BCBS Update: The Pittsburgh Penguins Win the Stanley Cup & Could Be Back Next Season, Brutal Officiating Ruins The Best Playoffs in Sports as the Refs “Catfish” the Predators, Mike Milbury’s Racist Vibes, Hagelin/Etem, Latest NYR Rumblings, The Most Unique Belmont Stakes Live Experience Review You’ll Ever Read, Jeremy Roenick Autobiography Book Review & Much More

I couldn’t believe that the referees didn’t get the Conn Smythe award after Pittsburgh won Game 6.

NOTE: There are a lot of pics in this blog, so this may take time to load. You also know my rant about my blogs –  I don’t care about site hits and breaking things up. This is a monster blog with a bunch of subjects discussed. I probably could’ve done a separate Milbury blog, a separate Stanley Cup blog, a separate Belmont blog, a separate Roenick book review blog & a separate NYR blog, but fuck it, here’s everything in one big-ass blog!

What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. As I type these words, it’s 1AM Monday morning, I have off of today and preparing to go long. With that said, buckle up and here we go.

If you’ve been MIA ever since the Rangers elimination, here’s my last blog, in case you missed it:

BCBS Update: The Most In-Depth Phil Esposito “Thunder & Lightning” Book Review You Will Ever Read, Classic New York Ranger Stories, Ron Duguay & Farrah Fawcett, Stanley Cup Final Thoughts, Lundqvist Injury, Alex Ovechkin Trade Rumors & More NYR Thoughts and Opinions

 

As you may have heard by now, the Pittsburgh Penguins have just won the Stanley Cup and are the first team in the new salary cap era to win consecutive titles. In a year where the Golden State Warriors went out and got Kevin Durant to help them win a championship, in this Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins got a ton of help from the referees. However, before putting the dagger into you by talking about the Penguins & the Cup, take a look at this feel-good clip from the broadcast:

 

Between Charles Barkley making fun of Milbury and this clip, it is nice to see other people out there share my sentiment about Mike Milbury. I just don’t know why and will never comprehend, that with all the hockey men across the United States & Canada, Milbury has one of the two jobs in America, as a Stanley Cup analyst. Just think about it. There are only two jobs in America right now, as a national TV analyst during the Stanley Cup Finals. He has one of those jobs. Are you telling me there aren’t a million other people better qualified for the job?

I mean I get being controversial for the sake of being controversial or not being afraid to express your opinion – Jeremy Roenick, whose book I’ll look at later on in this blog, talks about that in his book. That said – what has Milbury done? He’s known for two things. He’s known as the idiot who attacked a fan with a shoe. His other accomplishment? Setting the Islanders back 30 years and always being a featured name on any “Top 10 Worst GM’s In NHL History” list.

I am not one of those snowflakes across America that is offended by anything. That said, I thought Milbury was completely biased against PK Subban during these playoffs. Seriously, Milbury hates Subban more than I hate Lundswiss!

Think about it – if Milbury showed up on-air with a white robe on and dropped the n-word like he was Bill Maher, would anyone be shocked? Listening to Milbury defend Crosby for slamming Subban’s face into the ice repeatedly was disgusting. It also sends the wrong message to casual fans, who may be just tuning into hockey for the first & only time all season – that type of play is okay.

Not once through the course of six games did Milbury mention Subban’s charity work, how Subban engrossed himself in the city of Nashville & how Subban is one of the most liked players in the league. Instead, Milbury negatively chirped about Subban throughout the series. Milbury treated Subban the same way David Duke would treat “Showtime at the Apollo”.

I don’t know if Milbury is a racist. Listen, I say a lot of fucked up things because I’m not politically correct & going for a laugh. Milbury wasn’t going for a laugh here. It’s one thing for me to make an Asian Hellberg/Herrberg joke for a cheap pop, like I’m pushing cheap veal at a $5 cover comedy show, than Milbury on national TV, just burying a guy for no reason.

It just felt that Milbury had a personal issue with Subban during these playoffs. Sure, Boston has a bad reputation for being racist and in Milbury’s case, the expression “if the shoe fits, wear it”, has never been more apropos.

Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy for the second straight year. While I thought the refs had a good shot at it, if it was up to me, I thought Matt Murray or Jake Guentzel would’ve been more deserving. Crosby just seems like he got it because he’s the name/captain. Photo Credit: NHL.com

As much as it pains me to say it, congratulations to my good friend “El Shoes” on the Penguins win. Shoes is a diehard Penguins fan, as I’ve talked about before on this blog. Listen, I hate the Penguins, but if you take your Ranger blinders off, you have to tip your hat to them.  The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in all of sports. If you’re a Ranger fan like me, you know how hard it is, because most of you have only seen one cup victory in your life. I forget that I have a lot of younger readers here too – some of you have NEVER seen it happen.

Not only did the Penguins win the Cup this year,  they became the first team to win it back-to-back in the salary cap era. It’s an impressive feat. What’s scarier, especially for Ranger fans, is that Pittsburgh could be right back in this position next year.

Think about it – the Rangers, the Blue Jackets and the Capitals, the three teams that battled the Penguins in the Metro all year long, will probably be worse than this season, especially in the case of the Capitals. The Rangers are a team that should’ve blown it up last season, but as usual, are behind the curve. The CBJ overachieved this year & the Penguins exposed them. The Capitals were all-in this year, but as usual, couldn’t get out of the second round.

In Pittsburgh’s case, they got Sidney Crosby, who while he may still be one concussion from having his career cut short, is still in his prime. They also have two great rookies in Matt Murray & Jake Guentzel, both players who I thought were bigger contributors to Pittsburgh’s success in the playoffs than the big names of Malkin, Kessel and Crosby.

KING MURRAY, who now has two Cups as a “rookie”, was fantastic. Sure he had a bad game now and then, but when he had to hold a lead or needed to come up big, he did. The first two games of this series, when Nashville was bringing all types of heavy artillery, he was able to hold down the fort, until the team in front of him could make a dash at Rinne. When Pittsburgh got the lead, Murray held it. This is the type of stuff that Lundqvist used to do. It’s just a shame that when Lundqvist was able to play like this, he didn’t have a team like Murray did in front of him.

Image result for matt murray

King Murray may be the Ken Dryden of this generation. Photo Credit: NHL.com

I know it’s sacrilege for Ranger fans to acknowledge the accomplishments of a rival, but when have I ever gone with the masses? Shit, I’m jealous of Pittsburgh. Maybe the Rangers should tease that they are bankrupt, so they could have a draft rigged in their favor when a generational talent becomes available.

If you get over the rigged Crosby draft, here are the quick facts on why the Penguins are better than the Rangers:

Mario Lemieux > James Dolan as an owner.

Jim Rutherford > Senile Sather & Jeff Gorton as a general manager.

Mike Sullivan > Alain Vigneault as a coach.

King Matt Murray > Medal Boy Lundqvist as a goalie.

Sidney Crosby > Ryan McDonagh as a captain.

Pittsburgh’s PP > Rangers PP.

Oh and…

CARL HAGELIN IS 79678967896789678968967896676789 TIMES BETTER THAN EMERSON FUCKING ETEM!

Don’t be fooled Ranger fans – Swedish players can win Stanley Cups! Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Penguins

While Carl Hagelin skated around with his second Stanley Cup in Nashville tonight, I could only think about that RETARDED (I don’t care if that’s a non PC word, get over it) trade that Sather made, when he traded Carl Hagelin for Emerson Etem. I do give credit to Gorton on trying to replace Hagelin with Grabner, which is something Senile Sather was unable to do.

Don’t forget Ranger fans – the reason for the Hagelin trade, which happened with Sather not even letting Hagelin know about it until the deal was done, like a snake in the grass – the Rangers had to pay another Swedish player, you know, King Cupless.

Listen, Carlos isn’t the reason why the Penguins won the Cup. That said, many of you like to use the “team game” excuse to explain Lundqvist’s cupless short comings. As Pekka Rinne showed us tonight, as I’ve said from day one – YOU CAN NOT WIN A CUP WITH A TOP 5 PAID GOALIE IN THE SALARY CAP ERA. You need to construct a more well-balanced roster. Hagelin was a sum of the parts.  Whether it was the HBK line last year, jumping on the fourth line if needed this year, or whatever, Hagelin was a team player that was there when called on.

Oh and go figure – Tanner Glass scores the first goal of the playoffs. Carl Hagelin scores the last goal of the playoffs. This is your life Ranger fans.

Jake Guentzel was a major factor for the Penguins success. Photo Credit: USAToday

Going into this series, I thought the Penguins would win in 5 or 6. For a team like Nashville, I thought they over-achieved. Plus, in hockey, sometimes you need to get there once, before you win it all. There are plenty of examples of teams losing in the Cup Finals one year and coming back to win the year after in the NHL. The most famous example of this are Gretzky’s Oilers. The most suitable example of this is Crosby’s Penguins of nearly 10 years ago, who lost to the the Redwings, only to beat the Redwings for the Cup a year later. For Nashville, can they make it back to this stage of the game or was this it? Time will tell.

Now people are going to ask why I thought Nashville over-achieved. Simple, Chicago wasn’t Chicago for whatever reason in the first round. No excuses, Nashville handled them. In the second round, they beat a St. Louis team that were sellers at the deadline and were lucky to get by Minny. In the WCF, bad officiating gave the Ducks the win over the Oilers. Nashville lucked into playing the easier opponent with the Ducks than if they drew the Oilers. Nashville just didn’t have the hard road that Pittsburgh had.

Pitt had one hell of a run again. They made mincemeat over one of the most dominating teams of the regular season, in the Bluejackets. They then beat the Cup favorites & two-time President Trophy Champions, the Washington Capitals in 7. They then beat a tough Ottawa team in 7 games. When you can win two consecutive series in 7 games, that’s impressive. I just felt that Pittsburgh has done it before and Nashville was happy to be there.

Oh and there is the intangible department. The league, NBC and the referees favored Pittsburgh all series. I’m not even being a hater here, I’m being honest. From Milbury trashing Subban all series for no reason, to NBC calling the game as if Pittburgh was the “home” team on the local network to the brutal calls in this series that largely went the Penguins way, the Predators had as good of a shot as a catfish surviving around a pack of rabid dogs.

The performance of the referees, all playoffs long, was the worst it’s been in years.

Do the Penguins win this series if the refs weren’t on their side? Probably. That said, Pittsburgh had a much easier go of it. The officiating throughout the playoffs was inconsistent in every series and many teams got screwed. In two different games, Cam Talbot was blatantly interfered with, and goals on the ice stood. Murray, barely touched, had a goal waved off in this series. In this game, one ref loses sight of the puck and an easy rebound goal for Nashville is called off, even if the other referees saw that the play was a good goal.

It’s tough for NHL men, meaning the players, the coaches and the media, to determine what’s a good goal these days. Is it offside by a cunt hair? Was the goalie touched? Did a ref put a whistle to his mouth? If the most astute hockey men don’t know what goals are these days, how are fans supposed to know?  While I thought the refs “catfished” the Predators into thinking that they knew what they were doing, in reality, the best officials in the league had a tough time making heads and tails of it.

As technology increases, video replays will increase. There are many goals being waved off because a guy was offside by a millimeter on a goal scored a minute after the infraction. Would Gretzky get 700, 800 or 894 goals under these current rules? In league that wants to promote scoring, some of the calls on the ice are mind-boggling. What’s goalie interference? In one game, Kesler can pull back Talbot’s pad and that’s a good goal. In another game, someone could fart in the vicinity of Matt Murray and a goal is waved off. Something needs to change because we are seeing teams getting screwed out of playoff wins with these rules and these referees, who are never held accountable.

While I’m not discrediting Pittsburgh, as I thought they were the better team going into this, the league & their refs sure gave a lot of ammo for people who are going to blame the refs for this Nashville loss.

All in all, while I wasn’t happy with the officiating or the Penguins winning, it’s easy to envision Pittburgh opening up as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup a year from now.

In closing on these playoffs, I just want to eloquently state, “FUCK PITTSBURGH.”

Yours truly, after 10+ “Belmont Jewels” at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

Before going into the Roenick book review & some closing Ranger thoughts, I just wanted to talk about my time at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. I know there are some horse racing fans that read these blogs. I promise to be entertaining here, but if you have no interest in HAWSES, keep on scrolling.

For me, I never grew up as a horse racing fan. My grandfather was really into it, but he passed before I could get out of diapers. While I don’t think I inherited his love for the “sport”, I do enjoy a day at the track, but only once in a while.

If you know me, I’m a big animal rights guy, so I never really could get into the horses. I always thought if you’re going to say dog racing is inhumane, than what’s the difference between horses and dogs? Sure, the prized thoroughbreds of horse racing are treated tremendously, but what about the horses that don’t make it? Where do they end up? Dragging people around Central Park in the heat? At Elmer’s Glue Factory? In your Chinese food?

Call me a hypocrite, and after all I am, because for as much money as I donate to  A.S.P.C.A., I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan. I’m down for a steakhouse dinner whenever. I understand what a slaughterhouse is and what goes on there. While I would never wear fur, because there are no officially licensed Rangers, Yankees or Giants fur jackets (I’m joking, relax), I do eat chicken. If you watch videos on where fur clothing products and where your meat comes from, you will be sick. I guess in my head, I rationalize eating meat because it’s a necessity and the whole circle of life shit from the “Lion King”, while wearing fur is not a necessity. In essence, I would have no problem eating chicken wings, while holding up a “FUR IS MURDER” sign!

Perhaps my love of gambling supercedes my thoughts on animal rights…

This horse, Disco Kid, paid for my entire day at Belmont! Thanks for the tip Eddie!

I’ve been known to place a wager once in a while. My take and experience with gambling is that it is entertainment. If you’re looking to pay the bills by gambling, you will have ulcers and extreme flatulence. If you take 10% of your net weekly check and play around, it’s just fun. Whether it’s the joker-poker machines, Quickdraw, poker games, a $20 sports wager at a bar with someone or a casino trip vacation, I look at gambling as recreation. Some people may like to spend $100-$200 on going to a show at a casino. I get better enjoyment sitting at a blackjack table and bullshitting with my friends. In other words, gambling is fun if you have the mindset of “this is my entertainment money. If I lose, I had a fun time. If I win, even better.”

The Belmont Jewel was refreshing on a hot summer day.

My friend Eddie is the only guy I know that can go drinking the night before with me, wake up, have 10 whiskey drinks and a few beers, then go to a Bavarian Beer Festival with me. Alcoholics or seasoned veterans? You decide!

Growing up, I never had any interest in horse racing. Even today, at nearly 35 years old (I turn 35 on June 13th), I have a feint interest in horse racing. I couldn’t tell you the names of all of the horses I’ve bet on. I’ll probably forget the trifecta of the Belmont Stakes by July 4th. I’m not invested or into it like I am with the Rangers, Yankees, Giants or UFC.

To this day, I don’t get the hardcore horse racing fans. To me it’s like college sports – you invest in an “athlete” (an athlete being a horse in this case) and then after 4 years, he or she is done. The live experience doesn’t match up to the other sports either, because until they make the turn and go to the home stretch, you can barely see shit for the first half of the race. It’s not like hockey, where you can see a goal develop from the jump.

The gambling aspect of horse racing is what drew me in. A few years ago, several of my friends who are really into it introduced me to the “sport.” Again, I use the word sport loosely.  I don’t know, to me, horse racing is like golfing, swimming, NASCAR or other sports I don’t give a shit about – they aren’t truly sports to me. It’s a past time, a hobby or a contest to me. Keep in mind, others won’t agree. This is just my opinion based on personal experiences & my tastes.

Like most, I got beginners luck really early. What drew me to the track outside of gambling is the atmosphere. On any non Belmont Stakes day, you can bring booze, food, lawn chairs, footballs, whatever; it doesn’t matter. While the track sure draws a lot of degenerates, the track also does try to make it family friendly, unlike say the NHL. If you can get into the sport of it, it’s a great time. At the very least, it’s a cheap day out for a family – as long as someone in the family isn’t like Mush from “Bronx Tale.”

When my friends invited me to the track a few years ago, I decided, what the fuck, why not? It was just a fun day out and something different. It also helps that Belmont is only 4.7 miles from my house (A $20 Uber ride basically), so if I didn’t have a good time and my friends wanted to stay, it was easy & quick to go home.

On my first day at the track, I hit for something like $300 overall. That’s not “Arab money” like some people are making down there, but $300 tax free is a nice chunk of change. A few weeks later, while dabbling around on my “TWINSPIRES” app, an app for horse racing degenerates, I noticed a horse named TALBOT NATION was running. It was fate. It was destiny.  I had to bet it.

Unfortunately, my TWINSPIRES app wasn’t working & I was new to the app, meaning my bank account info wasn’t ready in time. My friend, who was at a bar that had an OTB machine at it, said he would place the bet for me. Credit to my man Double G – he put a $20 bet for me on the 32:1 shot and TALBOT, unlike Lundswiss, WON! Double G wouldn’t even take a cut when I offered it to him – that’s a true KNOCK-AROUND guy. I made over $600 because I bet on a horse because of its name, which is akin to a girl rooting for a team because of the color of the jerseys!

From that day on, while I was never “hooked” on horse racing, I followed it from afar. I can’t tell you horse names and their histories, but I’m familiar with the jockeys and trainers. And yes, hypocritically so, my animal rights concerns have faded. Hey, we’re all flawed, right?

There are people who could tell you the name, the jockey, the trainer and the owner of every horse here. I can tell you that the 7 horse didn’t win the Belmont and I missed out on hitting my bar pool!

The insanity of some people’s love for horse racing will always bewilder to me. It’s like a whole different world. If you been to the track, you know what I’m talking about. The way Mike Francesa rambles on and on about HAWSES has always been peculiar to me too, which is why this clip from his Friday show had me in tears:

 

Going to big sporting events is always on my bucket list. I still want to attend the Superbowl one day. With this being one of the weakest line-ups for the Belmont Stakes, in recent history, I figured this would be the Belmont Stakes to go to. I don’t know what the attendance was, but I know it wasn’t as crazy as previous Belmont Stakes races, just because there was no potential Triple Crown winner to be had. Shit, you didn’t even have the Preakness or Kentucky Derby winners in this race.

Let me tell you, when I started my day to the track at 11AM, I didn’t know what to expect. If I ever go again, now I know. Even with all the craziness, I would definitely go again.

First off, if you’re not a WASP or an entitled Wall Street white person, a big horse race is a culture shock. My day started on the LIRR, as I knew I was going to be drinking, so I wasn’t going to drive there. (For my hypocrisy on animal rights issues here, I never waver on the drinking & driving topic. I don’t do it. I probably spend more money on cabs, Uber and trains than anyone else that I know. That said, it beats jail time, killing someone and huge fines!) Traffic is always a shit-show, so I figured the train would be faster.

When I got to Jamaica for my transfer to the Belmont train, the whole platform and train looked like THE GAP threw up all over the place. There were more drunk white kids dressed up in funky clothes than a lacrosse team’s rape party. (Settle down, it’s a joke.)  When I got to the track, it looked like a Klan rally, because it was just white people dressed up in clothes you don’t see in everyday life. Everyone had the silly hats, like they were French artists. Keep in mind – this is the Belmont Stakes. A normal day at Belmont is more diversified with degenerates of all races & creeds spread out. On this day for amateurs however, white entitlement reigned supreme.

It’s funny – my whole day consisted of people being dressed in weird shit. Granted, 90% of my wardrobe is Yankee, Ranger and Giants articles, but from the people’s outfits at the track to what people were wearing at this Bavarian Beer Festival afterwards, it was a wild day.

It just came off humorous to me that when you boil it all down, you got all these rich people dressed up like motherfucking jackasses, as they try to look “classy” and “dignified”. Remember, they are dressed this way, just so they can bet on how fast one animal can run over another animal. You don’t see people dressed up this way betting if one Kenyan can run faster than another Kenyan in the NYC Marathon.

Keep in mind, on any other day at Belmont, you got people in FUBU gear, dirty stained jeans and cigarette ashes all over their clothing, placing bets, just like these primped up people that are the textbook pictorial definition of the word “honky”. I’m telling you, every aspect of the horse racing world is unlike anything you know.

Getting ready.

As far as seating, if you’re one of the people who pay $30 for General Admission, you’re a sucker. If you’re going to the track and unless you’re one of these weirdos who just watches the races for the “sport” and not the action, GA tickets are worthless for this day. Again, keep in mind my opinions here are just on the Belmont Stakes and not on a normal day at the track, where you can get in for $5 and bring whatever you want with you. On this day, prices are jacked up and normal items you would normally bring are prohibited.

I was able to buy $155 face value seats for $70 on the day of the race. If I knew I was going way ahead of time, I believe you could get reserved seats for $60. For the extra money, to have a seat in the shade, it’s worth it. Being a bigger guy & being a person whose skin color in the sun is either white or red but never gets tan, having a seat in the shade beats getting sun-burnt on my feet.

Being at the track only two other times in my life, the Stakes is a completely different experience. Instead of placing bets and just walking to the track, it’s so crazy & mobbed that you need the assigned seat. On a day like this, I was able to explore the venue more and wow, I was impressed – Belmont is a lot bigger & nicer than I thought.

What made my day was that on the second race I bet on, my friend and I made some good money. Any horse gambler will tell you this – if you can hit big early, it makes the day.  Eddie and myself would’ve walked out with more money in our pockets (The day was still a profit) but those $15 Belmont Jewels add up. At least you got 2 1/2 shots in the drink and one of the bartenders gave us a discount as the day went along. I think at the end of the day, between transportation, ticket, betting, drinks and the Beer Festival, I walked out with $10 in profit. Not bad for a full day of entertainment on a Saturday!

The women were dressed a bit different at Belmont compared to the Bavarian Beer Festival two miles up the road at the Plattdeutsch.

Of course, if you win money, your experience is better than if you lose money. You’re more likely to go back to Atlantic City quicker after a winning weekend, than you are if you get crushed. In this scenario, I walked out a winner, so I had a more positive experience. That said, even if I lost $300 (That was my limit for the day) I think I still would’ve had a good time. The drink prices were high, which I wasn’t a fan of, but at least the drinks were strong and I expected to get hosed going into this.

The races themselves were fun. I couldn’t tell you one horse from the other, because like Chinese people, they all look alike to me. (Man, I made a bunch of stereotype jokes after slamming Milbury earlier! At least I’m going for the cheap laugh here and mean nothing by it, unlike Milbury!)

When it comes to the races themselves, I really just look at the numbers the horses are wearing, because that’s what I’m betting on! While I could never get into horse racing full time like other people I know, for a fun day out once in a while, this was something different and I had a good time. Granted, keep in mind I live close to Belmont. I can come and go as I please there, where there are people who travel all over the country to go to this. This was basically me, as a Long Islander, doing something on a weekend.

During this time of the year I rather go watch the Yankees (And Aaron Judge, I’ll give you my horse track winnings if you could swing a bat at Lundqvist) than be at the track, but for a one day thing, I had a great time. I don’t know how people do this every day, dress up like a freak and live & die with every bet, but if you treat this like an event, rather than a casino, a good time is to be had. All in all, I enjoyed myself as a casual fan/seasoned degenerate.

Talk about a blog that’s all over the place – I guarantee there is nothing else like this blog on the internet!

Short one line review: J.R. is money & time well spent.

You still with me after 5000 words? I know many of you ask me to break these reviews up into separate blogs, but I usually block out 3-4 hours a week to do these manifestos. I don’t make money on this crap anyway! As I’ve said in the past, I do this as a way to vent, preach, and share experiences. If you like reading this, all the better! Plus, I know many of you read a section, go about your day and come back later and read another section. If the Milbury, Stanley Cup & Belmont stories weren’t enough for you, before I go into my closing Ranger thoughts, I just wanted to share my thoughts on Jeremy Roenick’s autobiography that I read last week.

In continuing my well-received book reviews, I decided to pick up “J.R.” by Jeremy Roenick. The book set me back $3.23 on Amazon. As always, I buy these books, that were released years ago, used on Amazon. It’s a great deal. For what essentially adds up to pocket change for the week, I get a good book or two or three at my front door.

As I’ve stated in previous book reviews, I’m an avid reader. Generally, I read one sports book then something non-sports related. Keeps the mind fresh! When it comes to “J.R.”, the book featured someone that never played for a team that I was fan of. However, I always thought Jeremy Roenick was entertaining and as an American hockey player, I had interest. While Mike Modano, who JR always found as the measuring stick to compare himself to, comes up a lot in this book, I would have more interest reading about JR, because of his personality, than about Modano.

That said on Modano – if he had some good stories about banging Joe Micheletti’s daughter, I would read that! Fuck you Micheletti!

What made this book different than most hockey books I read, was that it was about a recent player and a player I remember watching when I was growing up. When JR even talks about being one of the best players to ever be featured in a video game, I remember it. Usually, when I read non-Ranger hockey books, I’m reading them for their historical purposes or because I’m a fan of history & how other people lived. In this case, this is a modern book. Roenick isn’t that much older than me. I can relate and understand his stories, whereas I’m more fascinated in learning about the times & how guys like Conn Smythe or Gordie Howe lived.

If you’re looking for a hot take – this was another great hockey book. I know I sound like fan-boy, because out of all the book reviews I’ve done on this site & out of all the hockey books I’ve read, only the Bobby Orr book was boring & dry to me. I think that’s just hockey in general. Most of the guys who play are interesting characters. I read a lot of baseball books by ex-Yankees and some of those books are tedious at times. I think it’s just the hockey culture that produces more colorful personalities.

As usual with these book reviews, I’m going to share some key passages that entertained me (You can find more pages on my twitter account), followed by my overall thoughts:

(All pages are from “J.R.” and reprinted without permission. Please don’t sue me.)

The first page of this book had me hooked.

I liked JR’s bluntness and boldness. However, can you find the historical error on this page?

I usually save the “Get off the ice, you pussy” for Lundqvist after he blows a two goal lead like usual.

It amazes me, that no matter what decade/era guys are from, hockey players are obsessed with other men’s assholes & cocks. I never played any sport professionally, (WHAT A SHOCKER!), but I did play 4 sports (Hockey/Football/Basketball/Lacrosse) all through high school. That said, I never had any interest in seeing the buttholes & ballbags of my peers. I guess that’s why I never turned pro!

Chicago has always been a shithole. Thanks Obama.

Ranger fans will love this – JR says that Alain Vigneault was tough! There are a lot of stories in this book about guys that went through the Ranger organization. Roenick dedicates a lot of pages to Mike Keenan, a person that always intrigues me.

The Mike Keenan stories were some of the best stories in this book.

Whether it’s the Bible, Shakespeare, or Hamilton, no good story is without a shit story!

After reading a ton of books from players from the 30’s-70’s, JR confirms what I thought – the drinking culture is/has evaporating/evaporated in the NHL. Roenick had a ton of drinking stories in “J.R.” which I enjoyed. That said, it got me thinking – who do you think parties on the Rangers? Kevin Hayes?

This book is 5 years old, but here’s a relevant story on Charles Barkley. As you may know, CB and JR are friends to this day.

This is a story that’s in my wheelhouse

Don’t worry, I’ll say it – Lundqvist sucks!

I really enjoyed JR’s experiences & opinions on USA Hockey. He’s very proud of Team USA, which is why he was upset with how poor the team has been lately.

Roenick goes deep about his experiences with concussions, but these stories won’t change the NHL culture. After all, Crosby can bang Subban’s head into the ice all day and there is no PP as a result. Of note, JR also uses the word “cock sucker” in this book which will probably make liberal snowflakes cry, just like they did when Ryan Getzlaf said it a few weeks ago.

So sad. Of note, Steve Valiquette left the team despite having an offer to play for them.

JR goes deep on Gretzky in this book & shares his opinions from his point of view. I also buy JR’s angle that there is some USA vs Canada national pride beef.

From guys getting plastered every night to no drinking provisos in contracts. No wonder why I can’t cut it in the NHL today.

What I liked about this book is that even when JR was on the losing side, he would admit it and give credit to his sparring partner, whether it be Roy here or Modano.

Roenick on the worst GM in hockey today. Ironically, he works with the worst Islanders GM of all time today.

Can you imagine someone like Pavel Buchenvich explaining the “Knuckle Cup” to his commie comrades back home?

I really enjoyed this book because JR was so open. I felt like I randomly met him at an airport bar, we had time to kill and he was comfortable enough to share all the stories from his legendary HOF (He’s not in yet, but you have to figure it’s coming one day) career with me. Roenick told stories about everything, his family, his stops in every city, US Hockey, road stories, teammates he didn’t like, captains he loved playing with, other players around the league, etc.

Keep in mind, while I followed Roenick’s career, I never rooted for the guy outside of US Hockey. I’m a Rangers fan, I’m not rooting for a fucking Flyer. That said, I appreciate his career and his openness and I really enjoyed his book.

Jeremy Roenick, because of his personality, will have a job in the hockey media as long as he wants. Obviously, if you’re a fan of his or a fan of the teams he played for, you will enjoy this book. Even if you’re a newer fan, who didn’t see JR play, this book will help bring insight on the man who’s on TV for NBC.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. As always, it’s available for cheap on Amazon.com.

The 2016-2017 NHL season is officially over. Unfortunately for me, as a Tanner Glass fan, I also think the first scorer of the 2017 playoffs is also a goner.

Yes, I’m now 6500 words in. I promise I won’t do repeats of stuff I already said before. As always, you can check out the archives on the right hand of the site for previous blogs.

In closing this blog, I just wanted to talk about some random Ranger news & notes, as we are now officially in the off-season. As of right now, as you read these words, the Las Vegas Golden Knights are officially a member of next season’s campaign. Some moves the Rangers make between now and the expansion draft will be because of the entry of the Golden Knights into the league.

Oh and how about this – it looks like the salary cap won’t be increasing this year, despite Vegas pumping $500 Million into the league! The NHLPA union should be ashamed!

Here are the latest Ranger rumblings that are being reported & talked about, with my take on them:

  • Jesper Fast had surgery on his hip and is expected to miss 4-6 months. Will he miss the season opener? Will he even be a Ranger? One of my followers on Twitter had the same surgery as Fast and said she was able to get going fairly quickly. She also isn’t playing in the NHL, where the wear/tear & stress put on the body isn’t the same. I would think that Fast’s injury wouldn’t deter Vegas, if Vegas should want him.
  • One blog is falsely reporting that “KEVIN SHATTENKIRK WILL TAKE LESS MONEY TO PLAY WITH THE RANGERS.” The article then talks about one fan’s opinion on why he thinks this will happen while blindly quoting a source that may or may not exist. If Henrik Lundqivst wouldn’t give the Rangers a deal, what makes any fan think that Kevin Shattenkirk, who is due for the biggest contract of his career, will? Reporting Shattenkirk is looking to take less $ from the Rangers is FAKE NEWS.
  • Lindy Ruff in, Scott Arniel out? There are reports that Ruff may join AV’s bench as a coach, while Arniel is being talked to by other teams for HC jobs. Arniel has to go, I’ve made my opinion on that clear already. The Ruff situation is interesting. Remember when Torts was fired? The three big names on the coaching market before the 2013-2014 season were Vigneault, Torts & Ruff. All three of them landed jobs. Only AV still remains with the team he signed with & the only one to get a contract extension. If you also recall, Ruff’s name was floated around as a potential candidate for the HC job. I would assume that AV would have to approve Ruff and this isn’t a move from management to put pressure on AV.
  • The Rangers are out of the Ilya Kovalchuk “sweepstakes.” I didn’t think they should’ve ever been in them to begin with. Why do the Rangers need another high priced 34 year old? It seems that the only fans that wanted him are the same idiots saying that the Rangers MUST (I emphasis the word MUST) sign Joel Lundqivst.
  • The Rangers will most likely make an offer to Brendan Smith. While everyone knows Shattenkirk is discussed, how long can the Rangers keep Smith waiting in the wind before he explores other options?
  • Two big deadlines are up. The Rangers have until 5PM today to ask a player to waive their No Move Clause (NMC) in preparation for the Vegas draft. You know my thoughts – you gotta ask Lundqvist and Marc Staal ASAP. I’m not down on Girardi as every one else is. The other deadline coming up is the Rangers have until Friday to sign their Restricted Free Agents. Those players are Puempel, Fast and Lindberg. Obviously, with a time constraint and possible league sanctions (forfeiture of draft pick), the agents of the players are using this to their advantage. To me, the Rangers gotta get Fast locked up and they can move on from Puempel & Lindberg.
  • As we all know, like King Talbot, King Raanta can be an NHL starter. Like King Talbot, a Canadian team is interested in King Raanta’s services, as both the Flames & the Jets are reported to be interested. Could you imagine the next BATTLE OF ALBERTA game featuring KING RAANTA vs KING TALBOT? Benoit Allaire must be so proud.  You know my spiel, I would try to move Lundswiss and keep Raanta here, all while trying to get Igor Shestyorkin to the USA.
  • Here’s the biggest problem next season, as I’ve touched on before – you know the twat known as Henrik Lundswiss will get injured again (he’s injured now) and will have another bad stretch of games. This stuff is usual for the highest paid diva goalie in the league. The last few years, Cam Talbot & Antii Raanta has helped carried the team when Lundqvist was being a bitch and underperforming. Who’s stepping up from the back-up position and proving to the league that he could be a starter next year? Hellberg is gone and I never thought he was the guy anyway. Skapski, the Buffalo Killer, is even rumored to be moved. Who is your back-up goalie next season? The Rangers won a lot of games the last three years with Talbot & Raanta. They could have a huge hole on the team if they get a less than stellar back-up goalie.
  • Adam Clendening & Brandon Pirri are goners. No big loss there. Tanner Glass is also most likely a goner too. If I’m a young team looking to grow, I would sign Glass for cheap for his experience. I think Glass will be a coach one day in the league too. Maybe he can go down the Steve Ott route, who just got a coaching job with STL.

Will Stepan have a chance to wear the Broadway Hat next season?

Of course, as talked about a million times already, Ranger fans will have to wait to find out what happens with Stepan. For his money and a NMC about to kick-in, it really doesn’t seem ideal for NYR to keep him around.

With the NHL season now over, the next few weeks could mold the future of the Rangers for seasons to come. Do the Rangers blow up their core? In my opinion, they should. It’s been overdue to move on from this current crop.

It’s going to be a busy few weeks with the Vegas expansion draft and free agency. I truly believe that the Rangers overachieved this year, as I didn’t have high expectations for them when the season started. That said, when the playoffs started, I really thought the Rangers should’ve at least made the ECF. The loss to Ottawa still stings.

As of June 2017, I don’t have high hopes for the Rangers next season. I just don’t see how this team will ever win a Cup when Henrik Lundqvist is your highest paid player. Until a team can win a Cup in this new salary cap era league with a top 5 paid goalie, I will always be of this opinion. When you overpay the goalie, it hurts you from being stronger up and down your line-up. King Matt Murray has been fine as one of the cheaper goaltenders in this league. Fans forget that the disparity among “elite” and “good” goalies isn’t as wide as it used to be. There are a lot of top flight & serviceable goalies out there. It’s nice to have a name like Lundqvist, Bobrovsky, Rinne or Price, but it’s even better to have a Stanley Cup.

Well that about wraps up this double-blog at 8000 words! Thanks for sticking with me!

As I’ve been saying all off-season, I’ll try to do a blog a week and have a book review too. I currently got the Terry Sawchuk biography on my to-read list. With the season now over for all 30 teams and a 31st team now in the league, I expect a lot of moves to be made from the Rangers organization. Unless something huge goes down (Rangers move Lundqvist, Rangers sign Shattenkirk, etc), I’ll be back once a week all off-season. If something big goes down, I’ll do a “mini” blog about it. I say “mini” because my “mini blogs” are longer than other sites full featured blogs.

Until next time, I will be enjoying some cold adult beverages and watching my Yankees shockingly surprise all of baseball. ALL RISE FOR THE JUDGE!

As always,

Let’s Go Rangers!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the tweeter machine

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