What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I know some of you have expressed to me that once the Rangers are done, you are also done. For those people who are sticking with hockey all summer and not sitting around waiting for October, thanks for reading. As I said in my last blog, I’m going to do some project pieces, as well as pop in once the Rangers make news. I’m aiming for one blog a week during the summer, unless something really crazy pops up.
For me, at this time of the year, my leisure time is spent on catching up on things. I’m an avid reader and have already blazed through some books that I had sitting on my shelf. If any of you have ever read “Confederacy of Dunces” by John Toole, “Jacksonland” by Steve Inskeep or “Shattered” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, feel free to hit me up & let me know your thoughts. There’s more to life than hockey & the summer is a great time to explore other interests. That said, I have the autobiographies of Jeremy Roenick and Phil Esposito sitting on my shelf, just ready to get to work on. If they are good, I’ll throw up a review.
Speaking of the end of the Rangers season and a book review, in case you missed it, here were my last manifestos on this site:
Final Thoughts on The New York Rangers 2016-2017 Season: Putting Flowers At The Grave as The Rangers Die Way Too Young, Final Report Card w/Grades For The Rangers & Even The MSG Networks Crew, 4 Cups in 90 Years, Looking Ahead, Keep AV & Fire Arniel, The IIHF Tournament & NYR Involvement, The Draft, Frank Boucher Update, The 1979 NY Rangers, Road-Trips & Much More In This Smorgasbord NYR Blog
“Thin Ice: A Season in Hell with the New York Rangers” by Larry “Ratso” Sloman In-Depth Book Review: Perhaps The Greatest & Rawest Book Ever on the NYR, A Memoir Of Sex, Drinking and Rock & Roll with The Rangers Is Now a Fascinating Period Piece 35 Years Later, Ranger Heroes Such as Duguay, Greschner, Beck, JD, Maloney & Others Bare Their Lives and Much More. Plus: Team USA’s Win at the IIHF Worlds Gives Them First Place, Kevin Hayes and Changes With the Wolfpack, Including The Firing of Ken Gernander
With hockey over, I also got to catch up on a few TV series. While I’m sad to see “Bates Motel” go, because that show was amazing, if you’re looking for good TV there’s plenty of it. I recently caught up on “Billions” on Showtime last weekend. That show is written perfectly. With the Rangers off the ice until the fall, if you’re looking for a current series to binge-watch, I’d recommend the following:
- The Americans (FX)
- Bosch (Amazon)
- Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
- Better Call Saul (AMC)
- The Man in the High Castle (Amazon)
- Veep (HBO)
- Last Man on Earth (FOX)
- Goliath (Amazon)
- Fargo (FX)
- Impractical Jokers (TRUTV)
- Fear the Walking Dead (AMC) – I actually prefer this right now than the original. I mean, if zombies ruled the world, why wouldn’t you get a boat and live isolated? Plus, “The Walking Dead” has got so silly to me. First there were barely any survivors, now there are 7667966565345674574757467746654896478564657846 survivors in a 10 mile radius. It’s one thing to use a creative license to advance a story, it’s another to negate your suspension of disbelief.
These are just the shows that are still airing new episodes that I enjoy. There are plenty of other series that you can spend a lazy weekend on. Whether it’s binge-watching TV, throwing on the baseball jersey, BBQing, pounding beer or hitting the links, we all gotta fill up our Ranger-free time somehow!
Not going to go too deep into this because the IIHF World Championship Gold Medal game is a week old by the time you read this, but if you haven’t heard, Team Sweden won the IIHF World Championships, beating Canada in a shootout. Yes, a fucking shootout.
Last year, I ranted and raved about this tournament. After all, Cam Talbot had the must shutouts in IIHF World Championship history and posted a shutout in the Gold Medal game, leading Canada to victory. Of course I was happy about that!
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this tournament, but you have to take it for what it is at face value. It’s a fun tournament, but it certainly doesn’t feature the elite of the world like the Stanley Cup Finals or even the Olympics. (Despite all the talk, I still think NHL players will play in the Olympics.)
Before getting onto the overpaid Swedish goalie, let me talk about Team USA. It’s a disgrace that they were eliminated by Finland in the quarterfinals. After finishing in first place in the round robin portion of the tournament, Team USA was one and done in the single elimination portion of the tournament. They didn’t even qualify for a medal game. After impressively beating Russia to get the top seed, Team USA laid an egg in the playoffs.
It’s been tough watching Team USA. We all know that international hockey doesn’t favor Team USA. The talent depth just isn’t the same as other countries. I mean look at the names missing for Team Canada in this tournament: Crosby, McDavid, Talbot, Price, Toews, Stamkos, Nash, etc. Calvin Pickard, of the last place Colorado Avalanche, (And statistically one of the worst goalies in the NHL this season) was in net for Team Canada & they still made the Gold Medal game of this IIHF Worlds Tournament!
Between the beating taken in the fake World Cup of Hockey tournament (a tournament only designed to generate revenue, with the winners getting nothing of value but a pat on the back. In fact, the tournament bombed so bad, that tickets were going for $5 on Stubhub for the final game!) and being embarrassed in the IIHF Worlds, it’s been a rough calendar year for Team USA.
After all, if there were 10 Team USA fans in the stands at this IIHF tournament, I would’ve been shocked. Hockey just isn’t big in the USA and I have talked about this plenty of times. The fact that NBC has no clue how to promote the sport in America doesn’t help either. In addition, the IIHF Worlds Tournament gets no support from the NHL, so you have to be a hardcore fan to know about it, follow it and watch it. After all, the games are all on at weird times, due to the time difference of playing internationally.
Sweden shockingly beat last years winner, Team Canada, to win the Gold, with a final of 2-1*. The score gets an asterisk because it was won on a shootout. I’m sorry, I don’t follow every piss and fart of international hockey, but you can’t decide medal or championship games by a shootout.
The purpose of the shootout makes sense for the regular season. Everyone feels like a loser after a tie. We want winners and losers after a game. I know the tie is romanticized by some, but really, with high ticket prices & the ilk, who wants to invest 3 hours for a tie these days?
That said, you don’t want games going to double or triple OT on a night in-night out basis. You want to lessen the grind of a long hockey season, especially when these guys are playing other games, whether it be international play or All-Star games. A shootout to end a regular season game makes sense. Teams have to travel and you don’t want to risk injuries with tired players.
In the playoffs or in a game to decide a champion, the game has to be won by a team. Not because of a skills competition. You don’t see Game 7 of the World Series being determined by a Home Run Derby. You don’t see the Cavaliers & the Warriors having slam dunk competition to settle the score. International fans can talk to me until they are blue in the face about this – I don’t care. You simply can’t have a shootout to decide a championship. I would’ve said this if Sweden lost too, don’t think this is just a Lundqvist thing!
While on Lundqvist, I’m glad he decided to play in this tournament because it’s the one time of the year I can root for his team to lose! I’ll never like the guy for reasons I’ve stated numerous times on this blog. He’s just an asshole. I’ll give you the latest example of his douchebagness in this blog too!
Calvin Pickard, who would be an AHL goalie on many teams, went up against Lundqvist to determine who gets the gold medal. Pickard was exposed and Lundqvist held down the fort, giving Sweden the 2-1 victory over Canada.
Lundqvist finally wins something, which means Ranger fans go wild. This is some of the stuff I read on Facebook and Twitter. I swear I’m not making this up:
- “IF TEAM SWEEDIN’S COACH WAS THE RANGERZ COACH, THEN RANGERS WOULD WIN THE STANLEE CUP!”
- “IT SHOWS YOU HOW GREAT HENRICK LUNDQUISS IS WHEN MARK STAHL AND NICK HOLDIN AREN’T PLAYING DEFENCE!”
- “LUNDQUISS CARRYED SWEDAN ALL TOURNAMENT.” (Lundqvist didn’t even play the whole tournament!)
- “IF THE RANGERS SCOARED LIKE SWEEDAN THAN THEY WOOD’VE BEET OTTAWER!” (Keep in mind, most of Sweden’s games in the playoffs were tight games & it took a shootout to win 2-1.)
- “THIS IS WHY LUNQUIST IS THE KING!” (Talbot won the same tournament. What does that make Matt Murray, who’s about to play in his second SCF? What does that make Marty Brodeur? Master and Ruler of the World?
What sent shivers down my spine, was reading people actually trying to sell the idea that the Rangers should sign Joel Lundqvist. If you don’t know, Joel Lundqvist flamed out of the NHL because he wasn’t good enough to play in the NHL. It’s nice that Joel & his diva brother won something together besides the Swedish Parcheesi Mens Double Championship, but come on, slow your roll. Of course, the blogs that print such drivel are the same that will never hold Lundqvist accountable for anything, so it goes with the territory.
For real – just bottom line this yourself. If Joel’s last name wasn’t Lundqvist, would any of you be pining for a 35 year old fourth liner?
Some people just see that Lundqvist won and have their “hot takes.” I actually followed this tournament from the start and watched every Russia, Sweden, USA and Canada game once the Rangers season ended. (Two round robin games and the tournament itself.) Here’s what really happened:
- Henrik Lundqvist beat Team Canada’s C Team.
- This tournament mostly features younger guys looking for more work. It’s why Talbot & McDavid played last year, but after a long season (and for Talbot, the birth of his twins) they took this tournament off. Even Ovechkin, who usually plays in this tournament, took this one off.
- The depth isn’t there for teams.
- These teams don’t play together year round.
- It’s a single elimination tournament, where even a team like Finland fluked their way past first seed Team USA.
Listen, if you’re a Henrik Lundqvist fan, you should be happy. He won a medal. That’s cool. In the case of Joel Lundqvist, if you think the Rangers should be in the market for 35 year old fringe fourth-liner, you’re nuts. There is a reason why Joel Lundqvist plays for Frolunda of the Swedish League and not for any of the NHL teams. Plus, the quality of competition in this tournament doesn’t match up to the Stanley Cup playoffs and really, seeing a Cup victory should be the goal of every Ranger fan.
Reading a blog where someone suggested Joel Lundqvist must be signed by the Rangers still gives me gas and a rash!
Nylander was very excited about winning a shootout game. Just imagine if Nylander injured Lundqvist by celebrating like this. With a name that is similar to NY ISLANDER, the headline would write itself!
This week, Lundqvist on the subway was the talk of Rangers twitter and how he is “a regular guy.”
- I like how he is sitting in the disabled person section of the train. I didn’t know having a big five hole counted as a disability.
- How generous of Lundqvist to squish a pregnant lady. So much for chivalry.
- I wonder if he’s reading my blog on his phone right now. After all, he had to use his phone to block me on twitter! Ha!
- With the way he’s dressed, I wonder if he was going to “Billysburg” and hanging out with all of the rest of the Brooklyn hipsters!
- Maybe he’s texting the Islanders to set up a golf game. With the Islanders season a distant memory, Lundqvist has some catching up to do.
- For $3 and a gold medal, you can ride the subway! I guess UBER & yellow cab drivers are sick of him blaming Holden & Staal for NYC traffic!
I can’t wait for the day this guy is gone from the Rangers. Have I made that clear these last three years? Give him his banner in M$G and all that. Call him one of the greatest goalies in Rangers history. Call him one of the best goalies of his generation if you want. However, what you can also call him is a selfish brat who will never win a Stanley Cup. 4 more years of this guy. Too bad he won’t go play with his brother full-time in Sweden! At least Patrick Ewing was likeable & had Michael Jordan for an excuse.
Magnus Hellberg, the once-touted netminder that came to New York from Nashville two years ago, has reportedly left North America to join the KHL’s Chinese club, Red Star Kunlun.
The deal, per Russian news outlet R-Sport, is of the one-year variety and it comes after Hellberg appeared in a pair of games for the Rangers last season, spending most of his time in AHL Hartford.
Hellberg did fare well in his limited action with the Blueshirts, posting a .929 save percentage and 1.53 GAA.
As mentioned above, Hellberg came into the NHL with some fanfare. Selected in the second round (38th overall) by Nashville at the 2011 draft, Hellberg was first goalie off the board, taken one spot ahead of Anaheim’s John Gibson. There was some thought he would be Pekka Rinne‘s eventual successor in goal, but never panned out and was later surpassed by Juuse Saros as the team’s goalie of the future.
I gotta make my bad jokes first – I wonder if Hellberg will be now known as “Herrberg” in China? I hear the Herrberg special is a .900 save percentage, a 3.00 GAA & your choice of soup, soda or eggroll. If you think those are bad Asian jokes, I got another one coming in this blog. If you’re offended, get a sense of humor.
For the Rangers, this isn’t a big loss. Skapski is still in the ranks. Halverson, once touted as Lundqvist’s replacement, is still around. Then there is that commie Igor Shestyorkin. Will Igor come to the Rangers? We all hope so. That said, you can’t put the weight of the world on this kid. It’s going to take time to acclimate to America. Just imagine if the situation was reversed. How would you fare in your job, if you were shipped to Russia? It takes time. English is also a hard language to learn for an adult. I hope he comes to New York, but my expectations are reasonable.
As far as Hellberg goes, maybe he’ll make it back to the NHL one day. I would love to see how he sticks out in China. You probably don’t have too many monster looking dudes, with bright blonde hair, walking around Beijing!
If you had Pittsburgh Penguins playing the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals this year, my hats off to you. While I think many of us knew deep down that the Penguins were going to go back to the SCF (and probably win it), I don’t think anyone had Nashville going all the way.
First things first, credit to the Ottawa Senators. They really could’ve won that series. Losing a double OT Game 7 hurts. The “what if’s” will stick with those guys for a while. I was hoping Ottawa would pull it out, because as a human being, I’m rooting for Anderson with all the stuff his family has had to go through. I was also rooting for Brassard, who could’ve been the fourth straight different Ranger to win a Cup, since being traded/moved from the team because of salary cap reasons, in the Henrik Lundqvist era. (The other three: Gaborik ’14, Richards ’15 & Hagelin ’16.) That said, if Pittsburgh wins the Cup, you would have four years in a row that an ex-Ranger, moved because of Cap reasons (Because Lundswiss must be paid) to win a Cup.
It’s gotta be tough for Ottawa. You don’t “take away” anything good after a loss like that. While Ottawa was a Cinderella team this year (They got a lot of help from the officials in Round 1 against Boston & NYR gave them Round 2), they pushed Pittsburgh further than the Bluejackets or the Capitals. If there is anything positive about this loss, it’s that Erik Karlsson has arrived on the main stage, after quietly dominating the league for the last few seasons.
It’s funny – despite Ottawa’s run, I can see them missing the playoffs next season. Montreal & Toronto will be better. Boston will be competitive. Florida is a team on the rise. I expect the Tampa Bay Lightning, who many people had winning the Cup at the beginning of the season, to rebound as well. That’s what makes these NHL playoffs so exciting. You just never know. It’s not like the NBA.
Put it this way – I used to be a diehard NBA fan, but many different things turned me off, such as the players getting too much power, no more rivalries, rigged games, no fundamentals, the hip-hop culture taking over (I don’t need to hear nigga, nigga, nigga 38947893789478937 times at a game), guys acting like pussies (are you telling me these guys dive with a charge during street ball?), only the last two minutes mattering and about a billion other things.
I watched two NBA games this year, from start-to-finish. That said, at the end of the Finals last year, at the start of this season, at the All-Star break and at the beginning of the playoffs, I said the same thing – it will be Cavs vs Warriors for the third straight year & I can see them playing in the NBA Finals for five years straight.
I watched more hockey games that I can count this year, easily 200+. My SCF pick at the beginning of the season was TBL vs CHI. At the All Star Break, I thought PITT vs CHI. At the beginning of the playoffs, and yes, this was my heart, I thought NYR vs EDM. Now it’s Pitt vs NSH. You can never predict these playoffs!!! That’s what makes the SCF playoffs the best in all of sports. Even Charles Barkley agrees:
Charles Barkley would rather go watch hockey. https://t.co/K3CRjP84Wk
— The Comeback NHL (@TheComebackNHL) May 26, 2017
The crybaby pussy NBAer’s of today could never handle Charles Barkley. Charles Barkley, and not the teams on the court, is why I’ll tune into an NBA on TNT broadcast from time-to-time.
Now for those still reading – here’s how you can get into Nashville Predator games for free. True story: my good friend does this all the time and finally gave me the green light to talk about it.
Some people may figure out who I’m talking about, because I’ve mentioned his name on these blogs and we’ve talked about it on twitter, but for the sake of this blog, if you want to find out who it is, you’ll have to do your own research!
I have a friend of 15+ years, who is nearly 15+ years older than me too. We’ve had similar lifestyles. We both were big wrestling and hockey fans growing up. We both promoted wrestling shows. We both live vicariously through the Rangers & can’t get enough. We also love “being the heel” and have no problem having a tired elbow from stirring the shit!
This friend of mine, moved to Nashville, from New Jersey, a couple of years ago, for work related reasons. Being a diehard hockey fan (and here’s another hint, he’s the one that broke that Tortorella was going to be fired story, two days before anyone else had the story) he follows the Predators. However, it’s fucking Nashville, where the players have more teeth than the fans. (OK, relax, that’s my New Yorker attitude!)
Not wanting to pay (it’s all a work anyway brother) for Predator tickets, my friend came up with the ingenious idea of creating his own press pass. Now, my friend has given me the OK to talk about this story & he has a new idea to get in to the arena for free next season. That is why I can talk about this here, but to be on the safe side, I’m not posting pictures of his fake press pass.
Simply put, my friend made a fake TMZ press pass. Some of you may know the name “BORGATA RAY” from these blogs. Ray is one of my traveling buddies and another good friend of 15 years, who like my other friend & I, grew up on hockey & wrestling. Anyway, the last time my friend pulled the press pass trick, Ray witnessed this go down, because he was in Nashville enroute to visiting his family in St. Louis. If you recall my Rangers/Predators blog from this season, I had pictures from the game, which were sent to me from Ray.
What my friend did is found an authentic TMZ press pass. He doctored his own one up. Unless you’re going to call TMZ, you would never know. He’s been using this pass for a while. No one in Nashville bats an eye, because despite this Cup run – it’s not a hockey town. They are just happy the press is there. My friend gets special treatment because they think he works for TMZ! If they only knew he was his own proctologist – because he knows what it’s like to be an asshole!
The best part about all of this. My friend always goes in the locker room, walks the halls, gets catering, the whole 9 yards. Who calls him out for the first time? JOE FUCKING MICHELETTI!!! Joe Micheletti, probably from his NBC experience, asked my friend, “why is TMZ here?” My friend, quick on his feet, fed him some bullshit about Jimmy Vesey. However, to be safe, my friend stayed out of sight and out of mind. Once the game started, he pocketed his pass and did my Stubhub trick to get a free seat. (Check my Stubhub blog here: Stubhub Trick Blog)
Now with it being the SCF and all, this probably won’t work. While Predator hockey is doing record TV ratings in Nashville, they also have TV stations who thought winning round 2 made them Stanley Cup Finalists. Nashville is a college basketball city, but hey, what city doesn’t like a winner? With everyone now jumping on the Nashville train, it would be funny if those ballbags at TMZ get ejected from the arena, until they can be confirmed as actual members of the press!
My friend has been doing this trick long before the two guys pulled this off during the first ever UFC show at MSG. (Google the story if you’re not familiar.) I wonder if this would work in other NHL arenas? I’m assuming it would work in Vegas next year. It probably would work wherever there is a small market team. It would never work with the Rangers, although it worked with UFC in MSG, just because it was the first show and MSG staff didn’t know what to expect. It’s hard to get information/data on this, because if people are making fake press passes & attending events, they aren’t going to want to blow their spot.
Only here, on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com, can you get all the scams and ideas on how to attend games for as cheap as possible!
As far as the Stanley Cup Finals, obviously I’m rooting for Nashville. Sorry to my good friend, a one EL SHOES, but FUCK PITTSBURGH! That said, I see Pittsburgh winning. Not one top 5 paid goalie has ever won a Cup in the new Cap era, and I just don’t see Rinne doing it. I’ve been saying it all season, Crosby is in his prime and at the top of his game. Pittsburgh is deep and have been there before. Sometimes, especially in the NHL playoffs, you need to be there before you get over the hump. Granted, that hasn’t happened for the Rangers, but for Pittsburgh, they know what it takes to win. Still, I’m hoping that Nashville, you know, Hockeytown, USA, pulls it out.
Prediction: Penguins in 6. King Murray wins his second Cup, while Lundqvist parades around the subway with his medal.
I plan on doing one blog a week, we’ll see what happens. If this Phil Esposito autobiography is any good, I’ll review it here. If not, I may wait until after the SCF and look forward to the Vegas draft. I have made my Vegas draft thoughts, when it comes to the Rangers, pretty clear here. I would do whatever it takes to protect Fast, Grabner and Raanta. I don’t care if that means asking Hank to waive his NMC for the draft, exposing Stepan or whatever. You got to be young and this Rangers core had their chance. It’s time to move on.
Oh and as far as my last offensive Asian joke that I promised earlier – there will be more yellow in the SCF than in Chinatown! Waaaa, fuck being politically correct!
Enjoy the SCF! Go Preds Go!
See you next time.
As always… LET’S GO RANGERS
@NYCTHEMIC on the tweeter