As I've done a few times in recent weeks, posts of random observations/news will be called "Killin' Time" because, let's face it - that is all we are doing at this point of the year. There is some hockey news but no hockey games ... and that sucks. So, onto this afternoon's edition:
*This week the NHL Network is commemorating the Gretzky trade with a week of Wayne programming and in response, Going Five Hole is doing a week of Super Mario. While they are both glorifying their heroes, I feel the need to point out that with the good, there was the bad. Gretzky used to cry and whine to the refs as bad as - if not worse than - Cindy Crosby. He also got the crap beat out of him when he tried to fight. As for Mr. Lemieux, 1984 was the first televised NHL draft and he refused to put the Penguins jersey on when he was picked first overall because he wasn't happy with how contract negotiations were going. These guys were both incredible hockey players, but they weren't perfect and history should remember that.
*I had the privaledge of covering FC Barcelona when they came to New York this week and there are a lot of similarities between the Spanish soccer team and the Rangers. The media and fans expect the team to win every year. They finished behind their rivals in the regular season last year and failed to win any trophies so they tore apart their roster and rebuilt it in the coach's image. Their best player, Ronaldinho, was allowed to leave and they set off on a ridiculous preseason tour that forced them to do a lot of travelling. The key difference? The players they brought in are all young with a huge upside.
*Every day this month Puck Daddy is putting up "5 Ways I'd Change the NHL" from random sports media and hockey personalities. Today's was from XM Radio's Mike Ross and I agree with all five of his. I don't know if referee communication would get into my five, but more access to players and less idiot fans are both huge.
*The coach of the Swiss team that the Rangers will play as part of their preseason tour, SC Bern, had a heart attack earlier in the week. Best wishes to John Van Boxmeer on a speedy recovery.
*NHL Premier is less than two months away and the Rangers ticket office still has no clue as to if they will offer packages or tickets to fans willing to fly halfway around the world to watch their team.
*I still have much love for Sean Avery. He and I seem to see eye to eye on the Ranger offseason moves. The Devils are lucky that even though they lose a home sell-out with the Rangers, they will likely get one with the Stars. Granted, it will still be a building full of Ranger fans but they don't care.
*And finally, for now, is it late August yet?