. Plus, he's fired up the old Owen Sound bus for a grand little book tour.

Sean Avery - Ice Capades
Sean Avery book tour for "Ice Capades"

Puck Daddy provided a snippet from an early copy of Sean's book regarding John Tortorella:
“Tortorella has a reputation as a hard-ass, but not if you know him as a player. We used to laugh at him all the time. There was always someone in the dressing room who wanted to take their skate and decapitate him or take their stick and whack him over the head with it. Marion Gaborik despised him with every bone in his body. Even Hank Lundqvist, an even-keeled Swede who was usually in his own world, thought Tortorella was a terrible manager of pro athletes. And he can’t skate and stickhandle a puck at the same time, and he doesn’t realize we don’t take him seriously because of that.”

Tortorella was a real drama queen, calling him 'Johnny Drama' seemed totally appropriate. How did that guy stay in the NHL and a talent like Sean Avery has his career cut short? 

Sean Avery may live life in the fast lane, but he took time to pull over to the side and make a surprise visit to the Ranger Pundit's 80th birthday party, back in December 2010. Talk about a surprise, it was having your favorite Ranger on that team walk through the door to say Happy Birthday, to a life long Rangers fan. And then hang around to talk and take pictures with everyone. Unforgettable!

Sean Avery was a fantastic hockey player and a super nice guy. Can't wait to read his book.

Sean Avery and Mike Savino at the Ranger Pundit's 80th Birthday Party December 2010

Monday, August 28, 2017

Jean Ratelle's #19 Retired to Rafters on Feb. 25, 2018

Jean Ratelle #19

The NY Rangers announced that Jean Ratelle will be the 9th Ranger to have his number retired by the organization. Looking back at Ratelle's career allows us to relive the organization's chronic ineptitude.

Ratelle's greatest success came with linemates Vic Hadfield (LW) and Rod Gilbert (RW) on the so-called "GAG line" (which stood for goal a game). The were together from the late 60's until 1974, when Hadfield was traded to the Pens for Nick Beverly. Beverly scored 4 goals in 139 games over 3 seasons with the Rangers. That's a goal every 35 games. Hadfield scored 31 goals for the Pens during the 1974-75 season, and 30 goals for them in 1975-76. Yet again the Rangers gave away the store.

On November 7, 1975, Jean Ratelle was traded along with defenseman Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Carol Vadnais and Phil Esposito. At the time, this was considered the biggest blockbuster trade in NHL history. Of course the trade turned out better for Boston than for New York. Ratelle and Park have several great seasons for the Bruins, while Espo declines, and Yadnis is not even close to Park. But, that's the way it always seem to go on Broadway.

Ratelle played parts of 16 seasons with the Rangers (1960-61 - 1975-76), registering 336 goals and 481 assists for 817 points, along with a plus-167 rating in 861 games. He ranks second on the Rangers' all-time goals list, ranks third on the franchise's all-time assists list and all-time points list, and ranks sixth in career games played with the Blueshirts. Ratelle and Rod Gilbert are the only players who rank third or higher on the Rangers' all-time lists for goals, assists, and points. In addition, Ratelle is one of only five players in franchise history who played in parts of 16 or more seasons with the Rangers (along with Gilbert, Harry Howell, Brian Leetch, and Ron Greschner)...
NY Rangers Legends:
Jean Ratelle is about as perfect a hockey player as there as we have ever seen. His professionalism and sportsmanship are as rare as his elite puck handling and skating skills...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Happy 90th Kids

The Rangers celebrated their 90th year in grand fashion. They beat the Islanders 5-3. However great that was the pre-game show was a knockout, boffo. They went back in history to introduce all the greats: Mark Messier, "the Messiah," Eddie Giacomin, "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie," Barry Beck, "Shoot the puck Barry." I was waiting, wistfully, for the ghosts of Chuck Rayner and Frankie Boucher. No luck.

While the old timers shone in the pregame it was the young guns, or more appropriate, young legs who took over. Kreider, a goal and assist, Pirri, goal and assist; Zibanejad, two assists, JT Miller, goal and Brady Skjel an assist. All young and all 25 or younger. So what does this all mean? It means the Rangers beat the Islanders in the first game of the season. It might mean the young legs might carry the team, just as the Yankee kids carried the Bombers in August and September, at least for awhile. It will all depend on how long the youngsters continue to get meaningful ice time. And remember the coach is two points oriented. On to St. Louis and on to bigger things. Hopefully the young guys will continue to play, skate, score and win. Let's Go Rangers!