Hockey Season is Over
The Rangers went down in defeat, blowing a 3-1 series lead and dropping Game 7 in Washington to the Capitals, 2-1. The Caps scored the winning goal with 4:59 left, completing what was undoubtedly to most hockey mavens a predictable loss for the listless Rangers.
The only thing that made this night sweet for Ranger fans was utter collapse of the Devils and “Mary” Brodeur in the last 1:20 of the third period, surrendering goals to Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal, and giving Carolina the series with a 4-3 come-from-behind win. The Hurricanes have saved the hockey world from any more Devil hockey for the rest of the Spring.
Thus ends hockey in the New York market before the Second Round. Advertisers for Versus and NBC-TV need to be nervous, not so much because the New York area teams lost but because of the way they lost. These losses and collapses by the Rangers and Devils, although different types of losses, leave fans disgusted. The last thing they will want to see anytime soon is another hockey game.
The Second Round match-ups in the East do not bode well for future playoff TV audiences. Washington and Pittsburgh have little out-of-market pull other than having the two of the premier players in the NHL, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin (maybe you could include Evgeny Malkin). The troublesome part for advertisers and the NHL is that either Crosby or Ovechkin will make a second round exit.
While Carolina (formerly the Hartford Whalers) have congratulations from this ex-Connecticut resident for dumping the Debbies, it’s over in the Second Round for the Hurricanes. To quote George C. Scott as General George Patton, the Bruins will rip through the Hurricanes “like crap through a goose.” It’s four games and out.
Hockey Season is Over
Brashear Gets His Wrist Slapped and Butt Kissed by Soupy April 27, 2009
Puck Daddy Gets it Wrong … Again
First, the news: Donald Brashear, noted hockey goon and executioner for the Washington Capitals, received a six-game suspension for his blind-sided shot to the head of New York Rangers Center Blair Betts. The suspension was issued by NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin “Soupy” Campbell.
This suspension is, in essence, another win-win situation for the Capitals. Brashear does little to contribute to the success of the Capitals. On the other hand, Betts brings speed to the Rangers fourth line and is arguably one of the better penalty killers in the league. Others much wiser than me have suggested that Brashear’s knock-out of Betts may have indirectly contributed to two power play goals by the Capitals in their 5-3 win in Game 6 on Sunday.
Since Betts will definitely miss Game 7, the trade-off is that the Caps lose Brashear and the Rangers lose Betts. Who do you think wins that trade-off? The hockey gods at Puck Daddy would have you believe that the punishment fit the crime and this suspension was “another” (???) stroke of genius by Soupy. Just like the death penalty, this “landmark” (???) suspension would serve as a deterrent. The gang at Puck Daddy really needs to stop planting their lips on Soupy’s ample arse and must bring an end to their chemical dependencies before it is too late.
In the meantime, I guess I should be flattered that Puck Daddy threw my humble little blog a link yesterday, even though the editor felt compelled to misinform readers of my intent. Quoted from the Monday Morning Headlines: A contrarian view on the John Tortorella suspension, which calls our analysis “lame” and then argues that the NHL is fixing the series to increase television ratings. Written from the co-pilot’s seat of a black helicopter hovering over Area 51.
It must be hard for them to write such pearls of wisdom in-between dropping and raising those baskets of fries into and from the tasty oil bath at McDonald’s.
Soupy Blows it Again April 26, 2009
Fans Need to Send a Message
NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued a one-game suspension to Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella for squirting a fan with water and then throwing the water bottle at the fan. And, despite the rantings of hockey buttheads like Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy fame, the situation was mishandled, as usual, by Soupy.
Wyshynski would have you believe that the punishment fit the crime, and that’s what you would expect from the usual lame analysis from Wyshynski . The true statement is that the punishment fit the financial objectives of the NHL.
From the outset, let’s make it clear, I am a long-time Rangers fan but I am not a fan of Tortorella. I openly condemn his actions. While a HUGE fine to Tortorella and the Rangers was in order, hockey fans need to understand two things. First is that a suspension serves the business interests of the NHL. Second is why Soupy must accept blame for mismanaging yet another incident.
Let’s examine Soupy’s “as usual” screw-up first. Even if you put aside Campbell’s well-documented inclination to stick it to the Rangers every chance he gets, there is an issue in law called proximate cause. Proximate cause refers to the specific action that ultimately results in an outcome. Lay people may understand the principal better from a related term called mitigating circumstances, which is actually justification for somebody responding in an incorrect manner.
There are no mitigating circumstances in what Tortorella did. His exchange with the Washington fans was totally unprofessional, unacceptable and contrary to everything he preaches. However, the proximate cause of the situation was the lack of response by Capitals’ security to complaints from Rangers’ bench personnel about spitting, cursing and threatening behavior from the fans near the bench.
Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? April 22, 2009
Escape From New York Comes True
Wow! It’s been almost 16 months since my last post, and it is amazing to see the changes in the world and my own life during that span. It’s been an interesting time, hasn’t it?
Let’s see … Hillary didn’t make it, Obama did, but Hillie is playing Secretary of State. I looked at my prediction for an Obama v. McCain Presidential Race and was amazed at my accuracy; overall, it was a good, fair race. The one black spot was the biased attacks from the media on Sarah Palin. Once again, anyone who turns to network news in this country is a damned fool.
In the world of “Nothing Changes” (so true), a hockey fan found this blog yesterday searching for stuff on one of my favorite whipping boys, Colin “Soupy” Campbell (see Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell. Our beloved Soupy issued another in a long series of ridiculous suspensions to Boston’s Milan Lucic (one game) for a cross-check that was little more than a love tap … but Soupy did not suspend Ian Lappierre or Mike Komisarek of “Les Habitants” for their cheap shots. Little matter as the Canadiens got flushed down the bowl in four by the Bruins. And, for all the miserable Canadiens fans who booed the “The Star Spangled Banner” on Monday night, go to hell!
Imus, who recently announced that he is battling cancer, survived his first year at Citadel and WABC-AM (New York) in grand fashion and, despite a few backhanded stabs at him, was doing some of the very best radio of his career. While the snipers are still ready to take Imus out, he is not going to leave himself open. The New York Rangers … well, it’s kind of like when Ron Swoboda was playing right field for the Metsies: every day is a new adventure for the Garden Faithful. Even being up 3-1 on OvieCaps doesn’t make a Ranger fan feel safe. Bloomberg … well, he and the entire NYC Department of Education can also kiss my grits.
So what changes are happening in Mr. Smith’s Neighborhood … or, should I say Senor Smith’s Barrio?
Rangers Continue to Roll December 31, 2007
Are All Montreal Fans Brain Damaged?
Last night (Sunday, Dec. 30) the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on a breakaway overtime goal by Brendan Shanahan. The real highlight of the game, however, was the hundreds of Montreal fans who paid two and three times the face value of a ticket and then proceeded to act like idiots in the stands. More on that later.
After taking a 2-1 first period lead on goals by Dan Girardi and Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers played a lackluster second period. It was most likely a letdown following a very emotional 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
The league-leading Montreal power play took advantage of the referee’s generosity to score two second period goals and lead 3-2 to start the third period. Montreal scored on three of their four power play opportunities but were a marginal offensive team at even strength. One of Montreal’s goals came after a hit on Dan Girardi that should have been called boarding but was not.
After early success against the highly-touted Canadien defense, the Rangers reverted back to their “excessive passing” game and stopped skating. While the Canadien defense looked like traffic cones on the ice, the Rangers seemed to have lost their offensive drive.
NHL Suspends Islander Chris Simon for 30 Games December 19, 2007
Colin “Soupy” Campbell Blows It Again
The NHL suspended Islander “bad boy” Chris Simon for 30 games for kicking Pittsburgh Penguin Jarkko Ruutu with a razor-sharp skate blade during an altercation last Saturday. The suspension is the longest in NHL history and comes following a suspension to Simon last Spring for swinging his stick at the face of New York Ranger Ryan Hollweg.
Remarkably, Islander head coach Ted Nolan called the penalty “excessive.”
Although the record clearly shows my favoritism to the Rangers, my perspective on Simion’s latest incident has nothing to do specifically with the attack on Hollweg. However, the two-handed swing at Hollweg was the cause of one of the seven suspensions that highlight the career of Simon.
As much as I dislike Jarkko Ruutu and would love to see him fed slowly through a meat grinder, my condemnation of Campbell has absolutely nothing to do with Ruutu as a victim. Had the victim of Simon’s attack been Ken Linsman, Dave Schultz or Dale Hunter, the NHL’s most despicable players over the years, I would still say the Soupy Campbell continues to show how he is a poor politician, inept manager and ridiculous hockey executive.
The Rangers, Fantasy Hockey and Loving Hockey Again December 4, 2007
Rangers’ Discussion Board is for the Birds
Before we begin, my thanks go to my sister-in-law Patricia for pointing me to The Enneagram Institute, a web site that offers both free and fully validated personality assessments. Under the guise of classifying me as a Reformer (well, it could happen), it proved what people have been telling me for years: I am a pain-in-the-butt, anal-retentive type-1 personality.
For now, my destiny as an idealistic reformer steps forward.
The last 10 weeks haven’t been especially pleasant ones for me, an endless monotony between doctors, hospitals and my little cavern in the basement of my home. I won’t bore you with the details but my functionality has been severely limited. As of yet, I haven’t found a plausible explanation as to why I could work on a computer in limited stretches but, when watching TV, I fell asleep in a heartbeat.
During my recovery, I listened to the Rangers’ games on television despite the brutally painful results of the first ten games. You have to understand that the worst part was reading the pathetic discussion board on the New York Rangers web site. You’d think that the world was coming to an end and people were jumping off every bridge in NYC.
To break up my daily monotony, I joined a fantasy hockey league. I never played fantasy sports before this because I just didn’t have the time. At a previous job, I watched employees spend three hours a day on an in-house league … and the department’s productivity was an illusion because the manager and two supervisors spent more time than anyone else chatting and trading players.
The best part was that the Director of MIS and his staff actually helped to set up the league and conceal it from management. As you might imagine, it left a bad taste in my mouth for fantasy sports.
Chris Neil – Hockey Coward
(October 7) Last night, the New York Rangers proved that the Ottawa Senators aren’t as good a hockey team as the media reports predicted. Despite a miserable performance, a lack of intensity, no offensive presence and a horrible defensive effort, the Rangers lost to Ottawa by a mere 2–0. Both Ottawa goals came in less than one minute of each other and were gifts resulting from bad defensive plays by the Rangers. Although Henrik Lundqvist let in one soft goal, he was brilliant against the highly-touted Ottawa team.
The story of the night, however, was the cheap shot by Chris Neil on Sean Avery, resulting in an apparent dislocated shoulder for Avery. Neil blind-sided Avery, who did not see Neil and was totally defenseless. The referees, playing “homey” for the Ottawa crowd, simply gave Neil a two-minute elbowing penalty and ignored the deliberate intent to injure Avery.
First of all, let’s not have any illusions about Sean Avery. He is a pest and is like a burr under a horse’s saddle or a pebble in your shoe. He knows how to stir the pot and mix things up. He is hardly a hockey angel. Yet his injury is the perfect example of why the NHL and its referees remain horribly inconsistent.
Just Say “NO!” to Peca & Meehan August 21, 2007
Meehan Issues an Ultimatum to the Rangers
According to TSN, which quotes John Dellapina of the The Daily News, Michael Peca’s agent has issued an ultimatum to Glen Sather, New York Rangers President and General Manager. “We’re probably going to force the issue by (today),” Don Meehan told the New York Post. “If I can’t reach him (today), we’ll just go our separate way.”
Michael Peca, 32, an NHL journeyman who has played with five different teams and is coming of an injury-shortened season, is at the center of an amazing media blitz by Meehan to stir up interest. Peca has also made himself highly visible in the press as he fights to find a team willing to take a chance on him next season. He remains one of several high-profile free agents who have been unable to find a taker.
So far, nobody is jumping through hoops to sign Peca. At 32 and following a broken leg last season, there is too much speculation that Peca is a high-risk signing at the salary he might command. There is little doubt that Meehan, agent to many NHL players, is probably trying to inflate Peca’s value by creating an artificial bidding war.
The Sunday Sports Section August 19, 2007
NBA Scandal, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Michael Vick, Rick Tocchet, NHL Jerseys, Michael Peca
Under normal conditions, my interest in sports ranges from my deep fanaticism for the New York Rangers (and contempt for the other New York area hockey teams) to a long-lived loyalty for the Yankees and then to a fleeting interest in the New York Jets. However, the ridiculous sports news over the last few days makes me wonder how people can listen to sports talk radio for more than 20 minutes without developing a brain aneurism.
The sports pages in recent days reads more like a cross between a police blotter, a scandal sheet and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Without covering every arrest (Jose Offerman and his baseball bat attack), the NFL (National Felony League) and every non-news feature article, let’s look more closely at seven ongoing sports stories.
The NBA Betting Scandal
According to ESPN, former NBA official Tim Donaghy will reportedly give federal prosecutors information implicating twenty (20!) other referees in gambling activities as a part of his cooperation with government officials. Donaghy, who pleaded guilty on Thursday, Aug. 16, and was released on $250,000 bond, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 9 for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.
Law and Order taught all of us about the value of uncorroborated accomplice testimony in a conspiracy, but this scandal serves as one more reason to turn off the NBA. The millions of dollars are thrown around the NBA as a result of exorbitant ticket prices, marketing agreements and television contracts,even though the NBA also has the smallest roster of any of the five major team sports in America. The resulting greed in the NBA is not only understandable, it is expected. The refs might as well grab their piece of the pie.
The New York Rangers Are Ready! August 5, 2007
Rangers Sign Avery and Hossa … Time to Rock and Roll!
While I was vacationing in Northern Ontario, Glen Sather, President of the New York Rangers, signed restricted free agents Sean Avery and Marcel Hossa for 2007-2008 following arbitration hearings. The Rangers roster is essentially complete for the upcoming season and represents a substantial improvement over the 2006-2007 team.
There seems to have been some media hype about the rigors of the arbitration process for Avery. The Rangers offered $1.3 million and Avery asked for $2.6 million. The arbiter essentially split the difference and awarded Avery $1.9 million, an $800,000 raise from the previous season. Apparently, it seems that some shrines of sports journalism integrity like The New York Post have tried to stir the pot and present Avery as angry and dismayed at comments made by Rangers management.
Let’s set the record straight for Avery, the fans and the mediocre hockey writers.
On the Road Again July 20, 2007
Driving through Hell in Buffalo and Toronto
After loading the CRV, I was on the road at 8:30 AM and headed northwest towards a little area called Spanish, Ontario, Canada, for 9 days of relaxation, fishing and general keep-me-out-of-the-house fun. Most of the drive was uneventful with the exception of a few brief showers here and there. By the time I hit Rochester, NY, the Sun was out for the remainder of the day.
While driving through my least favorite city on this planet, Buffalo, I hit the first traffic jammof the day. Somebody needs to explain to the folks at the NYS Thruway Authority that E-Z Pass was designed to reward drivers who invested in the tag. The Thruway Authority in Buffalo decided that E-Z Pass should only have two lanes, and both lanes have the old “stop-and-wait-for-the-gate” technology. Traffic control at other tolls, bridges and the border is none existent. In fact, I think we will wait until midnight on our return to go through U.S. Customs to avoid the five-mile back-up we saw today.
Rangers’ Trade Creates Questions July 19, 2007
Cullen Trade Leaves Some Fans Bewildered
On Tuesday, July 17, the New York Rangers announced that they had traded center Matt Cullen to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, forward Joe Barnes and a 2008 third-round draft pick. The trade has received a mixed reception from Ranger fans. The move is largely regarded as an attempt by the Rangers to create more cap space, presumably to sign restricted free agents Sean Avery and Marcel Hossa. There has also been speculation that the Rangers are pursuing Toronto free agent Michael Peca.
Cullen, who will turn 31 this season, was an important part of Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup. Although Cullen did not live up to expectations in his first season as a Ranger, his hustle, speed and tenacity were respected by many fans. His effort in the drive to make the playoffs, and his performance in the playoffs, seemed to hold promise for some fans.
On the other hand, it is possible that management felt they were overpaying Cullen who became the third-line center with the acquisition of free agents Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. Cullen disappointed many fans with his frequent failure to hit the net with shots and his inability to finish (score on good opportunities).
A Coup by the New York Rangers July 2, 2007
The Rangers announced yesterday the signing of free agents Chris Drury (formerly of the Buffalo Sabres) and Scott Gomez (formerly of the New Jersey Devils) to long-term contracts. The signings fill a major gap in the Rangers line-up at center and brings two top NHL talents to the team, providing additional power for years to come. Forming a nucleus with youngsters like Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Fedor Tyutin, Blair Betts, Petr Prucha and Dan Girardi (along with many talented minor league players), the Ranger’s future seems bright.
There have been very few days that are truly magical as a fan of the New York Rangers since 1994. The last two seasons have been special for many of us who are season ticket holders despite the drought since we won our last Stanley Cup. While we demand perfection from Ranger management, sometimes unrealistically, we have been pleasantly surprised by some great moves in recent months.
Last season, we signed or obtained players like Brendan Shanahan, Matt Cullen, Paul Mara and Sean Avery. The level of devotion to this team is at the highest I’ve seen it in my 39 years as a fan, even superseding that great season of 1993-1994. Much in the same way that Mike Richter, Adam Graves, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch inspired many great seasons of hockey, Ranger fans will be able to feast their hockey appetite on a menu that includes Jaromir Jagr, Marty Straka, Lundqvist, Shanahan (likely), Prucha (likely), Avery (it had better be definite!), Gomez and Drury.
Hockey Season Is Over — 5/6/07 May 6, 2007
The hockey season is over. I don’t have to turn on NBC or Versus for a long. long time.
It is with sadness that my Brendan Shanahan jersey, the one that had an undefeated record of 14-0 (including four playoff wins), is hanging in my closet after suffering its first defeat. It will have to wait until next season to join a rotation with my Jagr, Messier, Esposito and Leetch jerseys. My lucky Brendan Shanahan shirt, the black one celebrating his 600th goal early this season, also suffered its first defeat and is in the wash.
The playoff beard is already shaven off, and I won’t have to shave my head for the Stanley Cup Finals. Although my 8th Graders were thrilled at the prospect of me shaving my head, nothing good can come of a fat, old white man shaving his head … it is too ugly to put into words.
Devils Go Bye-Bye and the Rangers Need a Miracle May 5, 2007
I never much cared for Marty Brodeur of the Swamp Gerbils, even though he is one of the greatest goalies every to play in the NHL. I don’t like his smugness and I don’t like crybabies. To help end the Gerbil season, Marty made some really dumb comments about Ray Emery, the Ottawa goaltender. He then tried to spin it and back-peddle but, instead, wound up with filet of foot in his mouth and a 3-2 loss in Game 5 (Ottawa takes the series 4-1).
I fear that the Debbies’ departure from the playoffs may be a bad omen for the New York Rangers. The possibility of a Rangers-Debbies series for the Eastern Conference championship (and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals) would have been incredibly awesome. It would have been a fabulous boost for the NHL and hockey. Instead, the specter of a Buffalo-Ottawa final means that hockey season will be over for me (and the NY Metro market), but I will get a huge refund from Madison Square Garden (maybe I can finally buy that fishing rowboat!). (more…)
What Goes Around Comes Around May 4, 2007
Another week in the books and there are paybacks galore combined with lots of other interesting news. So we take a moment to reflect and hand out the jeers and cheers where they are most deserved.
Bush, No Child Left Behind and Killing Education
George W. Bush visited a very effective charter school in the New York City neighborhood called Harlem last week. Georgie would like to have everyone believe that it was his NCLB legislation that magically transformed education in Harlem into a state-of-the-art model for educators everywhere.
Frankly, Mr. Bush, you are full of s**t.
First, the Harlem Village Academy Charter School should be very proud. The entire community has made a strong commitment to success through learning. From uniforms to well-organized classrooms to highly respectful students, the teachers and administration have made their impact. Using a longer day and assessment that drives the curriculum, they have raised student achievement through methods that all educators have been endorsing for years. Assessment that drives teaching is a far cry from the standardized testing mandated by NCLB (which is just a measure of test-taking, not learning or knowledge). (more…)
Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell April 29, 2007
The NHL lost a fan today at about 4:30 PM EDT.
He was not an ordinary, everyday hockey fan. He was a long-time season ticket holder for the New York Rangers. He and his family not only attended games at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, but also traveled to other cities that had difficulties filling their arenas (whether it was due to the team’s fortunes or just a general disinterest in hockey).
Like many hockey fans, he became interested playing the game as a young boy until an injury prevented further play. He was also lucky enough to have a dad who had access to tickets at MSG, and he was a frequent spectator.
Like most Ranger fans, his life as a Ranger fan had nothing to do with winning and everything to do with tradition and loyalty. He had to wait 38 years of his life to finally see Mark Messier hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in hockey’s top-rated market. Following the joy of 1994, the ensuing twelve seasons were, at best, frustrating and included some of the greatest team failures in the Rangers’ long history.
Consistency on the Ice and in the Classroom April 22, 2007
The Classroom, Corporate Culture and The NHL
One might wonder what the connection is between ice hockey, Corporate America and the classroom, other than the fact that this teacher and his wife (also a teacher) are die-hard season ticket holders for the New York Rangers. And no, this article has nothing to do with my wife’s utter fascination with the “caboose” of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers’ phenomenal goalie. However, today’s lesson is about a word that has been lost in this modern day of makeovers and media spin.
What is consistency? How does it apply in the NHL?
Today’s word is consistency. According to the folks at dictionary.com, consistency is “steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.: There is consistency in his pattern of behavior. Unfortunately, the lessons from the National Hockey League have to do with the performance of the referees. For those of you not familiar with the NHL, new rules were instituted at the beginning of the 2005 – 2006 season. The new rules required refs to call a two-minute penalty for ALL “obstruction” fouls with zero tolerance – holding, hooking, interference, illegal picks and goalie interference – whereas such fouls in the past were only called when the infraction was highly obvious or prevented a scoring chance.