Friday, April 30, 2010

Dregs Rule The East

The dregs have taken over the hockey world. At least the Eastern half of the hockey world. The highest ranking team in the East is the fourth seeded Penguins and had Alex Kovalev been available for the Senators it would be an all dregs semis in the East.

Washington, the number one seed, suffered the biggest indignity blowing a 3-1 lead and losing to 8th seeded Montreal. This was a turnaround from last year when the Caps put the reversal on our heroes, the Rangers. Of course, now we know that the Rangers are the ultimate dregs. It doesn't look any better for our heroes next year with coach disagreeable coming back along with The Stealth.

All we will have going for us is Lundqvist and Staal. Gaborik is a big goal scorer but not a big game player. Avery looks like all but gone as he and coach disagreeable just don't see eye to eye. To me, all the rest of the team is expendable. Destroy it all and start from scratch.

The West seems to be going according to form with the top three seeds along with the always dangerous Red Wings. What would the playoffs be without the Red Wings making a run and the Rangers disappointing us. Besides the dregs making such a strong showing the road teams have won more games than the home teams. So much for the home ice advantage. Let the dregs, er games, continue.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Garden Of Schemes

They advertise it as the Worlds Most Famous Arena. Don't believe it. It can't be famous because of its two biggest tenants, the Knicks and the Rangers? In my lifetime the Rangers have won three Cups and the Knicks two NBA Championships. The Knicks haven't won anything in 37 years and when Sam Rosen, announcing the Ranger win in '94 proclaimed, "And this one will last a lifetime", he may have had a message there.

At one time back in the 40's and 50's when the Garden had the NIT it could get away with that statement but now all it has is the Big East Basketball Tournament. When you consider that six of the teams made the NCAA's you wonder about the bigness of it. But back to the pros and especially our heroes.

I have lived through 14 Presidents, 7 Popes and 24 Yankee World Championships. In that span we have had three Stanley Cups and three runner-ups. Wow! All this from the World's Most Famous Arena. I will say this about the people who run this great sports palace. They are equal opportunity screw-ups. And it doesn't matter who runs it. They all run it into the ground.

MSG Inc., Gulf & Western, Paramount, Viacom and Cablevision, it doesn't matter. They were all screw-ups and each made it progressively worse. Sports has nothing to do with it, it's all about the money. Remember when Dolan and Cablevision torpedoed Mayor Bloomberg's plan to build a football field on the west side near the Javits Center? Dolan was worried about the poor people who lived there. Yeah sure. He's was looking to build a new Garden there and now we have nothing. Just like the Rangers. We have nothing, we are nothing and we will continue to be nothing. More coming.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lundqvist Exit Interview

Lundqvist: “You realize we didn’t lose our spot on Sunday. We lost it during the year when we didn’t have enough consistency in our game and we lost a lot of games we should have won. That’s where we lost our playoff spot.”
Rangers TV:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Prince Valiant

The game was a microcosm of the season. The goalie stood on his head with 46 saves and the Rangers could get no more than 25 shots on goal. The result was a season ending 2-1 shootout loss and elimination from the playoffs. Too bad. They would have lost one day earlier they could have made the final round of the Masters. With the exception of Lundqvist and the fourth line, no one showed up, including the coach. He should have to explain why Gaborik, one of the five top goal scorers in the NHL did not participate in the shootout. Olli Jokinen? Are you kidding me? Tortorella's terse no is not an answer to why Gaborik was not used.

Talking to my two sons this morning I predicted that the Rangers would lose 2-1 and Lundqvist would make 51 saves. I am making a request to the NHL to review the game tape to find the other five saves that Lundqvist made and the scorer didn't record. Seriously, Lundqvist was great. The fact that he lost in that aberration known as the shootout does not diminish his performance. He did all he could and then some, to keep the Flyers off the scoreboard. If he has a weakness it's that he can't score goals. He should work on that over the summer.

Lundqvist put it best when he opined that it was difficult to beat the Flyers two games in a row when the fourth line is your best line. It's appropriate that the Rangers would lose in a shootout. The shootout is a disgrace to hockey and the Rangers played disgraceful hockey all year long. Plus their coach is a disgrace the way he handled the news conferences with arrogance. He should be fired. The Stealth should be fired. The Absentee Owner should sell the team .

All hail Prince Valiant, Henrik Lundqvist!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Edge: Lundqvist

I have been one of the principal nay sayers about this Ranger team and I still believe they are not a very good hockey team. They were poorly constructed by the Stealth GM and as equally poorly coached by their disagreeable coach. That said, they are one win away from a playoff game. The good news is that they have a chance to make the playoffs. The bad news is that they have a chance to make the playoffs.

The playoffs? A couple of weeks ago it was such a longshot that no one in their right mind would even mention it. However, a few good happenings changed that around. First of all most of the Rangers remaining games were against the dregs, the soft underbelly of the Eastern Conference. Then came the emergence of the fourth line especially tough guys like Prust and Shelley who did more than knock heads. Miracle of miracles, they stayed together as a unit, and their ice time and responsibilities increased. Then there is Henrik Lundqvist.

His stats put him around tenth or so in the goalie rankings. There are no rankings for clutch performances. He has won thirty or more games in each of his five seasons with the Rangers. That is an NHL record. He is the only goalie in Ranger history to have won thirty or more in five consecutive seasons. I often wonder what his record would be with a more solid and consistent defense in front of him? For the fourth straight year he was voted the team MVP

Lundqvist is a big time player and this is a big game. He shines in big games. Ask Brodeur. Before Lundqvist arrived on the scene Brodeur owned the Rangers. With Lundqvist's arrival the results have been a complete 180. This will be the biggest game of the season for two highly competitive franchises and big players rise to big occasions. There is no bigger occasion than win and move into the playoffs, lose and go for an early tee time. Henrik Lundqvist is a big time player.

Down To The Wire

The Rangers started the season with a 7-1 run and are ending it with a 7-1-1 run. In betweeen they played like crap with a 24-31-9 record and somehow they have a shot at the playoffs in a talented deficient Eastern Conference. A win against the Flyers on Sunday will put them in the playoffs, perhaps as high as sixth place. Finishing sixth and getting a lucky draw against the Devils would cap this unlikely run. Lundqvist can beat Brodeur.

La,st nights game was as exciting as it gets in hockey. The Rangers played a complete team game. Tortorella preaches that it is the big guys that have to come up big and while Gaborik, Drury and Dubinsky got big goals and Lundqvist was great in the clutch it was the 'little guys' who carried the load. Shelley got his first goal as a Ranger assisted by Prust and Anisimov. That line was a force throughout the game. Prust now has a five game point streak.

So its on to Philly and hopefully the coach will remember how he has gotten this far and what got him there. If he goes back to overplaying the 'big guys' at the expense of the 'little guys' it will result in another crap loss. The suits are pulling for the 'little guys' so that 'big bucks' will be brought into the till. Between 2.5-3 million per game is at stake here. Make the playoffs, watch the dough roll in and we will see the same cast of losers at the helm next year.

Lets Go Rangers?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Two For The Money

So after 80 games, mostly nondescript, it comes down to this. A two game 'playoff' for the final playoff position. Of course if Boston doesn't win one of their last three games, they will wind up on the outside looking in.

However, back to these two games. The Flyers are here because their two goalies are out and their top scorer, Jeff Carter, got hurt. The Rangers are here because they are the Rangers. So what is billed as a critical two game series between two teams fighting for a playoff is actually a play-in for the big playoffs between two sinking, stinking, teams.

Who has the edge? Well nobody, though the Rangers may have an edge with Henrik Lundqvist in goal. Neither coach has distinguished himself this year though the Philly coach has had more adversities than the New York coach. The New York coach is his own adversity.

So let the shames , er games, begin. May the luckiest team emerge triumphant and get skunked by the Caps in the first round.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

It Still Ain't Over

Believe it or not but the Rangers are still alive for a playoff berth. Win the last three, starting tonight with Toronto and the final two against the Flyers and the Rangers will finish 8th and become fodder for the Caps. Get lucky and finish 7th and maybe get the Devils. I believe that the top four teams, save the Devils, are unbeatable by the Rangers. The Caps, Sabres and Penguins have too much talent for the Rangers. So do the Devils, but Lundqvist can beat Brodeur.

Is anyone besides the Absentee Owner, the Stealth GM and the disagreeable head coach happy about the prospect of the Rangers making the playoffs? I counted at least three, "it's not for discussion" by coach disagreeable last night in his press conference. When he took over he declared that this was his dream job. He has turned it into a nightmare.

Lundqvist being pulled after a goal giving the Sabres a 3-2 lead was tantamount to running up a white flag of surrender. Might as well have skated off the ice and forfeited the game. Refusing to answer questions is a slap in the face to the fans. Quitting on a hockey team is grounds for dismissal. But who would dismiss him? The Stealth, who created this dysfunctional group? The Absentee Owner, who knows as much about hockey as I know about stock derivatives.

So go to the last game of the season, hopefully, and boo the coach, ask for the termination of the Stealth GM and don't spend any money on the concessions. Cut off the money supply and maybe, just maybe, we will get some real management changes. Maybe!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Rangers Are Risen

The Rangers continued their drive for a playoff spot with a third period outburst that produced a 4-1 win over Florida and a tie for 8th place with the Flyers. They are now 5-0-1 in their last six and seven of those eleven points are against teams lower then them in the standings.

So now this imperfect team that has dogged it, tanked it and mailed it in most of the season is on the brink of a playoff berth. Wow! Even last night, they could only put together one good period of hockey. So who is excited? Certainly not the fans who have to shell out big bucks to see the most inferior of products. The suits are very happy. A couple of home games will bring in a few million bucks and ensure the careers of the Stealth GM and his surly coach.

Let the mediocrity continue but let us remember this most holiest of seasons to spend with our families.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Closing In

The Rangers are out to prove to all their skeptics, including the Pundit, that they are wrong and that they indeed will make the playoffs. Last nights 5-0 rout of Tampa Bay not only moved the Rangers within two points of seventh and eight place Boston and Philadelphia, it also moved them within four points of sixth place Montreal. The Rangers have a game in hand on Montreal and Philadelphia.

How is this all possible, you say? Its posible because the bottom half of the Eastern Conference is in complete collapse. Philadelphia, after last nights 1-0 loss to Montreal is 1-6-2 in their last nine games. The Rangers are 4-0-1 in their last five. The end result could be the Rangers facing Buffalo, the Devils or the Penguins in the first round. While none of these teams are easy and the Rangers have a losing record against all three, they would not be as difficult as a first rounder against Washington.

Henrik Lundqvist, enjoying the luxury of five goals, pitched a shutout, making thirty saves. It was his fourth shutout of the season and the twenty seventh of his career. There are five games to go as the Rangers go for a sweep of these games but it may not matter if the other teams continue to collapse. And with Lundqvist, anything is possible.

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ICINGS:

The Prince, aka Hanke! to his loyal Swedish subjects goes into cover boy mode for the Swedish Men's Magazine Café. This team is riding the Princely coattails. Henrik has something to prove this year after the Olympic "floppen."

Henrik Lundqvist, aka Hanke appears in Swedish Men's Magazine Cafe
via Henrik Lundqvist blog

Friday, April 02, 2010

Fischler The Homer

Down By The Seaside has informed me that on the Steve Sommers radio show last night, in an interview with Stan Fischler, Fischler predicted that if the Rangers made the playoffs they would eliminate the Caps in the first round. The reason? Washington has a weak defense and weak goaltending. Hello! The Rangers defense is a soft, swisscheese defense. The only thing we have is a goalie.

Did Fischler forget that the Rangers had the Caps down 3-1 and couldn't close the deal last year? Its one thing being a diehard Ranger fan, like most of the Pundit's readers, but its another thing to be delusional. That's Fischler, delusional. However, with Fischler and his ilk at MSG its more than that. It's homerism. Every Ranger gaffe is minimized. Every ordinary play borders from good to outstanding.

After all, no one at MSG wants to follow Marv Albert. You remember Albert, don't you? He was the Knick TV broadcaster until one night he had the audacity to blast the Knicks for their lackluster performance. That was it for Albert and he was fired. If you can't say anything good about the team don't say anything. Don't believe me? Have you seen John Tortorella'a news conferences lately. Regulary he refuses to answer one or two questions a night. The conference usually opens with one or two meatballs from Sam Rosen and the great Tortorella refuses to acknowledge the questions or the presense of NY Post Ranger beat writer Larry Brooks.

So keep the smoke coming Stan and Sam. Unfortunately the fans can smell an inferior product when they see one. But I was disappointed in Fischler. He only predicted the win over the Caps in the first round. Why not the Stanley Cup? He's done that before. He picked the Rangers to win it all a few years back. The Rangers were eliminated in the first round.

Laying Down with the Dogs

All three of last night's key games went the Rangers way. Here's the SportsClubStats.com breakdown off how the losses by the Bruins, Thrashers and Flyers helped the Blueshirts cause. The Rangers are laying down with the dogs in the East and everyone of them has fleas. The question is who is going to start scratching out some points?


The Rangers now have a 32.1% chance of making the playoffs. A jump of almost 10% in their playoff chances based on the choke job from above. Going 4-2 in the final six games now sets up as the most likely scenario for the Rangers to make it.

Anyone ready to bet the farm on this team?
More discussion:
Ranger Rants: The planets align
Rangers Report: And it just gets tighter
Slap Shot: Perfect Night for Rangers...
Blueshirt Brothers: Best Day Off Ever
Blue Seat Blogs: Opportunity Knocks Hard
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ICINGS:

Can the Coyotes stay in Phoenix? Attendance is up since they've put together their playoff run. But it's still dicey playing in the desert.

More Discussion:
From the Rink:
Analyzing 2010 Phoenix Coyotes Attendance -- A good playoff run can do wonders, as can the stabilization of ownership. Can this market sustain a team? There are some signs of life. And if you're wondering why the NHL and the Board of Governors are trying to give the market a fair shot, it all comes down to dollars -- potential dollars, that is...

FoxNews Spector blog:
Are the Coyotes in a Bad Market? -- In the wake of recent speculation suggesting the Phoenix Coyotes could be moving back to Winnipeg (back in February it was the Atlanta Thrashers, maybe in April it’ll be the Florida Panthers rumored moving there!) more than a few pundits, fans and bloggers have claimed the Coyotes were doomed to fail in Phoenix because it was a bad market for hockey...

Hot Wires:
Can magic season save Coyotes? -- While the late-season attendance surge is promising heading into the playoffs, it is unlikely to alter the Coyotes' future in Phoenix. The club has never turned a profit since moving from Winnipeg to Phoenix following the 1995-96 campaign, and it seems highly unlikely that they will end this season in the black, barring a lucrative run to the Stanley Cup finals...
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Missed this entertaining Glenn Allan "Chico" Resch and Mike Emrick call of the Jody Shelley vs. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond fight from early March. Resch called it An Artistic Scrap - that's a good one.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fashionista Avery is Jealous

Sean Avery will be hot after hearing this news. Lundqvist is treading on his fashion turf.

Henrik Lundqvist Hockey Goalie God Blog:
Henrik Designs New Rangers Jerseys for 2010 -- Henrik Lundqvist will design the much anticipated third jersey for the New York Rangers 2010 season.

New York, NY -- The New York Rangers are proud to announce that the third jersey of the 2010 hockey season will be designed by Henrik Lundqvist with Tiger of Sweden producing the jersey uniform.

"I am very excited. I have always wanted a much more stylish uniform and together with my favorite brand, Tiger of Sweden, the Rangers will be the best dressed players on the ice." says Henrik Lundqvist starting goalie for the New York Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist is well known for his fashion sense and has been voted Best Dressed Male in Sweden and has made People's list of 100 Beautiful People.

The New York Rangers third jersey will be more than a jersey, as the entire hockey kit is being redesigned for a more stylish and sleek look. The bulky pads will be replaced by kevlar which conforms to the body for a thinner look...

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Christine of the Henrik Lundqvist Hockey Goalie God Blog has really become an expert on all things Lundqvist. Her article "Stalker's Guide to Henrik Lundqvist" sets a standard for Lundqvist worship.

Scotty Hockey compares NJ vs. NYR playoff ticket plans: It's class vs. crass.

Who knew that Brendan Shanahan, who now works for the NHL, is a Lost geek. He has taken 6 years to come up with a pretty good theory on how the TV series Lost will end. He has laid out his thesis on Twitter:
I think I know how the show will end. I have a decent theory. They will finish with the "flash sideways". Only Hurley will stay (after defeating Locke). He'll become new Jacob. He'll travel to flash sideways to put together Jack and Kate. Sawyer and blonde girl. Heroine addict and crazy blonde gal etc. Everyone comes back to life because there was no crash. Sayeed with his girl. Even Echo. Hurley will be ALL knowing and put all to peace. Hurley is the only one on the island without sin. He's never done anything wrong and has NO reason to go back. Just my own personal idea. Yes, Lost geek.

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