Archive for the ‘Rangers’ Category

Conference D-eath

Posted: December 9, 2011 by Keith Stone in hockey, NHL, Rangers

After the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg earlier this year, but were forced to remain in the NHL’s Southeast Division because the schedule was already set, league realignment has been a priority. A reasonable person would think that Winnipeg could move into the Central Division and Nashville would take their place or Southeast. Or we could even get a little zany, move Winnipeg into the Northwest, Colorado into the Central, and Nashville into the Southeast. I’m no Christopher Columbus, but it seems fairly logical.

Well, the NHL decided to blow everything up and form four conferences, gracefully named Conference A, B, C, and D. Teams in the same conference would play each other five or six times a year, and have a home-and-home series with the other teams. Teams in the Western Conference that weren’t exactly in the West, like Chicago and Detroit, would have a lot less travel to do. However in the northeast, where teams aren’t so far apart, teams like Philly and Boston are only going to get to play each other twice a year.

Of course, the Rangers were placed in Conference D, which is basically the current Atlantic Division with the addition of Washington and Carolina. It’s already a tough division with the Penguins and historically solid Flyers and Devils. Throw in the Capitals and you have to compete with two of the league’s best teams on a regular basis. Even the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup a few years ago.

I know it’s cool that Crosby and Ovechkin are going to be in the same conference, but does it really have to be the one the Rangers are in? The first two rounds of the playoffs are going to be played within the conference so it’s going to be really fun playing all those teams in the first and second round every year. If the Rangers can somehow escape, I’m sure they’ll have a ton of energy for the Semifinals. Of course, Florida and Tampa Bay were placed in a conference with all the eastern Canadian teams which makes a lot of sense. It’s going to take some getting used to but as long as they name the conferences after former players, I guess I’ll learn to live with it. May I suggest the Domi Conference?

Brad Richards gets the Broadway Hat for this one. After he started dating his new girlfriend, Olivia Munn, the Rangers ripped off a seven-game winning streak to move to the top of the Atlantic Division. As we learned with Kate Hudson in 2009, having the right girl can help propel a team to Championship levels. Olivia appears to be a good luck charm of sorts. After dating/banging Brett Ratner, the director became became famous with huge hits in Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, and, wait for it, Rush Hour 3. When he trashed her last week for revealing that he has a tiny dick, he promptly came under fire for making homophobic comments and resigned from directing the Oscars. Coincidence?  I think not! Let’s just hope Brad is a little more well-endowed and keeps her around. Dayyyyyyyyyyyyuuuuuuuuuuuuum!

This Kid Doesn’t Get the Broadway Hat

Posted: November 16, 2011 by Keith Stone in hockey, NHL, Rangers, the kids, Veteran's Day

The celebrate Veteran’s Day, the Rangers had the eight-year-old son of a veteran drop the first puck at Friday’s game. The kid did the best he could but appeared a bit confused about the protocol. Either he was nervous or somebody didn’t give him the rundown. You can’t leave the Captain’s hand hanging like that! At least Marian Gaborik seemed to get a kick out of it.

John Tortorella Is A Man Of Few Words

Posted: October 23, 2011 by Keith Stone in hockey, NHL, Rangers

After a 2-0 loss in Edmonton last night, Rangers head coach John Tortorella didn’t mince words during his postgame interview. The Blueshirts continued their lackluster play and penalty binge, but Nikolai Khabibulin wasn’t too shabby in goal, either. Tortorella should know better. The Bulin Wall helped him win the Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay in 2004. Tom Renney must be smiling today.

All About the Hat

Posted: October 20, 2011 by Keith Stone in hockey, NHL, Rangers

After shutting out the Canucks 4-0 on Tuesday, Henrik Lundqvist made like Don Draper in his postgame interview and rocked a fedora. It’s not just any fedora, however. Someone bought it while the Rangers were in Europe and it’s become part of the Rangers’ postgame tradition. The Broadway Hat, as it’s called, will be worn by a player after each win, presumably the player that has the most to contribute to that win. I love it. There’s nothing better in sports than gimmicks. The gold thong the Yankees used to pass around. The ’99 Knicks doing the LJ. Fried chicken, beer, and choking down the stretch for the Red Sox. Henrik has already stated that his goal is to wear the Broadway Hat after every game. Hey, if winning the Stanley Cup is too far down the road to be a serious goal, then winning he Broadway Hat will do.

Blueshirts United

No More Quo: The Rangers 2011-2012 Preview

Posted: October 7, 2011 by Keith Stone in hockey, NHL, Rangers

Sixth. Sixth. Fifth. Seventh. Ninth. Eighth.

It’s an old adage in sports that the worst place to be is in the middle. You’re not competing for a Title but your team isn’t bad enough to accumulate enough talent through the draft to move up in the world. You get stuck in purgatory. Judging from the Rangers’ last six seasons and their extremely disappointing exit in the 2011 Playoffs, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them back in the middling morass of the Eastern Conference. Despite this, there’s an optimism around the team that things may be different this year.

Of course, the Rangers have never been afraid to spend a little cash and they did so this summer, signing top free agent Brad Richards. His pairing with Marian Gaborik on the top line should open up the ice for the once-prodigious scorer, who can concentrate on putting the puck in the net instead of handling it. Gaborik’s 22 goals in 2010-11 was a major letdown and his scoring above all may be the difference between being a contender and a pretender.

The foundation of the Rangers has been solidifying for the past few seasons and it’s finally time to judge whether the young guys have what it takes to make a serious run for the Stanley Cup. New Captain Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky lead this faction that also includes Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov, and Derek Stepan. Callahan and Dubinsky both scored 20 goals last year but will be expected to increase their production and must avoid injuries, as both have missed significant time over the past two seasons.

Along the blue line, all seemed well but star Marc Staal has still been suffering from a concussion suffered last February and is out indefinitely. While it seems he may be back sooner rather than later, the defense will now be a huge storyline to follow especially in the beginning of the season. Dan Girardi is a stud, but Michael Sauer needs to step up and afterthoughts like Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon will now be pressed into important roles. How will they handle it?

Last and certainly not least, the King Henrik Lundqvist is back in net for the Blueshirts. He was as great as ever last year and continues to be one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. His work is what makes the Rangers competitive in nearly every game. With Martin Biron serving as a capable backup, the King was fresh down the stretch for the first time in his career and his 68 games played was his least since his rookie campaign. The team was fifth overall in goals against last year but with the lack of scoring, it didn’t show in the standings.

With Sidney Crosby’s future unknown in Pittsburgh and the Flyers making wholesale changes in the offseason, it would seem that the Atlantic Division is up for grabs. If the Rangers can continue their physical, gritty style of play that was so successful in the later part of last season, avoid the injury bug, and get a big year from Marian Gaborik, they should be right there. Hopefully, King Henrik and the kids will put them over the top.

Projected finish: 45-26-11, 101 points, 1st place in Atlantic Divison, 3rd place in Eastern Conference

Avery Rules

Posted: October 5, 2011 by Keith Stone in hockey, NHL, Rangers, Sean Avery

Sean Avery was waived by the Rangers yesterday. He had a tumultuous and controversial two stints with the Blueshirts spanning five seasons, but will definitely go down as one of the most memorable players in team history. He could be an asshole one day, then stand up for gay rights the next, all while looking stylish and checking out women’s handbags. I’ll miss him. Here’s some Avery highlights from the 2008 Playoffs to remember him by.