Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Undead Rangers

The New York Rangers aren't dead yet
The Rangers have resurrected their season with this current 6 game winning streak. It was topped off yesterday by their 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Cam Talbot and his Oilers came East, they conquered the Isles and the Devils (thank you very much), and were then ambushed by the Rangers sharpshooting power play. The Rangers notched 2 power plays in the second period to give them the edge, after trailing 2-1.

Lundqvist made 27 saves on 29 shots. Nash scored two goals, Buchnevich had a PP goal, and Grabner potted an empty netter. Mats Zuccarello had two assists, and McDonagh had one on the Nash power play goal. And worst stat of the day: Jimmy Vesey lost two front teeth after getting hit in the mouth by a Zach Kassian skate early in the second period. Ugh!

Vesey was back on the ice for the third period. It's hockey for all you NFL, MLB, and MLS, pinky raised, tea drinking ladies, who get dizzy and nauseous after seeing a little blood.

Vesey sent out a "It's hockey, #SorryMa" tweet after the game documenting the damage. On the x-ray you can see at least one tooth embedded in his lower lip. Is a tooth considered missing if it's lodged in your lip? You still have it, just not in the right place.

Good job out of you, Jimmy, sacrificing two teeth for a Rangers win.

Jimmy Vesey lost two front teeth in win over Oilers
All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
Anyway, when you are a bottom feeder, like the Rangers, as alleged here recently, you absolutely have to feast on the second worst team in the Western Conference, the Oilers, or else you'll lose your bottom feeder status. What's lower than being a bottom feeder, maybe done and dusted, or dead. But the question now is, what's the next level up? The Rangers need a promotion. Three teams are now below them in the Metro division: Carolina, Philadelphia, and Washington. The Rangers have played more games, but we'll ignore that trivial detail. Bottom line, the team is on the rise.

So, the Blueshirts need a new label. How about saying the Rangers have achieved "Undead" status? Not dead and finished, as in trade Lundqvist, fire AV, and clean house for next year. But, "Undead," because they are staggering, not marching, toward the playoffs like an undead zombie looking for a brain to eat.


Steve Zipay at Newsday wants to focus on "Henrik Lundqvist’s new mask a lucky charm for Rangers." How about instead we focus on his stick. Can someone please give Hank some Stickum or something to help him hang on to his goalie stick. The McDavid PP goal in the 2nd period got past a stickless Lundqvist. It seems like he's losing it at least once every game now. And we know from Sean Avery's new book, that Hank is really the exact opposite of stickless. So let's get a grip please.

The level of writing on Rangers blogs this year is awesome. Some really good stuff turned out by lots of guys. Some recent examples:

Sean McCaffrey over at BlueCollar BlueShirts.

Adam Herman over at Blueshirt Banter: Grabner’s Run of Empty Net Goals is No Fluke -- In fact, of the 41 players in NHL history to score at least 17 empty net goals, Grabner is fourth in goals per game. Only Pavel Bure, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux ranked higher.

The guys at ForeverBlueshirts: Henrik Lundqvist: Better Than the Numbers? -- The stats may not be glamorous but Lundqvist can do one thing, and that is keep the Rangers competitive in games.

The crew at Blueseat Blogs: View from the Chase Bridge for a six game winning streak -- I don't understand why Marc Staal and Steven Kampfer are continually out on the ice. It’s mind boggling to me. They just aren’t a good defense pairing.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

We Are Now Bottom Feeders

The New York Rangers have now sunk to the bottom of the NHL's food chain, and have become the lowest of the low: bottom feeders.

New Jersey 10820164031+98-2-0Won 2
Pittsburgh 12741153543-87-3-0Lost 1
Columbus 11740143327+66-4-0Lost 1
NY Islanders 11641133935+46-3-1Won 1
Philadelphia 11650123831+75-5-0Won 1
Carolina 9441112526-14-4-1Lost 1
Washington 1045193037-74-5-1Lost 2
NY Rangers 1237283443-93-5-2Lost 1

Following Saturday's 4-5 loss to the other Eastern Conference cellar dwellers, the Montreal Canadiens, Rangerland must face the sad reality that the Blueshirts have now officially crossed the event horizon into bottom feeder status. Once a team gets sucked into the black hole of bottom feeder status this deep into a season, powerful gravitation forces will work to keep them there. The forces of nature and sports psychology will now crush not just the hopes of the fans, but the confidence of the team. Things could get very ugly.

Alain Vigneault said: "We’re 3-7-2, that’s alarming to me right now." It's good that Vigneault is alarmed, but what buttons can he really push now to kick in some warp drives to lift the team out of the abyss. Keeping Lundqvist on the bench in Montreal certainly was the most significant button V. could have pressed. But, it didn't work. The defense with or without Lundqvist looks horrible.

No matter how much you've won, no matter how many games, no matter how many championships, no matter how many Super Bowls, you're not winning now, so you stink. – Bill Parcells

Going 1-1, with the other basement dwellers, the Habs and Yotes, this week, without Henrik Lundqvist in net, might mark the end of an era. It's painfully hard to imagine that the Age of King Henrik is ending. Just like it's hard to imagine this team making any sort of run at the playoffs, much less the Cup.

Reality bites, but that's the cycle of life and of our sports heroes.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Fright Night in Toronto

Halloween horrors are here before there is any frost on the pumpkins. This new edition of the NY Rangers is starting off the 2017-18 season by scaring the bejesus out of their fans. Twelve goals allowed in two games is horrible hockey. The Toronto game, an 8-5 loss, was a massive scream fest, for anyone, who could stomach the entire debacle. Who was that guy wearing the Lundqvist git-up?

Sean over at the Blue Collar Blueshirts blog pounces on the debate that looks to rage on all season: is the 35-year-old Lundqvist finished? Has the King fallen off his throne as hockey royalty, are the Rangers now crippled by carrying an expensive has-been goalie? Forget the sorry defense guarding the King. Lundqvist looks to be out there all by himself this year, and sadly the King has no clothes. Where are you, Dan Girardi?

Sean at BlueCollarBlueShirts writes:

By now, many of you know me as the guy who predicted the demise of Lundswiss. I’ve been saying it for the last three years. I wanted to keep Talbot. I wanted to keep Raanta. However, the Rangers have this insane idea, that no matter what they do, this will be the year that the “bedrock” of the franchise, in Henrik Lundwiss, will take this team to a Cup. That is fantasy and not reality.

Listen, many young fans will argue with me all day long, even after Lundswiss gets pulled after giving up five goals in one period (not the first time) like he did tonight. I was young once too. I remember how heartbroken I was when Don Mattingly was at the end. I have also told you my stories of being absolutely furious when Graves and Leetch were jettisoned out of NY. However, you need to leave the Lundswiss bubble and try to think what’s the best for the front of the jersey and not about an overrated and overpaid goalie.

The name calling is a little extreme, Lundqvist has earned a little respect, but all our hockey heroes are human. And right now we are very afraid for our hero, Hank. Can Lundqvist remain a top goaltender, and can he carry the team up Mount Stanley? The Shakespearean-like drama of King Henrik is going into its final act and it will be fascinating to watch.

King Henrik - a tragedy?


Speaking of great literature, one of our other hockey heroes will be coming out with a tell-all book later this month. Sean Avery teamed up with writer Michael McKinley for Ice Capades - A Memoir of Fast Living and Tough Hockey. Plus, he's fired up the old Owen Sound bus for a grand little book tour.

Sean Avery - Ice Capades
Sean Avery book tour for "Ice Capades"

Puck Daddy provided a snippet from an early copy of Sean's book regarding John Tortorella:
“Tortorella has a reputation as a hard-ass, but not if you know him as a player. We used to laugh at him all the time. There was always someone in the dressing room who wanted to take their skate and decapitate him or take their stick and whack him over the head with it. Marion Gaborik despised him with every bone in his body. Even Hank Lundqvist, an even-keeled Swede who was usually in his own world, thought Tortorella was a terrible manager of pro athletes. And he can’t skate and stickhandle a puck at the same time, and he doesn’t realize we don’t take him seriously because of that.”

Tortorella was a real drama queen, calling him 'Johnny Drama' seemed totally appropriate. How did that guy stay in the NHL and a talent like Sean Avery has his career cut short? 

Sean Avery may live life in the fast lane, but he took time to pull over to the side and make a surprise visit to the Ranger Pundit's 80th birthday party, back in December 2010. Talk about a surprise, it was having your favorite Ranger on that team walk through the door to say Happy Birthday, to a life long Rangers fan. And then hang around to talk and take pictures with everyone. Unforgettable!

Sean Avery was a fantastic hockey player and a super nice guy. Can't wait to read his book.

Sean Avery and Mike Savino at the Ranger Pundit's 80th Birthday Party December 2010

Monday, August 28, 2017

Jean Ratelle's #19 Retired to Rafters on Feb. 25, 2018

Jean Ratelle #19

The NY Rangers announced that Jean Ratelle will be the 9th Ranger to have his number retired by the organization. Looking back at Ratelle's career allows us to relive the organization's chronic ineptitude.

Ratelle's greatest success came with linemates Vic Hadfield (LW) and Rod Gilbert (RW) on the so-called "GAG line" (which stood for goal a game). The were together from the late 60's until 1974, when Hadfield was traded to the Pens for Nick Beverly. Beverly scored 4 goals in 139 games over 3 seasons with the Rangers. That's a goal every 35 games. Hadfield scored 31 goals for the Pens during the 1974-75 season, and 30 goals for them in 1975-76. Yet again the Rangers gave away the store.

On November 7, 1975, Jean Ratelle was traded along with defenseman Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Carol Vadnais and Phil Esposito. At the time, this was considered the biggest blockbuster trade in NHL history. Of course the trade turned out better for Boston than for New York. Ratelle and Park have several great seasons for the Bruins, while Espo declines, and Yadnis is not even close to Park. But, that's the way it always seem to go on Broadway.

Ratelle played parts of 16 seasons with the Rangers (1960-61 - 1975-76), registering 336 goals and 481 assists for 817 points, along with a plus-167 rating in 861 games. He ranks second on the Rangers' all-time goals list, ranks third on the franchise's all-time assists list and all-time points list, and ranks sixth in career games played with the Blueshirts. Ratelle and Rod Gilbert are the only players who rank third or higher on the Rangers' all-time lists for goals, assists, and points. In addition, Ratelle is one of only five players in franchise history who played in parts of 16 or more seasons with the Rangers (along with Gilbert, Harry Howell, Brian Leetch, and Ron Greschner)...
NY Rangers Legends:
Jean Ratelle is about as perfect a hockey player as there as we have ever seen. His professionalism and sportsmanship are as rare as his elite puck handling and skating skills...

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