Friday, July 31, 2009

Hockey Happenstance

All sorts of random stuff rattling around my head so I figured I would share them. Sorry there hasn't been that many regular updates of late but this is the time of year I work like a dog - gotta pay for those season tix somehow ...

*Today was Z-Day as the kids are calling it, the day Nik Zherdev and the Rangers headed to arbitration. The ruling should be made in the next two days and the Rangers will make their decision in the next two days after that. As I've said for a while, his departure from Broadway is all but a certainty. While my buddy Eric and several others I know are saying 'I hope the door hits z on the way out,' I do not share the sentiment fully. I certainly have not been a fan of the soft, lazy Zherdev but the potential was certainly alluring and made itself known from time to time. So I won't be heartbroken to see him go, I will be a tad sad. Z follows in a strong line of very talented, yet very flawed players to come through New York, a line that stretches from the poor attitudes of Pierre Larouche and Theo Fleury to the well-past-their-prime Marcel Dionne, Guy Lafleur and Jari Kurri to the physically impared Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure.

*Could Todd Bertuzzi join them? He is saying he wants to come east and a capable power winger might be alluring to Tortorella. I still like the thought of Vinny Prospal (who would be cheaper) but Bert certainly would add an interesting dimension if he still has any wheels left.

*You have to figure that the Dubinsky signing will be imminent, right?

*In the Cycle With The Sedin's re-draft of the NHL I used my second selection, the 41st pick overall, on Dan Boyle. If there is one thing we've learned here in NY, you have to have a power play quarterback if you are to have any success.

*On that note, best wishes to Sergei Zubov, who is heading to the KHL. The Russian league will put him under less wear and tear while keeping him in shape so he can play in the Olympics. Zubi was a hell of a Ranger who I don't think got the credit he deserved as the limelight often went to Brian Leetch. Both were all-world defensemen who could play both sides of the ice. Hopefully we see Zubi again in Vancouver ...

*I. Want. One.

*If you haven't been following him, Third String Goalie was showing off his jersey collection this month with a sweater for each day. While there was a clear Minnesota bias and a Mmmmaaaarrrtttyyy sighting, it is still pretty damn cool and worth checking out.

*Totally off topic - soccer football great Sir Bobby Robson passed away today. He was a stellar player and manager but an even better person who raised a lot of money to fight cancer, a battle he waged personally five times. RIP Sir Bobby.

*Aces Over Brooklyn has been covering the demise of the EPHL. The league is dead but there is a new one taking it's place up in New England. There are rumours that that NEPHL will add teams in Danbury and Brooklyn but nothing solid yet. I made it to Brooklyn for all of one game but had a great time. Minor league hockey can definitely make it in New York, the interest is there and the economy is right for cheap options right now. The Aces would have drew better with a rink that was easier to get to via public transportation - like the Devils (lol).

*The Islanders decided to stop paying for Chris Botta's blog at Islanders Point Blank. While Botta is known for being a good, upright guy, it was always hard for me not to see some impropriety for an 'independent' blog to be paid for by the team that it covered. The same goes for Newsday considering the close advertising relationship between the two ... but Botta has been a class act and hasn't really pulled too many punches that I could see so I have to wish him the best.

*Meanwhile, as Cablevision spins off the Rangers into their own company, the Dark Ranger has announced a spinoff of his own - check it out.

And that is about that for now, I think. If there is anything big on your mind, feel free to drop a line in the comments!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kansas City Drylanders

Brilliance by Kyle L., courtesy of Puck Daddy:

"I dabble around with Photoshop type programs often, and had created the KC Islanders logo as an avatar for a NY Rangers board I frequent. When I saw the article about The Sporting Store, I figured it was time to slap it on a jersey. It's similar to the current Islanders jersey, just with trim that is slightly crooked as an ode to John Spano.
"By the way, that's not Missouri in the logo, it's Kansas which is exactly the kind of mistake the geographically challenged NY Islanders would make." --Kyle
Personally, I love it - even if it renders the hockey card I created for an earlier Puck Daddy contest obsolete:
Man, do I hate the Islanders ...

Are You Brave Enough?

Internships: Marketing
Street Team - New Jersey Devils (Newark, NJ)

Internship Description
· Hand out Devils Ticket information, pocket schedules and upcoming events flyers
· Setup, operate and break down the Street Team inflatables, interactive games, tents and tables
· Distribute premium items and maintain an accurate inventory of product
· Collect information from target consumers through contests
· Take photos at events
· Other duties as needed

In addition your assistance could be needed with the following
· Alumni player appearances
· Devils Dancers appearances
· N.J.’s appearances

Length of Internship
· August – November 2009

· Valid drivers license, good driving record
· Must be able to have a flexible schedule and be able to work days, nights and/or weekends
· Must be professional, energetic and dependable

· Khaki pants or shorts (no cargos)
· Clean sneakers
· A shirt and hat will be provided by the New Jersey Devils

· This internship is paid. You will receive $9.00 per hour for each event (min. 4 hours)
· Resume builder
· Community relations experience
· Fun atmosphere
I would have thought that part of the internship would be to get Mmmmaaaarrrtttyyyy his daily dose of donuts, but I guess that is Paul Martin's job ...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Should We Bring In The Bolt?

The news just came out today that Tampa Bay is going to buy out the remainder of Vinny Prospal's contract (h/t Puck Daddy).

The first thing I thought was that Prospal would look great across from Gabby. Once Zherdev gets kicked to the curb Friday, why not replace him with an experienced, capable winger who frankly has had a measure of success at MSG in the past?

I would love to dream more but I am at work. What do you guys think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Being Thorough or Being Thoroughly Bored?

Most every blog out in the Rangerverse is reporting that Glen Sather signed a WHL defenseman named Sam Klassen. He is a defensive defenseman who people in the know think will compete for a spot in Hartford, but instead will likely head to Charlotte. That is the ECHL. AA hockey. The Rangers added a defenseman that Jess from Prospect Park called a "depth signing ... with limited offense." A defenseman who will play AA hockey, and everyone is talking about it.

How come?

It isn't like there aren't a lack of arguable topics at the NHL level. Why isn't Sather signing Brandon Dubinsky? Who does Nik Zherdev think he is, Pavel Bure? Should he be given a captaincy, do you think Wade Redden realizes how many people will yell "I know what that A stands for and it ain't assistant!!"

Actually, those topics have pretty much been addressed already. We've done mock lines, cap estimations, trade proposals ...

Do we all feel we have to jump right on any nugget of news? I know I do, if only to be thorough. But what are we getting out of it? On a writing level - I feel that as long as I keep writing, I keep honing my craft. As an obsessed puckhead I feel a degree of guilt for each day that goes by without a post - if only because I keep looking at all of the other pages that remain static for days and weeks at a time and feel a degree of frustration. I know that I will keep hitting those bookmarks again and again but how about you? Would the frustration stop you from coming back?

As we reach for stories and opine over minutia, could something that was said or written possibly turn you off? Basically, what is the risk/reward for calling out Sather's folly for signing some 20 year old kid who will likely never make the show?

This isn't to say that I am about to stop (sorry haters), but more to spur debate.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sale Update

I stopped by the Garden on my way to work this morning. They seemed to be selling a lot of the same stuff that they had at the sale earlier this summer. Prices were about the same for shirts and hats (five bucks a pop) but jerseys were just $40. Of course, they had a ton of Scott Gomez and Petr Prucha sweaters but there were also a few Markus Naslund, Jaromir Jagr, Kevin Weekes (??) and Michal Rozsival.

Personally I was considering getting a Gomez and taking it to another place to have the named swapped for Bettsy but in the end I went with a Rozy. He may, may actually be on the team this fall so what the hell, call it a leap of faith. Worse comes to worse, I always liked James Patrick ...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One Sale Wasn't Enough?

Hockey Happenings

Seeing as there haven't been any games, any big trades, any reports of Gaborik injuries, I will just throw some news and thoughts out there:

*If you want to see a positive, Blueshirt-coloured look at the Rangers, a kid over at HFBoards had lunch with Adam Graves today. Gravey, of course, is high on all prospects and high on the team's chances this coming season. I think if he wasn't, he would get fired but still, I agree that there are reasons to be excited. Check out what he said here.

*The Rangers signed Enver Lisin, the kid they got for the Korpedo. Terms weren't released but you have to figure it was around a mil or so for two or three years. Meh, whatever. As I said when we dealt for him, Lisin has skills but honestly, if he scores more than 15 goals I will be surprised.

*The Ranger home page is finally giving some respect to the tradition of the franchise with a History Lesson. It is definitely recommended reading - as is Frank Boucher's book "When The Rangers Were Young." You can see how one of the pillars of the league was built and see what it means to be a Ranger. And see why I often call for the current crop of Rangers to honour and respect the jersey.

*Semi-related, at least in my head and for obvious reasons, I have to mention that former Ranger Jed Ortmeyer signed with the Sharks. Go Jed! I am an unashamed fanboy and am quite pleased that he found a NHL gig. Even better, if he survives camp, he will finally make a return to the Garden on Monday, October 19th. The last time we saw him was Game 6 against Buffalo two years back when Renney let him rot on the bench. Boo Renney, yay Jed!

*The Islanders kicked their radio guys to the curb. They will simulcast their tv guys, which makes sense considering that today's current crop of broadcasters talk so damned much. Perhaps it is an ego thing that makes today's personalities feel obligated to talk the entire time - it makes you wonder if they get paid by the word or something. English football soccer broadcasters understand that the atmosphere at the event is worth listening to. Perhaps on national games the talent should talk a lot, as they are hoping to expose and inform some people about a sport they don't already know. But regional casts should let us fans enjoy the games as they are - get a feel for it instead of hearing the misguided meanderings of Micheletti.

*We'll get to see how good of a GM I am over at Cycle With The Sedins as I have the reins of the Rangers in James' re-draft of the NHL. A clean slate with which to build the Blueshirts ... oh baby. We are still working out how the teams will compete - either simulated in a video game or a season-long fantasy league. I get the 20th pick overall so a lot of the top stars will be gone but I think it will help build an all-around stronger team.

*Speaking of that league, the first pick in the draft went to the Flames and they took Ovechkin so I did a little photoshop - check it out.

*Related to Ovechkin, as he will carry the flag for Russia in 2014, Wysh brought up the Olympic debate today. Personally I worship Olympic hockey but would have no problem with the NHL bowing out after Sochi '14. Simply said, it hurts the NHL product and puts extra wear and tear on the top players in the league. The answer isn't to move it to the Summer Olympics but to follow the Olympic soccer model and make the competition open to players 20-and-under. Considering that the World Juniors is pretty much a Canadian property nowadays, why not have them take a hiatus every four years? The best young talent in the world could get the biggest stage. It would also serve to boost the NHL as people would want to follow these kids as they grow up - when most other Olympic athletes are one-and-done, someone who falls for a player's story of woe or his skills could carry their fandom to the NHL ... it isn't like the other small sports where interest only comes every four years.

Well, I hope this helped quench some of your interest. While Sochi is a ways away, the NHL season is right around the corner. At least, that's what I keep telling myself to get through these summer days.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

If I Ruled The World Roster

Summer, summer, summertime. Summertime. Enough with the damned Fresh Prince. Give me 40 degrees with a chance of flurries any day. I don't fare too well in the heat and - as you can see from the title - am getting a bit delusional. So while I dwell in a fantasy world where I bring back Jean-Guy Talbot's track suit and take the reins of the Rangers, I figured I would follow in Goal Line Report and Puck Central's footsteps and fill out my lineup card. I did this right before free agency and certainly will do it again once Sather is done tinkering, but for now let's take a look:

Avery - Dubinsky - Gaborik
Callahan - Drury - Kotalik
Higgins - Anisimov - Byers
Brashear - Boyle - Lisin

My roster will have Voros, Rissmiller and Arnason all waived or just banished to Hartford and, as astute eyes noticed, no Zherdev. Z is seemingly assured of being kicked to the KHL after the Rangers get up from the table so do pobachennya Nikolai.

Avery played well when placed opposite of Jagr and should be just fine across from Gabby. Plus, seeing as he gets constant attention on the ice, it will get some more room for Gabby to work his magic. Cally has shown some chemistry with Dru, so let the two Americans hustle and dig alongside Kotalik. Higgins, Anisimov and Byers make for one helluva checking line as all three are willing to throw their bodies around. The fourth line, well, who cares as Torts won't use them much. Lisin can get some spot work on special teams, if he earns it.

Torts claimed that kids will get a chance in an interview with Brooksie yesterday and has said multiple times that veterans aren't guaranteed positions. Taking that into account, here is my blueline:


No Wade Redden, that goes without saying. I like Sauer but he could use another season in Hartford to repair the ego that Renney destroyed with his idiotic re-assignment last season. Potter is quick enough to cover for Rozy and smart enough to dish him the puck when in trouble. As for the third pairing, both Gilroy and Ilkka Heikkinen are older than your average rookies and enter with solid resumes. Andrew Gross had the Finn pegged for Hartford in his camp wrap but with the North American game so much more open, perhaps he can make a quick transition in September. If not, perhaps Bobby will show up in shape and seize the job. That would be a nice turn of events seeing as so many other draft picks are being dealt away. Not that I feel that losing Korp, Dawes or Monty was any big deal, but it is always good to see home grown players added to our ranks.

Now, much like the aforementioned lineup I made back on June 30th, this may all be rendered moot by something Sather has in the works. So back to reality for now ... and yep, it's still summer. Dammit.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Goals By Gabby, Day 5

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Marian Gaborik YouTubage this week.

And the week wouldn't be complete without the horror show. The five-goal game. You remember it. You probably still have the occasional nightmare. I know I do. It ranks just below the Mockery in Montreal and Hockey Night In Hell in recent debacles by our boys in blue. But now that he is one of us, perhaps he can pull off another performance like it - say against the Devils, Islanders, Penguins or Flyers? Or how about all of them?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm So Confused

Could Glen Sather actually be deserving of his Hall of Fame status?

That can't be possible, can it? I looked outside and there doesn't appear to be any airborne swine. But Sather did it again, getting a blue chip blueline prospect for virtually nothing. First he gets Montreal stud Ryan McDonagh as a throw in return for the Gomez salary dump and now he deals a career AHLer for a defensive defenseman the like the Rangers haven't seen since Jeff Beukeboom. Sure, Nigel Williams hasn't gotten to that point yet, but the boys-in-the-know over at HFBoards are raving about the former Colorado second rounder's potential.

Jess from Prospect Park didn't share the same enthusiasm for the Belleville blueliner when I asked for his two cents but even if this kid doesn't work out, all it cost us was Brian Fahey - a defenseman who was never going to make the team anyway. I saw him in Switzerland last September and was unimpressed; apparently he was even worse in Hartford.

It's a good, smart transaction - certainly not the type of thing we are used to from Joe McGrath our fine general manager. Seriously, what is going on? Are we being Punk'd? It certainly seems like we are being set up for a big, unfunny joke. So what is it? What does Sather have up his sleeve? What horror are we in for? A deal for DP? A Redden contract extension? Marek Malik's return as a assistant coach in charge of the defense?

Speaking of coaches, today Torts brought in his right hand man from Tampa, Mike Sullivan. It will be sad to see Jim Schoenfeld kicked back upstairs; I liked having someone behind the bench who was tougher than anyone on the other team. But Sullivan was a rock solid player and a capable coach in Boston before riding shotgun with Torts so this seems like just another wise move.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up here so the ground doesn't shake as much when the other shoe drops but I may just be starting to like the direction the Ranger franchise is going in.


Goals By Gabby, Day 4

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Marian Gaborik YouTubage this week.

Should the Rangers decide to keep Nik Zherdev, it is easy to see him playing the Hossa role in this clip from the World Championships. Love the hops by Gabby as he hustles to finish off the give-and-go:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time To Fill Out Your Calendars

The NHL released the 2009-2010 schedule today. For the Rangers (and myself), it brings a mixed bag. Click here to see what's on slate for the Blueshirts.

Due to the Olympic break, there isn't a whole lot of time to rest over the course of the schedule. Much of the dates are packed in every-other-day rips, which is nice as that's the best way to get hot and stay hot. Then again, once you get in a losing streak it is that much harder to get out of it. And with the aforementioned Olympics, Torts will have to be super-sensitive to when Hank will get some rest - the last Olympics cost the Rangers a legitimate Cup run because Hank, Jagr and co. had played eight games more than most of the league.

The Rangers open their official schedule with the mighty slap across the face of having to stand and watch as the Penguins raise their Cup banner. Nice, right? Then they have to rush right back home for the Garden opener against Ottawa the next day - a Saturday! It should be a bloodbath in the Garden as they try to mix weekend family fun with Saturday night drunkenness and (hopefully) not the massive disappointment of a loss. At the least it will be interesting to see the reception for almost-Ranger Dany Heatley. I wonder if I should try bringing my Redden sign back ... hmmm ...

Personally, I don't like how things were laid out too much. As someone who works weekend evenings, I will have to beg and plead to get someone to cover me a helluva lot more than I wanted to as 13 of the 41 home games fall on Saturday or Sunday - and only three of those are day games. The 5 pm Sunday start against the Ducks on October 11th (the second home game of the season) doesn't count. And what is up with that? Are they trying to accommodate the 1 pm Giants game against Oakland of all teams?? I'm sure that will be one big draw and definitely one worth pandering to - for both Big Blue and the Blueshirts. /sarcasm

The rest of the schedule is mediocre - it will be nice to see the Red Wings in the Garden but Marian Gaborik's lone game against the Wild will be in Minnesota. That the Rangers don't have a home game against every Original Six team is also annoying; the Blackhawks won't be coming to New York. We don't see the Islanders in the city until the middle of December; hopefully by then DiPietro should be out for the season and Tavares will have proved to be a bust.

There are two long rips of days without home games aside from the Olympics, a 11 day rip in early November and a 13 day rip right before the final two games of the season. The Blueshirts Off Our Backs game - i.e. the season-ender - is against the Flyers on Friday April 9th. That will certainly be good to go out and drink our sorrows away, should the team not make the playoffs.

Well, there is a whole lotta time before that comes so let's just dread one thing at a time - starting with the two months of hockeyless days before camp opens ...

Goals By Gabby, Day 3

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Marian Gaborik YouTubage this week.

Where he scored a Messier-esque goal yesterday, today he looks a helluva lot like Jaromir Jagr if you ask me ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Corey's Comin' Back

Earlier today the Rangers re-signed defenseman Corey Potter. I said it several times last season: Potter looked composed, poised with the puck and intelligent out on the ice. Tom Renney didn't trust him but Renney was a fool who got fired. He didn't hold Redden and Rozsival and Kalinin accountable and that kept Potter from getting a fair shot. The Michigan State alum proved he play in the NHL during last season's cup of coffee and hopefully Sather will stop this nonsense about signing more blueliners and give him a real chance to make it.

Mark Your Calendars

Just released:
Seven Games on 2009 Slate

New York, July 14, 2009 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced the 2009 pre-season schedule today, featuring three games at Madison Square Garden and a total of seven games in 13 days.

The Rangers will kick off the 2009 pre-season with a back-to-back set, opening against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, September 15, before travelling to Newark to face-off against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, September 16. New York will then head to Detroit to face the Red Wings on Friday, September 18, in the first of back-to-back road games. The Blueshirts will travel to Boston to face the Bruins in the second game of the back-to-back road set on Saturday, September 19. On Monday, September 21, the Rangers return to The Garden to host the Red Wings. The Rangers will wrap up their pre-season schedule with a home-and-home set against the Capitals beginning on Thursday, September 24, in their final home game of the exhibition season, and concluding on Sunday, September 27, in an afternoon contest at Washington.

The 2009 New York Rangers training camp begins with players reporting to New York for physical testing at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility on Saturday, September 12.


Day Date Opponent Site Time
Tuesday Sept. 15 Boston Madison Square Garden 7:00 PM
Wednesday Sept. 16 New Jersey Newark, NJ 7:00 PM
Friday Sept. 18 Detroit Detroit, MI 7:30 PM
Saturday Sept. 19 Boston Boston, MA 4:00 PM
Monday Sept. 21 Detroit Madison Square Garden 7:00 PM
Thursday Sept. 24 Washington Madison Square Garden 7:00 PM
Sunday Sept. 27 Washington Washington, D.C. 12:00 PM

All Times Are Eastern Standard Time.

Goals By Gabby, Day 2

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Marian Gaborik YouTubage this week.

Today's pick sees Gabby again playing for Slovakia as he brings out his inner Messier to score on a sweet off-wing wrister inside the far post:

While I didn't realize that Wade Redden played for Russia, I think the goal is still quite impressive.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Some Thoughts ...

I understood the rumours of the Rangers bringing Sergei Zubov back. He is a smart veteran who isn't likely to play 82 games but can be counted upon to QB the power play and take the young defensemen in the organization to the next level. Zubi is great and he would certainly be a big veteran addition to the team.

But now Beyond the Rangers is reporting that the Blueshirts are showing interest in Anton Babchuk. Now, don't get me wrong - Babchuk is just 25 years old, had a solid season for the Canes and still has not reached his potential. For a team without cap issues, a team without five or six almost-NHL-ready youngsters ready to step in, Babchuk would be worth the money he is looking for (over a million per year, likely around two). Vancouver, L.A., Phoenix, Florida, Columbus, St. Louis ... not New York.

Considering Dubi has yet to be re-signed and Sather admitting he wouldn't be opposed to dealing the young center, perhaps the Rangers would sweeten the pot with one of the blue chip blueliners. But even then, they would be getting a true first line center in return and the contract that surely comes with it - so they wouldn't have the money to afford a guy like Babchuk. I just don't get it.

What's next? Bringing back Marek Malik or Christian Backman? Both are still on the market ... even I don't think Sather is that cruel ... is he??!?!?!?!?

Sather's Monday Machinations

The Korpedo has been fired to Phoenix in return for Enver Lisin. I really am not sure that Glen Sather knows that there are 30 teams in the NHL, as he only seems to deal with three or four. But whatever, at least he is doing something that doesn't involve screwing over us fans. As for the other party, Dan Maloney retrieved another of his draft picks from a New York system that wasn't fit for them.

Lauri Korpikoski was given every opportunity to grow when Tortorella was hired and he never stepped up his game. Korp was tried on the second line, the third, the fourth, in the middle, on the wing ... he certainly is capable of playing at the NHL level but he simply didn't make the most of his chances. So now he's gone.

In his place is Lisin, an uber-fast youngster who has serious scoring upside. He is a soft skill player who is good around the net but isn't big on going through traffic. Lisin is a solid replacement for Freddie Sjostrom, with less physicality and a better scoring touch. Like Sjo, he will probably start on the fourth line and try to work up from there. Then again, if Zherdev comes back and Byers shows up to camp in shape then Lisin may be bound for Hartford but I'm not so sure Z will return - that soap opera is still playing out. One thing is for sure, I wouldn't want to face the Rangers in a shootout with Gabby, Kotalik and Lisin ...

Sather also handed out some contracts earlier today. As completely expected, Ryan Callahan re-signed with the Rangers. The team didn't include the terms in their press release but Newsday's Zipay says it is a two-year deal worth $4.6 million.

If so, that could very well be a steal. Cally was a huge part of the team last season and stepped up his play even further when Torts came to town. His balls-out hustle certainly fits with the coach's style so he should do even better with a full season in the system. Plus, with him around for two more years perhaps I can finally get him to sign my Victoria Cup puck. Haha.

And finally (I think, it is getting late), goaltender Chad Johnson was signed by Sather as well. As I said when we traded for him on draft day, he still has a way to go before becoming a NHL goaltender but is good for organizational depth.

I mentioned to my buddy Pete earlier that it didn't seem like Sather was done and today certainly showed that he is certainly not on summer vacation. So what's next? Dubi dealt, Dubi re-signed, Z re-signed, Z signed and traded, Rangers walking away from Z or something totally out of left field?

Goals By Gabby, Day 1

Since my Bashing Brash week caused so much discussion and interest, I figured I would even up the karma meter and spend this week looking in awe at the scoring prowess of Marian Gaborik. As I said when we signed him, Gaborik is high risk/high reward and the sky is the limit if he stays healthy.

The Garden ice isn't the best for someone with surgically-reconstructed hips and a bad groin but the Rangers have a top notch training staff and New York has some of the best doctors in the world. Hopefully they all can keep this world-class talent in our lineup as much as possible.

Sportsnet's scouting report on Gaborik says that he "is one of the fastest players in hockey, naturally gifted and a constant offensive menace. Has soft hands, elusive one-on-one moves and a quick release." You guys have seen the numbers, Gaborik is at least a point-per-game player when healthy but has missed 138 regular season games due to injury over the last five seasons.

So let's get this week started off right with a scene that will hopefully be re-created many times over this season - Gaborik scoring a sick goal on Mmmmaaaaaaaarrrrtttyyyy (even if it is internationally):


Friday, July 10, 2009

Bashing Brash, Day 5

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Donald Brashear YouTubage this week.

This week's final selection is still fresh in our minds, and yet was somehow easily ignored by Glen Sather and you defenders out there. Witness the latest egregious act by the animal:

Well, wasn't that fun viewing? Certainly a solid way to cap off a week of lowlights from the lowlife. Hopefully this will be the last we will see of Donald's dastardly acts; I don't want to have a regular feature here bashing Brash this fall. But we don't always get what we want now, do we?

Byers Is Coming Back

Dane Byers, an RFA, is a RFA no more as he re-signed with the Rangers this afternoon. It is a good thing since most everyone has him penciled in the opening night lineup. Playing with Hartford, he missed most of last season with injury but made it back in time for the playoffs. If he shows up to camp in shape and works hard, his big league roster spot is almost a sure thing this fall.

Byers is a big kid who is not afraid of working in the trenches. He will go to the front of the net and battle for position; we should love him in the Garden. There is a lot of potential there and his upside is as second-line power forward. But in the short term, At the least, Byers will be a solid checking line grinder while he gets some NHL experience under his belt. I'm definitely looking forward to watching him.

Happy Trails Paul

Paul Mara is officially off-Broadway, as he signed a deal today with the Montreal Canadiens.

Mara never lived up to expectations but proved himself a capable, consistent defenseman during his time in New York. While he wasted a ton of power play time - much like every other defenseman on the roster - Mara was good at getting the puck out of the zone, always willing to stand up for teammates and had one legendary beard.

There were good moments and bad; when he stood up for himself and got his revenge on Patrick Kaleta (and his subsequent goal against Buffalo the next game after that), and when Michael Sauer took the fall for him and was banished back to the AHL for Mara's mistakes. While the lumberjack may have set back Sauer's progress a bit, the impact that he had on Marc Staal will pay dividends for us for years to come. Mara helped show Staal the ropes and got him through his rookie season, turning the kid into a professional and (hopefully) a future Norris winner.

Mara never found chemistry with his old buddy Morris and was certain to see the door with the fresh crop of Blueshirt blueliners ready for harvest. Now the Boston-bred Mara is headed for Montreal so let's just wish him good luck with that ...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome Alice! I Mean, Ales!

A guy at work asked me this afternoon how long it would take for the Faithful to start calling Ales Kotalik by the warm, feminine name Alice. My guess? Not long at all. It's the Garden after all. But, like every new Ranger who hasn't proven to be past his prime (Naslund, Redden) or a criminal (Brash), I am willing to give him a bit of leeway at the outset.

Last season I only saw about a half dozen Sabre games so I made an txt inquiry to a Buffalo fan (my buddy Pockets) to get a scouting report. "Great potential very good whens hes on takes too many days off sick shot. Not bad for the 3rd line. Good o point for pp."

Well, that sounds ... disturbing. Given that Kotalik is surely slotted for second line duty, enigmatic forwards don't seem to flourish with Tortorella and there hasn't been a capable forward regularly working the point on the power play since, since ... I can't even think of one. Then again, the second and third lines should see about the same amount of time, Torts certainly doesn't seem afraid of tackling the tough head cases and he may very well be willing to try something new to jumpstart the yellow-bus-special special team.

We definitely have to hope so, especially if Kotalik is really signed for the rumoured three years at three million per. He needs to at least put up 46 points to match the output lost by Naslund's retirement. But, numbers aside, the biggest part of this signing may be the reverberations felt on the roster. Well, one member of the roster. The removal of Nylander turned game-breaking superstar Jagr into reclusive, muttering mediocre Jagr; the impact of the addition of Kotalik may have the same magnitude - in the opposite direction. It could spark Drury into rediscovering the inner former Cup-winner within. Dru never looked comfortable last season as he struggled with the pressures of the captaincy and the coaching change. If Kotalik can spur him to find the form that earned him the Captain Clutch moniker (and the contract that came with it) , it will be well worth the investment.

As for the Alice thing, well, that will take a little more - 75 points, a willingness to sign autographs, participation in Toys For Tots and the Rangers challenging for the division lead. Hey, if we can't dream now, when can we?

Well, Isn't This Interesting?

Chris Drury's old Buffalo teammate Ales Kotalik, now formerly of the Edmonton Oilers, was just signed by the Rangers. The Ranger beat bloggers don't have it up yet but it is on the front of the team's homepage. More info will follow and I will have more comment later but for right now, I am left wondering if the former Sabre is coming in as an addition to the roster or as a replacement for Nik Zherdev ... We will certainly see ...

Bashing Brash, Day 4

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Donald Brashear YouTubage this week. This feature has drawn all sorts of fun comments and even some mixed opinions and because of them, I posted a new poll on the right side of the page. Vote away ...

As for today's selection, it is from last season when former Maple Leaf hero (haha) Wade Belak took Brashear down:

And as a bonus, here is a classic clip of one criminal beating up another:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bashing Brash, Day 3

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Donald Brashear YouTubage this week.

Today's selection is a classic. Watch as a real Ranger enforcer takes on this goon:

Say It Ain't So Joe, Say It Ain't So!

The title of this post is the line from Eight Men Out, when a young boy questions Joe Jackson after he was included in the Black Sox scandal of 1919. The boy was shocked and disappointed that his hero had failed him. Well, Joe Sakic was one of the true hockey heroes of the last 20 years and, to the best of my knowledge, has never failed anyone.

All Sakic has done is rack up a ton of points, collect a slew of trophies - including the big silver one twice - and earned himself a ticket to the Hall of Fame. Along the way he has shown a dedication and determination that has won the hearts of millions of hockey fans - and not just those from Colorado and Quebec City. I'm one of them, and it will be sad to see him officially call it quits on Thursday.

I've taken a significant amount of flak lately for my vocal dislike for Donald Brashear, and the fact that he is now a Ranger. Where I see Brash symbolizing everything that is wrong with the game, Sakic represents everything that is right with it. I've spoken about Scotty Hockey Heroes here in the past and Sakic certainly is one. There are few higher praises that I can think of than to say, "damn, I wish he was a Ranger." For a brief moment, he almost was one - something I explored when he re-signed with the Aves before the 08-09 season and reposted it below.

It is scary to think that Sakic was thiiiiiiisss close to being a Ranger 11 years ago. Unfortunately the Aves matched the Rangers' offer sheet and New York was doomed to seven years without the playoffs.

Had Sakic headed for Broadway, who knows what would have happened. At the least, New York would have remained competitive against the stifling Devils system. Sakic would have been the crown jewel in a rebuilt Ranger roster and found immediate comfort thanks to the signings of his Colorado teammates Mike Keane and Brian Skrudland. Sakic could have helped keep Theo Fleury on a leash and perhaps Valeri Kamensky wouldn't have been as big of a bust.

And Rangers wouldn't really have missed the five first round draft picks that went the other way, as they pissed them away themselves by drafting Manny Malhotra (1998), Pavel Brendl (1999), Jamie Lundmark (also '99), Dan Blackburn (2001) and Hugh Jessiman (2003). They didn't have first rounders in 2000 and 2002 ...

Now I am not about to say that the signing would have brought Stanley back, but I am sure that the Aves would not have won the 2001 Cup. Sakic had 118 regular season points and 26 more in that magical Run For Ray Bourque. Bourque left Boston to take one last run at a championship and if Sakic was in New York, maybe he would have chosen the Rangers. Could you imagine a Blueshirt blueline with Bourque and Leetch? And think about a one-two punch down the middle with Sakic and Messier, who had returned from Vancouver by then. How scary would that have been?

But I have to say, even scarier is the thought that the Rangers' offer of three years $21 mill was extravagant at that time. Now say that it was worth it and take the dream of Sakic as a Ranger a step forward and say that his addition would indeed have brought another Cup to New York. Now there is nothing that can replicate the boom in popularity that breaking the curse at 54 years brought to the NHL, but another Ranger Cup would have served the league much better than the wins in Colorado, Dallas and even Detroit. If the Rangers won at the turn of the century, would we still have lost the 2004-05 season to a lockout? Would the lockout have come even earlier or would it have not happened at all?

Something to ponder ...
Like Stevie Y, Joe never went for the limelight, it just came to him. And he handled it with a level of class and humility that belied the warrior spirit that carried him to victory on the ice. There aren't a lot of players left like that in the league (Nick Lidstrom, Jarome Iginla and ???), which makes Joe's retirement that much more poignant. He will be missed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bashing Brash, Day 2

As I mentioned Monday, I am posting some Donald Brashear YouTubage this week.

Today's selection is now a piece of Garden lore. After Brashear went around harassing Jagr all night, Shanny took it onto himself to stand up for the superstar. Enjoy watching a goon get beat up by a senior citizen, then seeing him snap and sucker punch Aaron Ward:

Names To Know

Now that Marian Gaborik is a Ranger, there are some names all Ranger fans should know:

Jim Ramsay is the Head Athletic Trainer. Rammer is well known to many of us regulars as the affable, capable man behind the bench. The kind soul who is first over the bench when a Blueshirt goes down, Rammer is also quick to help opposing players and even injured fans. If I recall, he rushed up into the stands to help someone hit by a errant puck last season. And, I have to say, his tips of the week were informative, if awkward, watching.

Bruce Lifrieri, the Massage Therapist/Assistant Trainer. Rangerland did a fun "interview" with him a few years back. But seriously, as they say prevention and preparation are key to avoiding injury, you can believe Bruce the Masseuse will be working with Gaborik.

Reg Grant, the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator. Working with advisor Daniel Hedin, Grant keeps the Rangers in shape over the grind of the season. Given that Torts thought the Blueshirts were tired and worn down in the series against the Caps last season, Reg surely has been hard at work this offseason giving workout instructions so the guys can survive Camp Tortorella.

Dr. Andrew Feldman, the Team Physician and Orthopedic Surgeon. When operating on the right body part, Feldman has proved quite capable and has quite the resume. Other times, notsomuch. Feldman couldn't do anything to save Danny Blackburn's career but may have saved Sean Avery's life by getting him to the hospital when his spleen went against the Pens.

Feldman is joined by Dr. Anthony Maddalo, the Assistant Team Physician, who has been with the team for more than 20 years and has worked on Richter, Bure and Rozy, among many others. Dr. Ronald Weissman, the Medical Consultant, has also been around for quite a while and helped diagnose Jed's blood clots.

Hopefully with this skilled staff in place, Gaborik will stay healthy and we will see him celebrating all season long.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bashing Brash, Day 1

Glen Sather was right, there will be cheers for Donald Brashear at MSG. Given the price increase at MSG, more and more of the diehard, knowledgeable hockey fans have been pushed out. This is not to say that there aren't some puckheads who will root for Brash - you see Redden and Poti jerseys out there, so there are misguided members of the faithful - but the vast majority will not get behind a player with Brashear's history. The cheers will come, however, from the few corporate clients that come - they don't know the game, they don't care about the game, they just want to see a little violence.

And Donald Brashear will certainly provide that. Brashear is a vicious fighter who throws punches with little-to-no regard for personal safety. When Colton Orr would just start launching punches, you knew he was in trouble. He was a more surgical striker who used his size and leverage to work in his defense while he picked his spot for the big blasts. Whether in tight or at arms length, Brash just rears back and throws. I want to trash Brash for it, but let's face it - it has worked for him. He will hit the 1,000 game mark this season, no small feat for a brawler.

The question is how much fighting will he actually do? According to, the past-his-prime brawler had just 11 fights last season and has not had more than 15 in a season since 2002. Just how prolific can he be? Glen can claim that Brashear will fit in Tortorella's system well but Brash scored double digits in goals just once in his career, back in 2000. So since he isn't about to score, what will he contribute to the system? A forecheck of high elbows, slashes and cross checks?

Aside from the outright bitch-slap to the faces of the True Blue and every player in the locker room, the decision to sign Brashear is a slap in the face of the sport. He blatantly ignores the Code on the ice but teams keep picking him up because of the success of all-out-warfare fighting style. It has gotten him suspended time after time from the NHL and even suspended for a dozen games in a league based around fighting! At the time brash put it back on the league, saying that everyone there was picking on him, trying to make a name for themselves.

I'm sorry, there is no excuse for breaking the Code. It is Brashear's readiness to denigrate our sport with his barbarity that I loathe him and won't be among those cheering when he steps out on the ice in a Blueshirt this fall or any other time.

So, each day this week, I am going to post a YouTube of the animal in action. Today's fine feature will be the Quebec senior league incident that caused the aforementioned 12 game suspension:

And Glen Sather signed this guy.

Tread Carefully Mr. Sather ...

As is being widely reported, restricted free agents Ryan Callahan and Nik Zherdev are taking the Rangers to salary arbitration. Steve Zipay does a fantastic job spelling it out and explaining what that means.

Arbitration is a tricky thing and the Rangers aren't the least bit afraid to go in with all guns blazing - who can forget hearing that they called Sean Avery "a detriment to the team" when he brought them to arbitration two summers ago?

Sean Avery, however, was a very different player than Cally and Z are now. Vicious barbs could cause serious damage to both.

Callahan surely has a youthful cockiness after a strong regular season and his team's vocal refusal to include him in any trades for scoring help or cap relief. But at the same time, Cally contributed just two goals in the series against the Caps - a fact he or his rep would need to refute with his team-leading 24 hits but considering how badly the Rangers needed goals, their number would weigh considerably more. Whatever dirt the team decides to dish will need to be tempered with what they see as his upside: does he have leadership potential? superstar potential? can he score 35 goals? Zip believes that the team won't let the negotiations go to arbitration with Cally and that would certainly seem like the way to go as the kid could be a cornerstone of the franchise down the line.

The conversation with Z will also have to be done with an eye towards the future. Likely, it is a future without Zherdev as soon as Grachev is NHL-ready. Seeing as Andrew Gross and company raved what Jess has been saying all along - that Grachev is scary-good and close to making the show - the Rangers can unleash their arsenal at Z. Call him lazy, call him uncoachable, call him out on his playoff disappearance. To do that, however, they have to pray that Tortorella can put the shattered pieces of the Ukrainian's psyche back together enough to get one last productive campaign out of him before kicking him to the KHL.

Like seemingly everything else this summer, this is sure to hold a few surprises so stay tuned!

The Center Conundrum

Regular reader and blue seater Silvio from section 407 and many others of you out there have been speculating as to what Sather will do to fill the center slot that the MexiCan't left.

I'm not so sure he should do anything.

As good as Marian Gaborik is, he has to get the puck to be able to score the 40 or so goals we expect from him (should he stay healthy). Honestly, I think the players we have can help with that - there is no need to spend any more money. Now, I know that Sather will likely do it anyway (he always does) but I don't think the Rangers really need to pick up a pivot - especially one from such a weak market as there is now. Silvio suggested Mike Comrie, Steve Zipay has pitched Saku Koivu and I have even read several pleas for Brendan Morrison.

While a name like Robert Lang intrigues me, I think the team can certainly go into the season with Dubi-Dru-Anisimov-Boyle down the middle. Why sign an over-the-hill, overpriced name those mentioned above when next summer Olli Jokinen, Marc Savard, Pat Marleau, Adam Burish, Andrew Ebbett and Ryan Shannon all become available?

Sather and Tortorella have repeated constantly that the kids will get chances in camp so why not give Dubi the chance to seize the No. 1 center position? He looked pretty damn good as a rookie with Jaromir Jagr, perhaps he can find the same chemistry with Gabby. I certainly hope so ...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Filling Laundry

Glen Sather made a few signings since I posted last, with the highest profile being Colorado Avalanche forward Tyler Arnason. I will not be making a card for him. You know your general manager made a mistake when the mainstream media outlet that covers the player's former team had this to write about his departure:
Relief is finally here, Avs fans. No more startling, sweat-soaked leaps from the pillow at 3 a.m., following visions of Tyler Arnason playing for your team.
No longer will you have to pound the table after seeing Arnie get the puck taken off his stick, then watching him casually skate back to the bench with that “who cares?” look on his face.

No longer will you have to pull your hair after seeing Arnie misfire on another shot, or have it easily blocked and taken the other way, Arnie a full three strides behind in pursuit.

No longer will you have to look at an Avalanche payroll list and see Arnie making more money than guys like Lappy. No longer will you have to see Arnie shy away from making any contact with an opponent, which if he’d done so might have resulted in the Avalanche having the puck.

It’s all over. Arnie is, appropriately enough, a New York Ranger - the team that never saw an over-the-hill, overpaid Avs player they didn’t like.

Bon voyage, Arnie.

Or should it be: bon bon voyage?
When looking at Colorado's pending free agents at the end of the season, the awesome Aves blogger Jibble Scibbits had this to say about re-signing Arnason:
Tyler Arnason : In a word: No. In 41 words: If he takes the Ice in a unipron next season there will be protests in the streets of Denver that will make the streets of Tehran look desolate, and make the LA Lakers championship riot look like a hippy peace march.

Verdict No, No 1,000 times No.
Nice signing Glen! At least Sather had the smarts to make it a two way deal so Arnason could be buried in the minors. Arny has no place on an NHL roster anymore but should fit well alongside Pat Rissmiller in Hartford.

Speaking of the Pack, Sather also re-signed P.A. Parenteau, and added Corey Locke and Chris Chappell. Parenteau hopefully got himself a two-way deal where he isn't stuck in waiver hell like last season. He is a solid scorer who was a first team AHL All Star. Seeing as the Rangers need help scoring and that Parenteau has worked his ass off for the franchise, hopefully he will get a fair shot at making the roster. Locke is an under-sized AHL scorer who will likely never sniff the bigs but Chappell just might. Chappell is a big boy - 6'4, 209 - who improved his point total each of the last four seasons in the OHL. Last year he racked up 38 goals and 38 assists in 68 regular season games and eight points in eight playoff games for Saginaw. Jess from Prospect Park has surely seen him so I will wait for him to weigh in but it looks to me like a good signing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Slow Afternoon

Kovalchuk persuaded Borat to join him in Atlanta, Kovalev decided to leave the negotiations with the Habs (hopefully not for a third tour with us) and Rob Scuderi went to Los Angeles. I'm headin' out for the evenin' but I did up another card ... are you guys digging them? Should I keep doing them? Lemme know in the comments. And, while you are at it, who do YOU think will be first line center next season? Dubi?

What Will Tomorrow Bring?

Glen Sather didn't sound like he was done on that earlier conference call and John Tortorella told MSG that he didn't think that the Blueshirts were set yet. Looking at the roster there is still a hole down the middle so you would think they will address that - especially if Sather doesn't truly trust Dubinsky as a top line center. So who do they target next?

Brad Richards? The new brass in Dallas were certainly quiet today - all they did was re-sign Jere Lehtinen - and still need to make their stamp on the franchise. Richards was one of the few Stars not to hate Avery, he even came to NY to inaugurate Sean's hipster bar downtown. He would look great feeding Gabby (for the five, 10 games that Gabby is healthy) and comes with a Cup and a Conn Smythe on his resume. He still has some years on his contract but the Dallas defense is perilously thin so they may be interested in Rozy.

Patrick Marleau? His name has been in trade rumours forever. I have no idea what the Rangers have that San Jose would want but he showed last season that he isn't a lost cause, he still can play the game.

Sam Gagner/Andrew Cogliano? These kids were both on the block for Edmonton's prospective deal for Heatley. Seeing as that fell through, the Oilers still need someone to finish those brilliant passes from Ales Hemsky. Nik Zherdev perhaps? Gagner and Cogliano both struggled through their sophomore seasons so they may have worn out a bit of their welcome in Oil Country but the upside is still there.

Borat? Nik Antropov was close to signing with Atlanta at one point in the day but they never came to terms. Perhaps his illogical demands are coming down and he sees some appeal to playing with Gaborik.

Mats Sundin/Robert Lang? I lump the two free agents together because together they are both 38 years old. But, seeing as Sather clearly isn't building for the future, both are smart, capable puck movers. The drawback is that both have lost a step and would likely struggle in Torts' up-tempo system.

Honestly, at this point in time I am not even going to wager a guess. Today Sather signed Donald Brashear and an injury-prone player to a five year deal, who the hell knows what he will do next????

Another Card

I was bored earlier ...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good Luck Freddie

As you may have seen, Freddie Sjostrom got picked up by Calgary today.

Sjostrom's departure became an inevitability when he didn't start scoring at the end of last season despite a move to the third line. Regardless, it is still sad see him go as he was one of the few who truly gave the Rangers everything that he had. Through the blood, sweat and bruises, Sjostrom hustled every moment of every shift and became a huge part of the team - as great as Bettsy was, the combination of the two is what made the penalty kill the best in the NHL.

He will be missed.


Eavesdropped on the Glen Sather media conference call, can't type quick enough so these were a few bites as best as I could get 'em on the fly - I am not a typist and refuse to listen to this a second time. Judge them as you may:

"Gaborik is the guy we had targeted from the beginning."

"We are happy to get him and we didn't have to give anyone from our roster to get him. Money is the same, term is the same [as Heatley]."

"We had our scout deliver a video to his home in slovakia, he has seen him, he has talked to him ... he is very healthy, Mario Lemieux had the same surgery and look at him."

"We weren't in on the Hossa deal ... at all."

"I think in the next CBA there is a pretty firm chance that they are going to put a limit on these kinds of things (long term deals)."

"He's certainly in the top 10, I mean, you know, that's a difficult question to answer because every guy has a different evaluation system ... he can skate he can do a lot of great things he is a great player and he is young. i certainly think he is in the top 10 in this league."

"Gaborik played under that system (Minnesota's) and he got almost a point per game ... it will be interesting to see how he does in the Tortorella system. as torts has described we will have a very up-tempo game and this guy fits it to a T."

"I don't think anyone is going to come after our guys (the RFA's) at this stage ... at this stage we can still protect everyone."

"We've had conversations with our doctors with the people who did the surgery on him and his agent ... Rozsival had that surgery last year, he came back and played 17 games and hasn't had a problem since"

"We think that Brashear gives you a couple of other things. He is quicker (then Colton Orr), he can get under the puck a little faster and under the style of game we are going to play we think he will be more effective for us."

(Even after what happened in the playoffs last year) "I think our players would be excited to have him (Brashear) in our room."

"I like to think we will get a little more offense from everyone in our lineup."

"I know we are a lot better team with Gaborik and Higgins then we were at this time last year."

"We still have some balls in the air so we will have to see what happens tomorrow. at this stage I don't think anyone knows what's going to happen."

"I think that Dubinsky is capable of being a number one center but if the deal presents itself - through free agency or through a trade, I've had some conversations - if there is the right player we are going to do it."

Gaborik Is Broadway Bound

TSN is reporting that the Rangers signed Marian Gaborik to a five year deal, $7.5M per. If Gabby managed not to injure himself signing the contract, then the Blueshirts finally got their Jaromir Jagr replacement. The dude is a Fabergé egg. Stunningly beautiful and expensive, yet ridiculously fragile. Goal scoring is not a problem with him (who will ever forget the five-goal game?) but staying healthy is.

Sather is a gambler, especially when playing with someone else's money. And today he spent it on Gaborik. High risk/high reward, no guts/no glory Sather is going for it. And we will just have to sit back and pray that it pays off.

Honestly, this does little to make up for the Brashear signing to me, but it will certainly make for an interesting time. We will enter every game with baited breath - what will Gaborik do tonight? What kind of goal will he score? Will his groin go again or will it be something else? Gabby is not a Tortorella-type player, he is too soft and has little idea of defense - even coming from Minnesota. But he can score goals and now that he is reunited with Aaron Voros, the sky is the limit.

Sather To Ranger Fans

I hate you Glen.


All of the massive goodwill that Glen earned by dealing away the MexiCan't is now gone as Sather has signed Donald Brashear.

Brashear is the worse kind of criminal in hockey and has no place on a NHL roster, much less ours.

The Washington Press tried to spin Brashear's idiotic actions as a product of his hard luck story but the fact is this - Brashear is an animal. Tortorella at times would give Andre Roy one shift per game, Brashear doesn't even deserve that.

If this is some kind of nonsensical PR trick to appeal to the Ice Hockey in Harlem kids, it won't work (Al Montoya anyone?). Color and creed doesn't matter, what is done on the ice does and what Brashear has done is inexcusable and has no place in New York.

I feel sick to my stomach. It is a good thing that the Rangers forced us to pay up front for our season tickets because I wouldn't have renewed.

Welcome Chris


Everyone is now reporting Marian Hossa is headed to Chicago. That means they won't be able to re-sign Marty Havlat. Havlat is a cheaper alternative - think Sather goes after him? He is another high risk/high reward considering his injury history (and being Kronwalled) but Mr. X from the Blue Seats and I discussed him earlier this season around deadline time and we agreed, he would look nice in Blue. We will see ...

Good Luck Colt

Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up Colton Orr.

It's a sad day on Broadway. New York loves their tough guys and we appear to be headed into an era without one on the roster. Colton Orr gave us three and a half seasons of good service and I sincerely wish him the best of luck. I dogged him almost as much as I did Poti and company because when he got here he was slow and he took bad penalties at bad times. Orr now leaves us a much more complete player, thanks to the motivation of Tom Renney and the tough guy's own hard work and dedication.

Last season Orr was called upon to be a valuable member of the roster and he was - until Tortorella came here. Early last season, Orr was a big part of a checking line that shut down the opposition quite soundly - taking on Crosby and company on several occasions and doing great work of it. When Renney came under fire because the stars weren't scoring, he cut the unit's ice time and Orr went back to his enforcer position. As is well documented here and everywhere else, when Torts finally got his way and pulled the puncher from the lineup, Blair Betts got his head knocked off the next game.

Orr played 236 games in a Blueshirt and racked up 552 PIM while protecting his teammates. Here is his complete fight card and it features many fantastic bouts but I will leave with three of my favourite tussles. Thank you for your service Colt, we will miss you here in New York.


In the Post today, Glen Sather had this to say: "If you perform up to expectations, play hard every day, game in and game out and be productive, there's a chance you'll never be traded."

But I guess you can still be let go when your contract comes up ...

Good luck Bettsy, wherever you go.

How Sather Really Made The Deal

Stormtrooper Gainey: Let me trade for Brandon Dubinsky.
Obi-Wan Sather: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't want to trade for Brandon Dubinsky.
Gainey: I don't want to trade for Brandon Dubinsky.
Sather: You want Scott Gomez.
Gainey: I want Scott Gomez.
Sather: It's good doing business with me.
Gainey: It's good doing business with you.
Sather: You will throw in your top defensive prospect.
Gainey: I'll even throw in my top defensive prospect.
Sather: We have a deal.
Gainey: We have a deal.

(Idea for this post shamelessly stolen from Rangerland.)