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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stan Lee & The NHL - Guardians of the Sports World

In early October, the NHL announced a unique partnership with comic book legend Stan Lee. “The Guardian Project” will feature 30 new superheroes each inspired by an NHL team. This partnership is expected to produce video games, comic books, even full length movies, and will take the sport of hockey into territory it has never known before (unless you count that truly epic animated series starring the giant alien Mighty Ducks).

I have to admit, when I first read about this I was very excited. I may be just a tad outside their “tween boys” target demo, but I love hockey and Stan Lee is the man so I was excited to see what would happen. I knew they were going to keep a tight lid on this project so leaks weren’t likely, but that’s nothing that a little chloroform and some good ol’ B&E couldn’t take care of. While Mr. Lee was passed out, I had just enough time to rummage through his personal stuff and swipe written descriptions of some of the Eastern Conference characters. Take a look at what I found…

Boston Bruins
Guardian’s Name: The WereBear
Bio: Bear Brewenson was a retired boxer struggling to find meaning with his post-fighting life. One dark and stormy night, he sought the company of a professional woman. Bear noticed that she was overly aggressive, and knew something was very wrong when she took a big bite out of his neck. He passed out from losing so much blood, but woke up the next morning with no scratches or scars. As the weeks went by, Bear felt very strange (almost wild like an animal) and suddenly had huge cravings for raw salmon. Then, on the next full moon, Bear transformed into a giant beast of a creature; he became hairy, grew sharp fangs and began to howl with rage. The WereBear was born!
Special Powers: The WereBear’s powers include intense strength, deceptive speed and the remarkable ability to lose a seven game series after being up 3-0.

New York Islanders
Guardian’s Name: Housewife Hulk
Bio: This spinoff of a Stan Lee great truly pays tribute the traditions of Long Island. Carey Summers, once a promising scientist in the 80’s, is now a housewife and mother of three with a lot of time on her hands. One day while performing her usual experiments with drugs and alcohol, something goes terribly wrong. After downing the two full bottles of wine and 3 vicodins that she had stashed in her microwave, Carey sees that her skin is turning blue and orange and her muscles are growing at an alarming rate. In a matter of minutes, Carey is The Housewife Hulk!
Special Powers: Housewife Hulk has an array of powers and she’s not afraid to use them. She can beat you into a pulp or she can nag you into a pulp. She can max out your credit card with just a single trip to the mall, and she’s not much to look at either!

Washington Capitals
Guardian’s Name: Captain Capital
Bio: Robert Norfolk was just your average DC politician until one fateful day. After successfully blocking important 9/11 health care bills, Norfolk decided to celebrate by driving through the poverty stricken parts of city and laughing at the poor from the back seat of his limo. All of the sudden, the limo skidded out on some ice and flew into an abandoned building filled with toxic goo. When Norfolk woke up, he was uncontrollably tortured by pangs of guilt and remorse. His conscious started to eat him alive and now he must do nothing but good deeds to successfully counteract his pain.
Special Powers: Robert Norfolk had to ability to act without feeling or emotion. He was a shell of a human being with a very small heart and absolutely no conscious. The toxic goo caused his heart to expand and his conscious to develop, but to dangerous levels of intensity. Now, CC is a slave to what’s right. He fights for the weak, speaks for the voiceless, and punches Sarah Palin right in the face whenever he sees her!

Florida Panthers
Guardian’s Name: Pantheron
Bio: When the Simmons family of Miami found a stray cat living under their porch, they thought they had found a new member of their family. They named him Checkers and fed him Meow Mix, but they had no idea that Checkers was from deep space! The cat was the last of its kind, and was sent to Earth to protect humans from the fate of his home planet. He transforms into the formidable Pantheron with one ring of his cute little collar bell and protects the streets of Miami from gangsters, drug dealers and the cast of Jersey Shore.
Special Powers: Pantheron will maul you into submission with his giant claws and sharp teeth, but is also known to impede his enemy’s breathing by inducing severe allergic reactions. Although Pantheron looks very scary and strong, he is easily taken down by those with a ball of yarn or an amusing stuffed mouse.

Buffalo Sabres
Guardian’s Name: General Sabre
Bio: General Sabre used to be a Civil War General who famously rode into battle on the back of his giant Buffalo “Bob”. He was the ultimate man’s man. He drank whiskey for breakfast and shaved with a dull spoon. Wait, “used to be”? Yes, “used to be”, because this hero is actually a ghost! Meant to represent the dead cup dreams of Sabre fans everywhere, General Sabre haunts the tundra of northern New York for all eternity.
Special Powers: Because he’s a ghost, General Sabre has a hard time physically harming people. To get around this immaterial inconvenience, the General prefers to scare his enemies into a petrified paralysis. Very few dare to disturb the General’s peace and incur his wrath, but that could just be a side effect of the fact that no one in their right mind would go to Buffalo anyways.

Pittsburg Penguins
Guardian’s Name: The Flightless Bird
Bio: Little Billy Sacks isn’t your typical twelve year old. After his parents were murdered by a petty thief right in front of his eyes, Billy decided to devote his life to fighting crime and following his favorite hockey team. As an homage to his hometown heroes, he names himself The Flightless Bird and vows revenge on the thief that killed his parents and all other criminals. The name is fitting, as Billy is a short little fat kid who waddles around the neighborhood in a black cape and underwear and cannot fly.
Special Powers: The Flightless Bird’s enemies usually laugh themselves uncontrollably upon first seeing the boy. This gives him just enough time to call the cops on his cell phone and tell them where the trouble is. He also has the amazing ability to ignore all the physical evidence that suggests Sidney Crosby is a whiny, diving sack of shit with a stupid looking mustache. Spoiler Alert! Matt Cooke killed your parents, kid. Sorry.

Philadelphia Flyers
Guardian’s Name: The Scumbag
Bio: The Scumbag is not human. The Scumbag is not animal. He is a hybrid creature, born and bred in the sewers of Philadelphia. His brain is underdeveloped and his mannerisms are irritating, but he hits hard and does whatever it takes to win (even if it means purposely puking on little girls at baseball games).
Special Powers: The Scumbag is known for his amazing ability to disgust his enemies. His ‘Toxic Vomit Attack’ has been known to scald the skin and blind the eyes, but his stench is what always seals the deal. One whiff of this cruddy cretin causes a temporary loss of bowel control.

New York Rangers
Guardian’s Name: The Dick
Bio: Tex Tomlinson was your average New York City bouncer; not too bright and not too nice - the typical meathead with a clipboard. That all changed one day when a well dressed man who called himself Mr. Avery showed up to the club. The man was not physically imposing, but immediately Tex knew that he was a grade ‘A’ asshole who demanded respect (he was also on the list, so that helped). The mysterious Mr. Avery approached Tex and said he had a mission for the young man: Protect the streets of NYC from PA Parenteau. He said that the evil Parenteau was “a total dick” who “must be kept out of all the city’s fine clubs and lounges”. He handed Tex a pair of designer sunglasses with effeminate-looking blue shades. “Here”, he said, “wear these and you will become ‘The Dick’. All will tremble before your doucheyness. But beware, with great power comes great responsibility…”
Special Powers: The Dick has the power to deny you access to any bar, club or lounge in the city… even if you’re not THAT drunk! He smashes in heads with his ‘Clipboard of Death’ and drives around in an extremely loud motorcycle that ruins everyone’s nice quiet evening out. He’s always on the lookout for his mortal enemy, PA Parenteau, who legend says will one day try to enter an NYC lounge and bring about an end to the reign of the mysterious Mr. Avery.

So there you have it. Sorry I couldn’t get you more, but just as I was reaching back into Mr. Lee’s bag for sheet number two, his Asian mail-order bride came running in and started yelling at me in Asianese or something. Needless to say, I got the fuck out of there faster than you could say, “Devils Suck”!

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season! I’ll see you all on the other side of Christmas. Until then, I leave you with this haiku entitled, “HERE WE GO RANGERS!”

Here we go Rangers!
Merry Christmas Blueshirt fans,
Let’s go win the cup!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas 2010 - It's All About the Presents

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go… and everywhere you look… and every time you turn on the TV - it’s inescapable! Like it or not, Christmas is now the king of all holidays. It commands obedience and demands respect. It eats other holidays for breakfast. The very mention of its name sends children into uncontrollable fits of glee. And it’s almost here!

The countdown to Christmas is a special time of year. Everywhere we go, we are all reminded of the great holiday traditions – the lights, the carols, and the unbridled desire for material goods. Things! Stuff!! Presents!!! Write to Santa, ask your parents, as long as you get what you want, it’s all good baby! Everybody has gift cravings, and the hockey community is no exception. Thanks to a few well paid sources inside the mailing systems of North America, I’ve been able to figure out what some NHLers are asking for this year…

Alex Ovechkin - A full refund from Oscar De La Hoya for those personal fighting lessons.

Tom Renney – After coaching in both New York and Edmonton, I just want a job in a city where no one cares about hockey or winning.

Jarome Iginla – A one-way ticket to JFK.

The KHL – Santa, I stopped believing in you when you failed to bring me Ilya Kovalchuk and instead provided Evgeni Nabokov. He’s overrated. Here, you can have him back.

Mikko Koivu – I want my stick back from Bobby Ryan… with an autograph if he could.

Sidney Crosby – More press would be nice. Oh, and a Louis Vuitton 2 piece swimsuit with matching strappy sandals.

Rick DiPietro – Another major injury ASAP.

Joe Nieuwendyk – A little attention please! The Cowboys are a dismal 4-9 this year and my first place team still can’t get noticed in this state. Screw Texas.

Gary Bettman – I know it would take a miracle, but all I want for Christmas is for people in Arizona, Georgia and Florida to start liking hockey.

Brian Burke – Please Santa, send me a first round draft pick before the entire city of Toronto tears me limb from limb.

Sean Avery – More All-Star write-in votes please! By the way, did I see you at the club last weekend? It could have been you, but it might have been PA Parenteau in disguise. I was wearing designer sunglasses so it was a little hard to see.

Alexi Kovalev – A deadline day trade to a Stanley Cup contender and severely lowered expectations from my new team.

Cory Clouston – I don’t care if I get coal in return, just get Alexi Kovalev out of Ottawa!

Patrick Kane – Summertime, and the living’s easy. Drinkin’ all day, partying with Stanley.

It’s may be just a coincidence, but both Jody Shelly and Colton Orr asked for “Justin Bieber concert tickets for a special date I have planned”.

Chris Pronger – A thick steak of human meat and a tall glass of children’s tears.

Vancouver Canucks Fans – 10 more sets of Sedin twins please!

Dan Ellis – For once, I’d like to be mentioned in the hockey media without the accompanying adjectives “whiney”, “greedy” and “talentless twitter-whore”.

Olli Jokinen – shootout skills. Oh, and regular skills too.

’94 Parade – Santa, I don’t need anything now. I’d like to forego any presents I might get this December and cash in one big, shiny, silver present in early June.

There you have it. The various wishes and wants of the hockey world revealed for all to see. I hope you all get what you want from Santa this year, and if you’re Jewish, I’m sorry! Battling Christmas is a tough match up that no one expected you to win. Kind of like every Islanders game that isn’t against the Devils! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

Monday, December 6, 2010

12/5/10 - Observations From A Rangers Game

Gotta love birthdays! If it weren’t for those annual celebrations and their gift giving traditions, I would never be able to watch the Rangers in person without spending two month’s salary. Thanks to this year’s edition, I was off to see the blueshirts battle the Ottawa Senators in what I thought would surely be a Rangers win. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Well, they lost. BUMMAH! Here are some observations from my first Rangers game of the season.

- My girlfriend Courtney and I arrive half an hour before the game. We both head for the bathrooms. The men’s room is relatively empty, except for a grimy looking, six foot five monster who appears to be using the sink to bathe himself. Only in New York.

- The only thing more ridiculous than watching Derek Boogaard try and play hockey is John Amarante’s hair piece.

- $10 for a freakin’ beer?! Shit is expensive!!

- Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle work harder than anyone else on the ice, and John Tortorella knows it.

- 8 year old kids are really annoying. Even your dad agrees with me. You’re annoying so shut up already and watch the game.

- Ottawa sucks. Screw the Seantors.

- The Rangers have tried to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the “We’re #1” foam hand. All I can say is that looks like a molestation charge waiting to happen.

- The Rangers Heritage jersey looks awesome, on the ice and on the average joe. Now if only it didn’t cost me $300 to own one…

- I am supremely jealous of the mini mites that get to skate on the ice inbetween periods. I am less jealous of the kids that get to ride on the zamboni in between periods because they have to wave to the crowd for literally eight minutes straight, but still jealous either way.

- Nothing ruins a visit to MSG like sitting in front of the only 5 Senators fans in the stadium. Hey buddy, stop shouting at all the players like they’re your next door neighbors. They don’t know you, they can’t hear you, so leave “Alfie”, “Spez” and “Pascal” alone for a minute so I can enjoy the game without your Canadian commentary, thanks.

- Alexi Kovalev is a shell of his former self. Thanks for the memories Alex, but I wouldn't even put you on my fantasy bench. It's time to retire.

- How did a third rate player like Chris Kelly manage to score a hat trick? He got half his total season goals in the one game, for Christ’s sake!

- Frolov has infected Anisimov with the deadly Russian disease, “Suckalitis”. As of this posting, the cure is still unknown.

- The Rangers are now 0 for 2 when wearing their new Heritage jerseys. Considering that the Rangers’ heritage is built on losing, this makes perfect sense.

Well, there you have it. Observations from a Rangers game brought to you by ’94 Parade. Thanks again for reading! Be sure to pass this blog on to any friends or fellow fans you may know, as that would make my holiday season. Once again, I’ll leave you all with another edition of Rangers Haikus. This one is called, “What’s With All These Home and Homes, Holmes?”

Revenge is a dish
Best served this coming Thursday
Ottawa sucks ass

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Battle of New York: Apparently, It's a Rivalry!

I don’t know about all of you, but it took me about 24 hours to cool down after Monday’s loss to the Penguins. I was pretty pissed off. Not only did the Rangers play like a lifeless group of talentless bums, but the game also provided more examples of how Sidney Crosby is exempt from all forms of league scrutiny and punishment. He clearly slew footed Ryan Callahan, and yet Cally gets called for interference. It was as nonsensical and full of crap as an episode of Lost.

Luckily, the Rangers’ schedule allowed me another full day before the team played its next game. I had some free time to cool off and look forward to their home and home match up against the Islanders. So I did some poking around on the Google, and to my surprise, I found out that the Islanders and Rangers are actually considered an intense rivalry.

I was born in 1986. I have never known the Islanders to be anything other than a completely dismissible team not capable of challenging for anything other than the #8 playoff seed. I considered them an afterthought to the Devils, a team not worth worrying about. As a young fan of the modern NHL, my jaw dropped when I learned that the Isles had once known their own share of success. It was the kind of disbelief you feel when you see really old pictures of your much younger grandma and realize there was a time when she wasn’t all old and wrinkly.

So I decided to do some digging and find out as much as I could about these Islanders. Who are they? Where do they come from? Why are they here if not just to provide us Rangers fans with a slight sense of superiority? What I found may come as a surprise to you younger fans…

FACT - Long Island was awarded an NHL franchise in 1972, but the league’s motives were far from familial. The Islanders were created simply for legal reasons, to keep the WHL’s fledgling league out of the new Nassau Coliseum. County officials didn’t consider the WHL a major league caliber product, and to keep the New York Raiders (weird, right?) out of Nassau, they lobbied the league and were rewarded with an NHL team.

Biggest Surprise Here - That people actually fought over the rights to play in that dump of a stadium. It doesn’t look like Nassau county officials are still concerned with what constitutes a major league caliber product, does it?

FACT - During its conception, the team was widely expected to name itself the Long Island Ducks, a name that paid tribute to the area’s EHL minor league team. Upon realizing that “Long Island” conjures up images of spoiled rich girls and cocky meatheads, they decided to change it to the more geographically expansive “New York Islanders”.

Biggest Surprise Here – That an NHL team was almost named the Ducks 20 years before the Disney movie made the mascot immortal. Had they kept this name, Gordon Bombay wouldn’t have had to convince District 5 to adopt the moniker with an impassioned speech midway through their season, they would never have won that championship and Gordon would never have banged Charlie’s mom. Thank God for the Islanders!

FACT – Being the NHL’s second New York team came at a price. The Islanders were forced to pay our beloved Rangers a $4 million “territorial fee” for the right to play in the league.

Biggest Surprise Here – What’s not to love about someone paying you a $4 million fee so they can move into your back yard? The fact that these days, that kind of money wouldn’t even cover the Derek Boogaard contract.

FACT – Original owner Ray Boe ran into financial troubles during the late 1970’s and was forced to sell his team to minority partner, John Pickett. To salvage the team’s finances, Pickett signed a lucrative cable contract with Sportschannel, an upstart network run by Charles Dolan. Dolan was convinced that the promising Islanders would be a great centerpiece for his new network, and offered the Islanders very generous terms that helped keep the team in Long Island.

Biggest Surprise Here – A Dolan was actually willing to part ways with money to ensure they watched a winner. This strategy is atypical of the Dolan family who, since then, has been infinitely more interested in collecting money and fielding mediocrity than actually winning anything.

FACT – It took only 11 years for the Islanders to win all four of their Stanley Cups. It took the Rangers to 67 years to win the same amount. During their “Dynasty Years”, the Islanders beat the Rangers in four straight playoff appearances and effectively owned the Battle of New York.

Biggest Surprise Here – At one point, it actually was competitive. I thought it was a myth, but apparently we had some hard fought battles back in the day. And here I was thinking they were just a geographical footnote!

FACT – With the first pick in the 1973 Draft, the Islanders selected stand-out defenseman Denis Potvin. Potvin was heralded as “The Next Bobby Orr” and was the cornerstone of Stanley Cup Champion Islanders during the early 1980’s. He broke Ulf Nilsson’s ankle in ’79, forever cementing his place in the Rangers Hall of Infamy. Despite his notoriety, Potvin was asked to come out of retirement in 1994 by none other than New York Rangers head coach and legend Mike Keenan. He said no.

Biggest Surprise Here – Who the fuck is Ulf Nilsson!?

Well, that does it for this edition of ’94 Parade. Hopefully tonight and tomorrow’s games help reaffirm that all is still right with the world. LET’S GO RANGERS! I’ll end this post with another edition of Ranger Haikus.

This one is entitled, “Just Got Tickets for My First Rangers Game of the Season. BOOYA!”

This Sunday the fifth
Rangers versus Senators
Guess who’s got tickets?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rangers Reflections - The Calendar Says It's Time to Give Thanks

You wouldn’t know it by all the Christmas decorations hanging around, but there’s a certain holiday in November that’s only a couple days away. For most Americans, this holiday signifies the time of year where we watch football and overdose on tryptophan. But for some, it marks the time of year where we take a step back and give thanks for all we have. The New York Rangers are no exception.

They’ve got multimillion dollar deals, an elevated status in society, and more TV time than even Kate Gosselin could handle, but that doesn’t mean they don’t reflect on their lives and give thanks for their blessings. You know how most families go around the table and say what they’re thankful for? Again, the New York Rangers are no exception…

Setting – Somewhere in Florida, a large table covered in traditional Thanksgiving food, around which sits the New York Rangers…

John Tortorella: “Gentlemen, it’s time for each of us to give thanks. Please keep it brief, as many of us truly don’t care what you have to say, and are only waiting for our own turn to speak. Since I’m the coach, I’ll start… I guess I’m thankful for my job, since so many Ranger fans wish I didn’t have it. But I’m also thankful for YouTube, because without that wonderful website, I wouldn’t be able to watch my profanity-laden, post-game rants over and over again and share them with friends online. Why don’t we go your way, Marty?”

Marty Biron: “Um, I guess I’m thankful for the fact that no one wants me to be the starter here. I’ve come to realize that I play a lot better when no one expects me to play at all.”

Henrik Lundqvist: “I am thankful for Marty Biron; without him, I wouldn’t be able to occasionally sit on the bench for a full game and flirt with women in the stands.”

Marc Staal: “I am thankful for my brother Jared. If it wasn’t for him, people would think that I’m the least accomplished Staal brother out there.”

Michael Sauer: “I am thankful yesterday’s game against the Flames. Nothing gets you noticed by the fans like spending over 10 minutes in the penalty box…”

Michal Rozsival: “Now that he’s gone, I now know how thankful I was for Wade Redden. He made it so easy for me to avoid scrutiny…”


Matt Gilroy: “I’m thankful for the injuries, sicknesses, and poor play of others, without which I might never be allowed to dress.”

Steve Eminger: “I’m also thankful for injuries, sicknesses and the poor play of Matt Gilroy, without which I might never have been given the chance to kick ass out there like I’m doing.”

Todd White: “It doesn’t matter if I never dress another game for this team, I’m just thankful to be out of Atlanta…”

Brandon Prust: “I too am thankful to be here in New York instead of stranded in Calgary. It also gives me a warm feeling inside to know that I’m giving this team more return on investment than Olli Jokinen ever could. Who’d you guys trade for me again, Higgins and Kotalik? What a steal!”

Vinny Prospal: “I’m thankful for injuries that follow signing a new contract. Has anyone else seen Dancing with the Stars this season? That Bristol, she’s a fighter!”

Marian Gaborik: “Let’s get serious here people, the New York Rangers are thankful for me.”

Alex Frolov: “I’m thankful for low expectations. Once you have them, I can meet them!”

Ruslan Fedotenko: “What is this feel-good B.S. holiday anyway? This table spread could feel my whole home country for a year!”

Brandon Dubinsky: “I’m thankful for my early season production. If I had to be the subject of another ‘When’s he going to play up to his potential’ article, I was going to hunt down every blogger out there and hack them to pieces with my own stick.”

Chris Drury: “I’m thankful for the Heritage Jersey promotional photo shoot. If it wasn’t for that, I’m not sure if anyone would remember that I’m still on the roster…”

Erik Christensen: “Because it’s how I got to New York in the first place, I am thankful for the waiver wire… until I get put back on it, that is.”

Ryan Callahan: “I’m thankful for Chris Drury’s injuries. Now everyone can envision me with the “C” on my chest and long for the day when I get to raise the Stanley Cup up over my head in the middle of MSG.”

Brian Boyle: “I’m thankful for Brendan Mikkelson. Without his genius defensive play, I would never have been credited with my career high 9th goal of the season! Damn, I’m loving this year!”

Derek Boogaard: “I’m thankful for the Learn to Skate program in Rye, New York. But I’m especially thankful that I scored my first goal in over three years. Seriously, I haven’t been that happy since the Olsen twins turned 18!”

Artem Anisimov: “I am thankful for stable work, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from the KGB and, of course, Mother Russia.”

Sean Avery: “I’m thankful for these killer shades… and this awesome hat… and these baller pants… and these cool new shoes… and these…”

John Tortorella: “That’s enough, Sean. Seriously, get a grip on things. This is Thanksgiving, not fashion week. Why don’t we send it over to the kids table and see what the little tikes are thankful for…”

Derek Stepan: “You know, just cause we’re under the legal drinking age doesn’t mean we can’t sit at the same table. This is ridiculous!”

John Tortorella: “Just say what you’re thankful for Derek, or I’ll put you back on the fourth line faster than you can say Christopher Higgins!”

Derek Stepan: “Well in that case, I’m thankful for every chance I get to center Marian Gaborik.”

Michael Del Zotto: “I’m thankful for the new Harry Potter movie! Yay! Go Harry Go!”

John Tortorella: “Wow, that was painful. Anything else to add, Glen?”

Glen Sather: “Like I say every Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my years with the Oilers. Without them, people would wonder why I’m trusted with millions of dollars and the fate of an entire professional sports team.”

John Tortorella: “Aww, wasn’t that cute? Now normally, this is when we’d carve the turkey and eat ‘til we pass out, but I’m a genius coach whose tactics can’t be questioned, so I’m going to pull a crazy play out of my ass here. No one eats until we beat Tampa Bay tomorrow! Consider this meal in front of us as motivation to win…”


John Tortorella: “All right Dan! Relax! We’ll eat now! But I better see one hell of an effort from you all on Friday, or else!”

Derek Stepan: “Or else what?”

John Tortorella: “Or else you’re back on the fourth line, Derek, now shut up!!!”

*End Scene*

Well, thanks for checking out this edition of ’94 Parade (I’m thankful for everyone that reads this thing!) I hope you all have a healthy and happy holiday weekend, and that the Rangers win. Thank you and goodnight!

*Just wanted to note that I did not make the image accompanying this post. Found it on a google image search for Rangers and thanksgiving, and it was just to funny to pass up. Shout out to for the pic. Don't send your lawyers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Heritage - One Man's Past is Another Man's Present

This season marks the 85th anniversary of our beloved New York Rangers. Born to battle local rivals (then Americans, now Devils, Islanders, Sabres, and Flyers), the Rangers made their way through a world war and a league lockout to become the marvel of mediocrity that we’ve all known since ’94.

Reflecting on the team’s history got me thinking about the current team’s heritage. Who are these guys? Where do they come from? What does their heritage say about them? Since I’m such an esteemed student of history, I knew exactly what I needed to do to find out; I did thorough research, distributed questionnaires to players and their families, interviewed their childhood friends, and nearly got myself kicked out of Kiev. I’ve compiled my findings into a short report, excerpts of which you’ll find below. Enjoy!

Michael Del Zotto – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Stouffville, Ontario. Known as an extremely charitable community, Stouffville instills a commitment to giving that extends well beyond the traditional holidays. Michael has taken that tradition to heart this year by giving up the puck at least three times a game.

Childhood Notes: Del Zotto played on a youth team that also featured future NHLer Steven Stamkos. The two remain best friends to this day, though Stamkos did note that, “It’s getting tougher now for Mike, with me being so great and all. I can’t deny that my sick nasty skills and subsequent fame have caused a bit of stress in our relationship.”

Artem Anisimov – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Yaroslavl, Russia. Less than 200 miles from Moscow, this historically rich Russian city is now a major center for industry. Despite its focus on modern production, Yaroslavl remains true to its Russian roots through its ornate churches and liquor stores that exclusively sell vodka.

Childhood Notes: Not much is known about this quiet giant from the East. I couldn’t find much information on Artem, but since he’s Russian, I’m going to assume that his parents were kidnapped by the KGB and he was forced into a sports factory at age 6 where he played hockey every minute of every day. Hey, it worked out well for us Ranger fans.

Brian Boyle – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Hingham, Mass. Though born in Hingham, Brian was bred at St. Sebastian’s School for Boys in Needham. It was here that Brian undoubtedly learned all the creepy social tendencies that make him such an awful wing man at bars.

Childhood Notes: Brian is the seventh child out of thirteen, and one of eight Boyle boys. When asked about the struggles of parenting such a large family, Judy Boyle responded by saying, “We just prayed to God that we’d have everything we needed to get by and be happy. We never did get that reality TV show, but I’m not giving up hope.”

Matt Gilroy – Heritage Profile
Hometown: North Bellmore, New York. Located on the south shore of Long Island, Bellmore is a mere half an hour from New York City. This proximity to Madison Square Garden makes it easy for friends and family to come see Matt at work. Unfortunately for them, chances to watch him actually play hockey will be few and far between, as Matt will spend 90% of his season picking his nose in the press box.

Childhood Notes: Matt’s father, Frank, is a member of the St. John’s Basketball Hall of Fame and was even drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers. After realizing that white guys can’t make it in the NBA, Frank decided it would be best if his kids avoided racial competition all together… so he signed them up for hockey.

Henrik Lundqvist – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Are, Sweden. This region of Sweden has been a border battleground throughout its history, swapping its allegiance between Norway and Sweden over ten times during the sixteenth century. Thankfully, Henrik knows better than to switch sides on New York City. After signing his name to a six-year contract with the Rangers in 2008, Henrik added a post script that read. “Fuck the Devils”.

Childhood Notes: One practice, when Henrik was still very young, the coach asked if anyone wanted to be a goaltender. Henrik’s twin brother Joel grabbed and raised Henrik's arm and said “I would!” Henrik responded to his brother by prophetically stating, “No matter what position I play, I’m still going to be ten times better and ten times better looking than you’ll ever be.”

Sean Avery – Heritage Profile
Hometown: North York, Ontario. Despite being known as an accepting community that appreciates personal diversity, North York recently apologized for creating the monster we all know as Sean Avery.

Childhood Notes: Sean Avery’s obsession with fashion began at an early age, when he would steal dolls from his babysitter and play dress-up fashion-show with them (no joke, absolutely true). Parents – you know your son is different when he plays with Barbies as a child and does anything other than take their clothes off and simulate sex acts.

Chris Drury – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Trumball, Connecticut. Located in my home county, Trumball is known for being nowhere near anything remotely interesting. It is often ranked in ‘Top 100 Places To Live’ lists for its ability to avoid excitement entirely.

Childhood Notes: Chris has been dealing with fame since winning the Little League World Series in 1989. Since then, he has won state championships in high school hockey, national championships in college hockey, the Hobey Baker Award, the Calder Trophy and the Stanley Cup. Since signing with the Rangers in 2007, Drury has won absolutely nothing. This is New York City, Chris. We don’t care what you’ve done, we only care what you’ve done for us lately.

Well, that’s it for this edition of ’94 Parade. I hope you all enjoyed the post. I’ll leave you with another New York Ranger Haiku entitled, “New Heritage Jersey Debuts Tonight, but We Used to Have the Best Third Jersey in all of Hockey”.

Lady Liberty
Missing in action since May,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Devils' Diagnosis

Rangers fans have been in a noticeably good mood lately. We have smiles on our faces, peps in our steps, and we’re less likely to flick off obnoxious drivers on the road while yelling expletives out of our car windows. One look at the NHL standings can tell you why. No, it’s not that the Rangers are doing particularly well; we’re still dealing with inconsistent efforts, low goal production and untimely mental mistakes. The source of our giddiness can be seen at the bottom of the standings. The New Jersey Devils are in last place!

Statistically awful, winless at home (when I wrote this) and riddled with cap issues, our friends from New Jersey haven’t seen this terrible a team since they last watched a Nets basketball game. Needless to say, it isn’t what their fans, nor we as their rivals, expected to see out of this perennial playoff participant… not that we’re complaining! Far from it, in fact. Watching the Devils perform this poorly gives Rangers fans the chance to openly mock and ridicule their franchise and fans. I haven’t felt this empowered since our 4-1 playoff series win in 2008!

But before we get ahead of ourselves and declare a season-long victory, we must understand WHY the Devils are so embarrassingly awful this year. To remain confident, we must know our enemy better than they know themselves. We must always be one step ahead of them, both on the ice and in their heads. So I’ve decided to present you with this segment I like to call, “Dr. Parade Diagnoses the Devils”… On with the show!

Symptom: 16 games in, the Devils are winless at home (ok, sue me. They won tonight against the Oilers in overtime. I already wrote the blog, cut the kid a break.)

Cause: New Jersey’s failures at The Rock are surprising indeed. Strong teams usually defend their home turf well, and given the stadium’s proximity to the Newark headquarters of the Latin Kings, they’ve never had problems intimidating opponents before. Now it seems that they are the ones who are scared. Franchise players like Patrick Elias and Jaime Langenbrunner look like shells of their former selves and the team’s young players aren’t stepping up to produce in their absence. Couple that with the atrocious attendance numbers and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Devils suck at home. It’s because they don’t think anyone’s watching! Whether it’s the veteran players who coast through games knowing their best is behind them, or the younger players who don’t feel responsible for pulling the team’s weight, it’s clear that the Devils feel like they’ve got nothing to prove and no one to prove it to.

Cure: Even though the Prudential Center stands are always half empty, it’s still a bummer to booed by your home fans. Due to the pressure and expectations of their hundreds of fans, I expect the Devils to bounce back on home ice soon; tonight’s game against the AHL’s Edmonton Oilers was a good opportunity, and they made the most of it, barely. Thankfully, if the Devils get better on home ice, it will hardly affect the Rangers because we outnumber their fans 3:1 at games in NJ.

Symptom: Rookie Coach Having Trouble Managing Expectations

Cause: Rookie coach John MacLean has been a giant question mark for this underachieving Devils team. With known genius and Kiss superfan Lou Lamoriello in the GM’s pressbox, he must be feeling the heat. Back in 2007, Lou fired then coach Claude Julien and took control of the team himself… when the Devils were 2nd in the East and on their way to setting a franchise record for wins in a season! Cutthroat Lou is all about winning, and John MacLean isn’t giving him much to smile about. If the Devils are still in the basement come January, don’t expect MacLean to be behind the bench.

Cure: Fire John MacLean. Duh! I mean let’s be honest, Lou Lamoriello is the envy of every Rangers fan. He drafts well, he commands respect, he sees the big picture and he gets results; he’s everything that Glen Sather isn’t. Admittedly, he sold the soul of his team to acquire Ilya Kolvalchuk, and the only way to make up for that is by assuming the head coaching role and personally turning the team around. But hey, if it needs to be done in order to win, Lou will do it. Unless it involves dancing. Lou does not dance. Not with the stars, not with his wife, not ever.

Symptom: Zach Parise’s Future

Cause: The Devils made a clear statement when they signed Ilya Kolvalchuk to a 15 year contract this past summer, and that statement was, “We don’t really care about Zach Parise”. The Devils are riddled with cap problems, and often don’t dress a complete team because their cap space won’t allow it. With money and years tied up in various places, the Devils will have very little to work with when it comes time to resign Zack next year… if he even wants to come back. Given the hockey they’re playing and the state they’re playing in, I cannot imagine that Parise is hell-bent on spending the rest of his life in Newark with the Devils. He’s a great player (as we were all forced to acknowledge during the Olympics last year as he rocked it wearing the red, white and blue), and he’s coming into his prime. He can make a lot of money elsewhere and contribute to a cup contender if things don’t work out in Jersey. I also heard he’s a very religious guy and has qualms about playing for a team that glorifies Satan.

Cure: The only cure for this problem is Lou Lamoriello. If there’s one guy who can convince this future superstar to take less money and pledge his allegiance to the franchise, it’s Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings. But if there’s two guys, the second would be Lou Lamoriello. Best case scenario, Parise realizes he’s an American stud who should be playing in the biggest American market, N-Y-C. If Glen Sather can recreate the signing of ex-Devil star Scott Gomez, it would piss Devils fans off to no end. Plus, it would completely make up for Sather’s decision to draft Huey Jesseman rather than Parise in the first round of the 2003 draft; Jessemen is the only player from that draft class never to play in a regular season NHL game. Awful. Also from my hometown.

Symptom: The Once Greats are Now Only Goods

The Cause: When the Devils reaquired Jason Arnott, I wondered if they were trying to recreate a “2K Nostalgia Team” or something. Brodeur, Langenbrunner, Arnott, Elias… The core of this team is the same as it was ten years ago… but now they suck. With the exception of Brodeur, not one of these reliable veterans has truly pulled their weight over the last couple years. And now Brodeur is old (see picture). If kids like Parise and Zajac hadn’t excelled at a young age, this team would be just like the Rangers: a mediocre team with trouble scoring.

The Cure:
Start over! Tank the rest of the season, go for good draft picks. Do it again next year too, for good measure. Wouldn’t that be awesome, just years of trouncing our cross town rivals to the point where it’s no fun anymo…oh wait, we already have that covered with the Islanders.

A shorter post, I know. But I like getting more and more of these out there, and sometimes the topic doesn’t lend itself to long-winded diatribes. In the interest of writing something Ranger related, I leave you with this haiku entitled, “The Two Ranger Russians Are Very Different, So I Guess I Don’t Believe in Stereotypes Anymore”.

Anisimov owns.
Playing hard and making plays.
Frolov is pure suck.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boogaard Scores a Goal and Other Miraculous Feats

Last night, New York Rangers resident enforcer and mega Miley Cyrus fan, Derek Boogaard, scored his first goal since January 7th, 2006. That’s a total of 1,766 days in between goals. Being the butt of "You Play Hockey? I Thought You Were A Boxer" jokes can certainly get tiring, especially for a guy whose fist covers more square footage than a normal face can handle, so Derek has got to be relieved that this unflattering streak is over.

But as we all celebrated the Boogeyman’s goal with a grain of salt and a sarcastic laugh, I couldn’t help but think of other notable streaks around the NHL both past and present...

51 Games – Wayne Gretzky’s 51 game point streak still ranks among the most impressive things ever accomplished in all of sports. Once witnesses to the most exciting franchise in NHL history, Oilers fans now live every day with the knowledge that no NHL player ever really wants to play in Edmonton.

754 – Number of consecutive television broadcasts where Don Cherry’s suit has managed to cause seizures and nausea for a number of viewers at home.

35 Games – The longest unbeaten streak in NHL history belongs to the 1979-1980 Philadelphia Flyers. Famously known as the Broad Street Bullies, these teams were known for their toughness, grit and their ability to scare the absolute shit out of Russian Olympians. Now, thanks to Chris Pronger, opponents of the Flyers and their faces hope to go one game unbeaten.

964 Games – Doug Jarvis’ consecutive games played streak stands as the all time testament to Iron Man athletes. Although the NBA’s A.C. Green and numerous MLB players have amassed streaks stretching longer periods of time, I think we can all agree that hockey takes something special to play day in and day out; something that baseball and basketball players don’t always require. Hint: It’s what they throw around during the game.

95 Years – Vancouver holds the record for the city with the longest Stanley Cup drought in the trophy’s history. Chicago Cubs fans aren’t impressed.

332 Minutes – The NHL’s longest shutout streak is held by none other than Brian Boucher of the Philadelphia Flyers. Now a backup to rookie sensation and the pride of Poland, Bob Rovsky, Boucher once recorded five straight shutouts while playing for Phoenix in 2005. Boucher also holds the NCAA record for most sacks in a single game with 11. Oh wait, nevermind, that was Bobby Boucher. You know, The Waterboy? They look and talk so similarly that I sometimes get confused.

22 Years and Counting – The longest period of time during which a completely irrelevant, retired player remains the focus of a team’s fan’s chants. It’s time to face facts Rangers fans, our Potvin Sucks chant…sucks.

27 Games – During the 1975-76 season, the now defunct Kansas City Scouts managed to put together two of the most impressive winless streaks in NHL history. After a promising first half of the season, the Scouts managed to go on 1-35-8 in their final 44 games. This stretch included winless streaks of 16 and 27 games interrupted by a lone win against the lowly Capitals. Hey Devils fans, know what happened to the Scouts? They relocated to Denver, and then six years later they relocated to… New Jersey!! Ha-Ha, your franchise sucks! Not even Lou can save that legacy.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out older posts, like the blog on facebook, and comment for Christ’s sake! With that being said, I leave you with this Haiku written to express my feelings about last night’s loss to the Capitals. It’s called, “We Had Two Games In Hand On Everyone in the Division and Now We’re Not Looking So Hot”.

Wish Gabby was back.
Refs keep calling off our goals.
Not cool, refs, not cool.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A November to Remember

Anyone who’s glanced at our schedule with an analytical eye can tell you that November is a critical month for the Rangers. Sixteen games; eight home and eight away; nine against eastern conference playoff contenders. It may be a make or break month for the Rangers’ playoff chances.

Like many of you, I’m too concerned for my Rangers to wait a month to figure out how and what we do in the coming thirty days. Instead of just sitting on my couch and listening to Joe Micheletti stumble over simple sentences, I decided to find out all I could about how Rangers coach John Tortorella plans to run his team over the next month… by stealing his personal planner! Complete with his predications! Here’s what ’94 Parade found out about Tortorella’s expectations…

November 1st – Game at home against the Blackhawks. Lundy in net, definite win, possible shutout. Ditch press conference to meet Kaner at Hustler’s Club. Hire a limo just in case we want to get shirtless. Remember, no matter how many times Sean Avery asks if he can come, tell him you don’t know what he’s talking about.

November 2nd – No matter where and when I wake up, schedule practice for 7 pm. This is an extremely important month and I want to make sure Derek Boogaard finishes his skating lessons as soon as possible.

November 4th – Game in Philadelphia. Remember to remind younger kids that Pronger is only one strike away from jail for life, so it’s not likely that he’ll actually try and kill them no matter how convincing he may sound. I’ll start Biron in the hopes that he plays great against his old team, but I doubt he’ll make it through the second. Chalk this one up as a loss.

November 5th – Game in New Jersey. Compared to last night’s game, this crowd will seem downright friendly. Mostly because half of the stadium will be Rangers fans. Lundy vs Marty is always a good match up but I suspect the King is crowned again at the end of this one.

November 7th – Sunday night game against the Blues at home. If we don’t win this one, I’ll drop my first post-game interview F-bomb of the season.

November 9th – Continue four game home stand against the Capitals. Odds of Ovechkin scoring 3 goals, likely. Odds of our whole team scoring three goals, not likely. I bet we lose this one. After the game, remind team that our overall strategy does not include the phrase “…waiting for Marion Gaborik to get back”.

November 11th – Home against the Sabres. After our last game, I bet Derek Stepan $300 that he couldn’t do it again the next time we played the buff. If he can, I think we’ll win. If he doesn’t, I still win. Sweet.

November 14th – Doctor What-his-name said today’s the day! Marion Gaborik expected to make his return to the ice. I want to skate him against the Oilers before we go on the road for some games against real NHL teams.

November 15th – First game in the new Penguins arena. I heard that all the giant golden statues of Crosby and Lemieux make the place feel a little cult-like and creepy. I don’t even want to try to go out afterwords now that Big Ben has to be all “league compliant”. I have a feeling we win this in a shootout.

November 17th – Back home to debut the new third jerseys against the Bruins. Overall, I think fans will like the altered design and color scheme, but that’s because they’ve had two months to soak it in since Sean Avery leaked it. I suspect that a fresh outfit will fuel the Vogue Rogue to a two goal, one assist performance and a Ranger victory.

November 19th – Off to Colorado for the start of a weekend west coast road trip. Remember to bring that medicinal herb card I got last time we were in Denver. Otherwise that trip to Minnesota is going to suck! We’ll lose this one because I’ll be too busy giggling to give orders.

November 20th – Gabby will get at least two in his return to MN. Urge team to avoid overtime and shootout. Reject Stepan and Sauer’s attempts to get us all back to their log cabin homes in the middle of nowhere. I don’t want to spend anymore time in this godforsaken state. Get me back home!

November 22nd – At home against the Flames. Perfect opportunity to take Jerome Iginla out for a tour of NYC and a steak dinner. Hide Matt Gilroy’s equipment in the visitor’s locker room and see if he takes the hint. Olli Jokinen better not score or there’s going to be hell to pay.

November 24th – Back down to Tampa to take on the Lightning. I don’t care what happens on the ice, I’m going to spend the whole game staring at my championship banner. Stamkos will definitely light it up so I’ll start Marty Biron.

November 26th – Game in Miami against the Panthers. Call in sick early so I can get down to the Heat game without anyone seeing me. My prediction: Heat will win 101-89. LeBron will have 32, D. Wade will have 29, and I will have one hell of a night sitting courtside. If I have time, I’ll check in later to see if the Rangers won too.

November 27th – Game in Nashville against the Predators. Shea Weber and Martin Erat are on my fantasy team so I don’t care that they’ll absolutely destroy us in a typical Ranger off day.

November 29th – Back at home to play the Penguins at MSG. Ask Brandon Prust to “run into” Sidney Crosby in the hallways before the game and break his leg. After the month we’ve had, we’ll need a little advantage to win this one. Remind Marc Staal that no one cares how cool his older brothers are, so for god’s sake, shut up already.

Well there you have it Ranger fans. Coach John Portabella (thank you word spell-check!) and his personal plans for November success. I don’t know about you, but Larry Brooks and I both feel very comforted by the fact that at no point did he state his plans to purchase a shovel and a shit ton of lye. ‘Til next time, this is ’94 Parade. Email me at and like us on your facebook page. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Unofficial Notes from Around the NHL

"Milbury to Rypien: Been there, done that, color me unimpressed"

Hello Parade Nation! Welcome back to the blog! It seems like a long time ago that I last posted, or at least a long time since I posted anything about hockey. With the NBA season starting up and the MLB season winding down, I just had to get my shots in while the time was ripe. Now it’s time to buckle down and focus on the ice.

The regular season is starting to heat up and crazy things are happening all over the league. Since the sports world is completely mesmerized by Brett Favre’s ability to text picture messages, it’s possible that you’ve missed some of the action. So to bring everyone up to speed with the season so far, ’94 Parade proudly presents Unofficial Notes from Around the NHL.

Detroit Red Wings – Kirk Malby retires from the NHL after 17 years and 4 Stanley Cups. His decision to leave the game allows Detroit to get the number of players on its roster over the age of 35 down to only 20.

Vancouver Canucks – Winger Rick Rypien was suspended six games by the NHL for shoving a Wild fan after being ejected from a game in Minnesota. After being given the chance to cool down and reflect on the situation, Rypien admitted that it was one of the best “Yo Mama” jokes he had heard in a long time.

Los Angeles Kings – The Kings have had their best start in a number of years and are clearly building up a team capable of contending for the Stanley Cup. When asked his opinion on the Kings and their chances at long term success, Kobe Bryant answered, “LA has a hockey team? I wonder where their stadium is…”

Edmonton Oilers – After a strong showing in their first two games, the Oilers have lost 4 straight. When polled about what’s gone wrong with their hometown heroes, Oilers fans blamed rookie Jordan Eberle for not scoring the Goal of the Year on every shift, and top draft pick Taylor Hall for not scoring a goal at all.

Phoenix Coyotes – Kyle Turris, 3rd overall choice in the 2007 draft, was demoted to the minors for the whole of last season after playing 63 games as a rookie. The highly touted prospect is making good on his return to the NHL with 4 points in his last 2 games. Total number of people paying attention to this in the state of Arizona: See numbers listed above and pick one.

Chicago Blackhawks – The Hawks began their quest for a repeat in fine fashion by raising their fourth Stanley Cup banner to the United Center rafters. Spirits were dampened quickly, however, when fans recognized only half of this year’s team from the group responsible for winning said banner. Somewhere in Atlanta, Dustin Byfuglein is crying and listening to The Cure.

New Jersey Devils – Usually, it’s Marty Broduer who’s setting records in New Jersey with his stellar goaltending. This year, however, first year head coach John MacLean and Ilya Kovalchuk combined to set the NHL all-time record for Most Expensive Press Box Seat. From his own seat in the press box, Lou Lamariello could be heard saying, “Well, looks like it’s back to the bench for me.”

Philadelphia Flyers – Last year’s Eastern Conference champions have been on a surprise skid losing five of their last six games. Head Coach Peter Laviolette was quoted as saying, “To be honest, I didn’t even notice how low we had gotten in the standings. I literally blacked out from shock after seeing the Islanders in first place”. When Chris Pronger was asked his opinion, he stabbed the reporter with a broken hockey stick.

Tampa Bay Lightning – The Southeast Division is no cake walk for the Capitals this year. Steve-Y has taken well to his new position as General Manager, although some league officials are beginning to question if his tactics are fair. Playing center on the team’s power play in a fake mustache isn’t fooling anyone.

Atlanta Thrashers – After a slow start to the season, new GM Rick Dudley admitted that his off season planning was fundamentally flawed; “I now realize that it was more important to go after really nasty players from the 2010 Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks, and not just players from the 2010 Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks. My bad.”

Montreal Canadians – Citizens in Montreal have been rioting almost continuously since Saturday October 16th. City officials aren’t sure if the chaos is due to some political unrest or just the fact that the Canadians won four of their last five games. “Either way”, Montreal Mayor GĂ©rald Tremblay commented (in a snooty French accent), “it’ll die down soon.”

Ottawa Senators – GM Bryan Murray is openly shopping the league for a physical, imposing defenseman (like the one they lost in Anton Volchenkov) after his team’s terrible beginning to the regular season. Rangers GM Glen Sather reportedly tried to contact Murray and offer up Wade Redden, but couldn’t do it without laughing hysterically at the thought of describing Redden as a physical, imposing defenseman.

Well, thanks for checking in with the rest of the NHL and with me here at ’94 Parade. It’s really cool to see Rangers fans supporting the Laughter as Therapy movement. Us Ranger fans are a great community of angry, dissatisfied people. To connect with that community is great, so please continue to tell any New York Rangers or hockey fan you know about this blog. The more people who read it, the happier I get, and the easier it is to forget that Marian Gaborik is injured.

So since this post had a lack of Ranger content, I’m going to leave you with what will certainly not be my last attempt at posting Ranger Poetry. This haiku is entitled, “Michael Del Zotto and Sean Avery Should Leaving the Fighting to Prust and Boogaard”.

Standing up for your
Team mates is all well and good.
But stop. You look lame.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Yankees On Ice: All-Time All-Star Switch Up Team

Welcome back Paraders! Hope you all enjoyed the week since my last post.

Sure! What’s not to enjoy about a week where your team blows a lead because they enjoy climbing out of self dug holes and loses their best offensive weapon all in the same period? Oh, yeah, and Drury’s injured.

To top it all off, we only get one Rangers game since their Monday afternoon bout with the Islanders. Is this a joke? Is this the NFL? I’m used to the Rangers having a nine point lead in the division at this point simply because they’d played nine more games than anyone else. Then again, I’m used to the Rangers blowing said lead and hovering around the 10 spot for the remainder of the season, so I’ll just see where this road takes us before I freak out four games in.

Last week I delved into the differences between basketball and hockey. As fun as it was, I quickly realized that no one in New York cares about the Knicks right now. They didn’t get LeBron and until they sign four super ridiculous all-stars they won’t have a chance in the modern NBA. New Yorkers care about one thing this time of year, The Yankees.

It’s easy to see why. 27 Championships. Always contenders, The Yankees are a legendary team whose brand is recognized throughout the world, thanks to Jay Z of course. Watching the Yankees win over and over again is a painful process for the Rangers. In the kingdom of New York sports, Yankees are king and the Rangers their chef. It leaves Rangers fans not totally into baseball wondering, “Why can’t the blueshirts be this dominant?”

Well, I wondered the same thing! So I thought I’d lay down my All-Time All-Star Yankees-Rangers Switch Up Team.

The Yankees On Ice All-Star Team:

Left Wing: Lou Gerhig.

Lou is an obvious choice for The Rangers here. Known for his durability, longevity and clutch post season performances, Gerhig would bring a lot to the team. Plus, I’m told he’s known for his hitting, and the Rangers can always use more of that.

Center: Derek Jeter.
Jeter would make a great center. He’s always ready to start things off and as the leader of the modern Yankees, he’s a must-have for this team. Despite his lack of physical prowess, Derek would certainly be a menace on the ice. Can’t you imagine him threading passes on the power play for goal after goal? And of course, average female attendance will go up significantly.

Right Wing: Joe Dimaggio.
You know you need some Jumpin’ on this team! Joe would have made a great hockey player. His versatility and leadership is what the Rangers usually lack. Of course, he was very confrontational about his salary expectations, and we are living in a cap era after all. Either way, I make him my All-Time Yankee/Ranger All-Star right wing without any hesitation. Marilyn Monroe helps too.

Right Defense: Mariano Rivera.
Rivera is the ultimate defensive player. When the game is on the line and you can’t give up any more goals, Mariano is the guy you want on the ice. He’s a simple choice for starting D, and would most likely be the first Panamanian to ever play a game of hockey.

Left Defense: Lefty Gomez.
Vernon Louis Gomez would be like the Chris Chelios of this team; the aging veteran who adapts his style to still get the job done. Lefty was known as a great post season pitcher, so I have a feeling he would have been a clutch hockey player with a hell of a slap shot. And right off the bat, he’d be the best Gomez to ever play for the Rangers.

Goalie: Babe Ruth.
The Babe was a natural hockey goalie; a very big man who wouldn’t have wanted to skate too much. He was the Colossus of Clout on the baseball field, but for the Rangers he’d be the Colossus of the Crease. But with that water bottle right on the top of his net like that, he might be tempted to spike it and sip the game away.

Head Coach:
Mike Keenan.
If there’s anyone that can lead these baseball boys to a championship on ice, it’s Mike Keenan. The mastermind of ’94, Mike is a prolific coach who demands success from his players, so naturally he’s going to fill his entire team with Yankees.

Assistant Coach:
Joe Girardi.
Metal Mouth Joe would make a great assistant coach. His ability to connect with the players and his understanding of their talents makes him a great addition to Mike Keenan’s bench. Plus, he’ll be the one who can listen to all the players complain about how they don’t like all the physical contact and their skates are too tight.

Well, that’s it for this edition of ’94 Parade. If you like what you’re reading, pass the site along to any friends or fellow Rangers fans who like hockey and laughing. We’ve got some big, important games this week so hopefully the team can step it up and play like the Yankees would, if they knew how to skate of course.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Seasons Begin: Hockey vs Basketball

Welcome back hockey! The regular season started last week and Rangers fans all over the world couldn’t be more excited about the 2010-2011 season. Everyone agrees we’re a legit playoff contender with enough youth to feel good about the long term. But Rangeritis has been slow to catch on this off-season. Unless you’re a bonafide puck head who only hangs out with imported Canadian friends, hockey talk is hard to come by in this area. It seems that everyone spent their summer months jabbering on about that other fall through spring sport, Basketball.

It didn’t matter if you were watching CSPAN or PBS this summer, the NBA free agent storylines dominated the media and made everyone sick to their stomach. It hasn’t stopped either. With both the NHL and NBA season going simultaneously, many New York fans are going to find themselves wondering which team to watch and where to invest their hard-earned money this season. Fortunately, 94 Parade is here to help you understand the subtle differences between the two competing sports and where the promise for NYC Sports lies.

Free Agency:
NBA – Time of the year where superstars conspire to all meet in Miami and create a league that essentially consists of only two teams.
NHL – Time of the year where Glen Sather & James Dolan conspire and pay some hack-has-been millions of dollars to create a team that essentially consists of two NHL calibur players.

NBA – the violation of interfering with the ball when it is on its way to the basket.
NHL – the position Rick DiPietro occasionally tries his hand at only to be reminded that his bones are made of glass.

New York City:
NBA – The Dolans squeeze over a decade’s worth of money, hurt and frustration out of a fan base that wants nothing more than to win a championship
NHL – Oh wait, same thing.

New Jersey:
NBA – Russian billionaire attempting to turn a perennial loser into a perennial winner
NHL – Russian billionaire succeeding in turning a perennial winner into a perennial loser

The King:
NBA – An overrated playboy that has won nothing, turned his back on his home state and is now the most hated man in America thanks to “The Decision”
NHL – HENRIK! (Clap – Clap!) HENRIK!

NHL – Time of the year when everybody steps it up, sacrifices their body and gives 110% for the chance at winning Lord Stanley’s Cup.
NBA – Time of the year when everybody steps it up, sacrifices their body and plays defense for the first time all season.

Hope this helps those of you who were confused about what sport you were watching. Just remember basketball fans, you can’t spell nice without ice, so sack up and get with the Rangers so you can watch a winner this year!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010-2011 Atlantic Division Preview

If you’re like me, you’ve got at least a couple family members, friends, co-workers or acquaintances who, for some psychotic reason or another, cheer for a hockey team that isn’t The New York Rangers. For most of us from the Northeast, this means constant contact with people who actually like the Flyers, Devils, Islanders and Penguins.

Inevitably, a new season brings with it a fresh sense of superiority and some pretty witty trash-talkin’ from these “friends” of ours. But as long as we Rangers fans prepare for the upcoming 82 games now, we should be ready for whatever Sean Avery-Vogue Fashion joke they throw at us! So without further a-do, here’s a 2010-2011 Atlantic Division Season Preview:

Pittsburg Penguins
The Goods: Sid the STD and Mongoloid Malkin are arguably the best two-star punch in the NHL. Add in a young core that includes Jordan Staal, Paul Martin (way to deal him in-division NJ) and Marc Andre Fleury, and you’ve got a strong team that can definitely push for a second cup in three years. Unless of course, all of them mysteriously disappear without a trace…

The Bads: Crosby’s facial hair isn’t the only pathetic aspect of this seriously skilled athlete. His diving antics at the Garden last year got him a beat down from Brandon Dubinski and a new MSG favorite chant: Crosby Sucks!

The Question Mark: With the Winter Classic and HBO 24/7, will super-extreme, red-alert-level over exposure to Sidney Crosby cause all of our heads to explode?

The Outlook: Despite losing Sergei Gonchar, the Penguins will continue to come into their prime. First year in a new stadium and the hype of the Winter Classic, the best we can hope for is that they “blow their load” too early and don’t make it far in the playoffs.

Philadelphia Flyers
The Goods: Coming off a really strong post season performance after barely scraping their way into the post season (I’m lookin’ at you Olli), the Flyers will look to establish some consistency during the upcoming regular season. This is code for they’ll try and keep a goalie healthy for longer than a month so they don’t have to bring back Ray Emery ever again.

The Bads: Chris Pronger spent his summer vacation crushing children’s dreams with his skate blade just to satisfy his thirst for pain. Put him on the ice with Dan Carcillo and even NYC’s toughest gang would be shitting themselves. These two will be out for blood after being denied a day with the Stanley Cup this summer. They had this whole human sacrifice ceremony thing planned and everything.

The Question Mark: Who the hell is their goalie? Seriously! I thought my friend Steve was messing with me when he said Brian Boucher.

Outlook: Expect the same from the Flyers this year. Ups and downs during the season may result in a playoff appearance, but given how it turned out last year, it may once again be us or them at the end of the day. No matter what, expect Philly fans to be Philly fans - annoying as hell.

New Jersey Devils
The Goods: You’ve heard the names: Broduer, Kovalchuk, Parise, Elias. What you haven’t heard is that they’re all HUGE fans of the Jonas Brothers and listen to their music before every game, dancing around the locker room mock-rocking with their hockey sticks.

The Bads: It’s going to be hard to mock the devils and their fans for playing lifeless, defensive hockey while Ilya Kovalchuk is sniping top shelf snap shots every three minutes. Then again, we can always openly laugh about how we easily outnumber their fans at Devils-Rangers games played in New Jersey.

The Question Mark: Will first year head coach John Maclean be able to acclimate to his new position after spending the last couple decades thwarting the evil master plans of super villains across the country?

The Outlook: The Devils will definitely be contending for the Atlantic Division title. Because most visiting teams are too worried about getting robbed and stabbed by the locals after the game, expect New Jersey to do pretty well at home.

New York Islanders
The Goods: The Islanders, relying on a core of talented young players like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, are hoping to finally reap the rewards of their ingenious and groundbreaking Road Plan to Success Program entitled “Be Awful, Draft Talent, (Hopefully) Get Better”.

The Bads: The preseason injury to Mark Streit’s shoulder is a crushing blow for hopeful Isles fans, but not as crushing a blow as when they’re reminded that the organization paid Rick DiPietro $9 million over the last two seasons to play in a whopping total of 13 games.

The Question Mark: Will owner Charles Wang make good on his threats to move the team after demanding from the town of Hempstead a new arena and that everyone please stop laughing at his last name?

The Outlook: You know the outlook is bad when Kansas City actually seems like a reasonable place to relocate.

New York Rangers
The Goods: Marian Gaborik’s production last year was awesome to watch. Let’s hope that in his second season in the city, his teammates decide to stop watching him in awe and help out by scoring a goal or two themselves for God’s sake!

The Bads: The early season loss of Chris Drury will force the Rangers to wonder who will step up and fill in the voided roles of captain and fourth line center who does nothing and rarely scores.

The Question Mark: Will John Tortorella be the coach of the Rangers at the end of the season, or will he be forced to step down after violently assaulting Larry Brooks after a tough home loss sometime in March?

The Outlook: Stanley Cup, here we come!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rangers Rule #1 - HATE THE DEVILS!

Hockey Season is Back!!! Well, sort of…

The New York Rangers 2010-2011 season kicks off tonight with a preseason battle against our biggest rival. No, not Denis Potvin (why do we still mock-cheer him anyway, it’s not 1983 anymore). It’s the New Jersey Devils for gosh sakes!

Now it may be because I started watching the Ranger during the 94 season, or maybe it’s because all my mutant brain-dead friends at college were loud and obnoxious Devils fans, but I hate that team.

Seriously. Hate Them. Can’t stand when they win, and win they do often. 3 cups since we last won one, a seemingly endless string of playoff appearances, and the most annoyingly decent goalie in the league, the Devils have surely surpassed the Isles on the Rangers Hate Intensity O’Meter. So in honor of tonight’s preseason opener against them, here’s a Rangers Fan’s Top 10 Reasons to Hate the Devils!

1)Everything and anything that has to do with the state of New Jersey.
From the overabundance of not-so-eloquent meathead Guidos to the smell of the Newark air, this state truly sucks. I mean come on, people from New Jersey aren’t even allowed to pump their own gas because understanding the process requires a four-year degree from Rutgers. Seriously, stop worrying about an MTV show giving your state a bad name, you’re second only to rednecks in being the butt of dumb jokes.

2)David Putty, Kevin Smith and Shaquille O’Neil are fans.
Seriously, Shaq, speak English much?

3)They convinced Ilya Kolvalchuk that 15 years playing to empty seats in Newark is a better opportunity than earning millions tax-free as a rock star in Siberia.
They may be right on that one, but if I were Ilya and I saw the attendance at a Devils home game, I’d be playing in LA faster than you can say “The attendance for tonight’s game is… 5,014”.

4)Marty Broduer left his wife to be with his wife’s sister.
That’s pretty bad-ass, actually.

5)Lou Lamarillo is a genius.
Damn you, Glen Sather. I wish we had this guy!

6)Devils Fans.
Ugh, seriously, you are all so annoying. I don’t care how hard Scott Stevens (used to) hit guys or how you drafted Zach Parise after we passed him up to take Huey Jesseman (Who?!), your team blows and I will never admit that Marty is the best goalie of all time.

7)Retired Numbers.
The Devils have two banners up for each number retired, 4 for Scott Stevens and 3 for Ken Daneyko, on opposing sides of the rink to even out the look of their often empty stadium. Just because you have no history doesn’t mean you should double down on everyone’s accomplishments. Wait a minute… Why is Ken Daneyko’s number is retired? That’s just plain retarded!

8)Broduer is impossibly good in all NHL Video Games.
The fix is in! Playing against the Devils in any version of a hockey video game is annoying as shit when you can’t score to save your life. Totally not fair. Fine, then I’ll just be the Western Conference All Stars, ass hole.

9)The Lock-Out.
That bullshit, left-wing-lock hockey was not only boring as hell, it cost us all a season and made playing their team an exercise in torturous sports watching (still not as bad as watching a WNBA game, though). There were some positives in the end, however, as all the subsequent rule changes forced them to abandon the life-strangling style they used to play and… oh shit, they’re still good year in and year out. F those A-Holes!

10)I’m a Rangers Fan!
From Sean Avery’s distraction techniques to Messier, Mike Keenan and MATTEAU! MATTEAU! STEPHAN MATTEAU! Seriously, the moments in life where we beat the devils are the best moments of all. It doesn’t matter if you guaranteed a Game 6 victory or simply pissed off Marty like no one else could, if you help the Rangers sink the Devils in any way, shape or form, I will worship in your church until the end of time.

Thanks for reading, everyone. GAME ON!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nah-Nah Nah-Nah, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye Wade!

So with pre-season training camp only weeks away, Rangers fans are eagerly anticipating (or actively dreading) what kind of product will skate out onto the ice in early October. Last year, Training Camp and preseason brought a slew of exciting rookies who gave us small glimpses of hope before slinking back into the reality of an 82 game season. This year, roster controversy seems rooted in one under achieving, veteran defenseman: Wade Redden.

Rumors are that this brain-dead pylon will be elsewhere when the season starts, and this is reason to celebrate for Rangers fans. Many of us would give our left nut to be able to tell that blank-faced moron Redden first hand that he’s a washed up, talentless fuck who won’t be allowed to single-handily sabotage our blue line again. God, wouldn’t you just love to see Redden and his abysmal contract taken down a peg or two? Well, 94 Parade’s well placed sources were there to bug the room as Torts and Sather sat down with the wayward defenseman, and this is what we heard:

Glen Sather: Well, Wade, welcome back. How’s the offseason been? Keeping in shape at all?

Wade Redden: Was I supposed to?

John Tortorella: Good Lord Wade, you’re supposed to be a professional athlete for Christ’s sake. Did working out in the offseason seriously not cross your mind?

WR: (Stares blankly at Coach & General Manager)

GS: No matter! Wade, we brought you in here to discuss the upcoming season…

WR: Yeah! I’m very excited. Love hockey, been following things all summer. Could you believe that overtime goal by Patrick Kane? Watched the playoffs with my wife, great stuff, I love watching hockey.

JT: I’m aware, Wade. I’ve watched you up close for two torturous years now. You do more watching during our games than you do playing. You stand around like a goddamn spectator while third line scrubs skate figure 8s around your blank, emotionless face! Wouldn’t you rather be playing in June, or is watching the Stanley Cup finals fine with you, you voyeuristic waste of money!

GS: Now John, relax. It’s not all Wade’s fault. As I recall, you sent another emotionless sack of over-the-hill shit out there to take our final shootout go in that last game with the Flyers…

JT: Glen, how did you ever get Calgary to take Ollie the Joke-inen back? I mean seriously, pure genius.

GS: Well, I had a lot to make up for after giving out that record-breaking bust of a contract to…

Both Sather and Tortorella look quickly at Redden, then back at each other, then both laugh loudly.

GS: Well, anyways Wade. We brought you in here to ask if you’ve ever heard of a magical little place called Hartford, Connecitcut? It’s the city where dreams come true!

JT: (Whispers) Haha, yeah if you’re dream is to get stabbed in an alley way just to be robbed of your leather jacket and dignity.

WR: Sounds pretty cool… Where have I heard of it before?

GS: Well, they used to have an NHL team there. They were called the Whalers.
WR: What happened to them?

JT: Disappeared. July of 1997, straight up vanished into thin air. No one ever saw them again. Some say they died. Others say they moved down to Carolina. I don’t see much of a difference between the two, to be honest.

WR: Well, if they don’t have an NHL team, what does Hartford have to do with me?

JT: Ahahah, oh this is going to be great!

GS: Wade. We need to be honest with you. You’re awful. Just a terrible hockey player. I mean seriously, you’ve got to know that right? With all the watching you do, you can’t possibly still believe you’re still a top-level player? MDZ made you look like a bitch all season last year, and that kid’s 19! He barely has pubes! Seriously though Wade, it’s time we let you go… to the minors.

WR: THE MINORS!?!?! But! My contract! I thought I was safe forever!? My agent told me you’d never be able to get rid of me!!

GS: Well, he probably didn’t count on you being this horrendous of a hockey player. Before, sending one of my highest paid players to rot in the minors would have been straight crazy and just plain bad business. Now, not sending you to the minors makes me the hockey world’s dumbest GM. I realize it’s only a matter of months before the angry Rangers fans come knocking and screaming for my head again, and I figure if I throw you under the bus now, they’ll be too busy laughing at your corpse to realize they should have fired me at the end of last season.

JT: AHAHAHAHA! Look at his face! He can’t believe it!

WR: Well, what’s going to happen? Tell me the truth, I’ll be able to come back right?

GS: Well do you want me to tell you the truth or do you want me to tell you you’ll be able to play your way back into the Garden?

JT: Wade, we’re cutting our losses. I’d rather suck Larry Brooks’ saggy ball sack in front of a sell-out crowd than coach your sorry ass in another NHL game. We don’t want you, no other NHL team wants you, so we’re putting you where you can do the least damage.

The Coach and GM walk Wade to the door and usher him out.

GS: It’s for the best, Wade, please don’t cry. CT is full of people just like you; they’ve all got their head up their asses and are essentially forgettable figures that no one in the nation knows exist. You’ll be fine!

JT: Say hi to that a-hole Brasheer for us, won’t you? Find out if he’s learnt to skate yet! AHAHAHAHA!!!

Door closes and the two men start laughing.

GS: Right. Well now if we could only find some way of getting rid of that retard Rozsival, we'd be golden.

JT: Let's call Calgary!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Origins of a Hockey Blog

The story of ’94 Parade starts in one of (if not THE) most forgettable states in the union, Connecticut. As any Connecticutian can tell you, professional sport is a luxary beyond our borders. Fatefully stuck between Boston and New York, the state is constantly partitioned by pro sports leagues and relegated to the level of a secondary market. Giants or Patriots, Red Sox or Yankees, these are common questions for the Connecticut sports fan. Sure, we may have a pro WNBA team in Bridgeport, but the only thing that organization helps is the local lesbian bar scene.

Hockey in Connecticut is no different. Sure, we used to have a team, but reminding us of the Whalers only deepens our depression and reinforces our irrelevance. It only makes us face facts: the Whalers never won anything, their stadium was a dump, and most importantly, they’re never coming back! This isn’t Winnipeg, and we’re not expecting to see the Green and Blue Whale Tail grace the ice ever again. We’ve had to settle on the fact that we’re a minor league state, as tragic as that may be.

Am I personally upset at our state’s athletic fate? Not really… Sure it’d be nice to call a team our own, but in the end we’ve got the best American Market in our own back yard: New York City. It is on the broadway stage that all Southern Connecticut sports exist.

I began to understand this in the early summer months of 1994. I didn’t know about Designated Market Areas and TV contracts, all I knew is that I got the MSG channel at my house and I fell in love with the Rangers. They were a powerhouse and an underdog at the same time, president’s trophy winners and yet cursed to never lift the cup. I was glued to everything Rangers that summer: I wore my thick replica jersey everyday in 90 degree heat, I screamed for joy when Messier guaranteed game 6 and then made good on it, and I nearly strangled my dog hugging her after Matteau’s double overtime winner. And when they finally won the cup, little 8 year old me, my father and younger brother attended the ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes (thus the name of this blog is born).

At the time, I thought I was in store for hockey heaven. The Rangers were a great team and had the tools necessary to repeat or at least win another cup. “This is great, I can’t wait til next year!” Well, it’s been 16 years since that fateful summer, and things haven’t been that good since. This blog is dedicated to frustrated Rangers fan who want nothing more than another parade.