Friday, August 31, 2007

I Hate Yuppies

So I am out at the US Open tennis tournament for work and it strikes me how much like Rangers hockey it is. Seriously - there are a ton of yuppies, talking on their cells and ignoring play. The prices for everything are exorbitant and the people in the good seats are the quietest fans. It's kinda gross, and exactly what Gary Bettman wants the NHL experience to be like - white-washed, boring corporate crap. Granted, the US Tennis Association makes a ton of money out of this, and that is what Gary and his handlers want at the end of the day. They don't care about the product, just the bottom line.

It's kinda sad, but quite understandable.

The difference is, or should be, is that the sport of hockey started with regular people, where tennis was a royal sport. Tennis was played by the ancient Egyptians and adopted by monks in France. From there it entered the court (bad pun intended) and now its a yuppy country-club sport. Hockey, while its ancient origins are still being found out, rose to popularity on lakes and rivers in Canada as explorers adopted the lacrosse-ish game of the natives. From then on it went to bored farm kids and beyond. Hockey has always been a blue collar game and taking it away from its roots (and the widest fanbase) makes it something else, and I hope I am not around to see it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Trophies: Kids and Kings

Since I will be out in the field for work the next two days, I don't think I will have time to split them up so here they are: my predictions for the final two of the 'big five' trophies.

The Calder Trophy:
1. Jonathan Toews (Chicago) - Just can't say enough about this kid. He is the whole package - he is phenomenal offensively, responsible defensively and a leader. He has starred in college, in world juniors and even looked good at the world championship in the spring despite being the youngest player there. In Chicago he will have little pressure - the team sucked last year, attendance is down and home games are rarely broadcast. He will get a lot of ice time (even on the power play), he will have some great veterans to mentor him in Robert Lang and Yanic Perrault and he will have Jack Skille and Pat Kane to share in the rookie experience. The spotlight, what little of one there will be, will be on No. 1 overall pick Kane at the start but by midseason Toews should have the Calder all but wrapped up.
2. Jack Johnson (L.A.) - The Carolina Hurricanes are kicking themselves now, and will be for a long, long time. They had trouble signing him before last season and dealt him to L.A. for a pair of mediocre NHLers. Johnson showed them up by just showing up. He played in five games for the Kings at the end of the season and was a beast! If not for the perfect situation in Chicago for Toews, I would have handed the Calder to him. He has the tools to not just be as good as his mentor in L.A. Rob Blake, but much, much better. Johnson will battle Dion Phaneuf for the Norris for years to come.
3. Nicklas Backstrom (Washington) - Like Toews, Backstrom is walking into a good situation with little pressure. The Caps were bad last year, he will have one of the two Alexanders on his wing and he will have underrated veteran Michael Nylander to guide him (and force him to babysit). Backstrom is a good playmaker and if he develops the chemistry with Semin, then watch out.
Dark Horse: Marc Staal (N.Y.) - I am a Rangers fan, I have to put him in. I am not even 100% sure he will get a NHL job with the team already carrying eight defensemen (nine if you include Darius Kasperitis, who they say is in the best shape of his life and ready for a come-back). However, Staal already proved himself to be a man among boys as the best defenseman in juniors the last two years. Should Sather be smart and find a way to make some room for him, Staal has the size and skills to make an impact and in New York's limelight, it could get him the Calder.

The Hart Trophy:
1. Cindy Crosby (Pittsburgh) - If Bettman and the NHL had done the right thing, then Cindy would be a Ranger, much like Pat Ewing went to the Knicks. Granted the Rangers were able to recover from the lockout without him and he pretty much saved the Penguins franchise, but still -- imagine how big of a star he would be on Broadway! So I'm bitter and his perpetual whining to officials pisses me off even farther. But he's good. Very, very good. And, barring something tragic, this will be his award to lose for the next 10 years. Damn I hate him.
2. Joe Sakic (Colorado) - From a petulant child to a graceful elder statesman, Joe Sakic is the man. A quiet captain of grace and skill, he is the Aves' Steve Yzerman (just with better knees). Sakic had a 100 points last year and his team only got better this offseason. He won the Hart back in 2001 and with Ryan Smyth by his side this season he can capture it again.
3. Martin Brodeur (Jersey) - If New Jersey goes anywhere and does anything this season, it is because of Marty. The Devs lost Gomez and Rafalski but signed Weeksie from us so while the scoring went down, Brodeur should get better. And that is a scary thought since he had a 2.18 gaa and 0.922 save percentage with no one to spell him last year. No rest for the wicked, haha. Wonder how that sister-in-law of his is doing ...
Dark Horse: Jaromir Jagr (NYR) - Ok, I don't want to jinx anything so I made Jags a dark horse in this race. Should the Rangers improve on last season, should they go farther in the playoffs it will not be because of the additions of Gomez or Drury, it will be because Jagr played like the all-world talent he is. The Rangers need him to be healthy and happy to win, that simple. Henrik is great, but there are too many teams with great goaltenders between here and the Stanley Cup. There aren't many, if any, with a player of Jagr's caliber (when he chooses to be). So let's hope he's happy and Let's Go Rangers!

Maybe He Should Just Buy A Parrot?

Bryan Berard, the one-eyed defenseman, has agreed to re-join the New York Islanders as a training camp invitee.

The 30-year old Berard will battle for a spot on the Islanders’ blue line, like that should be tough. Deciding against a life at sea saying 'yarrr' all the time, he likely will provide the Isles with some veteran leadership and slip into Tom Poti's role of defenseless defender and target of my ire.

I have quite mixed feelings about this. As much as I mock, Berard's passion for the sport is admirable. After taking a stick to the eye from Marian Hossa in 2000, this guy went through seven surgeries so he could get some sight back and he could get on the ice. He won the Masterton Trophy for dedication and that would make him ok in my book.

But, last year he ADMITTED to doing steroids in 2006 and was the first ever NHLer to get busted for them. Since the league didn't administer the test, he wasn't suspended or run through the ringer like Sean Hill was. (What is the Isles with 'roid popping defensemen??). Hmmm ... I guess when it comes down to it, I hate him. There should be no room for cheaters in this game - at least when it comes to steroids (Sudafed is alright, lol).

I think he needs to get the hell out of the game and either buy a parrot and hit the seven seas or turn to figure skating like D.B. Sweeney did ... but, since the Isles need the warm body, he very well could end up in orange -- like I need any more reasons to loathe them. They are desperate and pathetic, and if the league would contract and stop the dilution of talent he wouldn't have a shot. But Bettman would never do that, and the Isles will give him a shot, even though he is a cycloptic cheater. For shame.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Trophies: D-Fense!

I know I said Monday I would get to the Calder Tuesday but I didn't. Sorry. I will instead do that one tomorrow and present the two top defensive awards today ...

The Norris Trophy:
1. Nick Lidstrom (Detroit) - As long as he is in the NHL, he has a chance to win this trophy. He has five, so why not make it an even half dozen? Detroit is still a great team and he is still a great all-around player. No Mathieu Schneider or Danny Markov by his side but Brian Rafalski and a healthy Niklas Kronwall should help make up for it. Although Markov's grit will be missed, it shouldn't hurt Lidstrom's case for Norris.
2. Scott Niedermayer/Chris Pronger (Anaheim) - Ok, as of this writing Scotty hasn't announced he has retired. I can undersand why he would want to leave on top, but he is still incredible. I feel safe saying that now he cemented his place as a Duck (as opposed to a Devil). Should he retire, Chris 'My Elbows Are Lethal Weapons' Pronger would have to step up his game and he is quite capable, provided he isn't suspended. Wouldn't that be ducky (bah-dum-dum-chhhhhh)?
3. Kevin Bieksa (Vancouver) - If he progresses from where he was last year, he will be one of the best in the league. He put up over 40 points, 130 PIM and was sound in front of Roberto Luongo, clearing rebounds and crippling crease crashers. He stands up for his teammates and looks a lot like a younger, more offensive Jay McKee.
Dark Horse: Dion Phaneuf (Calgary) - Another case to watch should he progress. The kid makes buildings come alive with his hitting, and he had 31 power play points last year (and 50 overall, to go with 98 PIM). Now with Keenan to ride and guide him, he should hit the next level. After all, Pronger has Keenan to thank for where he is today ...

The Vezina Trophy:
1. Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary) - Kipper is a machine. Unfortunately he was a very overworked machine last year. And without 'Hackin' Jamie Mac to back him up, he is likely to be overworked again, especially with Keenan as coach - the same man who wouldn't give Dom Hasek a chance in Chicago ... But still, Calgary has good team defense and Kipper is a helluva a goaltender. If the Flames have as good a season as I think they will, Miikka will raise the Vezina, if not the Cup.
2. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver) - He is good, so, so very good. And man am I glad the Islanders got rid of him for Rick DP. If he didn't bitch to the officials in Game 5 vs. the Ducks, he may have turned that series around. I don't think so but its possible. This year he learned from his mistake and should be even better than he was as long as Curtis Sanford stays healthy and can play at least 10, 15 games.
3. Martin Brodeur (Jersey) - New Jersey is worse this year without Gomez and Rafalski but Marty is still Marty, and he still is one of the best ... ever. Dammit.
Dark Horse: Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota) - Yes he is set for a letdown after signing a big contract extension after a good year (see: Marty Turco). But he seemed utterly unflappable last season and by no way was he to blame for the Wild's loss to the Ducks in the playoffs (the defense was). His regular season numbers were great in 41 games - 1.97 g.a.a., 23-8-6 and 0.929 save %. Without Manny Fernandez on his back, Backstrom has the chance to be just as good over the course of the full season.

Tomorrow (hopefully) ... the Calder.

He Insulted The Honour Of The Chiefs!

Not the Chiefs, the Rangers. A Canadiens fan made a list of the top 10 reasons why he hates the Rangers. And I, of course, took the gauntlet and smacked him down with it, defending the honour of the Blueshirts. Check it out here.

Much like it looks like in this picture of Jed from last year, I defecated all over his argument. While I admit that Canadians in general are more passionate about hockey, their arrogance is obnoxious and they deserve to be put back in their place. This is the country that requires people answer math problems to redeem prizes ... and they intentionally make it easy because they couldn't answer the harder questions ... FIVE HOUR LATER EDIT: to this guy's credit, he is fighting back, so he does not share the typical French mindset. But, he is quite pigheaded and obnoxious, so I stand by my earlier comments.

And while I did make fun of the Habs' mascot in defense of the Rangers, I didn't even have to lower myself to point out that he is, in fact, gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that ...

Another Mediocre New Jersey

Well, that is it - the new jersey for the Vancouver Canucks. The jerseys carry the most recent orca logo on the front and the original hockey stick emblem on the shoulders and are in the same blue, green and white colours the Canucks originally wore.

It was unveiled today and I think it would be pretty good if not for the useless VANCOUVER in block lettering at the top. I still don't get why they feel the need to pimp their Orca Bay company with the whale logo; it isn't like anyone outside of geeks like me know that it is corporate ... whatever. More on the new design here.

Since I forgot to post it when it came out, below is the bland new Tampa Bay Jerseys. So bland, so boring ... I am just glad the NHL decided not to screw up the Original Six sweaters ...

Yeah Jed!

Although he is no longer a Ranger, Jed Ortmeyer still is one of my favourite players and the Tennessean had a nice article today introducing him to Preds fans. While the initial focus of the piece details Jed's return from the blood clots, there is some neat info, including Nashville's interest in acquiring him the second free agency started this summer.

"On the first day of free agency, I got calls from all the coaches and management," Ortmeyer said. "They were excited about selling me on the program here and coming here and being part of the family. Their excitement really made me feel like I was wanted and made it an easy decision."

Check out the rest of it here. Good luck to a good player; his heart, drive and dedication will be missed in New York.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Road Hockey Hero

From The Daily News of Halifax, by Adam Richardson:

Providing alcohol to a minor. Illegal firearm possession. Grand theft. Spousal abuse. Driving under the influence. Boating under the influence. Drug possession. Resisting arrest.

These are just some of the charges that have faced members of the Cincinnati Bengals since June of 2006.

Through all of these offences - only from one team - I hear the same nauseating cry from fans - "These stars are supposed to be role models for our children."

Come on.

Athletes aren't role models. They're not raising your kids. You are.

But if you really need an athlete to fill those shoes, I'll give you one.

Joe DiPenta.

Continued here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Trophies: Looking For Jack

So, as promised, here is the first of my posts with my pick for the big-five season awards for the 2007-08 NHL year. I figured I would start it off with the top coach award, the Jack Adams Trophy ...

1. Michel Therrien (Pittsburgh) - Coaches of top teams often get the trophy and the Penguins will likely be the top team in the East. Damn Cindy (Crosby) and his little cronies. Aside from a backup goaltender, the Pens have all the tools needed to go all the way. If Therrien can keep them motivated, the Jack Adams is his to lose.

2. John Stevens (Philly) - Revival stories always earn votes and the Flyers should improve anywhere from 30 to 50 points in the standings. Granted, that is due to the moves made by G.M. Paul Holmgren, but someone has to put the pieces together.

3. Marc Crawford (LA) - This will be another revival story. Crawford is a helluva coach and he will have some great young talent on the Kings to teach and point in the right direction. It will come down to goaltending - if former Ranger netminders Jason Labarbara and Dan Cloutier can be steady, the kids will power LA to the edge of the playoffs. I don't think they will make it - the West is too good - but a 20-30 point improvement will go far to give Crawford some votes ... same with Andy Murray in St. Louis.

Dark Horse: Mike Keenan (Calgary) - Now I know everyone hates him. I hate him. I told him he sucked from the sixth row of the Garden his first game back after leaving our Stanley Cup champion team. He also didn't do a whole helluva lot in the NHL since leaving New York. However, the team in Calgary is pretty much as close to a prototypical Keenan team as you will find. Gritty, hard working, willing to get dirty to get the job done ... and they have the best goalie in the league in Kipper and the top power forward in Jarome Iginla ... the tools are there for a big run. Keenan's abrasive means of motivation wears out his welcome quickly wherever he goes, but it could be enough to get the Flames back into the Stanley Cup Finals - and that will grab him the Jack Adams Trophy.

Tomorrow ... the Calder Trophy.

NHL Drops The Ball

Unfortunately, in no surprise, the NHL is not streaming the Canada/Russia Super Series on Versus did not pick up coverage (of course) and TSN in Canada has implemented restrictions so people out of the Great White North can not watch on the station's broadband website.

This is quite disappointing but, as I said, no surprise as the NHL has proven quite inept when it comes to marketing the sport of hockey or its stars. For shame.

EDIT: Thanks to a guy on the Rangers board, I found a website to watch a stream of the games - I love the interweb.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Days Go By And Still I Think Of You ...

Since so many people have asked me, here are the upcoming important dates for the Rangers:

September 7: Prospects tournament in Traverse City, Michigan starts (Rangers roster is here and the full schedule for the tourney is here)

September 14: Training camp starts at the Training Center in Tarrytown, New York

September 21: First home preseason game. New Jersey at NY Rangers, 7 p.m.
September 22: Preseason vs Philly at home
September 24: Preseason vs Isles on Long Island
September 25: Preseason vs Detroit in Detroit
September 28: Preseason vs Isles at home
September 29: Preseason vs Philly in Philly

and finally:
October 4: Regular season opener vs Florida at home

Let's Go Rangers!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ooo, Scary Trojan Man ...

So there is the new Senators logo. I am unimpressed. Perhaps they are trying to cash in on the dvd release of the 300?? I don't know. All I do know is that the Senator isn't all that intimidating, which I think is the intended effect of having him stare straight out of the logo. Ah well, that franchise is going downhill anyways.

Personally I think their original jerseys looked best, as modelled by one of my favourite goalies of all time - Peter Sidorkiewicz. Picture courtesy of Sports E-cyclopedia's great Sens page. Sidorkiewicz was an NHL All Star and looked well despite being quite beleaguered in both Ottawa (and Hartford before that) and is thus remembered as a Legend of Hockey. For those wondering, he is now coaching in the OHL with the Erie Otters.

And I don't want to look to happy with glee, as the Rangers may very well trade for him at the deadline, but Mike Peca signed with Ken Hitchcock in Columbus. My feelings about Peca are well-known (or just read older posts on this site), but personally I think Hitch is a good coach. Unfortunately for him, I think it will take a lot more than a third line center to get that team to the playoffs. Good luck tho. As they are in the Central, they are not our problem this year. Gotta love the NHL scheduling.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some Odds And Ends

So I don't know how often I will be able to post over the next few days due to my "real" jobs (Someone pay me to do this!! Please!!) but I wanted to check in with a few things:

First off, great move by Vancouver to resign Trevor Linden. The man is a class act with a great work ethic who sets a great example not only for his teammates, but for the rest of the lead. An elder statesman at this point, Linden embodies the old warrior spirit and will be a big help to the 'Nucks as they try to build off of Roberto Luongo's astounding stinginess in net. For all of his achievements out there, I am willing to forget the fact that he once was an Islander. Like the hooker on the corner with dreams of being an actress, sometimes you have to do what you have to do for money. No matter how low they are. (Not that I would stoop to selling my ass ... or ever being an Islander, but do what I say, not what I do, ha!).

In another good signing of an older player, Los Angeles signed Jon Klemm to bolster their defense. Its a great move as it gives youngsters like Jack Johnson and Thomas Hickey someone else to look up to and use as a crutch (alongside Rob Blake, who is surprisingly still in the NHL). Johnson is a stud and bears watching - he could have a Dion Phaneuf-like rookie year and can be a candidate for the Calder if things fall into place.

Which brings me to NHL trophies. Coming probably next week, I will do a post a day of my predictions for a trophy - the Adams, Norris, Vezina, Hart and Calder. Once that is done, I may do quick division-by-division predictions, but I don't know if I will have time (or you will care). We shall see.

Two last things - Eddie Belfour is headed to Sweden. While he probably should retire, he still has some great skills and had a good year in Florida last season. I don't know how no teams in the NHL were willing to throw him a backup slot. And Mike Ricci retired, officially handing the crown of ugliest hockey player over to Rob Brind'Amour. Happy trails Reech, and good luck with your new front office gig with San Jose. I heard they also hired Bryan Marchment, so you better watch your knees as you walk through the halls. Good luck!

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Love Canada

The CBC said it will stream all of its 85 National Hockey League game telecasts this coming season for free at

In addition to its "Hockey Night in Canada" telecasts, the public broadcaster for the first time will offer live and on-demand screening of NHL games via the Internet. The new service begins with the Sept. 29 matchup between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, set to take place in London.

This is fantastic because Vs. decided not to pick up coverage of the UK games so American hockey fans (yes there are plenty of us) will be able to tune in ...

Now, someone has to work on a way we can watch the upcoming Canada/Russia Super Series and get to see just how good our boys Alexei Cherepanov and Artem Anisimov really are. The tournament for players under 20 begins Aug. 27 and will feature four games in Russia and four in Canada. Somehow none of our Canadian kids made the team but that is alright, less of a chance for injury. For Cherry and Double-A its good as they will finally get some exposure that they weren't able to get playing in the Motherland. And hopefully, that will propel them to have good camps and the Rangers will at least give Double-A a shot to make the roster.

The Kids Are Alright posted a nice feature on the top prospects in the Rangers system here.

It's a good read, and someday hopefully Sather will read it too and realize he doesn't have to sign Mike Peca or any other old folks so the kids will get a chance to show off their skills ... but I doubt it ...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Goalie Carousel actually has a interesting SportsNation hockey poll posted. I put the questions below with my answers starred and explanations next to them. If you want to vote, click here.

1) Which team made the best trade for a starting goalie?
**41.7% Florida Panthers - got Tomas Vokoun from Nashville - This one is a no brainer as Vokoun (when healthy) is a top five goaltender in the NHL, Toskala may not even start and Manny became overrated playing in the Wild system.
37.1% Toronto Maple Leafs - got Vesa Toskala from San Jose
21.2% Boston Bruins - got Manny Fernandez from Minnesota

2) Which team made the best free agent signing for a goalie?
29.2% Phoenix Coyotes (Alex Auld, David Aebischer)
23.5% Buffalo Sabres (Jocelyn Thibault)
17.9% Pittsburgh Penguins (Ty Conklin)
14.4% New Jersey Devils (Kevin Weekes)
13.0% Edmonton Oilers (Mathieu Garon)
**2.0% Chicago Blackhawks (Wade Flaherty) - Ok, so I picked the least popular option but watch out, Flaherty is a wise old veteran who will give the Hawks stability if he is called on. Phoenix signed two backup goalies who had bad years in 2006-07 and the rest of the goalies on this list are has-beens, even Weeksie who was unspectacular for most of his time in a Rangers jersey (the West Coast road trip last season being a lone, but important, exception).

3) Which team that will rely on a rookie as a backup will have the best season?
42.9% New York Rangers (Al Montoya)
**18.2% Minnesota Wild (Josh Harding) - I didn't pick us because I don't think Montoya should be our backup, Stevie Valiquette should. He won arguably the biggest game of the regular season last year (vs. St. Louis), so he should have a shot. And Josh Harding is an utterly stellar prospect and a good kid - read about him here. Montreal's kid Price will probably turn out to be the best of the bunch but, like Montoya, I don't think he will be the backup there - Jan Halak will.
16.2% San Jose Sharks (Dimitri Patzold/Thomas Greiss)
14.4% Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price)
8.3% Nashville Predators (Pekka Rinne)

4) Which team that didn't sign or trade for a starting or backup goalie should have?
48.4% Los Angeles Kings
14.8% Nashville Predators
13.7% Montreal Canadiens
8.4% San Jose Sharks
**7.5% Calgary Flames - If anything happens to Kipper, this team is screwed. That simple. The Kings will have Dan Cloutier healthy and will have Jason Labarbara out to prove something. Labarbara was spectacular last year but was stuck in the AHL due to waiver limitations. He should be able to take the job this season and hold onto it, while the fiery Cloutier pushes him for ice time.
7.2% Minnesota Wild

5) Which team's free agent loss hurts the most?
41.3% Los Angeles Kings (Mathieu Garon signs with Edmonton)
**31.5% Pittsburgh Penguins (Jocelyn Thibault signs with Buffalo) - I explained my thoughts about LA in the last question and the Pens in this case really have no one to push young Marc-Andre Fleury, oh he of the golden pads. Dany Sabourin is young and not very good, he looked like crap last season playing behind Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. We did fine without Weeksie and Jamie Mac's only noticeable accomplishment the last few seasons was this.
16.7% New York Rangers (Kevin Weekes signs with New Jersey)
10.6% Calgary Flames (Jamie McLennan off to Russia)

Total Votes: 6,006 (as of Sunday afternoon at 3:30)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Good Link ...

With everyone's curiosities raised for the new look of NHL jerseys, the best site I have found that has been breaking the designs is The NHL In 2007-08.

Feel free to check it out and comment here on your thoughts. The picture on the right here is the Rangers new design. I am unimpressed; the lettering starts too far offcenter. But whatever, I am sure I will eventually buy one, especially since I have most every other jersey the team has come out with ...

Where Is The New Blood?

A story that I missed from earlier this week was the promotion of Ron Low from goalie coach to assistant coach for the Ottawa Senators. The 57-year-old Low is a former head coach of the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers who has been with the Senators for four seasons. Low, if you remember, was the Rangers head coach at the beginning of the millennium and led the team to losing records and early tee times both seasons he had the job. Granted Sather didn't give him a lot to work with, but he still looked clueless and frustrated every game.

Ok, I understand him as a goalie coach - Low was a goaltender when he played 20 years ago (not that the position or the game has changed any since then). He appeared to have done a good job reining in Ray Emery's wild streak and helped him mature into a top goon, I mean, goaltender.

But to promote the guy as an assistant as a reward is a mistake. This guy was utterly incompetent when he was a head coach, so as an assistant to new coach John Paddock (who was also inept in his first trial as an NHL head coach back with the Jets) is just a bad move. And as I just looked over this and looked at the records both coaches put up (Low and Paddock), I change my stance and applaud the move by Ottawa!

Yes! Please, hire these incompetent retreads! It will make it that much easier for the Senators to fall from Stanley Cup Finalists to has-beens and will make the road that much easier for the Rangers to raise the Cup! Let's Go Rangers!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ah, hahahahahahaha

Now we knew that the NHL's turn to RBK and their new, sleeker uniform would result in redesigns, but I can't contain my glee to see that the Islanders chose this as their new jerseys. These, frankly, look ridiculous!

The outlined shoulders, the multicolour sleeves, and the rip off of the Sabres (numbers on the front) really makes for an ugly jersey. Personally I think these rival the pumpkin third jersey ... but of course falls a little bit short of the fisherman - nothing compares to that, not even the Canucks Flying V ...

And to top it off, not only does the jersey look silly, they caught DP making a silly face, which adds to the hilarity. Not to mention having Brendan Witt also model it, out on the beach no less (see it here and here.! Hahahahaha ... dimwit(t).

I am so glad this franchise is a joke, I just wish that they didn't let my boy Poti go!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ain't This Just The Beez Knees?

Former Ranger goaltender, and my favourite player when I was a kid, John Vanbiesbrouck will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on October 12th.

Beezer, who retired in 2002, spent 20 seasons in the NHL, playing in 882 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. He finished his career with 40 career shutouts, a 2.98 goals-against average and the most wins ever by an American-born goaltender (More than Mike Richter - 374 vs. 301).

Vanbiesbrouck played in three NHL all-star games and helped lead the 1995-96 Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup final. He joined those Panthers as the first pick of their expansion draft after being left unprotected by Vancouver, from whom we got Doug Lidster. I fully admit being pissed off and hating Richter for prompting the trade of my favourite player from the Rangers.

Unfortunately Beezer's post-player (actually post-Panthers) career has ... frankly sucked. He went into coaching his former junior squad - the Soo St. Marie Greyhounds, only to get drunk with some of his players and call another player, Trevor Daley, a n----r. While his casual nature was endearing as a player, it was idiotic as a coach and when the slur came out, he lost his gig. He went on to become a color guy (pun intended) for some NHL games on Versus, but everyone knows my feelings on that network (even though I won a sweet prize package from them, nice guys those idiots are).

The U.S. Hall is sadly a virtual nonentity, with even some hockey fans not knowing it exists. And their web page doesn't help their cause. But, nontheless, its great to see the Beez honoured for a solid career.

He has been honoured before and I dug up this great picture of him with some other American greats - Michael Chang, Lance Armstrong and Wade Boggs! Real American heroes, lol.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Major Mistake By Minor League

For those that don't know, I have quite the affinity for minor league hockey and pay a bit of attention to it. I covered the idiotic BC Icemen of the United Hockey league in college so maybe that had something to do with it ...well, either that or the perennial hope that someday, somewhere, they will have another Federal League in the United States (like in Slap Shot). I qualify that because there pretty much is one like that in Canada - the Ligue Nord Américaine de Hockey (LNAH).

But back to the point, the United Hockey League came pretty close to folding and rebranded itself the International Hockey League (unoriginal bastards), and only has teams in the northern midWest US. This was the league that had the infamous mafia-owned Danbury Trashers. But, with the litigation, Barry Melrose and Steve Levy folding their team in Adirondack and Elmira's jump to the ECHL, the U, I mean IHL, has given up on us out east.

So now, to fill the A-level void that they left, a new league has been formed: the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League. The teams are the Indiana (Pa.) Ice , Jamestown (N.Y) Vikings, Mon Valley Thunder (Belle Vernon, Pa.), Wooster (Ohio) Warriors and Valley Forge Freedom (Oaks, Pa.). Now I am all for using physical play as your gimmick to gain popularity, as the UHL, I mean, new IHL is, but the MAHL's Thunder have gone another route - signing a girl as their fifth-ever player.

Kira Hurley recently completed a four-year college hockey career with the Clarkson University women’s hockey team. Hurley, 22, was the first ever member of the Golden Knights Division I program to be named an All-American when she was named to the second team of the American Hockey Coaches’ Association (AHCA) all-star squad in March, 2006. In four years at Clarkson, the six-foot tall Hurley won 48 games and posted an impressive 20 shutouts.

Now I don't have a problem with girls playing hockey, I have a problem with people using them as PR stunts. Granted, several women have played hockey with guys before - Hayley Wickenheiser, Erin Whitten and, most famously, Manon Rheaume . But let's face it, they were horrid. After covering Olympic-level women's hockey, I can honestly attest that the level of play is equal to, or less than that of boy's varsity high school. So getting 20 shutouts against a bunch of girls who can't get the puck off the ice is not quite an impressive stat. Second team ACHA all star? I think that is on par with the hand-made trophy I got for top goaltender in 5th grade gym floor hockey (which I still have might I add).

Now hold on, don't call me sexist; I don't think that teams should hire whores, I mean, ice girls to clean the snow from the ice. They distract from the game - if I want to look at trashy, disease-ridden girls, I will hit the strip clubs. At least then they leave nothing to the imagination. More to the point, hockey is the best sport to witness in person. Let the game sell itself. It is one thing to use giveaways and other gimmicks to please a fan base or draw borderline fans, it is another to pass one across in an attempt to establish some sort of credibility and then entertainment value. If there was some of either in women playing professional hockey, then the 'pro' league in Canada wouldn't be failing.

So let's face it, the MAHL needs to get in touch with reality if it is to succeed and with the NHL seemingly doing its best to get back on the track that led them to a lockout, us hockey fans need options should/when they lock us out again.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Coupla Notes This Monday Night

Since I won't watch preseason Monday Night Football on ESPN, I instead watched the Rangers Fan Favs game on MSG - the Leafs game early in the season where we continually blow leads and have to come through in a shootout.

None other than Mike Peca made some good defensive plays that led to Toronto goals in the game and I still think that the talk of the Rangers signing him this summer would be foolish. We signed an aging defensive forward who won faceoffs, his name was Brian Skrudland and it was in 1997 (and amazingly I can't even find a picture of him in a Rangers jersey so, as you can see, I used the second best thing - him beating on Lindros, lol).

Skrudland got a three year, $5 million contract and went on to play 59 games and put up 11 points on a horrid squad that wasted a 90 point season by Gretz - in the second to last tour of his career. That same season Marc Savard only saw action in 28 games and had six points. Once he left the Rangers and started seeing top ice time, he turned into one of the top playmakers in the league. He had 96 points for Boston last year ... Boston!

Skrudland was exentually dealt to Dallas in a package and we got Todd 'Heartbeat' Harvey, who was great for what he was, but the Rangers limited his ice time because he was ... young. The next season, 1998-99, John MacLean got a ton of ice time while Harvey didn't and Mac had 55 points in 82 games while Harvey had 28 points (and 72 pim) in 37 games. If youth had been served, who knows how Gretzky's last season would have ended????

To limit a young talent at the expense of an aging veteran is a fantastic blunder. Great teams need young legs to get through long seasons and let's face it, their youthful ignorance helps because they don't realize the implications of what is going on. This has been proven time and time again in NHL history, and last year was no different when the Ducks run to the Cup was powered by Ryan Getzlaf, Dustin Penner and Corey Perry. To think that a pair of old legs like Peca's will bring Lord Stanley to New York is foolish and would be a big mistake. And that's all I have to say about that, because I want to stand next to the Cup again, and I want it to be in the Garden next time!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Isles Replace Hill, I'm Still Not Impressed

So with their druggie, I mean, gritty defensive leader gone to Minnesota (who, by the way, is still full of shit), the Islanders signed lumbering defenseman Andy Sutton.

Sutton is 6'6 and blocks a ton of shots. One can hope that by doing so he will throw off DP or deflect a few past the pain-in-the-ass whiner. But Sutton is also the slow-of-foot joke that the Rangers went around and through on their way to sweeping the Thrashers last year. Sutton isn't particularly tough, he got into one fight last year and that was against Olli Jokinen of all people.

Now from new Isles to old ones - Mike Peca. There are a ton of rumours that the Rangers may be interested in him to be the third line center. This would be a HUGE mistake for many reasons: He hasn't been good since he was on Buffalo. He is slow. He is old. He has had several injuries and doesn't play as fearless as he once did. Oh, and he is a rude scumbag (I interviewed him once, I experienced it firsthand). The Rangers need to let Dubi, Anisimov and Brodie Dupont fight it out in training camp. We should let the kids give it a shot rather than waste money on a geezer like Peca-head. We already learned the lesson that great teams are built, not bought.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

If I Was The NHL Commish ... #1

Something tells me that I will do this pretty often, thus the No. 1 in the header.

So here are some random things that I would do if I held the top spot in the league right now ...:

*Bring back the original conference and division titles - Prince of Wales, Clarence Campbell; Adams, Smyth, Patrick and Norris. Since there are now two more divisions than there used to be, add the (Frank) Calder and the (Herb) Brooks. The divisions are named after old guard builders and Calder was one of them so he is an obvious choice. And Brooksie is one of maybe two coaches worthy of such a large honour (the other being Scotty Bowman, but he isn't dead yet). If not for Brooks, hockey would not have its biggest most transcendent moment so I think it would be a good PR move. Not to mention that he still has massive name recognition so the public would understand. Hockey isn't basketball; we don't have to be as dry and boring, and the NHL doesn't have to provide a geography lesson ...

*Also I would bring back the old logo; the silver, 'climbing a hill' logo is silly. Make it gold, to complete the trilogy - first the copper (ok, it was orange), then the silver and now gold.

*The NHL is dumping a massive amount of money in its new New York store that will open this fall (for details click here). So to draw people to the store, the I would mandate that some players from each team that comes to play the Rangers or the Isles should spend an hour or two signing autographs.

*Forcefully encourage Nashville to move to Hamilton. The less teams there are in the Southern U.S., the more teams there are in Canada, the better.

*Smack Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz upside the head. There is no reason that one of the Original Six teams should be mismanaged so badly. That squad has a ton of potential right now, let the hometown fans watch them on TV. There is no reason that the AHL team in that city should draw better than the NHL team. Idiot.

*Bring the NHL Network to America - most cable carriers include the NBA Network (and soon the NFL), they should also have the NHL.

*ESPN did some inside-the-locker room documentaries a few years back on the Wings and the Aves if I remember. I would see if HBO would be willing to do a few new ones - then you wouldn't get the white-washed, selectively-cut version; you would get to see how things really are. While it is classic as is, something tells me Dino Ciccarelli wouldn't have said, "I can't believe I shook that freakin' guy's hand."

*I would stop the marketing/PR machine from dictating the highlights of the games. If you go to and look to watch a game highlight, you won't see the fights in the game ... and that is insane. The Chris Simon incident aired all over the place but not on The biggest on-ice incident never happened if you watched from there ... for the thousandth time, stop trying to 'clean' up the NHL's image. That isn't the appeal. If people wanted to see long seasons of hockey with no fighting or hitting then they would watch the women play. Olympic hockey happens once every four years and has the best in the world playing on a dozen teams. Unless you are going to reduce the NHL to those restrictions, then you have to have the rough stuff. Thirty teams playing long, grueling seasons need to get physical to help stay motivated. Look at a baseball game now in mid-August - could it get any more boring?? And on that note, I have to get back to my 'day' job ...

Asham To The Devs

So Aaron Asham signed with the New Jersey Devils today, ensuring our continual harassment by the tough third-liner. He is a pain in the ass who doesn't give up on the puck or the play and works the trenches well. Good signing for the Devs, bad news for us. Here is the official release on his signing.

Happy Birthday Cindy

Cindy Crosby, the NHL’s reigning scoring champion, turned the big 2-0 Tuesday, thereby leaving his teenage years behind for the wild blue yonder of his roaring 20’s. Born on 8/7/87, No. 87 celebrated his 20th birthday Tuesday, and more on how wonderful the little whiny baby is, according to the NHL itself, click here.

Goddamn I hate how good he is and how Bettman didn't rig the draft (as he should have) to get him into NY. Bastard.

Monday, August 6, 2007

More Stupidity From The Isles

From good promotions (below) to bad ones (right).

The Islanders actually paid money to put their logo on a stock car this last weekend. The details are here. The driver, some lower tier guy named John Graham, finished in 23rd, three laps down. Hopefully around the same place the Isles will finish this year.

In a more serious note, this is just a bad idea. Is a racing fan, even in Canada, going to be drawn to the team because some idiot had a small logo on the side of his car? It wasn't the primary logo, and it was in a Busch series race, not even NASCAR. So a secondary hockey team advertised in a secondary car race? While appropriate, its still ridiculous that an NHL team would stoop to this to try to cross-promote. It also goes towards Bettman's desire to attempt to market the game to southern-based Americans, or rednecks, who frankly don't give a shit.

If the league insists on something like this (and they shouldn't), then they should at least market it properly - rednecks tune in to watch cars bump and crash, so cut a fast-paced commercial focusing on checking and fighting. Don't put your crappy logo on the side of a car that doesn't have a chance of winning. You really want to be associated with a loser?

Common sense people, common sense.

Congrats Tom

Now as many know I am not a baseball fan. I won't watch it unless I get paid to because it is dreadfully boring. Games last move than three hours on a regular basis and maybe, maybe there is 15 full minutes of actual action in that time.

However, as a sports fan, I can appreciate accomplishments and New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine getting his 300th win tonight is a tremendous one. He may also be the last to reach the mark, what with five man rotations and piss-poor bullpens around the league.

Now to tie it into this blog, I think the Rangers should honour Glavine this season. It would be a great public relations move for the team to have him drop the puck on February 5th, the night the Los Angeles Kings come to town. L.A. drafted Glavine in 1984 and he would likely have been a solid player, had he not took the soft way out and played baseball instead. A guy here on Fanhouse has Glavine's explanation. Sissy. Granted, he could be considered smart as pitchers only have to work once out of every five days and are at little to no risk of concussions, etc. Still ... what a wuss.

Real men play hockey.

But whatever, the Garden faithful would give a warm ovation to the pitcher, who will likely retire so it could well be one of his last in New York. Being as there has been a dearth of promotions for Rangers games, this is one that would cost the team little and would get them a good return in PR.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Who Needs Canadian Hockey Fans?

"The Nashville Predators announced Wednesday that Craig Leipold has signed a letter of intent to sell the team to a group of local investors for nearly $200 million."

More on that here.

This is the second letter that Leipold signed, and he is a fool with misplaced loyalties. He ditched the deal he struck with the creator of the crackberry when Basille wanted to move the team to *gasp* Canada!!!!!!!!!

How dare someone want to move a professional hockey franchise to a geographical area where the support would be virtually limitless, where tickets are passed down from fathers to sons and most games sell out! Instead the group that Leipold is selling to has pledged to keep the Preds in the Music City and thus pledged to lose millions a year. While some of it is their money to lose, but the league does revenue share so the Preds will be a money pit that successful teams dump hard earned cash into.

I don't know about you but there is no way I am going to take a winter hockey vacation to Nashville of all places. Hmm, let's see, what other sights are there? Ooo, Graceland, the Grand Ole Oprey, yee haw! I'm a hockey fan, you can't get my fat ass on a mechanical bull.

This is just another move by puppetmaster Gary to save face as he swore up and down that he was dedicated to the 30 teams the league had. He also wants as many teams in America as possible so you can be sure if it was Edmonton looking to move to Houston he would not block the move and hail it as a victory. Idiot.