What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Tonight, I attended the Rangers vs Devils preseason game. The best thing about preseason is that you can sit bougias for really cheap. I was able to score Delta Club tickets for 75% off using the old Stubhub trick. To use a line from Donald Trump, I don’t mean to sound “braggadocious”, but everyone needs to sit close at an NHL game to really appreciate how big and fast these guys are.
Before moving on, I’ve done seven blogs this week. If you missed any of them, here they are:
NYR/NYI Preseason Game 1 Thoughts: NYR’s First Line Shines, The Skap is Back, Clendening Making a Case, Greedy MSG, TY NYPD/FDNY & Much More From MSG
The New York Rangers 2016-2017 Preview: Where I Have Been, Thoughts on the Off-Season, What To Look For, Being Realistic About the Club in Year 90, Can Lundqvist Get His Cup, My Approach To Covering Hank This Year & Tons of Opinions About NYR
World Cup of Hockey Tournament Thoughts: Team Europe vs Canada Caps Off a Disappointing Tournament, USA Hockey, Why the WCH Failed in Front of Nearly Empty Arenas, Favorite NY Rangers, IIHF vs WCH & Much More From a Degenerate Who Saw Every Game
The New York Rangers defeated their Hudson River rivals, the New Jersey Devils, with a final of 3-1 on Thursday night. The Rangers are now undefeated in the preseason, winning contests against both the Islanders & the Devils. As I was telling people on social media who thinks that this means the Rangers are winning the Stanley Cup – calm down.
I said this in the last blog I did and I’ll say it again – these games don’t count. Both teams are trying out different scenarios. They are experimenting with lines. The teams are playing guys who won’t even make the squad and could be cut out of the organization altogether. If you want to take anything serious in the preseason, watch the goalies. Sure they aren’t facing the best players in the world like they will in the regular season, but they have to remain sharp & prepare for anything.
Going into this game, I was interested in a few things. I wanted to be in the building for Jimmy Vesey’s debut in MSG. I wanted to see how Pavel Buchnevich would do in his second game. I was interested in how Raanta & Skapski would do. I was interested in the chemistry between Nash, Hayes & Vesey. I took a little out of this game, but as I said, this is only preseason, so you can’t really jump to any conclusions.
For some reason, I can’t find a box score of this game on ESPN.com (They usually have a good one) or NHL.com (the site is a fucking joke.) Here’s a quick recap of the scoring, before getting into my opinions.
John Gilmour scores the first goal, a PPG, assisted by Hayes & Pirri. 1-0 NYR
Brandon Pirri scores, assisted by Gerbe & Buchnevich 2-0 NYR
Miles Wood scores on Raanta. 2-1 NYR
Brandon Pirri scores, assisted by Gilmour & Jensen 3-1 NYR. That would be the end of the scoring and your final score.
I thought both NY Ranger goalies looked solid tonight. Raanta made 15 saves on 16 shots. He was pulled after giving up a goal, with 7 minutes to go in the second period. He was going to be pulled anyway, because it was Coach AV’s plan to give both goalies 30 minutes each. Just bad timing here.
Skapski wound up being perfect, making 13-13 saves. I don’t see Raanta being bumped at all. However, if Skapski can have a good year in Hartford, perhaps he replaces Raanta next year, as the back-up to King No Cup. I ranted and raved about Skapski in my last blog, so I’ll save you the fan-boy gushing, but it really makes me happy to see this kid do well. Just like the first preseason game, Skapski came in and had to make a tough save within a minute of getting on the ice. While the save wasn’t as impressive as his toe save on Tuesday, it’s still impressive to come in cold and make a big save, nonetheless.
NJ Devils goalie, Scott Wedgewood, who backed up Cory Schneider and got his first start of the season last year (Keith Kinkaid was injured) started tonight. He wound up making 28-31 saves. He gave up two soft goals. Unless Kinkaid really bombs when he plays in preseason, it looks like Wedgewood will be in Albany.
The NHL season is a long 82 game grind. During that time, we will see different players mixed and matched as Coach AV tries to find consistency and success. I was interested in how the first line of Vesey/Hayes/Nash would do. Last year, Nash played a lot with Brassard. While Kreider was with Stepan a lot, you have to figure lines will change to accommodate the Ranger rookies of Buchnevich & Vesey.
Tonight, Vesey skated with Hayes and Nash. It was a given Vesey would play with Hayes, due to their history/friendship. Pirri did well with Buchnevich. If PIrri continues this play, AV may be forced to send Tanner Glass to Hartford. Maybe Pirri/Kreider/Buchnevich will work. I just think Kreider has to play with the Russian because he can speak the language and help communicate.
Of note, I was sitting behind the Rangers bench tonight. While Buchnevich didn’t have much chatter with his teammates, he did have several conversations with assistant coach, Scott Arniel. I don’t know if Scott Arniel speaks a little Russian or not, but it seems he was able to communicate a bit with his new forward.
Also of note – I talked on this site about how Ulf Samuelsson would be the guy watching the blue line for a potential offside from an opponent. I didn’t see any Rangers coach watching the line tonight. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a preseason game, that it’s not an area of focus or if Beukeboom was too busy watching his guys on the ice, but for at least this preseason game, looking for an offside wasn’t an issue.
The Rangers have seemingly a million forwards but only 12 spots to fill. I’m in the camp that Vesey & Buchnevich have to make the team. With that said, here’s who I think is a lock to make the team, forward wise:
Those 7 guys to me are LOCKS.
If you add Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey to the team, that’s 9 forwards.
Battling for the final three jobs are:
Michael Grabner (Poor man’s Hagelin but at least he’s not Etem)
Nathan Gerbe (We already have one lovable midget on this team)
Brandon Pirri (Two strong preseason games thus far)
Josh Jooris (Hasn’t gotten much ice time to judge)
Jesper Fast (I know people will say he’s a lock, but I don’t think he’s 100% safe)
Oscar Lindberg (currently injured)
Tanner Glass (AV loves him and uses him when he thinks games will be physical.)
Marek Hrivik (played last year, a good preseason is needed for him to be considered.)
As of right now, for the final three, you really can’t tell. There’s 4 preseason games left to play and who knows what AV is seeing in practice. But for now, Fast (By default), Pirri (is producing) and Tanner Glass (I just don’t see AV cutting the dude) look to be the favorites. The Rangers are deep with a lot of fourth line guys, but you can’t play them all. It’s going to be interesting to see how these cuts go down, just like how I talked about in my last blog about who makes the team from the defense. A lot of new faces and options to choose from.
Hockey and beer are made for each other like peanut butter and jelly. As someone, who is known to enjoy one or twenty beers on a given night, the MSG beer selection drives me insane. Forget about the disgustingly high ripoff prices – you just expect that by now. However, unless you go to the beers of the world stand, you can’t get a Molson or a Miller Lite in the whole building. Ironically, Miller Lite & Molson (and Labatt Blue Light) are my favorite beers. All over the fucking building, you’re subjected to what my Calgary friends called “Heroin” beers, tall boy Budweisers or Bud Lights. I’m not a fan of Bud products. I always get cotton mouth and gas. Well I usually have gas anyway, this just worsens it.
Around the venue, even in the bougias sections, the only beer options are Stella, Bud products, Heineken, Coors Light and some other garbage, I think Blue Moon. If you’re putting an orange into your beer at a hockey game, you’re probably a foo foo Islander fan. Waa, that last sentence wasn’t PC, sue me!
It’s 2016. We live in the best city in the world. For the love of fuck MSG, please serve Miller or Molson at every stand in MSG. Or at least serve cold beer in this wretched overpriced corporate arena.
I was given two Stellas tonight, one can, one tap, and both were warm. Horseshit! I had a Coors and I thought I was drinking piss straight out of a squeezed urinal cake. Get on top of the game here son! I mean, my good friend, the biggest Tampa Bay Lightning fan this side of the Mississippi, Vinny The Bison, was sitting bougias at tonight’s Bolts/Panthers game. They give you free beer in those seats. Free cold beer. I’m stuck paying $11 for a warm beer, like a schmuck, at MSG!
I don’t care much for hard liquor at games, because I’ve always been a beer drinker. I like a nice slow buzz, I don’t need to be floored at the games. Plus, for what we’re paying for all this, I want to remember the game too! Getting the right beer is important. So please MSG, cut the shit and widen your selection. For fucks sake, we know you have the money for it.
Some postgame quotes from the Rangers.
Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers head coach
On the play of Brandon Pirri…
“He certainly has been very effective on the power play. You could tell that he has a good release. But for me overall, the fact that both teams had some young players out on the ice with a lot of energy, maybe execution-wise there were a couple decisions made that were off, but the energy and fiestiness was there. A lot of our guys right now are trying to make an impression and it’s fun to see.”
On the play of John Gilmour…
“For a young guy playing in his first game and getting an opportunity on the power play, I thought he was very confident in his abilities. I thought he moved the puck real well and not just on the power play but going back and trying to beat the forecheck and skate with it in, trying to find the open man. For his first game in the NHL he played to his strengths and that’s what you want players to do.”
On the play of Dylan McIlrath…
“There’s no doubt that there’s an improvement. You can tell Dylan’s more confident in his abilities. He’s trying to make plays defensively. He’s using his lower reach and strength and he has to continue that moving forward.”
· Brandon Pirri, New York Rangers forward
On how his line played tonight…
“Especially for all three of us we’re trying to make an impression right now. The harder we push each other and the better we work together, the bigger impression we’re going to make. There’s competition in this locker room, but at the same time if we’re all doing well we’re all going to be noticed.”
On scoring two goals…
“You take them when you can get them. It’s hard to score in this league, even in the preseason, so things are going well right now.”
On learning the Rangers’ system…
“(The coaches) have made it black and white. As a player that’s what you want. It takes the thinking out of it and then when you have the puck, that’s when you can be creative and do the things you want to do. But for the system, they’ve made it really clear so that helps us players figure it out very quickly.”
On how he feels right now…
“I’m healthy now and that’s big. I had a good summer. Coming here, I have to make an impression. At the same time there’s a lot of excitement, and it’s been fun so far. I’m just trying to keep it going.”
· Jimmy Vesey, New York Rangers forward
On his early breakaway…
“It got me into the game right away I think. Obviously, I would have liked to score but I wasn’t sure about how much time I had so I just tried to make a quick move and the goalie stopped it, but luckily it drew the penalty and got a power play out of it.”
On playing in the NHL…
“I think it’s another step up for me from the Traverse City tournament. The pace is another step up and guys are bigger and stronger out there, so another adjustment for me but I’m just trying to take it in stride and learn from my linemates and just keep getting better every day.”
On what he’s learned so far…
“I think communication is something that’s got to be big at this level, talking in your own end and stuff like that. I think a guy like Rick (Nash), he’s always harping that on the bench to always talk to your linemates and I think that’s a very useful skill in today’s game. I think that’s one thing I’m trying to work on.”
· John Gilmour, New York Rangers defenseman
On first game in the NHL…
“It was really cool stepping on the ice. Even during the warmups, MSG was pretty electric. It was a good first night. I was fortunate to get a goal and kind of get my feet wet a little bit. It was a good time – a great time.”
On his approach to training camp and the preseason…
“I’m just taking it day by day, minute by minute actually. It’s my first training camp. I’m just trying to learn from the older guys, kind of see what they do. When I’m out there on the ice, just go hard every time, every chance I get.”
On the direction he’s gotten from the coaching staff…
“Just play my game, keep it simple, make tape-to-tape passes. I don’t have to do anything too crazy out there, just play my game. If I get a chance, jump in the rush. If I get a chance to take a shot, try to get it through.”
Couple of more random thoughts from the game, before I tell you the hooker story:
- For Jimmy Vesey’s first game, the leading scorer in Traverse didn’t notch any points. However, I liked the way he played. He drew two penalties, one off a near breakaway early in the game. He had a lot of speed and you could see the chemistry with he and Kevin Hayes. I noticed two confident drop passes between the two.
- The powerplay went 2 for 6. This needs to happen in the regular season, but for tonight, I was happy to see what usually is an anemic PP deliver.
- I don’t know how you judge Brandon Pirri’s game. I need to see more against better competition. I’m sure he will get more ice time in these preseason games. Speaking of ice-time, AV gave Vesey a lot of it. He wants this kid to develop.
- Nick Holden made his Rangers debut. For my money, Adam Clendening is the better option. Again, AV has a ton of tough decisions to make.
- The Hartford Wolfpack are going to be deep this year. The Rangers might even have some trade-bait.
- Gerbe didn’t do much to impress me or to make me think he’s going to be on this team on opening night.
- Grabner does have speed, but again, we had Carl Hagelin. Since foolishly trading him, the Rangers have tried to replace him with poor man Carl Hagelin’s. I hate you Sather.
- Dylan McIlrath, had by my count, no less than 3 potential scraps tonight. Obviously, you’re not gonna trade dukes and risk getting hurt in the preseason but the Rangers have a tough motherfucker with this kid. He’s another one in limbo. If he had more of an offensive game, I’d say he’s a lock to make this team. As of now, he is like a Tanner Glass, probably only used in games where the Rangers need physicality.
- I’m not digging Kevin Klein’s new hair style. He is a bad ass but looks Williamsburgish right now. Still wouldn’t want to have to fight him though!
- Rick Nash couldn’t dominate against a Devils team depleted of their starters. That worries me. For someone telling the media he has to earn his spot, I didn’t see someone playing their ass off for a spot.
- Buchnevich logged his first point, on an assist. He actually had a few minutes out there with Vesey. I hope to see a lot of that in the years to come. These rookies need to pan out big time for this team to be a contender. If not, we’re left with Gomez & Drury!
NOTE: This blog is over for you if you’re under 18. Click the back button! However, if you want an adult story, keep on reading!
Let me preface this by saying, I’m not one to judge what anyone does. What you do doesn’t affect me. However, I just found this to be wild. Because I don’t want to get sued for outing anyone, I can’t post the picture of the woman who sat in front of Borgata Ray & myself tonight. However, talk about a first at a Rangers game! I’m used to Lundqvist sucking, but this was something else!
After a great national anthem (Some 11 year old Broadway star sang it, and she had great pipes, one of the best anthems I’ve heard at MSG over the years), we got settled in our seats. About half way through the first period, some guy and a weathered, but decent looking, woman sat down in front of us.
I wasn’t paying attention to their conversation, because I was trying to get good pictures for this silly blog. However, at a commercial break, one line got my attention:
“I just bleached my asshole, so you could eat it.”
I don’t care where you watch Ranger games. Whether it be the bougias seats, the blueseats, the bridge, the bar, from your house or on the toilet, hearing about bleached assholes isn’t normal conversation you hear when watching hockey.
Obviously, my interest was piqued.
This woman and guy keep talking and she talks about her shaved pussy & how she likes anal sex. The guy keeps grabbing and ogling at her as she keeps telling stories. The woman starts calling the other women in the section “ugly” and how they are just “bitches.” The woman talks about not seeing too many people in NY and how people are cheap.
Now I don’t know if I heard this, as much as I wanted to hear it, but I swear on my piss-warm Stella beer, that the guy said, “enough of this game, let’s get back to the hotel.”
I wasn’t paying much attention when these two sat in front of me, but when they got up, the woman was wearing one of those street-walkerish black cocktail dresses that you see in those late night HBO hooker shows. Perhaps the word hooker is too dirty, maybe she would prefer the term, “professional escort.”
Either way, I couldn’t believe this guy brought a sex worker to the game with him. I mean we were sitting in seats where we could be on TV. How do you explain who that person is if someone saw you? From what I’ve seen in movies and television, hookers don’t kiss their johns. That leads to the biggest question – what would’ve happened if they were on the kiss cam?
As someone who has always been a proponent of wanting the families to get good seats, this was a step in the opposite direction. I could understand if you don’t want to go to a game by yourself, because after all, who are you going to make wisecracks to? I mean, I’ve been to a game by myself because someone couldn’t show up last second and that person had to eat a ticket. Still, getting a ticket, a bougias ticket for that matter, and bringing a hooker? Seeing that was a first for me.
Maybe this guy was onto something. We noticed what was going on in front of us and got distracted a bit because of the craziness of it. Maybe this guy needs to bring his hookers and sit behind the opponents bench and distract the players. Just imagine if you’re an NHL player. If you are hearing some girl behind you talking about shaved pussies and bleached assholes, you might lose your focus. Just make sure Isiah Thomas & James Dolan aren’t in the building when you try this theory out!
A parting word on the World Cup of Hockey tournament. If you didn’t check out my blog on the WCH (It’s linked at the top of this one), check it out. Team Canada swept Team Europe, 2-0 and won the thing. It was a tough 2-1 loss tonight for Team Europe, who were leading the game with 3 minutes to go, 1-0. I was pulling for Zucc, but at the end of the day, thinking anyone but Canada was going to win this thing was a pipe-dream.
With the tournament now over, it’s safe to say this thing was a failure. It didn’t draw TV ratings. Crowds were small and sparse. Team USA was embarrassed. A hodge-podge team of Europeans were able to beat long-lasting programs. And at the end of the day, Canada, (SHOCKER) won the thing. This was another Bettman Bomb.
I’m telling if you, if you’re gonna do a gimmick tournament, just do a 3 vs 3 tourney. People will tune in for that.
Oh, and it sucked coming home, turning on the TV and seeing that cunt Sidney Crosby celebrate with another piece of hardware. What a Hall of Fame career this kid has had at such a young age. I hate the bitch and his pussy is probably shaved and his ass is probably bleached like the hooker, but he’s one hell of a hockey player.
The Rangers hit the road for the next three preseason games, as they play NJ on Saturday, the Flyers on Monday & the Islanders on Tuesday. I was thinking about hitting the NJ & NYI games, but perhaps I’ll save the cash flow for games that matter. Lundswiss rejoins the team on Saturday and Mats Zuccarello will be returning now that the WCH is over.
Depending on my schedule, I’ll try to get something up Sunday. If not, enjoy the preseason and as always, LET’S GO RANGERS!
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