Like that breeze that washes over you just before the sun makes its appearance on the eastern horizon, a refreshing feeling is starting to build as we are about to hit September and get back to business. The leaves will fall and the temperature will drop. Yes, I'm waxing poetic but hockey season is well worth it and I can't wait. I've been working a lot of hours and I'm quite eager to take a break and watch some pucks. Soon ... soon ... soon.
Till then, a lot of randomness has built up:
*I will do a proper season preview and offer up my predictions but you guys do realize that this team is two injuries away from a lottery pick, right? If I was Glen Sather, I would have made sure that I put 'no Olympics' in the fine print of Gaborik's contract. The last thing this team needs is to risk their top sniper towards a losing international effort (Slovakia is far, far from a favourite) - that is if Gabby is even still healthy by February.
*Still nothing on the NHL Network covering Traverse City. Looking at their TV listings, while the Rangers are playing their three games, the NHL Network will have Classic Series 2003 Tampa vs. Washington, Classic Series 2003 Vancouver vs. St. Louis and Game 3 of the Western final from this year Chicago v. Detroit (respectively). For one, 2003 was six years ago - nothing is classic about that yet, and for two they've aired these playoffs a dozen times this summer. The NHL Network really should stop being so cheap; they are just as second rate as public opinion (ESPN) says hockey is in America.
*Even though Michael Del Zotto is listed on the London Knights' roster for their preseason tournament against a few European teams, he isn't playing. I e-mailed Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press to get the low down:
"Del Zotto has a bit of a hand injury, nothing serious, but with camp so close, he decided it would be better to not displease his future employers.*Semi-related, as I've said a number of times, we need more chants and songs in the Garden. I think that we need to work on that. I came up with one - it's not great, I know - but it's a start. For young Mr. Tavares, to the tune of Jimmy Cracked Corn ...
If the Del Zotto you get at Rangers camp is anything like the Del Zotto that played in the playoffs last year with the Knights, you are getting a hell of a player.
Del Zotto has played in the shadow of John Tavares but wants to prove that he is a great player in his own right. He proved that during the OHL playoffs last year."
"Johnny can't score and I don't care,*Congrats to Dru, who was honoured by Little League baseball this weekend. He was hanging out in Williamsport Sunday, watching the final game alongside Vice President Joe Biden; think Dru has laid claim to the Captain America title yet? (Thanks to my dad for the heads up.) If you like baseball, make the pilgrimage to Williamsport for the LLWS - it is a wonderful experience. BTW - Monzo at SNY(/NHL Live/WFAN) posted a radio interview with Dru about his LL experience.
Johnny can't score and I don't care,
Johnny can't score and I don't caaaaaaaaare,
His team's gonna move away."
*Carp at Rangers Report has been using guest bloggers for the last week. This weekend featured two of the best. First Patrick Hoffman made his case that Hank is the new Richter - something I disagree with; I think Hank is better. Richter was an ordinary goaltender who played up to the moment in 94 and 96 (World Cup), but never carried a team. He did well behind top flight teams but when he was actually relied upon to win a game on his own, he failed (97). He also never was nominated for a Vezina to the best of my memory and often gave up soft goals thanks to his propensity to slide out of the crease chasing angles. Hank has picked the Blueshirts up on his back (you play behind Malik and Redden), has an Olympic gold medal on his resume and allows soft goals on a rarer basis (damn high glove side).
Sunday's guest blogger was Rob C, who made a pitch for Sean Avery to get an A sewn on his sweater. I can't say I disagree. Perhaps the added responsibility would help mature him a bit and it certainly would set a gritty standard for our softies to live up to. But then again, perhaps it would be best for Aves to just focus on his game and be a good soldier for a while first ...
*I hope that because of the rain delay for the Ranger Fan Fest, they will be able to have more current players attend - seeing as it will be a week closer to camp. As of right now the only current players due to show up are Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi and Aaron Voros. And the sad thing is that Voros does count as a current player and no one should be surprised if he starts the home opener. Given that the Senators don't have any heavyweights anymore, there isn't much reason in starting Brashear and ruining the night's festivities. Then again, Tortorella is bullish enough that he may include both on the roster to counter Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu - even though both are too slow to catch up to them.
*On that note, can you believe that former Ranger Chris McAllister is still playing pro hockey? He "played" a dozen games with the Blueshirts (including his 300th career tilt) right before the lockout and has been in the minor leagues and England since. A massive human being, Mac could hardly skate but was more than willing to bang bodies. Guess size matters ...
*The Minnesota Wild unveiled their new third jersey this weekend (even though it was leaked earlier). I think it's pretty nice. While new designs are always cool to see, I still hope the Rangers never bring back their liberty jerseys. I liked the white one better than the navy but still, you can't beat the classic. I would rather see the Rangers pull a Montreal and wear some of their own vintage designs. Maybe in 2026 ...
*I've added a bunch of great sites to the blogroll on the right so feel free to check them out. I don't just throw any site up there, they are all ones that I read regularly.
*And I wanted to offer get well soon wishes to Jess from Prospect Park, who just had surgery to repair a torn MCL. That's gotta suck.