Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rangers Eye Cup, Acquire Eric Staal

I may have to eat my words and rethink the Rangers chances of winning the Cup. The Rangers have picked up Eric Staal from the Hurricanes for prospects. Great move. Staal, the older brother of Ranger Marc Staal is exactly what the Rangers need. A big tough, rugged forward who can put the puck in the net. Lundqvist can now breathe a little easier. Help is on the way. Great deal. Kudos to the new GM.

Andy Bathgate - R.I.P.

Losing a sports hero always brings back memories of the hero and his deeds and legends. With Bathgate I had that feeling every time I went to a Ranger game and saw the players skating. Nobody skated like Bathgate. He was smooth, determined and classy. Hey, that's the word, classy. Bathgate exuded class. Never in my many years as a fan have I seen a more classy player than Bathgate.

Yes, he had the numbers. 973 points in 1069 games. 40 goals in 1958-59, a 70 game season. The Hart Memorial Trophy in 1958-59. 10 goals in 10 consecutive games, still a Ranger record. But he was more than the numbers.

He skated against Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull and was never outshone by either. He fought the NHL to enforce and toughen "spearing" penalties, often a tool of Howe. He fought with the Rangers over their sub par practice facilities when the Rangers played in the "old Garden". He was not a quiet star he was a leader and a fighter.

When I go to the games I wear my Bathgate jersey. It draws aahs from the knowing and questions from the younger ones. One night I had the privilege of sitting with Rod Gilbert in the boxes and he wanted to know why I didn't have his jersey. I asked Hot Rod to sign it so that I would have the greatest Ranger players jersey signed by his heir and successor, the next greatest Ranger. Hot Rod gleefully signed it.

So goodbye old friend. You were missed when you left the Rangers and now you will be missed again, especially by your loving family and those of us who have had the privilege of seeing you play. We will be hard pressed to see a player like you come along again. Prayers and condolences to your family.

God bless you, Andy Bathgate, and R.I.P. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Goons Are Back

Yes, the Rangers have turned it around, but remember we lost two games to two "elite" teams, the Kings and the Black Hawks. Of course in this mediocre NHL "elite" is an over used phrase. But this isn't about hockey, well in a sense it is, it's about goonery, thugness and head hunting.

For the second time in Ryan McDonagh's last three games someone has gone after his head. First, Simonds from Philly with a sucker punch and last night a well placed elbow from Leo Komarov to Ryan's head and what do you know, we lost our ace defenseman to a concussion again.

Simonds got off with a game misconduct and nothing else, Kamarov is subject to five games max. Five games! I've said it before and will say it again, we need frontier justice. Yes, Kamarov should get the max, five games, but he also should be suspended for as long as McDonagh is out. Also the NHL should review it's max penalty.

Does the NHL really want to stop these cheap hits? If they do the penalties should be more severe. Many a career has ended with sucker punches and cheap shots. Remember Jeff Beukaboom? But I doubt anything will change. They call it tough hockey. I disagree. I call it goonery, thugness and head hunting.

ICINGS: The T/Birds were eliminated in the first round by top draw Smithtown, 8-1. While it is disappointing the T/Birds improved over last years squad which only won three games. So it's on to college for my grandson. Good luck!