Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Down Goes Stanley

A tough sport requires a tough trophy. The Stanley Cup proved its mettle when it bounced up after taking a hard shot in Newfoundland yesterday. Stanley easily shook off the tumble and reportedly said, "it was nothing compared to the shot Teemu Selanne and his Ducktards laid on me back in 2007."

Teemu Selanne hoists a dented Stanley Cup at a party at the Honda Center during the Ducks' 2007 celebration

USA Today:
Stanley Cup gets dinged in fall --
Every championship player gets his day with the Stanley Cup and Michael Ryder's probably could have started better.

The former Boston Bruins forward was carrying the Cup and placed it on a table outside a St. John's, Newfoundland, hotel as he prepared for a helicopter ride to his hometown in Bonavista, according to the Associated Press. But as he let go of the trophy, the table tipped over, sending the Cup to the ground.

"First ding of the day," an on-looker shouted...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chris Drury's Quiet Exit

You know you're getting old when everything hurts; and what doesn't hurt, doesn't work.
Retiring at age 35 would sound like a pretty good deal to most of us.  So Chris Drury's retirement from the NHL is not a tragedy in any real sense of the word. It's a disappointment that Drury's injuries kept him from reaching his full potential with the Rangers. Making him Rangers Captain was a case of putting a square peg in a round hole. It was a strain on everyone.

Lynn Zinser of the NY Times, who has known Drury since he was at Boston University, has written the best recap of Drury's legacy that I've read.

Lynn Zinser / NY Times:
A Reluctant Sports Star Discreetly Takes His Leave --
When Chris Drury announced his retirement from the N.H.L. on Friday, of course it was in the most low-profile way possible. There were no news conferences, no television appearances, no teary-eyed remembrances of a 12-year career. He had the players union release a statement and that was it. It did not even contain a quotation from Drury.

And you can be almost certain you won’t hear from Drury again...
Drury's texted farewell message to Rangers fans:
It was a great honor and privilege to be a New York Ranger for the past four years, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to fulfill that childhood dream. The Rangers are a first-class organization with great people in the hockey, public relations, team services and community relations departments.

I would also like to thank Ranger fans. They always inspired me to do the best I could in whatever role I was asked to play. Playing before them in The Garden was a thrill of a lifetime. I wish all the fans and the entire Ranger organization the best of luck in the future.
Drury's last and only goal of the 2010-11 season:

USA Today:
Chris Drury's career [photos] --

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Sean Avery Lynch Mob Owes Him an Apology

At times it looks like this country has lost its moral compass. That is because basic concepts like due process, the presumption of innocence, and a person's constitutional rights get plowed under by the "rush to judgement" mentality that runs amok here.

Sean Avery's arrest in LA on August 5th provides more evidence that most people in the media practice a "rush to judgement" and pure speculation approach to journalism. And bloggers are no better. Waiting for the facts to be verified and perhaps doing some basic investigative journalism gets tossed out in favor of taking snarky shots and making wild speculation about someone, who it turns out was falsely accused of a crime.

This has become standard operating procedure for the media and most bloggers. The Duke lacrosse case was another example of a rush to judgement, damn the facts. The mainstream media had three Duke lacrosse players convicted of a brutal gang rape in short order. This despite a boatload of evidence that eventually proved they were framed by a serial lying prostitute, who is now in jail for murder, and a DA who wanted to win an election in order to max out his pension. He also went to jail. However, these boys had their reputations damaged forever by the smear campaign waged by the mainstream media led by the NY Times.

There is also the recent Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, where again a fancy pants French guy gets the bum's rush to a rape conviction by everyone in the media. But wait, it turns out the accuser in this case has some issues too. The accusing maid, Nafissatou Diallo, also appears to be an opportunistic serial liar.

So it it should not be surprising that the lynch mob formed quickly when Avery was busted in LA. Let's pile-on the bad boy gone bad. Gossipmonger TMZ certainly led the lynch mob with their apparently made up accusation that Avery challenged cops to a fight and he taunted them, by calling them, "fat little pigs."

Making stories up is what TMZ is good at and bloggers just lap it up. But, you would think the mainstream media would verify that kind of accusation. No, not the Rupert Murdoch owned, ethically challenged NY Post; their motto: trust TMZ, verify nothing.

Did any of the mainstream media attempt to interview anyone else who was at the LA party and might have witnessed the incident? Doesn't look like it. Why lift a finger to check a story when TMZ has it all verified?

Here at the RangerPundit we identified via Twitter that Avery's girlfriend, Hillary Rhoda, and model Heidi Mount were probably at the party. Did anyone attempt to interview them. Nope, doesn't look like it. Why seek out the facts when speculation is so much easier. Does anyone give a damn about the truth anymore, or is that some quaint concept from the olden days?

The Larry Brooks guilt-presuming story in the NY Post back on August 7th is an especially nice hatchet job. The story, entitled "Confrontation with police can't end well for Rangers' Avery," is a 723 word character assassination of Avery. Among other things Brooks says the following:
Avery has spoken with both Garden CEO Jim Dolan and Rangers president/general manager Glen Sather. One supposes Avery has apologized privately to the two men who, truth be told, are the reason he has a job in New York, which is to say are the reason he has a job in the NHL...
Here Brooks is speculating that Avery "apologized privately" to Dolan and Sather because he was guilty. Brooks also writes:
Harm has been done here, not to the Rangers or the NHL necessarily, but to Avery, and it's self-inflicted...
The harm that has been done is to the presumption of innocence by Brooks. Brooksie concludes with this indictment:
Avery has a place on the Rangers as long as he can contribute. But there is no excuse for what happened in Laurel Canyon on Friday night, whether it was criminal or not.

No excuse at all.
Again, what exactly did Avery do? He held a private house party that got a little noisy and a police officer tripped. It was not criminal and when did we give up the right to have noisy house parties in this country? Larry should rename the column "Cheap Shots" instead of Slapshots.

Where was Larry today when the report came that the battery charge against Avery was dropped? Nowhere to be heard or read. The NY Post ran the newswire story that the Avery was cleared. Let's see if Larry "lynch mob" Brooks makes a peep about Avery's innocence.

Another one to turn to unwarranted speculation on the Avery incident was the Yahoo Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski. He wrote:
And hey, a high-profile NHL player getting arrested for battery in August has become a semi-annual tradition -- it's just that Avery wasn't in the back of a Buffalo cab.

This feels like your classic late-night party screw up. Trouble is that when you're Sean Avery and your critics are always sharpening their knives, this isn't the type of news that simply lingers in the police blotter....

That said, we are impressed that Avery challenged the cops to a fight -- sorry, a FIGHT -- and apparently didn't immediately turtle.
Wyshynski dribbles a little slime on Avery and goes with his speculation that "this feels like your classic late-night party screw up." Why wait for more facts and why question the reputable TMZ? Let's just go with our gut in these situations, right? A good guess might be right half the time. Thank you very much Puck Daddy.

This snarky rush to judgement attitude was evident across the blogosphere.

Here is a sample of some of the junk that went up online:

Melt Your Face Off blog:
The C**knocker, Behind Bars
Sean Avery Arrested For Assulting LA Cop --
he [Avery] goes all in with his NHL career by assaulting an LA cop. Rodney King salutes you, Sean, as long as you tone down those racist taunts. And we all know you’re the gayest straight athlete that has ever lived, so stay strong in the LA big house. I know it’s gonna be tough without your Vogue and Cosmo, but there’s plenty of a** play to go around. Nighty night, keep your b**thole tight!
NHL Feed:
Sean Avery goes to jail --
NHL tough guy and noted d***he bag Sean Avery reportedly spent 7 hours in a California jail yesterday, after he was arrested out side his home for ‘battery of a police officer’. What a classy guy. If there was one NHL player that is straight up dumb enough to push a cop, my vote would have to be for Sean Avery...
"Where Do I Go To Get My Reputation Back?"
— the question asked by Ray Donovan, Reagan's Labor Secretary, after he was found not guilty of corruption charges

Avery Cleared of L.A. Charges

Sean Avery was right when he said, I'm all right, I'm good, and it'll all work out at some point, regarding his run-in with the LAPD at his house party. All charges following his arrest in Los Angeles on August 5th, following a party at his home, have been dropped., the LA gossipmonger, who first made the unsubstantiated report that Avery taunted the police, did some fast backtracking today.

NHL Badass Sean Avery Off the Hook In Police Battery Case --
But according to law enforcement sources, a further investigation revealed that no officer was ever actually pushed.

We're told the officer who made the battery report did so after his foot was caught in Avery's front door -- and multiple witnesses have corroborated the story.

According to sources, police don't believe it's appropriate to charge Avery -- and agree the matter would be best handled by an informal meeting with the L.A. City Attorney, who's expected to officially close the case ... without prosecution.
Wow... So the officer got his foot stuck in the door and was not shoved. The truth will set you free. Also, that bogus allegation from TMZ about Avery taunting the police looks like it was pure fiction. Piling on seems to be TMZ's forte. They'll get fifteen yards for unsportsmanlike conduct and that's about it.

Larry Brooks of the NY Post had tried and convicted Avery. He wrote, "But there is no excuse for what happened in Laurel Canyon on Friday night, whether it was criminal or not." So Avery held a house party and a police officer tripped. There is no excuse for that? Thank you lynch mob Larry.

Rangerland also did not paint a pretty picture for Sean a couple of weeks ago. Some said he was living on his 9th life. Some said everything about his future was in question. Some said, the alleged incident was an embarrassment to himself and the Rangers, and the "incident only furthers Avery’s chances of being demoted to the minors." Puck Central for example, speculated that Avery was drunk and that the presumption of innocence has not "been true anywhere for a VERY long time." Yikes.

So, many in Rangerland overreacted and lost their cool and objectivity. Sean Avery was more professional than the "professionals". Today's announcement that the charges have been dropped validates the cool, calm, collected Sean Avery that we have come to love. Viva la Sean.

Regarding the alleged shoving incident and taunting (BS allegation by TMZ) of the police that Sean made, we had put on our journalistic hat here at the RangerPundit and wrote on August 5th:
Of course, TMZ is always one to stir the pot and they sometimes make stuff up. They are the only ones so far reporting the alleged "Fat Little Pigs" taunt. Please remember in this great country a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And there are always two sides to every story. The media is famous for convicting people before all the facts are known.
That's exactly what happened. The media and the quick trigger bloggers had Avery convicted and sent up the river (Connecticut River to Hartford).

Sean we never doubted you. By-the-way, can we get an invite to your next party in NYC?

Jesse Spector / Blueshirts Blog - NY Daily News:
Sean Avery will not face charges in L.A. --
Through the team, Avery declined to comment, as did the organization itself.

Although there still is some time left in the off-season, this should cap what has been a very busy summer for Avery, beginning with the opening of his second Manhattan restaurant, a Tribeca bistro called Tiny’s. Avery also spent time publicly and successfully campaigning for gay marriage in New York State. Then, in a tumultuous week of inaccuracy, a Russian interview quoted Alex Frolov as saying his former teammate had used racial slurs on the ice, and the L.A. incident took place. Frolov told the Daily News that he had never said anything of the sort about Avery, and now the LAPD has dropped its case against him.
Note that story where Alex Frolov alleged Avery made racist remarks has also been retracted. Does Avery need a press agent to beat down all the cheap shots?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"I've got to admit its getting better ..."

It is hard for a Ranger's fan to be optimistic. No reason to explain why, if you are reading this in August you already know. However, if you are objective, you have to admit this year is going to be better than last.

First, there are a few major positive subtractions from the 2010-2011 opening roster: Drury, Frolov and Rozsival. Second, there are a few major positive additions: Richards, Wolski, Rupp and Erixon. Yes, there are other changes too, but these seven are the most significant.

Richards improves the power play immediately. He is a major improvement from Drury. Wolski was very quietly the best +/- of any Ranger forward and a huge step up from Frolov. Rozsival was painful to watch - Erixon will be a joy. We mourn the loss of Boogaard and his quality penalty minutes. Rupp will take those penalty minutes and chip in ten goals.

Goals gained? Richards over Drury - 20-25. Wolski over Frolov - even. Rupp over Boogaard - 10. Gabby, with a real center - 10. And, nothing will be lost on defense.

Further analysis? Rupp will improve the 3rd and 4th lines as Prust and Avery will not have to be the only bad guys. Prust and Avery can play hockey and finally will be allowed to do that. Richards will make the first line and the power play much better. Now we have a first unit and a second unit. And, the Callahan-Anisimov-Dubinsky line will no longer face the best defensive line. Wolski might just get 20 goals (even 25) if he is on the first line. Gabby will be back at 30+ goals. The CAD line could even improve from 65 to 85 goals.

If this is right, and the Rangers score 40-60 more goals, while staying solid on defense, the Rangers will be in a top four team and part of the Stanley Cup conversation at year's end. However, I am not willing to go that far because Washington and Philly have improved in goal, the Devils will be back, and Pittsburgh will be healthy. So, we are not the only team that has improved in the Atlantic.

Prediction? We are not going to be a fun team to play against:

  • 2009-2010: 38-33-11     87 - 9th      222 GF 218 GA +4
  • 2010-2011: 44-33-5     93 - 8th      233 GF 198 GA +35
  • 2011-2012: 49-26-7    105 pts - 4th    263 GF 203 GA +60

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sk8On Hockey

Wojtek Wolski is still on the NY Rangers roster. Talk of him being the odd man out, and possibly getting a buy out have subsided this week. It's good to know that Wojtek is staying busy this offseason. A story out of Toronto reports that Wojtek is again attending Jari Byrski's SK8ON (Skate On) Hockey School. Wojtek has been going to hockey guru Byrski's school since he was 7.

Here is Wojtek Wolski's testimonial about SK8ON:
SK8ON has been the hockey school of my choice since I started playing hockey at the age of 7. Jari has made hockey fun by providing a great environment, which boosted my confidence and helped me mature over the years both as a hockey player and as a person. From private lessons, summer camps, and weeknight skates, each time I step on the ice with Jari I seem to learn something I can use in game situations. SK8ON hockey school has allowed me to excel at every level of hockey and made me into the player I am today.”
Many other NHL players, such as Jason Spezza, Michael Cammalleri, and Steven Stamkos, have gone to see Jari Byrski. Here is Eric Staal's testimonial about SK8ON:
SK8ON Hockey Camp helped me improve on my stick handling and skating, I really enjoyed it and I am glad I had the opportunity to be part of Jari’s unique drills. The instructors are great and there is a lot to learn with SK8ON.”
The interesting thing about Byrski is that he gave up playing competitive hockey at age 13 or 14. He says it was because he “didn’t have the work habits” to become an elite player.

Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star does a nice profile of Jari Byrski and the SK8ON Hockey School, Stars align for local hockey guru:
Jason Spezza, the Mississauga-bred centre for the Ottawa Senators, walked into a dressing room recently. Before he sat down, he hopped over the equipment bag belonging to Mike Cammalleri, the Montreal Canadiens forward, and settled into a spot across from Jeff Skinner, the NHL rookie of the year, and Wojtek Wolski, the New York Rangers winger.

Why was the foursome of pros, slated to make a combined salary of about $20 million next season, spending a summer’s day at the decaying Vaughan Iceplex, where the goal nets, like the walls, have holes? They were there to see Jari Byrski, the noted skill development coach...

The 28-year-old Spezza, who has been attending Byrski’s on-ice classroom since before he was a teenager, has witnessed first-hand the growth of Sk8On (pronounced Skate On), Byrski’s thriving hockey school. When Byrski isn’t packing his summer camps to waiting-list-only capacity with boys and girls as young as 6, he is booking time with NHLers referred to him by longtime clients...

If Byrski has differentiated himself in a crowded marketplace — and he says it took five or six years to establish a viable business — it’s as a proponent of no end of unconventional methods.

He’ll ask players to stickhandle with everything from a golf ball to a puck that weighs twice the regulation six ounces. His most advanced charges toe-drag and zigzag through complicated gauntlets of pylons and pucks and stick shafts. Stamkos, who can currently make an argument that he’s the best player in the world, calls some of Byrski’s drills “almost impossible to do.” ...
Jari Byrski wearing the 2010 Olympic Gold Hockey Medal: "Congrats to Eric Stall and Rick Nash"
The Garden makeover is going 24x7. Checkout the circular Rangers locker room in the video.

Marc Berman / NY Post:
Tour shows new MSG will be unrecognizable --
About 1,200 construction workers are transforming the Garden round the clock on three separate shifts spanning the 24-hour day.

Even after just one summer and the first of three phases, the Garden will be an unrecognizable place in late October when the doors reopen for the first time, whether it be for a Rangers or Knicks preseason game. (Bet on the Rangers opening the place).

The three-summer project will cost Dolan at least $850 million. There’s no taxpayer money but that well-publicized 49-percent season-ticket hike...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

It's All Good After Visit to LA Penalty Box

After spending over 5 hours in the real penalty box Sean Avery is sanguine after his little altercation with LA's finest early Friday morning. He told the NY Post that "I'm all right, I'm good," and "it'll all work out at some point."

NY Post:
Rangers' Avery busted in LA cop fight --

"I'm all right, I'm good," a relaxed, smiling Avery, 31, told The Post at his Spanish bungalow in the West Hollywood hills after posting $20,000 bond on the battery charge.

"It'll all work out at some point," predicted Avery, whose on- and off-ice antagonism toward opponents and coaches have made him one of the NHL's most-hated players during his career.

On Thursday night, Avery was hosting a soiree for about 10 guests at his home, neighbors said.

Although there was "some loud talking" and "music," several neighbors said they were not bothered by the noise.

But one neighbor was bothered -- and called cops...

Avery is due to appear in Los Angeles court Sept. 2. He faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

"We will discuss this matter with Sean, and have no further comment at this time," said Rangers spokesman John Roscasco...
Great. If Sean is not worried, we won't worry.

TMZ the LA gossipmonger, apparently in honor of Sean Avery putting ice hockey back on the front page, put together a nice collection of hockey fight photos. The Rangers' Brandon Prust is prominently featured.
Hockey Fights --

During the summer Prust tweeted that the fight with Mike Rupp was the one he hurt his shoulder in, but he had no hard feelings.

Twitter / BrandonPrust8:
nope! Altho that's the fight I hurt my shoulder in! rt “ watched the Prust Rupp fight from last year, no hard feelins?

Friday, August 05, 2011

Sean Avery Arrested: Allegedly taunted and then shoved a police officer

Oops has he done it again? Just heard on ESPN news that Sean Avery was arrested in Los Angeles for "battering" (or shoving) a policeman. Saw this TMZ exclusive:
NHL Star Taunted Police 'FAT LITTLE PIGS' --
NHL star Sean Avery challenged cops to a FIGHT when they responded to his Hollywood Hills home this morning ... calling them, "Fat little pigs" ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

We're told cops were dispatched to the home over a complaint about loud music -- and when they arrived to Avery's pad, the hockey star was NOT happy to see them.

Sources tell us 31-year-old Avery immediately began running his mouth at the cops -- telling them he would fight all of them ... even challenging them to, "Come back without your badges."

During the incident, Avery -- who famously dated Elisha Cuthbert a while back -- allegedly shoved an officer and slammed the front door on the cops.

We're told cops began speaking with Avery through the door -- and warned him that if he didn't open the door, they would break it down. That's when Avery decided to open up and cooperate.

As TMZ first reported, Avery was hauled to a nearby station and booked for battering a peace officer. He has since been released after posting bail.
Of course, TMZ is always one to stir the pot and they sometimes make stuff up. They are the only ones so far reporting the alleged "Fat Little Pigs" taunt. Please remember in this great country a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And there are always two sides to every story. The media is famous for convicting people before all the facts are known.

People Magazine added this to the story:
The arrest took place at 1 a.m, said the rep. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood division also confirmed the arrest, and said on Friday morning, "He is in jail and still here – he will be bailing out shortly. He battered one of our officers."

Police were responding to noise complaints when Avery, 31, was arrested. "He didn't want to turn down the music at his home," said the Hollywood Police rep.

The hockey star's bail reportedly was set at $20,000.
Here is an ESPN story snip:
Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Jorge Pardo tells City News Service that a neighbor's noise complaint sent police to the home at about 1 a.m. local time Friday.

Pardo said Avery answered the front door, shoved an officer and slammed the door but cooperated when officers knocked a second time.

The officer wasn't injured.

Avery, 31, was booked on suspicion of battery on a police officer. He remained jailed Friday morning on $20,000 bail.
Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants provided a timeline of the incident:
The LAPD lists the arrest time as 12:30 a.m., the booking time as 2:58 a.m. and the release time as 8:10 a.m. The arrest was made by the LAPD-Hollywood Division.
Some already want to put nails in Sean's coffin. We'll see how this all plays out.
Update / ICINGS:

Some reports say that Sean Avery's address in Los Angeles is 8028 Highland Trail, Los Angeles / Hollywood, CA 90046. Here is a Google Maps Street View of the address. The house is on a narrow single lane road and the houses are very close.

This address is currently listed for sale on
Single Family, Spanish - Los Angeles (City), CA

Charming Spanish bungalow with city view in great central location. Classically updated throughout. From living room, French doors open onto a spacious, wrap-around deck. Large master suite with gorgeous bath and walk-in closet. Large second bedroom with attached bath. Motivated seller and priced to sell quickly!

Price: $929,000
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 partial
Property type: Single-Family Home
Size: 1,607 sqft
Price/sqft: $578/sqft
Year built: 1925
Added on Trulia: 63 days ago - has the same house listed for rent
2nd updated:

From Twitter it appears that Sean Avery's girlfriend, Hillary Rhoda, and model Heidi Mount were at the party:

Twitter / Hillary Rhoda [Aug 4th]:
Landed in LA! Brisk night... perrrfect
Twitter / Heidi Mount [Aug 4th]:
Its only cause you buy those cute little cans!"@imseanavery: Excuse u @heidimount please stop drinking all my @DietCokeUS w/ @HilaryHRhoda"
Twitter / Sean Avery [Aug 3rd]:
Excuse u @heidimount but please stop drinking all my @DietCokeUS with @HilaryHRhoda

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Memo to Torts:

Here is another interesting way to show how pathetic the Rangers offense was this last season and how great Henrik Lundqvist and the defense were. It is done by looking at the team Corsi Rating. The Corsi Rating or Number is named after current Buffalo Sabres Goaltending Coach, Jim Corsi. Corsi devised his rating system as an alternative to the traditional +/- rating.

The Rangers had a team Corsi Rating of -41 for the 2009/10 season, that ranked 18th in the league. This last 2010/11 season it dropped even lower to -116, 20th in the league. So by this measure the offense was worse.

However, this last season the team made the playoffs, but they did not in the prior 2009/10 season. The improvement from 2009/10 to 2010/11 can all be attributed to Henrik Lundquist's great goaltending and the very solid defensive play in front of him.

This Corsi Rating is also prime evidence that all of the offensive line changes that coach John Tortorella made over the course of last season proved to be worthless. In fact, they made things worse, and did not help the offense a whiff. Maybe Torts should just give up on the line shuffling, go to the trap, and truly become the NY Ranvils. His gut has certainly proven it is not an offensive genius.

Memo to Torts:

Lock down your line combinations early and let'em ride, Maestro.
The Puck Stops Here blog nicely explains Corsi ratings and breaks down the numbers:
Team Corsi Ratings --
This is the difference between attempted shots (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) for and against for the different teams at 5 on 5. These numbers do a very good job of capturing how well various teams do at puck possession. Better Corsi ratings mean better puck possession.

Of course puck possession is not everything in hockey. A team can do significantly better or worse as a result of goaltending, special teams or other reasons. Generally teams that do significantly better or worse in the standings than their Corsi ratings show cannot keep it up the next season...
2010/11 Team Corsi Ratings
1San Jose Sharks
2Detroit Red Wings
3Chicago Blackhawks
4Pittsburgh Penguins
19   Nashville Predators
20   New York Rangers
21   Philadelphia Flyers
The New York Rangers and Philadelphia... They were both playoff teams. The Rangers exceeded their Corsi on the strength of Henrik Lundqvist’s goaltending. Philadelphia was a bit more of a fluke. They didn’t have strong goaltending. Big changes were made in Philadelphia in the off season, so it will be hard to directly compare with next year, but they were not as good as their standing showed last year, so the team can be improved talentwise and still wind up with fewer points. However, I don’t think they have improved their talent levels, so this team could drop a bit...
Jasper's Rink:
A Brief Intro To The Corsi Number 

Inside Hockey:
The Corsi Rating and Zone Start

The Stanley Cup winning Boston Bruins, America's team, only had 2 Americans and 17 Canadians on it. The Vancouver Canuncks, Canada's team, had 6 Americans and 17 Canadians.

The Rangers will be a team with a bunch of American born players: Dubinsky, Callahan, Boyle, McDonagh, Rupp, Sauer, Stephan. Hoo..rah...

Nice Rant: Amerida!

via the GoonBlog

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Coliseum Collapse and the King's Hangout

Tough news for the Islanders, the Coliseum plan is rejected in Nassau County. But, austerity is the word of the day. If this was truly a good idea financially, why aren't the banks lending the money to Wang?

Voters reject new Coliseum plan --

Nassau County residents Monday rejected a plan to borrow up to $400 million for a new Nassau Coliseum and minor league baseball park.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the vote was 57 percent against to 43 percent for the referendum, according to the Board of Elections website.

"The people of Nassau County have spoken and I can take joy in knowing that we celebrated democracy today," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano told supporters at the Coliseum Monday night.

"Over the course of the past several weeks, we all learned a lot about our county and what is needed to improve our local economy," he said. "I can tell you this, tonight is not the end of our journey, but merely the beginning. In the coming weeks I will explore a path for new opportunities and growth in Nassau County."

Islanders owner Charles Wang , speaking after Mangano, said, "I have to tell you I'm disappointed and to put it very bluntly, I'm heartbroken. I have to tell you it's a very emotional day for us."

Wang said that, despite the disappointment, "we're committed to the Nassau Coliseum until 2015. We will honor our lease."...
As a reference point here is a note from Wikipedia explaining how Jerry Jones built the $1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium:
Originally estimated to cost $650 million, the stadium's current construction cost was $1.15 billion, making it one of the most expensive sports venues ever built. To aid Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones in paying the construction costs of the new stadium, Arlington voters approved the increase of the city's sales tax by 0.5 percent, the hotel occupancy tax by 2 percent, and car rental tax by 5 percent. The City of Arlington provided over $325 million (including interest) in bonds as funding, and Jones covered any cost overruns. Also, the NFL provided the Cowboys with an additional $150 million loan, as per their policy for facilitating financing for the construction of new stadiums...
Maybe the overpaid Gary Bettman should have had the NHL kick in a few bucks to help build the thing.The NFL contributed 13% of the cost of Cowboys Stadium. If the NHL had put in $40 million, or 10% of Wang's project, the public total would have been $360 million. Take out the minor league ball park, or save it for later, and get the public cost down below $300 million, would that have made a difference?

Stan Fischler weighs in with some options:
Columnist and sports-business authority, Evan Weiner points out that a number of cities across the country, appeared doomed to lose their teams because of arena issues but, in the end, solutions were found.

"Seattle said no to baseball in 1994," Weiner tells me, "and then the city opened a new ball park in 1999. Charlotte said no to a new arena and then wound up opening a new one. Pittsburgh said no to baseball and football stadiums and opened new ones. 'No' is never no!"

In terms of the Islanders, several possibilities are available: As one former NHL team president tells me: "Charles Wang has a good, solid site in Uniondale and there are the resources on Long Island to get it done in one way or another. It's there to be done but it will take time and work." ...

The King is in King.

Henrik Lundqvist is interviewed by the Swedish King Magazine (Modemmagasinet). The translation is a little rough, but you'll learn that one of his favorite hangouts in New York, other than his apartment and his new restaurant, is the Standard Hotel Beer Garden.

Standard Hotel Beer Garden: the outdoor Biergarten, located underneath the High Line, which features a classic German menu complete with the finest sausages, flavorful beers, and delicious pretzels. It is at 848 Washington St.; 212-645-4646. Sounds good to me.

The Biergarten is under the High Line Park, which runs under and through the Standard Hotel, only in New York baby.

The Henrik Lundqvist Blog:
Henrik Lundqvist King Magazine Interview -- Full day with Henke...

Monday, August 01, 2011

Good-bye Hockey on Versus

Before Versus was Versus it was the Outdoor Life Network (OLN). It changed to Versus back in September 2006. Now it will become NBC Sports. I think the name change helps the NHL. Versus seemed like an oddball name/network, re-naming as NBC Sports makes things much clearer.

John Ourand / Sporting News:
Exit Versus, enter the NBC Sports Network --

Versus officially will turn into the NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2.

The name change, which has been rumored for much of the last year, is timed to coincide with NBC’s broadcast of the NHL Winter Classic and the run-up to NBC’s February telecast of Super Bowl XLVI.

“Our goal is for anyone who sees the name or logo of one of our assets to immediately connect with NBC Sports,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus. He will officially announce the name change today at the Television Critics Association tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.

NBC’s other sports channels will not be part of this rebranding. Golf Channel will keep its name, which already has been integrated into NBC’s golf telecasts (“Golf Channel on NBC”)...

Of course, now that the NHL is back on a "major" network expect Gary Bettman to ask for another raise.
If he were a player, Bettman might be bought out, buried in the minors, or traded to Florida by now. Instead, he keeps on getting richer without much in the way of an explanation except that being a commissioner is obviously a very lucrative position no matter how effective you are at it...

New York Rangers (@NYRangers) | Twitter

NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) | Twitter

NHL on TNT (@NHL_On_TNT) | Twitter

The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) | Twitter

Blueshirt Banter (@BlueshirtBanter) | Twitter

NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) | Twitter

Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) | Twitter

NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) | Twitter

Stephen Valiquette (@VallysView) | Twitter