Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Random Ranger Ruminations

With Traverse City starting tomorrow, I figured I'd throw up a quick post of some of the Ranger-related thoughts rattling around my head:

*On the prospect tournament, it will be quite intriguing to see how Lindberg and Fast handle the small ice. Fast handled it well the first time - scoring in his lone game with the Whale last spring - while Lindberg was simply outstanding in Sweden last season. Zip had a good look at the Ranger roster for the prospect tournament the other day. 

*Tickets in Traverse City are $10 a day. Just think about that ... damned shame Michigan is so far away. Sad that MSG is not broadcasting but not a surprise in the least, the Knicks have always been the favourite so the network spent their money going to Vegas instead.

*It is a shame the franchise is so fan-unfriendly. So many other teams are holding open camp dates and other events but the Blueshirts will be closed away in their Westchester country club facility. So the first chance we get to see them in NY is not until the home opener in months. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, it makes New Yorkers more annoyed.

*However, if you are around and interested, Ryan McDonagh is doing a Steiner signing at Jack Doyle's on Saturday from 2-4 pm.

*Just how good can Danny Kristo be? And if he is as good as he has looked on the ice over the last season, will his off ice issues haunt him the way they did Don Murdoch 30-plus years ago? Kristo and the other kids have a real shot to make an impact with Hags and Cally out in the short term.

*But if they all disappoint, there are four seemingly capable vets to take the wing spots on the top two lines - Nash, Kreider, Zucc and Pouliot. Seeing as AV is a three-line coach, he could easily dress scrubs to get Stu Bickel minutes on the fourth line.

*This being the 20th anniversary of the famed 1994 Stanley Cup victory, what do you think the Rangers will do? Joey Kocur tweeted me a few months back that he expects to be back in NYC for a ceremony. However they decide to honor the lone Cup in the last 73 years, I just hope it happens on Saturday, November 30th. The Rangers' opponent that afternoon? Vancouver.

*It is interesting how many correlations there are between the defensemen AV handled in Vancouver and the ones on the Blueshirt blueline in terms of style. Willie Mitchell/Dan Girardi, Kevin Bieksa/Ryan McDonagh, Sami Salo/Marc Staal - ok, in their inability to stay healthy, not their games - Christian Ehrhoff/Del Zaster. It will be interesting to see if John Moore can turn into Alex Edler …

*If Dylan McIlrath doesn't make the big club - I hope he does but I highly doubt it - who the hell is going to provide the toughness for the team? Haley doesn't belong in the NHL, Asham was waived (I'll really miss him), Boyle can't fight and Pyatt loses his gloves just once a season. That leaves Derek Dorsett, who is a lightweight that has gotten housed by other tough guys. Love, love his heart, but many of his fights are just painful to watch (like this one).

*How painful will it be to watch Del Zaster? He should be even more exposed than he was in the past as his partner and the forwards on the ice with him won't be collapsing as quickly under AV's system.

*Why the hell is Boyle still on the roster? If Sather is to be believed, there was interestfrom other teams in the oversized waste of space - so why not trade him? Dominic Moore, if he has his head back in the game, is 10 times the player Boyle is. So why keep Boyle around?

*That is, unless Sather is keeping him around as an insurance policy should Step hold out and not play this fall or somehow end up elsewhere … I'm sure plenty of other teams would love to have him. It isn't terribly farfetched to see Minnesota putting out an offer sheet for the hometown kid. And they could then move some money out of town to fit him in: Heatley is in the last season of a massive deal and Pominville is in the last year of his contract - I bet a terrible franchise like the Islanders could use either/both of them. Let's just pray the kid capitulates and takes the bridge deal.

*Getting more and more nervous about how much the new bridges will obstruct the view inside MSG for folks like myself in the nosebleeds. Ranger staff have tried to reassure me that the view of the ice will be fine but others who have been inside have warned me to prepare for an opening night rant to my rep.

*That being said, she was quite accommodating for the Yankee Stadium games so a big thanks and a hat tip to her for that. Speaking of the Stadium Series matches, how soon until the Rangers unveil the sweaters they will wear? You have to figure they will be out in time for Christmas, right?

*MSG broadcasts could look quite different this fall. The staff on camera should be the same (dammit, Joe is due back), but the guys behind the scenes have changed. Longtime producer Joe Whelan left before last season (thus the poorly timed promotions during the spring) and this campaign will be without director Bobby Lewis. Lewis worked at MSG for 40 years and called the shots for Ranger games for 30 of them. And, I must say, he did a helluva job and definitely will be missed.

*Finally, on the retirement topic, yet again I'm wavering as to keeping this blog thing alive - at least in its usual form. While the schedule not being so compressed will help, last season was such a burnout that I currently have zero interest in doing nightly recaps. Of course, I felt the same the last few seasons and, when the puck hit ice, my blood started boiling and I had to rant somewhere. So we'll just have to see, stay tuned!

1 comment:

Pete said...

Why the hell did they build in bridges in the arena? So you can get to the gift shop and the food court without missing any of the game? Jeeeesus.