Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yankee Doodle Dandies

George M. Cohane was the original Yankee Doodle Dandy, a song and dance man, who produced Broadway musicals. In 1942, Warner Brothers produced the movie, "Yankee Doodle Dandy", a loosely structed tale on the life of George M. Cohane. The title came about as Cohane was a patriotic citizen who liberally (pardon the expression) put patriotic songs into his shows. Warner Brothers chose James Cagney for the title role. Despite his tough guy roles, Cagney had a background as a song and dance man. Cagney had won an Academy Award for "Angels With Dirty Faces" in 1938 playing tough guy, murderer, Rocky Sullivan, screaming as they led him to the chair. You gotta dig this one out folks, its a classic that also has Humphrey Bogart, Pat O'Brien (the priest, what else?), Ann Sheridan and the famous Dead End Kids.

Cagney had starred in the famous "The Public Enemy" and "The Roaring Twenties" where he built up quite a cult of fans and worshippers. His final great gangster film was "White Heat" with an incendiery ending. So they gave him the starring role of the famous George M. Cohane who cavorted with Kings, Presidents and the GI Joe's all over the world. So he won his second Academy Award and would get the trifecta with "Love Me Or Leave Me" in 1955. There is a street in New York named after him. I believe its in the nineties on the East Side.

Another Yankee Doodle Dandy is Derek Jeter. Here is a guy who kept playing with a bad hand that limits his hitting ability. He was leading the lead in hitting when he got hurt but kept playing, and his average fell. The team came first. What a novel thought in this day and age. With Jeter its always about us, we, the team. Just like the bubble head doll that plays in San Francisco.

What about Randy Johnson? A dandy or a doozy? Lets not forget that Johnson is 42 years old and has seen his better days. Still last year he was 17-8 and beat the Red Sox five out of five. And he won the division clincher in Boston. Isn't that why we got him? So this year he has done poorly? He has a 7-4 record. His last start brought raves from the Yanks and the press. Six shutout innings against the top team in the league, the Detroit Tigers. All the experts analyzed his performance and no won got it right. Not one mentioned the key ingredient that brought about this masterful performance. The heat! It was 93 degrees in Detroit and when you are 42 years old 93 degrees does wonders. Heat works wonders on old bones, trust me on this one. Its simple but none of our experts either in the driveby sports media or the Yankee braintrust could figure it out. Believe me, check the temperature next time Johnson pitches. He could be another Yankee Doodle Dandy albiet a mercenary one.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Shouldn't Ask....But?



Big Moose Wouldn't Jaromir Jagr prefer a big moose-type center, regardless of nationality, rather than another Czech player?

Wasn't it inevitable that the soft Ranger defense would wilt in a playoff series? The signs were there very early and the Ranger Pundit kept pointing them out even when we were winning.

The softness of the defense pointed out the greatness of the goal tending right up to the doomed collapse. It showcased the greatness of the Prince, Henrik Lundqvist I, who was all world until the Olympics.

How does Lundqvist become one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy and doesn't get a mention as rookie of the year?

Signing Petr Sykora is the key ingredient for the Rangers to pick up two big free agents, Patrik Elias and Jason Arnott, and to the establishment of a tough, high scoring second line.

If the Rangers do pick up Elias and Arnott and resign Sykora, will "Sweet Caroline" be abandoned for Duke Ellington's "Take The A Train?"

Do the Rangers really need both Blair Betts and Dominic Moore? Do we really need two checking lines?

While Zdeno Chara would look good on Broadway shouldn't we give guys like Pock, Baranka and Stahl a chance to make the starting team?

What is more important? Signing free agents for a quick run to the Cup or continue with the slow steady progress of rebuilding?

Is Tom Renney the coach to take the Rangers to the next step?

Casablanca is the greatest movie ever made.

Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis are the greatest to ever be on the screen.

All aspiring actresses should be made to watch Bette Davis in Jezebel and Dark Victory to see what acting is all about.

Patsy's on 74th Street off of Columbus makes the greatest pizza in the world.

After his first five years in the majors, Barry Bonds, ranked seventh in every hitting category rated average against the likes of Albert Pujols, A-Rod, Ken Griffey, Jr., Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Aaron in their first five years.

Williams was first in BA with a .353 average, Joe D. was second with a .343 and Bonds was last with a .265.

In Home Runs Pujols was first with 40 HR's, Joe D. was second with 34 HR's and Bonds beat out A-Rod for last. Bonds had 23 HR's to A-Rods 21.

For the RBI crown, Joe D. was the champ with 138 RBI's followed by Ted Williams with 128 RBI's. Bonds was last with 67 RBI's, three less than A-Rod.

Of course all these numbers were before Bonds embarked on his rigorous training program and before he discovered Coolaid.

World War II killed any chance of Joe D. and Williams of putting up monster career numbers. They both lost three years each in the service. Williams lost an additional two for the Korean War. Ted Williams was the greatest hitter I ever saw. He was the last player to hit .400. In 1941 he hit .406.

Who are these 9% of major league ballplayers who rated Derek Jeter the most over rated player in the majors? Currently Jeter is third in BA, fourth in total hits, fourth in on base %, eight in walks and is only six runs behind the league leader. To top it off he leads the Yanks in RBI's with 34. To cap it off he is only two hits shy of 2000 hits in his career and could posibly be the first Yankee ever to get 3000 hits. Over rated?

Jaromir Jagr should win the MVP and MOP awards and only the prejudice of Canadien writers stand in his way.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fuzzy - The Rangers Fan



Fuzzy - Donald Cohen - wearing his Rangers jersey. It has been signed by 50 players over the years.
Donald Cohen, aka Fuzzy, wearing his Rangers jersey. It has been signed by 50 players over the years. NY Times:

The final scene of the final episode of "Sex and the City" offered viewers a glimpse of a New York institution.

But the backdrop to Sarah Jessica Parker's last stroll was not Central Park or the Empire State Building or the New York Public Library.

It was Fuzzy, clear as day, on his way to yet another sporting event.

"That was the night that the Rangers retired Mike Richter's number," said Fuzzy, whose real name is Donald Cohen. "I wanted to get to Madison Square Garden early that day, and I guess the camera caught me on my way to the game."

Fuzzy, given that nickname decades ago for his bushy beard, became famous long before his accidental cameo.

Since the 1950's, Fuzzy, who has never married and will only hint at his age — "a two-digit number with a 6 in front of it" — has been a fixture at local games. The Yankees and the Rangers are his favorite teams.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Devils, Senators Eliminated



The Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres are set to battle for the Eastern Conference Title after both teams eliminated their opponents in five games. After their sweep of the Rangers, the Devils seemed to lose their sharpness in falling to the Canes. Ottawa, one of the favorites to go all the way lost every game by one goal in falling to Buffalo.

The joy in seeing the Devils fall in five to Carolina is tempered by the fact that they blew the Rangers away in four. The Devils were dispatched almost as easily as the Rangers were dispatched. This begs the question, how good were the Rangers at the tail end of the season? Were they any better than the Atlanta Thrashers or Toronto Maple Leafs or the Florida Panthers, all who finished out of the playoffs?

Probably not and the reason for this discussion is to remind the Ranger brain trust that they cannot go into next season with the same team or the same style and mindset. The early elimination by the Devils could put doubt in the mind of Patrik Elias whether to return to the Devils or go for the big bucks with the Rangers. The opportunity is there boys, go get it.

For those who believe that the Olympics had no effect on the NHL, they should look to Ottawa. Dominick Hasek got injured in the Olympics and never returned. Yes Emery played well but it is hard to imagine that two or three of those one goal losses wouldn't have been wins with Hasek in the nets for Ottawa. Ottawa is loaded and has a ton of free agents including the dynamic defensive duo of Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden. One of them would do the trick. Its hard to believe that Ottawa would ante up to keep both Redden and Chara in the fold.

What has made all these dreams possible is the salary cap. The Devils have cap problems and besides Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner and Erik Rasmussen are also free agents. Plus they have to shell out big, long term contracts to Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez who are both restricted free agents. So the possibility exists that the Rangers could have a decent shot at reuniting Elias with Petr Sykora.

The Ottawa situation is more intriguing as far as the Rangers are concerned. Ottawa has seven unrestricted free agents and nine restricted free agents. It just isn't possible or practical to bring them all back. Among the restricted are Martin Havlat, Jason Spezza and tough guy, Brian McGrattan. So Chara and Redden, both unrestricted, either or both are there for the plucking.

The Rangers have six unrestricted free agents, Poti, Rucchin, Rucinsky, Straka, Strudwick and Sykora. Look for Straka and Sykora to stay. The restricted include Hossa, Moore, Ortmeyer, Rozsival and Tyutin. Moore looks like odd man out in this group. Moore and Betts are look alikes on the ice but the edge seems to go to Betts on faceoffs and a little more offense.

Sandis Ozolinsh has one more year on his contract and should be bought out and released.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day



Used pink bats to go up for auction on MLB.com MLB.com - Mother's Day to feature pink bats:

As part of an ongoing overall effort to raise awareness about breast cancer and help find a cure for the disease, Major League Baseball is taking the unprecedented step of featuring pink Louisville Sluggers during all games played on Mother's Day. The many players who will use them will then sign the bats, and Major League Baseball will collect the bats and put them up for bidding -- with the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sports Popularity Trends

by research staff

Google launched a new service called Google Trends. Google Trends lets you compare the world's interest in various topics.

It's interesting to see the seasonal ebb and flow of interest in different sports. Search volume in the top graph and news volume is the lower graph.

Here are some sports popularity trends as Google sees them:
(clicking on the graph will take you to the full Google Trends result)

NHL     NASCAR

Google Trends - NHL v. NASCAR


NHL     NBA

Google Trends - NHL v. NBA


NHL     NFL

Google Trends - NHL v. NFL


NY Rangers     NJ Devils

Google Trends - NY Rangers v. NJ Devils


Sidney Crosby     Alexander Ovechkin

Google Trends - Sidney Crosby v. Alexander Ovechkin


Jaromir Jagr     Joe Thornton

Google Trends - Jaromir Jagr v. Joe Thornton



Yankees     Mets

Google Trends - Yankees v. Mets

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I May Be Wrong.......But



The late season collapse by the Rangers took the air out of the season.

Ryan Hollweg is the most underrated, unappreciated and under utilized of all the Rangers.

Glen Sather must have Zdeno Chara, Jason Arnott and Branden Witt on his free agency wish list.

Tom Renney's stock dove after the nine game losing streak and his inability to stop the slide and turn it around.

Lou Lamoriello is the coach of the year. He is also the best GM in the business.

The Rangers don't need two checking lines and don't need two checking centers. Either Betts or Moore have to go.

With his fine play in the playoffs, Hartford goalie, Chris Holt will be in the mix for 2006-07, with the Rangers.

One of the most stirring moments of the season was the standing O the fans gave the Rangers after their elimination by the Devils.

Will the Devils be treated to that by their fans? Will their fans show up?

A-Rod, Sheffield, Giambi, Matsui, Mussina and Randy Johnson all came to NY to win the big one. What's the odds it will never happen for any of them? Should have kept the young kids.

The Yanks are the most overrated hitting team in baseball.

After listening to Joe Torre rationalizing A-Rods failures in the clutch, isn't it time for Joe to adopt A-Rod so that his explanations become more credible?

Why doesn't Ron Villone get called in tight situations with his ERA of 1.50? Why does Tanyon Sturtze keep getting too much time with a 7.84 ERA?

Maybe Torre should also adopt Sturtze.

Greatness is measured in baseball by home runs. But this is greatness. 13 years in baseball, missing three for the service. Ten pennants, nine World Series Championships, three MVP's, two batting titles, two HR titles and two RBI titles plus a 56 game hitting streak that has stood up for 64 years and counting.

Joe DiMaggio.

The New York Times and the Washington Post will publish a shocking expose that Babe Ruth once consumed 12 hotdogs and a case of beer in one sitting and that proves that the Babe was using a foreign substance.

When does Larry Brown start taking the blame for the Knicks sorry performance?

When does Isiah Thomas start taking the blame for Larry Brown?

When does James Dolan start taking the blame, period?

All you need to know about Eliot Spitzer is that Donald Trump and Al Damato are two of his biggest supporters.

For a preview of how Spitzer will govern, see New Jersey and Jon Corzine.

Hillary Clinton will visit upstate New York and will promise to create 200,000 new jobs. She still owes them 199,000 jobs from her last visit.

George Pataki will tour the heartlands in his quest to become President. He will promise to do for the country what he did to New York.

The most dangerous place on the planet is between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera.

The second most dangerous is a blog in the hands of a recalcitrant old man.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Beansy analyzes Ranger Season



I had not seen him for a while but then I spotted him coming out of an OTB tearing up some paper. How's it been going, I inquired? Not bad, he answered, I'm breaking even. So it is a good day in horseplayer parlance. Who did you have? Brother Derek, he responded. Did you know something? Naw, just a hunch. I liked the name. It reminded me of Derek Jeter of the Yankees and I figured there was an in there and a sure thing. Beansy was going now. You know I love Jeter, he's the greatest.

I reminded Beansy that in a poll of baseball players the highest percentage, 9%, rated Jeter the most over rated player in baseball. Yeah, Beansy snorted, all the other shortstops voted against him. Beansy was going now. I ignore polls, he said, ever since Dewey was elected President over Truman in 1948. Remember Jeter just won his second gold glove and will probably become the first Yankee in history to get 3000 hits in a career. Imagine, Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle never got 3000 hits but Derek Jeter will if he doesn't suffer some big injury.

Anyway, Brother Derek never made it, finished fifth, and according to Beansy he is still running to the Preakness to run and lose again. I asked him if he were abandoning Brother Derek and he said there is no such word in the horse player jargon as abandon. The horse died on me like the Rangers did. The Rangers? The Rangers got 100 points in the season and made the playoffs. They were ousted in the playoffs by the Devils in four straight.

Yeah, he said they died. If it hadn't been for their great start and great run (10-1-1) right before the Olympics it would have been samo, samo for the eight straight year. No playoffs. But I don't blame the team he said, I blame the coach. Blame the coach? How can you blame the coach, I asked him? Don't you know that he is one of the finalists for coach of the year honors? Coach of the Year? You have got to be kidding. Who are the other two finalists, he asked? I told him, Peter Laviolette and Lindy Ruff.

Now you are kidding, he bellowed. The coach of the year should be Lou Lamoriello of the Devils. A Ranger fan voting for the Devil coach? How could that be? As they say in politics, look at the record. He took a team fighting for their playoff lives and won the last ten games of the season to finish third and then blanked the Rangers in the playoffs. Look it up. He was always the greatest GM and now he is the best coach, at least for 2005-06.

Tom Renney? He collapsed down the stretch. He was Mr. Lucky as Jagr had a great year and then lighting in a bottle occurred with the sensational play of Henrik Lundqvist, which was totally unexpected. Lundqvist is one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy. The other two are Martin Brodeur and Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames. The Rangers ended the season with nine straight losses, counting the four in the playoffs. They couldn't steal two points in the last five games when they needed it. Renney didn't have a clue how to get the points or stop the slide.

Once Jagr went down and Lundqvist did not recover fully from his injuries it was all over for the Rangers and Renney. I've seen these too many times said Beansy. I have seen them soar and then sink. Shero, Brooks, Neilson, they all looked like world beaters only to stumble. But it took them a few years to fail. Renney hit the peak and the bottom in the same year. Scary.

Beansy wrapped it up, Mikey I don't know if this is the guy to lead us to the promised land. It all depends on Jagr. If he can still be successful in the system it might work. However, if the Rangers don't bring in some tough dudes to toughen the team next year, the honeymoon could be over before it gets started. Beansy had one last thought. Mikey, it's even money Renney doesn't finish the year, next year. Leave it to a horse player to put it in perspective.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sandis Ozolinsh: Post Mortem of a Bad Trade

by the research staff

Sandis OzolinshIt is now obvious that the trade for Sandis Ozolinsh was a very bad one. Not counting the recent DWI arrest. As the Ranger Pundit said, adding Ozo was like adding "acid" to the good chemistry the Rangers had going. The Rangers traded for Ozolish on March 9th. He scored three goals in the 19 regular season games he played with the Rangers. However, he played terrible defense. It got so bad that Renney did not even dress him for the final playoff game.

So how did a deal that seemed so promising back in March go so bad? Looking back at the trade is very painful (you can say that again). But sometimes it's worth it to look back and see if you can learn anything. Using the web like a black box flight recorder let's replay what was said about the trade by professionals and amateurs alike.

Most Rangers watchers liked the trade when Sather made the deal to get Sandis Ozolinsh for Ville Nieminen.

The maestro himself, Glen Sather, used a conference call to sell the trade to the professional NY sports media:

"He fits the bill of a puck moving power play defenseman," he said. "If you look at the rest of the guys moving around the league, he was the only one of that type to move, and that's the kind of player we were looking for."

He [Sather] was pleased at the price tag, which translates into giving up recent free agent signee Ville Nieminen. "We didn't want to give up a whole lot to get him," Sather said, "and I think we accomplished that. There were guys that called on Staal, Montoya, Korpikoski, but we didn't want to give them up. We kicked the tires for a lot of defensemen, but the prices were high for defensemen who were going to be free agents at the end of the year, and we didn't want to give up a first or second round pick for them. He fit the bill pretty well for us, [especially] when we started to look at the market value of people who are going to be around for only the next 22 games."

That Ozolinsh has another year remaining on his contract (at $2.75 million) was a plus for the Rangers, where it might have been a minus for other buyers.

More Sather on Ozolinsh:
Bottom line: Ozolinsh was the best calibur defenseman on the market.

The NY Post's Mark Everson went with Sather's spin - SATHER ADDS BARGAIN DEFENSE IN OZOLINSH:
Trumps all season, Glen Sather sounded very much like a GM barely containing his glee.

More quotes from the NY Post, March 11th - RANGERS SET FOR STRETCH RUN:
Coach Tom Renney: "We believe that we've helped our offensive attack and our transition game [in acquiring Ozolinsh]"

Sandis Ozolinsh: "I can give some offensive support and I'm not a liability on the defensive side"

Pat Reichart liked the trade: In Ozolinsh, the Rangers gain an experienced defenseman who can run the point on the power play, something they have been lacking all season.

The sage, Larry Brooks, of the NY Post really liked the deal - OZOLINSH FITS RANGERS FINE:
THE RANGERS' deadline acquisition of Sandis Ozolinsh for essentially Ville Nieminen was a no-brainer for this year's squad that desperately needed to add a rushing, puck-moving defenseman to combat the increasing number of traps the club will face the remainder of the way.

It gives Jaromir Jagr a more friendly stick than Darius Kasparaitis' to both receive the puck from and pass it to. It was a no-risk, short-term buy that carries the potential of a high yield...

For now, though, the Rangers did fine in adding a potential asset while at the same time remaining faithful to their chemistry and blueprint.

"The Maven" - Stan Fischler at MSG Network loved the deal - Digging through the deals - BIG WINNERS I:
The playoff-bound Rangers needed a power play quarterback defenseman with a hard shot. In Sandis Ozolinsh, they got their man. Better still, New York only had to relinquish a third-round pick for him. Ozolinsh is a better, more durable pick-up than Brian Leetch would have been. The only drawback; one out of three times, I mis-pronounce his name!

John Davidson at MSG Network liked the trade - New Ranger Ozolinsh is worth the risk:
The Rangers are taking a chance with the acquisition of Sandis Ozolinsh, who was in the substance abuse program earlier this year, but I think it's worth a shot.

When you look at the Rangers' offense from their blueline, only St. Louis has fewer points from the defensemen. So, when you have a chance to improve the team now and not give up on your future, it's always a good idea.

Ozolinsh is well worth taking a chance. I saw him play for Latvia in the Olympics, and I thought he played very well in Torino. He hasn't played much this season because of the program, but knowing how the Rangers go about making a trade of this type, they have done their homework on him. He's been cleared, he's played hard and he's certainly worth what they gave up for him.

Andrew Gross at The Journal News implied that it was a good trade:
The Rangers had three objectives as yesterday's trade deadline loomed: Acquire an offensive-minded, puck-moving defenseman who could play the point on the power play; do it cheaply, without sacrificing their own draft picks or prospects; and maintain the team's chemistry.

In that context, it was a no-brainer to acquire seven-time All-Star Sandis Ozolinsh from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for the third-round pick they had received the day before when they dealt left wing Ville Nieminen to the San Jose Sharks.

Joe McDonald at NY Sports Day liked the trade:
It’s tough shopping for a Mercedes on a Chevrolet’s budget, but somehow, someway Glen Sather was able to pull it off when he announced the acquisition of defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for a third round draft pick right before the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Scott Burnside at ESPN was wishy-washy (what did you expect):
This is an interesting move by assistant GM Don Maloney, who was doing the dealing for the Rangers. On one hand, the Rangers are a tightly knit, physical, defensively sound group, which makes you wonder how the free-wheeling Ozolinsh will fit in. On the other hand, they have almost no offensive presence on the back end, so Ozolinsh could become a key component. Ozolinsh, who has a boatload of playoff experience, missed 20 games after entering the league's substance abuse and behavioral health program. He was cleared to play just before the Olympics and remains in the follow-up care phase of the program. The move clears up $2.75 million in cap room for the Ducks for next season.

The BlueShirt Bulletin implied that it was a good trade:
but in the new NHL, defenseman with quick sticks who can clear rebounds and move the puck out of the zone have proven to be more effective than those with quick tempers who can clear the crease but have trouble negotiating the puck. In that respect, the acquisition of Sandis Ozolinsh fits the bill

The Hockey Rodent liked the trade - It's Ozo Simple:
..you must weigh Ozo's cost to NYR against what other defensemen cost within the last 48 hours.

"Personal issues" aside, for the moment... Ozo is right there among this selective crop in terms of mobility and offense-generating...

this move does "fit" the mission of 2005-2006 and provides the club a chance to go as far as their forwards (and Henrik Lundqvist) were gonna take them anyway.

A thoughtful fan on the Hockey Rodent message board liked the trade. Ozo Trade Analysis [hockeyrodent msg board, Mar. 9, 2006]
Let's take a look at the OZO trade in another light. Clearly, we wanted to upgrade our defense with one or all of these attributes:

1) One that give us depth at defense,
2) A PP QB /Offensive Dman,
3) Tough stay at home D man

What other Defensemen were out there? Let's take a look...

Ray at Broadway Blue liked the trade:
Our power play got instantly better once it was announced that Sandis Ozolinsh was a Ranger. And having an incredible power play will win you playoff games. I personally think he'll surprise the naysayers down the stretch...I think that says a lot about how this organization is planning things and it really states that Glen Sather and Co. are serious about going in the right direction.

Brian at Hockeybird seemed to like the trade, but had some reservations - Three Small Words:
I don't think you should rush out and buy your Ozolinsh jersey just yet, but I think he fills a role the Rangers have struggled with all season and provides a defensive upgrade with the postseason looming. And whenever you can exchange a third-round pick for a guy that once scored 2500 points in a single Sega season, you make that deal....Does anyone not like this deal?

Scott Bird at Hockeybird was luke warm about the trade - Losing Nemo:
On paper this trade fills the point on the power play need. Now you do need to at least take into account that Ozo has not played a full season since he was six. The guy gets hurt. In addition he spent some time in the NHL substance abuse program this year. That makes this a roll of the dice type move. But as opposed to years past, this seems to be a low risk gamble. If it doesn't work we lose a few bucks only. No big deal.

David Goldburd at Blueshirts on Broadway was not 100% sold on the trade:
I’m not 100% sold on this trade. It depends on what you think the Rangers true needs were. Did they need a solid physical defensive defenseman for the playoffs or did they need another soft puck moving defensive liability who is by the way just coming out of the NHL substance abuse program. What is it with Sather and these reclamation projects? He sure is a gambler if ever I saw one. He’s the kind of guy that goes all in without checking his cards. Bringing a recovering substance abuser to New York… alrighty then. The good part about it is he does have a rocket from the point and used to have accuracy on his shot. By all accounts he has been playing much better as of late and I’ll admit that he was pretty good in the Olympics. But I did see him recently in a regular season game and he was pretty bad in that game.

Shari Frost at Blueshirts on Broadway did not like the trade -
Now I’m not judging him, far be it since I’ve had my own battle with alcohol years ago, but I don’t understand trading for problem children. Theo Fluery was a good fiery player but he as also a problem child, and upset the balance and chemistry of the team. My problem is it is not that far from December 2005, the one positive is he went into treatment on his own, but I just don’t see why they traded Niemenen for this.

Readers of the RangerPundit (the most intelligent fans in hockey by the way) generally thought getting Ozolish was a good move:
Yes -- 90%
No -- 2%
Don't know -- 7%

Poll Question: Good Move Getting Sandis Ozolinsh? [Ranger Pundit, Mar. 9, 2006]

Finally, Mike the Ranger Pundit never said a word about the trade. Silence....the Ranger Pundit must have been going by the motherly advice: "if you have nothing good to say about a Glen Sather trade, say nothing at all." But he didn't like what he quickly saw:

Sandis Ozolinsh was invisible, no shots on goal and coughed up the puck twice...Ozolinsh gives credence to the adage, you get what you pay for. A third round pick has given us, so far, a third rate performance. [Ranger Pundit, March 23rd]

Lessons:

  1. Sometimes you just make an honest mistake, especially in sports.

  2. If Glen Sather calls and he's barely containing his "glee" about a deal - hang-up, unless he's buying and you're selling.

  3. The professional hockey analysts and writers are no smarter than your average hockey blogger - maybe even less so. The professionals might in fact be handicapped, because they are too close to Rangers management to be truly objective.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The New Captain



Jaromir Jagr, #68
Nothing oficial has been announced but all signs are pointing to the fact that Jaromir Jagr will be named the new Ranger Captain for 2006-07. Its a natural fit. This team is as much Jagr's team as the Stanley Cup Champions were Mark Messier's.

This Ranger team is more Jagr's team than it is Tom Renney's team. Jagr is already speaking out on what needs to be done. There is no danger that the Rangers will not be in the market to upgrade the team for the next season. Jagr has already put Ranger management and the drive by media press and the fans on notice that the team needs at least two or three players for next year. So the die is cast and Jagr will be an integral part of the Ranger process for upgrading the team.

Jagr adds a credibility to the process that neither Sather or Renney or Don Maloney for that matter bring. Remember there were top players last year who refused to even talk to the Rangers. Jagr all but admitted that the other day. So the way he was an on ice coach for most of the season, he will be a behind the scenes GM on player acquisitions. He must be, as he is the Ranger fans last hope for being a contending team next year. After this years surprising, in some ways, 100 points and a playoff spot, the fans expect nothing less than challenging for the Stanley Cup.

There are some key free agents to be available during the summer. Five come to mind. Three are defensemen. Wade Redden and Zdeno Charo from the Senators are two blue chippers. The other is a solid back checker, Brendan Witt. Witt, formerly of the Washington Capitals, was traded to Nashville at the trade deadline. He has been in the NHL for 10 years and is 31 years old. Redden is 28 years old and Chara is 29 and both, believe it or not, were Islander draft picks.

Another key free agent is Jason Arnott who played on two Devil Stanley Cup teams. Arnott had a career year with Dallas, 32 goals, 44 assists and 76 points.

Then there is Patrik Elias, of the Devils. While it is hard to see the Devils not signing him there are problems in Jerseyland. It is called the cap. The famous new NHL cap. Is it possible that the Devils could lose Elias? No way you say. Remember Scotty Niedermeyer? There was no way he would leave Jersey right? Wrong, he left.

Imagine a line of Arnott, Elias and Sykora? That would be the second line. The first would be Jagr, Prucha and Immonen. Not bad, eh!

UPDATE: Sad news-

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - New York Rangers defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, who spent time this season in the NHL's substance abuse program, was arrested Tuesday on a drunken driving charge, police said.

Ozolinsh was stopped Tuesday in White Plains, where he was allegedly driving 66 mph in a 40-mph zone, police Inspector Daniel Jackson said. A field sobriety test estimated the level of alcohol in Ozolinsh's blood at 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

He was charged with driving while intoxicated and released for a May 16 court appearance. Ozolinsh was also issued summonses for speeding and driving without a seat belt, and his blue 2006 Nissan Altima was impounded.

Rangers defenseman Ozolinsh charged with DWI [MSG, May 3, 2006]