Saturday, October 10, 2009

Theeeeeyyy'rrre Baaaaacccck

Ok, so the hockey season is now 4 games old and you've been wondering what the heck has taken me so long to comment. Well personally speaking I might want to wait a half season before determining whether or not what we are seeing are the real Rangers or the pretend ones of season's past. To say that this team will go as Gaborik goes is an understatement. The Rangers have finally found a suitable replacement for Jaromir Jagr. How great might this team look if we had still had Jagr and Gaborik, instead making an ill advised pitstop in NJ looking for an Alaskan named Gomez. Will Drury still be dreary? Will Redden step up his game and show the rookies the right way to play? So far the answer on Redden is no, he ought to watch what Gilroy and Del Zotto are doing and emulate them. Its too bad that he just doesn't either have the legs or possibly desire to do so. Not sure what Rosival's situation is, but he's been very shaky. Could it be the Garden Boo Birds getting on him even before the season begins creating troubles. I don't really know, but I figure he'll get his head screwed on straight and will start making more of an offensive contribution and not be the defensive liability he appears to be. Regardless of how it appears right now, we aren't really going to know who this team is and how good they are until December or January. For those of you with really short term memories, the Rangers last season started 8-2 and were winning at a prodigious clip at the beginning of the season. Then the wheels fell off. The Garden faithful once again set their target on the wrong guy. Poor Tom Renney was given a team of misfits and expected to work a miracle. When you have a team with no scoring threat, you aren't going to win the big games. When teams realized that Drury and Gomez and Zherdev weren't going to be putting in the puck in the net, it allows them the freedom to shutdown the ancillary players like Dubinsky, Callaghan, Prucha and the rest. As it turned out, this lack of scoring forced Callaghan and Dubinsky to mature and take on a bigger burden for the upcoming year. Callaghan has star potential with a combination of grit, speed and scoring. His work on the penalty kill against Washington should be on every coach's reel for the junior players. Again, any coach given the right pieces is going to succeed. Give them dreck and even the best coach is only going to be average at best. So with a game tommorrow, lets hope the ship keeps rolling full steam ahead.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Avery's Impact, Sad Departures and Warm Welcome's

I find it absolutely amazing what finding the right pieces of the puzzle will do for a team and its performance. At the trade deadline, Glen Sather made the right moves for a change. He got rid of a defensive pariah, Dmitri Kalinin and brought in a steady, but under performing Derek Morris. Morris has more than fit the bill as a defensive player with a good shot, and one who can actual tee up with the best of the blueliners. This move alone, improves a defense that suffered with excellent players trying to make up for the dramatic weakness of their partners. In the long run this should be a move that strengthens the overall team and the powerplay. Unfortunately with the departure of DK, we had to say goodbye to both Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha. While Nigel Dawes became a steady every game player for the Blueshirts, contributing some speedy gritty work ala Mark Pavelich, Petr became the Rangers odd man out. Remarkable that for a team that could not score on the powerplay at all, they would have left him out of the mix for so long. Its hard to fathom why? I put that on Renney. I'm not sure where the logic was in putting a guy who scored 30 goals in his first year on the pine for so long, but then again, I'm not the coach. He'll get a good shot in Phoenix and I hope for his sake they resign him next year and shows everybody what they were missing. My prediction is he'll be another one of those who got away. Unfortunately, the moving of Dawes and Prucha was probably necessary for us to get rid of Kalinin. Thank you Mr. Maloney.

Hello, Mr. Antropov. The Rangers have coveted his size and strength for the last two years, but couldn't get Toronto to pull the trigger. We got him for two draft picks and he's already paying dividends. His large size makes him an important linchpin for the powerplay and its clearly benefitting the team. Hopefully we retain his services for the next few years by resigning him and watching him blossom into a top power forward. I think that the emergence of Antropov could spell the waning days of Zherdev. The flashy forward with an uncanny ability to handle the puck just doesn't look like the same player as we saw in the beginning of the year. Maybe big Nik will inspire Zherdev to new levels and hope spring eternal. The emergence of the power forward and the pest have helped Gomez find both the scoring touch (not that he has much of one) but also his playmaking has stepped up. He's still prone to over doing it, but he's playing his best hockey late. We need some people to step up if this team is going to make the playoffs and get past the first round.

Speaking of the playoffs, it seems as if Mr. Dolan forgot there was a recession. First round tickets for the 300's sections are going for $85 per ticket for season ticketholders. I thought last year's prices were ridiculous, but then again the prices for the last two rounds seem almost reasonable. I guess he figures we aren't getting there so he can cut us a break on those rounds.

Now across the Hudson, we have the record holding Marty Brodeur making the dreaded Devils look like frontrunners to come out of the East. Zach Parise has blossomed into a goal scoring threat the likes the Devils haven't had since the early day of Patrick Elias. The guy can do it all and he makes his teammates better too boot. The Devils are on a roll and have closed within striking distance for the top spot now held by front running Boston. While the Devils have publicly stated that they don't really care if they have the top spot, we know they really do. Home ice tends to be less of a factor since the Devils can't seem to sellout without a major push from the visiting fans to show up. I find this very sad since the Prudential Center is probably one of the nicest arenas I have ever visited. Good food and normal arena prices, plus some other nice perks like hand rolled cigars. Come on Devils Fans show your team some support. You guys will come to whoop and holler at MSG, but you won't go to Newark for the same and much less expensive experience. It makes me shake my head.

While the Devils have been perennial contenders, the Islanders have been cellar dwellers for far too long. They made some big changes in the offseason to bring in veteran leadership, but once again their franchise goalie has dropped out of sight. But dare I say it, all is not dark for the men in the yellow raincoats! They have the nearly there defenseman Mark Streit, a player I would have loved to see the Rangers scoop up than let's say Wade Redden. He's the type of guy you can build around. Now that they have actually gotten rid of some of the veteran bleedership, the young guys can have some room to roam. Its starting to payoff. The Islanders are starting to gel as team and the young guys are getting valuable ice time. The goaltending situation doesn't appear as bleak, with Yan Danis tending the nets with improving fashion. Is he prone to mistakes, sure, but he's learning. The Islanders have actually beaten some pretty good teams of late and can look to build on that for next year. They have the luxury of having a top backliner who won't get the white hot spotlight he might in other places. Let's see them bring in another good puck mover back there and a not over the hill scoring forward next year. Then the Islander-Ranger-Devil's triangle of torment will have some real meaning down the stretch. With any luck they'll get either the first or second pick in the draft and find a piece of the puzzle without having to wait too long. I'm looking forward to seeing what they got.

Just as an FYI - does anybody find the irony in having Mike Milbury assess the worst trades/signings for the year? NBC you just crack me up with that one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Heeeee's Baaaaaaaccccck!!!!

Of course I could be talking about two different players, Sean Avery and Sean's favorite goalie, Martin Brodeur. Both are right back where they belong. While Brodeur's return has been a tremendous success and makes you forget that the Devils were Cup contenders with Scott Clemmensen. They have now propelled themselves to "favorites" talk. Of course, Boston will have something to say about that, but I wouldn't expect that Brodeur will have to worry about Sean Avery's antics getting in his way this year. In a move that smacks of desperation, Glen Savior has re-acquired the enigmatic petulant fashionista forward, Sean Avery. Not since the days of Ron Duguay, Anders Hedberg and Phil Esposito has any Ranger player (or hockey player) caused as much ruckus for what they wear as opposed to what they do on the ice. Sean Avery for all intents and purposes is the fire that the Rangers have been missing all season. Sure he may say off color comments and he's judged for that in a negative light, but one cannot argue with the success he brought the Rangers on the ice. Yes, he had great Hall of Fame support, which is sorely lacking today. Will Sean be able to stand tall in the shadow of the Empire State Building once again, or will this teams inability to score be the thing that causes Sean Kong Avery to fall back to earth. Only time will tell. Does Sather have other moves up his sleeve, let's hope so. The Rangers sorely lack scoring punch and pose little if any threat to the opposing teams. Despite handly dismantling the Avalanche, they were only playing the Avalanche. Will the Islanders test them tomorrow? Let's hope that the Rangers can get some momentum. The Groin Punching Less Penguins are suddenly waking up. Is it because their crybaby is out visiting the crowd? Everybody should know who the real leader of the Penguins is and that's Malkin. Why do they seem to thrive without their wunderkind? And Hey Don Cherry, the NHL needs characters like Ovechkin to attract fans. They don't need crotch punching whiny little brats who probably would wet their pants if they met Ovechkin in a dark alley. Please, I know you like old time hockey, but is 2009, old school died in the 70s. Maybe we should bring back Gordie Howe, would that make things better for you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Same Sh*t Different Day

While the era of Tortorella has begun in Rangerville, it would seem that the Grinch has stolen any chance for a thrill. While the enviously Green Grinch sits high on his perch looking down upon us Rangerwho's with his smiling smirch. He laughs at us secure that he will again dismantle our dreams yet again of a silver cup on the mantle. The trade deadline approachs and nary a peep of a rumor, a haggle, a swap a getridofthatcreep. So while we await word of a hopeful goodbye, to a Gomez, a Drury, a Redden oh my. Our crossriver rivals rejoice and laugh in our faces, they've got Parise, Broduer in just the right places. And so it was told too all the Rangerwho's that once upon a time, they had a cup too. It was big and it was shiny and filled them with Glee, and then the GrinchSather climbed down from his tree. He teased us and taunted and held it so close, then snatched it away as a puck hits the post. So while we Rangerwho's look wistfully West, sad in the knowing, which GM is the best.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hit the Bricks..Thanks for Nothing Coach Renney

Or so Glenn "Savior" Sather, General Manager of the New York Rangers must have uttered as he shuttled the Rangers most successful coach in forever out the door. Unfortunately, Mr. Sather is calling the shots on this team. If he really wanted to help this team out, he would have fired himself for gross incompetence. He is making the banking executives seem like geniuses and Ranger Season Ticketholders wish they had invested with Bernie Madoff instead of the Garden Boxoffice. I know that the less informed will say the coach had to go and I understand the frustration with the Renney Line Boggle he played almost nightly. But really people, what is the poor guy supposed to do? He has to play a game of attrition with the other team because we don't have a single player on ice who scares the opponent from an offensive standpoint. He has been forced to coach his team that a tie is as good as win, because of our goalie Henrik Lundquist. How would you like to be saddled with the likes of Wade Redden on the point? Does anybody remember Marek Malik on the point, it looks awfully familiar doesn't it? Tap the puck past Redden and suddenly you have a two on one going the other way on our powerplay. How do you blame the coach for being forced to play an immovable object at point? Let's talk about our leaders on the ice. Gomez for all intents and purposes was Sather's way of trying to stick it to Lou Lamoriello and guess who's having the last laugh right now on that one. All you had to do was look at Gomez's stats for the time that he's been in the league to know he couldn't hold Jaromir Jagr's jockstrap. His best year amounted to what would be Jagr's worst year. Drury is more of a mystery as to why he isn't scoring. Yet, one has to wonder if a lot his goals didn't depend on the the offensive threats of other better skilled players. Whether its the pressure of being Captain or the lack of a bona fide skill player to work with, Drury hasn't been much of a presence on ice. So who's to blame for that? The only real gripe anybody could make about Renney was the lack of emotion behind the bench and the dreadful powerplay. I will also assume that the lack of playing time for Petr Prucha was a Renney decision that baffled me when you have team that can't score goals. Since the lockout season when the Rangers finally returned to the playoffs after an 8 year drought exactly two Rangers remain from that team. Each year Sather has thought to bring in the crown jewels from other winning clubs without any thought as to how they might fit in with the current team. Who doesn't remember that great defensive player Aaron Ward? How about the spark for our powerplay Matt Cullen? Anybody here want to see Adam Hall again? Anybody wish that Petr Sykora were back on the ice for the Blueshirts? Please can we see Sean Avery again? Every year its the same thing. Out with the good in with new and shiny pennies. However, Sather decided he needed to push the envelope just a bit further by creating contracts that no other team would want to take in a trade? Who is going to take our albatrosses of Gomez, Drury and Redden? I'll give you a hint, no one. Will Tortorella make a difference here, probably. Can this team make the playoffs? Probably can squeak in. Will they get anywhere in the playoffs? Highly doubtful. There is a reason that Glen Sather didn't go behind the bench this time, its because he's not a stupid as Isiah Thomas. Now he has a few years to blame Tortorella for the failures of yet another revamped team.