Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flyers Free Skate

The NHL decided not to discipline Flyers player Wayne Simmonds for an anti-gay slur directed against Sean Avery. This apparently is another corollary to the Avery Rule. This new extension to the Avery Rule seems to be that if Sean Avery is doing his standard trash talking on the ice, then anyone can say anything back to him in response. So there are no lines drawn when it comes to on-ice trash talk directed back at Avery. Of course, this is a one way street. If Avery crosses the line and says something deemed too outrageous he will be punished.

It's still unclear if Tom Sestito will receive a suspension for drilling Deveaux into the boards in Philadelphia on Monday night. An announcement was expected today. We'll see how that one goes. Yesterday, it was reported that the Flyers waived Sestito. So he is on his way back to the minors, suspension or not. [Update: Sestito suspended for rest of preseason, plus two regular season games.]

Katie Strang / ESPN:
NHL doesn't penalize Wayne Simmonds --

The NHL chose not to discipline Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds for his alleged homophobic slur because it could not "substantiate" that Simmonds hurled the epithet toward New York Rangers winger Sean Avery...

Video replay appeared to catch Simmonds making an anti-gay slur against Avery during a preseason game in Philadelphia on Monday night. Avery confirmed that Simmonds made the remark.

After the game, Simmonds did not deny the accusation but said he could not recall everything that was said between the two players...
Katie Srang / ESPN:
Simmonds escapes discipline --
Although Wayne Simmonds did not deny using a homophobic slur against Avery after Monday's Rangers/Flyers preseason game, the 23-year-old Flyers forward apparently changed his stance during his hearing with NHL Executive Sr. VP of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell Tuesday...
Newsday:
Flyers' Simmonds denies making gay slur

more discussion:

My Blueshirt Heaven:
Double Standard Shanny? --
So, Jody Shelley and James Wisnewski receive fines and long suspensions for their “against the new rules” hits but Sesisto gets nothing for driving Deveaux into the boards in Philadelphia on Monday night? ...

Is the whole Simmonds/Avery politically incorrect slur episode that big of a smoke screen to disguise the fact that in the NHL there are two sets of rules, one for the New York Rangers and another for everyone else?
Blue Seat Blogs:
NHL Drops The Ball With Simmonds --
In case you missed it, Wayne Simmonds was not given a suspension for screaming a homophobic slur at Sean Avery during Monday night’s preseason game. Apparently, Simmonds “forgot” what he said immediately after the game, but then somehow remembered during his disciplinary hearing on Tuesday. When he “remembered”, he said he did not use a slur at all...

But here’s the kicker: I’m willing to bet my savings account that if this were directed at anyone other than Avery, there would have been a huge fine and suspension. But because it’s Avery, and his reputation precedes him, there was no penalty...
Philly.com:
Briere rips 'killer' Avery; fan admits to throwing banana --
Avery “didn’t mean it literally,” Briere said of the killing comment, “but we all know Sean Avery and how much he likes attention.” ...

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), meanwhile, has ripped the NHL for not fining Simmonds. It called Avery a “marriage-equalty advocate.” ...
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ICINGS:

Scotty Hockey is doing another bang-up job on covering the Rangers in Europe. He first went over in 2008 to see their games. He is really going the extra mile to follow his team. The trip over was not exactly a subway ride to MSG:
[I] left my house at 12:45 Monday, got into my hotel room around 2:30 Tuesday. Even with the time change, that is atrocious.
He also found this gem of a brawl between two Czech teams: HC PSG Zlín and HC Sparta Praha. The Rangers play HC Sparta Praha tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Philly Cheesy Cheese

Here is the video of the Rangers-Flyers melee that erupted during the first period of Monday's preseason game.



Tom Sestito, the Philly player who drilled Andre Deveaux into the boards has only played thirteen games in the NHL. The 6'5", 228 lb cheap shot artist made a strong statement with that play on why he should stay in the minor leagues after his suspension.

A Philly perspective (with interview videos) of the craziness that took over a "sleepy" preseason game, by Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey:
Preseason insanity: Simmonds, Avery, Sestito, Rinaldo and Jagr all headline in 5-3 Flyers win

Not too bad, until he took the obligatory swipe at Sean Avery for being Sean Avery.

Do you think the HBO 24/7 film crew recorded, and will they run all of these random acts of maiming by the Flyers, as part of their road to the Winter Classic?

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ICINGS:

While the real Jaromir Jagr has not tweeted yet, the fake Jaromir Jagr is having a field day after his namesake scored two goals against the Rangers. Bogus Jags loves to run his tweeter off with over 3,270 tweets for his army of 168 followers, go JJ!

Twitter / Jaromir Jagr (Fake):
I think i pretty much shut every one of my haters up

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

54 and Counting


The Rangers went 54 years between Stanley Cup three and Stanley Cup four. Well, me and the missus are celebrating our 54th wedding anniversary today. Callers don't say congrats anymore. It's more like, "Mom is going to heaven", aren't we all. Our life somehow mirrors the Rangers. However, I will say our 54 years have had more ups than the Rangers. Thank God for that.

The Rangers come into the season with high hopes because of the addition of Brad Richards. But where have we heard that before? We had high hopes when Gaborik showed up. I forget the exact high hope before Gabby, but I do recall names like Bure, Lindros, Kaminsky and all the wonderful (?) draft picks.

Of course in those years we didn't have the all-knowing genius coach that we have now. But we have had for a long time the all-everything Stealth GM. You remember him? "If I had the money the Rangers have I would win the Cup." Guess what? He has had the money, and then some, and what has he won? Gotz!!

But like a good marriage, hope springs eternal. So we hope and pray and continue to change our lines more often than a two-bit politician changes positions. One thing about our marriage, for 54 years we were fairly consistent, sometimes boring. Meanwhile, the Rangers have been inconsistent and boring.

So marriage-wise we are shooting for another 20 years. I dare say that 20 years from now, me or my successor will be writing about how the Rangers picked up this great player and that we have a chance to make the playoffs. But first check out his linemates and see how long he stays on the same line.

ICINGS: I would ask a special favor from you viewers. My little friend Jake Feldman has suffered a relapse and is back in Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center needing a bone marrow transplant. Please say a prayer for Jake Feldman. I would appreciate it. God bless you all!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Left-Handed Complement

Lefty-2-Lefty that will be the recipe that makes or breaks the Rangers this season. Left-handed shooting center Brad RICHards setting up left-handed shooting right-winger Marian Gaborik will be the key to the Rangers offense.

Brad RICHards himself says that having "lefty" Gaborik on his right-wing presents many advantages. Richards discussed this lefty edge in a Kevin Allen article in USA Today:

Brad Richards intrigued by Marian Gaborik pairing --
As the hockey world has contemplated what freshly signed New York Rangers playmaker Brad Richards can do for scorer Marian Gaborik, Richards spent his time thinking about what Gaborik can do for him.

"My best seasons have been with lefties playing on the right wing (such as) Martin St. Louis and (Loui) Eriksson and Gaborik is the same," Richards said. "That's a nice natural feel for me."

Richards believes putting a left-handed shooting right wing with a left-handed center is simply a higher percentage play. "It just gives you passing options," he said. "With a right-handed player, you can't put it behind him. With a lefty, you can put it to his forehand or backhand. It gives you an extra five to seven feet of space to pass the puck."...
[Now I know, the fact, that Gaborik and Richards both shoot from the left doesn't necessarily mean that they are both left-handed. Many right-handed hockey player find it more natural to shoot from the left. Anyway, just work with me on this one.]

So, can we now conclude that this Richards/Gaborik lefty combination is a lock?

Calling anything on this Rangers team a lock is an invitation for disappointment. How many games will Torts let the dynamic duo skate together if they are not scoring? Pick an over/under on that one: 8 games, 10 games, or a "neurotic line tweaking" Tortorella 2 games?

Not to mention, how many different left-wingers will get swapped in and out with Richards and Gaborik in order to find the right mix? What will be a good over/under on the number of times a game that Joe Micheletti uses the standard hockey cliche, "chemistry," to describe the progress of the Richards/Gaborik line combination?

New York loves lefties. Babe Ruth was a lefty. Don Mattingly is a lefty. John McEnroe is a lefty. Adam Graves shot from the left. Brian Leetch also shot from the left. Lefty Gomez was a ..., well you get the picture. So left-handed talent does well in the Big Apple. We're hoping that trend continues.
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ICINGS:

Not until researching this story did I learn that NY Yankees left-handed throwing ace CC Sabathia is a natural righty.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Camp Torturella

The Rangers training camp started today and all the beat writers were on hand at the Rangers training facility in Greenburgh, NY, to let us know who was using the barf bag. The infamous Tortorella "Test" - 3 laps repeated 6 times under the stopwatch was the crucible of today's practice. That is followed up with a timed two mile run. 

Anyone who has played high school football and gone through the brutal two-a-day workouts and training camp torture that demigod high school coaches subject their players to will feel no sympathy for these millionaire hockey players losing a few cookies.

The term "Torturella" should really be used when describing a John Tortorella press conference.

Anyway, here is a roundup of some items about training camp.

Rick Carpiniell had some early stuff from camp, which included an interview with the always interesting Brandon Prust:

He talked quite a bit about the league taking a hard look at fighting after the summer deaths of tough guys Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak.

“You might be talking to the wrong guy. I’m pro-fighter. So, I believe it should be in our game. I don’t think anything should be changed. That’s what makes our game unique, is that we can have the ability to police our own game. Obviously the league steps in if something gets out of hand, if there’s a dirty hit. But if somebody’s going after Gabby or Hank or Richie, that’s my job to get in there and make sure they don’t do that because those are our important players.

“There’s 20,000 people on their feet every time there’s a fight. It’sa tough job, but it’s a job I chose and I love doing it and I love sticking up for my teammates, and I love knowing that my teammates know that I’ll be there for them.”

“There’s always a middle ground. Like I said, it is a tough job. I definitely get a little nervous if I know I’m going to be fighting. Sometimes you might lose a little sleep. But, like I said, that’s my job. I chose it and I embrace it and I like that rush. At the same time, the biggest sport in the world right now is UFC and nobody’s really stopping that”...
Back in 2007 when Torts was at Tampa Bay, here are some thoughts the players had about his camp:
Desperate times call for desperate measures when it comes to the first two days of Lightning training camp.

Asked how to cope with the grueling fitness tests that at best will leave players gasping for air and at worst barfing up their breakfasts, defenseman Dan Boyle said, "Fake an injury."

Really, he said with a straight face, "Fake an injury."

"Yeah, pay someone to hurt you," chimed in defenseman Brad Lukowich, sitting at the next locker...
Andrew Gross of the Record/Rangers Rants says, tests once again live up to billing:
Brandon Dubinsky said the test is more mental than anything and that, despite the players training for it all summer, it’s harder on test day because the adrenaline is flowing. Dubinsky said it’s sometimes hard to know how to pace yourself during the test.

The main point, of course, is that Tortorella gets his players to train hard through the offseason knowing they have to start training camp this way...
Jesse Spector had some choice camp tweets:
Highlight of the #NYR day still coming when goalies do the #CampTorturella lap test in full gear.
and
Avery, Fedotenko, Prust and Newbury start things off. Clockwise laps. Tortorella screaming. Welcome to hockey season.
Jim Cerny of the Rangers posted a "Testing Quotebook":
You pretty much have to (arrive in top condition) or else you'll look pretty silly out there. I think the gameplan (with the testing) is that it gets everyone together in August to work and prepare for these (tests) and that way everyone is in shape. Teams coached by Torts are always in great shape. — Brad Richards
Cerny reported that Artem Anisimov and Michael Sauer were both sidelined today due to knee concerns. Anisimov is getting an MRI (came back negative) and Sauer is resting due to recent tendinitis in his knee.

Cerny also tweeted:
Torts says he wants Del Zotto to get the "swagger" back in his game "but the proper swagger"; believes MDZ "will have really good camp"
So we are are off and running on another season of Rangers hockey. Fantastic...
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ICINGS:

The Traverse City tournament was a nice diversion, but none of the Rangers prospects looked jig worthy.


MSG:
Rangers / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Summer Of Discontent

Save for the years of World War II it is very difficult for me to imagine a more difficult and unhappy time than the summer of 2011. We have had it all and it made me wonder if The Big Guy was getting a little impatient with this very human and fragile world.

We have had devastating tornadoes that have ripped peoples lives apart, destroyed their homes and in some cases have seen cities demolished. Killer floods have roared through the Plains, the Midwest and now are threatening whole cities in the Northeast. Hurricanes have drenched the East Coast and the Gulf coast and the season is just starting. We have had droughts in the Southwest and out of control fires in California and Texas. Just yesterday we had a power blackout affecting California, Arizona and parts of Mexico. Let us not forget the great earthquake in Japan.

In the Mideast, country after country are in revolt against despotic leaders, but who knows what the future leaders will be. Saints or worse sinners?

We have the worst economic conditions in this country since the Great Depression. Not to be outdone Europe seems to be on the verge of collapse as country after country has had serious financial issues. The excesses of the past have caught up with us all. As they say, the bonds are due. Will this summer ever fade?

Then there is an airplane crash in some faraway place called Yaroslavi, about 150 miles from Moscow, another airplane crash. Then you read the names and they are familar names: Brad McCrimmon, Alexander Galimov (critical condition), Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek, Pavol Demitra, Alexander Karpovtsev. They are sons, brothers, husbands, fathers and very human beings. The tragedies have come full cycle and for us hockey fans they have hit home.

Of course this is not new. 2011 has not been kind to the sports world and to hockey. It is a reminder that we have sports as a diversion to keep our minds off the more serious stuff. However, if we do not pay attention to the serious stuff, it will soon engulf us and we may not be able to enjoy our diversions.

In the meantime, pray for the poor souls who have gone to hopefully a better place. The earthquake victims, the flood and tornado victims, the drought and out of control fire victims and a special prayer for the plane crash victims with a special prayer for Alexander Galimov that he may survive.

God bless you all.

R.I.P.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rememberance

remembering fallen RangersThis summer we lost four members of the Rangers family. There has never been a summer so tragic for either the NHL or the Rangers.

Among those who lost their lives yesterday was Alexander Karpovtsev, a member of the Rangers Stanley Cup team of 1993-94, a Gold Medalist at the World Championships in 1993 and one of the first four Russian players to have their names inscribed for posterity on the Stanley Cup.

Wayne Gretzky said of Karpovtsev: "He was an honest guy who gave as much as he took, blocking shots, going into the corners, taking guys out in front. And as far as his personality, it's true, he was always smiling on the bus, on the plane; just a really solid guy who everybody enjoyed being around. He played as big and he played as hard as anybody."

Our prayers go to all those who have lost their lives and those who they left behind. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon them, and give them peace.

EXCERPTS FROM THE RANGERS STATEMENT ON TRAGIC PLANE CRASH IN RUSSIA

Former Rangers Defensemen Alexander Karpovtsev and Karel Rachunek, and 2003 Draft Pick Jan Marek Among the Victims
New York, September 7, 2011 –
"The New York Rangers organization is greatly saddened after learning of today’s tragedy... Words cannot begin to express the magnitude of devastation for such unimaginable loss."

Two Rangers alumni and one former draft pick perished in the accident. Alexander Karpotsev helped to bring a Stanley Cup Championship to New York in 1994. Karel Rachunek played two seasons in New York, and Jan Marek was a former draft pick. Our sincerest condolences go out to the families of these players, and the families of all those lost today...
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Alexander Karpovtsev, 41, was one of the first four Russian-born players to have his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup as a member of the New York Rangers 1994 championship team. The Moscow, Russia native was acquired by the Rangers from the Quebec Nordiques in exchange for Mike Hurlbut on September 7, 1993. He skated in six seasons as a Blueshirt from 1993-1998, tallying 22 goals and 75 assists for 97 points, along with 211 penalty minutes in 280 games. In addition, Karpovtsev recorded 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and 36 penalty minutes in 44 career playoff contests with the Rangers, including four assists in 17 games during the team’s Stanley Cup Championship run in 1994. Karpovtsev was entering his fourth season as an assistant coach with Lokomotiv.
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Karel Rachunek, 33, skated in 371 career games over seven seasons with the Rangers, Ottawa and New Jersey, registering 22 goals and 118 assists for 140 points, along with 227 penalty minutes. Rachunek was acquired by the Rangers, along with Alexandre Giroux, from Ottawa in exchange for Greg de Vries on March 9, 2004. He registered 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) in 78 games over two seasons as a Blueshirt. The Zlin, Czech Republic native also recorded four assists in six playoff contests with the Rangers in 2007.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Prospecting in Traverse City

This year MSG and the Rangers are making it a no-brainer to checkout the up and coming Rangers prospects at the Traverse City Tournament. They are broadcasting four games.

MSG.com:
MSG Network to Telecast 2011 Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament September 10-14 --

Coverage of the games will include behind-the-scenes access to the Rangers coaching staff and scouting teams, as well as interviews with a number of the prospects...

the schedule for the telecasts:

Saturday, Sept. 10 – NY Rangers vs. St. Louis (7:00 PM)
Sunday, Sept. 11 – NY Rangers vs. Dallas (6:00 PM)
Tuesday, Sept. 13 – NY Rangers vs. Carolina (3:30 PM)
Wednesday, Sept. 14 – TBD (depending on standings)

Is there gold in them thar hills of Traverse City? Here is a little jig that we would like to be doing after some Traverse City prospecting.

Mr. Avery Goes To Washington?

Sean Avery opposes the construction of the Keystone Pipeline that will run from the Canadian tar sands in Alberta to U.S. refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. He has been tweeting about this issue since Monday.

Yesterday, Greg Wyshynski, the Yahoo Puck Daddy, reported that Avery had planned to go to Washington, D.C. and get arrested at the White House. He was doing this in support of the Keystone pipeline protest movement. These environmental protesters say the pipeline threatens forests, water supplies, and will radically worsen global warming.

Actresses Darryl Hannah and Margot Kidder were arrested earlier this week during a protest at the White House. However, it now looks like Mr. Avery will not be going to Washington. 

As a Canadian citizen, you wonder if Avery will need to be careful about how an arrest and conviction, even if symbolic, might effect his status in this country.

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ICINGS:

The only pipeline we will worry about is the one the Rangers need to build to put more pucks on net. Too many shots from the distant tar sands of the perimeter, that miss the net, will not help this team.

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