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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Writer: ¿Qué es el “Hockey”?

In the beginning, there was Arroz con Pollo. Then there was hockey. Or “El Jockey”, as my mom calls it to this day. What follows is a little anecdote about growing up being a hockey playing fan in a first-generation 1990's Colombian household. Sound weird? Well yes, it was a mucho weirdo journey indeed…

My parents moved us to the U.S. when I was 7 years old. I eventually learned English in school but like any normal South American kid, I grew up on a steady diet of Fútbol and horribly addicting TV Novelas on Telemundo. Back then, we had just the one TV set and certainly no cable, so Madre and Padre picked what my sister and I watched, listened to, and clothed ourselves in. No ifs, ands or buts. I had no clue about American sports, music or pop culture until the time I hit middle school.

When I was 13, two universe-altering things entered my life: I was introduced to Metallica, and later, to floor hockey via phys ed. I fell in love with both on the spot. In that fateful awkward year, I morphed into a braces-wearing, tomboy-ish headbanger geek (think a chubby version of Darlene from Roseanne) and needless to say, I got picked on a lot. Aside from an innately weird sense of humor and the pleasure procured from always kicking the prissy girls’ asses in gym class, it was my love for hockey that really got me through those stereotypically miserable years.

On school nights, while occasionally doing homework, I listened to every Rangers games on my AM/FM Walkman radio. I actually looked forward to school the next morning, eagerly in fact, to talk about the game with my hockey buddies in Home Room. In math class, we used to draw the Rangers logo on our arms in pen ink out of boredom. My most memorable moment EVER was purposefully rushing through the questions (and almost failing) my English Regents* exam in June of 1994 because it got in the way of us making it to the Rangers Stanley Cup Parade that morning. My friend Aaron and I made it to the Bowling Green subway stop with just enough time to run up the stairs, sprint a few blocks, and catch the float as it passed by with Lord Stanley’s Cup hoisted above Mess’s head. So worth it!

Eventually I started playing roller hockey with the neighborhood boys and, to my mother’s delight, I would come home with my fingers all smashed up, bloody knuckles, scraped knees and elbows. Fuck pads and gloves, we thought. I cannot tell you how many times I got grounded or punished for this. Colombian girls don’t play boys’ sports. We’re supposed to be dainty and pretty and watch beauty pageants and get good grades. Not me. I just never fit that traditional, I mean boring, mold…

Thankfully I got good grades all through school, and it took my mom a few years to realize that hockey-love wasn’t just a phase. With Dad out of the picture at this point, I think she figured out that playing this sport kept me out of trouble and made me a stronger person despite all the bruises I used to bring home. Eventually she started liking the sport because it was, as she called it, “Fútbol on Ice,” and to my surprise, it was she who bought me my first pair of ice hockey skates and my first ice hockey equipment bag.

At this point we lived in Long Island, and being poor as hell with no car, had to bus it everywhere**, but somehow I made it to the rinks after school to get as much ice time as possible. The Cantiague Park P.A.L. Wednesday night men’s league “adopted” me as their “little sister” and I got to play for free every week. I cut my teeth, as they say, on the ice with Nassau County’s finest

Through the years, I have made most of my good friends around the sport and evenwhen not playing for long stretches at time, I always find myself going back to it. It even gave me the most entertaining job I ever had for three years after College — I worked for the New York Islanders and got to meet many interesting characters (next time I’ll tell you about the time Zdeno Chara and I went to the Empire State Building***). Oh yes I have so, so, so many stories…

However, I’ll end my story here, but will thank you for reading if you got to this point. Thanks to '94 Parade for letting me share this because to this day, I’m pretty sure I am still the only Colombian chick that plays hockey in Queens, maybe even all of New York City. But if any of you out there know of any other Colombian girls who do, please let me know, it’d be great to compare notes, and bruises, with someone else who’s traveled the same path...

*Regents exams are mandatory in NYC, you must pass them in order to pass the school year.
**If anyone that has lived in Long Island can attest to this, public transportation out there is a fucking joke.
***True story.

By Sandra Ximena

Monday, December 5, 2011

Guest Writer: What's It Like To Be A Rangers Fan Stuck in the South? Better Now That We're Winning...

I frequently have to admit that I very much live in the wrong part of the country to be an avid hockey fan - south Mississippi. It's football country, and there's no escaping the pigskin preference. On Fridays, the talk of the town is high school football. On Saturdays, college (and lucky me, I live in a college town. They won their championship today, whoop-di-do.) Of course, Sundays and Monday nights bring the NFL (along with a facebook news feed inundated with cries of “Who Dat?” With New Orleans only about 90 miles away, I can't escape it!) Despite the fact that I an part of an overwhelming minority, my love of hockey, and the Rangers in particular, is unwavering. For 17 years I've watched the game and tried to discuss it with with anyone who will listen. Around here, that's not too many people.

Well, with that brief introduction and short rant out of the way, all I've got to say is, “Holy CRAP, is this how it feels to like a team that's more than just mediocre?!” If so, I am LOVING it! We're a quarter of the way through the season and the Rangers are ranked third in the league. It's all so new and emotionally confusing. All of this “solid team effort” stuff, it's been crazy to watch for a fan base that always expects to hit inevitable speed bumps. Rangers fans are used to one or two consistent guys who are inevitably going to get injured in late January. It's insane. At the start of the season, I talked and talked (to anybody around me who would listen, which I already explained totals about four people) about how I had high hopes for our Blueshirts this year. But let's face it, I say that every year. Every new season brings me promise and then pitfalls. This year though, our wishes seem to be the Rangers' command.

So to be a little more specific and a little less fan-girl, let's discuss the specifics further. Callahan came out of the gate proving that he was meant to lead and hasn't slowed down since. I would love to see Lundqvist with the “C”, but as a self professed goalie groupie up against the NHL's official rules, my biased opinion was certainly improbable. Cally's play has been physical and aggressive without being distracting, and his 10 goals on the season so far are tied with Richards for second most on the team. Gaborik leads the team with 12 tallys after deciding to show up for the games this year. A healthy Gaborik is a huge plus for our offense, despite how infuriating he could be at times last year. Richards seems to be doing exactly what the Rangers are paying him for - generating excitement and masterminding our offensive output. He sets up plays just as well as he puts pucks in the net.

After last year's break-out season, Dubinsky has disappointed some people with his numbers so far. Despite not scoring the goals we'd like to expect from him, he still plays an insanely solid game and has made some key assists in big spots. Plus, with Stepan streaking his way to superstar status, nobody seems to be dwelling too much on Dubinsky. Prust also isn't doing much offensively, but he still knows how to get things going and bring the energy level up to 11. Philly game, 4 seconds in, dropping the gloves? That's what I'm freaking talking about. That's what a real Ranger does when his team needs a spark. How about this Carl Hagelin kid? Where'd this kid come from? Wait, who cares, he's fast and he's talented, along with his fellow Whale linemate Mitchell. As of right now, there are only two Rangers on the roster who haven't scored a goal this season, and each of them has an excuse (Wolski is on IR, and Stralamn's only suited up for one game in a blueshirt). We've been getting contributions from multiple players and multiple lines game in and game out this season, and clearly, it's a system that works. Even Biron has been nearly perfect in his starts because let's face it, we fans need to blame our whole team for that lackluster effort displayed in Montreal a couple weeks back. I could go on, but for the sake of not boring anyone, I think I've made my point - we're now a damn good hockey team.

It's still early, but dare I hope that this year may be different? Maybe come April I can look forward to something other than a disappointing, yet totally expected, first round exit. Maybe 17 years of torture and heartbreak will pay off in early June. I know I can, but I don't really want to deal with another manic, roller coaster ride of a season. Sure, I'll just be back in the same place next season even if the roof collapses on our seemingly promising season, but it sure would be nice to have something to brag about for a change. Please, boys in blue? Consider it the Christmas wish of a misplaced hockey fan stuck in pigskin country.

By Kelly Caldwell

Friday, December 2, 2011

Snap Shot: Sean Avery Sleeping With Teammate's Girlfriend Rumor

Opening sentence overused joke alert - It looks like Sean Avery could once again be on the wrong side of a sloppy seconds situation. For the record, this is nothing more than a rumor put out there by some dickbag on twitter with deplorable grammar and unsubstantiated source-citing. His name is Incarcerated Bob, and he’s one cocky bastard. Unfortunately for our currently chemistry-laden team, cocky bastards sometimes base their confidence on being correct. Given the player in question and his pension for poonani, this is one rumor that could catch fire fast in a marketplace ripe with Sean Avery-haters. Let’s examine…

After last night’s 5-3 win over the Hurricanes, a game in which Avery scored his third goal of the season (and received a lot praise from the press in the process), we were all on cloud nine. Winning streaks left and right with literally everyone short of the back-up goalie putting their name on the score sheet night after night. Umm, is this fake life? Mirage or not, I thought, I’m going to enjoy this I-root-for-a-good-team feeling!

Wait, hold that. Here comes Incarcerated Bob with a couple tweets about a confrontation between Avery and an unnamed teammate about philandering fornication and the whole world goes insane. I’d never even heard of this ex-con wannabe until another fan-run Rangers facebook page (though I’m obviously much more than a facebook page) posted the rumor. Within the hour, I had my opinion set. Here’s how I’d break it down…

A trustworthy twitter friend told me that this dude throws shit against the wall all day long without naming sources and about 20% of it ends up happening. If you question his methods or integrity, you get blocked. I put in the “follow” request, saw the tweets myself, saw his general demeanor, and saw his “I’ve been on Boomer & Carton” caption (also heard he’s been banned from calling because of his rumor-mongering). Despite the seemingly sketchy nature of this twitter-based source (trying not to laugh), I have to admit that I’m scared it’s all true. I don’t know it or think it, I FEAR it. Sean Avery could definitely do this kind of thing. Despite the fact that he’s a fan favorite and pays proper lip-service when it comes to “his love of this team”, he’s still flesh-and-blood and a known womanizer. I wouldn’t put it past him, but I think we, as fans, all expect better from him. He’s supposed to embody the personality of this team, and I think it’s fair to say that we don’t envision that true Ranger as a white Tiger Woods fashionisto on skates.

Adding fuel to the fire is the extremely odd interaction that seemed to occur between Avery and Michael Del Zotto in the embrace-filled wake of Avery’s snap shot goal. Cutting away from an obviously embarrassed Cam Ward (two of Sean’s three goals this season have now come against the Canes, and let’s face it, Sean’s no sniper), the camera caught a shot of Avery’s contorted and seemingly pissed-off facial expression. It looked like his words were directed at the young defenseman Del Zotto, or maybe it was the other way around. Could Avery simply have been reacting to a snide “scoring” comment from MDZ? Is that whose chick he cuckolded? Who else could it be – Prust? Boyle? If he banged Brad Richards’ new date companion, Olivia Munn, than we’ve really got page six material waiting in the wings for just a sliver of verification. Someone needs to step up and set the record straight so I can go back to believing in these blueshirts. Incarcerated Bob, I’m looking at you.

Final question - Were the 24/7 cameras going? Please tell me someone in that seemingly contentious celebration circle was miked up. Considering the inexplicable success of those god-awful Basketball Housewives of Beverly County New Jersey shows, maybe HBO thought sprinkling in some soap opera-like sleeping scandals would help hockey get more popular. Can’t hurt the sport’s popularity; can hurt team chemistry.

This edition of Ranger Haikus is entitled, “I Totally Know That This Whole Article Is Slightly Hypocritical”.

I’m no Bob Costas
But at least I cite my sources
Pot Calling Kettle!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last Night Lookback: NYR (4) vs PIT (3) + Bobby Ryan Trade Rumors

For those Ranger fans who felt slighted by the media, wondering what our team need to do to be considered an elite contender, you now have an answer. Beat the Crosby-led Penguins. Immediately after registering last night’s 4-3 win, the New York Rangers were officially nominated for elite team status. Usually these sorts of suggestions spend anywhere from a week to a month kicked around as rhetorical questions by the hockey media before being confirmed or denied by the team’s on-ice performance. After the Rangers’ next five games, we’ll know the consensus – two games on the road against Carolina (should win) and Tampa Bay (could win), two more back at home where they’ve been fire on ice (avenging the home opener against Toronto and then another look at the Lightning), finished up by a trip to Buffalo. If they win all five games, expect to read a lot about the Rangers going into the New Year. Drop more than two of those games and we’ll all be back in schitzo-mode before you can say “Bobby Ryan Trade Rumors”. Speaking of which, we’ll get to those later…

Last night’s battle was an intense one. It was the first meeting between the two teams since Matt Cooke went elbow first at Ryan McDonagh’s head, and the obvious tension was on display with two early fights between Avery and Kennedy. The game had a very physical feel to it, almost chippy, but the pace was fast enough that the refs let them play on, at least for the first 8 minutes and 40 seconds. Three straight Pittsburgh power plays, and the obvious league-wide pro-Crosby conspiracy, helped the Penguins gain momentum and finally put one in. Down by a goal going into the second, but as I said in my last post, anything is possible for this team in a close game.

The tying goal, scored just over eight minutes into the second by Ryan Callahan, was pure sex on ice. With the power play winding down, Gaborik sparked a final chance by dancing around one defender, juking past another and sliding Callahan a brilliant pass between the legs of a third helpless penalty killer. After such a nasty goal, you could hear the Garden faithful injecting life into their team, and the Rangers responded appropriately. Six minutes later, Carl Hagelin’s fast-as-fuck-flow was back it again, this time assisting on John Mitchell’s first goal as a blueshirt with a beautiful back pass. Mitchell’s tally, a gorgeous wrister that made Mark Andre-Fleury look like moldy Swiss cheese, earned him the Broadway hat when all was said and done. Two more tallys, one from Richards and another power play tally from Gaborik, brough the score to 4-1 heading into the second intermission… or not! Malkin’s goal, off a rebound with 6 seconds to go, really changed the nature of this game and let the Penguins roll into the third with momentum they shouldn’t have been allowed to have. Then again, I thought we really dodged a bullet with that called-off Sauer own-goal. Oh well, I thought, still a two goal cushion…

Make that a one goal lead. Pascal Dupuis’ goal less than four minutes into the third brought the shock back into blueshirt fans. Everyone knows we have a propensity to give up our three goal leads, and against a quality team like the Penguins, letting them crawl back into a game like that is very dangerous. Thankfully, the Pens decided to shoot themselves in the foot by taking 4 penalties over the last 10 minutes, allowing us play the Foxwood’s Final Five and beyond with at least a one man advantage. Our five-on-three looks toothless, and in my opinion it’s a microcosm of this team’s true problem. We should be burying those opportunities, making things easier on ourselves. Instead, we let teams chip away at our lead and make it a game again. We missed about two or three quality odd-man-rush chances yesterday, usually without even registering a shot. If we play that Penguins game the right way, capitalize on one five-on-three chance and one odd-man-rush while eliminating the penalties, we probably win that game 6-2, fully embarrassing Crosby in the process. Instead, second chances for visiting teams and heart attacks for Ranger fans. Jeez boys, let’s make it easy for ourselves every once and a while. At least everyone showed up – Gabby, Richards, and Cally led the way while Girardi and McD shut down Sid and Co. Lundy once again was a huge part of the win, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Biron in net on Thursday considering the opposition and the team’s upcoming schedule. All in all, a good team performance to extend the new winning streak to three.

So you’d think the Rangers are satisfied with how things are going, yes? You’d think they’d be content with their core, ready to rise up the rankings one game at a time, but you’d be wrong. According to rumors, Glen Sather is very interested in acquiring the Ducks’ Bobby Ryan. The Ducks have been struggling all season and are supposedly looking to add offensive depth and a top-4 defenseman, as well as a pick or prospect in exchange for the young star. Ryan is a bonafide NHL star with an extremely bright future. The New Jersey native was drafted one place behind Sidney Crosbitch for crying out loud! When this kid of star comes to the trading block, you at least need to kick the tires and see what it’ll take to get him.

For the Rangers, it sounds like Dubinsky is the main attraction of a trade package that could include additional pieces. This is nothing new for Dubinsky, who is always part of any rumored deal involving New York. He and Cally used to be the foils – if you wanted a young star, you were asking for one or the other. Now, there’s no chance Cally ever gets moved, so it’s Dubinsky by default. I know this is a sensitive subject for Ranger fans as Brandon has proven himself to be a fan favorite for all the right reasons. I had to talk my fiancé off a ledge after telling her about the rumor. The fact that she just bought a Dubinsky heritage jersey may have influenced her fury, but I could tell that she wouldn’t be the only angry party if this Bobby Ryan trigger is pulled.

Can they avoid dishing Dubi? Probably not. Anisimov is the likely substitution, but he doesn’t have as much of an offensive upside and you’ll likely need to add in another established forward to sweeten the pot. Wojtek Wolski fits the bill, as do Christensen and Zuccarello, but I don’t see any of those options intriguing Anaheim. Wolski’s trade history shows he probably won’t pan out, Christensen was already waived by the Ducks back in ’09, and there are too many TBD factors about Zuccy’s strength and ability to thrive in this league. So along with Dubi, we’d most likely be losing a defenseman, prospect or top-4 (Staal, Girardi and McD are reportedly off-limits). I can see Sauer or MDZ as part of the deal, but if we somehow avoid giving up a starting player than we’ll be on the hook to lose either McIlrath or Erixon. Factor in the chance of losing kids like Krieder or Bourque and you have a lot of Ranger fans questioning why we’d break up the chemistry of a winning team and ship out some of our future for one underperforming Duck. It’s a fair question, too, but I think it has an obvious answer. Bobby Ryan makes our team more talented. We’ll lose a little depth for a strong superstar upside. Look at what two threatening lines has done for us this season with just the Richards addition. Throw Ryan on any line and all of the sudden it becomes a lot harder to strategize defending the Rangers.

The more interesting question to me is why the Ducks want to trade Ryan at all. He IS the future of that team, one of only two players on their roster locked up under contract until 2015, and he just signed an extension. I’ve heard rumors that the Ducks have internal payroll problems and it’s one of the reason they simply haven’t just fired Randy Carlisle, who himself recently signed an extension. Think about it. Your team is struggling and they need a kick in the dick to get going. Do you fire the coach and bring in a new voice, a proven tactic that often works wonders (see: last year’s New Jersey Devils) or do you trade the youngest of your super-star goal-scorers. I go with the former 99 times out of 100. Only time I vote to trade Ryan is if payroll calls me up and says, “Hey, can we think twice about firing the coach we just agreed to pay millions of dollars regardless of whether he’s actually coaching here?” At that point, with saving cash as my main motivation, then I start taking calls to see what I can get in return. It’s an interesting situation with almost every team in on the young forward. Sather’s offer is going to go up against good ones from Nashville, Detroit, Buffalo, New Jersey and Boston. Let’s reserve the intense panic for AFTER something actually happens. Until then, plenty of space on the ’94 Parade facebook page to bitch about how awful this would be.

Well that was fun! Until next time, here’s another Ranger Haiku courtesy of yours truly. I call this one “Local Blackouts Kind Of Rule”.

Thank you, MSG
For not subjecting me to

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snap Shot: Making Up For Lost Time

Excuses are for the weak – I’ve just been slacking off. Half of me would love to sit back and rationalize the laziness. After all, isn’t my I-don’t-just-break-rules-I-make-them writing style and go-fuck-yourself approach to blogging what you love about ’94 Parade in the first place? Unfortunately, the other half of me spends his day reading hockey-related articles written by paid professionals who actually make their living in the sport we all love. It takes a real secure person to admit that they are driven by a sick mixture of topical passion, professional ambition and ever-evolving jealousy…

A lot has gone down since the last time I checked in here. The Rangers took their winning streak from four games to seven before squeezing out a stinker in Montoiletreal. Their minislide continued four days later in a typical South Florida snoozer, but things turned around on the flip side of Thanksgiving with two straight wins over Washington and Philly. 24/7 got started with a 12-minute preview, the Blueshirts also unveiled their cream-colored Winter Classic jerseys… and… what else… oh yeah, I got my shit ripped open all over the internet. You need thick skin to put yourself out there on the world wide web. I should have thought about that before hand…

Oh well. There are tons of more pertinent topics at hand besides my barbaric, frat hazing-like welcome into the tenured pantheon of established Stool writers. I will tackle them all in the following order: the miniskid and the flaws it exposed, the rebound ministreak and the strengths displayed, the crazy Winter Classic circus and its recent developments, and finally Carl Hagelin’s sexy-ass flow. Grab a hold of your seats, hockey fans, because here we go!

From Kings to Pwns: Exposed Flaws from the Rangers’ Miniskid
After winning seven straight, the Rangers snapped their own streak two Saturday night’s ago with an ugly loss to le Caladiens. After a second straight defeat, this time to the once-toothless Panthers, critics started circling ready to chew at the first sniff of blood. The obvious pouncing point was the blueshirts’ lack of physical play, especially early on. Unless the Rangers step up and intimidate their opponent in the first minutes of the game with a serious forecheck, they’re stuck in neutral, skating on their heels waiting for a tie-breaking goal to be scored. That first goal of the game also seems to be an important turning point for this team. If they get it, we’re good. If they don’t, we’ve got a 50/50 shot on coming back. Down by two, consider us done for (read: Florida game). Take that Montreal game for example; it was completely up for grabs until Biron gives up that blunder (starting said back up was another criticized coaching decision). Say the Rangers tie that game up at one off some odd deflection, despite how terrible they were playing. That whole game, history itself even, changes at that moment. They’re built to sustain tie games and jump on that one chance to take the lead while Henrik saves their ass every fifteen seconds. Instead, they give up a second and, having shown absolutely no offensive bite at all, gave up entirely, same as the Florida game. The Rangers are fueled by offensive confidence and it doesn’t take more than a favorable bounce to refuel their tank. The key, of course, is getting that first goal. Then we’re golden.

Winning Ways: One Team’s Journey from Turkeys to Carvers
Fortunately for us fans, the Rangers were back in the win column as soon as Thanksgiving was over. Friday’s coach-killing massacre of the Capitals was thoroughly enjoyable viewing material after a coma-inducing holiday feast. A scoreless first period gave way to a second frame outburst by the blueshirts. Four goals – one from Gabby, Anisimov, Fedotenko and Boyle – shot some confidence back into our secondary scoring unit. Those are key guys you’d like to see on the stats sheet more often, especially Boyle and Anisimov. After breakout seasons last year, both young guns are shouldering bigger expectations and haven’t lived up to the promise just yet. The Capitals win was another total team effort, starting in the defensive zone. Lots of blocked shots and great goaltending made the difference in the end. After dropping a game to Florida that we know they should have won, it was good to see the entire bench chip in to beat a struggling, yet undeniably explosive, Washington team. Saturday was more of the same as our Rangers came back home to battle the Classic-bound Flyers. Great goaltending (imagine if Hartnell’s first period breakaway goes in, for example), solid defensive zone coverage, and a physical forecheck all helped send a clear message to Philadelphia – you’ll need to beat us, because we’re not going to beat ourselves. Let’s hope the boys bring that same hustle and grit to the Garden tonight. We got Crosby coming to town…

Winter Classic Wonderland: Updates from the Best Circus on Ice
Due to our devout dedication and unrelenting reverence, we continue to receive post-Thanksgiving gifts from those generous hockey gods above. Black Friday brought us HBO’s 12-minute preview of “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic”. The appetizer glimpse was a little too general to orgasm over, lots of regurgitated sentiments and clips from last year’s show, but the preview did its job in full as a fluffer for the real thing. I’m hard as a rock and can’t wait for the 14th of December to roll around. Tons of trash talking already on display too – former blueshirt Jody Shelley’s likened Brandon Dubinsky to a weasel, which prompted a response by the Ranger forward on Monday afternoon. “First of all, if I was him, I’d keep my mouth shut, especially since I never see him on the ice. Jody Shelley – he’s a terrible hockey player.” Juicy stuff indeed, and that’s even before Sean Avery chimes in with sloppy seconds comments about Jeff Carter banging Scott Hartnell’s wife. But that wasn’t all we Ranger fans were treated to in the days following Thanksgiving! We also got a first look at the new Winter Classic jerseys. Opinions seem to be split on the new sweaters. On the one hand, they’re better than the crowded, unimaginative, cheap Chinese knock-offs I’ve seen around the Garden this season. The retro 1926-era logo shield looks a little weak to my modern eyes (I wish they had chosen a rainbow-shaped Rangers wordmark with numbers underneath) but it’s a respectable addition to our on-ice wardrobe. I’m also not a fan of that bottom red piping line on the shoulders, feels a bit crowded once you see the nameplates. Other than those initial observations, I’ll reserve judgment until I see them in person. Package it all together with a sexy sock and pant combo and we’ll all be drooling come New Years. Plus we’re still waiting to see Henrik’s one-game-only Classic mask, which he said will “look like it’s been in the closest for the past forty years”. Well whip out the sharpies and color me pumped!

Well that does it for this edition of ’94 Parade. Can’t wait for tonight’s test against the Penguins! LET’S GO RANGERS! And on that note, I’d like to close this post with yet another edition of Ranger Haikus. This one is titled, “Carl Hagelin Has One Sexy-Ass Flow”.

Goal, assist, and hat
Skating with hair in the wind
Ron Duguay 2K

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Snap Shot: Whirlwind Weekend Wrap-Up

What a weekend! Are we all feeling better? Are we a tad more relaxed now that the Rangers are showing consistent grit in full sixty minute efforts? I’m almost happy we’re not blowing teams out. I’d rather be forced to pick up character wins like the one against the Ducks than inflate a team ego by beating up on teams in November. From the Shark win on down to Jets victory, the Rangers have played these past four games with the understanding that those two points are necessities. And I fucking LOVE it! Let’s look back at the blueshirts’ weekend wins…

Saturday was yet another gorgeous fall day in the tri-state area, a perfect setting for a drive into the city. The future Mrs. and I were once again in possession of tickets thanks to the single most awesome season subscriber out there. Section 118, here we come! I had a good feeling about the game; the Habs were on such a hot road streak you just felt they were due for a cooling off. I knew there would be a strong Canadien contingent in attendance, but I was not prepared for the throngs of Francophiles I immediately encountered upon entering the city limits. Even before I parked the car, I saw groups of Habitant supporters huddled in corner bars throughout the east side. Whatever, our Rangers would shut ‘em up on the ice.

And shut ‘em up they did. The three-goal first period was an awesome experience and allowed the Ranger faithful to settle into their seats with smiles, but I’d be a fool not to fear that seemingly safe margin. The Rangers are the kind of team that can blow any lead, so knowledgeable fans shouldn’t have been surprised to see the Canadiens climb back into it. Richards’ wrister late in the second period truly made the difference in the end for New York. It restored their two goal lead and quieted the resurgently annoying Habs fans. Of course our Rangers had to make it exciting at the end. They must have wanted to give every fan one more goal celebration. After Gionta’s slapper was wiped out by Cally’s empty netter, our Rangers were officially on a winning streak.

After Saturday, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s literally no logic to French Canadian fashion or humor. Some dude sitting behind me had a massive cardboard robot head on and blew on a duck hunting whistle from inside of it. Other dudes were wearing bright orange hunting hats and chanting soccer hymns. They are just a confusing group of people and that’s all I have to say about that. Looking back afterwards, I truly don’t know how I would have survived the French if we had lost the game. I guess it just goes to show that in sports, war, and Charlie Sheen catch phrases, winning makes all the difference.

Somewhere in between Saturday and Sunday, the world’s farmers decided they just needed to turn the clocks back and fuck my whole internal sleeping system up. Usually people dig this extra hour of shut-eye, but I don’t roll like that. I’m up every day at 8am whether I like it or not. So when I could no longer access REM and the clock only said 7 o’clock, I was pissed. The extra hour is sleep for most, but added on waiting time until the next Rangers game for me.

I went to Sunday’s game with my good friend George. George is from Georgia (not kidding) and has never been into hockey. I’ve been indoctrinating him since his arrival in the north, but hadn’t gotten the opportunity to take him to the Garden until that day. He went to a Thrashers-Bruins game back in the day, so Sunday was going to be his first real pro hockey game. Ironically enough, the blueshirts were up against the formerly known as Atlanta franchise, so we had some semblance of a logical story line there. Luckily for George, he was in attendance with THE Phil Osgood, barstool writer and creator of Puck My Life: The Hockey Show for General Sports fans (watch my video, ya jerks). Before we even reached the rink, he was fully caught up on the entire Rangers season as well as all pertinent facts coming into Sunday’s test. The Rangers are on a hot streak and rolling at home; the Jets are a mediocre team in the middle of a road trip who we’ve already beaten in less favorable circumstances. No need to buy a program, big guy, you got me to help inform you. We drank a lot, socialized with the section’s citizens and enjoyed ourselves throughout the tight contest.

Anisimov’s crease save in that first period pile-up was a game changer, and it certainly felt like we dodged a bullet on that very late whistle. Chances were few and far between, but it did feel like a fragile score line that the Rangers could easily be down in. By the time the second period rolled around, I was aching for a Rangers red-lighter. As I munched my way through a box of chicken fingers and fries, I felt it coming. The Rangers were on the power-play and I knew we’d be scoring in a matter of seconds, so I put down my chicken fingers and my beer and settled myself for the goal. No less than 25 seconds later, Derek Stepan roofed a wrister and we were celebrating a 1-0 lead. I have a sixth sense... I see Ranger goals...

Gaborik’s pair of third period tallies took the contest from tight to two points. The Rangers’ winning streak was officially up to four (something that took them forever to accomplish last year), and as I’ve said all along, those streaks are the key to conference standings success. Biron played extremely well and deserved the shutout. Stepan scored the Broadway Hat. George and I drove home happy.

And now we find out how this team will mature. Done with the crazy road trips, done with the first long home stand, now we see how strong these blueshirts really are. First up, Ottawa. The Rangers head up to Canada’s capital and will try to repay the Senators for that bullshit three goal third period comeback. Puck drops at 7:30 tomorrow night… I can hardly stand the wait. LET’S GO RANGERS!

Seven, three and three.
With every win we’re looking
More and more like champs.

Post Script Notes:
-The Rangers signed Swedish defenseman Anton Stralman, who tried out with the Devils during the preseason, to bolster their back line. This is not good news on the Marc Staal front, nor is it good news for Jeff Woywitka.

-Wolski’s retweaked groin was cause for celebration amongst Avery fans, but the Polish winger is now due to have sports hernia surgery and will be out for at least four week.

-Big guy Mike Rupp will also be undergoing surgery on his problematic knee and will likely be out for a while as well. Prusty’s back to being our best fighter, which is not a good thing.


-That is all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Worked Really Hard On This Shit, OK?

Just a quick question for you all, my supposed Ranger FriANds (Get it? Fan Friends, FriANds?). Have any of you a-holes even watched the pilot episode of my new YouTube video series "Puck My Life: The Hockey Show for General Sports Fans"? *Crickets*

Please consider that half rhetorical question and half call to action. '94 Parade has over 1,800 fans on facebook. The video has less than 1,000 views, and most of those are from a barstool article link. You can tell by the comments. Samples: Osgood, I will rape you. & Osgood, are you the fat one or are you the fat one? Can a brother get some love from the fellow blueshirt faithful, for crying out loud!? Hook me the fuck up with some views for Gab's sake!

Do me, nay, yourself a freaking favor and just watch the god damn video one time. Share it with a friend on facebook, watch it twice, I don't care how extra effort you go with the request, I only ask for the bare minimum of support. I worked really hard on this shit, OK?

Watch the video.
I do not ask much of you...
...yet provide so much.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Snap Shot: The Homestand So Far

Jeesh, it feels like I’ve been out of commission for a while. I guess that’ll happen when you spend every night for a week straight splitting your time between editing YouTube videos and hand-addressing save the dates. A shit ton has happened since I last weighed in on the Parade page, and my Barstool posts simply don’t satisfy my urge to rant. In the interest of providing you with the internet’s least appropriate Ranger recaps – let’s get it going!

Let’s start things off with the home opener. Coming off a lucky win in Winnipeg, the Rangers were looking to bring back the normalcy as they started a six game homestand with a game against the Maple Leafs. As some of you stoolies may know, I was working from my company’s NYC office (which is a rarity for me) and the day before had been payday. Fate was calling my name to MSG. “Come scalp tickets, Phil. Spend that hard-earned money on the blueshirts,” it said. Initially, I planned to book it back to CT after work and watch the game from the comfort of a couch because I seriously don’t trust scalpers, but a well placed plea in my barstool article helped secure a safe seat and I was on my way to the rink. The pregame festivities were worth bearing the weather for. Ice sculptures, a hipster band, blue carpet activities with tons of former Rangers and quote unquote celebrities. It was a great get-it-going atmosphere. If only the boys in blue could pull through.

The game itself was a letdown. The Rangers opened up well and played a great first period, but the tides were turning by the beginning of the third. Blame the refs all you want for disallowed goals, but we stopped dominating and started playing reserved, on-our-heels hockey. 4-2 was the final, though MDZ’s late goal made the score line seem closer than it was. Besides the actual result, I really had a great time. It must have been International Night in Section 329. We had two dudes from Sweden sitting next to us. They were from Erixon’s hometown and on a hockey tour of North America, taking in games wherever they could. They appreciated our intense love of Lundqvist, but were quick to point out that both the game’s goalies were of Swedish decent. “Monster,” said the one sitting directly next to me, “He’s called monster. So big.” There’s something genuinely fun about talking to people who barely speak English. When your conversation partner can’t be counted on to use verbs in every sentence, you feel like a genius comparatively. The Australian kids sitting behind me were also a treat to chat with. They were genuinely interested and yet completely oblivious to the specifics of the game. Cross-cultural sports chats are the best, though. I love how foreigners just can’t wait to rip on baseball. Warms my heart. So MDZ scores his consolation goal and I take that as a cue to bounce for the train. Said goodbye to my ticket supplier, the Swedish dudes and the Aussie gang and peaced for the exit. Fate then rewarded me for following its earlier advice.

On the train, I found myself sitting with an old friend, a girl who managed my high school hockey team, chatting away about the game to waste the hour’s time. She’s a season ticket subscriber, section 118, and mentions that she’s having trouble selling her tickets for games she can’t go to. Being the humanitarian that I am, I offered to purchase whatever tickets she could not sell but didn’t have much money to spend. What a coincidence! If the tickets weren’t going to sell, she’d rather recoup a fraction of the cost and not have her seats go to waste. The universe was working magic on that MTA express train, I tell you. The deal I’m getting is absolutely unheard of. It’s too sexy to type out. Of course, I’m only paying that little because my upcoming nuptials and the financial stresses of adulthood are driving me towards bankruptcy. Silver linings, I guess. At least I’m going to Rangers games – Saturday against the Senators and Monday against the Sharks were both mine if I wanted.

Saturday was a definite. I had a Halloween party in the city to go to and the afternoon start time made me once again trust that the universe was on my side. When I woke up that Saturday morning, I should have known that the universe had taken a turn for the worse. Snow in fucking October. Unreal. It stuck too. Packed up and made shit really ugly outside, but not as ugly as the last ten minutes of that Senators game. I mean, come on. The blueshirts gave us 50 minutes of awesome, three goal lead hockey that was just plain fun to watch. Great goals, the stars were scoring, and the win felt all but formalized. Then we went and shit the bed. An awful penalty from Wolski sparked a three goal Senator comeback and the game was lost in a shootout. In one of the more poignant moments of the game, the MSG crowd chanted “We Want Avery” after Christensucks missed his supposedly sure thing shootout shot. Ironically enough, Sean Avery would win his Hartford team’s game with a successful attempt later that night. Monday at noon, he would be officially recalled by the New York Rangers.

The two sad home ice performances left Ranger fans reeling for change and the front office desperate to plug the leaks. Deveaux and Avery made their way through re-entry waivers as Rupp’s knee issues began to worsen. Entering Monday night’s contest against the red-hot San Jose Sharks, it seemed like the team needed to make a statement, not just to themselves, but to the entire NHL. I decided to go for two reasons. Firstly, the ridiculously righteous deal was still on the table and you just don’t pass up hockey tickets. Plus I seem to always pick games based on the weakness of the opposing team, yet we always end up losing. Maybe if I go to a game that I’m scared they won’t win, it’ll be an all-together better experience. Bingo! The Rangers won the game 5-2 in what many called their most complete game of the season. After going up two, the Sharks tied the game but were outscored 3-0 in the third period. They lost their first game after five straight road wins and the frustration showed. Joe Thornton’s now infamous “soft” comments reeked of “you can’t beat me because I quit” immaturity. Oh well, it supplied us with some fun non-news for a couple of days, two points were in the bag and it was on to the Anaheim game!

Thursday’s game against the Ducks was a mirror image of the season’s second game in Stockholm, in that they were exactly the same yet opposite of each other. Instead of playing from behind, we scored the first goal. Woywitka blasted home his first as a Ranger and took home the Broadway Hat as a result. The guy’s starting to grow on me. He’s definitely our worst defenseman and I think that #6 might be Redden-cursed, but he’s getting better every game and shouldn’t be too heavily relied on to begin with. Plus when I hear that name, I like to imagine that he’s one of the Inuit twin brothers from Mystery, Alaska, remember them? I know their names were Winetka, but the association makes him a lot more likeable in my opinion. Anyways, both games ended 1-1, had raucous overtime periods and ended in shootouts. Only this time, the Rangers won. Christensen proved himself worthy of proper nameage for at least one night with that nasty one-handed put-away, but Gaborik stole the show with his shake and bake super fakes. He may have an awful lifetime shootout record, but Gabby was buzzing all game and finished when it mattered like the pro we know he is.

When Hank stopped Bobby Ryan and the second point was secured (again, mirror opposite of what happened in Stockholm), I was all smiles. That Duck team is damn good and taking 3 out of 4 points from them this season ain’t a bad overall result. Our blueshirts now march into tonight’s game against the Canadiens looking to put together their first three game winning streak of the season, but their opponents are on a roll as well. Let’s hope Lundy and the gang are ready for Price and Co. because we need to build some momentum and rack up the points here. Plus I’m going to the game again and I want to see my money’s worth in effort. No wait, that’s not much effort. I want to see face value money’s worth, yeah that's right. Avery is officially back in the lineup after Wolski tweaked his groin again so the Garden will certainly be jumping. In honor of the Vogue Rogue’s return, allow me to end this post with a Ranger haiku entitled “Shoes < Suits < Blueshirts”.

When #16
Skates onto the Garden ice
The whole Square will roar.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Snap Shot - I Missed The Oiler Game But Heard We Sucked (Direct From Torts)

So Torts sounds pissed, eh? “We sucked from head to toe”. It sounds like we either played a really bad hockey game or helped film Rex Ryan’s new big budget sports-porno. Is that already an adult movie genre? Sporno? If it’s not, it should be. “Superhole XXXV”, “Conn Smythe Trophy Wife Volume Whatever”, the franchising options are endless. So long movie spoofs, spornos are where it’s at!

Anyways, so I didn’t see the Oiler game. I spent the weekend down at the ol’ alma matter honoring the late, great Henry Masters. My fraternal “big bro” passed away two years ago due to a tragic combination of inborn immune deficiencies and H1N1. He was the man. I’m sure you’ve been called “the man” before. I’m sorry. You’re not the man. Tuna was the man. Now that he’s gone, there will never be another “the man” again. He was it - a great friend and an incredible mentor whose words were always ripe with intellect. He was a sage amongst stoners. He was a king amongst kids. He will forever be missed by the men of Phi Tau. Rest in peace, Henry… and Mason too.

After Henry died, we raised money for a bench to be built on campus and dedicated in his memory. The ceremony for that dedication was on Saturday. Most of the older alumni left afterwards, but a few of us chose to stay and party it up with the kids at night. I could have driven home and been back before the game, but they were throwing a rave themed party and I look just young enough to not be instantly recognizable as an alumni creeper. Considering that the next real party I go to will probably be my wedding, I thought it best to “carpe de night” and get crunked with the kids.

Somewhere in the middle of wallflowering my way through said party, I found myself in the middle of a crowded, sweaty, day-glo covered living room watching NHL on the Fly for Ranger highlights. Here’s a brief summary of the images I was fed. Please keep in mind that I am now 4 hours deep into a college rave and cannot hear a goddamn peep the TV is making…

- Oilers offensive chance. Lundy saves.

- Oilers offensive chance. Lundy saves.

- Rangers offensive chance barely looks dangerous.

- Oilers offensive chance. Lundy saves.

- Oilers goal. Goal scorer is so young he would have been denied entry into the aforementioned party.

- Oilers offensive chance. Lundy saves.

- Oilers offensive chance. Lundy saves.

- Rangers blow long five on three power play and fail to score.

- Oilers goal. Don’t know who scores because I’m too busy accepting inevitable defeat.

- Shot of Lundy cramping up and asking off the ice. Accepting defeat turns into angry disbelief.

- Shot of Oilers celebrating around known drunk driver Nikolai Khabibulin. 2-0 Final.

Way to kill my buzz, blueshirts. Way to ruin an otherwise pleasant evening. I’m not too mad though; the pledges got the brunt of my frustration. I’ll let you make it up to me tonight when we bring down the Jets. Until next time…

Friday, October 21, 2011

Last Night Lookback - NYR (3) - CGY (2) OT

So I don’t have a lot of time on this one. It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve stumbled across the kind of workload lull that allows for these mid-day musings. I’ll be away all weekend so I figured this might be a good time to get in a word or two about these past couple games… or should I say wins? I’ll say wins. It just sounds sexier.

So I already blogged about the Vancouver game Wednesday on Barstool, but those posts never feel comprehensive to me. What else was I trying to say there… but didn’t get a chance to mention… oh yes, I remember now – PENALTIES! Seriously Rangers, what the fuck? We cannot be giving our opponents six plus opportunities per game to score on the man advantage. That’s reckless, Russian roulette-type hockey. Every loss we’ve suffered so far has been the direct result of our discipline issues. Eliminate this mental weakness and our team will become a hell of a lot better because of it. Don’t just take my word for it, Ranger players. Try employing some common sense and see if it doesn’t help my sentiments sink in. Aside from that simple flaw, Tuesday was great. Four red-lighters in any period is always a fun for a Rangers fan. It’s such a rare and unexpected opportunity for us to be goal gluttons. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did, regardless of how heavy your eyelids were likely becoming at the time.

Last night was another one for the insomniacs. It’s nice that we’re getting our PST games out of the way early, but this 1pm to 10pm swing is a hard schedule for us Ranger fans to follow. Whatever, I’m a slave to the game. I’d watch hockey at 4am if it asked me nicely. Russian Olympics, I hear you calling!

I spent the first period finishing up some editing for Puck My Life. Not only did this require me to resist killing myself out of newb frustration, it also required me to jerk my neck up and down at every announcement of a goal. BAM – we’re up! Gabby blasts in a one timer and we’ve finally scored a power play goal. BOOM – we’re not. Girardi’s whiff results in an Iginla tipper and we’re tied one-one. BAM – despite being down a man, Prusty snipes one in against his former club. BOOM – tied again after a successful Calgary PP. God damn whirlwind of a period, but not a bad start from a club seemingly incapable of scoring before the final frame.

I finally got done with my work just in time to watch two straight scoreless periods. The good news is that the blueshirts are playing great defensive hockey. The bad news is that they’re giving us ample time to figure that fact out. We’re on our heels for large chunks of the game (because of badly timed penalties) and it’s stressful to watch. Let’s go on the attack for fuck’s sake and make the other team’s fans worry about every small deflection. Cool?

And how about those Calgary fans booing Tim Erixon? You boo the kid all freaking game? Even into overtime?! I mean get over it! So the dude didn’t want to spend his 20’s living under a microscope in Alberta, big deal. You know how hard it is to compete against the lure of the New York Ranger? You get all the fame, all the money, all the celebrity access and privileged prestige, but none of the notoriety. How many New Yorkers do you think would recognize Tim Erixon while he’s out for a midtown lunch? One out of a million, if that. They get left alone. They live their lives as normal human beings until they want some special treatment. It’s hard to argue with that type of situation for a young Swedish kid just looking to follow in his (former Ranger) father’s footsteps. So you got passed up, Calgary. There will be other prospects. Don’t worry, plenty of fish in the sea, sweetheart…

So that’s really it, I think. I mean, everyone’s looking better. McD has been a revalation, Dubi is coming around, Cally is cruising and Hank is on fire. The score sheet is diverse and that’s a good thing for the Rangers. As long as Richie keeps putting up a point per game, Gabby keeps lighting the lamp, and the Broadway Hat keeps getting issued every game, I’ll be happy. I tried setting up a fake twitter account for the Broadway Hat but found out one already exists. Oh well, I snooze, I lose, thankfully unlike the Rangers. Let’s go get another two points from those kids out in Edmonton. What’s that expression about stealing candy from babies again? Until next time…

Let’s keep it rolling…
Edmonton on Saturday…
Candy from babies…

Monday, October 17, 2011

Snap Shot: Season So Far (3 Games In)

Um, is anyone out there satisfied with this garbage? Fans? Players? Coaches? Anyone enjoying themselves yet? Because I sure as hell am not. I have not yet found one second of this season to be truly enjoyable. Granted, we’re only three games in and that’s not much of a sample size, but I feel like a freaking Florida Panther fan here. What the hell has been going on? Where have we gone wrong? Let’s snap shot this shit…

For the Rangers, the regular season started two Fridays ago in Stockholm, Sweden. I requested to work from my company’s NYC office because I had planned a video shoot for later in the afternoon, so I bounced out of work early to watch the game at my friend Jean’s place. Now Jean (pronounced John because he’s rightfully embarrassed of his own French heritage) hates hockey. He’s the only one of my friends who can’t stand sports in general, but he tolerates our love of the game by snidely commenting and actively rooting against our favorite teams. We were joined for the game by my friends Rob, Brian and Dave, who are all Devils fans volunteering their services for my video project. Instead of enjoying the Rangers’ season opener, I spent the full three hours battling their bullshit as our blueshirts underperformed and lost to the Kings in overtime.

Cally’s ripper from the goal line and Gabby’s first of the year should have been enough for the win, but former Flyer Mike Richards had to score late in the third and fuck those plans all up. Once we took that overtime penalty and the winner went in, I remembered that special sinking feeling that comes after a Ranger loss; waiting all day for the puck drop, riding the emotional roller-coaster of the full game only to lose and walk away empty handed. Consolation point aside, I was bummed. Oh well, I thought, we’ll wait for Saturday afternoon.

God damn Ducks… This game literally put me to sleep. The Rangers were so mind-numbingly boring and didn't looked capable of pushing their way through a paper banner. Brad Richards’ first goal was a nice little treat, but too little too late in my opinion; we can’t be opening the scoring half way through the third. Shootouts shouldn’t be our only way of picking up the crucial second point – Saturday showed that. We usually bank on Hank to win us the breakaway competition, but he couldn’t pull this one off in front of his home country fans. Oh well, two points from two games in Europe isn’t all that bad, especially after country hopping the whole continent during preseason. We were given a football week to relax (and watch other Atlantic division teams tear up the league). Next up, the Islanders. I was ready for a win.

This past Friday was my birthday. Quarter century down, crisis impending. The obligatory parental dinner was postponed from Friday to Saturday due to the fact that I was once again in the city shooting scenes for Puck My Life’s pilot episode. Although I was concerned about the conflict, my Mom assured me that we’d get a table near the bar and would watch the game throughout dinner. Wrong. Three hours spent drinking wine and eating steak was marred by the fact that I was missing a Rangers game. Fine, whatever, I was given an iPad for my present so I could handle the slight delay. Rangers in 60 would provide a nicely concise review for my slightly drunken self once I got home...

10:30 rolls around and I switch the TV over to MSG. OH NO, I FLIPPED TOO SOON! I saw a split second clip of the Capuano’s press conference before desperately flipping back to Comedy Central. “Shit, they lost”, I told my fiancé, “they don’t put the post-game focus on the loser. I know they lost." I flipped back to MSG again only to see another split second clip of Tavares with the puck. I was sure right then and incessantly lamented what I already knew to be another Ranger loss until my fiancé could no longer stand it. She looked up the score and confirmed my correctness. Damnit, blueshirts.

So we’re essentially 0-3 with a couple consolation points. How, you ask, did this happen to our hyped up Rangers? PENALTIES! LOTS AND LOTS OF UNNECESSARY BS PENALTIES! Even my hockey hating French friend Jean can recognize how hard it is to win a game when you’re constantly killing penalties. Sure, we’ve been the victims of some dinky calls, but that’s no excuse to play undisciplined, sloppy hockey. Get your fucking shit together, boys. Stay out of the box and we’ll all be better off for it. This was a problem before the regular season even started so now we’re officially into beating-dead-horses territory. Torts must be beside himself. He’s already gotten hands-on with his coaching (evidenced by the sending down of Zuccarello and the calling up of Bell and Newbury) so let's all prepare ourselves for a season-long game of line roulette. Hey Torts, how’s Christensucks doing out there by the way? Is he injecting the team with much needed life yet? Killing it in the shootouts? Yeah, thought so...

So panic may be in the Ranger nation air, but we’re certainly not in any real danger. Our season is starting slowly and almost entirely on the road, so we’ve got to expect some rust in these early games. The key to everything, and I’ve said this since the beginning of last year, is the winning streak. We couldn’t even tie four together last year, and it showed in the stress of fighting for seventh and eighth. If we string some wins together, say four or five for every loss we suffer, then we’ll be golden come March. So go out west and take three out of four. Come back home, get your legs settled and start making some noise. Come on, Rangers, we need you here. Without your wins, there’s really not much of a difference between me and the Unibomber.

Until next time, I leave you with one of my PATENTED, ahem, haikus.

Katy Baker blows.
Grantland - home of the sports snob.
Stop ripping me off.

*I’d honestly be honored if KatyBakes actually read this site enough to consciously rip me off. She’s the established and I’m the underground. She’s Grantland/Goldman Sachs/Deadspin/ESPN and I’m Barstool/Basement/Unknown/Unpaid. I’m sure John Stewart would be honored to know that Sarah Palin was a regular Daily Show viewer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preseason Wrap Up: Frolunda/Slovan/Zug and The End of Sean Avery

Holy hell, what a week! I thought I could coast through the rest of the preseason but this team just refuses to stop making headline news. Between the three televised games in the Europe, the cuts and the waived players, our New York Rangers are staying busy. As excited as I am to look ahead to Friday, let’s take a minute and wrap up the Rangers’ preseason action.

Last Friday’s game against Swedish club Frolunda was essentially Henrik Lundqvist celebration night. The pregame ceremonies, the extended ovations, the alternate captain’s A on Lundy’s chest, it all felt more like a spectacle than an actual game. The home team’s tenacity didn’t help that cause either. Frolunda looked weak and unwilling to battle physically. A Ranger victory felt like pure formality, even when the teams were tied at one at the end of the first. Goals from Kris Newbury, MDZ, Christensucks and Rupper put the game out of the reach for the Swedes, who were led by Henrik’s twin brother Joe-El “Don’t Call Me Joel” Lundqvist. Zuccarello had a hell of a game and continued to impress with two great assists, but many point to the larger ice surfaces as the reason he seems so at home out there. Too many penalties was once again a problem. This team needs to stay disciplined if they want to avoid falling behind in games. Even these European power play units are making us look like high schoolers down a man. Regardless, it was Henrik’s night. No one wanted to ruin the homecoming, including the Frolunda players.

Sunday afternoon saw the Rangers in Slovakia battling HC Slovan. If the Frolunda game was a feel-good affair with a party atmosphere, this game felt like a funeral. Gaborik’s homecoming brought back recent memories of Pavol Demitra’s death, and the Slovakian audience seemed subdued because of it. The MSG feed kept showing a giant portrait of Pavol with a #38 R.I.P. written underneath it. The travel was finally starting to take its toll on the Rangers who came out looking flat and took a ton of penalties. Slovan capitalized on one odd man opportunity and grabbed a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission. The Rags came out flying in the second and put in 2 straight goals on a 5-on-3 man advantage. MZA’s tally was completely the work of Brad Richards; just watching what he does on the PP, even without the puck, makes you understand how a true quarterback runs the show. Boyle’s goal was also on the power play and showcased the big boy’s improving hands. He made no mistake flipping a Dan Girardi pass into the top shelf of Slovan’s net. Anisimov scored the third goal after a brilliant shorthanded forecheck from, who else, Brandon Prust. Prusty bowled over the Slovan goalie and found Artie in the slot for an easy open netter. McDonagh finished off the scoring with a slick wrister in the third and the Rangers left Slovakia with a 4-1 win.

And when I say they left Slovakia, I mean they literally left as soon as the game was done. Gabbaslab wasn’t given much of a chance to chill with his attending friends and family and he sounded a little bummed because of it. Regardless, the Rangers had a game in Switzerland the next day so it was on to the land of ski slopes and war time neutrality. The contest against EV Zug was the last of the preseason, but it was also the most exciting to watch. The crowd was absolutely out of control. A little over seven thousand turned this hockey game into a full on futbol match. Drums, singing, chanting, groans, moans and excited cheers didn’t stop for the full sixty minutes. The first period was insane. Biron let in three in the first, including one absolute stinker that trickled through his glove and into the net. The Rangers tied things up after scoring two goals in the final two minutes of the period. The Zuggernauts scored two quick goals in both the second and the third to bring the game fully out of Ranger reach. Regardless of the score and how flat the Rangers looked, it was one hell of a hockey game. EV Zug played offensive straight up and down. Their passing was north/south and they went hard to the net for second opportunities. At least 3 of the game’s goals were pure highlight reel material. 8-4 was the final, the first loss for the Rangers in Europe. It’s hard to get hung up on this one when the real stuff is only days away. Bring on the regular season, baby!

But wait! Before Friday rolls around we’ve got some serious news to deal with. Sean Avery is no longer a New York Ranger. OK, OK, so he’s cleared waivers and is now subject to a Hartford demotion, but we all know it won’t go that far. Sean is not a minor leaguer. He’s a New York based restaurant baron with a passion for fashion and the big city lights. Asking him to go to Hartford would be like asking Monet to paint lilies in Iceland. Ain’t gonna happen. Europe is a possible option, according to his agent, so we’ll see where he winds up in the long run. This decision from the Rangers front office is a polarizing one, probably the first issue in a while where not everyone sees eye to eye. Let’s breakdown the booting of Sean Avery, shall we?

The number one reason for this move is the cap situation. I’m a writer; I hate math. Cap crunching and waiver numbers make my head hurt, so I look at it as simply as possible. Avery’s contract costs more than Christensen’s, so ditching the Vogue Rogue gives the team more space to sign another defenseman. It’s pretty black and white when you only look at the numbers, but I just don’t feel satisfied with that simple dollars and cents explanation. Torts said that EC gives him more options (power play and shootout specifically) and so he’s more valuable to the team’s overall goal. Fine, whatever, I can accept Avery’s gap in top six skill. But in reality, these two underachievers were battling for the 13th forward spot - the healthy scratch position. Who the fuck cares if your press box pony boy can score in the shootout, the dude doesn’t dress! Sure, he’ll be there to jump in for an injured top six forward but is Erik Christensen really the kind of kid who can sit for ten games and then come out roaring? Does he have the mental maturity to understand that every time he touches the ice he should be injecting fresh life into a tired squad? Can he be a catalyst for energy and excitement? I don’t freaking think so.

You need a 13th forward who can understand his role. He needs to sit, wait and work hard until his team needs the spark. Maybe we lost a forward for a week or two, maybe we just look flat for five straight games, but we need someone to hop into the lineup and give it some life. That’s Sean Avery! He’s a veteran guy who would have done anything to help his Rangers. He loves men’s suits, so sitting in the press box modeling new Kenneth Cole threads would not have bothered him. He is a pure energy player. He’s exactly the kind of weapon you want in your not-always-on-the-ice arsenal. I just don’t get it. Judging by the spot they were fighting for, I just don’t understand the logic. How is he battling for the final roster spot and then getting healthy scratched? How is he supposed to prove himself to Torts, who we know has always hated him? Just doesn’t compute. Oh well. I guess that’s why I’m not GM of the Rangers… yet…

So long Sean. I hope you find success in whatever it is that you do, whether it’s hockey, fashion or food. Between the goofy tinted glasses, the allegations of racist remarks and the arrest in LA, you never let it get boring. You single-handedly legalized gay marriage in New York. You pissed off Marty Broduer like no one else ever could, and for that, we will always consider your career as a Ranger a successful one. Thanks for the memories and come back soon. We’ll still chant your name like you never got waived.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Last Night Lookback - NYR (2) - SPR (0)

Do you remember that freakishly obsessive excitement I described that comes with the day of a Rangers game? Well yesterday that feeling was stunted in so many ways, it became deformed, mangled and emotionally confused. Not only was it a 1pm puck drop (which it is again today), it also wasn’t broadcast anywhere. No TV, no radio, nothing. Normally I’d be able to push the limits of a stretched lunch hour for a period or two and then watch the third back at the office, but this development actually forced me to sit at my desk for two and a half hours straight. I hate taking lunch hour in the office. I need to get out of that place at least once every day for a significant chunk of time. It keeps me fresh, you know how I roll. There I was, lunchless in my cube, all live sports sites thoroughly searched, I resolved myself to blueshirts united dot com’s live chat room with Rangers writer Jim Cerny. Oh boy, was I in for a treat…

Following in the written only chat room was torturously boring and without question the worst way to take in a hockey game. You’re signed in with some user name or facebook account and you type in messages or questions or whatever and then when you press send, it tells you your comment has been submitted for approval. Are you kidding me? Fuck censorship! More than half of my comments didn’t even make it through, and I honestly wasn’t being inappropriate in any way, shape or form. One failed post came after they mentioned the Prague fans beating drums and singing songs with their cheerleaders and their torch-wielding, ice-skating gladiators, I said I’ve always wanted to bring drums and flares into MSG and go European sports fan on the place, but the NYC norm would be all shh and sit downish. After he scored the Rangers second goal, I said “Ruslan ‘Rosy Cheeks’ Fedotenko! Guy’s got blush for days”, but that also didn’t make it past the guards. And even when I did get a comment through, it took so freaking long that whatever I sent was totally irrelevant by the time it got approved. Very frustrating stuff for someone so used to spewing unedited rants.

Jim’s updates were relatively helpful (and I would be his assistant in a second, what a sick job). You knew when a power play was happening, you kind of got how the game was progressing, and you knew when a goal was scored. But in between the actual observations of the game from people watching it live, you had to deal with some of the dumbest comments ever uttered by Ranger fans. Some d-nozzle said that the Rangers haven’t been the same since they traded Scott Gomez. At least 200 other people besides me answered back - yeah, they've been better since he left. This guy also said it was dumb to trade Roszival and that Redden should be called back up for our first D pairing. After I while I honestly thought he had to be kidding, but who actually does stuff like that? Who sits at their computer and just says dumb shit about their favorite team? Some other space cadet was talking about how we should sign Matt Cooke. “Cooke-Shelly-Asham should be the top line for NYR” is a direct quote. Are you fucking kidding me? I couldn’t believe that crap was getting through, and I was powerless to retort with no chance of getting my comebacks approved. Someone asked what the loudest American hockey building is and a person actually answered New Jersey. I have to assume they did it with a straight face too. NEW JERSEY!? Yeah, maybe if they’re playing the Rangers, but hell no way is that even close to being true. The Devils have 728 fans total. Their building isn't full enough to be loud enough, they're just annoying. Sadly enough I would put money on Philly being the loudest, though Washington can get pretty pumped too. Minny? I don't know, feel free to share your opinion. Regardless of arena volume, the point is that people were just saying factually misguided and insanely idiot statements left and right. It, too, was very frustrating for someone so used to the eloquent and intelligent readers I've been so blessed with.

As far as the game goes, it sounds like the win was not well worked for. Marty Biron was the star of the afternoon pitching a shutout and stoning Sparta on numerous odd man rushes. Anisimov got the team’s first goal followed by Fedotenko’s PP follow up less than three minutes later. Erixon had an assist but was credited with two (Stepan definitely had the other on a sick passing sequence for their second tally), MDZ and Dubinsky each notched a point as well. It sounds like we came out flat in the first, maybe a little jet lagged and sluggish, picked it up in the second to score both goals and settled down in the third. It didn’t sound like an exciting last frame, but the boys in blue managed to keep Sparta off the board and come away from Prague with another preseason victory. Christensen was in for Wolski (groin) and it doesn’t sound like he made the most of his opportunity. I really hope we cut this guy soon. Seeing that same idiot who wanted Redden back up say that EC is awesome and that he should have a spot on the team simply for shootouts helped to confirm my own Christensen conclusion. He’s garbage; a waste of a roster spot. Bye-bye. Thanks for showing up once every ten games.

So today’s game against the Frolunda Indians should be a lot better, if only because it’s being broadcast on MSG and so following along in a chatroom is unnecessary. It’s Hank’s hometown team and he’ll very much be the center of everyone’s attention. Twin brother Joel is now captain of the Indians, so they will meet on the ice as friends and family watch from the stands. Weird team name for a bunch of Swedes – the Indians. Did we send all our Native Americans to Scandinavia back in the day or something? Is that where they all went? Now they have a hockey team in Frolunda and a couple casinos in Connecticut and life is all good, right? I’m fairly certain that’s how that whole trail of tears thing worked out...

Allright, there’s work to be done. If I’m going to zone out all afternoon watching this Rangers game, I need to be productive now. This hangover sure isn’t helping though. Until next time, fellow fans - LET'S GO RANGERS!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Last Night Lookback - NYR (3) vs PHI (5)

Well that didn’t feel like a preseason hockey game. That felt like a freaking battle royal cage match. It was football paced because of all the penalties and you can’t get a flow going when your blowing all your power plays by going down a man yourself. If you eliminate the 3 short handed goals against, you probably don’t have an empty net situation and maybe you win that game 2-1 or 3-1. Maybe it's just guys eager to fight or follow through on a hit because they’re battling for roster spots, but playoff scrums after every whistle just gets old after a while.

Mitchell had a great goal and looked solid throughout the game. He and Weise are making things difficult on Torts but I have a feeling they’ll both be in Hartford before the trip out west. MZA played well at first but I think he started doing too much towards the end of the 2nd. Hank looks ready, Boyle looks ready, Girardi looks ready. Did you see that MSG in-game audio clip where Boyle and the rest of the power play unit literally draw up that third goal? That’s quality communication right there. Of course we all know the real player of the game – Jaromir Jagr. God damn. He’s such a lumbering fat ass out there, but he knows how to take those strengths to elite advantage better than anyone else I’ve ever seen. The shot is still there; he is a legitimate power play threat now and the Rangers need to take note of that for future games (read: first paragraph). Let’s be clear on one thing – do not take Jaromir Jagr’s NHL revival lightly, at least not until he disappears come game 43.

But no one’s talking about the game. They’re talking about Fagate. They’re talking about Sean Avery's accusation that Wayne Simmonds called him a homophobic slur. Now let me preface this by saying that I do not condone any type of discrimination, racial, sexual or otherwise, but this whole thing just feels wrong. I honestly wish this didn’t happen, especially after Bananagate. You can’t deny that Sean did a great thing this summer by speaking out for gay marriage, and he continues to support a variety of charitable and humanitarian initiatives, but I think it's a far shot from speaking out to flapping at the mouth. When people don’t like you (and people don’t like Sean Avery), they tend to approach your drama in the most sinisterly biting way possible. Considering the rumors about what Avery has said to African Americans on the ice, one could certainly see this episode as a racially motivated accusation. Would Sean Avery make this big a deal about it if Wayne Simmonds was white?

Let's also recognize when this went from small on-ice incident to giant media circus. This whole thing started because Sean was sitting in his locker after the game with his split open big toe bleeding all over the place and some subconsciously racist beat guys who saw what Simmonds yelled told Sean what they saw and asked Sean if he saw it too and Sean just honestly answered yes. One small word of confirmation and now the big headline is "Avery: Simmonds Called Me Homophobic Slur". I get that he's caught in something completely out of context. Maybe he doesn’t care at all and understands that shit gets said in the heat of hockey battles. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Regardless, the whole episode just leaves a sour taste in your mouth. I can't condone the language used, but this isn't news at all.

In my opinion, what gets said on the ice should stay on the ice unless it’s racially or sexually inappropriate. In those two cases, I can support the league taking action. Life and hockey are not always that simple though. I do believe there is a difference between saying a skin-based slur and an orientation-based slur. The status of the former is obvious and the status of the latter is not. Wayne Simmonds is definitely black. Sean Avery, by all accounts, is not gay. If there was an openly gay professional hockey player visibly discriminated against by a fellow player, then that would be a different story. Despite his connection to their causes, the slurs shouldn’t really sting Sean that much. He of all players should be used to that word. He probably get called a (n): bundle of sticks or twigs at least 400 times throughout the year, but the one time a black player screams it at him and gets caught on camera, the whole white world of hockey goes nuts.

That’s another thing – you’re on fucking live television guys! Watch what you say, let alone scream, whilst being broadcast across the continent. Hockey players usually do a great job at censoring themselves, especially in those on-ice mic situations. I would definitely be dropping f-bombs during live interviews and not even noticing it. I truly believe that last night was an unfortunate slip up of live television, not an indication of some overarching issue of hockey homophobia.

It’s all just so unfortunate. I wish we weren’t talking about it. I wish we weren’t talking about Avery’s arrest this summer and Frolov’s comments in the Russian press. I wish we were talking about Sean’s play on the ice and the team’s trip to Europe. So in the spirit of distaste for this subject, I leave you with this hockey haiku entitled, “If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say, Don’t Say Anything At All”.

White, black, gay or straight
Hockey is for everyone
Talk is cheap, just play.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Snap Shot: Winter Classic Press Conference Is The Definition of Old News

Today's press spectacle from Citizen's Bank Park helped set a new standard in spoiled announcements. This news is so old it's claiming newsfeed social security. It's the Larry King of headlines. It's turned into solid stone fact after extreme overexposure to common knowledge. It's like that six foot foreign "kid" in every Little League World Series with no legitimate birth certificate but somehow he's rocking a formidable mustache. You're not news, Winter Classic Press Conference. You're not even passable. You look nothing like news. You brought us nothing we didn't know. You're so non-news, this article didn't even pass the Bar(stool exam of pertinence) today. Even the Nets getting renamed the Nets was deemed newsworthy today! You embarrassed me, Winter Classic Press Conference. OK? Did you know that? Alright. Now that's enough of the tough love. Let's kiss, make up and move on...

Since it was first reported, the January 2nd match up has been confirmed in almost every way with the exception of an actual league announcement. Knock-off jerseys started selling online months ago, HBO cameras are already following around the two teams in training camp and the official season schedule release left little else to guess about. Well, now it's been made official - the New York Rangers will play the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic. Hell freaking yes, I say. I say screw the Flyers and those know-it-all Mayans. Bring on 2012 eh es eh pee. If we make good on Glen Sather's "guarantee" of a Cup championship this season, I'll be happy with the predicted end of the world. "NOW I CAN DIE IN PEACE", we'll all say.

But back to the subject, pumped doesn't even begin to describe my New Years game excitement. Let's get one thing clear - I don't want to go. I need to go. I am going. I'm already there son. It's a fact of my future certain as death. So if you somehow find yourself with an extra ticket, your first thought should be to contact me. I'm being dead serious. Holla atchya blueshirt boy! After all, who wouldn't want GQ's Hottest Hockey Blogger Under 25 as their Winter Classic wing man?

The seasonal festivities kick off on December 14th with HBO's priceless 24/7 show and won't stop until the series ceases on January 4th. In the middle you've got the alumni game, the classic itself and everything that comes with being part of the outdoor fiesta. It's a good thing I've still got limbs to spare because these freaking tickets are going to cost me at least an arm and a leg. Excuse me while I go start writing letters to Santa and loosening up my jaw.


PS - Between Glen Sather gauranteeing a Ranger Stanley Cup AND a Yankee World Series, last night's preseason penalty orgy and Wayne "Banana Grabber" Simmonds calling Sean "PSA" Avery a fagel, yesterday certainly set the tone for one hell of a heated Winter Classic. Sweet retro logo, Philadelphia. Looks like you really swung for the fences on that one...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Last Night Lookback - NYR (4) vs NJD (3)

Well winning sure is fun, even if it’s in the meaningless preseason. I’m still enjoying the return of the hockey night high and watching our Blueshirts bang in 4 goals on Sharty Bropuer sure helps extend that. It was the only Ranger game all weekend, but I enjoyed my hockey appetizer. It was good to get a game in before football starts getting shoved down my throat over the next 48 hours. Excuse me sir, are there any other specials on the menu besides football? Baseball, you say? No thank you, I'll still with the pigskin then, thank you very much.

Onto the game, I enjoyed the color commentary once again. Joe and Chico are like dumb and dumber in there. They’re like best friends slash bitter rivals, just calling each other out and poking fun at the other’s mistakes. I have to say it though, the new Devils play by play guy is pretty annoying. I know he used to do the radio for them, so maybe that’s why his voice makes me feel like I’m driving in the freezing rain of a pitch black winter night. On Wednesday, Chico said that the guy’s dream was to be just like Sam Rosen. That’s understandable, but unlikely. I hope Sam never retires. I don’t want to feel how Devils fans must be feeling right now about the state of their broadcast booth.

The game itself was much more entertaining than Wednesday’s contest. We gave up an early goal, but then the new offensive confidence took over and we had our first lead of the season before you could even start getting negative. Richards and Gabby look like they’ve got some real good chemistry out there. Richards has great vision and loves to carry the puck and Gaborik is quickly getting used to the idea that he needs to score, not beat five guys and then score. You need those offensive guys who just seem to always get lucky bounces, and as you could tell from Adam Larson’s first career goal, Richards is that kind of guy. Wolski was alright with them out there, MDZ had a better game, Stepan had a nasty goal and looked like a sophomore surge waiting to happen. Rupp is one tall man and one hell of fighter, but it was great to see him handle the puck like an actual hockey player too. All in all it was a positive performance from the team just one game away from their plane ride to Europe.

Not everyone is on their way to Europe, however. Today’s first round of cuts saw 28 players assigned to their respective minor leagues. Some of them are not surprises, but I still would like to see a little more of Christen Thomas and JT Miller. Pavel Valentenko is considered the biggest surprise name on the list of dismissed players. The article I read said, “Valentenko probably wouldn't be on this list if it weren't for his performance last night”. Did he have a bad game last night? I didn’t really even notice him out there. Oh wait; I just answered my own question. Erixon, McIlrath, Bourque and Hagelin survive, so much still remains to be seen about who will and who will not have a roster spot at the end of preseason. Translation for us fans – we’re rolling deep and rich in talent.

I can't wait to see the full team together and roaring in mid-season form. Just seeing Gabs out there with Richards and Cally debuting his captaincy was great after so many months of anticipation. Injuries to Staal and Prust are slightly affecting the morale of fortune-telling fans, but even concussion rumors regarding our prized defensive asset won't get me down. The more I see, the more I like. The more I like, the more inflated my expectations become. 82-0 seems reasonable, right?

So I guess that’s it for now. To close out this post, I leave you with a haiku entitled “If Looking Forward To A Preseason Game Because I Want To See Jagr Beaten By The Rangers As Fast As Possible Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right”. Now excuse me while I go take a weekend afternoon nap…

Not much left to say
And not often I say this
Can’t wait ‘til Monday.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Night Lookback - NYR (1) vs NJD (2)

Apparently watching hockey is just like riding a bike; I hopped back on last night and rode that shit like my name was Lance Armstrong. I was edge of my seat on pure principal. My jump from the couch following Dale Weise’s tying goal was playoff quality and packed with enthusiasm. Sure, the passing wasn’t clean and almost all of our stars were missing, but I was on fire in my fandom and I dare you to doubt my mid-season form.

Despite the way my snide post-game status update may have sounded, I certainly wasn’t taking last night seriously. BUT! You do have to recognize the same old symptoms of frustrating Ranger hockey: mind-numbingly low scoring, wasted power play chances and untimely mental mistakes with the puck. Don’t get me wrong. I know exactly who was absent from the ice last night – Gaborik, Richards, Cally, Staal – I could go on for days. Even Coach was in the luxury box. Yeah Torts, screw that tiny Albany bench and its lack of basic amenities. “Call me when it’s time to go to Europe, I’m going to have a hot dog and watch it on TV.”

So I liked McIlrath last night; he had couple big hits and laid some Devils on the ice. Hagelin has wheels, no doubt about that. Talbot looked nasty. Not much in the way of scoring chances from the young oh-men, but I liked the look of Bourque and JT Miller out there. By the way, I missed the first couple seconds of that interview with Miller’s mom and didn’t see her face at all. She didn’t look at the camera while I was watching so I couldn’t tell if she was a MILF or not. Anyone want to weigh in on this one? It just seemed like she had the voice and the figure of a hockey mom cougar. Just curious…

And speaking of interviews with parents of prospects, everyone saw Sam Rosen’s seminal reference a la Ray Bourque, right? I heard “fatherly juices flowing” and went straight to the keyboard. Hysterical stuff. In fact, the whole announcing setup was really the highlight of the evening. Having both teams’ color guys in the booth provided balance injected with a light jesting humor. When Chico caved to the pressure and agreed with a ref’s call against his Devils, Joe Mic acknowledged the break from homer protocol by saying, “I haven’t heard that from you in, like, 7 years.” It's funny because it's true.

I’m being totally honest, I think that is how it should be for nationally televised games. Get Doc Emerick in there with both regular color guys and let the audience actually learn something about the teams they're watching. You don't even have to fire former Ranger Eddie Olczyk. Throw him back between the benches and fire Pierre McGuire like all of our lives depend on it. In fact, I kind of believe that my life does depend on the firing of Pierre McGuire. If year after year he keeps yelling through my TV and starting every statement by screaming “You know Doc and Edzo…”, I might just go ahead and kill him. Then I’ll spend the rest of my life in some Canadian prison playing hide the hockey stick with Mike Danton. Like I said, lives depend on this drastic change to the theory of color commentary.

So, yeah, we lost, but tomorrow should be fun. It'll be great when they get to Europe and preseason doesn't seem so flat. So to end this post, I was thinking I haven't done a haiku in a while. Why don't I leave you with a special poem designed to call out last night's biggest disappointment. I was excited to see what this guy would do and I was underwhelmed at best. This one is called, “Man, Michael Del Zotto Still Looks Mediocre”.

Giving up the puck
Just like last year all over
Hartford, here he comes(?)(!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Snap Shot: The Season Has Started!

Oh hell fucking yes – hockey is back. Granted it’s only preseason, but after months of athletic inactivity I’m scraping for resin like a stoner out of weed. Fall has finally come. It’s back. I am actually sitting in front of my TV getting ready to watch a live and semi-meaningful game. Thank you, hockey gods. You don’t know how much I needed this.

In my opinion, one of the best parts of hockey season is the bi-nightly entertainment it provides via television. Quick, what’s your favorite TV show? Well, whatever it is, does it provide you with brand new two hour long episodes three to four nights a week roughly ninety times a year? Nope, didn’t think so. When I know a Rangers game is on that night, my day is just plain better. It’s filled with positive thoughts about how badly we’re going to kick the shit out of whoever it is we’re playing. I smile more. I hold the door open for complete strangers. I dish out the finger a lot less to annoying drivers who always seem to have New York or New Jersey lisence plates.

I got a brief glimpse of that good feeling groove during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, but it just wasn’t the same. I missed the regular round of games but was pumped to see us slide into the finals after losing to Carolina. All day I was inexplicably happy. What was it again? Why was I in a good mood? Oh yeah, fucking Rangers game on tonight! Sure, it’s just the kids, but I’ll take it! So of course I get all dolled up to watch my blueshirts play for the championship, even though it’s in some high school looking rink straight out of MSG varsity. The kids were good but they lost in the end, beaten by a good Buffalo team we should all start being concerned about. We went 2-2 in total, but we came out of Traverse City with a lot of positive prospect press. I believe it was the great animated philosopher Gorillaz who once said, “prospects are useless, but not for long. The future is coming on.”

One thing the prospect tournament did teach me was to appreciate MSG Networks a little more. Do you know why the NHL Network could only show Ranger games from Traverse City? Because we’re the only team who sent a cable crew capable of televising it! I saw a ton of tiny town tools complaining about the New York bias on message boards and I laughed out loud at their grievances. Yeah, you wish you were Ranger fans! You wish you were the #1 most desirable television market in the world. It’s only because of our greatness that you were even able to watch your lowly Blues battle our precious Blueshirts. Take your city-envy and shove it where the sun don’t shine! And give us back JD! That brief press box appearance he made was priceless for us nostalgic types. OH Baby!!!

Ok, it’s game time. Gotta run. Did I forget something? Oh yeah, LET’S GO RANGERS!

PS - What the hockey stick is with these Technical Difficulties, MSG? I just spent two paragraphs praising your name. You better get this shit together before this game starts or I swear I’ll edit said praise to make it look like you lure kids into your van with promises of candy. Fucking Albany…