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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.