Saturday, January 17, 2009

Father's Day Comes Early In Chicago

The Rangers gave their fathers, who were in attendance last night, an early Father's Day present with a 3-2 OT win over the Chicago Black Hawks, giving the Rangers a two game sweep of the short series. Unfortunately, the star of the game, Chris Drury, did not have his father at this game but there are reports that Drury's Dad will be at the Pittsburgh game Sunday so maybe he will do it again. Drury scored the first goal for the Rangers and then won it in OT by redirecting Redden's pass past Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Both goals were power play goals as the Rangers were 2-6 on the power play. The two goals gave Drury a team leading 15 for the season.

While Drury was number one star, Lundqvist number three, and Brent Seabrook of the Hawks was number two; the real stars were the Ranger penalty killers, especially Drury, as they killed off ten Black Hawk penalties, including four five-on-three's, holding Chicago to 1-11 on the power play. This was significant in more ways than one as going into this game the Black Hawks power play was ranked sixth in the NHL. The Rangers have the number one penalty kill in the NHL. The real killers here were the two refs, Mike Hasenfratz and Dean Morton, who may have thought their Dads were there and wanted to impress them. All told they called 19 penalties, 12 against the Rangers and 7 against the Black Hawks. This was Gary Bettman gone amok, where the slightest of infractions, real and imagined were called. The worst being the ten minute misconduct to Marc Staal. So why single out these two incompetent souls when the entire corps of NHL refs are incompetent? Red Storey, where are you when we need you so badly?

Henrik Lundqvist with 32 saves was brilliant, especially during the five on threes. Too bad the refs thought they were the reason almost 23,000 fans showed up, it might have been a heck of a hockey game if they had let them play. It even produced a stir from coach clueless as he screamed at the refs and had a long discussion with one of them. Was anything accomplished? No. However, he did show that he was alive and paying attention to the game, so let's be happy with the small stuff. On to Pittsburgh with an awakened and charged up Captain, Chris Drury. Now if we can wake up Gomez, who knows where that will lead us to. Beam 'em up Scotty!


The Blackhawks, an Original Six NHL team, played at Chicago Stadium from 1929 to 1994. It was nicknamed "The Madhouse on Madison." It was also home to the Chicago Bulls from from 1967 to 1994. The Blackhawks and Bulls moved to the United Center to start the '94-95 season and Chicago Stadium was demolished in 1995. CNN televised the demolition and they showed devoted Blackhawks and Bulls fans crying as the wrecking ball hit the old building. Michael Jordan reportedly has the center of the Chicago Bulls' floor in his trophy room. Do you think "Stan" Mikita might have some of the ice from the old rink in his freezer? Bonus points if you know who was on the famous "Scooter Line" with Mikita.

Chicago Stadium
Chicago Stadium

Islanders getting voted off the Island?

This story about the Islanders possibly leaving L.I. for Kansas City seems to be slowly gathering some steam over the past week. Today NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is chirping in Newsday: "Islanders' building needs to be replaced."
The Sprint Center was built in Kansas City with the intention of becoming the home for an NHL franchise, but after failed attempts to land the Penguins and Predators, the next target could be the Islanders.

Even though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said this week that the Islanders are not looking to relocate, a person familiar with the planning of their exhibition game in Kansas City called it "a showcase."

Agreeing to an exhibition in a city actively looking for an NHL team appeared to be a convenient way for the Islanders to pressure the Town of Hempstead to approve the Lighthouse Project, the economic initiative by Charles Wang and partner Scott Rechler to redevelop the land surrounding Nassau Coliseum....
KC has the arena, but no major sports team --
If you built it, will they come?

That's what the city of Kansas City is asking about its less than 2-year-old arena, which sits without a functioning professional sports team to call its own.

Is that where the Islanders come in?

"We're not looking to take anybody's team," said Paul McGannon, head of NHL21, a local group trying to bring a team to Kansas City. "But if for whatever reason things don't work out on the Island, we would gladly accept a four-time Stanley Cup champion."

The 18,000-seat Sprint Center opened on Oct. 10, 2007, without an anchor tenant...
Give Wang, Islanders credit for making bold threat --
Can't you just see the ad?

FOR SALE: Unappreciated and disrespected National Hockey League franchise with four Stanley Cup banners that's down on its luck. Has been looking for new home and now is willing to relocate for right price. Owner motivated to sell. Buy low!!!

Don't get angry at me, Islanders fans. Save your e-mails and insults. Because this is exactly the type of scenario the Islanders want us to picture today. They won't ever admit this, but by reportedly agreeing to an exhibition game in Kansas City before next season, they are sending a clear doom-and-gloom message to the Town of Hempstead: Work with us on the Lighthouse project, or else...
Isles game in KC doesn't phase Hempstead's Murray --
If the Islanders' decision to consider playing a preseason game at glistening new Sprint Center in Kansas City in September was intended as a warning of what might happen if the Lighthouse Project isn't approved soon, the news didn't upset Town of Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray ...
Darren Drager /
The New York Islanders are going to Kansas City.

The Islanders have agreed in principle with the Los Angeles Kings to play an exhibition game in Kansas City in September.

This may not seem like that big of a deal in light of the fact other NHL teams have used Kansas City in recent years as a neutral cite for preseason games.

However, according to league sources this game could be perceived as a veiled threat of potential relocation if plans for a new arena on Long Island aren't soon finalized...
Will the NY Islanders move to the Sprint Center in Kanasa City, Missouri from Hempstead, NYSprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri

Will the NY Islanders move to the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO

Go West, young man, go West... -- Horace Greely
The Town of Hempstead and supervisor Kate Murray might want to pay attention to their Islanders. Showing them a little love might not hurt. Because, the idea of the Islanders moving to Kansas City is not that far fetched.

Case in point, the Seattle Supersonics of the NBA moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008. They became the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Why would a pro team want to leave cosmopolitan Seattle for the Great Plains Okie-ville of Oklahoma City? Simple, in Oklahoma City the Thunder are the only big league franchise in town. They are able to vacuum up a good share of the local corporate advertising and marketing dollars at their recently build (2002) Ford Center.

You can call this the basic "Big Fish in a small pond" business model. There are no other major league pro-sports teams competing for those corporate marketing dollars. Kansas City lost their last winter big league pro team in 1985, when the Kansas City Kings moved to Sacramento and became the Sacramento Kings.

Large and small businesses like making a major league connection. Oklahoma City is home to two Fortune 500 companies: Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy.

Greater Kansas City, it turns out, is headquarters to four Fortune 500 companies (Sprint Nextel Corporation, H&R Block, Embarq Corporation, and YRC Worldwide Inc.) and additional Fortune 1000 corporations (Interstate Bakeries Corporation, Great Plains Energy, Aquila, AMC Theatres, and DST Systems).

Regarding the NY City metro area "pond," who exactly is the big fish for winter pro-sports? Is it the Rangers, Knicks, Nets or the Islanders? The Islanders certainly get the leftovers in this market. And how many Fortune 500 companies are beating down the door to get over to Hempstead, NY? Additionally, what happens if the Nets ever move back to Brooklyn? How many corporate boxes will they need to sell?

The bottom line is: Rangers fans might end up losing a few extra "home games" at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum if Hempstead doesn't come through for the Islanders and the Lighthouse project.

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  • blow-me-down said...

    That was a great effort by NYR. It is yet again one of those games that just makes me say to myself "do it again". They busted their asses off backchecking and forechecking. Finished their checks, and that alone makes a hug differnece.
    We don't always see last night's aggression and confidence in meeting the opposition as they come out of their zone. That was fantastic to watch.

    Boy did Marc Staal ever tell the officials in no uncertain terms what he thought of them. I loved it, though it may have come back to bite the team, oh well.
    Someone will have to tell Marc never to heckle comedians when they are working a crowd of 20,000...they will try to get the last laugh.

    Though, in hindsight, it is pretty clear NYR did, Misseurs Hasenfratz and Morton, heretofore known as The Les Incompetents.

  • blow-me-down said...

    Too bad Drury's father could not make it. I wonder what the reason was. Just thinking that it would have been probably the best game of the season for him, and not a bad one at all for a father to watch, especially in the company of a whole mess of other dads.

  • Dov said...

    Scooters: Ken Wharram and Doug Mohns

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-Sadly, most of the oficials in the NHL are grossly incompetent. I still believe they should go back to the one referee system. End the competition between the two refs.

    Drury's Dad is supposed to be at todays game which has the Rangers flatter than a pancake.

  • mike said...

    Dov-Good job!

  • ramblin' Pete said...

    Re: Scooters?

    Hmm... and I was going to say Kirk and McCoy...

    Mohns and Wharram were retired by the time I started to going to games as a kid, but I can still vividly recall the grown-ups in sec. 407 referring to Mikita as "Spock."