Monday, May 31, 2010

Stanley Cup Final Game 2: 2-Goal Blitz Wins

Some quick randomness from Game 2:

*There were less Flyer fans than Game 1 and yet the crowd was far more tentative. But when they got going, man, was it impressive. They went to interview Antti Niemi after the final buzzer and it was louder than it was during the anthem.

*Niemi was good, but he wasn't that good. The defense in front of him was huge.

*Brent Sopel was outstanding. He wasn't rewarded with a star but he certainly deserved one. Former Islander Sopel.

*Dan Carcillo? Still a dirtbag.

*I never, ever, ever thought I would find myself happy for Ben Eager. Former Flyer Eager. Who would have imagined that Marian Hossa would have a garbage goal and Eager would score on a snipe?

*Eager said that he got into it with Chris Pronger after the final buzzer because "he's been picking the pucks up after the game, and I just told him he can keep it."

*Chelsea Dagger, that annoying goal song they have here in Chicago, is stuck in my head. Please, someone, anyone, help me.

*Coach Q is a nervous but smart guy - for all defensive zone faceoffs he made sure he had two centers out on the ice and the second center would go right off when the puck was cleared. Often John Madden was the extra, and he ended up going 9-2 at the dot. Former Devil Madden.

*Blair Betts got called for a penalty. I admit to yelling "No Bettsy No!" in my head, but only in my head. No cheering in the pressbox.

*But, that being said, the media guys have no heart - none clapped after the anthem (and on Memorial Day) and none for the mites who played during the first intermission. Communists who hate children.

*The 50/50 drawing was over 17 grand. Can you imagine? Go to a hockey game, give five bucks to charity, and walk out with 17 large. I can't.

*I spent the game participating in Puck Daddy's live chat. It's a fun time and something I recommend to enhance your viewing experience ...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stanley Cup Final Game 1: Welcome Back Kopper

Just a few quick notes on Game 1 and Chicago in general:

*The anthem in Chicago is as loud as they say it is.

*11 goals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. If you can find someone who thought it was going to be that loose and that wild before hand, you've found yourself a liar.

*Tomas Kopecky was added to the Hawk lineup because Adam Ladd couldn't go and he scored the game-winning goal. A young, hungry player with extra energy to burn is big in games like this, especially when everyone else burns much of it away in the first two periods.

*That being said, Chris Pronger played too much. Sure, he is a workhorse but he simply didn't have enough to keep it up in the third period. Poor Ryan Parent played one shift, Chicago scored and that was it. His first Stanley Cup Final game lasted 40 seconds.

*No penalties for the Flyers. Yeah, right. No penalties called on the Flyers is more like it. But officiating wasn't what decided this game, thanks to Chicago's PK.

*Blair Betts scored a goal, I admit to letting out a yelp before the no-cheering-in-the-press-box stopped a standing o. Go Bettsy! Interesting angle I haven't seen yet is #11 vs #11 - Bettsy versus John Madden - penalty killing, faceoff winning, smart hockey players.

*I picked Troy Bouwer to score the Cup-winning goal over at Carp's blog. He certainly picked things up in Game 1 ...

*The Chicago fans went wild as a guy danced to Dropkick's "Shippin up to Boston" ... yeah, it didn't make sense to me either.

*Flyer fans can still be happy as Roy Halladay pitched a perfect game. Sure baseball is a dreadfully boring sport, but that is still a hell of an achievement.

*Saw Dan Carcillo after the game and managed not to go after him for fighting Gaborik. Still came closer to doing it than Girardi did back in January.

*Met Sam from Second City Hockey before the game selling issues of the Committed Indian - the grassroots game-night program he helps write and produce. It is awesome and something we should do in New York somehow. Unlike the actual Ranger program, it actual informs and entertains the reader, and for just three bucks. Brilliance.

*Oh, and that picture up top? That was my view for the game. Dude. So awesome.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Case You Didn't See Them

2010-11 New York Ranger Ticket Prices:

Heisann Mats!


New York, May 26, 2010 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with free agent forward Mats Zuccarello Aasen.

“Mats is a highly skilled player with excellent hockey sense,” stated Sather. “He has produced at every level he has played, and we think his offensive abilities, both as a scorer and play maker, make him a valuable asset to the organization.”

Zuccarello Aasen, 22, skated in 55 games with MODO of the Swedish Elite League (SEL) this past season, registering 23 goals and 41 assists for 64 points, along with 62 penalty minutes. He [caotured] the Guldhjälmen award as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

The 5-9, 170-pound ... Norway native has represented his country in several tournaments, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, finishing third on the team in scoring with three points (one goal and two assists) in four contests. Recently, Zuccarello Aasen participated in the 2010 World Championship in Germany, marking his third World Championship appearance with Norway. He finished the tournament tied for the team lead with three goals and second on Norway with four points in six contests. He also led Norway with 17 shots on goal and two game winning goals in the tournament.
It is definitely nice to see the deal done as it is low risk/high reward, but - as I said a while back - let's just wait and see how quickly makes the transition this fall before we get all giddy.

The Philadelphia Dilemma

You would think that it would be automatic: Chicago is playing against Philadelphia, Ranger fans root for Chicago. After all, the Flyers are a despicable divisional rival. But I'm finding that that isn't necessarily the case, for a bevy of reasons. Let's take a look at a few:

1- Philadelphia eliminated the Rangers on the last day of the regular season and saying that your team lost to the Stanley Cup champs is some kind of consolation prize.

2- East versus west, yo. Biggie 4eva man. Can't get all mushy for those left coast suckas. 2Pac got what was comin' to him, ya herd? Gotta stand by yer bros from da conference. Even if Chicago isn't particularly far west.

3- Chicago is the latest thing. After despising the mass of bandwagon fans in Pittsburgh and Washington, how can you jump to the Hawks now that their owner died and they got good? Most of the folks filling the "Madhouse on Madison" are making their first visits there right about now. If they can stick with the Cubs despite the magnitude of suckitude, why didn't they stick with the Hawks? You don't want to be like them, do you?

4- Duncan's Teeth don't match up to Lappy's bruised brain. Sure Duncan Keith lost seven teeth and still played 29 minutes but that is just what hockey players do ... they lose teeth. Mike Ricci, Bobby Clarke, etc. Ian Laperriere took a puck to the face that gave him a brain contusion, one that was going to end his season. But did the toughest player in the NHL let that happen? No. A month later he returned to the ice. And not only that, in the series-clinching win he was credited with two blocked shots.

5- The former Ranger factor. That Flyer warrior Laperriere? Played 28 games in a Blueshirt in 95-96 before being stupidly dealt away with Mattias Norstrom, Ray Ferraro, Nathan Lafayette and 4th round pick for Marty McSorley, Jari Kurri and Shane Churla. It was a foolish attempt to re-capture the 93-94 mercenary magic and it utterly failed. And, speaking of utter failures, Glen Sather and John Tortorella thought they needed to add some size to the fourth line last summer. So what did they do? Dealt a draft pick for project Brian Boyle. A project that clearly did not work out. To give Boyle a spot the dynamic duo let the penalty killing, faceoff winning fan favourite Blair Betts go. Unceremoniously at that. So, without a job on Broadway, Bettsy showed more heart than the entire ensuing Ranger roster and went to Flyer camp and earned himself a new gig.

Love Bettsy but then again, there are also many simple reasons to cheer for Sweet Home Chicago:

1- Original Six and the best sweater in the NHL that isn't a Blueshirt.

2- Rags to riches story, re-igniting the passion for pucks in a major city.

3- Toews, Kane, Byfuglien, Keith and Seabrook. And possible future Ranger Versteeg.

4- The Blues Brothers. C'mon, Hawks are on mission from gahd.

5- They aren't the Flyers.

As for me, I'm headed to the Finals as a member of the working media so I am not rooting for either team, just an exciting series of top flight hockey full of drama and passion.

*cough, cough, Chicago, cough, cough*

Which side will you be pulling for when the puck drops Saturday?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Seriously, WTF?

Rangers and Islanders Complete First Trade in 37 Years

New York, May 25, 2010 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Jyri Niemi from the New York Islanders in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Rangers and Niemi have agreed to terms on a contract.

Niemi, 19, skated in 50 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season, registering eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points, along with 67 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating.

The 6-3, 210-pounder has appeared in 159 career regular season contests for Saskatoon, registering 29 goals and 66 assists for 95 points, along with 198 penalty minutes and a plus-27 rating.

Internationally, Niemi has represented his native country in several international tournaments, most recently serving as Captain for Finland at the 2010 U-20 World Junior Championship. He finished the tournament tied for second among all defensemen and ranked second among Finnish skaters in goals (three), and tied for third on the team in points (five).

The Hameenkyro, Finland native was originally selected as the New York Islanders’ third round pick, 72nd overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The Rangers and Islanders last completed a trade on November 14, 1972, when the Rangers sent right wing Ron Stewart to the Islanders in exchange for cash.
If the Flames and Oilers can make deals, then I guess anyone can but someone is going to have to give this guy a radiation shower to scrub the Islander stink off of him. I will leave it to Jess at Prospect Park to write up something about Niemi's upside (EDIT: and he did) but I have a hunch good ole Glen has this guy mistaken for the Blackhawk goaltender. If this guy isn't good enough to make the Islanders ...

Näkemiin Ilkka

Puck Daddy's resident Russian Dmitry Chesnokov tweeted that Ilkka Heikkinen will spend next season in the KHL (h/t to SNY). Apparently all the Rangers offered him was a two-way deal and he decided that the KHL was the best league for him.

That's a shame.

As I wrote in the Facts of Life, I found Heikkinen to be a quiet but solid defenseman who could have contributed if given a real chance. However, he never was given that and likely never would get it with Redden and Rozsival filling two spots on the Broadway blueline for the next few years. Ah well. Best wishes to him.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Grading The Brass

As I pulled out the 'red pen' for the players, it is only just that I did it for the front office as well. Now, the easy way out would be to hand straight Fs to James Dolan, Glen Sather and John Tortorella. Let's face it, this season was a disappointment. As fans we were promised things that were not delivered and it is quite easy to be bitter over it.

Quite, quite easy.

For those who don't get it, there are fans and then there are Ranger fans. Odds are, if you are here reading this you are a Ranger fan. Your moods coincide with the success of the Blueshirts, rising with every victory, crashing with every soul-crushing defeat. And, over the last 84 seasons there have been so, so many soul-crushing defeats. But to properly assess the brass I have to limit my focus to last season and limit the sheer negativity that comes spewing from the depths of my disappointment. After all, if things had gone right - or even just a hair more right than they had - the loathful Flyers wouldn't be a win away from the Stanley Cup Finals right now. Man, this is a difficult task.

Making it even tougher is the simple fact we don't really know what Dolan, Sather and Torts have done - all that can be judged are the public actions and the results of the behind-closed-doors actions. We're not in the boardroom, office or locker room. Two of the three rarely talk to the press so what they are thinking and doing is unknown and the third, well, his loathing of the press clouds everything just a shade.

John Tortorella: Where to start, where to start ... the team Tortorella coached went 38-34-10 overall and just 18-17-6 at home, missing the playoffs by a point. After he crashed the team out of the playoffs last spring, Tortorella had all summer and a full training camp to implement that vaunted 'safe is death' style. When the puck finally dropped, that went out the window as he realized he didn't have the horses and the team ended up playing Tom Renney-esque defensive hockey for much of the season. Torts also used the Renney Line Generator, juggling his personnel throughout much of the year. His nonsensical promises of accountability were just that as few players were benched or demoted based on their level of play. His veterans didn't deliver and his young players regressed in terms of their on-ice performance (Staal, Girardi, Cally, Dubi). MDZ and Arty saw too much action while Hobey (and all of the Hartford guys) too little. Tortorella took the Sean Avery out of Sean Avery in the 2009 playoffs and didn't reverse the vasectomy until after New Years. The coach's dealings with the New York media, well, frankly they were ridiculous. All of that being said, Torts was able to coax the late push for the playoffs. He also had that brimstone-and-fire timeout against the Devils early in the season that turned things around and often used his timeouts well. So, ignoring the heartbreak that came from the late tease of talent, Torts gets a D.

Glen Sather: Sather started high and ended high. He dealt away Scott Gomez and Tom Pyatt for Chris Higgins, Ryan McDonagh and (basically) Marian Gaborik. It was and I still think is a masterful stroke even considering how Gomez and Pyatt became big parts of Montreal's surprising success. Gomez never acclimated to New York (on the ice, off it is something else) and was a massive disappointment for a massive salary. Gaborik came in and provided all of the Ranger offense. After all of that goodwill generated by the Gomez deal, Sather pissed it all away by acquiring Donald Brashear and Ales Kotalik - two utter failures that rank up there with the Bobby Holik and Wade Redden signings in the Hall of Shame Sather has created in New York. While the team was and has been saddled with the latter two deals for far too long, Sather was able to bounce back and rectify the former already. He demoted Brashear and upgraded with a deal for Jody Shelley. He also traded Kotalik and the offensively-challenged Higgins for an expiring contract and a power forward in the making in Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust. The GM also plucked Erik Christensen off the garbage heap waiver wire and added a veteran backup goaltender, albeit a bit too late. That kind of up-and-down season seems properly judged right in the middle with a C.

James Dolan: The long-standing belief - one that has not been refuted publicly - is that Jimmy D doesn't pay attention to or care about the Rangers so grading is tough. In November Forbes ranked the Rangers second in the NHL to Toronto in terms of value and revenue. Dolan kept Sather in the driver's seat of the franchise, for better and worse. He raised ticket prices for the fourth straight season and the Rangers had their worst attendance since prior to the lockout. Then again, they still drew an average of 18,076, or 99.3% of MSG capacity. It is now two years since the plans for a new, even more corporate Garden were unveiled in the form of a massive renovation and they have yet to impact the fans other than to ignite debate or dread over what's coming - physically there were no real changes affecting Garden-goers in 09-10. Dolan put another feather in his cap with the first live, professional sporting event to be broadcast in 3D, something widely regarded as a success. MSG Network enhanced their postgame show and brought in some good talent to break down the Blueshirts but still employed the grating Joe Micheletti. Blueshirts United essentially rendered the already-decimated Ranger Fan Club obsolete and, despite being a clear money grab, the people I know who shelled out the bucks were justly rewarded. Despite being a ghost to season ticket holders and the press, I looked at all of the results and have give Dolan a B-.

Whether he, personally, deserves credit or if others in the front office do is something else - the same goes for Sather and Torts. What do you think?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rangers Report Card '09-10

After slogging through a player-by-player assessment in my NYR Facts of Life series, I figured it was finally time for my usual report card.

As I've done in the past, I graded each player based on expectations, performance all season long and performance when it counted. I am, admittedly, a tough grader. If you feel so inclined, you can refer back to the report cards for the last two seasons: '07-08 and '08-09. Explanations are brief, if only because I already hit upon each player in the Facts of Life.


#42 Artem Anisimov: Rookie skated with his head down and didn't show up until end. C

#16 Sean Avery: Loved the fire when it flared, too often it was smoldering. C-

#22 Brian Boyle: He's tall. D

#87 Donald Brashear: Never forgive Sather. F

#36 Dane Byers: Slow but showed heart. INC

#24 Ryan Callahan: Didn't improve on the ice but accepted leadership role. A-

#26 Erik Christensen: Dude was on the waiver wire. B+

#23 Chris Drury: Good third liner and PKer. Terrible captain and contract. C-

#17 Brandon Dubinsky: Held out thinking he was something special. Never really proved it. B-

#10 Marian Gaborik: All-world talent was durable, but disappeared when needed most. A

#21 Chris Higgins: At least he tried. C-

#12 Olli Jokinen: Wasn't a savior but did add some offense. C

#12 Ales Kotalik: Defensive disaster was utter failure. F

#81 Enver Lisin: What speed! And, uh, did I mention speed? D

#84 Corey Locke: He's short. INC

#38 P.A. Parenteau: Shootout star mediocre during regulation. C+

#20 Vinny Prospal: Some great moments, but they were just moments - not a season. B-

#8 Brandon Prust: Can't believe Calgary gave him away. A

#45 Jody Shelley: Given a choice, I'd give him the C. A

#34 Aaron Voros: People's Champ tried, just wasn't that good. B-


#4 Michael Del Zotto: Rookie has great ice-sight, just blind in his own zone. C

#25 Anders Eriksson: Slow and steady on the blueline. A

#97 Matt Gilroy: Spent too much time with Wade Redden. D

#5 Dan Girardi: Solid on D but didn't defend Gabby. C-

#49 Ilkka Heikkinen: Quiet seven-game stint. INC

#44 Corey Potter: Deserves a NHL shot. INC

#6 Wade Redden: Actually had a better season than last, still got paid though. F

#33 Michal Rozsival: Never felt the wrath of accountability. Here he does. F

#54 Bobby Sanguinetti: When does "bust" enter the conversation? INC

#18 Marc Staal: Best blueliner still had bad moments, especially a slow start. A-


#31 Alex Auld: Really was quite good for what little he played. INC

#29 Chad Johnson: Didn't earn the coach's trust. INC

#30 Henrik Lundqvist: All that stood between us and last-place Edmonton, even with soft goals. A

#40 Steve Valiquette: Nice guy, bad goalie. F

#31 Matt Zaba: Twitchy. INC

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life Master Post

As I get deeper and deeper into The Facts Of Life: New York Rangers series, I figured it would be best to have a one-stop shop where you can check out the individual players of your choice without having to delve into the archives.

#4 Michael Del Zotto
#5 Dan Girardi
#6 Wade Redden
#8 Brandon Prust
#10 Marian Gaborik
#12 Ales Kotalik
#12 Olli Jokinen
#16 Sean Avery
#17 Brandon Dubinsky
#18 Marc Staal
#20 Vinny Prospal
#21 Chris Higgins
#22 Brian Boyle
#23 Chris Drury
#24 Ryan Callahan
#25 Anders Eriksson
#26 Erik Christensen
#29 Chad Johnson
#30 Henrik Lundqvist
#31 Alex Auld
#31 Matt Zaba
#33 Michal Rozsival
#34 Aaron Voros
#36 Dane Byers
#38 P.A. Parenteau
#40 Steve Valiquette
#42 Artem Anisimov
#44 Corey Potter
#45 Jody Shelley
#49 Ilkka Heikkinen
#54 Bobby Sanguinetti
#81 Enver Lisin
#84 Corey Locke
#87 Donald Brashear
#97 Matt Gilroy

The NYR Facts Of Life: #97 Matt Gilroy

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. And what we have is come to the end as we reached #97, Matt Gilroy.

#97's #s: 69 games, 4 goals, 11 assists, even, 23 PIM.

Take the good: Gilroy started his Ranger career like gangbusters, what with that outstanding goal in preseason and fantastic first real NHL goal with Brian Leetch watching. He showed remarkable hands and a good view of the ice ... the moon was the limit for the Hobey Baker winner.

Take the bad: Well, Hobey came back to Earth quickly. He scored the last of his four goals on November 28th and went without a tally the rest of the way - a span of 43 (!) games. Torts sent him to Hartford for a spell, then brought him back, then made him sit and watch from the pressbox as Anders Eriksson took his sixth defenseman spot for the stretch run. At 25 years old you would think that Hobey would be in shape and have some consistency but he admitted that the transition straight from college was tough. And he paid for it by being forced to watch the final seven games of the season.

Take them both and then we have: Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards solving it so what we have is a work in progress. Over his 69 games Gilroy averaged better than a shot (82) and a blocked shot (77) a night so there is talent there, now he just has to find the drive to turn himself into a real NHL defenseman who can contribute night after night.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #87 Donald Brashear

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. It's taken a while but we are up to one of Glen Sather's worst signings - and that is saying something - #87, Donald Brashear.

#87's #s: 36 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, -9, 73 PIM.

Take the good: Brashear answered the bell when Colton Orr came calling early in the season and accepted his bus ticket to Hartford when John Tortorella finally came to his senses and banished him.

Take the bad: Getting past the fact that signing Brashear in the first place was a slap in the face to the Ranger fanbase, the goon never lived up to the expectations. During preseason Jim Schoenfeld said that I would be cheering for Brash once he started standing up for teammates. That didn't happen; Brash fought nine times for the sake of fighting, not once because a teammate was under duress or because his team needed a change of luck. The folks over at HockeyFights (generously) decided Brash went 3-4-2 over those tilts - not exactly an intimidating record. And where Sather/Tortorella wanted Brash for his ability to play few minutes and still contribute offensively (something they thought Colton couldn't do), Brash was slower than molasses and added nothing to the Ranger attack.

Take them both and then we have: A horrible signing by Glen Sather and a player - to me at least - that would be best forgetting ever wore a Blueshirt. Betts aside, from the moment he called Ranger season subscribers out at a forum before the season, then ignored the three or four of us who piped up, he was a loathsome Ranger. He contributed nothing positive to the franchise, one that will (likely, unless he is bought out) be forced to pay him $1.3 million dollars (with a $1.4 cap hit) next season not to play in New York.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #84 Corey Locke

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Believe it or not, that includes #84 Corey Locke, who saw just 18:54 of ice time this season - the lowest total of any Ranger. (Sorry about the photo quality, I couldn't find anything from his stint online and just had a poor shot from my cell phone.)

#84's #s: 3 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, +1, 0 PIM.

Take the good: Locke showed a good hockey IQ while being handcuffed with linemates who couldn't score. He made a few smart, quick plays to get pucks out of the Ranger end and start a rush. The Rangers won all three of the games that he played in.

Take the bad: Corey's lack of size (no way was he even his listed 5'9, 189) did hurt as was out-muscled a few times along the boards. Locke went 1-6 at the faceoff dot and never really showed off his talents. For a guy who had 85 points and averaged 2.6 shots per night in Hartford, Locke had all of two shots in his three appearances. That being said, he didn't get any power play time or a chance to skate with other skill players like Gabby.

Take them both and then we have: An AHL star who deserves at least a look in the NHL - one that he certainly did not get this season. With six seasons at the A, Locke has nothing left to prove in the bus league and you have to expect the UFA will go to the team that promises him a real shot at the big league this fall.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #81 Enver Lisin

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. We are nearing the bottom of the roster and begin the final four with #81, Enver Lisin.

#81's #s: 57 games, six goals, eight assists, -1, 18 PIM.

Take the good: Enver averaged just over 11 minutes of ice time a night and nearly a hit per game (56 in 57). He brought some unreal speed and enthusiasm to the lineup, his bromance with Arty was hilarious and teammates said he was one of the funniest guys on the team.

Take the bad: Enver was acquired from Phoenix for Lauri Korpikoski but to most of us he was the replacement for Petr Prucha. While Lisin only trailed Prucha in average points per game by a small margin (.26 to .28), eight of Enver's 14 points came in the first 12 games of the season. After that, he had massive goal droughts of 15, 10 and 14 games. For someone that was expected to add a little skill to his scorching speed, he didn't even have a single shot in 10 of his games. Lisin felt the wrath of Tortorella's accountability when he was benched for the entire third period of the game against Buffalo in early December and the coach said he wouldn't have even dressed him the next game if he wasn't forced to.

Take them both and then we have: A young player who never got comfortable in the lineup. And it wasn't really his fault; Lisin bounced around the lines, saw his ice time fluctuate from a high of over 20 minutes down to as little as three and spent a solid amount time in the press box - both healthy and hurt (with a broken foot). He was waived at one point and will be an RFA that is not likely to be qualified by July 1st.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #54 Bobby Sanguinetti

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. It is an interesting coincidence as we follow Ilkka Heikkinen with #54, Bobby Sanguinetti. I'll explain why down below.

#54's #s: 5 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, even, 2 PIM.

Take the good: Bobby made his NHL debut at the end of November and played fine. He clearly had the jitters but his nerves didn't result in any goals against so it was good to get that milestone out of the way.

Take the bad: He wasn't particularly physical, he wasn't particularly in the moment. Bobby blocked two shots, took five and collected three hits over his five game stint. He had more than 10 minutes of ice time in four of the five games and still came away with zero points.

Take them both and then we have: Where it was acceptable for Heikkinen to have a quiet time with the team, it was not for Bobby. The Finn was a unsigned free agent, Bobby was a first round draft pick. In a day and age where we see kids like Drew Doughty and Tyler Myers stepping in and starring, having a first rounder put up mediocre numbers in the minors and do nothing when the door was opened for him in the bigs is disappointing. It is still early to say that Sanguinetti was a bust - he is just 22 - time is ticking when you consider that Claude Giroux, Semyon Varlamov, Patrik Berglund and Nick Foligno all came after him in the first round and all have earned regular roles in the NHL. Ivan Vishnevskiy was selected five spots after Bobby, grabbed two assists in three games for Dallas and was traded away to Atlanta at the deadline. After this season - granted, an AHL All Star campaign - you have to wonder if a trade would be best for Bobby's future ...

Friday, May 14, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #49 Ilkka Heikkinen

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Last year around this time the Rangers added a Finnish defenseman and he would get himself a cup of NHL coffee this season. That blueliner was #49 Ilkka Heikkinen.

#49's #s: 7 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, +2, 0 PIM.

Take the good: Heineken, I mean, Heikkinen had a quick, quiet stop on Broadway. And for a defenseman, that was a good thing. At the same time, he didn't really have the trust of the coaching staff so he played more than 10 minutes just once in seven games. I mention that in the good because that one game was against the Isles (12:35), and the Rangers won to snap a four game losing skid. He wasn't overly physical but he blocked a few shots, moved the puck swiftly and smartly and wasn't caught out of position.

Take the bad: Unfortunately that game was Heikkinen's penultimate game in the NHL. He was called up when Tortorella decided Matt Gilroy needed a trip to the bus league and was sent back as soon as Hobey got his act together (and proved he was too good for the AHL). Whether or not he truly could have done something to keep him in New York is unknown but it is hard to make an impact when you are coming on the ice with cold legs, especially as you are trying to get used to the pace of the big leagues.

Take them both and then we have: A useful defenseman for a team that doesn't have two blueline spots sewn up for underachieving, overpaid has-beens. From his stat line in Hartford (38 points in 72 games), you like to think he could be a Teppo Numminen-esque player but we may never know, he is due to become a RFA this summer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just A Word Of Caution

After a dreadful season with the annual tease of talent by the Rangers, it is no surprise that everyone is getting excited over Mats Zuccarello-Aasen. Zuccarello-Aasen, if you don't know, is a 22-year-old Norwegian right wing who is rumoured to have signed with the Blueshirts - a deal that is rumoured to become official after the World Championships - although he has several other suitors.

MZA, not to be confused with MDZ, is just 5'7, 160 but played big at the Olympics and has been monstrous at the aforementioned World Championships. He also averaged better than a point-per-game in Sweden the last two seasons for Modo (playing this season with Markus Naslund and Peter Forsberg, among others). There are plenty of clips of him looking awesome on Youtube and both Swedes and Norwegians who watched him play in person have told me he has the ability to succeed on this side of the Pond.

Now, like all of you, I want to believe that he is the second coming of Brian Gionta, or even Espen Knutsen. Really, I do. However, my own pessimism is quick to look at the last "superstar" out of the Swedish league that everyone drooled over - Fabian Brunnstrom. The amount of hype for Barnstormer was just as silly as what we are heading for MZA. They called him the next Alfredsson and look at what happened to him ... after debuting with a hat trick in 2008, things went downhill and he split last season between the (non-playoff-bound) NHL Stars and the AHL Stars. Now he is possible trade bait.

And do you remember last summer? The Rangers signed the 'Swiss Sean Avery' in Andres Ambϋhl? Judging by notes from Howlings over the course of the season Ambϋhl was pretty decent but he never was a star scorer. And the Rangers need a scorer to take the heat off of Gabby.

MZA has shown signs that he can do it internationally - with and without the magnificent Tore Vikingstad - and he played with two of the best NHLers over the last 15 years in Sweden so he should have an idea of what it takes to play in North America. But let's just wait and see if he a) does sign with the Rangers and then b) quickly makes the transition this fall before we get all giddy. There have been enough disappointments by the Blueshirts already this spring.

The NYR Facts Of Life: #45 Jody Shelley

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. At the trade deadline the Rangers gave up a 2011 conditional draft pick for a new sheriff on Broadway, #44 Jody Shelley.

#45's #s: 21 games, 2 goals, 4 assists, +4, 37 PIM.

Take the good: Shelley gave the Rangers the legitimate tough guy they lacked since Colton Orr left town over the summer. He did pick his spots fighting - just three tilts, two against former rivals - but he added alot more than fisticuffs to the 'goon' position. While Arty moved the puck and got to shooting positions, Prust worked the boards and Shelley worked the slot, using his big body to his advantage. He battled for room and earned it with his size and power. And, despite his outward appearance, Shelley was articulate and interesting in interviews and really appeared to become a leader on the team.

Take the bad: Um, he went 18 games without scoring to start his Ranger career? He didn't knock out any of the three guys he fought (although Hockeyfights had him at 2-1)? He coulda and maybe shoulda taken on Shawn Thornton during that disastrous 2-1 loss to Boston? I donno, there isn't a whole lot of bad when the enforcer that was picked up on the cheap at the deadline becomes part of the best line during a miraculous stretch run.

Take them both and then we have: Everything that we were promised when Sather mistakenly signed Donald Brashear. If the Rangers don't re-sign him, they'll give the Sharks their 2011 sixth-round pick; if Shelley stays in New York, they'll have to give the Sharks their 2011 fifth-round pick. Either way, this was another stroke of genius trade by Glen Sather.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #44 Corey Potter

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Today we turn our eye back to the blueline and gaze at poor #44, Corey Potter.

#44's #s: 3 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, even, 2 PIM.

Take the good: Potter has been there when the Rangers called, jumped in the lineup and provided solid, if unspectacular defense. He makes smart, short plays to get the puck out of danger, he maintains good positioning and he isn't afraid to throw his body around when need be. After being a bit shakey in his debut this season against Nashville (playing less than eight minutes, taking a penalty and having a pair of giveaways), Potter bounced back and played nearly double the time next game against Tampa and got into the flow with a few hits. Then came the Olympic break and he lasted one quiet game after that before being bounced back to Hartford.

Take the bad: John Tortorella's warped sense of accountability allowed Rozy, Hobey, MDZ and Redden in the lineup for long stretches (if not the entire season) despite a multitude of defensive gaffes; the bad thing here is that Potter never truly got a chance despite that.

Take them both and then we have: A poised defender capable of playing 15-17 minutes a night on a third pairing. Of course that pairing is not likely to be in New York as - depending on which salary cap site you look at - Potter will be a RFA, a UFA or a Group VI UFA (I think it is Group VI as he is older than 25 and has played three AHL seasons) on July 1st and surely will look for opportunity elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #42 Artem Anisimov

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Today we get to party because it is time for Arty, #42 Artem Anisimov.

#42's #s: 82 games, 12 goals, 16 assists, -2, 32 PIM.

Take the good: Arty averaged around 13 minutes of ice time a game, including quasi-regular shifts on both special teams. You can't buy the chemistry or confidence that Anisimov secured when paired with Jody Shelley and Brandon Prust. Having the two tough guys riding shotgun for him allowed Arty to simplify his skill game (probably by thinking and worrying less) and in doing so it brought back the talent he flashed in preseason. He went out and grabbed five assists in his last six games on the Rangers best line.

Take the bad: At the same time, Arty went his last eight games without scoring a goal and had a 28 game span where he managed just two goals ... both in the same game. And that drought included a 17 game complete power outage with zero points. Anisimov was soft, sloppy with his stick and horrific in the faceoff circle.

Take them both and then we have: A kid who earned valuable experience in all situations during a durable rookie season. Then again, it is easy to be durable when you don't get your hands dirty. Ok, that may have been harsh considering he bounced right back from this and this and, oh yeah, this. He might have been better served spending at least a little time in Hartford getting more minutes, filling out his frame, putting up points and learning to keep his head up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #40 Steve Valiquette

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. It's time to check out the Valley, #40 Steve Valiquette.

#40's #s: 6 games, 2-3-0, 3.74 g.a.a., .852 save %.

Take the good: By all accounts Valley was a good team guy and few fans had issue with him despite several horrific appearances in the past (Toronto, Dallas). Valiquette opened his '09-10 season by shutting out Anaheim, leaving everyone to believe that he would be able to take some of the load off of Hank.

Take the bad: He couldn't take the load off of Hank. Torts inexplicably started Valiquette against San Jose for his second appearance of the season and he was blown out, yanked after allowing five goals (including two ppg) on 18 shots in two periods against the Western Conference powerhouse. Torts later inexplicably started Valley against Pittsburgh and he was no match for the Pens, giving up eight goals to the Pens.

Take them both and then we have: It is possible that Tortorella was testing Valiquette with those starts and, if so, Valley failed. The eloquent, easy going goaltender couldn't handle the top flight talent thrown up against him and it cost him his NHL job.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #38 P.A. Parenteau

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. On a team that was hurting for skill, the Rangers finally gave the talented #38, P.A. Parenteau a real shot this season.

#38's #s: 22 games, 3 goals, 5 assists, -2, 4 PIM.

Take the good: Since the Slovakian sniper Marian Gaborik wasn't particularly good in the shootout, it was good to have a specialist on hand in Parenteau. He went three for three in the skills exhibition and flashed the same good hands during regulation from time to time.

Take the bad: Parenteau's lack of size hurt him against the Flyers and he
ended up taking a bad interference call - one that allowed Philly to tie the game and force overtime. His only two penalties with the Rangers this season came in that game; bad timing. After scoring in his first game with the team in late October, Parenteau was scoreless for 13 straight before being banished back to the bush league. Like the rest of the Rangers, his consistency was lacking when it came to the amount of effort he put out night after night.

Take them both and then we have: Unlike Jason Krog, Parenteau showed that his AHL ability could carry over into the NHL (at least a little). But, at the same time, the undersized Parenteau is no Marty St. Louis - he doesn't have the power or ability to create offense on his own. He is a shootout specialist who works as a decent complementary skill player when there are other skaters out on the ice with him.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #36 Dane Byers

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Even though injuries weren't a big issue this season, there was enough for some Hartford players to get a look-see, with #36 Dane Byers being one of them.

#36's #s: 5 games, 1 goal (on 3 shots, 0 assists, +1, 31 PIM.

Take the good: Byers was a late call-up for his first game of the year and he stepped right in and scored (banging in a Wade Redden rebound of all people). After seeing his ice time reduced the next game, Byers came back in the third and stepped up for Marian Gaborik. After seeing Bieksa rough Gabby up and Ryan Kelser jab him after a whistle, Byers lost it and went after the Canucks. Being a good teammate like that was something that too few of the Rangers had until it was too late in the season.

Take the bad: Byers never got to see it happen as he was banished to Hartford after just five games in all. After potting that goal on three shots in 9:33 of ice time, Byers didn't get more than six minutes over the next four games and didn't manage another shot. One could argue, and I'm sure hypocritical Tortorella did, that Byers overreacted in the aforementioned tussle in Vancouver game and the Byers instigator late in the same game against Tanner Glass was senseless (I disagree on both counts, but one could argue it).

Take them both and then we have: Brandon Prust without as much of a penchant for fighting. Byers is a tough, grinding forward with some offensive upside (he did have 25 goals and 27 assists in 74 games Hartford to go with 100 PIM) but he doesn't have the speed that Tortorella demands.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #34 Aaron Voros

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. It is time for the People's Champ to get his turn, @Voros34, #34 Aaron Voros.

#34's #s: 41 games, three goals, four assists, -2, 89 PIM.

Take the good: Voros was the ultimate team guy, working hard to stay in shape as he languished in the press box and working even harder when he got his shot out on the ice. He collected four of his seven points in a five game span at the end of the season, helping the team make it's final (futile) lunge at a playoff spot. Voros skated hard, checked and tried to be defensively responsible. He also had nice chemistry with Sean Avery and Brian Boyle for the brief period that they lined up together in January - with Voros busting his behind. He had 13 fights, including a tilt against the NHL's PIM king Zenon Konopka.

Take the bad: According to the folks at Hockey Fights, Voros won just three of those bouts. He's lumbering, he has hands of cement and his passion gets in the way of smart hockey from time to time. As with Rozsival, the Rangers happened to win when he put up points but it was a rarity that he actually put up points (they went 5-1-1). He collected just one point - an assist - over his first 21 games.

Take them both and then we have: A player who pretty much gave himself the moniker "The People's Champ" and yet it was one that rung true. You couldn't help but root for him as his all-out effort was apparent. Of course, he just isn't that good of a hockey player and wouldn't ever make the roster on most other teams. But he had a moment in the sun - that 8-2 win over Tampa - and it should help him go down in Ranger lore as one of those 'remember him? I liked that guy' guys.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Garden Renovation Update

May 6, 2010

We wanted to share with you some exciting news on the upcoming renovation of the "World's Most Famous Arena." As you know, we are planning a dramatic transformation of Madison Square Garden that will take place in phases. The building will be transformed into a state-of-the-art facility that lives up to its iconic stature, while preserving The Garden's great history and distinctive architecture.

The ultimate goal of the renovation is to dramatically enhance the experience for all of our guests, reinforcing The Garden's place as the leading sports and entertainment venue in the world. Some of the many significant upgrades will include: a brand new 7th Avenue entrance, significantly wider concourses, several new first-class food and entertainment amenities, improved sightlines, more comfortable seating, a dynamic new scoreboard, new suites, clubs and hospitality areas, and views of the city from several areas of the building.

At the conclusion of the Knicks and Rangers 2010-11 seasons, The Garden will be closed for three consecutive summers to complete work on this project. The Arena will be open for the Knicks and Rangers seasons each year, along with our roster of world-class events during this timeframe. While there will be construction-related activity ongoing during the seasons, including work on the concourses, certain suites, concessions and restrooms, we are taking all possible steps to minimize disruption to fans. Below is a description of The Garden transformation phases that are planned to be completed over the next three summers (some areas will debut during the Knicks and Rangers seasons):

2011-12 Season

*Lower Bowl seating area with larger, more comfortable seats
*Expanded Lower Concourse with city views, enhanced concession stands featuring Coca-Cola products, more restrooms and additional retail locations
*20 new Event Level Suites offering a sophisticated atmosphere and the best seats in the house
*New Delta SKY360 Event Level Club offering exclusive dining options and views of athletes entering and exiting the locker room area

2012-13 Season
*Upper Bowl seating area with larger, more comfortable seats and significantly improved sightlines
*Expanded Upper Concourse with city views, enhanced concession stands featuring Coca-Cola products, more restrooms and additional retail locations
*58 new Lower Level Suites that are larger and half the distance to the court/ice with bowl seating
*New all-inclusive Super Club with seating in the arena and exclusive club space available for corporations and individuals looking to entertain at Knicks and Rangers games

2013-14 Season
*New 7th Avenue Entrance featuring interactive kiosks, retail locations and a broadcast area
*Two spectacular new Bridges that will be suspended above the court/ice for a one-of-a-kind view of the action
*New 10th floor Party Decks offering a selection of new food and beverage options and a unique social gathering space with direct views into the arena bowl
*New state-of-the-art GardenVision center-hung scoreboard
*18 completely remodeled 9th floor Suites

We are dedicated to providing you, our most loyal customers, with a transformed Garden that will meet your greatest expectations for the "World's Most Famous Arena." We hope that you share our excitement for the new Madison Square Garden and the role it will play in creating defining moments and great traditions for New Yorkers and fans around the world. This transformation is important to New York given that The Garden, much like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Central Park, is part of the fabric of New York. We are pleased that our construction manager, Turner Construction, has advised us that the renovation will involve more than 2.6 million man hours of union labor, the equivalent of at least 1,300 full-time equivalent jobs, and will create as many as 3,700 union construction jobs.

Moving forward we will offer you a host of resources, including regular communications, informational events and interactive online tools regarding the highly anticipated renovation of The Garden to ensure that you are fully informed as progress continues. If you go to, select renderings of the transformed Garden are available to view.

Thank you for your support and commitment to the New York Rangers, we look forward to seeing you at The Garden in the fall.


Hank Ratner
President & CEO
Madison Square Garden
Quick analysis: Garden brass doesn't realize that the best way to maximize revenues is to improve the performance of the teams that are the main attraction. Those teams are the main attraction, NOT the building they play in - no matter how much you tout how famous it is. Most fans would come down to watch the Rangers play in a barn or the Knicks play in a cage - location doesn't matter, the team does. Typical corporate thinking by them, missing the big picture as always.

The NYR Facts Of Life: #33 Michal Rozsival

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Things this season may have been better but they certainly weren't rosy when we are talking about Rozy, #33, Michal Rozsival.

#33's #s: 82 games, 3 goals (1 ppg), 20 assists (3 ppa), +3, 78 PIM.

Take the good: Time heals all wounds and Rozsival played marginally better his second season removed from Marek Malik. He made less mistakes that directly went into the back of the Ranger net and he did it for less money than Wade Redden. According to, the Rangers posted a record of 10-2-5 when he registered a point ... for the mathematically challenged, that is 17 games and there were 82 in the season. Tortorella's lack of faith in Hobey Gilroy was disturbing but it resulted in the coaching giving Rozy 25 or more minutes of ice time 13 times over the course of the season, including six of the last nine games. And despite the extra workload, Rozy never broke down and never slowed down.

Take the bad: It is hard to break down when you aren't particularly physical and it is hard to slow down then you aren't particularly fast. Aside from one 10 minute misconduct, all of Rozy's PIM were from minors - primarily sloppy, lazy, detriment-to-the-team minors. Rozsival averaged 1:54 of ice time on the power play a night while playing in every single game and accumulated four points. Four.

Take them both and then we have: At 31, Rozsival should be in the prime of his career and yet his point totals have gone down over the last three seasons. And let's face it, he wasn't Bobby Orr to begin with. He doesn't put up points, he doesn't hit people, he gets in the way of the goaltender - the Ranger goaltender - and he gets beaten to loose pucks. There was a time when Rozsival was the top defenseman on the team and seemed capable of actually being a top defenseman. Fast forward to now and we have a second-pairing blueliner just two years into a painful four-year, 20 million dollar deal. Ouch.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #31 Matt Zaba

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Yesterday was Alex Auld's turn so we move on to the other #31, Matt Zaba.

#31's #s: One game (no starts, 34 min), 0-0-0, 3.56 g.a.a., .880 save %.

Take the good: While Zaba allowed two goals in his lone appearance, he did play quite well in what was a 6-0 Ranger loss in Montreal; he came in after Hank allowed three goals in four minutes of the second period. It was hard to blame him for either goal, and it came in quite a hostile environment.

Take the bad: Called up six times by my count, his play in practice and his lone appearance was not enough to earn the trust of the Blueshirt brass. And, personally, I thought he looked quite jumpy even in warmups so I can't blame the braintrust.

Take them both and then we have: Seeing as the franchise has it's starter for the foreseeable future in Hank, has a seemingly-capable Chad Johnson, drafted a solid prospect in Scott Stajcer last year and signed Cameron Talbot at the end of March, we could very well have another Jamie Ram. For Zaba's sake, you hope not but Traverse City and training camp should decide this kid's future.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #31 Alex Auld

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. After doing Henrik Lundqvist yesterday, it is time for the first of two backups who wore #31, Alex Auld.

#31's #s: 3 games (1 start, 119 minutes), 0-1-0, 2.53 g.a.a., .900 save %.

Take the good: Auld, like Christensen, was another cheap waiver-wire acquisition who jumped in and filled a need. John Tortorella felt he needed a veteran backup and he got one in Auld. The new netminder came right in and held the Caps to just two goals in a fantastic performance at the Phone Booth.

Take the bad: Auld's second appearance was in relief of Hank and he gave up a soft goal on 10 shots in 25 minutes. His third and final was 35 minutes against Buffalo at the beginning of April - you recall, the game where Torts shocked everyone by pulling Hank down 3-2. But Torts shocked no one by riding the King so hard for so long, (in fact, I wrote Auld wouldn't play much when we claimed him) and Auld didn't see nearly enough action as the Rangers needed him to. And that was definitely bad.

Take them both and then we have: A capable, underused backup goaltender with one awesome mask.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #30 Henrik Lundvist

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. It's time to take a look at the King, #30 Henrik Lundqvist.

#30's #s: 73 games, 35-27-10, 2.38 g.a.a., .920 save %, four shutouts.

Take the good: No migraines, no family issues and no defense in front of him allowed and forced Henrik to play at the top of his game, and on many nights he did. How many teams has a blueline like the Blueshirts with two rookies, two other kids and two fatally flawed veterans? He faced the third-most shots and played the second-most amount of regular season games and yet Hank finished in the top 10 in g.a.a. and save %. To accumulate the numbers that he did and to bring the Rangers to within a shootout of the playoffs was a herculean undertaking and he came out of it a better leader. His interviews took a different tone this season with less cliches, more honesty and a willingness to give credit or take the bullet when appropriate.

Take the bad: You saw his interview in the locker room after the Philly game, Hank was exhausted. After putting on a career performance during regulation and overtime, he just didn't have enough for the skills competition and that says something. While his scary trips away from the crease decreased this season, his tendency to give up a soft goal (or two) at bad times remained the same. He needed to be perfect and he wasn't. Without Tom Renney's defensive system and some of the players who made it successful (*cough, cough, Bettsy, cough, cough, Sjostrom, cough*), his imperfection cost the Rangers a chance to play on in April.

Take them both and then we have: Atlas holding the Ranger world up. There is no doubt that without Lundqvist, the Rangers would have been a lottery team. At the same time, eventually the King's shoulders couldn't carry the load. As we've seen from Miikka Kiprusoff, a lot of regular season action leads to a short postseason. Or none at all.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #29 Chad Johnson

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Going in number order, the first goalie we come across is #29, Chad Johnson.

#29's #s: 5 games, 1-2-1, 2.35 gaa, .919 save %.

Take the good: First action aside, Chad showed a poise that belied his lack of experience. He had four starts and gave the Rangers a chance to win all four. They couldn't beat the Moose in Atlanta to lose in a shootout, they were stymied by Chris Mason to lose 4-1 to the Blues and they came out flat against Phoenix, giving up three goals in the first period on the way to a 3-2 loss.

Take the bad: In that Phoenix game Chad allowed the first goal against and couldn't recover before allowing another 39 seconds later; rookie nerves or something. And that is what ultimately cost him - not the goals, just the fact that he was a rookie with little pro experience. Despite his calm demeanor, he was unable to gain any confidence from the coach and was bounced back to the minors when they were able to get a vet in. But, seeing as they wanted to ride Hank, that could ultimately be a good thing for Chad as they would rather have him start in Hartford than get splinters in his behind on Broadway.

Take them both and then we have: A goaltending prospect who got a taste of the show. Torts wants a vet to back up Hank so DosNueve's time is not near but it should come. He is no Al Montoya; he actually should get a shot with the franchise down the line. Detroit's Jimmy Howard was in the AHL for what, four seasons? And look at him now ...