Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rangers Post-game Roundup — SC Bern

Who needs a big media reporter when we have Scotty, his camera, and his blog. Scotty Hockey is one "hardcore" Rangers fan. He follows the team to Europe and gets a chance to speak jibberish to Al Trautwig (something I can relate to). He then uses some "credentials" of undetermined origin to get inside, takes photos, and blogs 24/7 about the Rangers in his European trip diary. Go Scotty, we are not worthy.

Scotty's Swiss Diary Part 4:

Wow, where to begin?? Let's get the usual out of the way first. The Rangers sucked. They were terrible; they fumbled the puck, they blew scoring opportunities, they had bad defensive lapses and if they played an NHL team, they would have lost badly. Now the good thing: they didn't play a NHL team, they played SC Bern and won 8-1...

Scotty Hockey: Scotty's Swiss Diary Part 4
Scotty's Swiss Diary Part 3
:
Adam Graves and Rod Gilbert were lurking around, with Graves looking like he wanted to grab some gear and jump on the ice.

*While I saw the Jim Von Boxmeer, the SC Bern coach, they didn't have a large contingent hanging around. The Metallurg folks, however, did. Their team took the ice just now so I think I am going to run back across the street to the rink to watch them...

Well, that was dull. The Russians sleepwalked their way through an hour long practice...
PostFinance Arena:
The building is a complete construction site which, honestly, really bothers me. Why would the IIHF hold the Victoria Cup, something they want to be a big deal, at a arena that is a mess? I guess the Cup - which was meant to be a challenge between the European champ and the Stanley Cup champ - is as much a work in progress as the arena is...
Scotty's Swiss Diary Part 2:
I've been up for four hours watching MTV Europe, CNN and German sports. There was a Swiss Sportscenter-ish show on another channel and it seemed to have a nice preview to today's Rangers v. Bern game and an additional feature piece on Christian Dube but both were in German, so I really have no idea...
Scotty's Swiss Diary Part 1:
Hi folks, since you all have lives and jobs and couldn't join me as I flew to watch the two Rangers games in Switzerland, I figured I would give you a blow-by-blow, dear diary account ...

I made it, I'm in Switzerland. After a sleepless night of wondering how and if I was going to make it to the plane from London to Zurich, I am aboard a train that I think is heading towards Bern - where the Rangers will play two more exhibition games tomorrow and Wednesday.

I am sweaty, I forgot my razor and haven't shaved in a week and I am pretty sure I just spoke jibberish to Al Trautwig on the platform at the station...
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Consider yourself a fine linguist if it took you less than a day to figure out how to pronounce the name of this KHL team the Rangers are playing tomorrow.

So Metallurg Magnitogorsk [Mag-nee-ta-gersh] means Magnetic Mountain Iron Works according to Dubi at the Blueshirt Bulletin. Who said:
After the game, the passion of the fans was all Drury and Dubinsky could talk about. They were of course diplomatic about the level of competition, as was Coach Renney during his post-game press conference. He did admit that his team needed a bit of a pep talk after the second period, when Bern got themselves back into the game. Coach Van Boxmeer pointed to the penalty calls against his team as part of their problem -- he noted that his league does not call things as tight as the NHL, a reversal from the past when NHL players complained about IIHF refs calling things too close. Well, that's it from Bern for today -- tomorrow, the Rangers expect a bit of a tougher match against Russia's Metallurg Magnitogorsk...
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On the post-game conference call Andrew Gross describes Renney, as cautiously optimistic:
"This group is ready to come together and really get the job done," Renney said.
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But, Sam Weinman sounds a note of caution. A misleading gauge?
I hate to be the glass half-empty guy here because it’s still riveting stuff seeing the Rangers in this electric European atmosphere. But given the time and space afforded them against a clearly inferior Bern team, you have to wonder if this is counterproductive preparation for when the NHL really starts on Saturday...
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How many Rangers fans were rooting for Bern against the 'vaunted' Rangers? Brett Cyrgals at The Blue Seats, Rangers in Switzerland:
Halfway through the first period today, while 12,000 people stood and pounded drums in the upper deck of the PostFinance Arena in Bern, Switzerland, I found myself in a weird situation:

I was pulling for SC Bern instead of the Rangers...
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Slapshot had more background about the who and what of SC Bern:
The crowd for SC Bern at the PostFinance Arena will — as usual — be sold out, an NHL-sized 17,000. They are one of the most lively in all of hockey. “They’re all singing, dancing, chanting,” Bern coach and former NHLer John Van Boxmeer said a few months ago. “It’s wilder than anything you’ve ever seen at an NHL game.” ...

But who are SC Bern, the guys with the logo featuring a bear with a hockey stick tongue?

They are one of Western Europe’s biggest hockey team’s, and they play in one of Europe’s biggest arenas, the 17,000 seat PostFinance Arena which is sold out for the two Rangers games. Andrew Podnieks had a post on the barn here yesterday...
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Beyond the Blueshirts updates us on Jaromir Jagr [with video links], who is parked you know where, doing you know what:
... Jagr took control of game, scoring with a wrist shot from his office in the right face off circle to give Omsk the 5-4 lead on the power play. He followed it up with an assist on Pestunov’s even strength marker at 15:56 to made it 6-4.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Rangers Roundup — September 29, 2008

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Thomas Pock is now an ex-Ranger:

Defenseman Thomas Pock's less-than-impactful tenure with the Rangers has come to a close as the Islanders claimed the 26-year-old Austrian off waivers today...
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Renney tells Steve Zipay, the only beat writer to go over to Europe, that he is standing pat on his new line combos:
Back at the hotel in the Vinohrady nabe, an email response from Tom Renney in Bern, Switzerland that I'll share:

"Very good skate today. Practiced better then we played yesterday. Guys are in good spirits. Good to get the legs going and the blood flowing. Skated with the same combos as the last game. Have to give it a chance. See Valiquette getting the start vs Bern, Henrik vs Magnitogorsk. May make some minor changes to roster, so may skate with that in the am. Beautiful day here today."
Zipay also warns that the Rangers need to be prepared to play a couple of "pumped" European teams, Rangers prepare for games in Europe:
Mettalurg, which will have played 11 regular-season games in the KHL before facing the Rangers, is the first Russian team to play an NHL team in 17 years and apparently is pumped, according to reports. Rangers coach Tom Renney has tried to downplay it.

"I'm not going down that road with Magnitogorsk saying this is the be-all, end-all, of hockey 1972 revisited," Renney said. "I think it's a huge opportunity to marry the two factions - the European and North American factions - together. That's how we approach it. We want to win the hockey game."
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Renney's interview with Vasily Osipov for the Russian Sport-Express is passed along by Beyond the Blueshirts, Renney on the Ranger’s Russians and the Victoria Cup:
Artem Anisimov . . . at present he has quite a good chance of earning a place on the team.

Dmitri Kalinin . . . strong defenseman who reads the game well and possesses an excellent pass.

Nikolai Zherdev . . . Renney went on to suggest a 30-goal season is not out of reach for the presumed top-line winger. “Nik has the potential, as a first line player, to score 30 goals this season. The main thing for him is to not dwell on what he’s attained and to continue to make progress.” ...
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Slap Shot runs through Renney's impressive curriculum vitae regarding competing in international hockey tournaments:
[Renney's] international portfolio has almost no equal. In fact, he is one of only two coaches to have won at least a silver medal in the three important men’s events—Olympics, World Championships, and World Junior Championships (called U20 in Europe)...
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NY Rangers:
More news First Day in Europe an Eye-Opener:
Sunday was a long first day in Europe for the New York Rangers, who arrived in Bern, Switzerland at about 8:30 a.m. local time after a direct flight that followed Saturday’s preseason game vs. New Jersey at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts’ flight lasted nearly eight hours, and the long but scenic ride from the airport to the team hotel in Bern added roughly another hour. As a result, sleep was at a premium, even in the hours before a scheduled 3 p.m. practice at PostFinance Arena – roughly a 10 minute drive (25-minute walk) from the hotel.

While most players managed to sleep a few precious hours on the plane overseas, the six-hour time difference caught up to them by the time a vigorous practice ended at just before 5 p.m. local time...
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Mke Chen at Kukla's Korner discusses "The Real Reason For European Games:"
That’s right folks, when it all comes down to it the NHL and NHLPA are businesses looking to make money. You’ve got digital distribution of games through satellite TV and broadband video, you’ve got tons and tons of information available 24/7 via the web to anywhere in the world, and you’ve got countries like the Czech Republic, Russia, and Sweden where hockey is king. In a global media environment, that means that there are no limits to where you can make money if the market needs are there....

For the short-term, they create visibility for these players, selling merchandise and generating exposure and media presence that possibly eclipses a native son (say, Daniel Alfredsson) winning a Stanley Cup. You’ll sell t-shirts, team jerseys, and player jerseys in the weeks before and after the games.
Hurry up get your Rangers' Jaromir Jagr and Sean Avery merchandise before they sell out.

And next year Kelly at ESPN says: As many as eight teams could open next season in Europe.
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Sean Avery is up to some new trickeration for Dallas.

Dallas Stars blog, Stars lose, 4-3:
The Stars had a late power play, but lost it when Sean Avery found a new way to be creative on the power play. Avery got behind defenseman Brian Campbell (between Campbell and the goalie) and was cross-checking Campbell in the back (as if he was playing defense).

Avery got called for a cross-check, and the Stars lost the power play opportunity...
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two-fers Won't Do It!

For the sixth consecutive game the Rangers scored two goals and lost for the fifth time. So much for the new high powered, high intensity, go to the net offense. In fact, looking at the Rangers, which I have to admit I haven't that much for a variety of reasons, it looks like coach clueless and his staff have their "not playing defense is not an option" mantra solidly implanted in the minds and bodies of this bland, Jagr-less, Avery-less, Shanahan-less team. But it is only the exhibition schedule of which remains two more games in Switzerland.

I missed today's game because I was watching my grandson Nicholas and his team, the Piranhas, play their first game of the season which they won by a 3-2 score and Nicholas, playing defense, was a +3. You have to admit, that is a helluva of lot better than watching these particular Rangers. After the Ranger game, an obviously tense coach clueless proclaimed that the Rangers were going to the Czech Republic to get four points. Hopefully he knows something I don't know. If they do not garner at least two of those points the coaching staff will become more tense for the home opener.

The stories that Shanahan is working out on his own on the Ranger practice ice and that Sundin has still not signed have lent an air of credibility to the rumors that both will be inked by the Stealth GM. Why not? It will destroy any pretense of getting young but will bring to reality the fact that this team, as constructed, is offensively inept. But it is only the exhibition schedule of which remains two more games in Switzerland.

Of course the Stealth and his cluelessness could throw a monkey wrench into the procedures and maybe dangle a Rozsival, a young goalie prospect and one of their young prized forwards (Prucha) to Minnesota for Marion Gaborik. I can dream can't I? Anyway, on to Europe with a lot of holes and a lot of questions. The good news is that Naslund and Zherdev were the goal scorers. Maybe, they will step it up starting in Europe. Maybe Gomez and Drury will mesh with each other. Maybe the power play will start to work. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But it is only the exhibition season of which remains two more games in Switzerland.

ICINGS

Andrew Gross highlights the lack of answers - Maybe it's not so clear:

Those new line combinations that Rangers coach Tom Renney thought looked so good on paper didn't do so well on the ice in today's 4-2 loss to the Devils. So now Renney admitted he might go back to the drawing board, or back to his original line combinations from training camp, or perhaps something in between....
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Sam Weinman echos the theme of confusion that prevails - On the other hand:
Don’t get used to those line combinations just yet. Tom Renney acknowledged just now that he’s contemplating going back to the combinations he had for the most of the preseason.

“There might be more continuity based on that,” Renney said. The coach sounds like he’s confused. At least he has company...
And voices some concerns - ... another programming note:
Raise your hand if you’re concerned about the Rangers start to this preseason. Yup, just like I figured. Pretty much everyone...there was a healthy amount of skepticism surrounding this team even before it touched the ice surface. Six preseason games later, those concerns have only been validated...
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Closing with a "Looking for Mr Good Offense" dispatch from rumor central by Doug Fischer at Blue Shirts on Broadway:
In addition to more than boring preseason games, there has been a lot going on with the Blueshirts…

For those who don’t know, apparently the Rangers have been shopping Scott Gomez in order to clear up cap space to get Mats Sundin. This is all speculation as of now, but I have heard 3 proposed deals where we would give Gomez to Vancouver for the Sedin twins, Minnesota for Marian Gaborik or Gomez and Petr Prucha to LA for Anze Kopitar and Patrick Sullivan.

IF Sather is to make one of these deals, 2 of them would make sense, those being Vancouver or Minnesota. The Sedin’s are both very good players and they could instantly mesh with their other linemate from a year ago, Markus Naslund. The other trade would be Minnesota because Marian Gaborik is a stud...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rangers Roundup — September 26, 2008

Update:
Nevermind, forget all the Petr Nedved speculation below it is now moot. Sam Weinman at Rangers Report writes, Nedved among the cuts:

Fittingly, Petr Nedved was wearing a T-shirt that read, “The Outcast” while preparing to leave the MSG Training Center.

“If it was going to be this decision, there was no point in waiting any longer,” Nedved said of not making the trip to Europe.

The player said he’s done with the NHL and will instead return to the Czech League...

The Maven and all the beat writers didn't see this coming by a mile. "So much for Petr Nedved at least making the trip to Europe." Dubi at the Blueshirt Bulletin adds this, Nedved and Pock Out:
The Petr Nedved experiment is over. Rangers Report spoke to Glen Sather about the two-time former Ranger, who was cut today. Last night's successful experiment of giving Lauri Korpikoski and Ryan Callahan a look at center ice confirmed for the Ranger brain trust that they should stick with their developing youth rather than going with the aging blast from the past...
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The offense is stuck in low as the Rangers muster just two goals again against Tampa.

But, Sam Rosen finds the positives in last night's game.
Rangers Ice Time: Positives in Loss to Tampa Bay:
Although it was New York's third loss in a row, the play of Lauri Korpikoski and Dan Fritsche was nothing less than superb...
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The Dark Ranger also sees some positives and especially likes the " 'going to the net' offensive mantra." Another Losing Success:
On the positive side -- we are a fast team and with good coaching and hard work, this mix of veterans and youth could chemically become (there I go again with chemistry!!?) a team that can compete on a Cup level. With the perimeter play of Jagr, Straka, and dare I say, Shanny gone -- whatever the squad looks like, Slats and Renney have answered one of the missing links to the Rangers of the least three seasons -- a 'going to the net' offensive mantra. Thank God. With our 'ho-hum' defensive system in place for another season, it appears as though this system will be counter-balanced with potentially explosive front lines. I have to admit this is exciting stuff....
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Rangers Review also wanted to accentuate the positive in his post-game thoughts:
... there were a lot of positives to talk about...

The veterans looked pretty good as well. I felt Dan Girardi and Wade Redden looked strong (though on the message boards it seems to vary considerably from person to person on how they did). They played well in their own zone, didn’t make any major mistakes I could think of, and got their shots on net. Petr Prucha on the other hand had an absolutely fantastic game, except for one thing. He couldn’t finish. He was all over the place, all over the puck, aggressive in and out of traffic. Except, again, he couldn’t finish. On top of that, people couldn’t finish his passes either. It’s getting ridiculous at this point. I believe in this kid. While I am not so sure he has a place on this team, I do think he is a much better player than the numbers are playing out...
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Last night after the game, Sam Weinman had this reaction on his blog regarding the lack of offense:
By my view, Petr Prucha could have easily had a hat trick...
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The Petr Nedved decision is the current big deal.

For Rangers preseason:Petr Nedved decision is the current big deal.This morning, Sam Weinman at The Journal News reports that, Nedved's resurgence could mean bad news for Betts:
But on a team that is no longer so top heavy with forwards, coach Tom Renney has acknowledged he wants more production out of the bottom of his lineup. With that in mind, Nedved could be a more attractive option moving forward.

"[Nedved] is a great player that has made his name in the National Hockey League. I'm not exactly sure if I'm competing for a spot with him," Betts said. "If they're looking to have him play on the fourth line and be on the power play and put the puck in the net and things like that, that's their decision. My game's not necessarily to go out there and score every night. It's to play good defensively and be good on the penalty kill and things like that. Hopefully they have plans for me." ...
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Steve Zipay highlights the case for Blair Betts, Korpikoski continued to impress in preseason:
Renney is hoping for more production from the fourth line, but said he has several elements to consider: "Are we better served by keeping someone here like a Blair Betts, for example, who's well-tuned in how we play and what we want. We know what he's capable of . . . we believe there is some offense in him.
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Larry Brooks states there is a case for keeping both Nedved and Betts:
It's not impossible that the Blueshirts could open the season with both Nedved and Blair Betts on the roster as revolving fourth-line pivots.
I liked his "Lilliputian-like" description of the Dawes-Drury-Prucha line:
With little if anything productive having gone on in camp with the Lilliputian-like projected second line of Drury centering Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha, the lineup suggests that the coach might consider moving Drury to the wing in order to get Dubinsky the top six ice time he merits.
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Dubi, at the Blueshirt Bulletin, thinks Betts is a lock to make the team:
And between the "A" on his chest and coach Tom Renney's pre-game endorsement, Blair Betts is probably pretty safe in his role as well...
And Nedved still has a shot:
Another player who seems to be making a case for himself and would only be able to make the team if a salary like Rissmiller's was taken out from under the salary cap is Petr Nedved...
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The Maven sees the Rangers continuing to play a waiting game with Nedved. Rangers: D-Day is Approaching:
But by far the most riveting issues involve the disposition of Petr Nedved and Brendan (Remember Me?) Shanahan.

Like him or not – and I very much DO – Nedved is making a stronger case for himself every game. . . . In two games, Petr has the look of a big-leaguer who still can help the Blueshirts, but that may not be enough to clinch a contract.

When I put the question to Tom Renney, the coach makes it clear that putting Nedved on the team must make sense in terms of who he might bump — Blair Betts is the obvious choice — and how much ice time Petr would obtain. . . .

All of which leads The Maven to believe that the melodrama will end with Shanny not inking a deal and with Nedved completing his audition in Europe. . .
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The Manic Rangers fan [now looking very sage] weighs in with a detailed analysis of Nedved's chances and makes this forecast, The Petr Nedved Dilemma:
Essentially, Petr Nedved is trying to make this team in vain, especially with the defense first Tom Renney at the helm. Nedved is destined for another year in the Czech Republic.
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The Beyond the Blueshirt blog is doing an excellent job of following all the ups and downs of Jaromir Jagr and his KHL team, Avangard Omsk. Or the Siberian asylum as I like to call them.

Jack Nicholson (JJ) has rallied his band of inmates as they fly over the coo-coo's nest. And if you play in Siberia you do a lot of flying. Avangard Omsk Keeps on Rolling:
... it was Avangard Omsk’s second line of Alexander Popov, Anton Kuryanov and future Ranger Alexei Cherepanov that led the team to a dominant 4-0 victory in Khabarovsk today...

You can watch the archived game for yourself at Sportbox, or catch the highlights on the KHL’s web site...
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Sam or Joe mentioned this last night during the game, regarding Jagr's sweet Siberia deal with only a 13% tax rate. The Prague Daily Monitor, had reported that Jaromír Jágr now world's best-paid hockey player:
In Avantgard Omsk, which he joined in July, Jagr earns an annual 7 million dollars.

This is 3 million less than Dany Heatley earns in the NHL, but Heatley spends more than a half of his pay on taxes. Jagr pays only 13 percent in taxes...
Does Canada really have that high a tax? Call in the accountants to verify this claim.

And Sam Weinman thinks it might have been Tom Renney who tipped Jagr about getting Flemming as coach.
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Let's get it on.
Colton Orr versus David Koci
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Eklund at Hockey Buzz puts the Rangers as 6th best in the East:
#6 New York Rangers: It's all about Lundqvist's knees. My opinion is that on his game- Lundqvist is the best goalie in the East. But beyond King Henry, who? That is an issue, and another issue I still have with the Rangers is identity...
The Rangers are a defensive juggernaut aren't they? If the Rangers play a lot of 2-2 games then you have to wonder what their shootout strategy will be. Would Shanny be okay as a "designated shootout" specialist? Would a team ever keep a guy solely for the shootouts?
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Greg Wyshynski the Yahoo "Puck Daddy" makes a confession, when Previewing the NJ Devils, with 100 percent more poop jokes:
From the Dept. of Self-Congratulatory Nonsense: Some basic facts about your humble editor. I grew up in Matawan, New Jersey. I am a New Jersey Devils fan. The only time I've painted my face to support the team was at the University of Maryland, and I ended up with a nosebleed for some reason....
And he's man enough to admit the truth about the Devils:
We know they’re boring. Painfully boring. Offensively challenged, creatively bankrupt and with about as much personality as Ben Stein reading the NASDAQ....
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An NHL poll (on their new website) to vote on the team with the top young talent does not include the NY Rangers. They must have plucked five teams out of a hat. What does the average fan know about the prospects from more than a handful of teams?

Which team boasts the most talented group of prospects?

Edmonton Oilers:
29.94 %
Florida Panthers:
5.32 %
New York Islanders:
6.43 %
Phoenix Coyotes:
18.37 %
St. Louis Blues:
9.65 %
Other:
30.29 %

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Offensively Offensive

The Rangers who did not have one player who scored more than 25 goals last year have continued their offensive ineptness through the first four exhibition games where so far they have scored two goals per game. I know it's preseason and they want to check everyone out but the signs are there. We keep outshooting the other teams on most nights but we can't light the lamp. The big guns, are all zippo so far.

Last year the top five goal scorers were, Jagr (25), Drury (25), Shanahan (23), Gomez (16) and Avery, in only 57 games, (15). Three of those players are gone though the possibility of Shanahan returning remains, though slim. The Rangers are counting on Gomez, Drury, Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev, with help from Dawes, Dubinsky and Prucha to pick up the slack and generate some offense. With the exception of Dubinsky, who has two goals, all in one game, these guys have not produced.

The goal scorers besides Dubinsky have been Nedved (2), Sjostrom, Korpikoski, Fahey and Girardi. Nedved is 2-1-3 and that in itself is going to create a problem for clueless and his staff. Nedved is playing like he should make the team. He has been the best forward on the ice in the preseason. Nedved makes the team and some young guy goes back to Hartford. So much for getting younger but if none of the big guys start producing whats the alternative. No wonder the Mats Sundin rumors are alive and well. Someone will have to score.

I didn't catch the whole game but I did see Clarkson having a field day roughing Mara and yakking with clueless. Yakking with the opposition coach should get the team going after the culprit but there was no such action. Where was Colton Orr? Why wasn't he sent out to quiet the bum? Oh, I forgot. This is the new NHL and we don't do those things anymore. We settle everything with discussions. Besides, I keep hearing how Orr is slimmed down and went for private tutoring on his skating and he skates so well now. Good. Put him on the first line and make Naslund the enforcer. So we are not scoring, and we are not tough and it looks like nothing has changed. Thank God for The Prince, Henrik Lundquist. It's too early to get excited.

Rangers Roundup — September 25, 2008

Will Brandon Dubinsky have a breakout year?

Rangers.NHL.com:
Dubinsky ready to take it up a notch -- Young center making another a big impression in training camp

Will Brandon Dubinsky have a breakout year?Brandon Dubinsky

One of the standout Rangers players during the 2008 preseason has been second-year center Brandon Dubinsky, who made a big splash as a rookie and appears poised to reach even greater heights this season....

Michael Obernauer at the Daily News gets on the Dubinsky bandwagon. Brandon Dubinsky ready for second shift with Rangers:
"I'm really feeling good out there," Dubinsky said Wednesday before the Rangers lost to the Devils, 3-2, in Newark. "Having that full year under your belt brings a new confidence level with yourself coming in the next year. I worked hard over the summer on a lot of different things, and I feel good right now - that's the main reason I'm skating well."
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The hype machine is also in full gear in Washington. The D.C. Poster Boy struts his stuff. This Ovie guy looks like "rough trade" in a good suit.

ESPN Magazine:
REGIME CHANGE -- What Beltway incompetence? With Commander-in-Chief Alex Ovechkin in charge, the Capitals are ready to put the hockey world on notice: the puck drops here...

Alexander Ovechkin - a Russian is running Washington hockeyHow does a Russian become President?

Ovechkin will answer the phone at 3 a.m.—it's called accountability. "He's the first guy at the computer after the game, wanting to see his shifts," says coach Bruce Boudreau. "He wants to think about the game. If he doesn't understand something, he makes sure he gets it right."

Ovechkin has so much energy he's practically radioactive. On the ice, he moves from zone to zone so quickly that linemates struggle to keep up. In the locker room, he darts around like a horsefly. After the Caps won the Southeast last season, Ovechkin pulled a freshly printed championship T-shirt over his dress shirt and announced he was going out on the town. D-man Mike Green shot him a no-way-I'm-going-out-like-that look but joined the party after forwards Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov copied Ovie. "He's full of life," says Caps captain Chris Clark. "Gets everybody going, jumping around. We ask how he does it, and he says, 'I don't know what I do, I just do!'" In Ovechkin, the Caps have a leader who is ready to roll up his sleeves, a star who is still a working stiff...

And SLAM Sports adds Ovechkin set to rock the Capital. He received the key to the city in June.
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Oh yeah, there was a preseason game. Will Nedved make the team?

Nedved Star Rising?

Andres Gross takes notice, Nedved strikes again:
Twice actually, with a goal and an assist in the Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Devils tonight at The Rock. That gives the 36-year-old Czech two goals and one assist in two games and no assurances. Nedved said he wasn't sure if he was playing against the Lightning tomorrow night at the Garden.
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Sam Weinman wrote, "Renney said Nedved will play in tonight's preseason game (9/25) against Tampa Bay" at the Garden.

But Weinman focuses on the new as the Rangers move forward on youth movement.

And he blogs that the youngsters will have to produce:
I see any one of eight players scoring 20 goals on the Rangers, but three of those players—Nigel Dawes, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky—have never scored more than 14 in a season. Seeing how those players figure to take on more prominent roles this season, however, the expectation is they’ll have a jump in production.
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Mark Everson at the NY Post adds this on Nedved:
The Rangers . . . are wondering what to do about Petr Nedved, making the most of his tryout.

"The question would be, 'Is that what we need? Is that enough?' " Tom Renney said, having seen Nedved set up the Rangers' first goal and score the second last night.

They were impressed enough by Nedved's bid for a third stint with the Rangers to put him back in the lineup for tonight's game against Tampa Bay at the Garden.
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However, Rangers Review gives a thumbs down on Petr Nedved:
I know everyone is going to point to Petr Nedved and his goal and assist looked good out there, but I have to be honest, I thought he had quite a poor game. I think this is one of those rare cases where you can’t just look at the stat sheet to gauge how a player did. Yes, he scored a goal, but it was a flukey play that happened to flutter in, and the assist he had was a nice play, but the goal that went in was a knuckler, hardly what you would call a legit goal. Don’t get me wrong, the ugly, flukey goals are just as important as the pretty ones, but to me, in this case, they don’t do enough to nullify what was a poor game by Petr. He had a horrific turnover which directly led to a goal against (on a flukey play helped by a puck bouncing off the ref) in which he simply lost control of the puck and skated a stride and a half before he realized it, at which point it was too late and the Devils broke the other way in an odd man rush. He also didn’t generate much in the way of offense, registering the single shot on goal, and didn’t do much in the way defensively either.

All in all, I wasn’t impressed enough to put him in the lineup over Lauri Korpikoski or P.A. Parenteau, both of whom have looked better than Nedved in my opinion...
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Does "Eklund, the Pink is the new rumour blogger" show the Rangers any disrespect when he doesn't put them in his list of "The Top Four Teams in the East Will Be..."
  1. Pittsburgh Penguins ...
  2. Washington ...
  3. Montreal Canadiens ...
  4. Philadelphia Flyers ...
Or is he being a realist?
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What's a Hockeyville?

If you're like most Americans you are probably clueless if you heard talk about this Hockeyville thing. Count me in that group.

It turns out that Hockeyville is a big deal in Canada. Check out the Wikipedia entry about the Kraft Hockeyville for a summary of what's going on.

Here are two accounts of what happened at Hockeyville. One good, one not so good.

Stu Hackel at the NY Times, .... Disappointing TV from Roberval:
We recorded it and only watched the first period before sitting down at the keyboard this morning but The NHL Network, which produced its own telecast of the game, contained none of the sense of occasion that was required...
The official NHL story:
Roberval basks in the glow of NHL hockey:
Kraft Hockeyville 2008 was a smashing success, as players and coaches raved about the town that made it happen. ...

The people of Roberval spent months preparing for Kraft Hockeyville 2008, trying to show every hockey fan in Canada that they deserved those 2,198,665 votes the small town received some six months ago. But the blood, sweat, tears and money – more than $300,000 went towards improving Benoit Levesque Arena – felt like a massage once the NHL arrived on the scene on Sunday to help honor this wonderful city...
Here is the full Hockeyville coverage at NHL.com if you want all the details.
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Do you think Willie Randolph is smiling this morning? And what about Joe Torre?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rangers Roundup — September 24, 2008

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The Staal Brothers: Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Marc Staal of the New York RangersThe Staal Brothers: Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Marc Staal of the New York Rangers during the NHL Media Tour on September 3, 2008 in New York City

The new NHL.com website is being previewed. Sleek.
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After last night's game Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants took a first stab at guessing the opening day roster:
G: Henrik Lundqvist, Steven Valiquette (pretty confident here)
D: Wade Redden, Michael Rozsival, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Dmitri Kalinin, Paul Mara, Corey Potter.
LW: Markus Naslund, Nigel Dawes, Aaron Voros, Lauri Korpikoski, Dan Fritsche
C: Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Blair Betts
RW: Nikolai Zherdev, Petr Prucha, Ryan Callahan, Colton Orr, Fredrik Sjostrom.

Two variables to this: I could see the Rangers moving a forward for a defenseman; Mats Sundin is still out there.
Corey Potter as the 7th defenseman over Thomas Pock because:
Potter is just a big presence on defense and also seems active on the rush, though not at the expense of his own end. I think it's going to be a tough call between him and Thomas Pock if the Rangers keep seven defensemen.
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Now that John Dellapina has left the NY Daily News for the NHL corporate office does that mean the paper cut back on their Rangers coverage? I didn't see anything about last night's game from them? Not even a passed along AP story.
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This afternoon Zipay at Blue Notes posted the lineup for tonight's Devils game, and added:
Korpikoski, Potter, Byers "are very much in the mix" for roster spots, the coach said.
His morning story at Newsday declares that the Rangers have "scoring woes" (with half a team?) and points a finger at Redden:
For the second night in a row, a winger sped by defenseman Wade Redden along the boards, with the odd-man rush producing a goal, this one by Ryan Craig

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However, RangersReview is "embracing positivity" and is very happy so far after three games:
3 game, and in each of them we can say without a doubt, we were the better team by and large. The mistakes were there for sure, but if you look at the games as a whole, we badly outplayed the opposition in all 3 games, tonight outshooting the super-offensive Lightning a staggering 40-18. This is after outshooting the Senators 38-22 and 36-19 in back to back games. Again, recognize this is with nearly 1/2 the team not playing, and with the opposition putting out nearly complete teams in 2 of the 3 games.

Wow. ...
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Stan Fischler also was very pleased and called the Tampa Bay game a "good loss."
I can name you almost a dozen positives. So, let us start counting...

1. STEVE VALIQUETTE – The analysts can theorize 'til the cows come home about Henny Lundqvist's sidekick, and who it might be. Forget it. Steve IS the Rangers back-up goalie because The Tall One is experienced, has the goods and showed on Tuesday night that he's poised to win more this season than he did last year...
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The Rangers have loaded up with "youngsters.' Robby Krevat at the Bleacher Report can't yet fathom the notion:
The Rangers roster now only had six—yes, six—players who are or will be in their '30s this season. Two of those six have Stanley Cups...

That revelation made me realize how different the Rangers are this season from any other in the last ten years.

The Rangers were NOTORIOUS for being old, and loaded with stars—or former stars—at every position on the first three lines. The concept of players my age—who have talent that my hockey-ridden mind can't even fathom sharing a rink with—all wearing Ranger jerseys sets a new tone...
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The Rangers might have an advantage in Prague. Damian Cristodero the beat writer for the St. Petersburg Times at his Lightning Strikes blog reports: Might Vinny be held out of opener?
We read in Tuesday's paper that hockey ops chief Brian Lawton said he would not hesitate to keep star Vinny Lecavalier and defenseman Paul Ranger out of at least the season opener Oct. 4 in Prague if their rehabbing right shoulders were not ready to go. He said he might even put them on injured reserve to help the team manage their numbers. That's a big hint not to be taken seriously, especially after watching Jussi Jokinen star at center this preseason. And while Jokinen's move to the middle might have been, as coach Barry Melrose said, an "experiment," it is not far-fetched to believe it also was a tryout to see if Jokinen could contribute at the position if Lecavalier isn't ready. In Tuesday's 3-2 victory over the Rangers, Jokinen played between Marty St. Louis and Vinny Prospal and had an assist.
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FYI, Sean Avery had a good start
Stars lost their preseason opener 3-2 Tuesday night in St. Louis. Loui Eriksson and Sean Avery scored for the Stars...
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Slapshot keeps an eye on Europe, the KHL and Jagr. JJ has put all the Siberian inmates on his back, now that he's an assistant coach, and started carrying them to wins. Since he hired the coach (Wayne Fleming) he probably feels an obligation to play hard. Fleming has been delayed with visa problems.
Russian KHL:

Metallurg Nk 2-3 Avangard. Jaromir Jagr strikes again with the opening goal. The man has three goals and an assist in the last three games, all wins for revitalized Avangard.
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Are the owners gearing up to get rid of guaranteed contracts in the next CBA? FauxRumors takes some shots at Bettman and our very own Stan Fischler as they discuss: Guaranteed Contracts.. Next Grounds for War! --
1) After the last CBA was signed, ending Gary Bettman's 2nd imposed lock out of the NHL, many were quick to state that the owners had cleaned the players clocks. That they got almost everything that they had wanted (a salary cap) and the players caved and their former representative, Bob Goodenow quit in disgrace. However, we at FAUXRUMORS were one of the few, along with Lyle Richardson (Spector) and a few others who stated 'not so fast'. We reminded folks that many also thought the 1995 CBA agreement (after Bettman's first lockout) was a slam dunk winner for the owners. It turned out to be just the opposite. The players were making oodles of money(average salary of about 1.2 mil) by the time of the 2nd Bettman work outage in 2004

2) Therefore folks like ourselves (independent) who are Neither owner lackeys like Stan Fischler or carry the water for the players side like Larry Brooks looked at this agreement. After looking at the details and seeing how it worked the first year or two we came to the conclusion that the players were NOT vanquished as much (if at all) as the owners/Bettman/Fischler had believed...
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Calvin at Rangerland.net has a creative idea to firm up a couple of weak NHL franchises with "Contraction Without Contraction." -
Let’s face it: who are we expecting to be two of the worst teams in the NHL this year? The Kings and the Thrashers, right?

Let’s not have them both. Instead, let us take a naming page from MLB and form… the Los Angeles Kings of Atlanta! The money and contracts are already there for the season - take both teams, throw them into the corporate equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider, and boom! Out comes a slightly smaller NHL, and an improved team in one of the league’s most important markets. (Hint: It’s not you, Atlanta.) The Kings of Atlanta would play 30 games in LA, 11 games in Atlanta, and would be entitled to make the best roster they can out of their abysmal yet promising rosters. What would that look like?
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Ted Leonsis pumps his Caps superstar, Alexander Ovechkin. Does Dolan refer to Henrik Lundqvist as "The Prince" or even "The King"?

Ovie on the Cover of ESPN…The Magazine -- Check this out!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lundqvist: The Story of Shaky Knees

Larry Brooks did a nice report to try and clear up this discrepancy between what the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reported on September 12th and what the Rangers were saying. Brooks went straight to the source, Henrik Lundqvist, to get an answer about the condition of his knees.

This morning, Brooksie wrote:

The condition of Henrik Lundqvist's knees was apparently lost in translation when a Swedish newspaper reported that the goaltender is taking weekly cortisone shots to deal with lingering pain from a goal-mouth collision late in Game 4 of the Pittsburgh playoff series.

"I took one cortisone shot in each knee during the first week of August, and that's it," said The King...

The "lost in translation" comment by Brooks seems like a polite way to say that the Swedish reporter was making things up.

Last Friday, Steve Zipay at Newsday reported:
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist received cortisone shots in his knees once in the offseason after playing for Team Sweden, but is not receiving any now and is fine, contrary to a Swedish newspaper report, the team said...

Alftonblatet
is Swedish for The Evening Sheet. It has had its journalism questioned in the past. But you have to wonder what was going on between Lundqvist and this reporter.

The Aftonbladet story was downright scary. The Two-Line Pass blog took a shot at translating what they said. The title of the story roughly translated to: "Forced to go on syringes".

Here is an attempt to translate some of the Alftonblatet story using Google's translator. Maybe a Swedish reader could help on translating it better?

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Swedish tabloid reports Lundqvist has bad kneesLundqvist says pain in the knees refuses to back down: It has not healed as I had hopedWORRIED: Henrik Lundqvist's sore knees still haunt. To deal with the pain has been the New York Rangers goalie had to take cortisone injections.

Forced to go on syringes

Pain in the knees refuses to back down: "It has not healed as I had hoped"

NEW YORK. Three weeks before the start of the NHL season Henrik Lundqvist is taking injections. His aching knees do not heal.

- It has not healed as I had hoped," said the star goalie when Sportbladet met him in New York.

Henrik Lundqvist sore knees began at the end of last NHL season - and during the finals was growing affection for pain. The damage, out it kept on a leash, gave him huge problems during the World Cup in Canada this spring.

- The hope was that a long, quiet summer leave would eliminate the problems.

But really there has not been. - It has not healed well as I had hoped, revealing "Henke" when we meet him just three weeks before the season start in the New York Rangers training north of Manhattan.

- It was a little better during the summer, but never quite good.

"Got cortisone"

The solution: The Swedish star goalkeeper has been on the syringes during the season run-up.

- Yes, it get over the threshold, and he was getting cortisone weekly. So now it feels good.

It does not sound like a very successful start to a season that is going on at least seven months, but Lundqvist himself is not particularly worried.

- No, there is always some trouble this time of year. It begins to feel like it is part of the move on hold in August, that there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

He as one of the few Swedish NHL professionals showed up in the spring is no "Henke" repent - although in all cases in lekmannaögon looked like the injury was aggravated in Quebec.

- Absolutely not. It is clear, it got no better. I missed Two weeks of rest. But I think I have been in exactly the same situation although I have not played the World Cup.

Butterfly and labor.


Ice Hockey Federation's Federal doctor Bjorn Waldebäck treated Lundqvist during the World Cup. And he has a feel for the new butterfly-style can be hard for the new modern goalkeepers.

Goalkeepers nowadays go up and down several thousand times in one season. Obviously, it is stressful to ledbanden (ligaments?) in the knees.

One idea I have is that long goalkeepers can have more problems with their knees because the angles and thus load becomes greater, but there is nothing I have evidence, "said Bjorn Waldebäck.

Apart from the krånglande knees, it is an optimistic Henrik Lundqvist who is preparing for its fourth season in the world's best line.

- I had a great summer, have trained well and feel in great shape, "he said after one of the intensive workouts he and his many new teammates in preparation for the start of training camp on Monday.

Restructured

It is a restructured New York Rangers, who will play at Madison Square Garden this winter.

Gone are players such as Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, Sean Avery and - perhaps - Brendan Shanahan. In their places are now sitting in the changing room instead player Markus Näslund, Wade Redden, Nikolai Zherdev, Patrick Rissmiller and Aaron Voros. . . .
----

"There is always some trouble," said Lundqvist.
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Butterfly-style rip much of goalkeepers -
perhaps even a little extra on storvyxna goalkeepers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

From Russia With Love

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From Russia With Love: Jaromir Jagr calls for helpSo the inmates at the KHL Siberian asylum, Avangard Omsk, had phone privileges. One of their NHL escapees, Jaromir Jagr, got ahold of a phone and was calling for help.

I think the rule of thumb is that you humor these people until the straitjacket goes on. If they try and bring you into their delusion just play along until help arrives. But be careful if you get sucked into their dementia, it could be dangerous.

Pierre LeBrun at ESPN had this tale:
This season in Russia, expect more wacky stories like this one --
"'This is Jaromir Jagr calling. I'm calling from Omsk, Russia. I checked around with my manager and your name kept coming up,'" Fleming recalled to ESPN.com. "'Would you be interested in coming here to coach?'"

Fleming, an assistant coach with the Flames the last two seasons, wanted to make sure it wasn't a practical joke.

"I wasn't sure it was him," said Fleming. "But it was either him or somebody with a pretty good Czech accent."...
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Captain O' Captain

Lots of buzz about who will be the next Rangers captain. Puck Daddy reported "Naslund, Gomez, Drury or nobody for Rangers captain?" and dished on Naslund.

But, Scotty Hockey says just pass out the "A's" for now:
Drury and Gomez are both good hockey players and proven winners but Drury keeps to himself and Gomez smiles in postgame interviews after losses. The short term solution for this is to spread three A's around until someone steps up and brings the team with them.

Perhaps the captaincy could go to Staal, Girardi, Dawes or Callahan but not yet. The C brings with it a legacy and it should not be tarnished just because fans or pundits feel that somebody has to have it.
Mark Messier casts a long shadow.
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Fibro-my-#%@&#

I guess some people believed that first story from the Bleacher Report that Gary Bettman had Fibromyalgia, because they had to add a label to the title:

Gary Bettman Has Fibromyalgia (yes Humour)

update: The Fibromyalgia people must have complained because the Bleacher Report had to change the title again and make the Bettman illness a Confabulation Disorder.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hockey's Back

To read the blogs you would have thought that the world had turned upside down. Madonna became chaste. A-Rod got a clutch hit in a big game. All politicians started to tell the truth. No. It was more important than any and all of those things. Hockey, in general was back and specifically our heroes, the New York Rangers, were back. Sure it was an exhibition game but so what. It was hockey.

Forget the misplays and missed shots of both teams. It was pond hockey at its best. Ottawa's A team beat a mixed bag of Rangers 3-2, after jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Brandon Dubinsky, hoping to shatter the sophomore jinx, scored two goals, one shorthanded, one power play. He played with Callahan and Voros. The best line seemed to be the Drury, Dawes and Prucha. Top draft pick Del Zotto played with poise and looked good. So did his mom. Blair Betts, playing on the fourth line and playing for his job, played like he was playing for his job. Michal Rozsival was in mid season form. He gave away the puck on the blue line while the Rangers were on a power play, which led to a shorthanded goal by the Senators. No change there.

The refs were in mid season form also, calling all the soft taps and letting some mayhem and muggings go. So there were a series of parades to the penalty box. No change there. The Rangers had 9 power plays, the Senators had 10. The Rangers had one power play goal, so there was no change there. The Rangers out shot the Senators 36-19, but still lost. So there was no change there.

This is one crazy exhibition season with seven games in the next nine games, including two in Switzerland. It will be brutal and it remains to be seen if there will be a fair evaluation of some of the younger players and if they will get the allotted time to prove their wares. But we shall see. Overall, it's great that hockey is back. It's better than watching A-Rod hitting into a DP with the game on the line. It's not fair though. A-Rod's month is March.

Rangers Notes

It's still technically summer, so don't chill - grill and relax it's only preseason.

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But the Rodent liked what he saw in Ottawa, minus a certain 6'5" goalie.
We're still weeks away from Opening Night. Yet the skating, passing and hitting is November form... unless your name is Stephen Valiquette, who allowed two shots to blow past him unmolested by anything but his shadow...
It was a crisply played "penalty party" for preseason. Steve Zipay also saw some promising signs. Dubinsky certainly looked good and Dawes is showing some good form. Even the Dark One felt some good vibes.

Greg Caggiano at the Bleacher Report believes Aaron Voros could very well find himself on the Rangers' top line. Really?

Additionally, Chris Drury was the one wearing the New York Rangers "C."
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Some beautiful photos from the Wade Redden, Danica Topolnisky wedding on August 2, 2008 - via Puck Daddy. Wade Redden has a lot to prove this season.

Wade Redden - Danica Topolnisky weddingWade and Danica Redden
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Puck Daddy is previewing the Rangers and also having some fun with Henrik, who is of course the consummate European gentleman.

Henrik Lundqvist: consummate European gentleman---
The Texans are trying to warm up to Sean Avery.

Sean Avery might not be popular, but he could help the Dallas Stars
:
The decision to sign Sean Avery this off-season was risky, mainly because nobody likes him.

OK, that is an exaggeration. Only 96.5 percent of the NHL can’t stand him. The other 3.5 are those N.Y. Rangers teammates who liked him, fellow shift disturbers and guys who have yet to play against him...
An early training camp report from Tracey Meyers says that Avery is working on "a fine line" with Mike Modano and Brad Richards (center).
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A thank you and fare ye well to John Dellapina, the NY Daily News Rangers beat writer. He's moving over to the NHL's communications department to become the NHL's Director of Media Relations.

Does this mean that Dell gets to work in the plush new NHL headquarters? Holy cow!

John Dellapina leaves NY Daily News to become NHL's Director of Media RelationsA beat writer's fond farewell:
The Rangers will win the Cup this season.

I know this because I won’t be there. At least, not to chronicle it.

I’m leaving the Daily News after 15 ½ years. The last 14 of them have been spent as the Rangers beat writer. And since I took over the beat in July 1994 - a few weeks after the Rangers last won the Cup - I figure my daily presence is as good a reason as any why a fifth championship banner hasn’t been hung from the Garden’s spoked ceiling since...
Dellapina has had some missteps, as have we all. He's also climbed up on the Springsteen soapbox. Sam Weinman, Steve Zipay, and all of Rangerland wishes him well.

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update:

Also noticed that long time NHL blogger Jes Gőlbez is also calling it quits. He writes:
Hockey blogs have come a long way since I started. Back when I first posted here [May of 2004], there were maybe 10-12 hockey blogs TOTAL...

I know I'm one of the true veterans out there, and am rather proud of some of the baby bloglings that grown up to be strong young sites...
Take care Jes. The Ranger Pundit launched a month before you did. Just remember that old bloggers never die, they just get archived.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Game Used Henrik Lundqvist Jockstrap and Protective Cup Only $1499

The title is only being facetious. The New York Rangers are not selling Henrik Lundqvist's game used jockstrap and protective cup for $1499. At least, not yet. So let's keep it quiet in case the Dolans are listening.

However this craziness about 'game used' memorabilia and equipment is getting out of hand. Yesterday on the new Mike'd Up: Francesa on the Fan radio show hosted by Mike Francesa a caller was ranting about being gypped on his purchase of two New York Yankees game used bases.

Apparently the Yankees are selling the actual bases that are being used during their final home games at the old Yankee Stadium, "The House That Ruth Built." The Yankees are changing the bases (first, second, and third) after the third and sixth innings so they can have a total of nine bases from each game to sell.

This is all being done by the Yankees through Steiner Sports. Here is one of the bases from a Yankees - Blue Jays game on August 31st shown for sale for a price of $1499 on the Steiner website:

Game Used New York Yankees base only $1499
The caller told Francesa that when he ordered and paid for his two bases the listed price was $999 apiece. The gentleman paid about $2100 upfront for two bases at $999 each plus tax. Steiner was also going to put the bases together with his ticket stubs and some genuine Yankee ballpark dirt to create a nice piece of Yankee memorabilia.

However, when the man went to give Steiner his ticket stubs they informed him that the Chicago White Sox had come along and bought all the bases from their game against the Yankees for $2500 each. Basically, Steiner had taken this guy's two bases and sold them for a higher price. Hey, business is business.

The man was complaining to Francesa that his sales slip said all sales were final and he felt he had been cheated. Steiner said it would give him a full refund plus they offered some other token to make up for the loss. But no Yankee-White Sox bases, and understandably the gentleman was upset.

Francesa offered that maybe this was the only way the White Sox could get a base against the Yankees that day. He also expressed surprise at the whole situation and gave time to hear the entire story.

The Steiner website now shows some of these game used Yankee bases from last month are listed for $1499 each. And some of those that were shown on the website are now indicated as sold when you click on them to order. It looks like these bases are a hot item.

Also, the "Fire Sale" for the rest of the pieces of Yankee Stadium will be a monster event. For example, "Derek Jeter’s locker, used by him for his 14-year career could fetch $50,000 to $100,000." The Yankees will rake in millions when the dust finally settles.

So given this bold new world of sports marketing, how much would you pay for that game used Marty Brodeur water bottle or that royal Lundqvist jockstrap? You may soon get your chance. Just hope it's not an auction.

FYI update: It was reported that a sports memorabilia dealer in Massachusetts received $400 for Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell’s game-used jockstrap. He also had A-Rod's game-worn briefs for sale.

ICINGS

Errors On The Stanley CupWho is the "X" man?

Here are a couple of trivia question regarding the ultimate piece of sports memorabilia, The Stanley Cup.

Which team had its name misspelled when it was added to the cup? And who was the person who had their name X'd out on the cup two times? Also, did you notice the name just below the "X" man?

Answer here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Beefing Up, Winger Kiev, and Injuries

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Mike Meyers aka Fat Bastard---
So I hear from training camp that the Rangers need to add some size to their lineup.

I have a suggestion. This guy really does skate, and he's Canadian most of the time.

Getting these scrimmage-by-scrimmage reports from Westchester is great. It gives us all a chance to interject some valuable input to the team building.
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The Maven debunks the idea that a team can have two captains. He called the league office and was told that a team can have only one "C". The Maven voted and said:
Gomez-Drury; Drury-Gomez. Either way, it's a healthy slate in an election year. My vote is for Scotty, but my gut feeling is that when the ballots are in, Chris will take the oath of office, with Gomer supplying the punch lines! And from that point on, it won't be a laughing matter.
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Another serving of that Winger Kiev please.

The Rangers Report Poll (see below) certainly makes it clear what Rangers fans are interested in following at training camp: Nikolai Zherdev.

Forget Redden, or if the powerplay clicks, or the Shanny inaction. The big story is: will our new mercurial Ukrainian winger settle down and become a great player? I mistakenly labeled him as a Russian the other day. My bad. Let's make it clear, before anyone loses a body part, that Ukrainians aren't the same as Russians.

So a "Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev" line could be called the new "S-A-K Exchange." "S-A-K" standing for Sweden - America (or Alaska) - Kiev, Ukraine. That's if you use the birthplaces of the three players. Maybe a bit of a stretch? Too early to get excited? But it still sounds good.

Hey, it's just training camp, time to work out the moves and the grooves. Let's get a few shifts under our belt before anyone gets sent down to Hartford.
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Which Ranger are you most interested in hearing about this training camp?

  • Forward Nikolai Zherdev on coming to New York -- 398 -- 45% of all votes
  • Prospects and their chances of making the team -- 185 -- 21% of all votes
  • Returning Rangers reacting to changes to the team -- 117 -- 13% of all votes
  • Forward Markus Naslund on coming to New York -- 52 -- 6% of all votes
  • Just Exactly Why Sather insists on showing no class by letting Shanny and his Rangers loyalty hang in the wind while dreaming swedish -- 42 -- 5% of all votes
  • How well the powerplay clicks. -- 34 -- 4% of all votes
  • Defenseman Wade Redden on coming to New York -- 33 -- 4% of all votes
  • How Sather used up all his cap space and now gives out clauses in every contract --22 -- 2% of all votes
  • Who is the final defense man -- 2 - 0% of all votes

Total Votes: 885
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And the beat writers are obliging on that order for more Winger Kiev.

However, Larry Brooks at the NY Post says this morning that the Winger Kiev is a slow cooker.
Rangers' Zherdev Off to Slow Start --
Nikolai Zherdev was the standout at yesterday's hyper-competitive second day of training camp, and no, that is not good news for the Rangers.

The fact is that the presumptive first-line right wing the Blueshirts acquired this summer from Columbus to fill the slot vacated by Jaromir Jagr stood out for every wrong reason...

Zherdev displayed no urgency whatsoever...
update, but Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report comes in to quickly defend Zherdev. The Winger Kiev might just be under cooked:
Regarding Nikolai Zherdev and [Brooks] reports of his lackluster performance thus far, I, too, noted the giveaway yesterday that led to an opposing team goal. For the most part, though, I think Zherdev comes as advertised: an immensely talented forward prone to occasionally trying to do too much (see Kovalev, Alex for more). When Tom Renney was asked about Zherdev’s play, he acknowledged there have been some miscues, but he also said a player like that needs latitude to make plays...
And Jess Rubenstein at Prospect Park agreed about being under cooked:
When it comes to Zherdev, I sound like a broken record because I repeatedly find myself having to defend him from those who I do not believe really know him. In a nutshell Nickolai Zherdev is a player who to this day have never been properly developed and is almost as raw and green talent wise as the when he first arrived 4 years ago in Columbus...
Andrew Gross at The Record reported:
Rangers' first skate: All eyes on Gomez-Naslund-Zherdev --
Zherdev scored a goal as his Blue squad lost to the White, 4-3, in the team’s first intrasquad scrimmage. He also missed one shift after a cut opened on his lip after being hit by left wing Dane Byers’ shoulder.

The goal showed the 23-year-old Ukrainian’s strong, yet so far inconsistent, offensive skills.

“He definitely has exceptional skill,” Naslund said. “He’s a game-breaker. He can make those plays and moves not a lot of guys can. I think he’s got a lot of upside.”
The Blue Line:
Gomez-Naslund-Zherdev looking to create top-line chemistry --
the amount of print dedicated to Zherdev today is an indicator that he will be the focus of a bunch of attention throughout the preseason...
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The early training camp reports and action raises the specter of injury. Can a relatively lightweight, fast Rangers lineup go through the entire season without being decimated by injuries? That has to be a concern. The NHL has gotten bigger as well as faster. Do you think that means fewer injuries?

Remember the record when Avery was out of the lineup last year. Would anyone disagree that Lundqvist is our Tom Brady? Perhaps he is even more valuable to the Rangers than Brady was to the Pats. Lundqvist got dinged up last year too.

So one key player goes down and this Renney Rangers machine could grind to a sputter. It's the reality of team sports. The nightmare scenario is one big hit away. But let's put those bad thoughts away for now and enjoy the anticipation as a gaggle of beat writers keep us posted on ever burp and bump at training camp.

ICINGS:

So the inmates rallied today to get a victory for Jaromir Jagr's Avangard Omsk team and make a statement. This as the Calgary Flames reported that the new head coach of Avangard Omsk will be their former assistant coach, Wayne Fleming.

NYR prospect to watch: Dale Weise

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Inmates Running Siberian Hockey Asylum

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Inmates Running Siberia Hockey AsylumThank goodness the Rangers have Nurse Ratched Renney giving them their lithium.

But, has the mercurial one, Jaromir Jagr, begun his descent into hockey hell? Laurie at Beyond The Blueshirts blog is chronically the chaos that surrounds Jagr's KHL Siberian team, Avangard Omsk.

The team got off to a bad start, winning just 2 of their first 6 games. This despite all the money the local government had spent on importing Jagr and remaking the team.

The head of the Russian Province of Omsk, governor Leonid Polezhaev, convened an emergency meeting of the Avangard board of directors. They fired head coach Sergei Gersonsky and senior coach Igor Zhilinsky. They then turned the team over to interim coach Igor Nikitin and his merry band of hockey inmates.

Beyond The Blueshirts wrote:
In the meantime, the [Russian Sports, sports.ru] site reports that Dmitry Ryabikin, Jaromir Jagr, Anton Kuryanov and Alexander Svitov are acting as informal assistants to 35-year old interim coach Igor Nikitin until a new coach can be hired. Is it just me, or does that sound like a recipe for disaster?...
More on the saga at BTB:

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