Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The 'Craven Unshaven Maven' is Slaven for MSG

The Craven Unshaven Maven, Stan Fischler, is Slaven for MSGThe "Craven Unshaven Maven" likes to talk about "The Maven" in the 3rd person. And he likes to spin things regarding the new Rangers team, coach Tom Renney, and the exalted GM Glen Sather in the best possible light. A discouraging word is never heard regarding these new improved Rangers. Stanley Cup here we come.

You would think that a long-time hockey analyst like Stan Fischler, who is nicknamed 'The Maven,' would have a detached analytical view of all things hockey? Wrong.

Stan Fischler / MSG Game On blog [July 7th]:
The New, NEW Rangers Culture --

Permit me to let you in on some truly AMAZING things:

I. The Maven NEVER has received more comments (almost a thousand at last look) than he has for the last two blogs about the dual emigration of Jaromir Jagr to some place we call "Yenevelt" (The Other World) and Sean Avery into the heart of Texas. In my blogosphere, that was breathtaking. THANKS!

II. The Maven -- painful, as it may be -- never hesitates to admit he was wrong. And I WAS sadly mistaken about the two ice bedouins, Jagr and Avery. My conviction -- and I was convinced for different reasons -- had it that The Captain and The Great Gabbo WOULD return next fall as Rangers.

That said, let's get down to the business of what their exits (Stage Left and Stage Right) mean to the Broadway Blueshirts in the months ahead. Here's a hint: the password is CC.

Translated for Tom's Renney-gades, it means Culture Change with a pair of capital Cs. Or, to put it another way, the Seventh Avenue skaters move from a Jagr-run monarchy to a Renney-led democracy...
  • God Bless the Stealth GM, Coach Clueless and their "new, improved upbeat style of hockey." Sorry, if MSG has been cheating the fans the last ten years with that old downbeat style. Stan, we hope this quote comes true: "The Maven sees only positives coming out of the transformation." When is the last time 'The Maven' reported a negative?
Stan Fischler / MSG Game On blog [July 7th]:
The Maven: The Newest New York Rangers -- The New York Rangers are really NEW. Glen Sather's rejuvenation of the team for 2008-09 is almost complete — not only minus Sean Avery, but minus Jaromir Jagr as well.

The Rangers' boss made it clear to me in a Thursday afternoon conference call that he had exhausted negotiations with not only Jagr, but also with Martin Straka.


The new-model Blueshirts next season will feature Markus Naslund and Dmitri Kalinin, both of whom were revealed as additions to a roster that also includes the acquisition of forwards Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche.

"We're going to play an upbeat style of hockey," says Sather. "We were disappointed in our playoff loss to Pittsburgh."

The new, improved style promised by the high command tickles Naslund's fancy. "I like the direction the Rangers are going," he says. "And I'm looking forward to playing the kind of game that made Detroit the Stanley Cup Champions."

Although the departures of Avery and Jagr, in particular, will disappoint a bloc of fans, The Maven sees only positives coming out of the transformation.

No matter how you shake it, Jagr was a questionable captain with a capital Q. This was evident when he turned down the leadership role after the lockout, only to eventually change his mind...
  • If 'The Maven' didn't have "faith in Tom Renney's insights and Sather's as well" would he still have a job?
Stan Fischler / MSG Game On blog [July 2nd]:
See Ya, Sean, It Was Fun While It Lasted -- I have faith in Tom Renney's insights and Sather's as well. For smart money, it would have been wise for the Rangers to keep Avery, but his demands had to be weighed against what influence he would have on a team building around such youngsters as Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal...
  • Regarding 'The Maven's' prognostication skills, let's just say your average Blue Seater is probably better equipped to predict what management will do. Where would Stan be without having the inside track at MSG? Here were the two recent examples when the Maven's future vision went haywire:
On March 3rd , Fischler wrote:
The "issue" of Jaromir Jagr's return to the Rangers next season appears to us to be a non-issue. Our prediction is this: The Blueshirts' captain will be back because: A. He wants to remain a Ranger; B. Management wants him on Seventh Avenue, and C. JJ still is effective in his senior citizen role...
On March 5th, Fischler wrote:
Is Sean Avery Going To Leave? No Way!

The cataclysmic reaction to the negotiations breakup between Sean Avery and the Rangers is reaching "Where's Britney Spears?" proportions.

Chances are that Sean -- alias The Great Gabbo -- will be around a lot longer than Britney, the pop bop.

Fear not, Rangers fans, Avery is going nowhere when his contract expires; not to Philly, not to Chi-town nor Beantown nor Toronto from where he comes...

  • The only thing we need to fear is a MSG shill posing as a hockey analyst.
The MSG Cheerleader, Stan FischlerLet's Go Tom's Renney-gades

Related Articles by Categories


  • Section 335 said...

    Hey Mike,

    1. Stan has nice legs! Of course, they are attached to an ....

    2. The Rangers were not a very good team last year. If you reject NHL math, they were 42-40 during the regular season.

    3. Where can we improve the most? We all know most of this - we were 15th on the power play. But did you know we were 24th (28) at home? The top teams got 40 plus power play goals at home.

    4. The team we have now must be viewed as a few players short. Losing Jagr, Avery, Straka and Shanny is a loss of 80 goals on a team that needed 20 more. 205 goals put us 25th out of 32. Detroit and Pittsburgh were at 240-250. But, even more significant, we only scored 15 more goals than we gave. That number needs to be 30-50. Where will the 100 goals come from?

  • jb said...

    section 335,

    Great point, the lack of scoring strength is the fuzzy math that all the cheerleaders like Stan are ignoring.

    This borderline average team might be closer now to missing the playoffs than making them.

    You know we've been worried about getting a solid defense, with some beef. But it looks like the offense is going to be low to middle of the road at best.

    Putting a good NHL team to together is like playing "wack a mole." You think you've got one issue beat down and then something else goes sour. The solution: we need more Maven led happy talk to make us forget all our worries forget all our cares.

  • blow-me-down said...

    The Rangers are better this coming season than last. Proper use of players, which seriously did not happen last season, will result in a far more exciting and effective offense.
    So, all of these goals scored by the dearly departed just vanish right out of the mix next year? That is the fuzziest math I've ever seen. There will be:
    a) improved contributions from the likes of Callahan, Dawes. And I think Prucha might actually be played this year, I hope he gets the chance he never got last year.
    b) some new players who can score, Naslund is proven and Zhederv could be exceptional.
    I sure don't understand why banking on these guys is any less reliable than hoping Jagr did not continue his decline in output, not to mention how he gums up the works on offense.
    c) We might get some shots on net from the point, hell, we might even attempt them. Rozsival can shoot, but he usually deferred to Jagr. Redden can put the puck on net, and if Mara would practice his shot this summer he might get that heavy shot of his to where it matters - in the vicinity of the net.

    The offense is going to be much more dynamic, and there is nothing to suggest that defensively we are going to sag, so I don't understand the negativity.

  • Section 335 said...

    Hey BMD,

    You do not hear negativity, you hear concern. When Mike Keenan ran this team, he would start the season with Neal Smith by trying to count where his goals had to come from. Scotty Bowman did the same at Detroit. I am sure every team does it. It is an important exercise.

    Jagr and Shanny were two of our three top goal scorers. Straka and Avery were good for 15 goals each. We have filled this void. Zherd and Marcus should fill the whole of Jagr and Shanny. Young players can fill the holes left by Straka and Avery. Okay, so now we are even. We are still 20 or 30 goals short. Our defense might get 10 more goals. Where do the rest come from?

    The answer to me if this. We either need another established goal scorer - which can only be via trade - or we need a few players to step up. Somebody on this team has to get 30 or more goals, or we need six or seven to get 20 or more. (For example, Philly had seven.)

  • mike said...

    jb-BMD-section 335
    Did I hear the name, Mats Sundin!

  • jb said...


    The concern that sec335 mentioned about the offense was examined in depth by the Hockey Rodent in his 3 part post, an excellent summation of the problems faced by the Rangers on offense. Rodent's conclusion was:

    "My point of this entire rant is to demonstrate that under the best of conditions - as presently constituted - your Rangers project to end the season no better than 15th in team offense or thereabouts. That would be an improvement - though not by much. The club finished 2007-2008 tied with Vancouver for 23rd averaging 2.60 goals per game.

    What this means is that success in the W-L columns will require (yet again) for Renney deploy defensive strategems to ensure the goals against are among the best on the circuit. And that demands durability of Henrik Lundqvist."

    Going from the 23rd best offense to perhaps the 15th best offense assuming the Rangers are hitting on all cylinders is certainly an improvement. But, I hesitate to call that a "dynamic improvement." As Rodent surmises the level the team rises too will be dictated by how sound the defense is. It looks like the Rangers will need to grind out 3-2 and 2-1 victories behind the Lundqvist wall.

    Don't want to be negative, but just wary of grand promises of a "new, improved upbeat style of hockey.'

    Mike, did you hear something about Sundin coming to the Rangers. I just did a quick news check and didn't find anything? I did notice that Mike Barnett, Sundin's former agent is now working for the Rangers.

  • jb said...


    'The Maven' posted this comment on his blog yesterday evening:


    Stan had to use all CAPS. Is is keyboard broke? Anyway I like these snips:

    Renney will be in high coaching gear...

    Tom's opportunity to display his goods...

    How can 'The Maven' be objective about Tom Renney they're colleagues at MSG?

  • mike said...

    jb-Its an old Swedish custom started by Forsberg. Rest a while, contemplate and clear the brain cells. Then as the season draws near, so does the desire to get back. Having his former agent in the fold won't hurt either, and then we will have the extra goals that BMD and 335 want.

  • Section 335 said...

    With Sundin and a physical defenseman we have a legit shot at losing to Detroit in the finals!

  • blow-me-down said...

    Okay, negativity was too strong a word to use. I had already devoured that 3 part rant from the Rodent, insightful as always. Where I disagree a bit is that retaining the defensive responsibility will necessarily mean less offense. I understand we're not the Red Wings, but we also won't be what were last year. I mean, we are all hoping for a faster puck-possesion game this year, aren't we? I'll call it faster instead of up-tempo. (A rose by any other name...). If I didn't believe that is coming I'd feel little hope. I feel that we didn't lack speed last year, but often didn't use it because the offensive thrust, powerplay and even strength, was designed to be slow.

    Lots of goals never came because of the nonstop puck-possession cycling in the offensive zone. Almost zero threat from the point and that is something you just can't accept. Defenders had a very good idea what the script was going to be. LOL (but I cried at the time).
    Watching the PP at often felt like a blend of Groundhog Day and Dante's Inferno. I cannot possibly see it not improving.

    And how many goals do you kiss away over a season when you play a fourth line that just keeps proving that they will not score? That line has to be upgraded, keeping Betts who is a huge value. Absolutely silly to consider it okay to give that many minutes to a line that allergic to scoring. This does not have to mean they won't be able to play defensively.
    I guess we wait to see if Renney can prove he knows who to use and who to sit, and allocate ice time to those who earn it. There has to be some benchings when they are deserved, unlike last year. No excuse for a dismal powerplay again. Now he can prove he is in charge and that what we see on the ice is what he intends it to be.

    Yes, another top six forward would be nice. I drool a little bit thinking of Sundin in a Rangers jersey (sorry about the visual), maybe that is still possible? Drury could move to left wing, something has to give with all the centers.

  • mike said...

    section 335-You think we would be that good to make the finals?

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-You went on and on and on before you got to the crux of what this season is going to be about. Can coach clueless coach? that is the question. Can the clueless one coach?

  • blow-me-down said...

    Mike - Yes, I do kill a lot of electrons with my posts, sorry. I spent a lot of time last season wondering why many things went the way they did, and not just in hindsight. It had me crying out for Iron Mike.

    It is the crux for sure, and it is a very big question for me still. I said a while ago we need to remove the veil of Jagr, so now we have.

  • Section 335 said...


    Yes, with Sundin we can make the finals. We would have three valid scoring lines and two good power play units. Our defense is better. Pittsburgh got 12 goals in the playoffs from Hossa. His loss for them is huge.