Cheerio and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Today has been quite a day. From waking up early to watch the Redskins vs Bengals in London, to watching another 8 hours of football, to watching the World Series, to watching the WWE PPV to watching the Ranger & Oiler games, my poor ass has pins and needles! I know most Canadians and other people think of Americans as being fat and lazy and to that, I was your stereotypical American today. I did nothing all day besides watch sports, drink beer and enjoy a chicken parm!
Let me just hit some quick things before getting into the hockey, since I know most of you, like me, watch other things besides the NHL:
- The London games have to go. They are just boring games. Soccer doesn’t work in America and no player is going to want to make London their home during an NFL season. Let it go.
- I originally picked the Patriots vs the Giants in the Superbowl. One of those teams looks good!
- That WWE PPV was horrible. I’m glad I had it on the small screen. As someone who promoted wrestling for 10 years, I would never want to book Sasha Banks for the sole reason being that she seems dangerous. Every bump she takes is on or around her neck. Wouldn’t want to be the person who insures her. That said – a phenomenal athlete, but a terrible, terrible finish to that match tonight.
- I am noticing on social media that I’m not the only person with the 3 screen set-up. In today’s age of spoilers and sports dominating ratings/ad sales, there is so much stuff going on at once. For example, at 7PM I had the Ranger, Islander and WWE pre-show on. At 8PM, I turned off the Islanders and put the baseball on. In between, that I’m flipping through the football game and the WWE PPV. Then, when the Rangers were over, I switched to the Oilers. Just so much at once.
- It’s funny, I didn’t see any Walking Dead spoilers tonight like I usually do on social media. Here’s the deal – sports are DVR proof. While The Walking Dead is nearly DVR proof and probably the only show on cable that has that status, you can still DVR it. You really can’t DVR live sports. Live sports draw the most ad money out of any genre on TV. That’s why you see all these big games during prime time.
- I will say, I do find myself falling into the majority when it comes to the NFL. I really have had it. The NFL spends all this money on the Tom Brady witch hunt, but ignores women beaters, rapists, killers, etc. The officiating is terrible. Who knows what the fuck is a catch anymore? Guys are being penalized for celebrating a touchdown? It’s ridiculous. Like many, I tune into the Redzone channel just for fantasy and gambling purposes. However, that’s gonna fade out soon too. I think we’ve seen the peak of fantasy sports rather than being in the infancy of it. How many times can you be screwed by injuries and bad match-ups and continue to do this?
- As a Yankee fan, I have to admit, I didn’t watch much baseball this year. I’m not thrilled with the Yankees. It’s been tough since losing great guys like Jeter and Mo. However, when the Yankees signed Chapman, I was completely turned off. I just don’t have any tolerance for these guys beating up women. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like Lundqvist. (Check out my Stan Fischler “Rangers vs Islanders” book review blog to understand that reference.)
- I have been watching the World Series and I know everyone is pulling for the Cubs, but I am not. You got Lackey, who left his wife after she was diagnosed with cancer. I’ll talk about Craig Anderson at the end of this blog, but talk about two different people. Their closer is Chapman, who beats women up. I find it hard to pull for them. I rather see a team called “The Indians”, made up mostly of Latinos, take out the Cubs.
- Some fans just give these athletes free passes. I get the Charles Barkley line of thinking and agree with it. These guys aren’t role models. Just because they wear a jersey I like, doesn’t mean I’m going to root for them if I disagree with their actions. The women beating, raping, leaving your wife with cancer, etc, really doesn’t sit well with me.
- Who would’ve thought that with a panel of Pete Rose, Alex Roidriguez & Frank Thomas, that only Thomas would be in the baseball HOF?
- However, for all the shit in sports, and I talked about this in these last few blogs, I do want to promote the positive stuff when I see it. How could you not be a fan of this:
Anderson comes out in tears. Talbot stays out to clap. What a moment. pic.twitter.com/FcoKchEoh5
— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) October 31, 2016
It really is amazing, especially after a night like tonight, where I’m tired and wanted to pound this blog out, that I’m 1000 words in and haven’t even started talking the Rangers yet. I even got a Talbot reference in! Let’s get to the meat of this blog and why most of you are here- the New York Rangers.
The New York Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night, with an impressive 6-1 final score. If you read my last blog, the NYR vs Carolina game blog, I predicted what was going to happen. The coward, the guy who physically abuses women, Henrik Lundswiss, sat this game out. Of course Hank would rather play a last place team than play the Lightning. The Lightning have owned him ever since the Rangers traded Cally for MSL. Tampa has put 5+ goals on him multiple times. In the 2014-2015 season alone, Tampa put up 15 goals in 3 games against “The King”. They also lit his cupless ass up in the ECF that every same year, putting up back-to-back touchdowns against him. The Bishop took the Rangers & the King nine out of his last ten games.
As I’ve pointed out to you here, time and time again, and you can ignore it if you want, but it doesn’t change the facts, when Lundswiss is scheduled for rest, he ALWAYS rests against a stronger team. He will always play the worst of two teams on a back-to-back. It happens ALL the time, ever since he signed his new contract. Not one reporter has ever flat out asked Hank or AV about it. I wish someone would have the stones to do it. I’m looking at you Larry Brooks!
I’ve been going on and on here for three seasons about Lundswiss. While in the beginning it was 90-10 against my opinion, I have noticed a huge change, based on the feedback I get. I would say it’s 52-48, pro my opinion on Lundswiss. The problem with a lot of Ranger fans is that Ranger fans would rather see Lundswiss win a Cup like Ray Bourque, than see the Rangers win a Cup without Hank. I’ve said it here from day one – I want the RANGERS to win a Cup.
I root for the front of the Rangers jersey, not the back. Granted, I’ve seen a lot of players that I enjoyed come and go over the years. Yeah, you might know me as the Talbot guy, but I also was the Jagr guy, the Graves guy, the Leetch guy and yes, a PETER FUCKING NEDVED guy. Shit, I was even a huge fan of Manny Maholtra. I was also a fan of a guy named Mark Messier and I wasn’t thrilled to see him in a Canucks jersey either, but while I rooted for him to do well, I always rooted Ranger blue.
When I started watching hockey, it was not the same league that it is today. It really is inexcusable what Sather did to Graves & Leetch. However, if guys like Leetch, Graves and Messier can move on, and going further back, guys like Giacomin, Howell & Bathgate go, you can cut the cord on the overpaid goalie, no matter how great he once was.
When you think about it, it is a million times worse today because of the salary cap. When all these Ranger legends moved on, there was no cap. They were moved because they were out of their prime. Lundswiss is out of his prime too. You can deny it all you want, but 2012 was his prime and it’s been a steady decline since. I know the Lundswiss fans will disagree with me here but you can argue that John Tortorella was the best coach for Lundswiss.
Torts employed a shot blocking style, was conservative on defense and would never know how to handle an offensive defensemen like a Bobby Orr. Once Torts was fired (and ironically enough, Lundswiss pushed for his firing), Lundswiss saw his numbers go down. He hasn’t won a Vezina since. He’s been benched/pulled out of games for sucking more times in his career last season than he ever was during the Torts era.
I know all these people who live in their mother’s basements make these crazy charts. Here’s one – how many quality shots did Hank face under Torts as compared to AV? I don’t even need a chart. I can tell you from watching. Torts made sure Hank didn’t face the amount of quality shots that he’s faced under AV. That’s why Lundswiss looked so great. It also helps that goaltending coach Benoit Allaire is on staff. Look at the career of Talbot, even just during his Rangers run alone. Ditto Raanta. Shit, he took a 19 year old rookie, in Skapski, and Skapski only gave up 1 goal in 2 games!
The Rangers best shot at a Cup, is to get rid of Hank’s contract, plug in Raanta, promote Skapski or if you don’t feel he’s ready, sign another cheap NHL veteran, and use the money saved on Hank’s contract on a scorer. You know the spiel. Not one top 5 paid goaltender has won a Cup in the new cap era.
One of the reasons more people are agreeing with me more than ever before is because they see the chinks in Hank’s armor. They are seeing Talbot excelling. They saw a $600,000 Matt fucking Murray win a Stanley Cup. Pekka Rinne, the second highest paid goalie is having a terrible season as well. You just can’t make the highest paid player on your team the goalie, especially since he doesn’t play every game.
Plus, if the Rangers offense can put 6 goals up (Free papajohns! Yuck!) a night, it doesn’t matter who the goalie is! However, unless you see the Rangers scoring a touchdown every game, you are going to want to beef your lines. It’s not like Hank is a top 5 goalie, nevermind an elite goalie, in this league anymore. You could even argue he’s not even top 3 in his division. (Holtby, Fleury/Murray, Schneider, Bobrovsky all have better numbers.)
Ok, we’re now 2000 words in and I didn’t get into the game yet. Talk about going off on a tangent.
Anyway, Raanta got the start tonight and Ranger fans saw a goalie who doesn’t give up a goal within 90 seconds of a period or in the final 60 seconds of a period. They also saw the Rangers best offensive performance since putting up 5 goals in a third period against Minnesota two years ago.
Let me give you the box score and then get into it. As always, the box score comes courtesy of ESPN.com:
1st Period Summary
|No scoring this period||0||0|
||Alex Killorn: 2 Minutes for Tripping|
||Jimmy Vesey: 2 Minutes for Holding|
||Steven Stamkos: 2 Minutes for Interference|
||Mats Zuccarello: 2 Minutes for Clipping|
2nd Period Summary
||Rick Nash (4)
Assist: Nick Holden
||Michael Grabner (3)
Assists: Brady Skjei, Kevin Hayes
||Jimmy Vesey (5)
Assist: Rick Nash
||J.T. Miller (3)
Assists: Kevin Hayes, Dan Girardi
||Alex Killorn: 2 Minutes for Roughing|
||Jonathan Drouin: 2 Minutes for Holding|
||Alex Killorn: 2 Minutes for Tripping|
3rd Period Summary
||Michael Grabner (4)
Assists: J.T. Miller, Ryan McDonagh
||Michael Grabner (5)
Assists: Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller
||Steven Stamkos (6) (Power Play)
Assists: Nikita Kucherov, Anton Stralman
||Nick Holden: 2 Minutes for Holding|
||Brandon Pirri: 2 Minutes for Cross checking|
This was a wild game but a good wild for the NY Rangers. The first period was absolutely quiet and dead. It’s like the fans dressed up as empty seats. It was quiet. Maybe people skipped the game for football or the World Series, or they dreaded seeing Tampa, but whatever it was, it was like a funeral in MSG.
However, for as dead and quiet as it was in the first, MSG turned into New Year’s Eve in the second, as the Rangers potted four goals. Instead of the Bishop taking the King, the Rangers ate Lightening and crapped Thunder down the throats of the Bolts.
Rick Nash, yes Rick Nash, got it all rolling when he scored on a breakaway goal. How many times have you seen Rick Nash come up empty handed on his breakaways? However, tonight, it was a sign of things to come. The floodgates were open!
From there, Michael Grabner (And please, to the people who tweeted “Carl Hagelin who?”, just get lost. Hagelin is a Swede who has a Cup.) scored one of the prettiest tic tac goals you’ll ever see. Hayes and Skjei moved the puck around like wizards and Grabner had an empty net to fire at.
Jimmy Vesey earned NYR fans the 50% off Papa John’s coupon, with the third goal of the game. (Is this a season-long promotion? Seems the Rangers are getting three a game, and you will gain 30 pounds a game eating Papa Johns.) Vesey now has 5 goals. You have to love what you’re seeing from him and you really have to love that he chose to play here, because he could’ve went anywhere he wanted.
JT Miller, who was buzzing all night, even hitting a post, got the fourth and final goal of the second period. Miller sure earned this one, as it looked like one of those nights where he was all over the net but couldn’t find twine. Kinda like Pavel Buchnevich.
While on Buchnevich, it’s a different transition for him than Jimmy Vesey. Give him time. Once he gets it all figured out, I think NYR fans will have something special with him.
Grabner would add two more goals in the third period, giving him the hat trick and the Rangers a 6-0 lead. If you had Grabner scoring the first hat trick of the NY Rangers season, raise your hand and give yourself a pat on the back. I for one, sure did not see it coming.
What was even more impressive about the Rangers offensive outburst was that they did it without Kreider, who is still out with neck spasms.
Stamkos would add a powerplay goal with under 4 minutes remaining, giving the Rangers a 6-1 victory. You know me by now, I was really pulling for the KING RAANTA shutout, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Still, it was the best Rangers team and Rangers goalie performance against Tampa in a long time. Raanta’s performance tonight just gave more credence to my theory that Lundswiss has to go. (Again, Lundswiss has to go because of his iron clad contract. If he was making $4 million a season or won a Cup, I wouldn’t make a peep.)
Leave it for a Finnish goalie to do what a Swedish goalie couldn’t and that’s take out the Lightning. Granted, it did help that the Rangers put up 6 goals, but I can remember an ECF game in 2015 where the Rangers put up 5, but Hank gave up 6. Not a very regal performance then.
This was a nice statement win from the Rangers. They were missing Kreider. Zuccarello didn’t score. Raanta made 31 saves on 32 shots. You saw Nash score on a breakaway. Vesey continued to score. Grabner was the unlikely hero.
While you want to pound your chest and put your dick out like you’re remembering Harambe, it isn’t even November yet. Yes, be happy with the win. However, and like it’s been for a while, this team is about the playoffs. You just got to keep it going. This isn’t a team that is just on the rise. They’ve been knocking on the door for a while and that door slammed on their face like a Jehovah’s witness last season. They have to score when it counts. That said, this was a huge win and for the Rangers, beating Tampa hasn’t been easy. This was a great team victory.
Even guys who have been buried by Ranger fans like Girardi or Staal or even a guy like Nick Holden, who I trashed in my last blog, played well. The biggest problem for the Rangers is consistency. Even the first period of this game was horrible tonight. They didn’t get it going until the second.
The only alarming thing in this game was that the Rangers couldn’t convert on a 2 minute 5 vs 3 PP. It won’t get any talk because of the 6-1 final, but if this was a 2-1 loss, you bet your ass people would be talking about it. In other words, the Rangers have things to work on.
Craig Anderson, netminder for the Ottawa Senators, recently had two leaves of absences which had people talking and speculating. However, no one could’ve guessed what was really up until it was announced on Saturday. Nicholle Anderson, Craig’s wife, has been diagnosed with cancer. As of this writing, it is not known how serious the cancer is or what the exact diagnosis is, but what we do know, is that during this #HockeyFightsCancer month, Nicholle Anderson has cancer.
Anderson returned to the Senators on Sunday night for a game against the Edmonton Oilers. We all know by now that I watch every Oilers game because of Talbot. I watched this game with great interest, as someone rooting for the Oilers and because I’m a big pussy, I was rooting for a 0-0 final and hoping for a shootout. No one was rooting for Anderson to be lit up and you could see the appreciation the people from Alberta had for Anderson throughout the game.
With what Anderson is going through, I wouldn’t call it a Disney moment, but it was feel-good moment when the final horn went off. Anderson logged 37 saves, in a 2-0 shutout victory over the Oilers. Since I’m biased for the Oilers, I must mention the game was 1-0 the whole way, until the Oilers pulled Talbot and the Senators got an empty net goal.
I posted the clip above of Talbot clapping for Anderson. I saw many Oiler fans on twitter appreciating and complimenting Anderson as well. In a pure class act from the Edmonton Oilers organization, they also congratulated him. As someone pulling for the Oilers to win, if they had to lose, then this was the game to lose.
Now one shutout isn’t going to solve Anderson’s problems, but hopefully it got his mind off them for an hour. Anderson has the NHL supporting him and hopefully Nicholle will survive and beat this.
In closing of this blog, I thought I would share an anecdote with you. I was talking to my good number one buddy Joe aka El Shoes, about my fandom of Rangers vs Oilers. He asked, what fanbase do you get along with better? It was a no-brainer. It was the Oilers fanbase.
After thinking about it, I think I know why. For starters – New Yorkers just have a horrible attitude and are assholes. I should know, I am one! However, the real reason I think I get along better with Canadian fans is because they understand the game and the business of hockey. It also doesn’t hurt that Oilers twitter skews older, while the Rangers twitter fanbase skews younger. I would say 90% of the people I see posting about the Rangers never saw Mike Richter play. I would be shocked if 75% of them could pick Messier out of a line-up. All they know is Hank, so of course I’m the anti-christ to those people.
What drives me nuts about those Ranger fans are their stubbornness to learn about the team. I’m 34, (had to think about how old I was for a second, you would’ve laughed as I was doing 2016-1982 in my head) but I’ve read, researched and watched the Rangers history. I can tell you about Frank Boucher and why he should have his number retired. I can tell you how the Rangers got screwed in the WWII era. I can tell you I’ve seen games of guys like Ron Duguay, Barry Beck, Ron Greschner, Dave Maloney, John Davidson, etc in their prime, via the NHL package (which features old games) and youtube.
Many of these Ranger fans just know Hank and that’s it. Sad really. Most of these fans don’t realize that 4 Cups in 90 years is pathetic and that the Rangers have the worst track record out of the Original 6 teams. WHA (Millennial Ranger fans are saying “What’s that?”) teams have won more Cups than the Rangers.
However, in Canada, a place I love to visit and I’ve been there 6 times alone in the last calendar year, is all about hockey. You go into any bar in Canada, and TSN is on. What’s TSN showing? In a normal hour broadcast, you see 90% hockey highlights and 10% everything else. You can’t even find hockey highlights on an episode of Sportscenter. The fans in Canada are more educated. It’s hard to be an astute hockey fan in America, unless you really seek it out.
Put it this way – the Rangers just won 6-1 tonight. Any articles in tomorrow’s newspaper will be buried, as the Jets, idle Knicks and idle Giants will get the premium pages. It’s even harder for Devil fans, who barely get a mention. You never hear hockey on WFAN, unless it’s Boomer talking Rangers. Islander and Devil fans have no voice on NY sports talk radio, the capital of all sports talk radio.
As I was telling my buddy Joe, I feel like a 1997 Bret Hart based on feedback I get. Canadian fans agree and are with me, while the young stupid Americans are not. However, at the end of the day, Hank screwed Hank! He’s the one that asked for the big money in this cap era. Not me, not you. He said all the dumbass quotes like “give me two goals and I got this” or “I want a Cup in NY at any cost.”
To be fair, I can’t lump all American Ranger fans in this. Many are starting to see the light. A small minority were with me from day one. We all want the same thing – for Talbot to get a Cup with the Rangers! Ok, I kid, I kid. We all want the Rangers to win a Cup by any means possible. For me, that means getting rid of Hank’s contract. If you can’t see it, it means you can’t see the forest from the trees. However, Canadian fans can, and that’s ok too. That said, chill with the death threats, (I don’t take any of them seriously, I appreciate your passion for your favorite player) it’s only a fucking game!
On a light-hearted note – I don’t know if Steve Valiquette and Al Trautwig decided to get colorful on their own this season or if it’s organic, but their witty banter and friendly shots at each other is hilarious. It makes the broadcasts more fun and gives you a reason to laugh in between periods. Keep it up.
Over 4000 words, whew, this was a doozy.
See you Tuesday night….
Let’s Go Rangers
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter