Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Season the Wasn't - updated

Winter stinks with Empty Rinks - NHL Lockout Support Group Meetings

Count your blessing, maybe it's all for the best that our Blueshirts are taking the season off. Because according to, which is running a simulation of the season and the games that weren't played, the Rangers are having a mediocre year.

The Rangers currently stand 4th in the Atlantic Division and are 9th in the Eastern Conference, on the outside hoping to get in. It should be and exciting 2nd half. Will they make it?

NHL 2012-13 Atlantic Standings as of Dec 26

2012-13 NHL Eastern Conference Standings as of Dec 26

No surprise, Rich Nash leads the Rangers in scoring. However, Lundvist is having an off year, according to the algorithm, probably because he's changing diapers at all hours.

NHL 2012-13 -- Rangers scoring stats as of Dec 26th

Friday, December 21, 2012

Birthday Thoughts

So maybe the Mayans aren't as smart as we think. The world is still here. I have to check it out maybe they were talking about the NHL and hockey. Oh yes, you remember hockey? So my birthday falls on an epic day. But the 21st of December is a historic date. The first day of winter. Solstice. And of course my birthday.

The mayor of New York, Michael B(l)oomberg, was beating his chest about New Yorkers living into their 80's because of all the wonderful things he has done. The great bloviator completely ignored the great job done by the medical profession and wonderful  institutions like Sloan Kettering and St. Francis hospitals.

But I digress. This is the third lockout in 17 years for the NHL The first in 1994-95 permanently cemented the NHL and hockey as a minor disturbance on the sports scene. The second in 2004-05 resulted in no season. Did anyone notice? This one has the potential to be another zero. No hockey.

The two sides can't get together. The top guy says it's my way or the highway. No, I'm not talking about Washington, I'm talking about hockey. You know, these owners must have a lot of money to walk away and shut down the season if they don't get what they want. But how about the rest of the people?

How about the peasants? The people who run the local pubs, the sports shops, the coffee shops, etc. Who is representing them? Certainly not the lame stream media. For New Yorkers it may be a break. We already have a variety of stiffs in the other sports. Has anyone caught the Mets or Jets lately?

So in about five hours, New York time, the world will survive and life will go on. My hockey will consist of watching my grandson Nicholas and the T/Birds. The world? As I told my granddaughter Kaila, there is no way your grandfather will allow the world to end on my birthday. The world? No. Hockey? Yes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

There's Hockey Being Played Somewhere

It's December and there is always hockey being played somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

This video from the SKA Saint Petersburg team of the KHL has been floating around for a few weeks, but all the same it's still very catchy.

The 'SKA Sisters' do their best to get St. Peterburgians worked up to cast KHL All-Star votes for the SKA players featured in the video including: Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ Devils), Evgeny Artyukhin (Atlanta Thrashers), and Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo Sabres). Good luck with that.

Petr Průcha still gets no respect. He has played for SKA since 2010.
He has 6G and 3A in 18 games this season.

By the way do those SKA jersey colors look familiar?

Anyway, someone please remind me again why the Rangers promote 'Dancing Larry' instead of a feminine alternative?

via @NJDSwarmItUp / Swarm It Up (NJ Devils) / @AerysSports -- The only online sports network run entirely by women. Every sport. Every team.

More YouTube (and here) of the Sisters doing their thing for SKA. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Hockey? What's That?

Do you notice the outrage over the absence of NHL hockey in our lives? Oh, you missed it? It's about as loud as the outrage over the unemployment rate in the US and the world. Oh, you missed that one too. Does anyone care? Don't get the idea that I'm comparing joblessness to a hockey lockout. No way. I'm just relating the level of interest in both. For joblessness it is pathetic. For hockey it is laughable.

Hockey became more laughable with the news that the Absentee Owner of the Rangers is getting involved in the hockey negotiations. This is after Fed negotiators got involved. More laughs. But, no one cares. Most of the NHL players are playing in Europe and the lame street media are preoccupied with other sports like college football and if the Jets win another game, or will Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens make the Hall of Fame. Remember, Bonds won 7 MVP's and Clemens won 7 Cy Young's. But their elections are in doubt because of the suspicion that they were using something besides B-12 vitamins.

But the big interest in the hockey lockout is the lack of interest. This is not surprising. Since its inception hockey has always been a niche sport. Strong in Canada, spotty and limited in the U.S. It has picked up below the NHL level in the U.S. with more and more young people and High Schools picking up the sport. States like Minnesota and Massachusetts led the early spurt but now most schools, especially in the Northern states have hockey teams.

So if you are like me you are getting your hockey 'ad hoc'. Mine is watching my grandson, Nicholas, play for the Connetquot Sayville Thunderbird Freshman team. I've only seen a couple of games and the team is doing okay, 9-4-1, but it is enjoyable to watch and guess what? All the kids play and seem to have fun. When was the last time you saw the Rangers play and thought they had fun? You think coach disagreeable has fun? You think the guys who play for him have fun? Especially the guys who 'dog it' while nursing their injuries.

Lockout? Strike? Who cares? I don't.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Getting hosed by the hosers, eh?

We are getting hosed... Take off, eh?

Doug: "Oh boy, we got hosed. We could have done that ourselves eh."
Bob: "No."
Doug: "Why not?"
Bob: "I don't know how."
Doug: "That's a good point.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This is a test...

This is a test.. if there had been an actual NHL game you would...
This is a test. For the next .... days, this blog will conduct a test of the Emergency Blogging System. This is only a test.

If there had been an actual NHL game, you would have been instructed to tune to one of the hockey blogs in your area.

This concludes this test of the Emergency Blogging System.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Shysters

Shyster: One who is professionally unscrupulous: a pettifogger-to do a law business in a petty or tricky way.

My first recollection of this is when I was a kid and the great Joe DiMaggio who just had another fantastic year was asking for a raise and GM George Barrows wanted to cut his salary because "our young boys are fighting a war".

So who is fighting a war now? The NHL owners under the leadership of Gary Bettman want the players to cut their share of the revenue by 17% so the big benevolent owners can continue to live the good life and the joke is that most of them can't spell or understand negotiation.

But I'm not taking sides here. I'm not stepping in front of two millionaires to say who is right and who is wrong. It's Buffett vs Trump. There are no losers. The losers here are the fans. Oh yeah, they are doing this for the fans. It's like the school teachers union striking for the kids. Give us more money and we will love your kids more. Cut your share players and the fans will be more happy.

So we sit and wait as Bettman orchestrates his third work stoppage in eight years. Bettman the commissioner. I always thought that commissioners were supposed to represent the entire league, owners and players. Not so. They are the pawns of the owners and there is no place more evident of this, than the NHL.

Scotty Hockey has put out a post identifying other areas of hockey to checkout during the lockout. Read the post. Me, I'm all set and it starts tonight at the Rinx in Hauppauge where my grandson Nicholas takes the ice with his T/Birds teammates of Connectquot/Sayville High School freshman team opening game against West Islip, my home town. Should be interesting.

One sad note. I read Hockey Rodent's farewell blog. I hope it's not true. The Rodent is a big force in the Ranger blogsphere and it would be a big loss to miss his insightfulness and analysis. Rodent you are the best. Say it isn't so. Don't let these bums drive you out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rangers 1971-72

Former Rangers forward Bill Fairbairn (NYR: 1969-77) attended the 30th annual Rangers Golf Outing as part of the 1971-72 team reunion and talked about his Blueshirt days:


Vic Hadfield (NYR: 1961-74), the first Ranger to score 50 goals in a season (1971-72), looked back on that 1971-72 season with Jim Cerny at the Rangers Golf Classic:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

That Was Quick

Six days ago the headline was that Rich Nash was close to a deal to play in Switerland. Five days ago the deal was signed with HC Davos of the Swiss National League. Ten hours ago Nash and his buddy Joe Thornton, "explode together in first game back in Switzerland."

Why can't we get players like that?

NBC Sports:

Rick Nash and Joe Thornton were teammates with HC Davos during the 2004-05 lockout and during their first game with the Swiss league team today, they showed that even years apart can’t kill chemistry.

Nash scored a natural hat trick in the first period and added an assist while Thornton assisted on all of his goals while adding a fourth as Davos took out Lakers 9-2. Oddly enough, their offensive explosion happened against former Avalanche goalie David Aebischer.

When the pair played together years ago, they led Davos to the Swiss league title. Clearly, they’re hoping the NHL lockout can last a little while longer.
The Nash-Thorton merchandise is apparently selling very well at the HC Davos store:

Thorton - Nash Jerseys at HC Davos

This lockout nonsense looks like it has knocked the legendary hockey blogger, The Hockey Rodent, out of the game. A big loss for all hockey fans. He's the best there is was.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

NHL Owners Not Unanimous in Lockout Decision

Stories, like the following one from the NY Daily News, reporting a unanimous decision by league owners for a lockout are not accurate according an informed source in Canada, who is very close to the ownership of a Canadian team.

NY Daily News, September 13, 2012:
NHL Board of Governors votes in favor of lockout...

The lockout is a lock.

The NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously Thursday at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Times Square to support Gary Bettman in the league’s collective bargaining negotiations, meaning they are behind the commissioner’s planned lockout of the players at 11:59 p.m. Saturday if a new agreement is not in place.

“When we were all done, I asked for a show of hands as to whether or not the room was in support of how we’ve been approaching negotiations,” Bettman said at a packed press conference. “One member asked for a formal motion, which was made, and seconded. The vote was taken. And it was unanimous.”...
According to the Canadian source, the vote was about 20 to 10, in favor of a lockout when the motion was first discussed on Thursday in New York. However, over several rounds of discussion and voting, the 10 or so owners who were initially against the lockout were worn down and convinced to go with the majority in a show of strength and solidarity by all the owners.

The ten or so owners, who initially voted against the lockout, were characterized by the source as being the owners, who were "filling their buildings" last season and were not facing financial hardship. You can also logically deduce that one of the owners voting against the lockout had a Canadian team.

Looking at the attendance figures for last season, here are the 16 NHL teams that were "filling their buildings" for every home game:




Los Angeles41734,73617,920100.0
NY Rangers41745,85218,191100.0
San Jose41720,07617,562100.0
ICINGS: The bottomline is that Gary Bettman is a liar. But, we knew that already. He will say or do anything to put the majority owners position in a positive light.

The 16 teams that are at 100% or better home attendance, and/or making money will be the key to deciding the outcome of the lockout. If these owners can put together a coalition of the profitable the lockout will end sooner rather than later.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Team Ranking$

Businessweek has put together an interesting graphic that measures the spending efficiency of all the major sports franchises. This includes all of the teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. All of the New York sports teams, except the Giants, are towards the bottom. No surprise there.

Bloomberg Businessweek:  
Smartest Spenders in Sports --

Behold our second annual ranking of how well the 122 franchises in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB spend their money. We’ve used payroll data (from USA Today,, NBC Sports, and to calculate how much teams spent per win over the last five seasons. (For baseball, we also include the first half of the current season.) We then compared every team against league average, producing a total score we call the efficiency index. The median score for every league is zero. The lower the score, the less a team spent for its wins.

This year, we’ve added bonuses for the victories that matter most: wins above .500, playoff wins, and championships. Our scale counts regular season wins once, with a half-win bonus for every win over .500. Playoff wins count for 10 percent of a season; championships for half a season. In their Super Bowl winning season in 2011, for instance, the New York Giants got credit for 9 regular season wins, plus a .5 game bonus for their ninth win—the one that put them above .500. Their 4 playoff wins earned them 6.4 more wins. And the Super Bowl victory 8 more, for a total of 23.9 “weighted” wins.
Detroit Red Wing - spending efficiency
  1. Tampa Bay Rays
  2. Texas Rangers
  3. Detroit Red Wings
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Boston Celtics
  6. Pittsburg Penquins
  7. New England Patriots
  8. Green Bay Packers
  9. New York Giants
  10. Boston Bruins
  11. Miami Marlins
  12. Philadelphia Flyers
  13. San Jose Sharks
  14. New Jersey Devils
  15. Washington Capitals
New York Ranger - spending efficiency

44. Milwaukee Brewers
45. ** New York Rangers **
46. Philadelphia Eagles


54. New York Jets
55. Dallas Cowboys


70. Boston Red Sox
71 Colorado Avalanche

New York Islander - spending efficiency

115. Brooklyn Nets
116. NY Knicks
117. Chicago Cubs
118. Toronto Maple Leafs
119. New York Islanders
120. New York Mets
121. Minnesota Timberwolves
122. St. Louis Rams

Sunday, August 26, 2012

R.I.P. "Bones"

Don 'Bones' Raleigh
I was stunned. I had finished dinner and sat down to write a story about Bill Moe and the news came across the wire that Don "Bones" Raleigh had passed away at the age of 86. So another piece of my life story has left me. I never knew Raleigh. Never had the pleasure of even an accidential meeting. But he was about as blue as any Blueshirt was, is or ever will be. He played ten years with the Rangers and no other NHL team.

He was 5'10" and weighed 150 pounds. They must have weighed him soaking wet after a game, with his skates on and his stick in his hand. He was the key force in the 1950 run to the Cup, playing all seven games on the road. The Rangers had two home games in Toronto. Raleigh had nine points in seven games and had two OT winners.

Listening to that game and the finish was the biggest disappointment of my hockey life. I still hear "our shot' ringing off the crossbar and somebody named Peter Babando score the Cup winner.

But nothing detracts from Raleigh, his perfortmance in that series and his performance as a Ranger. He had a good a run as any Ranger had or will have for a long, long time. We will not see the likes of a Don "Bones" Raleigh for a long time, if ever.

Our sincere condolences to the Raleigh family. Rest In Peace Don Raleigh, we will miss you.

God Bless You.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Diary of A Wimpy Commissioner - Aug. 23rd

Diary of A Wimpy Commissioner: Gary Bettman Edition

Another installment of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's take on the world and vice versa:

Gary Bettman Says 'Wide Gap' Still Exists on Fundamental Issues in NHL Labor Negotiations --
After cancelling a collective bargaining meeting on Wednesday, the NHL and the NHL Players' Association met for 90 minutes on Thursday. There's really no forward progress to report...

Bettman said there is a wide gap between the two sides, which are struggling to reach a common ground in the way of fundamental economic issues.

"The bigger point that I think we made [Thursday] goes to the fact that whether or not we're talking about these contract or system issues or we're talking about revenue sharing, it's clear that we're at a point where it's going to be difficult to move this process along until we deal with the fundamental economic issues, and certainly as it relates to the fundamental economic issue, we are far apart both in terms of magnitude and structure," Bettman told reporters.

This isn't good news for hockey fans, as a delayed start to the season is looking more and more likely...

The commissioner also called hockey fans the "world's greatest," while also emphasizing that the league survived the last lockout...
A Twitter sampling:


3rd Round Draft Pick:
Gary Bettman is a Diabolical Madman Who Must be Stopped -Pt 1
Gary Bettman is a Diabolical Madman Who Must be Stopped - Pt 2

Friday, August 17, 2012

Parsing Puppet Speak

Gary Bettman is the owner's diminutive sock puppet. He is also a very handsomely paid puppet.

NHL Executive SalariesGary Bettman's salary during the NHL's canceled 2004-05 season was $3.7 million. In 2010-11, according to the NHL's recent tax filings (via Sports Business Journal), Bettman's more than doubled to almost $8 million.

The owners obviously like how their sock puppet has been performing, because they are paying him so well.

So, as the NHL owners and NHLPA do their latest Kabuki theater, the best clues to figuring out how the drama will end will be coming from the puppet's mouth.

Jusin Piercy at CBC Sports has an article parsing the puppet speak, Gary Bettman's language of NHL labour talks, then & now:
The old adage is "it's not what you say, it's how you say it," but when it comes to the NHL's labour negotiations with the players' union, it could be argued that it's when you say it.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Wednesday that he believes comparing the work stoppage which wiped out the 2004-05 season to the current labour negotiations is essentially an exercise in futility.

Despite that claim, examining the language used by Bettman in these two periods of negotiations turned out to be an exercise in both contrast and similarities. That's because while the issues may not exactly be the same, the end result could very well become a mirror image...
Gary Bettman the Diminutive Puppet
Apples and oranges?

The difference in the CBAs between North American professional sports leagues has also been a hot topic during discussions in 2004 and 2012. It's also been looked at slightly differently in both cases:

Gary Bettman to reporters on Feb. 15, 2004, in St. Paul, Minn.:

"One has nothing to do with the other. Our economics are not baseball's economics. Our game is not baseball's game. Our owners are not baseball's owners, with one or two exceptions. Our union is not baseball's union.

"What we do has to be crafted and suited to address hockey, to address the NHL, to address our 30 teams and our 700-plus players."

Gary Bettman to reporters on Aug. 15, 2012, in Toronto:

"I think it's fair to say that we value the [union's] proposal and what it means in terms of its economics differently than the players' association does. And, I think there are still a number of issues where we're looking at the world differently. I'm not sure that there has yet been recognition of the economics in our world, and I mean the greater world and the sports industry, taking into account what recently happened with the NFL and the NBA.

"And, so there is still a wide gap between us with not much time to go … I do think it's fair to say that the sides are still apart, far apart, have different views of the world and the issues."

Breakdown: Bettman's comment in 2012 uses the imagery of work stoppage in other leagues to make his point, while in 2004 he dismissed the notion the NHL should follow in the footsteps of the MLB, saying it needs to plot its own course.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

NHLPA Asks for Less

Today the NHLPA presented their offer regarding a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to the league in Toronto. Union leader Donald Fehr indicated that their offer says the players are willing to accept less. Here is the press conference, which 23 players attended, including Alex Ovechkin and Sid Crosby:

NHLPA tables offer to league, says players willing to accept less --
The union says its proposal to the league includes a smaller percentage of revenues for players and an expanded revenue sharing program to help struggling teams.

Union leader Donald Fehr says players could give up as much as US$465 million in revenue under the proposal if the league continues to grow at an average rate. If the league grows at the rate it has over the past two seasons, he says the amount could reach $800 million...

Fehr also said the union's proposal does not call for the removal of the hard salary cap the league won in the last round of negotiations.

The NHLPA also proposed expanded revenue sharing to help financially struggling clubs, which could reach more that $250 million per year...

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Alas, the Cheap Seats

The Rangers had an increase in their 2011-12 season attendance by 0.5%. Not bad when compared to the Yankees and the Mets, who saw their attendance last season drop by 3% and 8.1% respectively. The bottomline is that MSG sells out almost every seat in the building when the Rangers play home games and they cannot stuff many more people into the building. This, of course, means that ticket prices will keep going up.

MSG averaged 18,192 paying customers for each of their 41 home games last season. Wikipedia lists the MSG hockey seating capacity at 18,200. So there was a grand total of around 348 unsold seats (18,200*41 - 745,852) for the Rangers during the entire 2011-12 season!

Alas, the cheap seats have all died and gone to heaven. Killed by the law of supply and demand.

From Crane's NY Business -- New York Area's Largest Professional Teams:

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Same Old Rangers?

The key question going into the 2012-2013 season is whether the Rangers with Nash and Kreider will be carbon copy of the shot blocking, defense first team of last year.

For those of us who look unkindly at how Coach Tortorella has sucked the life out of creativity and failed to make use of assets (i.e., Avery), there is strong reason to doubt that the addition of Nash and Kreider to the mix of top six forwards will matter.  However, even if the basic structure of the offense and defense remain the same (and I hope not), there are two huge differences between this team and last year's team.

The Left Wing Lock:  The Rangers lost to the Devils in the playoffs, and were outplayed by the Senators (and almost lost) because of the "left wing lock."  In most simple terms, it is a defensive system, sometimes confused with the neutral-zone trap. The main objective of the left-wing lock is to prevent an odd-man rush and create turnovers. You prevent the odd man rush by always having your left wing back along with the two defensemen when the opposition is breaking out.

Then, your two other forwards aggressively force the puck to the offensive teams left wall, "locking up" the opposing winger on the breakout.  This gives the defending team a better chance of causing a quick turnover, creating an odd-man advantage and a scoring opportunity.

Visualize two Devil forwards deep, forcing the Rangers defense to throw the puck along the left boards to a waiting Ranger wing and then preventing that Ranger forward from advancing by surrounding him with two defenders and a forward.  The Rangers break out play from their own zone has always been to come up the side boards - tailor made for the use of this strategy against them.

Nash will make a difference. Kreider (as the season progresses) will make a difference.  They are each big, strong left wings, who have the power to force the puck up the wall and the speed to force one of the defenders to stay back a little.  We should be able to get out of the zone better, and maintain possession more often.

The Power Play:  The Rangers power play conversion rate during the past year was a horrible: 15.7%.  The playoffs were better, at 17.8% - and 2 of those 13 goals were from Kreider.  Otherwise the percentage was 15.1%.  Nash adds even more to the power play.  83 of his 272 goals were on the power play.  He is willing to play in front of the net like Cally.  Plus, he is hard to move, great hands and can open the ice for Gabby.  A power play percentage of 20% is very possible, and with that fewer liberties will be taken at even strength.

One hopes that the Rangers will employ a more aggressive defense (say 2-1-2) instead of the box and shot blocking, at least with the first two lines on the ice, but whether Torts uses the new tools he has remains to be seen.  However, even if Torts fails to change, this will be a better team.  A team that is not yet the best in hockey, but should be one of the top five.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Savior Arrives

Well that old cunning, riverboat gambler, hustler, Stealth GM has done it again. He has brought another savior to New York and most of the blogs and the press are going gaga over it. I haven't read the press release yet and the news conference is just days away but you needn't read it or watch it because you have seen it before.

Remember, the architect of this deal is the man who came to the Big Apple thirteen years ago after declaring, "If I had the Rangers payroll, I'd win the Cup every year," or words to that effect. Well 13 years later he has not even been close, but he is still spending money like it's going out of style and he is still nowhere closer to that elusive Cup.

If he has not been successful it's not for a lack of trying. Prior to Nash is was Brad Richards. Brad played for our coach in Tampa and had won a Cup with him so naturally he would be a great fit. However, he piled up his worst point total in three years and at best was streaky and not the consistent Brad we all followed. Before that it was Marian Gaborik, who actually had a great year, considering he played hurt and was berated and benched by Sir Torts. Forty-one goals, thirty-five assists and he even blocked a shot now and then.

Then there was the great Jaromir Jagr, who tried valiantly, set a Ranger goal scoring record and last year toiled for the Flyers. Then, not necessary in order of appearance, we had Lindros, Fleury, Bure, Nedved, Gretzky and even Mark Messier came back for an encore. I probably forgot a few, but they all came to deliver and they all left leaving the team well short of making the Cup finals.

But this one is different. That's also a familiar phrase. This is Rick Nash. The great Rick Nash who has played mightily for a very bad team and is now coming to do his thing on Broadway. But we can't call him Broadway Nash because we have Broadway Brad. Maybe we can call him 'No Frills' Nash. Last year was his lowest goal scoring year in the last four with 30 and his lowest point scoring in the last four, 59. So are we getting this superstar on the way down?

Rick is only 28 years old and in his second year won the Maurice "The Rocket" Richards trophy. Also, he was the acknowledged star of a weak team and is coming to a team that does not have an offensive bent to its game. Rick, at 6'4" and weighing 218 lbs, will have to learn how to block shots. He'll have to get dirty in the corners. he'll have to get back on defense. After all that's what killed Gretzky. Could you imagine Gretzky playing for this stiff?

So there we have it. Remember, hope springs eternal. However, hope couldn't block shots either and gave up trying. Knowing Rick Nash, he won't give up so easily but the question remains. Could a player of Rick Nash's talents fit in with a team that has no concept of how to play offense and no idea of what a power play is supposed to look like? The men who run the Garden are going to ask you to cough up a lot of cannolis to see if the great experiment is going to work. To see if offensive players like Gaborik, Richards and Nash can turn into stone like defensive rocks. This coach would have killed players like Gretzky and the Great Rocket. Or maybe the Rocket would have killed him.

The Savior Cometh!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

To Trade Or Not To Trade?

It will cost a big can of Scungilli for Rick Nash
That is the question. Never forgot the line from my early English literature. Okay, so I am taking poetic license and stretching it. It has been a very dull and boring free agency. The Stealth has a plan to win the Cup. While other GM's are blowing all their Scungilli on high powered front-liners the Stealth is gathering up all the fourth liners: Halpern, Pyatt, Asham, Haley. Watch out Rupp and Boyle. Is Blair Betts available? It should be a lively camp watching eight guys fighting for three positions.

Maybe the Stealth is correct. The Columbus GM wants the house and the in ground swimming pool for his supposed elusive star, Nash. McDonagh, Stepan and Kreider plus prospects. For what? For a guy who doesn't even know how to block shots. Stupid Nash. He thinks that is the goalie's job. You know what? Nash is right. But the Stealth is right too. I wouldn't trade any one of those guys for Nash. Stepan and Kreider will be top six forwards, provided they don't get maimed trying to block a shot.

I was browsing the hockey blogs and ended up checking out Ranger Nation. It's written by Glen Miller and naturally with a name like that I thought I would get "in the mood" and read it. Well, he picks his favorite Rangers and Sean Avery is his number 12. He has a YouTube of Sean Avery annoying the Devils and Marty. It's a classic. Watch it. There is no way that the Rangers would have lost to the Devils if Sean had been in the lineup. No way. Chalk up another loss for coach disagreeable. He's not only disagreeable, he is stupid.

But now a more pleasant note. My youngest grandchild, Allessa, qualified for a shot at the Junior Olympics at Rutgers by swimming the Gold qualifying time in a 200 meter freestyle race at Princeton. These young ones keep Grandpa Pundit very happy and are a welcome respite from the woeful Rangers' management. Go get 'em girl!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Goon Glory

Seann William Scott doing what a "Goon" does best.

Here is your recommended summer hockey fix: watch the movie Goon.
"Goon is a crude slapstick comedy with well-formed characters and a surprising amount of heart." -- Rotten Tomatoes
Alan Sepinwall /
Movie Review: Seann William Scott is a funny, moving hockey 'Goon' --
What makes "Goon" work so well is that it simultaneously celebrates the tradition of the hockey goon even as it's pointing out the absurdity of it. It's ridiculous that this is an accepted part of a major sport, and yet it is, and from Doug's point of view, the job finally gives him a purpose. He's not excited to beat people up (though he's great at it); he's excited by the chance to be part of a team, and to protect his teammates.

The movie walks that knife edge in Doug's personal life, too, as he gets into a romance with a hockey groupie played by Alison PIll (in a role that gives her much more spark and strength than she's allowed to show on "The Newsroom"). The movie doesn't try to hide the fact that Doug is dumb bordering on simple, but it also shows us repeatedly that he's a nice, sweet guy, and this is perhaps the most endearing performance of Scott's career.

The one specific about the movie I want to discuss involves the use of Liev Schreiber as Ross Rhea, a legendary NHL hockey goon who's finishing out the final season of his career in the same minor league as Doug. Inevitably, the two meet, but it happens first away from the ice:

Goon Trailer

Monday, July 09, 2012

Lundqvist does #Bluesteel

From Henrik Lundqvist on Twitter:

Thought it might be time to change my profile photo. Going with the pic I send for Zoolander audition. Almost got the part.. Lol

RangerPundit: How to Do the "Blue Steel" Pose

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rangers 2012 Draft

Rangers 1st-Round Pick: Brady Skjei, Defenseman (l) and 2nd-Round Pick: Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, Ctr/LW (r)

Rangers 4th-Round Pick: Calle Andersson, Defenseman (l) and 5th-Round Pick: Thomas Spelling, RW (r)
Discussion of draft picks:

Goal Line Report:
A Review of the Rangers’ 2012 Draft Picks with Jess Rubenstein

Scotty Hockey:
Quick 2012 Ranger Draft Recap

Blue Seat Blogs:
Why the 2012 draft was a clear win

Blueshirt Banter:
2012 NHL Entry Draft: Some Final Thoughts On The Rangers Draft

Bleacher Report:
NY Rangers 2012 Draft Results: What This Means for the Future of the Blueshirts

Buzzing the Net:
NHL draft tracker: Brady Skjei -- Brady Skjei knows he needs to develop a mean streak.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kings Are Crowned

(L-R) Mike Richards #10 and Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings hold up the Stanley Cup after the Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
The Los Angeles Kings pose with the Stanley Cup during a group photo after the Kings win Cup
Goaltenders Jonathan Quick #32 of the LA Kings and Martin Brodeur #30 of the NJ Devils shake hands after the Kings defeated the Devils
A young Los Angeles Kings fan holds up a sign after the LA Kings win the Cup

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Still Ticking And Clicking!

Will history be made, or is it will history be tied? The Devils are making a nice comeback from a 3-0 hole and are trying to duplicate the feat of the 1942 Toronto Maple leafs who came back from 3-0 against the Red Wings and swept the last four games to win the Cup. Game six is in LA and the Kings should wrap it up there. Or should I say the Kings must wrap it up there. I hope so. I've had enough of the Marty Brodeur saga.

The Hockey Writers blog has a nice article on the 1940 Stanley Cup Champion Rangers and the thought that they were the greatest Ranger team ever assembled. They won the Cup in six games and the last four were on the road. The writer makes a strong case and notes that six of the players are in the Hockey Hall of fame. Dave Kerr, the goalie was on the cover of Time magazine. I once mispoke and said that Chuck Rayner was on the cover and that was my error. Anyway, my all-time team was the 1950 Rangers who didn't quite make it while playing all seven games on the road. If you get a chance, read the article.

The other day the most disagreeable and now discredited coach was on a radio show and spouted off something to the effect that he doesn't pay attention to the idiots who write blogs and tweet. Oh most disagreeable one, does that mean you read them? One of my sources has told me that most sportswriters read through blogs before posting their stories. Now we know that so do coaches.

And speaking of disagreeable, how about the surgery that the much maligned Gaborik had to go through for his aching shoulder that bothered him for months. Months that he was subjected to veil threats, benchings and being blasted in the newsprint. What a coach. Worse yet, what a poor excuse for a human being. The humiliation that Gaborik suffered with the long bench time and the insinuations. "It's time for the big players to start playing big." With a shoulder separation no less.

On a pleasant note, hockey is not over for The Pundit. Good news that grandson Nicholas has won a roster spot on the Connetquot-Sayville High School freshman team. Boy time flies. It was like only yesterday (actually nine years ago) that his Dad laced up the skates and made him hit the ice. So now he is a member of the Thunderbirds and another chapter in the life cycle is under way.

Go Thunderbirds!

Dave Kerr | Time Magazine | Mar. 14, 1938

Saturday, May 26, 2012

We're Not Tired – We're Dead!

I don't know what annoyed me more last night. Watching our first line getting outplayed by the Devils fourth line or the heavy traffic in front of Lundqvist and the relative stress free zone in front of Brodeur. Sure, we outshot the Devils, but too many shots were the pedestrian variety, right at Brodeur. In one instance a shot by Richards, which caught Brodeur in the middle of his body, brought the crowd to its feet with chants of Marty ringing in the air. I think the cheer was more to boost Marty than to praise him.

Our first line let us down again; Richards, Gaborik and Hagelin. The Devils took them completely out of the game. Of course, the Devils completely owned the first period. The fast start that was needed by the Rangers, that was talked about, was nonexistent. I believe we only scored one goal in the first period (in game 5) in this series and I believe the Devils scored eight times. Doesn't sound like a team ready to play. Of course, this puts enormous pressure on our goalie, Lundqvist, to keep the scoring to a minimum.

Speaking of traffic, the winning goal was scored off of a scrum in front of the net. What was Brad Richards doing behind Lunqvist? Standing off to Lundqvist's left he should have held his position and put his body on Henrique. But no, he moved behind Lundqvist and was useless on the deciding goal. But maybe it saved us all a long, long night because the offense was practically nonexistent. In fact, the offense has been bad all year long. The Tortorella master strategy has been blocked shots, and Lundqvist making big saves, and petulant press conferences.

The Garden is going to charge a fortune to see games next year. You want to pay 400 cannolis to watch a team block shots and suffer through a two or three goal game? I don't. I want to see hockey games. We have a coach that doesn't have a clue about how the offense works, about fixing the power play, about building a productive, useful fourth line. But, he has a team that risks life and limb to block shots.

Almost everyone is all excited by the play of Chris Kreider, who has scored five playoff goals. However, remember he has not been Tortorellaized. He has to be taught defense. He has to be taught how to block shots. We will see a different Kreider next year. Trust me

On the way home from Newark listening to the sports guys it was all, "wait 'til next year," when we will do all kinds of wondrous things. They talked about the team like it was the second coming of Stanley Cup Champions past. It ain't going to happen with this coach. It will be more of the same. The blocking shots technique is not going to work. Teams figure it out. Look at how the Devils were passing and faking shots and the success they had.

It was a long night and today has been even a longer day. I am tired and I am writing about a team, my team, who was very tired during the playoffs due to the misuse of key players. The coach will not and did not admit to his team being tired, but the results say it. The Rangers played like a tired team, because they were and now they are dead.



Friday, May 25, 2012

We'll Win Tonight!

I must admit I'm a bit of a dreamer. Also a fan of the nostalgia. That is why I kept waiting for someone to step up and declare and guarantee a victory for tonight. Someone on the Rangers that is. But, lo and behold it was not to be. No Cally. No Gabby. No Richards. Even the great Henrik Lundqvist has been silent on this matter. They are all saying the right, safe words. Someone needs to say it and here it is.

We'll Win Tonight!

There, I said it and it's in print. There is more than just a hint of hope and bravado in that statement. First of all we still have the best money goalie in the NHL and tonight he will step up and give us a vintage Lundqvist game. Game five was an aberration and if we can keep the Ranger defensemen at a safe distance from the King, he will stone the Devils again.

Killing the flat syndrome. We must come out flying and charging, ready to play SIXTY MINUTES of hockey, not twenty or forty. It would help if we saw some consistency in the lines and not the constant changes that the coach is wont to do.

Traffic in front of Marty. The Rangers should look at the tapes of Sean Avery in front of Brodeur and create chaos and all kinds of trouble in front of the net. Brodeur is very beatable, but we need to be more aggressive and forceful. In that regard we need an aggressive forecheck. Put the pressure on the D-men and they will cough up the puck. Pressure, pressure, pressure leads to puck control. Puck control leads to scoring chances which leads to goals which leads to wins.

So there it is, a guaranteed win for tonight. It will be a good night for the Ranger fans in attendance tonight watching Lundqvist with his arms held high. Let's Go Rangers!!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The Rangers are playing Russian Roulette this playoff series and I am afraid that right now all the chambers are loaded. In yet another shocking flat opening period the Rangers stood around and watched as the Devils exploded for three goals in the first 9:49. I expected the Rangers to applaud after that opening salvo. Yes, the Rangers came back and tied the score, but the Devils won it with 4:24 left on Ryan Carter's goal and an empty netter by Parise clinched it.

The old bugaboo, coming out flat, reared its ugly head and despite our comeback that was the real killer. This has been going on all year and our fearless disagreeable coach does not have a clue about what's wrong or how to fix it.

What was troubling was the performance of Henrik Lundqvist. Four goals is a career against him. But it happens. The guy has been magnificent all year and if it wasn't for him we would not have made the playoffs. I expect him to come back with a big effort in game six.

So now we are in the 1994 template. Down three games to two and going to New Jersey. However, there is no Mark Messier to guarantee a win and I doubt if we have a player that could step up and score a hat trick. But, we will show up and I expect a strong performance. We may even show up for the first ten minutes.

I will also show up. The bad news: I can't skate, shoot or score, but I yell well. In fact, some have accused me of being loud. So I will be there rootin' and tootin' hopefully in a winning effort — 1994 revisited.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Marty Gets Even

Yeah, Marty got the win to even the series, but if you watched you noticed that only one team showed up to play the game and that team wasn't in the road whites. So this is what happens when you are playing goal for the New York Rangers and your name is Henrik Lundqvist. You have given your team two shutout wins and when push comes to shove the team can't help Lundqvist.

The coach claims the team isn't tired, but when asked a relevant question he states, "we never had the puck." So how does one go about getting the puck? You fight for it and you skate for it. Skate for it? There was no skating, no movement, no flow, no cohesion and no goals. Want proof of that? The Devils had five power plays and scored one goal. We had one power play and naturally didn't score. You are not going to draw penalties and get power plays if you are not aggressive and not skating.

Why weren't the Rangers skating? No one was hurt, so that's out. No one on the Rangers is lazy, so that's out. The coach insists the team is not tired, but with last night's performance or lack of, there is a strong case made for a tired team. The best legs on the Rangers last night were Kreider, Mitchell and Hagelin. You figure out why.

So now the template continues, win one, lose one. However, this is game five which is pivotal. We can't lose this one and go to the Rock down three to two in games. There is no Mark Messier on this Ranger roster. Another Mattieu, Mattieu, Mattieu could show up but if we don't show up tomorrow night at game zero, and skate, skate, skate we will spend the summer talking about the what ifs.


 The King is assailed in Jersey, bodyguard goes missing
 Rangers captain Ryan Callahan exchanges some words with New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk after both players were called for penalties at 15:03 of the second period.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lundqvist Stones The Devils

It looked like a replay of game two with a flat effort coming out of the gate. The Devils were swarming, but Lundqvist stood tall turning back eleven Devils' shots. Lundqvist got the Rangers through a tough first period. He also got them through a not too pretty second period. Truth be told, he stole the game.

Yes, the Rangers scored three goals starting with Dan Girardi's power play goal. Then it was the Soaring Eagle, Chris Kreider, who scored his 5th playoff goal, his third this series and basically it was all over. Ryan Callahan's empty netter finished the scoring.

While the Rangers were outshot 36-22, they out hit the Devils 24-15. The Rangers also blocked 19 shots to the Devils 6. But when you only launch 32 shots, what's to block? The Devils launched a total of 66 shots. The D led by McDonagh, Staal and Girardi was outstanding with a goal by Girardi and an assist by McDonagh.

However, this game will be remembered for Henrik Lundqvist's performance. For most of the game the Devils were the aggressors, had the better of the play, and at least for the first two periods had the game under control. Pure and simple King Henrik stole the game. He may have even stole the series. This game will not be remembered for the elbow Brandon Prust put to the head of Anton Volchenkov. Prust should be suspended. We have to put an end to these head shots, accident or otherwise.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two Little, Two Late, Too Quiet

Don't ask coach disagreeable about his team being tired. In fact judging by another sterling press conference don't ask disagreeable anything. He admitted that his team was slow in the first period to Pierre. However, he wouldn't admit to tired. No, they are not tired. Then what are they? When you are slow its because a) you are hurt. b) you are lazy or c) you are tired. The Rangers are not hurt and they surely are not lazy, so it must be tired. And why not?

Last night four players got less than nine minutes of ice time. Only one player on the Devils, Carter, got less than nine minutes, 8:15, and he scored a goal. The Devils fourth line of Gionta, Carter and Bernier got significant ice time with a goal, an assist and six hits. The funny thing though is the Rangers were tired coming out of the box.

There is now a template being set here.The Rangers win the first game of the series, come out flat and lose the second game. The teams go back and forth for the next four games and then it's back to the Garden for game seven which the Rangers win. However, and how come there is always a however, templates have been known to go wrong. One of these days we will lose a game seven, or a deciding game six or a deciding game five.

Disagreeable was outcoached again and had two comments in the press conference. One was "no" and the other "let's keep it in the room" whatever that means. The much maligned Devil coach Peter DeBoer changed his first line, opened up his bench and took away home ice from the Rangers. He coached. Our guy, growled, snarled and got out foxed. Then the usual shtick of a press conference where he faced down the press. How long is this act going to be tolerated? When is the Stealth going to step in? The Absentee Owner? The Commissioner? Do we need a collapse by the team to get rid of this abomination? It's a shame because this season could have been special. It still can be.


#MediaHell - Torturous Tortorella Post-game Press Conference

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shoot Low Sheriff, They're Crawling!

The blame stream media and the blogs are all abuzz about how tough guy, Fatso Marty Brodeur, decided to get tough and threaten the Rangers with total destruction in tonight's game. He has ordered his troops to shoot at the Rangers and maybe maim or at least harm or maybe scare a few. Marty figutes a few high shots around the face and head might scare a few Rangers into not blocking some shots.

Marty doesn't know the Rangers. Actually he does, its the coach he doesn't know. Could you imagine a Ranger ducking a shot and coming back to the bench to face coach disagreeable and his effusive smile? Hah! Whats more scary, more frightening, than the disagreeable one who now has grown facial hair to give a resemblance of Fu Manchu.

But leave it to Marty to stir up the game. Actually its going to be the fans, the Garden Faithful, who are going to have all kinds of fun with this tonight. Too bad Sean Avery is not in the game tonight. Can't you just see it. The game is tied and Fatso has the puck in front of their net. In comes a hard charging Avery. Fatso shoots the puck, it hits Avery in the head.and goes by Fatso for the winning goal. The NHL puts in Avery Rule Two. A puck off of Sean Avery's head is considered a penalty and the goal is disallowed.

Oh well. Tonight I have an important decision to make. The Ranger game or Gunsmoke. I think I'll choose Gunsmoke. At least I know who the bad guys are. Shoot low Sheriff, they're crawling.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rangers Resurrected in 3rd Period, Defeat Devils 3-0

Win a period, win a game. That was the story of last night's game, when the Rangers finally scored two goals followed by an empty-netter in the 3rd period to steal a game from the NJ Devils, 3-0. The Devils were doing everything right for the first two periods, except score. The Rangers were pulling their old Tortorella rope-a-dope. That is "stay patient," guard the King, let the other team punch themselves out by keeping the puck in the Rangers end for most of the second period. A brilliant, but flawed, strategy that is held together only by the royal greatness of Henrik Lunqvist.

Lunqvist stood tall and removed the goat horns from the head of Dan Girardi with some help from Ryan McDonagh. Gerardi was doing his walking dead imitation with several early giveaways that were erased by Lundqvist and McDonagh. Girardi was given a near 6 minute timeout by Tortorella midway through the 2nd period to collect his thoughts and his game. Dano quickly redeemed himself in the third period by ripping Kid Kreider's soft setup past Marrr-teee, who was screened by Stepan. The resurrection had begun. Krider followed that up with another bullet past the Broduer, the Donut King, off Anisimov’s slick pass to make it 2-0. The dead men were skating.

The pugilists were given the night off. So Prust and Rupp contributed in other ways, they each took a two-minute minor for roughing.

It's pretty clear that in order for the Rangers to have any success the defense has to score. The Rangers are not getting enough scoring out of their forwards. If the Rangers continue to win it's a bet that the defense is doing the heavy lifting.


#HotRubber -- Norman "Boomer" Esiason was claiming this morning on his Boomer and Carton Show that the NHL ice expert, Dan Craig, told him the pucks were bouncing around the first two periods because they had not been properly refrigerated before the game. It had nothing to do with the ice conditions. He added that if you noticed the puck action was better by the third period once the pucks had been properly chilled. Okay, so MSG forgot to ice their pucks?

#ReverseTortorella -- Tortorell was asked during his press conference why he took that timeout late in the 2nd period following a roughing call on Prust. Tortorella said they were "tired" and needed a rest. Later Torts was asked if the team was "tired" because of the short rest since the Washington series, he told the report that he didn't believe in any of that "tired" garbage.

#CharityHat -- Dan Girardi ends up wearing the Broadway Hat.

#HockeyPhalanx -- The defensive formation that the Rangers find themselves frequently playing in order to protect The King.

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