Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blog will be discontinued

Alas my short run on this blog is over. I have been given a great oppurtunity to write for NHL2DAY's new website. They have a great online radio show so check out where I'll cover the Rangers and other news around the league. Thanks for reading my articles on here, and I hope you continue to check out my other articles with NHL2Day, as well as

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New York Hockey Tickets, Rangers and Islanders Have Different Ways of Selling Them

The Rangers recently released the new ticket prices for this year, and as expected, they've gone up. The cheapest ticket will cost you $34, but what they don't tell you, is that you must be a season ticket holder to pay that much.

Last year, tickets in the same section were $30. It's high, but somewhat reasonable. But wait, you have to pay a $4.50 box office facility charge. OK, I can live with it. I guess I would take a trip down to MSG's box office and buy the tickets right? Nope, you can't use the box office, it's only on Ticketmaster. So to buy tickets to a Rangers game, one must pay the extra $9 per ticket fee from Ticketmaster. But wait, it gets better. You also must still pay the facility charge of $4.50 from the box office, even though they told you that you can't use it. And just for the hell of it, they throw in a $3 charge when you buy them, and you better believe you will have to do it this year as well. So last year, to bring your kid, or a friend to a game, it would cost you 2 tickets at $30, plus $4.50 per ticket, plus $9 per ticket, plus $3. All together, it cost $90 for a pair of tickets in the cheap seats. If all the charges stay the same this year, and that would surprise me, it would cost just about $100 just to show up to the game, and that's without food, and depending on where you are coming from, transportation. The one way around all those charges was to buy from the ticket exchange, which just had a $2 per ticket charge, but that won't last long. Soon enough, you'll have to pay a hell of a lot more, but hey, anyway to screw over the average fan right? Can they can at least try to act like they care about fans that don't work for huge corporations that buy seats down by the ice? I guess that would be to much to ask. Speaking from the Dolan's perspective though, it might be financially irresponsible of them to not over charge us. Still, isn't there that thing called morals? I guess not. You know what kind of special deals, or ticket plans the Rangers have? Well, you can pay a $50 deposit (like James Dolan needs you to lend him money)to get on the waiting list for an 11 game plan, or a 22 game plan. Or you can pay a $100 deposit to get on the full season ticket waiting list. That's pretty much it, unless you want to entertain your clients and spend more then the average salary to get a luxury suite, or go for a legends night. Either way, you might have to take out a loan to buy Ranger tickets.

Now, if you want to know where to get a real good deal, check out Nassau Coliseum. Last year, I was on line in Nassau Coliseum, to get Ranger tickets. While the line was half Ranger fans, there was still a tickets salesman walking around, talking about a great deal. Buy a 4 game plan and get free tickets to a Rangers vs Islanders game. Another deal they had was when you buy a ticket plan, you get a free jersey, autograph from an Islander player, and tickets to see their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. But their latest deal is one of the best I've ever heard. There are four pairs of games. If you had tickets to the first part, you get free tickets to the second. This deal includes one pair, which includes a first part against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on November 26, and a second part (that you get if the Islanders were to win against Pittsburgh) against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on December 16. Does it get any better then that? You buy four games, at the lower ticket prices of the Islanders and each game comes with the potential of a free game. The deal also includes the December 31 game against Florida, paired with a January 15 game against Boston, the January 21 against the Ducks is paired with the February 10 game against LA, and the March 25 game against Minnesota is paired with the April 2 game against Montreal. Even though it looks to be a tough few years for the Islanders, at leasttheir fans don't get priced out for it. The team with the lowest average attendance in 07-08 is doing all it can to change that. The Islanders are trying to build a future fan base, so at least with the Islanders, it's possible to take your family out for a day game, or go for a night out with a few friends. Will these kind of deals increase the attendance? Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but at least the ownership of the Islanders acts like they care about the fans. Weather they do or don't, I do not know, but unlike the Rangers, they have to act nice to them.

If you weren't a big hockey fan, maybe someone who has watched a few games here and there, no favorite team, but trying to get in to the sport, where are you going to go? While that doesn't apply to any of use, just imagine if it did. Are you going to pay $100 for a pair of tickets, or pay $38 total for the cheapest pair on Long Island. Hell you might even move up a section for just $26 per ticket. It sort of makes me wish that the Rangers had trouble selling tickets. Instead of buying tickets at MSG, me and my father went to away games for much cheaper. In 06-07, we had tickets to 4 games in New Jersey, and 1 game on Long Island. The 4 games in New Jersey cost a total of $80, less then a pair at one game at MSG, and The pair on Long Island was $25 per ticket. Quite a deal to see big rivals play.

From the sound of the article, one might think that I'm starting to become an Islander fan, but please, don't ever call me that! I"m a loyal Ranger fan that will always stick with my team, regardless of ticket prices, and this is merely an article comparing the two New York teams and their ticket prices.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blair Betts, The Forgotten Ranger

Walking through the halls of MSG, you will see many names on the backs of jerseys. There are the all to common Lundqvist jerseys, the Jagr jerseys, and the Shanahans. There will always be a bunch with Gomez or Drury, and a few with names like Dubinsky, Callahan, or maybe Dawes. But if you see me in the garden, you will find just one Blair Betts jersey (2 if you count Blair himself), on my back. Blue jersey, with the number 15. I ordered it on friday the 13th, when he was number 19. Two days later, it was announced that Scott Gomez got number 19, and Betts took 15. I quickly emailed the company who was customizing my jersey, and I was fortunate enough to get it changed, just in time. Every time I wear it to the garden, I get the usual questions from the fans I mingle with. "Why Betts?" Or "whats with the jersey?" Well I'll tell you why. It's the same reason that anyone gets a jersey with a name on it. They get their favorite player on a jersey, and I'm no different. In fact, for my user name on the Rangers message boards, I use the term I have created, Blair Betts Blocks Everything. Being the only Betts jersey in New York comes with the responsibility of explaining why I have the jersey. Well, in an attempt to avoid any further confusion, I will explain why in an article.

All fans cheered when players like Hollweg or Callahan would go in on the fore check and hit someone. They were praised (well, maybe not so much with Hollweg) for playing with guts. Betts is no different. He is an expert Shot Blocker, who will risk injury to make Lundqvist's job a little bit easier. In fact, he was going down blocking shots while playing with a painful bone spur in his foot at the end of the season. He uses his shot blocking skills, and his superior defensive play to contribute as one of the better PKers in the league. His contributions to our PK and defensive zone play has been very underrated. Some people even see him as taking up a roster spot. A 4th line player making under 700k per year is never taking up a roster spot. We saw in 06-07 what happens when you bring a young player up to play 4th line minutes. You get Nigel Dawes at the start of his career. While yes, he has developed, and has become a quality player for us, when he made the team out of camp, he was out of place, not playing enough minutes to really learn the game. Would you make the same mistake again? Bring up Anisimov to play at most, 9 minutes per game, or let him play top line minutes as he learns the game in the minors? Betts is the ultimate 4th liner. He's a solid, steady player, who rarely makes a mistake. He makes barely any money at all, and still contributes a lot to the team. He has one of the qualities that we saw in Chris Drury, and that we praised Chris for, so why not give credit to Blair?

While one might look at his 2 goals (one empty netter against Ottawa) and 5 assists and say he has no offensive talent, his offensive game is also underrated. While he will never score 20 goals, Betts has the tools, that if put with the right linemates, can put up decent numbers. In 07-08, Blair played with Ryan Hollweg and Colton Orr all year. And while neither of those players are defensive specialists the way Betts is, they did settle in and play a more defensive game, instead of just going out and gooning it up. So Blair followed that road, and became a strictly defensive player this year. When it was him all by himself in 06-07, when it wasn't a defensive line, Betts scored 9 goals, including one very nice wrist shot on opening night of that year, and another beauty against Anaheim, skating by the team that won the cup on defense like they were standing still. 9 goals isn't superstar status, but it's a solid number. When the Rangers acquired Fredrik Sjostrom from the Phoenix Coyotes at the trade deadline of 07-08, he was put on the 4th line, and while they didn't put up big numbers, you could see some chances develop. You could see that the seed of a line had been planted there, and it was missing the one element that wouldn't drag them down the way Hollweg did, but would compliment their style they way that new Ranger Patrick Rissmiller might. With a new set of line mates that actually have skill, I wouldn't, nor should you be surprised if Betts puts up 10 or so goals this season. I don't expect to see any other Blair Betts jerseys this season, but I hope that more people will finally see, that you don't need to be a goal scorer, or a play maker to give positive contributions to the team.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Around The NHL August 11

There isn't much news to report on in the NHL, but there is enough for another Around the NHL post. Mix that with the lousy weather outside, and I'll be here typing this to atleast pass a little bit of time by.

TSN has reported that defenseman Brian McCabe has considered waiving the no trade clause in his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. McCabe had 5 goals and 18 assists for 23 points last year, a year that Leafs fans want to forget. McCabe was one of many Leafs players that refused to waive their no trade clauses, which got managment pretty angry, as they were trying to stockpile picks and prospects to start their rebuilding stage. It's also been reported in the past that the Islanders were interested in McCabe, who lives in Long Island during the offseason. McCabe would add another defenseman to theit depleted defensive corps, that also had the addition of Swiss defenseman Mark Streit. McCabe is more defensively responsible then Streit, and the Islanders would need to pick up someone like him. It would come at the cost of a couple of young players or picks, something they might not be willing to do.

Speaking of the Islanders (Isn't this a Rangers blog?), it is being reported that the coaching search is down to 3 choices, ex Leafs Coach Paul Maurice, ex Thrasher's coach Bob Hartley, and Scott Gordon, who was AHL coach of the year with the Providence Bruins. The Islanders are looking for a guy to help them rebuild with young players, which is why they eliminated John Tortorella from contention for the job. His yell and scream, tough coach style is not good for a team that is going to play a bunch of rookies. Paul Maurice, who helped to build the Carolina Hurricanes, whom he would take to the cup finals in 2002 where they lost to Detroit, would be a good fit for the organization. Newsday reports that we could expect an announcement as early as next week.

Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has invited Jeff O'Neill to camp on a tryout. O'Neill did not play this past season. He was originally a first round pick of the Hartford Whalers (Carolina's old location) in 1994. He was also Rutherford's first draft pick with the organization. In an 11 yer career, Jeff played for the Whalers for 2 seasons before they moved to Carolina in 1997. He plyed in Carolina untill the lockout when he was traded to his hometown of Toronto, where he played his last two seasons. In 821 Career regular season games he has registered 237 goals and 259 assists for 496 points. In 34 career playoff games he has 9 goals and 8 assists for 17 points. Best of Luck Jeff, good luck making the team.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

08-09 The Big Year For Tom Renney

When training camp opens up this fall, Tom Renney and his staff will have a big task on their hands. After failing to advance past the 2nd round for the 2nd year in a row, Tom Renney now has must improve off of this season or face the firing squad that is the New York sports fans. This just might be the make or break year for Tom. You only need to look at recent events to figure this. Ron Wilson, who like Tom Renney is a quality coach, was fired from the San Jose Sharks after 3 straight second round exits. Tom Renney and the Rangers are on number two.

While I'm no NHL coach, just a mites division coach, there are some things that I think we must see from Renney and the Rangers this year.

Things Renney Must Do

-The Powerplay last year was just awful at times. In the playoffs, it was a key advantage that Pittsburgh had, and they took advantage of it. Our inablity to capitalize our PP chances at an acceptable rate would not only hurt us during the season, but it would spell our demise in the playoffs aswell. While it was assistant coach Perry Pearn who ran the PP last season, Renney is still the head coach, and thus should be atleast trying to taking care of it. Last year's PP saw a huge reliance on Jaromir Jagr, even when his numbers were falling. This year, Renney and his staff must come up with a solution, one that will use all of our offensive weapons to their fullest potential. One can guarantee that Redden will be QB for the first unit. While he won't score 20 goals from the point, he is sure to be there, passing the puck off to everyone, and hopefully keeping our PP a lot less predictable then it has been in previous years. They will also need a bigger body in front of the net, as well as wingers who will play flexible, and won't always be in the same spot. We need to make sure that this year, we keep the enemy PK guessing. Keep our guys moving, don't bunch up, and don't stand still. If everyone is in a fixed position, it makes for an easier job on the PK, one that doesn't make them tired. If we keep moving, so will they, and a tired unit that's one man short is never a good thing, that is of course, unless you are playing against them.

-Quick Start
Last season, we saw the Rangers get off to a very slow start. Their 2-5-1 start came at a time when there were huge expectations for them coming out of the gate. It seemed like the breaking point when in those last two games, in which they went 0-1-1, they did not score a goal. Henrik Lundqvist only let in one in the two games, but the team literally did could not give him any support. Even the injured Sean Avery wasn't scoring any hot celebs. This year, things cannot repeat themselves for the Rangers to be taken seriously. A Quick start, maybe something like going 7-2-1 in their first 10 would be good, but perhaps would be to much to ask with the European trip to start the year. If they come out of the game at around 6-4, then the trip might not have taken so much away from them. They need to show that the games in Prague are not going to affect their season long term, and by coming out of the gate hard, or atleast above average, they can easily make a big first impression on the rest of the league.

-Eastern Conference Finals
Another second round exit would be tough to deal with. Anything less would be disaster. Even with the loss of some key players, there are still great expectations that only get multiplied each time someone writes an article like this one. While this might not be a cup or bust year for them, an improvement is necessary for Renney to stay off of the chopping block.

-Home Ice Advantage
Just making the playoffs will not be acceptable. While finishing 5th again wouldn't be catastrophic, it might be key for them to finish in the top 4. An atlantic division title would be great, but there would be no shame in losing the division to Bettman's Baby Birds, the Penguins. Everyone else though, we must beat. We haven't seen a playoff series open in the garden since 1996, but now, it's about time to show that we won't be underdogs in a series.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Around The NHL

The offseason is torture for any hockey fan. I am a fan of some other sports, but I'm a die hard in hockey. It's great to see the jets land Favre, but it didnt give me the week long excitement (I should say week long high) that I got when the rangers traded for Jagr. So with the minimal amount of news out there, I think it's time for an Around The NHL segment.

The Sabres re-sign Teppo Numminen to a 1 year 1.1 million dollar deal. It's a great signing, now that he's been cleared to play. They definetly owed him one after the way they treated him last year. He reported to camp and found that he needed heart surgery, so they suspended him without pay. Although he filed a grievance with the team, they reached an agreement. Numminen wanted to be back, and the 40 year old defenseman got what he wanted. Numminen has put together a pretty impressive career. He came in to the NHL in 1988 with Winnipeg, and stayed with the organization through the 02-03 season, after they had relocated to Phoenix. He would then play 03-04 with the Dallas Stars and since then has been with the Sabres.

Sean Hill, aka Buzz Lightyear has signed a one year deal with Biel of the Swiss league. A 38 year old veteran of 876 regular season games, Hill was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and was part of the 1993 cup team. He would also play for Ottawa, Ahaheim, St. Louis, Florida, NY Islanders, finishing with the Minnesota Wild. Hill served a 20 game suspension for a positive test for performance enhancing drugs, the first, and only positive in the NHL.

That's about it for today, nothing really important happening in hockey, let alone the Rangers. The Bejing Olympics (USA! USA! USA!) might get everyone to stop talking about Brett Favre, while they try to breakdown sports they have never seen before. That's all for today, check back for what we all hope will be more updates.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shanahan Wants To Stay a Ranger, Rangers Want Shanahan Out

We've seen some great moments from Brendan Shanahan over his two seasons. His 600th goal, or his wrist shots in the shootout that beat a goalie who knew it was coming, or any of his 108 points in his 2 year stint with New York. Reports have said that Shanahan want to play with in New York. I would want to stay in a city aswell if i had just bought an expensive apartment and moved my family in. Still though, as we inch closer and closer to the start of training camp, the 39 year old winger remains a free agent. It's getting late in the day for him, and he needs to make up his mind now because the Rangers are no longer an option. We have our roster set as far as I'm concerned, and there are also other fowards like Orr, Jamtin, Voros, Moore, Korpikoski and Anisimov who are all competing for spots. Shanahan simply doesn't fit in with the team anymore. With some of the moves the Rangers made, it is clear, they are trying to become a faster team. While yes, Shanahan has put up pretty good numbers in his time here, it still does not equal what you would expect from one of the best players to ever play the game. His 46 points last year represented an end of Shanahan with the Rangers. His body is getting broken, and he's showing the wear and tear that most 39 year olds show after playing 20 years in the NHL. When a player of his age just needs a few games off, as we saw earlier in the year, it's time to move on, or atleast from here. If Shanahan still feels he can play, and really contribute to his team, that's fine. His leadership alone might be worth a contract. We all love Shanahan, and are proud that he was able to do what he's done here, but Shanahan will no longer be a Ranger, and I think he's got to realize it. So what are his options. Well, he wants to stay in New York, so I guess he has two options. The Islanders or the Devils. He wants to win a cup, so that just might eliminate both options, but it would definetly eliminate the Islanders. So, does he return to the Devils, where he started his career? I'm sure New Jersey would love to have him. Their Offense has struggled, and they need all the goals they can get, even from an aging slow skater like Shanahan. Either way, unless the Rangers make some moves to free up roster spots(which apparently would be making room for Sundin first), Shanahan will not be wearing a Rangers jersey next year. Best of luck Shanny, no matter where you sign, weather it's with the Devils, Islanders or anyone else, you will still be one of my favorite players.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's Only Avery Being Avery

Many Ranger fans are having this new feeling, something they have never felt before. It is the negative voice of Sean Avery. In his press conference in dallas today, Avery had this to say. "This is a better team that I'm coming to then the one i formerly played for." True or not, it certainly, but shockingly, has been taken as a low blow by most ranger fans. It's something we didn't expect to hear from our former favorite player. All he has ever talked about was how great the city was and how much he loved the team and the fans. Most might look at his comments and call him a phony. But wake up people, you know you all loved it everytime he said way worse things in the media. We all defended his words when he called Broduer a "big whiner" and when he then proceeded to knock him over. We all laughed when he made it necessary to put in the "Avery rule" and cheered when he scored on the same play. Antics like these are nothing new for him, and we all know it. You may say we got a taste of our own medicine. You may also say we had it coming when we(Sather) didn't offer him enough money to stay(Although it was way to much and I dont blame him). Either way, we all know we loved it when he talked, every day he played for us. We all begged him to stay because many thought of him as the heart and soul of our team. Now that he's off to a new city, he's playing to his new fanbase. One, that like us, hated him before he wore our jersey, and loved him when he was on the good guys.

He was even invited to throw out the first pitch for the Texas Rangers before their game with the New York Yankees(I'm guessing pure coincidence)on the same day as his press conference. He's being welcomed in his new surroundings, and he's enjoying himself. He's starting to lay the tracks of a bond with the fans, the same bond he had with all of us. It got us all excited when he went over the line, and the same applies to the fans of Dallas. Avery has moved on, and it's time for us all to do the same. No hard feelings Sean, and best of luck with the Dallas Stars.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sundin Cloud Looms Over New York

There's a new Brett Favre on the block and his name is Mats Sundin. Only difference is that nobody talks about Sundin, while nobody stops talking about Brett Favre. While there havent been reports on where Sundin is exactly located, and what he is doing(ridiculous? Have you watched 5 minutes about Favre on ESPN?), it still remains a controversial issue among hockey fans. While there is much speculation on where Sundin will decide to go, or if he will return at all, the New York Rangers remain among the rumored 6 teams in the running. While many Ranger Fans are rushing to roll out the red carpet for the Sundin, many others, like myself, are praying Sather doesn't.

There isnt one person who thinks Sundin is a bad player. And short term, he might even be pretty good, and if we do wind up siging him, you bet I'll be there cheering for him and eating my words if he scored 40 goals and helps us win a cup. But one must look at what we must do to get Sundin on this roster before declaring that Glen Sather use his magic free agent powers to bring him in. One obstacle standing in our way is that little thing called the salary cap. According to, the rangers are sitting at 54.697 million. So just barely over 2 million in cap room. Even if Sundin would agree to that deal, the NHL wouldn't. So we might have to lose a few players. Some players named in the rumors(and by Ranger fans) are Petr Prucha, Blair Betts, and Ryan Callahan among others. People might say something like "Sundin is way better then all of those guys, why wouldnt you do that?" While yes, Sundin is a better player then those 3, one must look at the bigger picture. would you throw away 2 good young players with loads of potential and ability and one of the best defensive fowards in the game for one year of Mats Sundin? Everyone seems to want Prucha run out of town. I remember not so long ago, he was going to become an elite player in the league? So one bad season and we cast him aside? It is very possible to rebound. Remember when we signed Fluery? He had 15 goals his first year, but in his second, he was among the leading scorers in the NHL for most of the season. While that team did nothing that year, it still shows that onoe good season doesnt completely kill a player. If he has another bad year, we can easily just let him go. If we trade him, he might just as easily burn us in the future when he goes back to his old self and Sundin retired after one year. For years, Ranger fans complained every time we traded all of our youth to get veterans, everyone complained when we had a team of washed up players that wasn't getting any younger. Now, we have young talent, and everyone wants to get rid of it to get, can it be? MORE OLD PLAYERS ON THE DECLINE! Its one or the other people. Me, I'm sticking with the stay younger route, the better long term decision. People talk like this is a must win the cup year for us. Cup teams take loads of time to build, especially starting with the one line post lockout team we had that was predicted to finish last. This is going to be the 4th post lockout season. If we can win the cup this year, it would be great, and I am cheering them on all the way, but it is unfair to say that this is the year that they have to win it. There is no need to Stock up for a cup run that we are already capable of, by giving up our young talent. One last point. Say we trade Prucha and Callahan for picks and sign sundin and we are still under the cap. What is our lineup going to be? Im not selling our future for one year of this guy to play on the third line, and Gomez and Drury are both our top 2 centers. What happens to Dubinsky? Move him to wing? he's fine at center, why move him. I doubt Sundin will sign here if it means he has to change positions. So where does he fit in? If you have read my earlier post, you would see my possible lines, and see how each line has its own stlye. Putting Sundin in, a center, and taking out two important wingers leaves some holes. Its not worth giving away our future for one season. It's something none of us wanted before we had young talent, why do it now? Sundin, to anywhere but the Rangers. (e4)

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Rangers Special Teams Part 2 Power Play

All season long, assistant coach, and power play coach, Perry Pearn was bashed for the failure of the Rangers to convert on the power play. While many people wanted him gone, it only seems fitting that he run in, I mean, look at his initials. PP, Perry Pearn. Get it? Anyway, this year might be a make or break year for Perry, who needs to get the power play running if the rangers want to win a cup. Its no coincidence that Detroit and Pittsburgh, the two conference champs, were both ranked among the top 5 in the power play. The Rangers on the other hand, were 22nd. With the players that have left this offseason, one might think that the power play is doomed. While yes, it is impossible to replace the overall talent that you lose with the departures of Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, and what will likely be Brendan Shanahan, the team is not doomed. While this might seem like it is to much to overcome, the Rangers PP, and Perry Pearn's job, can still be saved.

Jaromir Jagr was the go to guy on the Rangers PP. There wasnt a set play that wouldn't be run through jagr. As bad as that may be, it also can be a good thing. To lose a player that completely runs everything, and has the talent to do it, is huge. It's key for the rangers this year, to have someone else to run the plays through. A lot of people bashed the Rangers power play, and the players on it, for cycling everything through Jagr. The problem wasn't that he was starting the play, but that he was also expected to finish it. Rozsival in particular, wouldn't shoot(and its a shame because he has a good shot) because he felt that Jagr should always get the puck. He still somehow managed 13 goals last year. Now imagine him running things from the point, or getting set up instead of feeding it to Jaromir like he always would. He has the ability, along with Wade Redden, to QB a power play that has the talent(just like last year) to be among the best in the league. With Redden and Rozsival on the same point, it will keep the opponents PK on their toes. You might look at my analysis of the PK and say, "why would you balance the PK with Betts and Rissmiller on different lines, but put Rozsival and Redden on the same unit?" Well, the Answer is simple. We dont want the PP to last the full two minutes. The PK on the other hand, has to. If we can score early in the PP, we wont have to use anyone else, and we'd keep our lines fresh. In the likely event that most of the time, it will make it to the second unit, I (or hopefully, Tom Renney)have full confidence that any of our defenseman can play the PP. Dan Girardi scored 10 goals last year, 5 of which came on the power play. Staal has shown he knows how to shoot the puck, and should asume more offensive responsibility this season. Paul Mara has a very underrated shot.

It's a heavy shot that finds the net. He only scored one goal this past season, but with some time on the power play, those numbers could go up. He also had 16 assists, 6 of which came on the power play. He might not score many goals with the increased power play time, but he is capable of setting up his teammates. Dmitri Kalinin is also capable of scoring. He didnt play much on 07-08, but in seasons before that, he was a very good offensive defenseman, tallying 19 goals and 62 assists in the 3 previous seasons.

Of course, it's not only the pointmen who make a PP. Most of the time, it's the fowards that make or break the man advantage. A good center, like Scott Gomez, is key.

With the departure of Jagr to Omsk, this team has to be carried by someone. The Jagr era is over, and it's time for the Scott Gomez era to begin. While he probobly will not be named captain, he is the guy to lead this team towards a brighter future. He is our marquee player, and what i suspect will be our top line center. With that responsibility, he will also be the puck carrier for the power play. He is one of the best playmaking center's in the league, and he will need to keep that up to keep this team going. He has the ability to set up anyone on the ice. He's a very fast, and smooth skater who will make his teammates better, and if he really needs to, he'll score aswell. He played very well in the playoffs, and his expirience and his skill are vital to this teams cup chances.

The other center, the highly paid Chris Drury, is also key. Most people saw him as a bad signing, and thought we overpaid for him. Overpayment is a theme in this new NHL to the point where being overpaid isnt even being overpaid anymore. Drury didn't produce as much as many hoped, but i wouldn't call it a failure. He still has the ability to change games, and he has earned his nickname, Cpt. Clutch. While people were complaining about the signing, Drury still put up an impressive 25 goals and 33 assists. His hockey smarts, along with his leadership qualities could put him in charge of the second unit.

So far, we have lost some key wingers. Jagr, Straka, Shanahan, and Avery(the screen he put on broduer is illegal now, but I'd love him in front of the net every game)are all gone, but there is always a bright side to things. Petr Prucha lost almost all of his ice time last year. He found himself in a slump that he couldnt get out of, and would not see any more time back on the power play. But a new season brings a fresh new start for the young foward, who scored 52 goals in his first 2 seasons. With some more ice time, and hopefully a fast start, Prucha's confidence will soar and he could again, become one of our best fowards.

With the addition of Nikolai Zherdev and Markus Naslund, we are sure to see some new faces on the power play. But I wont keep you in suspense. Instead of breaking down every player, I'll give you my predictions for the lines that Tom Renney will use.




That unit can be gold for the Rangers. There is some great power coming from the point with 2 very good offensive defenseman. Gomez is our top center, and he should be there, setting up 2 talented goal scorers. Prucha didnt do much last year, but it wasnt long ago that after 22 goals we were all disapointed, so we know that there is talent there. Playing with some actual ice time will help Prucha(who only makes 1.6mil per year) get back to his old self. Zherdev is a very talented goal scorer who can also set up his teammates. Hopefully a new start in New York City will motivate him more then Ohio could.



I list three defenseman here, because I think both Mara and Staal are capable of playing on the power play. Both have shown some pretty good shots, and Girardi has shown some great offsensive potential. Even when Girardi was called up for the first time in the middle of the 06-07 season, he showed potential was there, even without scoring a goal. He is confident with the puck, will shoot, and he will get the puck on net. It's not the best shot ever, but its accurate, and a lot can happen from the point if you just get the puck to the net. At foward, there are some good finishers. At the start of the season, he didnt even make the team, but everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Nigel Dawes was called up. He was seen as a pure goal scorer, but he has shown the talent to put up assists, and has made some very good plays to set up his linemates. He's another year older, and more confident then ever. Expect a big year, with some power play time for Nigel Dawes. With Drury, as I mentioned before, you have the clutch goal. Late in the game, down by one and on the power play, I can't think of many other players that you'd want on the ice. Naslund is also a very good finisher. He put up 25 goals in vancouver, were the offensive strategy calls for players to never shoot the puck. Playing in a more open system should give Naslund some real good numbers this year.

TSN reports that the San Jose Sharks have re-signed foward Ryan Clowe to a one year, $1.6 million deal. Clowe played just 15 games this season because of a knee injury. He posted 3 goals and 5 assists. In the playoffs, he added 5 goals and 4 assists. If Ryan stays healthy, this can be a bargain of a signing. Clowe has tons of potential, and he would be making more right now had he not been hurt.

Thank you very much for reading my analysis of the Rangers special teams. Leave your comments and stay tuned for more posts. Be sure to check out the links in my sidebar as well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rangers Special Teams Key For 08-09 Part 1

One positive note from last season was the team's penalty kill. Best PK% in the eastern conference, and 6th in the league overall, the rangers PK was one of their strengths. That was, untill the second round of the playoffs, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Key goals were scored on the power play for the penguins, and was a major part in the Rangers early exit, in just 5 games. Their PK, at just 79.2%, somehow was ranked 9th out of the 16 playoff teams. This year, the Rangers will look to improve their PK, and become more consistent. While Straka and Shanahan both were playing on the PK at one point(it was Straka who got hurt after blocking 2 shots from Chara when Henrik Lundqvist robbed Savard), players like Gomez and Drury started to be seen more on the PK. That wont last for long though. While those players did well on the PK, its not their job, and they need to be saved for the PP and 5 on 5. I can see Drury staying on the PK, but Gomez should only be killing penalties in extreme circumstances. Instead, the PK will again be headlined by the amazing PK ability of Blair Betts.

He is a center who will throw himself in from of shots, and isnt afraid of what will happen when he does. He's pretty good on faceoffs and he does his job well. Expect him to be kept around for a while (Tom Renney coached him world juniors oh so long ago)and remain a fixture on the PK. The addition of Rissmiller will not only add a little bit of offense to the 4th line, but will also give the team another good PKer.

That leaves 2 more regular spots for fowards. I would imagine that players like Sjostrom, Callahan, Dubinsky or Fritsche would all be considered for ice time. That leaves 2 questions that need to be answered. First, would you play Betts and Rissmiller on the same unit, or split them up? Second, which defenseman will play on the PK? The first answer should be a simple one, and it is to split up Betts and Rissmiller. Yes, that would be one very good PK unit if they were together, but it would also leave some holes in the second unit. I'd rather have a lot more balanced PK, and with them split up, it would guarantee that we have atleast one real good defensive foward on the PK. The second question is a bit more complex. There are 4 spots for defenseman on the 2 PK units and it's hard to find 2 players to leave off. Staal and Girardi might be guaranteed spots on the PK, but can Redden play well enough defensively, or is he going to strictly be an offensive, puck moving guy? Can Rozsival go back to his old form, and be more responsible defensively? Can Mara earn a spot on any special teams unit, let alone the PK? Will Kalinin rebound after his bad year last year? We'll get our answers when the season starts. But since thats going to take a while, I better start making predictions about the lineup.



This unit gives some good defensive play all around, and those fowards might be able to chip in a shorthanded goal or two this year. look for a unit like this to be conservative, but still forecheck and possibly chip a couple of goals in. Staal and Girardi are both very capable of keeping players away from the net, and are both positionally sound, and they have already shown they can play in those kind of situations. Staal knows how to be in the right spot to make the right play, and Girardi has been a big suprise and has been very impressive, especially for an undrafted free agent signing.



This unit might be a bit more aggressive. Callahan is a good forechecker, and we saw him score a shorthanded goal in the playoffs last year. With Rissmiller, they will definetly be able to rush up, and forecheck a bit, without risking a lot. Both players are responsible defensively and wouldnt join the rush unless they knew it was appropriate. Rozsival wasnt as good defensively last year, but we have seen what he's capable of. A new year and a new contract might get him back to his old form.

Thank you for reading my breakdown of the special teams, an look out for part 2, when i will deal with the Power Play. Leave your comments, and feedback is very appreciated.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Preseason schedule

The rangers recently released their schedule for their preseason games and as expected, some games will be played in europe. The preseason kicks off on september 20, in Ottawa for some reason. It starts with a home and home with the senators, with the second half in new york on september 22. The very next day they fly off to Tampa Bay to face off with the Lighting. on the 24th, they come to new jersey before they play another game with tampa, this time at home on the 25th, to make it 4games in 4 nights. It's safe to expect some players to be kept around longer then necessary. They get the 26th off (from games atleast) before they finish up their american preseason schedule at home against the devils. With that they head off to Switzerland to play SC Bern on the 30th, and russian team Magnitogorsk on the 1st.
that means the usual 3 home games, but 2 more preseason games then usual.While the 2 games in europe make sense, the overall schedule makes no sense at all, and I will explain why.

-Jet lag
They will fly to ottawa and back, then to tampa and back before flying out to europe to play 4 games, when only 2 of which actually mean something.

Ottawa? Have we ever played them in a preseason game. Tampa Bay? Dont remember ever playing them in the preseason either. Maybe traveling by plane once in the preseason is fine. But to make flights to 3 different places, one of which is in another continent, for nothing more then preseason games is ridiculous. I want to go to preseason games to get to see some rivals play. I usually go to all the preseason games against the islanders, devils, flyers and bruins.

There would always be a game at the garden against boston, ever year, and i would always go with my father. I remember some hotshot rookie on boston throwing a big hit on Mark Messier. Mark didnt take to kindly do it, and when nobody else was looking, and i mean nobody else but me and my father who told me to watch him, he proceeded to elbow this boston bruin hopeful right in the chin, knocking him out cold. The brawl that ensued showed some of the beauty in the preseason games.

-Players at a Disadvantage
Every young player, with a real shot of making the club or not, is there to learn as much as possible about the league, without being put in a spot that has a lot of consequences for their mistakes. What better spot to learn the intensity and beauty of the rangers vs. islanders or rangers vs. flyers rivary? Its a rivalry that only gets intensified every preseason game when two rookies in camp are trying to make a big impression by knocking the hell out of eachother. In the 2000-2001 season, defenseman (and half lunatic) Dale Purinton earned a spot out of camp, by going out against the rival teams and showing that he would stand up for his teammates, whatever the cost.

Without facing the islanders or flyers or bruins this year, prospects have less of a chance to prove their worth.

-Fans Suffer
How great is it to get into the hockey mood again at preseason rivalry games. It gets you back in the right mindset, and ready for hockey season. More away fans go to the games because its easier to get tickets. You may get cheap tickets on stubhub, you may buy from a scalper for half price, hell you might get them for free, but there will always be visiting fans from the other local teams, trying to invade MSG. Its fun to argue with islander fans about hockey and why we are a superior team, without worrying about the result to much. But how many Tampa Bay fans will be at MSG? How many Ottawa fans will be there? I wouldn't imagine to many.
It's also great to expose the game to new fans with more games against rivals. The NHL is already cutting back on those games this year, so why do it even more? The New York Rangers have done a disservice to the fanbase with this preseason.

Best Ranger Moments From 07-08

As the offseason drags on, i am forced to dream about the colder days when hockey actually existed in the eyes of the sports world (sort of) and i wasn't forced to hear about Brett Favre's retirement situation, or Manny Ramirez being himself(thank god the red sucks traded him), and how every baseball "expert" tells me that if you hit the ball, it's good. Suffering from hockey withdrawl is tough. At times, you may find yourself watching highlights on youtube, or playing NHL 08 and feeling like its the real thing. If you get desperate, you might even watch a full episode of MSG, NY hoping to hear them mention the rangers. No matter what you do to replace watching hockey in the summer, its a tough wait for the preseason. While staring at a computer screen watching ranger highlights on youtube, i began to wonder, what were my favorite moments from the past season? Best hit? Best goal? Best save? Since nothing is happening in hockey at all today, i figured i would share some of my favorite moments of 07-08.

Best Hit
There are a few nominees to consider. Tyutin's big hit against tampa. Avery crushing Kaberle. Avery crushing Paetsch then setting up jagr. Dubinsky making Colin White looking like a fool twice in one shift in game 2 against new jersey. All good plays, but I must say it was Colton Orr knocking out Matt Cullen with a huge hit. Cullen was a good ranger during the 06-07 season. One of my favorite players, and a good team guy that everyone seemed to like. But in his second return to the garden since the trade, and the same game as the avery hit on Kaberle (Fratisek, not Thomas), Matt had his head down coming into the zone. Not a good idea. Weather or not Scott Stevens was on the ice, you will get crushed when you do it. KOlton (yes KOlton)layed a very hard, but clean hit, that left Cullen on the ice, motionless for a second. A scary moment yes, but a great hit, that for some reason was called for an interference penalty. Kudos to Colton Orr for being so good at hitting and fighting, and here's to hoping he proves me wrong and gets a spot to consistantly play on this team.

Best Goal
Because of my hate for Martin Broduer, i feel like I have to pick one against him. Callahan's shorthanded goal (Broduer's mistake) or any goal Avery scored against him. But one goal i loved watching was Marc Staal's first NHL goal. What a great shot on a great play from Shanahan. It was a perfectly placed shot and I think it gave us a glimpse of the future with Staal and what his future potential is.

Best Save
Henrik Lundqvist robbed a boston player twice this season. As amazing of a save as it was against Marc Savard, when he robbed Glen Metropolit at home, after an amazing move and pass from Phil Kessel, it was a huge momentum boost, that led to a 1-0 win in a shootout. if Lundqvist lets that in, we lose. Ironically, the day he robbed savard had the same result, 1-0 in a shootout, but the rangers lost that game.

Thank you for reading today's post. Feel free to leave comments, share your thoughts on what i wrote, or share your own favorite moments.

In my last post i said that terms of vermette's contract were not yet disclosed. According to Yahoo sports, it's a 2 year deal at 5.2 million(2.6 per). I think i should compare every signing to Jeff Finger, because it makes everything look like a bargain. Vermette will surely cash in big time after those 2 years.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Around The NHL

Since i wont be around today, and nothing has happened today in the world of the New York Rangers, ill give a quick recap of some of the news around the NHL
-Stamkos signs with tampa for 875k per year, 3 years (entry level conract) but up to 8.55 million in performance bonuses. I thought they were trying to keep some of the rookie contracts in check. guess not

-Sens re-up Antoine Vermette. Terms were not disclosed. COME ON OTTAWA! DONT KEEP ME IN SUSPENSE! I MUST KNOW HIS SALARY!

- RFA Jay Bouwmeester signs one year deal (and his last contract with florida) before he becomes a UFA who wants to leave florida. good luck getting good prospects for him at the deadline.

-Oilers promote Lowe to president (Anaheim GM Brian Burke would be first lady had they not recently gotten a quite harsh divorce)and hire former vancouver assistant GM Steve Tambellini, father of islander foward Jeff Tambellini.

Thats some of the news around the league. This is a quick little blog. im in a rush and wont be in all day but expect better updates as the week goes on

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sjostrom Signing Sets Rangers Roster, Nedved Invited to Camp

Sjostrom spent this past season with the coyotes where he played 51 games tallying 10 goals and 9 assists and a -2 rating before being traded at the deadline to new york where in 18 games he had 2 goals and 0 assists and an even +/- rating. When the Rangers announced the signing of Fredrik Sjostrom to a one year deal and 840k, most rangers fans were able to breathe easy. Not only did it mean we actually got to keep something from the pheonix trade (Leneveu signed with the Anaheim organization, Gratton Signed with Nashville) that saw us give up Marcel Hossa and top goalie prospect Al Montoya, but it also gave Ranger fans a look at what our roster would look like. It also might mean another year in Hartford for Lauri Korpikoski. Although I'm not Tom Renney, using the roster we have now, i think we have some lines to put together



ok fine, ill explain
The 1st line gives speed with zherdev and gomez, and naslund still has the ability to finish, his numbers suffered in vancouver playing in a defensive (or offensively challenged) system that stressed the belief that not shooting the puck would equal goals. Hopefully coming to a team that is a bit more open will help him get back to the 30 goal mark.

The 2nd line would be a fun line to watch. Prucha gets his ice time back, where he can go back and score atleast 20, and his first two seasons definetly show he is capable of it. A fast start for him would be huge and Dawes and Drury are the kind of linemates who can do that. two guys who we know have offensive talent, who can both skate and make things happen.

The 3rd Line provides some real good energy. Dubinsky plalyed on the 1st Line with Jagr last year, but i dont think anyone would say he is a 1st line center, atleast not on this team. Him on a line with fritsche and callahan will be able to chip in some good offense. It would be a gritty line, and fritsche and dubinsky are both ready and willing to drop the gloves if necessary

The 4th line would definetly be an upgrade over last years 4th line. Rissmiller is like Betts (yes, my favorite player) with more offensive ability. Him and Rismiller are two very good Pkers, and those 3 together should see some solid ice time, and be able to chip in on offense more then Ryan Hollweg (the anchor that dragged that line down and stopped them) could.

The 1st pair of Redden and Staal would be a defensive force for the rangers. I think the ranger fans hope that staal can become a better version of Redden. So who better to learn from then Redden himseld. Staal has shown he has offensive potential, but like most rookie defenseman, he seemed more focused on making sure he was defensively responsible. He has shown that he has a very good shot, that hopefully he uses more this year.

The 2nd pair of Rozsival and Girardi has the ability to be a very good 2-way defensive pair. both guys have real good offensive ability, and Rozsival's defensive game should definetly improve with a more responsible defensive partner this year with Girardi

The 3rd pair has some guys that are both battling for a contract. Mara and Kalinin are both solid defenseman who can both shoot the puck a little bit. Mara might get some PP time aswell. he has a good shot and he has shown he really wants to play and win here. He is the heart and soul, team first kind of guy who is willing to do what it takes. We'll see with Kalinin.

In other news, ex rangers foward Petr Nedved has been invited to camp on a tryout deal. Nedved, who registered 20 goals in 42 games with HC Sparta Praha of the Czech ExtraLiga has said that he turned down offers from other european teams because he wanted to come and play for the rangers, with whom he played for in the 1994-95 season, and from the 98-99 season through the 2003-04 season. Many felt his NHL career was over when in his last 2 seasons (05-06 and 06-07) he played in just 93 games with just 9 goals and 28 assists and a -39 rating. Nedved though, feels that he can contribute in the NHL again. "I'm no fool, I know I'm not going to crash the first line, or even play a few minutes on the fourth line -- but I could be on the third line." said Nedved.
It might be pretty hard for him to earn a spot, considering we already have our roster set (atleast according to me). It just seems hard for him to find a place. Who exactly would you bump off the roster to let Petr in. Rissmiller? Callahan? Fritsche? I apologize Petr, but Callahan>Fritsche>Rissmiller>Nedved. I understand Petr wants to be in the NHL again, but its time for him to move on, because he will not earn a roster spot, atleast not with the rangers. I wish Nedved luck in getting a job in the NHL, just not with the Rangers.


The Detroit Red wings have signed RFA Valterri Filppula the a 5 year 15 million dollar deal, an average of 3 million per season. Jeff Finger gets 3.5 per and Filppula gets 3 per? In a few years, many will look at this deal and wonder why he is making so little. Filppula scored 19 goals and 17 assists and registered a +16 rating in 78 regular season games. He also scored 5 goals and 6 assists with a +7 rating in 22 playoff games en route to a stanley cup.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed goalie Pascal Leclaire to a 3 year, 11.4 million dollar deal, averaging at 3.8 per year. Leclaire posted a 24-17-6 record with a 2.25 GAA and a .919 Save percentage and a team record 9 shutouts.

NYR in Review

Welcome to NYR in review. Before I start writing, i would like to tell you all a little bit about myself, and how the blog will work. My name is Jason Klau, and I am from New York City. I used to play defense, but now, i have started to coach the mites division (6-8 year olds) of my former team. I am 17 years old, but have been watching hockey, specifically the Rangers, as long as i can remember. This is the first post of the blog. While this blog is about the New York Rangers, i will also add my opinions about all the news in the NHL aswell. I will start each post with opinions about the latest about the New York Rangers, and wrap it up by offering my opinions on all the news in the NHL. If nothing is going on in the world of the Rangers (offseason is torture) then i will gladly just talk about all the news around the league. I will add new entires whenever I can. I won't have a set schedule of when I update it, but i hope to get in as much as possible. I hope to keep this blog going as long as possible, and I hope you all enjoy reading.