Thursday, May 22, 2008

Captain Perimeter

Kabooz's Bar & Grill, 2 Penn Plaza, New York CityWe were in the city yesterday visiting number two son and on the way home we decided to get a bite before boarding the LIRR. So we stopped at one of my favorite pre-game eateries, Kabooz's Bar & Grill.

Struck up a conversation with Mark, who sort of runs things at Kabooz. Kabooz sits on the upper level of Penn Station, the Jersey train so to speak. That's how the place got its name, a combination of the train and the bar. So it's, the caboose, for the trains, and the booze from the bar. It's a friendly place with some outside tables on the concourse, a noisy and active bar and a restaurant with good food, reasonable prices and friendly help. And then there is Mark.

We've known each other for years but it was always brief encounters like, how you doing and Ranger talk. Last night was a little different as the place was half empty and I opened it up with, "where's everybody?"

The Rangers killed me," he replied. He then went on, "We all knew the Knicks stunk but the Rangers killed us." "I thought the Rangers would do better but I was disappointed with Captain Perimeter."

Captain Perimeter?

Hey, that's my line. Even though I have never referred to Jagr as Captain Perimeter I always referred to his play on the perimeter. I said to him that he must be reading my blog, but he said no, he doesn't read blogs. All you have to do is watch the games and you know how Jagr plays.

He went on and I'm paraphrasing. We challenged Buffalo last year and nearly beat them but this year we didn't put up much of a fight against the Pens and I blame Captain Perimeter for that.

I told him that the coach wasn't that hot either and he agreed and said that coach clueless (my words) reminded him of Roger Nielsen. Mark didn't think that he could take the Rangers any further in the playoffs. He can't take us to the top, he stated.

I told him that we ran a poll and 85% of the respondents said that the Ranger coach was clueless. Mark agreed with that. He said he was happy that Jagr would not re-up with the Rangers and when I mentioned that they might sign him because of the opening of the season in the Czech Republic. And with Jagr being the nation's hero it was almost a given that he would be signed. Mark was not happy to hear that.

Why is Mark against the signing of Jagr?

It stifles the young guys, he said. He loves Callahan. He believes that Callahan along with Dawes gets too little ice time and he can't understand the Prucha benchings. He then took a swipe at the MSG crew and their jaded analysis. They are house men, he replied. They all work for the same guy, Dolan, and look what he did to the Knicks. While he agreed that Straka should go he thought that Rozsival would be a much better player without Captain Perimeter and the Rangers should keep him.

He left early to go home wearing a Yankee hat. His comment was that he was going to watch his other team that gives him agita. This got him going again on the Yankees and Derek Jeter. He was annoyed that Jeter threw the game away the other night with a two out error that led to six unearned runs scored off of Mike Mussina. Had A-Rod done that he would have been vilified in the press, but Jeter gets a pass.

So it was not a good night for Mark. Two New York media icons, Captain Perimeter and Captain Teflon were getting a free ride for letting their respective teams down and Mark was not happy with that. The New York drive-by sports media have circled the wagons around their favorites and the ordinary fan, Mark is their symbol, is not happy with their favorites and not happy with the drive-by's coverage. Interesting night.

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  • wingman said...

    The Pens have the best Captain. I guy who skates hard to the net and if he he gets hit goes down like a sack of potatoes to draw the penalty.

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    hey wingman,...the great thing about your captain is that he goes down like a sack of potatoes even when he's not hit. fascinating.

    pundit,..this mark character is the voice of the question. CP is a great name for Jags...thanks for sharing stories from the people.


  • mike said...

    wingman I have to agree with The Dark Ranger about Sir Sydney. He debunks that theory that all Canadien players are hard nosed, tough and will take a hit and keep going. He debases the game with his diving but the empty suits at the NHL love him. That's their kind of hockey. If he is the best Captain in Hockey than I am the second coming of Don Cherry.

  • mike said...

    the dark ranger-You are right about Mark. These guys are all over the place and everytime I run into one of them they all say the same thing. CP and the Rangers are a big disappointment and the coach is truly clueless.

    A minority of the fans go along with the apologists at MSG and the mainstream drive by media.

  • Section 335 said...

    The NHL is a bush league. Gary Roberts' left hook to the temple of concussion-recovering Johan Franzen is not penalized! The man should be sitting the next game. And, because a second shot at his head was taken later on, coach Michel Therrien should be sitting too.

    This league wants Sidney to be a superstar so badly it will give the Pen license to ruin the career of a very good player.

    There is good news and bad news for the Pens. The good is they go back to the igloo. The bad is that the Red Wings are following them. :)

  • Section 335 said...

    Oh, Wingman. One more point - or lack of point -- Sidney Crosby hasn't scored a goal since Mother's Day.

  • jb said...

    Sec. 335,

    It looks like Versus has become the Sid Crosby network. It seems like every time I turn it on his beaming face greets me.

    That's an interesting stat, about his lack of goal production recently.

  • mike said...

    section 335-What was that name Roberts called Avery? You would think that a guy like that who suffered such a bad injury a while back would be more aware of cheap shots. But as long as I have seen Roberts play cheap shots have always been in his arsenal.

  • blow-me-down said...

    I'm hoping against the odds that Jagr goes elsewhere this coming season. I see his departure as the last major piece of the rebuild and the youth initiative. Until it does, we sit around wondering "Is Renney throttling Jagr's offensive thrust with his defensive strategy?" Or, is it really as black and white as it appears, a guy who admitted that he gave a half-effort during many games of the season, and believe me I saw it very clearly. And somehow that is okay? Let's pretend that he actually turned in a heart-felt and honest effort, why this preoccupation with him as the core of the team? Has that time not passed? And the oft-stated opinion that the youth need him a their mentor...I think that is just plain wrong. I don't want them to learn his style of play or attitude, not at all. Once again, way too much importance placed on Jagr.
    We would get a much clearer view of the Rangersby removing this veil from the picture. Another season of wondering what we COULD be, and why the power play is still not fixed, all in relation to the existance of Jagr, and I will go nuts. The answer is right there in front of us, let's take him out of the equation.

    Get one or two power-type forwards (yes I know, few to choose from and price will be high), get some speed and creativity into the attack in the offensive zone, and continue to make sure that all of our forwards adhere to a sound defensive stragegy. Coupled with the replacement of two of our lead-footed and/or wimpy defenceman who also cost the most and we would actually see a much better powerplay.

    I dread watching Jagr in the spotlight again for another year, though I know it will happen. If he proves me wrong, I will be a very happy Ranger fan. I am not holding my breath.

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-You are right on target about Jagr. I think most fans forget that he hasn't produced anything since 1992. The idea that he is a role model to the younger players is absurd. How can that be? The more he plays the less they play. The more he plays his perimeter, non confrontational hockey the more he sets them back in their own minds on what is the best way to play this game.

    I see no good, no improvement in the Rangers signing Jagr. In fact it may be regression with the end result being that the Rangers would miss the hallowed playoffs. On second thought that would be good in that it may cause the removal of coach clueless, the biggest detriment to the Rangers success.

  • Section 335 said...

    Now that Detroit has another Cup and Crosby is associated with diving as well as crooning it is time to look back at the season for the lessons learned.

    1. The salary cap has created virtual equality at even strength.

    2. The power play and penalty kill have become single most significant indicia of success in the playoffs and regular the season.

    3. Teams last year could afford about five players making an average of six million dollar players. (The Rangers had five. The Rangers now have three.) That left twenty million for the rest of the team. If you could pay less for the top, you could get a few more two and three million dollar players. Detroit and Pittsburgh were able to do that.

    With the salary cap going up, the Rangers are in good position if they let Shanny and Jags go. There is a lot of 2.5 million dollar talent available and we have a lot of youth. Every team will be looking at this list to find value at low cost.

    If we can find a power play quarterback and a hard hitting defender in this mix, Stahl emerges as he is likely to do and we find a sniper like Hossa, we are in reach of the Cup. Jagr is worth $4.5 million as a second line winger because he can score in the playoffs. His regular season value is about $3. Hard call about keeping him.

    As far as the coach is concerned, he is a very good defensive coach. I give him credit for that. He is not very good with using talent, making decisions quickly or getting a power play going. We cannot win the Cup the way he coaches now.

  • mike said...

    section 335-Cannot disagree with a single thing you said. Good analysis.

    I do believe that the Rangers would be better off without Jagr, which automatically eliminates Straka and possibly Rozsival though one reader thought with Jagr gone Rozsival would perform better. Remains to be seen.