Sunday, September 30, 2007

European Vacation

So how does a vacation to the Czech Republic sound to you?

Sounds pretty neat to me. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that the Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning have been approached to start next season in Prague.

Months ago I said that the NHL should take the All Star game there and the league is now willing to put regular season games over there and I think that is fantastic - it's a more realistic hockey venue than London was and those games sold out.

The only issue I have is the choice of teams in this case are quite questionable as the premier Czechs in the league aren't on those teams. Granted the Bolts have Vinny Prospal, Jan Hlavac, Filip Kuba and the Pens have Petr Sykora, they don't hold the appeal of, say, Jaromir Jagr, Dom Hasek or Patrik Elias ... maybe its the thought of sending top ambassador Sidney Crosby or maybe they think the Pens or the Bolts will win the Cup but I still think that the Rangers would be a better team for publicity's sake ... and I wouldn't mind taking a vacation to go see them.

But I do think I would need some Czech lessons first:

How about you? Wanna go?

Cheers and Jeers

Just going to make this one really quick because I have a bunch of stuff to do but the England experiment is over. The Ducks won game two 4-1 to split the pair of opening weekend games against the Kings at the O2 Arena in London.

The games were well played, very well attended (both were sell outs) and well broadcasted ... at least one of them. FSN did the opening game yesterday and did a solid job. While I don't particularly care for their talent, they had a nice studio show before the game, during the delay early, in between periods and after the game.

The post game is what gets me because Versus did such a horrid job on theirs -- there was none!!!! They cut to a hunting show less than five minutes after the final buzzer (including two minutes of commercials). Rather than fill the 20 minutes to the top of the hour with a wrap and preview of the season, they apologized for the delay and went right to the hunting.

Yeah, they are a good broadcasting partner for the NHL ... at least for the pregame they took the NHL Network's pregame coverage ...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

ESPN Is The Devil

As much as we want hockey to be back on ESPN, I have to say that they suck. I know, I know, that is a broad statement that includes many of the horrors that they perpetrate, but the one that is really bothering me right now is the awful fantasy game that they host.

Why do I hate it, oh let me count the ways:
1 - The game is made live later than any other on the internet.
2 - The pool of players includes guys that have been long retired or are even dead.
3 - The interfaces to rate said players is horrible - both the Java which goes slow as hell and the html which is incredibly inaccurate.
4 - Now that the season has finally started, the live drafts have been screwed up. I have a team that was due to draft two days ago and the computers crashed/froze/who knows so the league didn't draft until tonight - and as near as I could tell no team was able to access it.
5 - ESPN's solution to the problems? Give you another free team ... like people want twice the trouble.
6 - The live drafts are done through html, which makes them astoundingly frustrating and hard to follow.
7 - I am in the third and final year of a keeper league that clearly has owners who haven't checked since the beginning of the first year yet the service hasn't done anything about it.
8 - Team logos are limited to a pathetic goalie mask template - no I don't want a goalie mask with horns or one that looks like a pumpkin to represent my team.

So all this boils down to the fact that ESPN should be avoided at all costs for fantasy hockey. I've heard that CBS Sportsline's service is ok but a bit limiting. The NHL's in-house game is mediocre. TSN's is alright, but I highly recommend Yahoo!'s as it has the best interface, quality mediators who keep track of players, and great customer service, even though the game is free. Trust me, I know from experience and have 14 teams heading into this season across four services.

I am a geek.

Piss On Old Time Hockey

So I am at work so I missed the beginning of the Rangers Flyers feed on that Center Ice online feed. I finally get it working at 8:15 and see Shanny beating on Jason Smith. Nice. This is train of thought with no time references as there is no bug on the feed and I am trying to work at the same time ...

*Brandon Dubinsky scored a nice power play goal on a second effort. He was working the slot, which is what I have said the Rangers need to do on the man advantage. Hmmm, you can bang in a rebound if you are actually in front of the net; amazing how that works.

*Mike Richards evened things after Jagr took a dumb penalty. Henrik looked like he could have actually stopped the one-timer from the top of the circle but it may have deflected a little off of Blair Betts, who dived to try to block it. Hank was beleaguered in his crease all night long so maybe it got to him a little ...

*For all of you people who were upset we didn't give Marc Staal a chance last season, you were wrong. The kid is still learning and screwed up to set up the Flyers second goal of the game. With Danny Girardi already in the box Staal took a stupid penalty and the Bullies capitalized with a brilliant one-timer by Simon Gagne. Hank didn't have a chance at stopping it. 2-1 Flyers after two periods, both goals on 5-on-3 power plays. Disgusting.

*Damn work made me miss the beginning of the third period.

*At least I didn't miss this - tie game! Power play goal by the Rangers. Paul Mara beautiful one-timer from the point that was deftly tipped by Nigel Dawes through Marty Biron. Youthful blood will run through the Rangers veins this season.

*Rangers are cycling! This is beautiful to watch ...

*Renney is using his time out with 16 minutes left, wow, that doesn't happen too often. It's a smart move. It didn't amount to much, but I still think it was a smart move.

*Ben Eager and Hollweg are going back and forth at each other and its clean and no penalties were called. I love it, this should be great to watch all season long.

*Henrik should never, ever handle the puck behind the net; every time he does it results in a turnover.

*Ryan Callahan is fearless, driving right at the Flyers net. Yeah Cally!

*I may think that Jason Strudwick is too slow for the game, but he and Marc Staal just did stalwart work in front of the net while the Rangers were shorthanded. Strudwick is a good soldier, I can appreciate that.

*Never give up the play kids. A Rangers shot went through Biron and the Rangers curled away from the net instead of crashing it and Hatcher was able to clear it.

*NHL refs are nervous people. Hollweg had a great shift with three huge, perfectly clean hits and the refs call a bullshit call on him just to diffuse the play. Nothing on Simon Gagne who went after Hollweg though ... shocking.

*The Flyers have a fat kid who dances. It really is quite horrifying. Give me Dancin' Larry or Dancin' Grandma any day.

*Even on the high speed internet of one of the biggest media companies in the world, the NHL Center Ice online package isn't flawless with occasional hiccups and pauses. Annoying.

*We're winning! Marc Staal just scored on a nice slap shot from the point that sailed through traffic and went in through Biron's legs. It just barely trickled through his legs but it crossed the line and the Rangers are winning! Flyers use their time out - another good use of the pause in play.

*Good job by Jagr, yet again the so-called captain took a really f-ing stupid penalty and put his team in a bad spot. A minute left in the game and they are shorthanded.

*Hossa missed an empty net; the Rangers have to make the decision real soon who they want - Hossa who is big and kills penalties but has plateaued in his development or Nigel Dawes, who

*Game Over, Rangers win! Flyers Suck, Flyers Suck, Flyers Suck!!!!!!!!!

*I love how the 'Professional Hockey Writers Association picks the three stars yet they are usually homer picks.
Their three stars:
2-Mike Richards
1-Marty Biron

Scotty Hockey Three Stars

*Less than a week now until opening night, bring on those Panthers and let's get this party started for real!

Don't Do Drugs Kids

Now I remember Glen Hanlon being the sieve in the Rangers goal in the mid-80's. He could never have been accused of juicing to improve his play; he finished with a career record of 167-202-61.

But now, as the head coach of the Washington Caps, I think the NHL Substance Abuse program has to take a look him ... need proof? Here is a quote from this preseason:
"We knew he was really good, but all the coaches have really commented on how good he has been for us. He's been a really solid player, and he seems like he is just hitting his stride here. ... I think all successful teams have that one go-to guy who can play in all key situations."

Now normally that wouldn't be an indicator of chemically-induced delusions, but in this case it is -- he was talking about Tom Poti!

He has to be on drugs!!!!!!!!

A Little Of This, A Little Of That

Random thoughts right now as I am at work:

*The Rangers are suing the NHL for violating antitrust laws. Read about it here. To cut down to the basics, the Rangers are the last team to have their own individual website - the rest have the same template. The NHL wants them to change and they don't want to. Wow, Gary Bettman trying to force boring conformity, who woulda thunk it?

*Rangers won last night against the Isles. I didn't get to see it because my girlfriend forgot to DVR it. Apparently there were a bunch of fights even though the recent rivalry primaries didn't play. As they say folks: its about the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back. If MSG replays it this afternoon, I will post some observations.

*Even though the Rangers are still in preseason (they play the Flyers tonight in an untelevised game), the regular season started today. Kings beat on the Ducks who clearly are suffering post-Cup depression. The crowd was filled with people wearing random NHL jerseys which was neat to see there, but highly aggravating when it happens in America. I don't get why a person would wear a Dallas Stars jersey to a Rangers Flyers game or something like that. Whatever, I'm just happy hockey season has officially started.

*And finally for now, Mirtle posted an in-depth team-by-team breakdown of the goaltending situations heading into the season. Definitely a good read.

More later!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Verdict Is In (And It's Wrong)

The NHL came down with its ruling and Steve Downie has been suspended for 20 games. Amazingly, Chris Pronger intentionally tried to hurt the very same guy and got a one game suspension, but Pronger is a cover-boy top athlete and Downie is a rookie. So Pronger got one game and Downie 20.

The only other suspensions in NHL history to garner the same extreme length as Downie's were caused by incidents a lot more unforgivable than the kid's check:
20 games — Todd Bertuzzi, Vancouver, March 11, 2004, for sucker-punching Colorado forward Steve Moore on March 8. Bertuzzi's suspension was for 13 regular-season games, plus playoffs. Bertuzzi was reinstated 17 months later, after the yearlong lockout.

20 games — Tom Lysiak, Chicago, Oct. 1983, for intentionally tripping a linesman.

20 games — Brad May, Phoenix, Nov. 15, 2000, for hitting Columbus' Steve Heinze on the nose with his stick in a game on Nov. 11.

I think the severity of Downie's punishment is undeserved and have expressed that belief before the judgement was even made (as you can see in earlier posts) but aside from that, the NHL even included this in the ruling:
Downie will miss the first 20 regular season and/or playoff games (in addition to the last Flyers' pre-season game - Saturday vs. NY Rangers) that he is a member of the Flyers' 23-man roster.

So this kid can't play in the game after being suspended for "deliberate injury of an opponent" while Chris Simon, whose "deliberate injury of an opponent" got him a 25 game suspension, was allowed to play preseason games? And subsequently was allowed to represent the team as an Assistant Captain??? Oh yeah, and to exact revenge in a game where his retribution wouldn't hurt his team??

Where is the justice? Where is Al Sharpton? This is clear-cut discrimination against a rookie! Age-ism! Goddammit, someone resurrect Johnnie Cochran!

Colin Campbell and the NHL has decided to make an example of a poor rookie who is just doing his best to impress his coaches so he will get a chance to play in the league. They didn't care when cover-boy Chris Pronger tried to kill the very same guy with a malicious elbow, no, not Chris - he is a Hart Trophy winner, he can't do any wrong. And Chris Simon, well he is a veteran and he just lost his mind for a second, it isn''t like he had a history of suspensions for violence before the incident - just four other suspensions (one for kneeing, one for elbowing and two for cross checking!).

This is like picking on the poor, the minority, someone who can't and won't stand up for himself for the meek hope not to rock the boat. This is pathetic, and this is not justice!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Enough Of This Garbage

Ok, as I said, people around the NHL are vilifying Steve Downie for his hit on Dean McAmmond.

The league has yet to announce its ruling on the matter, but pundits in Canada think it won't be all that serious and I happen to agree. They are saying it will take a death on the ice to curb this behavior and force the NHL to increase the penalties/suspensions for head shots. Personally I don't think that harsher penalties will curb the headhunting ...

You know what will? Getting rid of that ridiculous instigator penalty.

Now I've been railing against the stupid penalty since it was put into effect. The 'new' NHL is a speed game that pretty much requires a team to have four capable lines so keeping a slow-ass goon in the lineup is a detriment. But with expansion, let's face it, there aren't that many tough power forwards to go around (like Jarome Iginla) so a good goon is still required, but just one that can skate.

Guys like Pete Worrell and Krzysztof Oliwa are gone, and have been replaced by the Andrew Peters and that piece of garbage Donald Brashear.

With super pests like Ben Eager and Downie hitting everything that moves and other guys taking liberties with their sticks, now is the time to drop the instigator and allow for the players to stand up for their teammates without costing their team.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Snip, Snip

The Rangers are down to 27 players left in camp after making some moves today (they have to be down to 23 for the regular season). As its almost my bedtime, here they are:

Forward -- Mark Smith: As I told you here several times, the former Shark had no shot of making this team but they brought him in just in case the kids weren't ready. They finally are showing some faith in their prospects which they hadn't by all of the Mike Peca talk earlier this summer.

PLAYERS REASSIGNED ON 9/27/07 - btw - I love how they pre-dated this, its like an eye into the future!
Goaltenders -- Miika Wiikman: Apparently he was Finnish League MVP two years back, maybe some time in Hartford will help him regain his form and turn him into nice trade bait.

Defense -- Michael Sauer: He will be a Ranger, and it may happen by the end of the season. I like this kid, he has played well at a tough spot on a crowded blueline.

Forwards -- Dane Byers, Francis Lessard, Lauri Korpikoski: If you have been reading regularly, I like Byers and think he will take Hollweg's job, but I guess Sather didn't think he was ready for that yet. Same with Korpikoski, who was a first round pick so he had better shape up soon or else turn into a Manny Malhotra-esque bust. Nothing against Manny, but first round picks need to turn into top six forwards, top four defensemen or starting goaltenders. And as for Lessard, he is a decent goon but the Rangers have faith in Colton Orr for some unknown reason so that screws Lessard (who looked like he skated better than Orr). Orr's presence really did a lot to discourage Simon the Barbarian the other night ...

And Sam over at Rangers Report is saying that Andy Hutchinson was also sent down but has to clear waiver first. Who cares, he was a throw in for the Rangers when they dumped Cullen's salary.

Circle This Date!!

Saturday, November 24th!!!!!!!!!

That is the date the Philadelphia Flyers will head to Ottawa to face the Senators and there will be a helluva bloodbath.

Sens tough guy Brian McGrattan has sworn vengeance on Stevie Downie and the Flyers after the rookie almost killed Dean McAmmond in a preseason game Tuesday night. Without further delay, the spectacular/horrifying video:

How insane was that??

Now I like big hits and edgy play so I am a little distressed because Downie is my kind of player, but he tried to kill the poor bastard, who barely has recovered from the elbow by Chris Pronger in the finals. Hopefully McAmmond will be able to continue his career and not be finished off by yet another cheap shot to the head, especially seeing as Downie is likely to be around for quite a while dishing hits out like that being all the Broad Street Bully he can be. According to the CBC, McAmmond has been released from the hospital and suffered no fractures but they say nothing about the concussion.

Now the league came down hard on Downie - he was given a match penalty for attempt to injure and is indefinitely suspended by the NHL, pending a review of the hit. So they will likely make an example of the rookie, but you can be sure they will be giddy as all hell when the game at Scotiabank sells out and they get banner ratings on Hockey Night In Canada.

And you can be sure they will; these teams have had quite a bit of bad blood in the past as you can see here. Their minor league teams even hate each other!

So with all of the on the table, you can be sure I will be watching that night and I highly recommend you do as well ... Go Sens Go!

And The Cubs Win The World Series!!!!!!!!

Well, no, but Chicago should be celebrating just as much. Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz passed away early this morning.

The unkindly-named blog Kill Bill Wirtz has yet to update, maybe silently passing away as the former owner did, but the guys at Fanhouse already jumped on the story and have a ton of good links (man they wake up early over there) and even Deadspin spoke of it ...

While he did some wonderful things for hockey -- he was on the committee for the Miracle on Ice team (which wasn't as ignored as the movie Miracle implied) and he was the primary force behind the merger of the WHA into the NHL -- he basically drove one of the Original Six franchises into obscurity. Apparently he did a ton of work for charity and I know for a fact he was a great family man, but "Dollar Bill" will likely be remembered as a bitter, old man who refused to televise his team locally or pay to keep his top talent or to lure new talent to what had been a great hockey town.

Here is an interesting business profile of him ... but who cares? Hopefully his family will listen to the fans and turn the Hawks around and bring them back to the place of honour an Original Six franchise holds.

Big Loss, No Coverage, I Still Care

The Rangers, they lost.


But its only preseason right? I shouldn't be concerned that Henrik Lundqvist gave up four goals on 16 shots in a 6-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings last night ... right??

I can't say if they were good or not as the game was not televised or even broadcast on radio. Radio! What the hell else could they be covering on the radio that is more important on a Tuesday night in Detroit without any football or basketball being played? And don't say the Tigers because let's face it, no one even cared when they won the World Series, they don't care now that they have come back to earth ...

So I can't say how well or poorly everyone played but rest assured and make sure you check back late Friday night or Saturday as I recap the Rangers/Islanders game (which they had better win and kick some ass). I won't be going as I do an annual walk for charity -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society -- but I will record the game and break it down for all of you ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pickin' Up and Lettin' Go

So earlier this month I posted my fantasy draft results for the Hockey Open Invitational fantasy hockey league that I am in with other hockey bloggers and writers.

I figured I would update y'all with my latest transactions. I've made a pair of free agent moves:

*I dropped Dan Hamhuis, the Nashville defenseman who may or may not get PP time for the Preds since they let Timmonen go to Philly, for Petr Kalus, a hotshot rookie who may very well play on Minnesota's first line with Gabby and Demitra.

*I also dropped Tobias Enstrom, the European defenseman thought to take some power play time in Atlanta on the point, and picked up Kris Letang, the kid who is expected to get some power play time in Pittsburgh. Enstrom is older but has never played in the NHL, while Letang played seven games last season, scored two goals and could slide into the top PP QB slot should Sergie Gonchar get hurt (he only played the full season twice in his career).

What do you think? I think T.J. Hooosamon-CHAMPIONSHIP!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Even Beer Couldn't Make Me Happy

In this space I would love to regale you with the details of what happened in vicious battle between two of the biggest rivals in the NHL. I would love to continue my game-by-game observations and analysis. I would love to curse out the NHL more for allowing Simon the Barbarian to play even though he is suspended.

But I won't, because I can't.

You know why? Because I didn't see the game!!!! In an abrasive, aggressive and pathetic move, the Islanders/Rangers preseason battle was not televised. Now MSG has made it clear that they are not doing preseason games away from Garden ice, so FSN New York should have picked up the ball but they were too busy airing, and I kid you not, the Wrangler Pro Tour: Ariat Playoffs Rodeo.

Without any kind of press statement, I can only hazard a few guesses as to why it didn't go to air:
1 - FSN decided not to cover it to save costs as it is 'only hockey' - a quite likely explanation that is quite likely the real reason, it is utterly infuriating considering FSN doesn't cover the live games - regular season or not - of any other local professional sports.
2 - The Islanders encouraged this to promote their top-notch broadband service Islanders TV.
3 - The Islanders encouraged this to promote the Islander fan blogs that they support in their Blog Box.
4 - The Islanders did both 2&3 to make the Rangers' services look bad as their On Demand video service has comparably weak content and does not play on many computers well. And the Rangers fan bloggers were shut out. The top beat writer blogs who did live updates didn't capture the action nearly as well as they were too busy working on deadline for their papers.

Now I know that it's only preseason and in most sports many of the exhibition matches don't make air, but it isn't like the local broadcasters were booked with football (just one game, on ESPN, not like either MSG or FSN air NFL games), basketball (hasn't started yet), or baseball (both networks lost rights to the two local teams). So the only live franchises that these regional networks cover all year long aren't worth showing? I am at a loss here and at this point am too aggravated to bother trying to come up with an explanation for the inexplicable.

EDIT: Gotta love YouTube. I love how the Islanders after the game bitched about the Rangers sending a third man in on Simon when in both cases he clearly jumped Hollweg. What scum.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Well, This Is One Way To Look At Things

All of the optimism of a new year apparently hasn't reached Toronto, where they perpetually wallow in the shadow of their last Stanley Cup (1967, they still had hippies back then!). Apparently the misery of sucking for so long has permeated the fifth estate and the Star has a truly depressing article on the state of the game.

Damien Cox reminisces on the first post-lockout season while bashing last year. He said:
"When an Anaheim-Ottawa final turned out to be an enormous dud, it was clear the league's second season out of the lockout had been very, very different from its first, but no more popular in terms of television ratings and attendance."

Wait a second, he expected a boost in ratings when the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators played in the Stanley Cup Final? What was he drinking back then, because I want some. You can't expect ratings to have an immediate boost when you have two small market teams in the finals (again). As for the quality of play throughout the season last year, the revival of the Rangers caused them to sell out this entire season within an hour. I would say that that is a boost in popularity.

The on-the-fence sports fans aren't going to start tuning in because scoring goes up a goal a game, they are going to tune in when something or someone they've heard of does something good. As the league's marketing of Cindy Crosby has fallen short, there is no individuals that those fans will watch, but should the Rangers make a run this year, then those fans just may -- people have heard of the New York Rangers, they haven't heard of the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes or Tampa Bay Lightning.

And that isn't just my New York bias speaking; its widely acknowledged that the Rangers bring ratings. With the good moves they made, there is no reason to be so pessimistic at this point, unless, I guess, you are a Leafs fan and you have to find something new to complain about as the Leafs have yet to lose a game this season. Don't worry my friend, they will, oh yes, they will.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes

After playing essentially the Devils 2007-08 team (minus Marty Brodeur), the Rangers took on, and were embarassed by, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers, who basically played with split squads each night (only five Rangers played both games), looked abominible. So without further ado, my observations and comments ... :

Rangers vs. Flyers Preseason Game 2

*First off, of the guys who played both nights, none played especially well. Mark Smith was almost nonexistent again. Baby Huey Jessiman was horrible and got hammered by Steve Downie in a fight. Downie looked like a prototypical Broad Street Bully, I think this will be far from the last time he beats on the Rangers. Betts wasn't as good as he was last night, but he didn't have as much responsibility as both Gomez and Drury were in the lineup. I thought Dane Byers played a solid but unspectacular game and will eventually be a NHL foot soldier.

*Speaking of Gomez, he played pretty well but the first line of him, Jagr and Nigel Dawes was heavily checked all night and could get absolutely nothing doing on the power play. Dawes needs more work if he is going to play with them regularly, still playing a north-south game with two east-west kind of guys.

*Drury looked great, doing exactly what the Rangers expected - a little of everything. Of course his two expected linemates played last night (Avery and Shanny) and they looked great skating with Brandon Dubinsky.

*Henrik didn't play as badly as 5-0 looks but his head was still on the beach with megamodels -- at least two of the five should have easily been stopped.

*Petr Prucha, who everyone raved about at the Training Center, was pushed around and didn't have that great of a game.

*Now the Rangers defense had a atrocious game. Rozy was the best of the bunch (not saying much) but had no help. Mara had more responsibility than he did last season and looked weak in the Rangers zone and missed several shots on offense. Toots was scrambling all night without his anchor next to him (Dan Girardi). Ivan Baranka was disgustingly bad - like Malik on his worse night bad. David Liffiton was barely there as was Tom Pock. This group of guys were so much worse compared to the unit last night - they weren't as smooth with the puck, they scrambled around their own zone and had zero chemistry.

MIDNIGHT EDIT: According to Blueshirt Bulletin immediately after the game the Rangers demoted Liffiton, Baranka and Baby Huey to Hartford. No surprise there aat all after this performance ...

*Marcel Hossa looked lost out there and hopefully will end up in the same position as Brad Isbister last season - either skating on the first line or out of the lineup entirely.

*Even though Colton Orr decked Jesse Boulerice, he did little to intimidate the Flyers throughout the game. I shudder to think of what it would have been like if they had Ben Eager in the lineup.

*Lauri Korpikoski was the only youngster I was impressed with. I think that in the customizable modular lineup that Tom Renney is likely going to use this year, Korpikoski will be great playing fourth line checking minutes alongside Bettsy on nights that the team doesn't need a banger like Hollweg.

*As for the Flyers, I think Sami Kapanen will end up a Selke candidate as best defensive forward. Mike Knuble will prove to be a great late round fantasy draft pick, he will embrace a full season alongside that sissy Briere. As I said eariler, Downie will be a Flyer for a longtime and will be beloved by their fans. Same with Braydon Coburn, who is a more-mobile version of Derian Hatcher. Both Biron and Niity-however-you-spell-it were very steady and will backbone this team back to respectability and probably the playoffs - this year.

*END OF THE GAME NOTES: Something tells me that the puck-possession stylings of our top line will yet again get on my nerves as teams that primarily use high-speed, north-south hockey have won Cups in recent years. I hope not, but am quite ready to break out the SHOOT THE PUCK, SHOOT THE PUCK chant ...

3. Steve Downie
2. Marty Biron
1. Mike Knuble

I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more cuts before Monday's game against the Islanders. Hopefully none of the guys will catch any STDs from the ice girls in the Mausoleum and they put up more of a fight than they did tonight because at the end of the day (preseason or not), its a game against our biggest rivals so we had better win. Let's Go Rangers!

They Play Hockey Where?

They play it there - at the very bottom of the map on the right, the very bottom of South America.

There was a nice little article in the Ottawa Sun on Friday that is a great read and shows that hockey has universal appeal and is played worldwide.

If that story peaks your interest, then I recommend Dave Bidini's Tropic of Hockey. Its a quick, but good read about how he went and played hockey in the Middle East and Asia.

Remember, reading is FUNdamental!

And So, It Begins

Ok, my observations and notes from the game, all train of thought (so its all over the place and looong):
Rangers vs. Devils Preseason Game 1
*First off, Joe Micheletti is still absolutely horrible. I really miss J.D. doing colour.

*MSG didn't show the lineups. That is annoying.

*The Garden looks empty - again, it was a mistake scheduling games on Jewish holidays.

Period 11111111111111111111
*18:07= 1-0 already. Nice. Dane Byers working the front of the crease on the power play. Probably the first Ranger to take station there on a power play since Adam Graves left ...

*Sean Avery rules, he is being a bastard already and the game just started ... so he still has the attitude, hope he still has the skills.

*Kevin Weekes is such a sissy, Avery hit Johnny Oduya (who has a good future ahead of him), who ran into Weekes and Avery got a penalty, this is bullshit. Just because Sutter didn't force his team to hit the weight room doesn't mean that Avery should head to the box. Weeksie looks woosie, guess Marty will play another 78 games this season.

*I take that back, I didn't know that they had Zach Parise's older brother Jordan. I saw that kid play some awesome games in college with the Fighting Sioux.

*11:58= Prediction time - Marty Straka will again be the unsung hero of the Rangers. He looked good on the pk.

*11:06= Ryan Hollweg didn't seem bashful taking a shot. Maybe he is trying to evolve into a (short) power forward ...

*I don't get why Hugh Jessiman was kept for a preseason game when the Rangers sent Tommy Pyatt to Hartford. Pyatt is younger but from all reports is a lot closer to actually playing in the NHL.

*10:00= Kasper, for the second time I saw this game, pulled himself out of position to make a hit. This is dangerous and won't get him back to the NHL.

*They brought Steve Cangialosi into the booth and he is sooooo much better than Micheletti.

*7:30= Anisimov is on the power play with Sean and Shanny and really looks out of place. He was also knocked out of position and off the puck too easily.

*These idiots are bullshitting about the state of the Devils during a 5-on-3 power play and the Rangers scored (surprise!). Textbook passing gets Cally a ppg. I love it. These clearly were not the usual Devils penalty killers. 2-0 Rangers. I know its preseason but there are times to tell stories and times to call the game. Especially when you have no idea who is who out there.

*5:00= Byers just knocked Clarkson over Montoya when he was covering the puck. Fun to see, but dangerous because of Monty picked his head up, then he could have been helped off like Weeksie was.

*I've decided: Chris Drury, Sean Avery, Ryan Callahan or Dan Girardi will replace Jed as my favourite Ranger. Its going to be a tough decision.

*They just showed a mic'd up with Jason Strudwick which pretty much proved he has no place on the ice for the Rangers. He makes a great cheerleader and should transition into helluva coach, but he is not right for the Rangers lineup.

*END OF THE FIRST NOTES: Mark Smith won't make the Rangers lineup either. He has been unimpressive meanwhile Big Baby Hughey (Jessiman) had a fantastic period, surprising the hell out of me. Sean is going to be knocked out of the lineup before too long, he is all over the place hitting and being hit. I pray he doesn't get hurt. Being on tape. I am going to fast forward to the second but don't think I will write as much - looking over this, there is no way you care as much as I do to read it all, lol.

*Marc Staal was interviewed between periods - he is as boring and benign as his brothers are and Al didn't ask him why he wasn't busted like they were at the bachelor party. I'm disappointed.

Period 222222222222222222
*I need to find a way to record and/or digitize these games so I can build montages and highlight reels for this site. Hrmmmmm.

*18:00ish= They just missed a goal showing a highlight of Traverse City. That's really annoying and retarded. Replays show its was all Bettsy battling hard. There is no way in hell Mark Smith or any of the kids are going to take Bettsy's spot in this lineup. The guy has heart and a great work ethic. 3-0 Rangers.

*17:00ish= 3-1. Puck deflected off of Kasper and went past Monty. Oh geez, the replay shows Monty couldn't decide what to do and the puck slid past Kasper, to Zubrus, who sent it back across where it hit off Kasper and went in. Bad luck for Kasper, rookie mistake for Monty - further reason he shouldn't get the backup job, we need a professional.

*Jessiman looks like a better version of Adam Hall from last year.

*12:00= Monty just pulled a Henrik by leaving the crease to get the puck and then turned it over. Luckily the Devs didn't capitalize.

*The curvy bottoms of the new jerseys look retarded.

*Vally is in, Monty is out. I stand by my earlier statement that Monty shouldn't be the backup but who knows, maybe it was jitters we will definitely find out as preseason goes on for too long.

*No one has especially looked good for the Devils. They could be in for trouble this year.

*8:15= First audible Potvin Sucks that I noticed. Its definitely preseason, the guy needs to work on his whistling.

*Michaletti just said on the broadcast what I wrote in the first period - Strudwick will be a good coach. Maybe I should get the colour gig?

*6:40= 4-1 Rangers. Just like the power play goal earlier, perfect passing gets an easy goal. Dubi to Marty wide open in the slot. Parise never had a chance.

*3:00= 4-2 Parise ppg. Kasper just bought himself a ticket out of town. Parise went right through him. Embarrassing.

*END OF THE SECOND NOTES: They are raving about Dubi's play and while it has been solid, I wouldn't give him the third line center slot. He has shown poise and was definitely better than Anisimov ... if he develops more chemistry with Cally and Marty then I will be impressed.

Period 333333333333333333
*Not all that much going on early, just reflecting at how much I love watching the Rangers. My first memory ever was watching a Rangers game. I like hockey.

*16:50= Rangers blow a 5-on-3 power play after weak play at the points. Where is Brian Leetch when you want him? Or even Reijo Ruotsalainen??

*14:12= Avery just got a holding penalty when he tried to reach around a Devil and play the puck. I don't like calls like that. And I don't like calls like this - moments later Sauer got a high sticking call after getting Brian Gionta in the face yet his stick didn't get higher than three feet off the ice. That's just idiotic.

*11:00= I swear someone in the crowd just yelled 'Scotty where are you?' If so, that's awesome. Now they are chanting something but I can't make it out.

*10:20= Vally just made a great glove save; I said it before, and I will say it again, we don't need Robert Esche.

*6:00= 4-3 Gionta sweet goal in the short side. Can't do much about that 'cept chastise Vally ... I think he would have gotten that against most NHL goaltenders.

*:10= Michalette, as per usual, made a poor analysis and insisted there was a penalty on the Rangers when it was just a high stick.

*RANGERS WIN 4-3!!!!!!!!! I know, its preseason, but it was a long summer.

*Rangers do the stick salute - classiest team in the NHL.

*END OF THE GAME NOTES: No fights, heh. Frankie Lessard was in and actually played well but I guess without Arron Asham and Cam Janssen the Devs don't have any tough guys. Kinda pathetic. Dane Byers had a solid two first periods but then disappeared for the third. Still, he is someone to watch.

The 3 stars as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers couldn't be seen on MSG, but it looked like Sean, Cally, and Dubi in some order. My three stars were a little different ...

3. Ryan Callahan
2. Sean Avery
1. Blair Betts - he scored, blocked shots, checked and was his solid self. Dubi made some good plays, no doubt, but Betts stepped up as a veteran should and Dubi backed down from at least two challenges by Devils players (one was smart though as it was near the end when they were clinging onto the lead).

Here is the final recap from the Rangers. And I should thank Yahoo Sports for the photos, which I think are all Getty.

I don't know if I will do this again tomorrow after the Flyers game but you can be sure I will post some thoughts so make sure to check back!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Money, Money, Monayyyyyyyy

So, for those that haven't heard, the Canadian dollar has drawn even with the American dollar.

What that means, or what that should mean, is that Canadian franchises are on equal financial ground in attracting free agents and paying operating costs. Should the 'loonie' (stupid name for a bird, much less a dollar) stay on par with the greenback, then the NHL should have no excuses when it comes to teams that want to move to Canada - I'm looking at you Nashville, Florida and (even better) Phoenix. Toronto should get a second team, either in town or in nearby Hamilton. And let's face it, Quebec and Winnipeg should return into the fold. This is the country that truly loves the game - look above: they put hockey on their money!

With the dollar being even, Bettman and the board of governors can't possibly find Kansas City or Vegas to be more attractive locals. Now, they have proven that they leave logic at the door but since they always put their wallets first, this business news should open their mind to bring back the Jets!

Time To Tape Up The Sticks

Well, its finally here. After yet another summer, hockey season starts tonight. Granted, its preseason, but its a Rangers game nonetheless.

MSG Network has their hour-long season preview show on in five minutes (6pm) and the Rangers will face off against the Devils at 7pm. As it is the Hebrew holiday, I will be forced to watch Rangers Rewind later so please no txts or calls!!!

I will post my observations, thoughts, reactions, whatever later tonight.

Let's Go Rangers!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pronger Has No Passion For Hockey

Chris Pronger is a xenophobic idiot.

During a presser today before the Ducks/Kings London games (which I will rant on sooner or later), Pronger said that if the NHL placed franchises in Europe that Canadian kids wouldn't report to them if they were drafted.

Now I know this is coming from the guy who bitched and moaned his way out of Edmonton so it shouldn't be taken that seriously but he is a big enough name that his words resonate. And they are pretty f-ing stupid.

Only spoiled brats like Pronger and Lindros (see the post below) would pass up a chance to play in the biggest, best league in the world just because they would have to be away from home for a few months each year. I know guys who traveled to faraway hockey outposts like Norway just so they could keep playing the game they loved. And let me tell you, the level those guys played at pales in comparison to the NHL.

Personally, I think there should be teams in Europe, but not yet. Once the cost and time of travel comes even farther down thanks to improvements in technology, the league should absolutely have teams in Stockholm, Prague, Vienna, Moscow, etc. An ideal world would have the game spread like soccer and have the NHL become a Champions League. Now that may never happen, and expansion should be the last thing on the NHL's mind right now, but to say that players would report because of the distance is just foolish.

Some people love the game Chris; its too bad because a player with your skills would be a helluva ambassador.

Big Busts (Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter)

Quasi-respected columnist for Terry Frei wrote a ridiculous column today that calls Eric Lindros a "bust" who was "under-achieving and starcrossed."

Now as those close to me know, I really hate the bastard. (Lindros, not Frei.)

But I find myself in the uncomfortable position of standing up for the non-jersey wearing, hated wash-up. But while I cheered louder than many when he got creamed by Scott Stevens, by no means was Lindros a bust.

One of the many definitions of bust, and the most appropriate one in this case, is "A failure; a flop". Now Eric Lindros never won a Cup and never lived up to the hype he had when he came into the league, by no means was he a failure. Lindros averaged more than a point per game for nine of his 14 NHL seasons. He also had eight seasons of over a hundred PIM, befitting a power forward of his nature. I mean, his numbers are pretty surprising (check 'em out here) but by no means those of a failure.

Frei harps on him saying that he had "unrealized potential" but you can say that for thousands of hockey players. Lindros, much like Cam Neely, Pavel Bure and Keith Primeau, had his career basically ended by injury and yet they are all lauded as heroes while Frei is dogging Lindros. The only difference I can see is that they knew when to hang up the skates and Lindros didn't.

When the former Legion of Doomer came to the Leafs and the Rangers, he was clearly a shell of the player he had been. The number and severity of concussions he endured made the powerful force of nature into a timid child crossing the blue line and working along the periphery. It was infuriating to watch as a Rangers fan and I prayed he would be knocked to his senses and get the hell off of the Garden ice. He didn't and now it looks like he will be forced into retirement. But looking back how can anyone in their right mind combine the word 'bust' with Lindros?!??!

I mean, here are five guys who truly were busts right off the top of my head:
*Pavel Brendl (4th in 1999 - I walked out of the Rangers draft day party when they announced that one)
*Alexandre Volchkov (4th in 1996 - he didn't like American and ran back to Russia)
*Jason Bonsignore (4th in 1994 - A Glen Sather special - proving he lost whatever magic he had when he drafted the cornerstones of the dynasty back in the 80s.)
*Alexander Daigle (1st overall in 1993 - god what a waste, I saw him play an AHL game and he was incredible - natural talent but nothing else)
*Dave Chyzowski (2nd in 1989 - nice work Islanders)

Now I think you would agree that a Hart Trophy winner doesn't exactly fit in that company. Now I don't agree with those who see him in the Hall of Fame (which rapidly became the Hall of Very Good prior to the lockout) but those inside of the game think that he still has a lot to contribute as part of the Players Association so should he rightly (finally) call it quits, I will wish him good riddance, I mean, good luck in his new position.

I will remember him not putting on the Nords jersey when he was drafted, I will remember him as the powerful force that hammered the post-Cup Rangers and I will remember him as the impotent sissy when he donned a Blueshirt. But one thing I will not remember him as is a bust.

Are You Readyyyyyyyyyyyy?

Its almost time for the Rangers to bring their gear into the locker room at the Garden and get this season started! Steve Zipay from Newsday, the Islanders rag, apparently has an inside ear and posted the lines for the first two preseason games on his blog, Blue Notes.

Without futher delay:
Against the Devils (no Gomez, no surprise but swapping Drury for Anisimov is a lil strange):


Goal: Valiquette, Montoya

This second group, plus at least one player from above, will play against Philadelphia on Saturday night.



Goal: Lundqvist, Wiikman

>>>EDIT: New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has reassigned forward Tom Pyatt to Hartford (AHL) and defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti to Brampton (OHL). No surprrise in these moves although I would have thought that he would have let them play in at least one preseason game. But Sather is a bastard like that so maybe not. Guess Zipay was wrong (a reporter for Newsday getting something wrong? nooooooo).

More info and analysis to come, stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Cut Is The Deepest

The Rangers made their first wave of camp cuts today, sending a the first wave of guys to Hartford. There were no surprises. Broken down by position and with some comments from lil ole me:

Goaltenders: Chris Holt and Matt Zaba -- No surprise they didn't stick with the Rangers, they are both likely to see significant time in the ECHL with Charlotte. This will likely be Holt's third season there and it will be make-or-break for the former U. of Nebraska-Omaha Maverick. Zaba is just out of Colorado College so he will have some time to mature, but don't count on it as he was already tossed aside by the L.A. Kings and lord knows they need goaltending help.

Defense: Clayton Barthel, Corey Potter and Jake Taylor -- Barthel was a last second camp invitee so no shock to see him go, but at least he is getting a shot in Hartford. Potsy actually may make the NHL someday, but definitely not this year. Taylor will likely fill the tough, rugged defenseman slot in Hartford of the departed Dale Purinton, hopefully without the insanity.

Forwards: Joe Barnes, Alex Bourret, Brodie Dupont, Mitch Fritz, Bruce Graham, Greg Moore and Jordan Owens -- Barnes is a career minor leaguer, he should be thankful he got a look in the first place. Bourret apparently has a bum shoulder (and distinct lack of work ethic); if both improve he will be scoring 40 goals for the Rangers. Dupont needs some seasoning but should see some time in New York sooner or later. I am very sad to see Mitch Fritz go - I wanted to see the huge tough guy beat the hell out of some Devils, Flyers and Islanders in preseason. Graham is still a project, who knows if he will ever turn into a NHL player. Greg Moore regressed last season and unless he picks things up again, he will ride the buses in the A for a long time. And Jordan Owens still has potential, but no place anywhere near the Rangers locker room for quite a while.

Renney said he plans on making more cuts by Friday, which makes no sense to do before they even play a preseason game. He must think he has a few players lacking in character and is hoping they find it while the team works out at West Point over the next two days. I doubt it. But we shall see ... Let's Go Rangers!

Bye Bye Burke

Goaltender Sean Burke has officially retired.

For the most part, I liked him. Burke was one of the last stand-up goaltenders (in style, hopefully not character).

Looking back at his info, I got all warm and fuzzy about one of his teams and found a cool website: Hartford Whalers, which has some cool stuff and sparks my nostalgia for the Whale.

And hey! If the Canadiens can pick up the Expos Youppi as a mascot, why hasn't anyone grabbed Pucky?!?!? A damn shame, but I will remember the team and him fondly as I listen to the sweet sound of the Brass Bonanza.

Long live the Whale!

Gar-Den Of Iniquity

Because Knicks coach Isiah Thomas has been in court dealing with harassment charges, and because (most) everyone loves pictures of attractive young women, I dug up the above picture out of my archives.

Much like Anucha Brown-Sanders, the captain of the Rangers City Skaters, Courtney Prince, also leveled a lawsuit against the Garden. Prince claimed she was fired after complaining to her bosses about X-rated come-ons by members of the team's public relations staff. The whole thing caused lot of drama and brought about the demise of the City Skaters. The brass said Prince was "sex-crazed" (like that's a bad thing) and she said they discriminated on sex appeal.

Now my opinions on ice girls are well known (they have no place in the game), so I am just going to direct you guys to Main St. USA's coverage where they have dug up a lot of material on the matter and even attack the Garden's lawyer of all things. Whatever. I just wanted to post the team photo, lol.

Can't we all just get along and just play/watch/enjoy some hockey?

Monday, September 17, 2007

First Monday Of Preseason

First off, as you can see, pain-in-the-ass Cam Janssen got his ass kicked, turtling to useless deadbeat Jesse Boulerice. While preseason box scores are often totally screwed up, especially those from non-franchise cities (this game was in Trenton), this game apparently had a nice five fights in five minutes of play. Now as much as I love the fisticuffs, I can admit that that is a bit much. But with the league's clear anti-fighting stance, I love the hockey glove in the face that rivalry games like this provide as the fans go wild for brawls. Fighting shouldn't get to the point where it is manufactured, but when two franchises genuinely dislike each other and play dictates it, why not? The passion-less, bland game that Bettman seems to wish would come true (c'mon; I submit the boring division names, instigator rule and meek marketing as just some of my evidence) doesn't drive new fans to the sport, it drives the old ones away. Bad blood brings ratings, that simple.

Also making me smile this evening, the Islanders traveled all the way to North Bay, Ontario just to lose in overtime to the Thrashers. Granted they had their triple backup Joey MacDonald in, and didn't dress Bil Guerin (or Miro Satan, or Mike Comrie) while Atlanta had Ilya Kovalchuk in the lineup (but no Hossa) but still, I always take heart in the Islanders losing.

But the game was not all good news in my eyes: even though Simon the Barbarian still has time left on his suspension after losing his mind across Ryan Hollweg's face, he played and was an alternate captain! Yeah, that's the kind of class I want leading my team. A real role model for a franchise of just so much integrity. I know that its a exhibition game and Simon will sit out the first games that count, but much like I ranted when he was playing cheerleader at the end of last season, I think his suspension should keep him away from the game. That simple. He should have to train on his own and watch the games on tv. Yes he got docked some pay but he shouldn't still be allowed to enjoy the benefits of being a NHL player after he soiled the virtue of the profession. Disgraceful.

Let's Go ... To Buffa-Lo!

Well, its official, the NHL will be playing outdoors again, this time in frosty Buffalo where the Sabres will play the Pittsburgh Penguins on New Years. Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 10am and I think I will buy a pair. I'm not so sure I want to freeze my ass off, but I think it will be worth it. It isn't every day that NHL teams play outside. For those who want to stay warm, NBC will be broadcasting it and it should get lousy ratings up against the college football bowl games that are traditionally held on New Years. Typical.

In the promotional materials released by the league, they listed the occasions that they have ... and while the Rangers playing the town's team in Mystery, Alaska wasn't included, their exhibition game against the L.A. Kings in Las Vegas of all places was. Now I had no idea thaty they did that, it happened back in 1991. The New York Times tried to charge money for the article so I only have the lead to share:
"Sure Wayne Gretzky scored a goal, and for that matter the Los Angeles Kings beat the Rangers, 5-2, before a sellout crowd of more than 13,000 spectators, but for all the hockey derring-do Friday night, the exhibition game seemed more an engineering feat than an athletic achievement."

Anyone have more info? Feel free to drop it in the comments.

And just for the curious, the other recent outdoor hockey games (not necessarily NHL) were:

Red Square
Moscow, Russia
December 9, 2006
Team World vs. Russia
Attendance: 2,000

NHL Heritage Classic
Edmonton, Alberta
November 22, 2003
Montreal Canadiens vs. Edmonton Oilers
Attendance: 57,167

Frozen Tundra Classic
Green Bay, Wisconsin
February 11, 2006
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Attendance: 40,890

East Lansing, Michigan
October 6, 2001
Michigan vs. Michigan State
Attendance: 74,554

NHL Pre-Season Exhibition
Las Vegas, Nevada
September 28, 1991
New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings
Attendance: 13,000

Save Your $$$!!! (Part 2)

Much like in my first Save Your $$$ post, I have to warn you guys away from a hockey publication.

Sad to say, as you can see, its a Hockey News product - their "ULTIMATE" fantasy guide ... it's ultimately useless crap.

I saw it on the newsstands a few weeks back and wondered why I didn't get it with my subscription. I finally called this week and they said that it wasn't included. Now that right there should have rang some warning bells but, as I always admit, I am a hockey geek so I had to have it. I shelled out the eight bucks and, let me tell you, would have had more fun setting that money on fire.

First off, the guide was clearly rushed out so it is hopelessly out of date. The player-by-player listing misses a large chunk of guys (I am guessing that was because of a space issue), and it also doesn't include a shorthanded points category. Then, to top things off, the first two team previews I looked at had embarrassing editorial issues - the Wild preview mentions the Backstrom/Harding goaltending situation and then says "while one of them will be moved in order to fill another hole at some point, these three puck stoppers represent Minnesota's biggest strength." So clearly they edited out the mention of Manny Fernandez without reading through and making sure the rest made sense. And the Rangers preview had a mistake as well: "On defense Staal joins Girardi, Tyutin, Michal Rozsival, Paul Mara and to form an unheralded corps with something to prove." Now while I would love to forget about the existence of Marek Malik, I cannot, and neither should the proofreader. That's just sloppy and inexcusable.

Brian Costello is listed as the "Senior Special Sections Editor" and by the product he put out, should clearly be editing nothing more than a high school newspaper. Sadly the rest of the staff of THN is listed in the masthead so they should go to the box and feel shame as well.

Don't waste your money on this rag, instead spend five minutes and look up the material yourself online. If you aren't one to get hands on, don't waste your time with the fantasy columns at Yahoo or ESPN, instead turn to Dobber because his site is fantastic. Although, just taking a glance at it now, his staff did a review of some fantasy books and gave this very same THN guide four stars for content so I am not sure how much I trust him now ... hmmmmmm ...

BMR Comes Out Of The Closet

So Kevin over at Barry Melrose Rocks has come out of the closet as an Islanders fan. And to think I kinda liked reading his blog, tsk, tsk.

Maybe he admitted it before, maybe I just ignored it then because he does do some great work, but this time he admitted it during his preview of the Rangers so I couldn't avoid it. He even said in it that we "lost" Rachunek to the Devils and called Marek Malik a star.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

We Don't Need Another Goalie

The headline says it all, and sounds better when you sing it like Tina Turner.

Eklund over at is reporting a rumour that the Rangers will go after former Flyer Robert Esche. Now 95% of what Ek posts proves to be untrue, they are rumours after all, but I thought I would address it nonetheless.

First off, the Rangers don't need another goaltender. They have two possible backups - Steve Valiquette, who won the most important game of last season, and Al Montoya, who everyone claims is a blue chip prospect. Secondly, this is Robert Esche!

Esche was terrible last year. Yes he had two 20-plus win seasons with Philly and looked great at times, but overall he hasn't been all that good and has sucked internationally. All the info and numbers for his entire career are here. Not to mention that he is of dubious character ... he doesn't stand by his words, and in my eyes, that is unforgivable.

You say something, you stand by it.

And I stand by the notion that we don't need another goaltender, especially Robert Esche. If Sather and company really don't trust Vally or Al, I would rather they work some cap magic and go after Curtis Joseph, who is available and not ready for retirement. Joseph has played behind some bad defensive teams and can handle a ton of shots and would love one last chance for a cup. A ton of info on him here. While I am well aware of the Garden's penchant for American goaltenders (Beezer, Richter, etc.), I think Cujo would be a better choice should calamity happen and Hank get hurt -- perish the thought ...

So, How Did I Do?

So James Mirtle, who has a great hockey blog that breaks a ton of news, is the commish of a Yahoo fantasy league. He filled the league with "a handful of bloggers/media" and was kind enough to let lil' ole me in. There are 16 teams and the 20 round draft was held today.

Here is some league info:
Roster Positions: C, C, C, LW, LW, RW, RW, F, F, D, D, D, D, Util, G, G, BN, BN, BN, BN, IR, IR, IR, IR
Stat Categories: G, A, +/-, PIM, PPG, PPA, GWG, SOG, W, GAA, SV, SV%, SHO

And here is the team I mostly drafted (I had to autodraft the end to make it to work on time) and some notes on why I picked each player:
Scotty Hockey
1. (2) Sidney Crosby - highest draft pick I ever have had. Roberto Luongo went first overall.
2. (31) Chris Pronger - Even without Niedermayer, he is a fantasy stud - shots, pp points, PIM.
3. (34) Pavol Demitra - once the season starts he will likely be available at two positions (rw and c) and when healthy, and when Gaborik is healthy, he is a 90 point player.
4. (63) Alexander Semin - I am praying for no sophomore slump, especially now that he has a great center to play with.
5. (66) Chris Mason - Yes the Preds lost their top five players, but the replacements they brought in were all more defensive so he may not get wins, but he will get saves. Plus I didn't realize goalies would go so fast so he was the best that was left at this point.
6. (95) Michael Nylander - Mostly loved him as a Ranger, alongside Ovie he could get 70 assists.
7. (98) Sami Salo - When healthy, he puts up the points and a good number of them are on the power play.
8. (127) Markus Naslund - Can he rebound from a lousy year last year? I hope so. He used to be great.
9. (130) Michal Rozsival - Power play quarterback in New York ... 'nuff said.
10. (159) Josh Harding - He looks like a future Vezina winner and if Nick Backstrom falters at all, he will start in net for the Wild. I am a fan of his, he has good character.
11. (162) Robert Lang - Plus/minus may kill me but he should get a lot of points playing alongside Marty Havlat.
12. (191) Pierre-Marc Bouchard - He has mad skills - none defensive - but that's ok, this is fantasy where defense doesn't count.
13. (194) Martin Erat - Solid left wing, he will be counted on to put up top line minutes in Nashville. Love this goal he scored too.
14. (223) Robyn Regehr - Without Roman Hamrlik, he will get more pp time in Calgary, and he gets good plus/minus and a few PIM.
15. (226) Michal Handzus - Top line center in L.A., he should rebound from an injury-plagued year.
16. (255) Daniel Carcillo - I loved this kid at the end of last year. 18 games, seven points, three of them power play goals. Oh yeah, and 74 PIM. Plus/minus will suck though on Phoenix.
17. (258) Chris Osgood - Dom Hasek is old, like almost your dad old, and he can't play every game - he has AARP meetings to attend and the like. So Ozzy is a solid backup pick.
18. (287) Tobias Enstrom - This guy may come in and take the pp qb job in Atlanta from Alex Zhitnik. Then again, he may not.
19. (290) Jaroslav Hlinka - Prior to camp the Aves were hoping he would take the second line center slot. If so, that's huge. If not, well I can always pick someone else up.
20. (319) Dan Hamhuis - Someone has to take Kimmo Timmonen's minutes and pp time. Why not him?
>And I already have a waiver claim in to change one of the last three guys.

So, how do you think I did? Can I win?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sam the Man

I regularly jock Sam Weinman's Rangers Report blog here at Scotty Hockey. The lead hockey and golf writer for The Journal News (a Westchester rag), Weinman combines an easy-to-read writing style with the passion and wonder of a Rangers fan.

Today he posted a camp update with a nice interview with Sean Avery. The best part, at least for hockey geeks like myself, is that Weinman figured out last year how to post audio clips so you can sit and listen to the actual interviews that he holds. Of course, Avery's is a fun one and worth listening to if you have nine minutes. If you don't, he seems not to be taking Sather's harsh words during arbitration to heart and is looking forward to the season. He still jokes around, he is still honest to a fault and, according to Sam, he now rocks a mohawk. I knew I liked this guy when he was on the Wings, and now that he is a Ranger I think he may take over as my favourite player now that Jed is gone to Nashville.

But its early yet so who knows, I really enjoyed watching Ryan Callahan last year and now that he is a Ranger, it will be great to root for real American hero, the Little League champion himself, Chris Drury. It should be an exciting season ... is it October 4th yet?!?

Old Skool Threads

I am a big fan of jerseys, at last count I have over 40 hockey jerseys, including the throwback Mitchell & Ness Duguay to the right.

I am also a regular reader of Uni Watch and yesterday a fill-in writer posted a bunch of YouTube links that included a behind-the-scenes look at the Mitchell & Ness company. It's a two part Internet shot by some company called Press Pass TV that I have never heard of. If you want to check the geek-tacular feature out, click here.

You can be sure if/when I go down to Philly to watch the Rangers beat the Flyers, I am going to check out their store and waste some more money!