Monday, February 27, 2006

The Prince Who Would Be King

The procedure went fine. The blockage was cleared and a tumor was removed from the bladder. The tumor was benign. We will follow up with further tests. Thanks for all your thoughts. Now back to hockey.

Yes, Antero Nittymaki, the Finnish goalie was selected as the MVP for the tournament, but when the chips were down and when the game, and the Gold Medal, was on the line The Prince came through big time. With his stick and outstretched leg The Prince deflected a wide open shot from Olli Jokinen away from the net and Sweden had won the Gold Medal. The save will be forever etched in Swedish history and as the years go on it will reach monstrous proportions with the only logical conclusion being that a God had made this save. Lundqvist made twenty five saves giving up goals in the first and second periods. In the third period he was perfect, ten stops on ten shots. In the last frantic seconds he made three big saves including he one on Jokinen.

Henrik Lundqvist and Sweden win Gold MedalThis is more than Lundqvist helping Sweden win a Gold Medal. This performance by Lundqvist cements his credentials as a big game goalie. Any doubts in the minds of Ranger fans about the ability of this rookie goalie to take us to the land called the Stanley Cup should be put to rest. The pressure for Sweden to win was enormous and to erase the pain from past Swedish failures. While most of the Swedish team was made up of veterans in Olympic play the new factor was Lundqvist. And the Swedes knew it, mobbing him after the game. The ghosts of Salt Lake City and the eighty footer that got by goalie Tommy Salo are now expunged from Swedish hockey once and for all.

With sixteen games in twenty nine days the pressure on the Rangers to maintain their hold at the top of the Atlantic Division will be great. In this stretch there are three back to back games. The need for Kevin Weekes to step up in these last twenty four games, eight in April in fifteen days, is huge. He must be crisp, sharp and focused regardless at what end of the ice the puck is. The game has changed. The red line is gone and transitions occur in nano seconds. He starts against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Thursday so we should know soon.

Hopefully Jaromir Jagr is not seriously bothered by the groin injury and will continue his record breaking scoring pace. Not only is he on target to break the goals scored and most points for a Ranger in a season but he could become the first Ranger to lead the NHL in goals scored since Bryan Hextall scored 26 goals in 1940-41. Also, he could be the first Ranger to win the Art Ross Trophy since Bryan Hextall, there's that man again, won it in 1941-42.

ICINGS: Henrik Lundqvist is tied with Dominick Hasek for second in the GAA race. They both have a 2.09 against Manny Legace's 1.99. Lundqvist's save percentage of .927 is second to Tim Thomas's .930.

-- The Tre Kronor (The Three Crowns) --

Henrik Lundqvist with Olympic gold medal - the first crown

The Swedish national men's ice hockey team is called Tre kronor in Sweden. The name Tre kronor means "three crowns" and refers to the three crowns on the team jersey. The three crowns represent the lesser coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sweden and the national emblem.

The Prince has won his first crown. Let's see if he can win two more crowns this year, then he'll truly be a King. The RangerPundit sees this as the Prince's Quest for the Tre Kroner:

footnote: In case you just tuned in, the RangerPundit first dubbed Henrik Lundqvist "The Prince" on October 18, 2005, see: Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek-Star is Born. There have been well over three dozen posts where that moniker for Henrik Lundqvist has been used. It's not copyrighted so anyone can borrow it they want, but a small credit would be nice.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Three Prophets: Modano, Gretzky, and Mohammad

-- The ship has sunk and the rats are running:

Mike Modano packed up his stuff and left Italy on Thursday morning, skipping a final meeting with his Olympic teammates after they were eliminated a night earlier in the men's hockey quarterfinals.

USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said the longtime Dallas Stars forward -- who sharply criticized team management after the Americans' elimination Wednesday -- was the only member of the 23-player squad not to gather at the arena where the Americans were knocked out by Finland.

Modano lashed out after he was benched by coach Peter Laviolette for most of the third period of the 4-3 loss.

"A lot of guys have been there for many years, and maybe we need some new blood in there to run things a little differently," said Modano, who has represented the U.S. in 11 international competitions. "It's probably time some things changed."


-- Canada we feel your pain. Gretzky questions future role with Hockey Canada:
"I'll take, and deservedly so, the responsibility of us not winning," Gretzky said in a news conference following Canada's 2-0 loss to Russia. "That's the situation I'm in, the position I have. I feel tremendously responsible that we didn't win."

"Quite honestly," a tired Gretzky told the throng of reporters, "I'm going to re-assess where I fit and what I'm going to do in the future. Hockey Canada is wonderful, my country is great, and I love it dearly. But I'm also human, too. It's tough and it's nerve-wracking. It's not fun when you don't win."

"Honestly it's been a horrible three months for me," said Gretzky. "Personally, as you move forward, your health becomes more important than anything, and it's been a rough three months."

"It's a hard tournament to win," Gretzky said. "In saying that, it's horrible to lose. We all have a hand in this, we all have a responsibility in this loss. But there's no words to describe how devastating a loss this is."

-- WARNING: don't cross-check, slash, or high stick Mohammad

You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull The mask off The Ol' Lone Ranger. And you don't mess around with Mohammad. So says one hockey fan.

The Prophet preached restraint, not violence, says Dr. SHEEMA KHAN (honorary chair of Council On American-Islamic Relations Canada).

I could never quite understand why Edmonton Oiler's coach Glen Sather put Dave Semenko on the same line as Wayne Gretzky. Semenko was a huge, bruising forward. Then Don Cherry explained it with clarity during an episode of Coach's Corner: Mess around with Gretzky, and Semenko would make you pay, Grapes told viewers. Deterrence through physical intimidation. Or in kinder, gentler terms: keeping the opposition honest.

As the [Mohammed] cartoon fiasco has raged, some Muslims have opted for a similar strategy: Mess with the Prophet, and we will make you pay. We will boycott your goods, and recall our ambassadors. Others have chosen far more violent responses. Flags have been burned, embassies destroyed, calls for death and destruction shouted in the heart of Europe. It may not be pretty, many argue, but it works. The West will dare not go there again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

US Olympic Hockey Team & The Jamaican Bobsled Team

Our very own Jamaican Bobsled Team, aka the USA Olympic Hockey Team came up short against the Finns today. Readers can fill in the blanks themselves to compare and contrast these two unique teams.

Jamaican Bobsled Team Slogan: "The Hottest Thing on Ice"

Jamaican Bobsled Team - The Hottest Thing on Ice

US Hockey Team Slogan: "The ______ Thing on Ice"

US Hockey Team - The _____ Thing on Ice

Results at 2006 Winter Olympics-
Jamaican Bobsled: failed to qualify

USA Hockey: 1-4-1 record, eliminated in quarter-finals by Finland (population 5 million), lost to Sweden (pop. 9 million), lost to Slovakia (pop. 5.4 million), lost to Russia, and tied Latvia (pop. 2.3 million).

How they are remembered:
Jamaican Bobsled Team: Lovable Losers
2006 US Olympic Hockey Team: _______ Losers

ICINGS: Maybe the US Hockey Team should be compared to Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards? They both liked to crash and burn. (Play rim-shot here!)

Michael Edwards (born 5 December 1963), better known as Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards, was the first competitor to represent the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in Olympic Ski jumping.

Edwards was born in Cheltenham, England, and was working as a plasterer when he qualified, as the sole British applicant, for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski-jumping competition. He had previously represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships, and was ranked 55th in the world at ski jump.

Edwards was handicapped by his weight - at about 82 kg (180 pounds), more than 9kg (20 pounds) heavier than the next heaviest competitor - and by his lack of financial support for training - he was totally self-funded - and so he finished last in both the 70m and 90m events. Another problem was that his glasses fogged to such an extent that he could not see. (Sounds like Rick DiPietro's problem in today's game)

However his lack of success warmed people to him all across the globe. The worse he did, the more popular he became. He subsequently became a media celebrity and appeared on talk-shows around the world. The press nicknamed him "Mr. Magoo", and one Italian journalist called him a "ski dropper". Edwards lived the high life in Calgary, fine-dining and accompanied by an adoring female entourage of "Eaglettes"[citation needed].

The Olympics in Calgary were also the venue for the first Jamaican Bobsled Team, who were also crowd-pleasing underdogs.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy Presidents' Day - Go USA

George Washington, age 19, image by StudioEIS, courtesy Mt. Vernon Ladies Association

George Washington at age 19, image created by StudioEIS, courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association

Presidential Makeover
Presidents' Day

update: US Women's Hockey Team beats Finland 4-0 to win Bronze Medal.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Upsets, Injuries Highlight Olympics Hockey

Slovakia hands U.S. its first loss 2-1The Angela watch is over and I know there are quite a few dissapointed readers and my son in law will have to find a new hero or heroine. So Canada will play Sweden for the Gold in women's hockey and the US ladies will play Finland and try to win the Bronze.

Would you believe Finland and Slovakia are unbeaten in the men's hockey and Switzerland beating The Czech Republic and Canada. The USA has just lost to Slovakia so their chances right now seem to be slipping away. However the big news for NHL fans who are so-so about these Olympics, like me, are the injuries. What most fans and I gather the owners also, feared , has happened. Two big injuries that could affect the NHL races have come early in the games.

Dominick Hasek, the Dominator, played all of ten minutes against Germany and then left with a groin injury. He is now out for the rest of the Olympics. The Czechs have Tomas Vokoun of Nashville as backup, the Senators have no such luck. The backup goalie for the Senators is Ray Emery who has appeared in 15 games with a 9-4-1-0 record a 3.14 GAA and a save percentage of .883. Compare that with Hasek's 27-9-0-4 a GAA of 2.09 and a save percentage of .925. If Hasek is out for any significant time the Senators would be in deep trouble. Lets not forget that Hasek is 41 and injuries don't heal that quick for 41 year olds.

Patrik Elias has played in 18 games since his return from his illness. He has 7 goals and 14 assists in helping the Devils back into the playoff picture. He has rib injuries. Elias replaced the Ranger's Petr Prucha who had to withdraw because of a knee injury. You think Lou Lamoriello is smiling now.

And this just in. Reports are that Jaromir Jagr left the game against Finland bleeding from a cut on his head as he was hit into the boards. How about that, Olympic fans? It is a Rangers fan worst nightmare. We will have to wait for the reports to come in. It figures.

On a personal note, I will be away for a while. I have been getting some tests and they have decided that I need a procedure to remove a blockage in my bladder. They say it is a simple procedure. Trust me, when you are seventy-five nothing is simple. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. My cohort will continue to regale you with Olympic highlights.


USA Women upset by Sweden in shoot-out Team USA's women had gold in Nagano and silver in Salt Lake. A shootout loss to Sweden keeps them from a shot at either in Torino. That hurts.

Angela Ruggiero said after the loss:

The past day has been a tough one for me and my team. As I am sure every reader of this site knows, Sweden upset the US last night in a shootout. We went up 2-0, but they never gave up and came back to tie the game. Even after 10 minutes of thrilling overtime, no one could score. We thought that we would take it in the shootout (we won the World Championships in a shootout last year) and never lost hope until we saw Sweden throwing up their gloves to celebrate. I was in disbelief. Shock. I did not know what to do immediately after the game. Our team has put so much into this tournament and have postponed our lives to reach a goal: a gold medal. I never imagined that we would not be in that final game, so in a way, this is a new challenge for me and for the rest of the team.

Angela RuggieroWe'll still keep pulling for Team USA and Angela Ruggiero. It's nice the IOC "no blogging" rule for athletes has an exception. Angela was allowed to continue writing her blog during the games.

The International Olympic Committee usually bars competitors, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from writing firsthand accounts for news and other Web sites.

An exception is if an athlete has a personal Web site that they did not set up specifically for the Games.

The IOC's rationale for the restrictions is that athletes and their coaches should not serve as journalists — and that the interests of broadcast rightsholders and accredited media come first.

Angela will certainly keep blogging as she now tries to win a spot in Donald Trump's next "The Apprentice." She is one of 12 USA Olympians that are in the running for a spot on next season's show. The public is voting on which Olympian will be selected to go for the Trump job. Currently, Angela is in 2nd place with 44% of the vote to Bobsledder Todd Hays' 49%. It is an interesting marketing move to connect Olympics reality TV with the other reality TV.

It would be nice to see hockey bloggers and fans get out the vote for Angela. VOTE HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Angela Watch: Ruggiero scores game-winner

U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team Downs Finland, 7-3
Team Advances to Semi-Final Against Sweden On Friday

Angela Ruggiero scores game winner

TORINO, Italy -- Angela Ruggiero (Harper Woods, Mich.) scored two goals including the game-winner while Sarah Parsons (Dover, Mass.) had her second consecutive two-goal game as the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team defeated Finland 7-3 at the Palasport Olimpico tonight. Team USA rebounded from an early deficit to record the win which sends the team to the semi-final game against Sweden on Friday (11 a.m. EST).

Angela Ruggiero #4

Angela said on her blog:

In all of my years on the USA team (I am working on 11!) this was one of my most proud moments. We came from behind and scored 5 unanswered goals in the third to beat Finland and advance as the first place team in our pool. (If we had lost we would have played Canada in the semis)

Angela RuggieroShe also slapped the Canadian women's team for running up the scores on their opponents. The Canadian press said this:

American rips Canada For lopsided wins

A member of the U.S. women's hockey team says Canada's lopsided wins to date at the Turin Olympics are not helping the sport.

And defenceman Angela Ruggiero questions why the Canadian women put 16 goals past Italy and 12 past Russia.

''I'm upset that Canada has been running up the score, especially against the host nation,'' Ruggiero was quoted Monday on, Sports illustrated's website. ''There was no need for that. They're trying to pad their stats . . . Canada is running up the score for whatever reasons - personal, short-term.''

Canadian Coach fires back:
TURIN, Italy -- Canadian women's hockey team coach Melody Davidson says e-mails from home, accusing her team of running up the score against host Italy at the Olympics, bother her more than the same assertion by American defenceman Angela Ruggiero.

While Davidson has received e-mails from Canada praising the team's performance, there have been others critical of the 16-0 shellacking of Italy to open the tournament.

"Your character is being called into play," Davidson said yesterday. "That group of girls in our dressing room is a tremendously professional group and I know deep down it bothers them that people think they would do that.

"There's been no malice meant and no intent to disrespect. We're just going about our business and getting ourselves in a position to be in a medal game."

Canada followed up the win against Italy with a 12-0 victory over Russia on Sunday.

I think I'll work the USA-Canada game into my schedule.

Team USA's Ruggiero upset Canadians running it up [, Feb. 13, 2006]
Yank rips Canucks for running up the score [Toronto Star]
Angela Ruggiero [RP]

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Jagr, Rangers Soar Into Olympics

Rangers Soar into Olympics with two wins against TorontoWould you believe a three point lead in the Atlantic Division? Would you believe two points out of first place in the Eastern Conference? Would you believe three points out of first place for the entire NHL? No, this is not a Don Adams, Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 routine. These are your New York Rangers, the surprise team of the NHL. Hell, they are the surprise team of all of sports and they still can't get a headline on the back page of The New York Post.

Jaromir Jagr and the Rangers beat up Toronto in a home and home by identical scores of 4-2 with Jagr getting two goals in each game for a season total of 40. He now leads the league in goals scored and total points, 88. He even scored one from behind the goal line yesterday as he banked one off the leg of goalie Belfour. The guy is hot and ready for the Olympics and the only thing that could stop him is Henrik Lundqvist, the Swedish Ranger goalie. Or is it the Ranger's Swedish goalie? Anyway, you know what I mean.

The new NHL, no clutching, no holding, no interference, fits Jagr and his mates to a tee. By the way, that garbage, clutching, holding interference should have always been called as penalties. Checking and hitting OK, but the other stuff had to go.

Former Minnesota Gophers Natalie Darwitz and Krissy Wendell lead USA TeamThe Rangers have come up to the Olympic break on a 10-1-1 roll. They have beaten New Jersey, Philadelphia, Ottawa and Toronto in that streak. So much for not beating the top teams. They have won six in a row for the second time this year. While Jagr has been the big gun others have chimed in. Petr Sykora has a four game goal streak going. He seems to be playing better with each game and getting back to his Devil playing days. He has definitely picked up the slack from the loss of Petr Prucha. Sykora's presence has picked up Rucchin and Rucinsky's game and that line is now productive.

The third and fourth lines are doing their jobs as checkers, harassers and shot blockers. While I understand why Renney puts in Colton Orr in certain games the HMO line must stay intact. When Orr is in the lineup instead of Ryan Hollweg ice time diminishes for that line. Most of the ice time for Moore and Ortmeyer is then relegated to penalty killing. The offense and the lines seem set and there doesn't seem to be a need for an offensive upgrade to replace Prucha.

The defense is another story. While the defense has settled down in the last twelve games there still is a need for a tough defenseman who can move the puck, protect the crease and dish out some punishment to the opposing forwards. It is going to be a gruelling stretch run. There are twenty four games left in the regular season. However, four of the Rangers defensemen will be playing in the Olympics.

Kasparaitis, Tyutin, Malik and Rozsival all will be logging significant ice time in the Olympics and those last regular season games promise to be tough. To that add the playoffs and the schedule will be brutal. The last 24 regular season games will be played in 48 days. At the least the Rangers need a seventh defensemen,need an occasional break which is not there right now. And what happens if one goes down to an injury. We need a backup plan for the defense. In this case, the defense can not rest.

ICINGS: Kevin Weekes played a strong game giving up one iffy goal, the last one. He was the number one star of the game. It seemed the defense took the third period off as Totonto poured twelve shots on goal in that period. Or maybe they were tired.

Al Michaels traded for a cartoon rabbit -

Al Michaels traded for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
"Do you Beweeve in Wabbits?"

-- Sportscaster Al Michaels was traded by Disney (owner of ABC/ESPN) to NBC Universal for the rights to own Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It turns out that Disney created Oswald in 1927. So he is even older than Mickey. Could we get Pepe Le Pew for Sam Rosen? (just kidding Sam) [source]

Angela Ruggiero-- Angela Ruggiero is a two-time US Olympian in women's ice hockey, winning a gold medal in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games and a silver in 2002. She plays defense, is 26-years-old, 5'9" tall, and went to college at Harvard. In 2005, she became first female defensive player to participate in the Central Hockey League. I think Glen Sather should sign her to a contract. (just kidding Glen) She is blogging about her experiences at the 2006 Winter Games:

In two short days, so much has happened. First of all, the Opening Ceremonies were amazing! I got to walk in the front of the USA athletes because I was nominated by our federation to carry the Opening Ceremony flag. That honor, and VERY well deserved, was given to Chris Witty, who is a five time Olympian in speedskating (one of those 5 was in the summer Games in cycling!). I was able to go skiing with her and a few of my teammates after the games were over in Salt Lake City, so we were pumped that she was able to carry the flag into the stadium.

Angela Ruggiero

Angela Ruggiero Poster

Did you really think the Ranger Pundit would root for the Czech's during the Olympics?

-- Would anyone in Europe be willing to pay to watch the NHL on the internet? We know who has their act together.
National Basketball Assn. fans in Brazil have become the first in the world to have access to live games via broadband Internet.

About 10,000 fans saw the Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday on web portal, which charges an extra monthly fee of 4.90 reals ($2.20) to watch two games per week on

The matches, broadcast in Portuguese, are not the same as ones aired live in Brazil by ESPN Intl. and ESPN Brasil. The league has also inked a similar deal in China with Chinese portal NuSports. [source]

-- Janet Jones (Mrs. Gretzky), Yoko Ono, and Paris Hilton all share Elliot Mintz as their personal spokesperson/publicist [source]

-- Team Sports Bars and its Google map was created by Frank Gruber to help people identify bars with loose affiliations to either college or professional sports teams thus connecting fans with a bar to cheer on their team.

-- Memorable Olympic quotes - one by John Tesh at the 1992 Summer Olympics, Women's gymnastics competition:
The Romanian (Women's) Team is a man short tonight.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Hockey Gambling Scandal

Wayne Gretzky and his wife Janet Jones are caught up in gambling scandal

Jersey's Newark Star Ledger has taken the lead in reporting the hockey gambling scandal. This is how they reported the news that Gretzky knew of the gambling:
State wiretaps in the unfolding NHL betting scandal caught Wayne Gretzky discussing the multimillion-dollar gambling operation run by his friend Rick Tocchet before the ring was dismantled Monday, according to law enforcement sources.

There is no evidence Gretzky made any bets, the sources said, but the secretly recorded phone calls show the hockey hall-of-famer knew about the gambling ring, and investigators are looking into whether he placed any wagers through his wife, Janet Jones.

Jones was among the gamblers who placed more than $1.7 million in wagers in the past six weeks with the ring allegedly run by Tocchet and a New Jersey state trooper (Jim Harney). Jones put down $500,000 on games during that period, including $75,000 on last weekend's Super Bowl, sources said. She even wagered on which team would win the opening coin toss -- winning $5,000 with that bet.
Wayne Gretzky said this Tuesday night after the Coyotes' 3-1 loss to Chicago:
First of all, my wife is my best friend. My love for her is deeper than anything. The reality is, I'm not involved, I wasn't involved and I'm not going to be involved. Am I concerned for both of them? Sure, there's concern from me. I'm more worried about them than me... I'm trying to figure it all out.
When asked if his wife had placed bets for him, Gretzky said "absolutely not." Except for trips to Las Vegas, Gretzky said he does not gamble.

Craig Mitnick, a lawyer for Jim Harney, said he believed New Jersey officials waited until after the huge gambling event that is the Super Bowl in order to make the size of the alleged ring look bigger.

Jaromir Jagr said he ran up a $500,000 debt earlier in his career betting on sports events on the Internet. Jagr said yesterday that he didn't place any bets with Tocchet and wasn't contacted by authorities. He also didn't expect to be called

Gretzky talked about betting ring on wiretap [Newark Star Ledger, Feb. 9, 2006]
Gretzky's wife takes center ice in probe [Newark Star Ledger, Feb. 8, 2006]
AG, lawyer at odds over trooper's story [Newark Star Ledger, Feb. 7, 2006]

The bartender and the NHL player [Toronto Star, Feb. 9, 2006]
NHL pulls power play [NY Daily News, Feb. 9, 2006]

Vitas Gerulaitis and Janet Jones
ICINGS: Janet Jones was engaged to tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis for three years, before he broke the engagement. He later died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 1994. She also dated actors Bruce Willis and Nels Van Patten, son of Dick Van Patten. Gretzky met Janet when he was a judge on Merv Griffin's show Dance Fever in 1984. They ran into each other at a Los Angeles Lakers game in 1987; Gretzky told Howard Stern's radio audience that they consummated their relationship that night. She appeared in a semi-nude pictorial in the March 1987 issue of Playboy. She married Gretzky on July 17, 1988. She is 16 days older than Gretzky. They were both born in January 1961. They have five children.

Update: Jones issued a statement on Thursday saying she has never placed bets for her husband.

"At no time did I ever place a wager on my husband's behalf," Jones said in a two-sentence statement. "Other than the occasional horse race, my husband does not bet on any sports."

Wayne Gretzky and wife Janet Jones caught up in gambling scandalThe statement, issued by spokesman Elliot Mintz, added that Jones may be called as a witness before a grand jury in the New Jersey investigation of the multimillion-dollar gambling operation that Tocchet is suspected of financing. He, along with a New Jersey state trooper and a third man face charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy.

The statement also said, "(T)here is no allegation that Janet has violated any law."

I only note this in passing -- a small discrepancy:

Gretzky: "Except for trips to Las Vegas, Gretzky said he does not gamble."

Jones: "Other than the occasional horse race, my husband does not bet on any sports."

Other developments in the gambling scandal:

• Gretzky's voice was recorded by a wiretap talking to Tocchet about how Jones could avoid being implicated, a source close to the investigation told the Associated Press.

• Coyotes General Manager Mike Barnett placed a bet on Sunday's Super Bowl for "a few hundred dollars" through Tocchet, according to multiple NHL sources. Barnett was the agent for Wayne Gretzky, now the Coyotes' coach and part-owner, for many years before becoming the Coyotes' general manager in August 2001.

• Tocchet and his two co-defendants (James J. Harney of the New Jersey State Police and James A. Ulmer of Swedesboro, N.J) will be arraigned on Feb. 21, at 3 p.m., in Superior Court in Mount Holly, New Jersey. They each face charges of money laundering, promotion of gambling and conspiracy.

• Bail was set at $100,000 for Harney and $50,000 for Ulmer, and both were released after posting 10 percent in cash.

• Search warrants executed on Monday at various locations turned up $27,000 in cash and "voluminous records," including lists of bettors and agents. At Harney's home alone, authorities said they discovered more than $250,000 in Rolex watches and nine plasma television sets, two of which, were located in the bathroom.

• Police allege that Tocchet, a onetime Philadelphia Flyers captain, met Harney a decade ago at a bar called Legends in a Holiday Inn near the Philadelphia arena where Harney worked as a bartender before joining the police force. Legends was also a popular hangout for Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, the underboss of the Bruno-Scarfo family. As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, in that city, "rumours of wiseguys mingling with hockey players are nothing new."

• Newark Star Ledger reported: "A source close to the investigation said Tocchet, in Phoenix, and Harney, in New Jersey, took wagers on games from bettors and then placed their bets with another person, known as a "bookie." It was unclear who their bookie was, although State Police said detectives have linked the ring to members of the Bruno-Scarfo crime family that operates in Philadelphia and South Jersey."

• New Jersey state police Lieut. Gerald Lewis told the New York Daily News it’s not illegal to place a bet, so anyone who made wagers with this ring will not be charged. It is only illegal to act as a broker or to profit from gambling

• Pittsburgh’s Mark Recchi, a former teammate of Tocchet’s, forced a Philadelphia TV station (Channel 6 Action News) to retract a story on its website that said he was connected to the gambling ring. He and John LeClair, another Penguins player and past member of the Flyers, hired a lawyer to potentially sue the station and other media outlets.

• The NHL has hired Robert Cleary, a former federal prosecutor who handled the Unabomber case, to investigate.

• A MSG-TV network legal analyst says that Gretzky's biggest potential legal problem may be due to filing a joint tax return with his wife. If her gambling winnings (if any) are not properly recorded then he may be liable for tax fraud.

• The Los Angeles Times, citing league sources, reported Wednesday that Kings forward Jeremy Roenick was notified Tuesday that investigators want to interview him.

Contacted by a Canadian Press Olympic reporter calling from Turin, Italy, on Thursday, Roenick had no comment other than: "Bring me home some cannoli."

Best advice I've heard yet.

How the mob, players mingled in Philadelphia [Toronto Star, Feb. 10, 2005]
Gretzky didn't wager, wife says [Arizona Republic, Feb. 10, 2005]
Gretzky faces Great gamble [NY Daily News, Feb. 10, 2005]
Gretzky denies gambling [Toronto Star, Feb. 10, 2005]

Double ICINGS - From Kukla's Korner:

Jagr made a jab at goalkeeper Dominik Hasek, his teammate on the Czech national team, telling journalists he hopes the goals with which his Rangers beat Hasek’s Ottawa Senators 5-1 were the last goals that made it past Hasek this month.
“I hope that from now on he catches excellently and does not let a single goal in. That would help us a whole lot,” Jagr told journalist with a grin in the locker room of New York’s Madison Square Garden.- Prague Daily Monitior

Dominick Who?

Rangers crush Sens 5-1So what was different from the Ranger team that got swamped 6-2 in Ottawa on December 26, 2005 and the Ranger team that outclassed Ottawa 5-1 last night? Henrik Lundqvist, that is what was the difference. In a first period goalie duel The Prince was 16-16 and Hasek was 10-10 in a scoreless first period. However it all changed in the next two periods as The Prince went 8-9 and Hasek went 8-13 as The Rangers won their fourth straight game and the second against a top Eastern Conference team. The way the Rangers are playing now it looks like the only thing that may stop them is the Olympic games and the 18 days of no NHL hockey.

The Rangers continued their assault on team and personal records. With his performance Lundqvist raised his league leading save percentage to .927, passing Hasek, who dropped to .925. His record is now 24-7-6, which leaves him two behind Johnny Bower and Jim Henry for the Ranger rookie goalie wins record of 26. He may well set a Ranger rookie winning record that may never be surpassed by any rookie goalie in the future. Jaromir Jagr scored his 36th goal, tying him for the league lead, and moving him into a tie for 16th place on the all time goal list. He now has 573 goals and insists that he is not a goal scorer. His three points vaulted him past Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull into 18th place with 1,392 points. He has 83 points and is well poised to set a new Ranger season scoring record which is 109 points.

Jagr scored the first goal on a five on three that came from the point. Yes folks, Jaromir Jagr was at the point on a five on three. Catch the replay and you will hear the voice of JD yelling, "Jagr is on the point." The Ranger Pundit has been vindicated. Then came a couple of surprise goals by the Rangers. Marek Malik intercepted a pass at the point and put in a shot off of a Senator player. Jason Ward then scored the Rangers third short handed goal of the season, his second, on a beautiful pass from Ville Nieminen and the game was basically over. Yes, Ottawa scored a goal to cut the deficit to two, but the Rangers iced it with two third period goals. The fourth Ranger goal was the goal of the game. It was the ultimate tic-tac-toe play, Jagr-Straka-Nylander=GOAL!!!!

A word about the defense and the penalty killing. The defense, for the most part, played solid stay at home hockey. They out hit the Senators 26-19, seven by Kaspy and four each by Strudwick and Tyutin. Ryan Hollweg, back in the lineup, got only four minutes of ice time and had two hits. The Rangers had sixteen blocked shots and Strudwick led the way with four. He easily could have been named player of the game, especially for the work he did battling Zdeno Chara who stayed in front of the net on the Ottawa PP's. Dany Heatley, the high scoring forward for the Sens, was held without a shot for the game and was a -3 for 22:08 of ice time. The penalty killing returned to their early season form with a perfect 8-8 night.

The negatives. How can there be negatives you say? Too many penalties, too many lazy penalties. Three holdings, two hookings and one tripping are the signs of lazy penalties. Ryan Hollweg got only four minutes of ice time and Marcel Hossa, with one shot in a little over 7 minutes of ice time was almost invisible. But why carp? The Rangers won a great game and I believe have established themselves as a prime contender for the Eastern Conference Championship.

However, I believe they are one tough defenseman away from being there. Is it Witt of Washington? Or, is it Jackman of Pittsburgh? Both of these teams are basically out of the running so a move may be possible. Then there is Dale Purinton in Hartford. Also it might be time to think about Jarkko Immonen making the big jump from Hartford. Who would have thought that four months ago we would be in the position we are now that we are contemplating these moves.

ICINGS: Three stars of the game. 1) Jason Ward, 2)Henrik Lundqvist, 3) Jaromir Jagr. Pavel Brendl is not finished yet. The Phoenix Coyotes are bringing up the former Ranger first round pick. It will be interesting to see what The Great One can do with him or maybe they're just rolling the dice with Brendl (pun intended). Two games to go before the Olympic break. A home and home with Toronto this weekend and then it's on to Torino, Italy. Buono fortuna Americana!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

The title was one of my mother's favorite sayings, she had many. Tom Renney has adopted the same philosophy in regard to Petr Prucha's injury. He is right. No sense crying over it. His theory is that Prucha's injury opens the door for another player to step in. Prucha's rise to prominence was started by the injury to Rucinsky. Remember he was in Hartford earlier in the year. On 11/1/05 the Ranger Pundit wrote that it was time for the Rangers to recall Prucha, Hollweg and Purinton. They were brought up, except Purinton. I had forgotten Purinton was on a ten game suspension and could not be brought up. Purinton's ten game suspension ended on 2/2/06 and was returned to Hartford. Purinton was on the taxi squad so he is now eligible to be called up by the Rangers.

Hollweg should be returned to the lineup and give the HMO line its more normal ice time. Colton Orr needs more ice time, maybe Hartford could be an option for a while. He served his purpose in his fights with Godard of the Islanders and Brashear of the Flyers but needs the time to improve his skating abilities. Ville Nieminen should join Jason Ward and Marcel Hossa in Prucha's place. There are three big games before the Olympic break. Ottawa, tomorrow night, is five points ahead of the Rangers for the number two spot in the Eastern Conference. Toronto, which we face in a home and home this weekend, is fifteen points behind the Rangers in the eight spot.

Prucha will be tough to replace. However, remember when Rucinsky went down, we all said the same about him. Then Prucha came along and we almost forgot about Rucinsky, until he came back. So let's see what Nieminen and Hollweg can do. If not, there is Hartford and a whole slew of young players including Jarkko Immonen who the Ranger Pundit has been touting all year to be brought up to the Garden.


The New NHL - Hockey cartoons, New York Rangers GardenVision videos.

The Old NHL - has the Orr vs. Brashear bout from Feb. 4th in their video library. The Ice Block reviews some recent heavyweight action.

Georges Laraque actually fought last night. His dance partner was Todd Fedoruk and he had little trouble with the Fridge.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Not This (over) Time

Rangers come from behind to defeat Philly 4-3 in OTThe suits at NBC must be kicking themselves tonight by guessing wrong on the game of the week. How else to explain their pick of Islanders vs Penguins over Rangers vs Flyers. The game was a classic and MSG has already put it in their archives to show at the next strike/lockout. It was a game where the Rangers and Flyers stood toe to toe, literally, slugged it out, saw each team mount strong come backs with the final one belonging to the Rangers. I'm sure no one, especially the non hockey nerds at NBC, knew this game would be a classic. But how do you pick a game of two sub .500 teams over a game with two old rivals fighting for first place in the Atlantic Division? And they wonder why the telecasts get such poor ratings.

This was an old fashioned Flyer-Ranger rock 'em sock 'em type of game. Momentum swung back and forth. The Rangers scored first when Marcel Hossa, getting more ice time, put a one-timer past Flyer goalie Robert Esche, off of a beautiful feed by Jason Ward. Then it was Nylander on a PP, the Rangers were 2-4, on a great feed from Jagr. As in previous games the Flyers would not quit. They leveled a furious barrage of checks, got two big turnovers from Martin Rucinsky to tie the game by the 1:34 mark of the third period. When Mike Knuble scored the go ahead goal at 11:08, off of a Fedor Tyutin turnover, it looked like curtains for the Blueshirts. But then the early season magic (luck) returned to the Rangers.

With Lundqvist off for a sixth skater, Renney put six forwards on the ice. After a Flyer icing put the faceoff deep in their zone, Steve Rucchin, who played another strong game, won the faceoff, kicked it back to Straka, who passed to Rucinsky whose shot looked like it bounced off the head of Petr Sykora for the tying goal with 41.1 seconds left in the third period. Straka was then taken down driving to the net as regulation time expired. Then 1:24 into OT Jaromir Jagr, beat Esche through the legs for the winner.

Despite some thundering checks from Donald Brashear and company, the Rangers went hit for hit. The Flyers outhit the Rangers 17-16 and there were two fights. At 9:22 of the second period Orr and Brashear went at it with the decision going to Brashear, but give Orr credit for not backing off. At 17:56 of the second period Strudwick challenged Turner Stevenson and they fought to a draw. Stevenson had put Prucha out of the game with a knee to knee hit, so the Rangers,at least for this game, were sticking up for each other.

How good was this game? Listen to opposing viewpoints. Flyer coach Ken Hitchcock:

"We're disappointed. We played a great game. We deserved a better fate. It's the best game we've played in a month."

Henrik Lundqvist:
"We kept working hard. We came back and we deserved it."

This was the third OT game these teams have played against each other. Flyers have won two and the Rangers one. Just think about this. There are four more games these teams have against each other. The next to last game of the season for the Rangers is against the Flyers on Saturday, April 15th at 2:00 PM at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. I have an idea the nerds will be broadcasting it.

ICINGS: The Flyers bad luck with injuries continued. Petr Nedved had a strained groin and only logged 6:10 of ice time. Defenseman Chris Therien went out with ahead injury after only 3 shifts and 1:49 of ice time. Petr Pruca went down with a knee injury logging 8:09 minutes of ice team. He got a big assist on Marcel Hossa's goal, who playing with Prucha and Ward got 11:25 of ice time.

The evenness of the game showed up in the stats. Both teams blocked 15 shots each, the shots were 29-28 Philadelphia and the big discrepancy was in faceoffs where the Flyers had a 38-20 edge. However, the Rangers won the biggest faceoff of the night near the end of regulation and followed it up in OT with another big win. Rucchin got two hits which surely makes this game a Ranger Classic.

• I thought the Rangers should take a look at the Washington Capitals defensemen Brendan Witt. Here are some thoughts by "Abel to Yzerman" about Witt:
we’re looking at a 31 year old defenseman, rugged but not completely sound defensively. His career high in PIM’s was 123 prior to this season. Already in ‘05-’06, has 125.

Offensively, he doesn’t bring much to the table with a career high of 12 points last season.

But, what he does offer is malice in front of the crease, and that’s something the Wings lack. However, lacking doesn’t necessarily mean “needing.” The way the game is played now, clearing the crease usually means filling the box–as reflected by Witt’s increase in penalty minutes this year.

Where Will Witt Play [Kukla's Korner]

via Off Wing Opinion

Ten Rangers Heading for '06 Winter Olympics [NY Rangers]

  1. Ville Nieminen - Finland

  2. Darius Kasparaitis - born in Lithuania plays for Russia

  3. Fedor Tyutin - Russia

  4. Marcel Hossa - Slovakia

  5. Jaromir Jagr - Czech Republic

  6. Henrik Lundqvist - Sweden

  7. Marek Malik - Czech Republic

  8. Petr Prucha - Czech Republic (injured)

  9. Martin Rucinsky - Czech Republic

  10. Martin Straka - Czech Republic

2006 Olympic Winter Games - Hockey Schedule

• I think my grandson would like this:

Coolest Toy EVER! (video)

• Finally, sorry if you've had a hard time getting to this blog:

Blogger having major outage problems [digg]

Friday, February 03, 2006

Block Party on the Islanders

Ranger rout Isles 5-2The Rangers were rude guests at the Nassau Coliseum last night. They thoroughly undressed their hosts defense enroute to a 5-2 pasting of the Islanders. Actually it was a 'block party' of sorts as the Rangers blocked 25 Islander shots. Add to that the 18 missed shots the Islanders took its not a wonder that Kevin Weekes had only 23 saves which was enough to ensure the win.

The Rangers skewered their hosts with their famous tic-tac-toe passing which resulted in two highlight goals. The Rangers then added insult to injury when Ranger tough guy Colton Orr beat up Islander toughie Eric Godard who went straight to the locker room after the fight with a bloody nose.

The three most maligned Ranger players this year, Steve Rucchin, Tom Poti and Kevin Weekes all played well. Rucchin had a goal, an assist, three blocked shots and won 9 of 15 faceoffs. Poti had an assist, a beauty, and three blocked shots and Kevin Weekes made 23 saves for the night and generally played a strong game in nets.

The first of the two highlight goals was on the power play, the Rangers were 3-3 on the PP. Petr Prucha threw a cross ice pass from the right side of goalie Rick DiPietro, to Tom Poti on the left point who fed a perfect pass to Steve Rucchin who directed it into the goal. The other was a Nylander to Straka to Jagr who fired past a shaken DiPietro who had a poor night. He absolutely blew the Rucinsky goal which put the Blueshirts up 3-0 and ended any suspense that this would be a close game.

Looking for omens? The Rangers win gave them 70 points in 54 games. Only two other Ranger teams have reached that number in a shorter time. The 1991-92 Rangers hit 70 points in 53 games and the Stanley Cup Champions of 1993-94 hit the 70 point mark in 50 games. Remember, the Rangers got only 69 points in the last season played, 2003-04. Jaromir Jagr continued his assault on two Ranger team records. His 34th goal puts him 18 behind Adam Graves team high of 52 set in the Stanley Cup year. His total point total is now 78 and 31 short of Jean Ratelle's record of 109 set in the 1971-72 season.

The Rangers are now tied for first with the Flyers and go to Philadelphia on Saturday for a showdown meeting. The Flyers have one game in hand. This is all great news for this over achieving team and its loyal fans. Big story in New York, right? Wrong. All year long this exciting team with one of the great players in the game, Jaromir Jagr, and an exciting rookie goalie that is poised to win all kinds of awards has been basically ignored by the New York Post Sports pages. Yes we get Larry Brooks, the king of hockey writers but a blank on the back page of the Post.

What do we get on the back page of the Post is the Knicks. The under achieving, inept Knicks and their egotistical coach. Look at today. The Rangers and the Islanders and what did we get today. We get the big mouth from Pittsburgh, Joey Bishop talking about hate, fighting, killings and all that thrash. You want to do all that Joey? Enlist in the Army and go to the mideast and kill some terorists but leave that other stuff out of sports. The Post should leave that stuff off of their back pages. That stuff belongs in the Enquirer.

I thought that once the football season was over and our futile Jets packed it in we would get more hockey on the back pages. In all fairness Newsday has done it but mostly it is the Islanders on their pages, which is as it should be. I don't read the News so I can't comment on them but they usually mimic the Post. But the New York Post is my paper and no where can the Rangers be found on its back pages.

The one New York team that has put an all out effort and salutes its fans after a winning game, that should be on the back page, is not. Look at the New York sport teams records.

The Yankees, with the highest payroll of any team in sports, bombed. They were bumblers, not bombers.

The Jets were their usual high expectation, low performance selves. Their coach ran out on them.

The Knicks are a collective joke and their head coach is the biggest clown in the group. Their front office is in shambles but the Post puts all of them at one time or another on its back page. There is a team in New York playing like a team, respecting its fans and each other and they get no press from the Post. Too bad. They are missing a great story.

: The Rangers, as a team, have the second lowest goals against in the entire league second only to the Ottawa Senators. The Senators have given up 124 goals in 51 games and the Rangers have given up 134 in 54 games. The Senators have a 2.43 GAA and the Rangers have a 2.48 GAA.

I see Larry Brooks is now calling Henrik Lundqvist - King Henrik of Sweden:

THE emergence in nets of King Henrik of Sweden has been one of the feel-good stories in modern Ranger history. Rarely, if ever, has a Ranger freshman been able to create the impact Lundqvist has both on the ice — where he is a legitimate contender for the Hart, Vezina and Calder Trophies — and with the fans, with whom he has been adopted as the linear descendant of Ed Giacomin and Mike Richter.

Dear Larry,

I appreciate you hopping on the royalty bandwagon with me. But, please he's just a "Prince!" He gets promoted when he wins a Stanley Cup.

For the record, I first dubbed Henrik Lundqvist "The Prince" on October 18, 2005. See my story: Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek-Star is Born.

Admit it, everyone thought I was a little crazy calling Henrik Lundqvist, "The Prince." Just the old Ranger Pundit in a continuing delusional rant episode.

Ah, but there's method to my madness! My readership has soared as the entire country of Sweden now reads the Ranger Pundit blog to see what glowing praise I am heaping on their national hero. So for all my Swedish readers:
Prinsen Henrik Lundqvist reglerna regerar New York

update: So much for trying to get cute and using an Internet translation service:
Haha well I'm one of the Swedes reading here occasionally to see how Henrik is doing... Nice touch with the Swedish, just one mistake: reglerna = rules as in 'rules to live by', rules as in wielding power is called "regerar". :)

It's a small world. Thank you, the RP.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Escaping the Trap-Barely

Rangers defeat Pens 3-1 in teams' final meeting of seasonI can hear it now, I already have, about Rucchin. I got it last night at the Garden from my buddy at So Rucchin scored a goal and had an assist, big deal. This was the Penguins.

My buddy said I woke him up with my article. I should be so influential. I did my homework, one day late, and after last nights game Rucchin has ten hits in fifty games. I figured you could probably run into someone by accident and get more hits. Speaking of hits the Rangers were outhit by the Penguins, 28-15. Three Rangers defensemen, Poti, Tyutin and Strudwick had no hits. And pray tell me, what the hell was Jagr doing on the ice in the last minute of the game? No wonder the Penguins ran him, with no retaliation by the Rangers. Renney should stop worrying about Jagr's stats and worry about the team.

I warned you yesterday that this would be a game where the Rangers could fall into the trap of looking at it as an easy game. The Rangers were quite inept against a very weak team, one of the worst in the NHL. The shorthanded goal by Rucchin was a gift from super hero Crosby and two power play goals were nothing to get excited about. Five on five we did very little.

Hollweg sat again for Hossa. Hollweg better be in the lineup tonight against the Islanders tonight in what promises to be a barn burner. That is an old saying that translates into a fiery confrontation. And now for all you Marcel Hossa fans, which I am not unsympathetic to. How can we find out how good a player Hossa is when he gets 6:03 of ice time like he did last night? Even my wise friend couldn't explain that one. But the Rangers need more toughness, sorely lacking last night. The Washington Capitals have a disgruntled defensemen named Brendan Witt, who I believe could help us. What do you think?

The Prince, with 24 saves, was named the second star of the game. In the previous five games he was named number one star once and number two star twice. How about we name the stars of the game award The Henrik Lundqvist Star of the Game Award. The Prince will rest tonight as Kevin Weekes will be in the nets against the Islanders tonight. Let us pray!


In case you missed it:

Sports Guy North and his Soulcrusher and the Rucchin...

here is a definition for Rucchin of the Year...


noun: a leach, or parasite. one who feeds off of others, and would be unable to get by in their absence.

verb: to rely on or benefit from others, especially in cases where the subject is unable to fend for his/her self.

rucchin of the year: the player who rucchins the most over the course of the season
According to the NY Rangers play the softest schedule in the NHL.

NHL Power Rankings - Feb. 1, 2006

Glenn Sather and Jerry Springer, any resemblance?

Glenn Sather and Jerry Springer

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Beware The Trap-Game That Is.

An Angry Little PenguinTonight's game against the Penguins is a game that is affectionately known as a trap game. Not trap as in the Devil's infamous, boring trap. But trap as in, this is a game we should win so why get too excited. Why is that so for tonight? Well, the Rangers have just come off of an emotionally charged loss in OT against the Flyers and the Penguins are still smarting from the 7-1 trouncing the Rangers inflicted on them in the Garden last Saturday.

This need not and should not happen. However, Tom Renney should make some changes for tonight. Steve Rucchin seems to be performing better in the locker room than he is on ice. Renney made this great announcement when he arrived about how the Rangers needed a man his size and skill for center ice. I will not repeat what I said at that time how we had the guy but management didn't like his mouth. The players must have liked him they voted him MVP in the 2003-04 season. But I won't repeat what I said for fear my son will accuse me of senility. Besides, how many hits has Rucchin laid on the opposition this year? Go look it up, if it is more than 20 I will be shocked. Remember we have played 49 games. How many hits would that 2003-04 MVP with the big mouth have had this year?

The Rangers insist on playing Marcel Hossa, in place of Ryan Hollweg, in the hopes that he develops into another scorer. Fine. However, Hollweg is desperately needed back on the HMO line. There is no H (HITS) in the HMO line without Hollweg. It is essential that this line stays together for the passion and aggressiveness they bring to the team. So bench Rucchin. Renney benched Nylander for committing 4 penalties in one game and look how solid he has played all year. How many games do you bench a player for being a no show?

I would leave the first line intact. Nylander centering for Jagr and Straka is clicking quite well. Put Prucha at center between Rucinsky and Ward. Center would be a much better position for Prucha who loves to roam and has a great wrist shot. Ward has been picking up his game lately and Rucinsky seems to be showing some signs of life. This would be the second line.

On the third line I would use Sykora as the center between Niemenin and Hossa. If Hossa has the potential the experts think he has he should blossom on this line. Niemenin has been a dare devil the last few games, annoying and constantly on the move. He needs to cut down on the lazy tripping penalties to be a more effective player. Sykora slowly has been getting into the offense and centering his own line gives him the chance to show his many offensive skills.

Finally the HMO line of Hollweg, Moore and Ortmeyer. If you don't know what these guys do, there is no sense in me trying to explain them. Like one guy once said about a religous subject. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. For those who do believe no explanation is necessary. Those are my thoughts on the HMO, with Hollweg, line.

The defense is another story which we will address at another time. The every ready battery is wearing down. Pock must be brought up and used as the seventh defenseman, as a starter, to give the Maliks, Rozsivals and Strudwicks a night off. Kaspy, Tyutin and Poti don't need the rest. Sorry anti-Poti gang, the guy has improved his game. But it is not great, it is just ok. He needs to be traded because he will never rise to what we hope he should be, a move the puck, play the point on the PP and become an offensive force. A Brad Park or Brian Leetch he will never be. Only in Glen Sather's dreams.

So there we have it for tonight. This might arrive a little late for Renney to read and implement these moves, but he has to be seeing what is happening on the ice. Or in Rucchin's case, what is not happening. We have a wonderful stock of young players in Hartford that are performing quite well.

There is an excellent Hartford Wolfpack website,, and blog (sidearm delivery) that Ranger fans should read to see what is on the horizon and how rosy the future looks. You can also find them on the right hand side of my blog. To give the devil his due, Glen Sather must be complimented for assembling a fine collection of prospects. Kudos also to Jim Schonfield for his excellent coaching and development of these youngsters.

One of our readers made this comparison-
The "Lurch" Defenseman and crypt defender Marek Malik:

Marek Malik Lurch

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