Apologies for not posting since the Rick Nash deal but, frankly, haven't been all that inspired. It's been bloody hot outside and not a whole helluva lot is happening in the NHL hockey world ... well, except the slow death spiral towards a lockout. And that is as depressing as the stifling heat and humidity.
Some random topics and random thoughts:
*RIP Bones Raleigh, one of the overlooked all-time Ranger greats. Stan Fischler, of course, knew him and wrote a nice piece that is worth checking out. It is a shame so many terrific players bled Blue and were all but lost in a history that the Rangers have chosen to ignore. You know, 1994 was amazing and all but the team did play 84 other seasons ...
*The news came out that that NBC will pay for this season no matter what, and if there is a lockout then extra year is added onto deal for no rights fee. Interesting. No word on if that means they get days, weeks, months back as well. If so, it may actually behoove the NHL to postpone the start of the season until just before the Winter Classic - that way, on the back end of the deal they have the Winter Classic in their pocket as negotiating power for a new deal. NBC would start the 2021-22 season, and be even more pressured to pay up if they want the sponsor-friendly outdoor game.
*Stop being furious at Gary Bettman. Yes, he is a smug, sleazy, smarmy former lawyer who lies to your face. But he is just a puppet of the powerful NHL owners. Ed Snider, Jeremy Jacobs, Jimmy Dolan - those are the true villains in this labour battle. They are blaming others for their financial mismanagement and capitalizing upon our everlasting passion for pucks to ensure they get away with it. Boardroom typical.
*Several pieces came out about the impact of a lockout on front office employees and on the Winter Classic. But also keep in mind the ancillary impact: spoke to the owner of a MSG-area bar the other day and the thought of losing Ranger fan income is driving him to drink (well, more than usual). After an anemic summer because of the renovation - no concert cash - losing the True Blue boozers could really hurt his business. While his particular pub could/should survive thanks to being in New York, you'd have to imagine other establishments in other cities may not be as fortunate.
*One good thing about a lockout - me looking on the bright side! - is it would give everyone the opportunity to expand their fandom internationally, even if the NHLers aren't allowed to steal jobs (the Elitserien has said no-go). Been to the Scandinavium twice so Frolunda is a certainty in Sweden, loooooved being in Zug (Zurich and Bern, notasmuch) so despite the Rangers losing to them, EVZ ole! Kings Park's Bobby Goepfert plays on the DEG Metro Stars in Germany so that's my DEL team. No love for the Czech league or the KHL, so that pretty much leaves England, Italy and Finland left for me to find teams. Puck around the planet!
*Still really, really hate the Arron Asham signing. Not for hockey purposes - the team needs someone who can and will fight for his teammates (Rupp sure as hell hasn't) but just because he is Arron Asham. It is not quite as egregious as Donald Brashear becoming a Blueshirt, but close.
*Del Zaster wants more than $2.5 million a year. Ha bloody ha.
*It's tough but try to temper your expectations for Chris Kreider this coming season, or whenever they play next. The kid showed he has serious talent, but now teams have seen him and his tendencies against NHL level defenders so they will be more prepared. It will be interesting to see how he fares, especially alongside Nash on the power play.
Wanted to unveil a feature this Friday but it looks like it will take at least another week, so stay tuned.