The Rangers will have a hard test in conference semifinals by

As the Rangers were running for the President’s trophy, one thing that stood out was the incredible depth they had in their squad. This was evident throughout their game against the Penguins where they won 4-1 in their first round series. There is a test coming up for the Rangers with the injury to Mats Zuccarello, a big blow to them and everyone will be looking to see how they cope with that. You can learn how Zuccarello’s injury will affect the NHL betting odds as there are some interesting facts that you must check out.

Let us take a look at how their depth has helped them win games so far. Echoing the words of their coach Alan Vigneault that you can’t win anything without depth as proven in game 5 on Friday as the lightning fast left wing Carl Hagelin scored 10:52 which was only the second time he got his name on the board as Dominic Moore assisted twice.

The diversity and winning mentality of the Rangers was evident as they had seven players scoring in their 11 first-round. Everyone but Tanner Glass and Jesper Fest have failed to record a point during the series which goes to show the diversity and winning mentality of the Rangers.

Hagelin, the hero on Friday is fast becoming a crucial member of the team earned the plaudits in game 4 as Kevin Hayes put the finishing touch on a sleek team goal.

The Rangers’ victory in game 5 came at a cost as they lost their star player Mats Zuccarello with minutes to spare in the first period. His helmet did little to help as he took a slap shot to its left side from Ryan McDonagh. He was removed and could not continue with the game.

No official communication has been made on the state of his injury besides a statement on Friday that Mats is being evaluated, we all know what that means .After the game, head coach revealed he heard Mats was all right trying to downplay the injury and added that they will be cautious with him.

In case Mats fails to feature his natural replacement would be James Sheppard who would appear for the first time this postseason.

Mats’ teammates are however talking big with center Derek Stepan saying they have enough depth to overcome this injury. The question of depth has been answered previously when Keith Yandle came in for the injured Klein though he played through an illness as they only conceded eight to Pittsburgh. They also kept Evgeni Malkini quiet as he has failed to score against them the whole series.

Their depth in front of goal was tested with Henrik Lundqvist missing 25 games but Cam Talbot stepped up as the Rangers soldiered on as he went 16-4-3 in his 23 starts disproving any doubters.

Let’s call it as it is Zuccarello’s injury is a big blow to their ambitions but they have proved all doubters wrong before with multiple injuries but still finding a way around it. This, however, is a huge test for them and we have to wait and see how they cope without their star player.


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Hometown Hobbit

Aside from the fact that Glen Sather managed to secure the services of all star defenseman Keith Yandle, Ranger fans are over the moon that Mats Zuccarello took a hometown discount to remain a New York Ranger.

I can’t think of the last player to do that. Even the Messiah, Mark Messier, left his adoptive hometown to go to Vancouver for the money.

Zuccarello is a smart player and an even smarter person. He saw Ryan Callahan get shipped out last year for playing chicken with Glen Sather over contract negotiations.

He realized that even a fan favorite and a team captain like Callahan was no match for the great and powerful Sather.

Who knows why Mats gave the Rangers a hometown discount? If he had hit the open market he surely could have gotten more. The fans and his friends on the team are glad he did.

Tweeted by Carl Hagelin @CarlHagelin

Congrats to @zuccarello36 on his new deal. A great player and friend but an even better chef #boysinblueshirts

How sweet is that?

How can you not love the Hobbit? He’s like my French Bulldog. Relentless on the bone, I mean puck. Energetic. Fun Loving. Affectionate. Loyal. Hard Working. Good Temperament. And, he has a permanent smile on his face.

Thank you, Mats. Thank you for staying. Now I don’t have yet another superfluous Ranger jersey hanging in my closet.

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Where Should The Buck Stop Tonight?

So, the Rangers have lost their third straight game to the Islanders in embarrassing fashion. After the first two losses, where the players looked lethargic and heartless, fans were fast to place the blame on the players. In this third loss, one has to start looking to the scouting and coaching staffs for some answers.

I’m not buying that the Islanders are so much better than the Rangers. The Rangers were able to sweep their Western road trip for the first time their history. They beat league leading Anaheim. They went 8 and 2 before the All Star break. Why can’t they beat the Islanders?

Many Islander fans are quick to spout off that they have such a great team. As usual, they would be incorrect. The reason the Islanders are where they are is because of Jack Capuano.

Who is the first person to get shipped out when a team goes on a prolonged losing streak? The Coach. Just ask Tom Renney. But when things are going well, the coach just stands in the background and the players get the glory.

The Islanders may be in the Rangers heads but I think it is more a case of Capuano being in Vigneault’s head. The Islanders are where they are because of Capuano. For once they have a decent goalie. Picking up Boychuk and Leddy didn’t hurt either.

Some Islander fans have been whining that their season is over because they lost Kyle Okposo for two months. Let’s hope moving forward their worst fears are proven right. They certainly weren’t tonight.

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Rangers Boulevard of Broken Dreams

The joy that you find here, you borrow
You cannot keep it long, it seems
Gigolo and gigolette
Still sing a song and dance along
The boulevard of broken dreams

– Tony Bennett version, not Green Day.

That was the worst home opener I’ve been to in a while. And what is really sad is that the afternoon started out so good on 33rd Street. The Rangers organization put on quite a show with the pregame festivities outside Garden.

I wonder why they haven’t done it before? Perhaps the Dolan’s feud with the city ended when Mayor DiBlasio took office and MSG was granted the permit to have a street fair. Just idle speculation….

The event had something for everyone and left those walking into the Garden with a smile on their faces. Blue carpet interviews with the players, hosted by Kevin Weeks, were fun and informative. They had a small plastic rink for the kids, a slap shot 360 photo booth, Ranger Alumni signing autographs and giveaways. It was everything a Ranger Street Fair should be.

They may not have raised the Conference Championship banner but they gave out a nice Ranger flag on the way in. Once the lights went out and the team was introduced, everyone was disappointed to learn Zuccarello would not be playing. It was a game time decision.

So the Rangers would play without the Hobbit, Boyle, Stepan and eventually Nash(who left because his wife was in labor). The Maple Leaves came out banging. Dominic Moore took an unfortunate penalty and the Rangers never recovered. It seemed like all the noobs on the team were intimidated and made poor decisions.

The Rangers got beaten to most pucks. To add insult to injury, Lundqvist turned in his worst performance in recent memory. He let Leaf players stand in front and screen him and never once made them pay.  He keeps forgetting my advice to channel his inner Billy Smith and chop at their ankles and legs.

Speaking of Fishsticks, let’s hope Henrik and the boys don’t get smoked by Halak and Boychuk tomorrow night. Let’s keep Hempstead Turnpike the Boulevard Broken Dreams.

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Overcharged and Shortchanged

So the powers that be at MSG have decided that the players and their fans don’t deserve to see the 2013 – 2014 Eastern Conference Championship banner raised to the rafters.

In my opinion, that’s a smack in the face to the players still on the team who earned it and to their fans who have supported the franchise throughout the Reign of Dolan and Sather. The players and the fans are being shortchanged.

Seeing as the fans have had little to celebrate since 1994, one would think MSG would take this opportunity to create a memory that they can use to push their koolaide in the event of lean times in the future. I guess they are confident that the lean times will not be revisited.

After being overcharged a Dolan’s ransom for playoff tickets (some subscribers had to sell their playoff tickets to pay for their season), the subscribers and the rest of the “Garden Faithful” get nothing to mark an occasion that may not happen again in their lifetime.

Some say that there shouldn’t be a banner raising for coming in second. The Rangers lost the Cup.

To that I say, turn in your Ranger fan card.

They WON the Eastern Conference CHAMPIONSHIP.

Another bad decision by MSG.

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Congratulations to Tom Renney

Congratulations to my friend, Tom Renney, who yesterday was named the head of Hockey Canada.

When Tom lost his job with the Rangers in 2009 I told him “when a door closes somewhere a window opens”. Such has been the case for Tom’s whole career. Every step along the way Tom has improved his resume and it has brought him to pinnacle of hockey in his homeland.  I can think of no one more deserving.

I will always root for the USA over Canada. But, I will continue to follow Tom’s career with interest and wish him the best in this new endeavor. I also lament that I won’t be seeing him around the New York arenas as he is no longer with the Red Wings.

Though his time with the Rangers was too short, I will always remember Tom as a great coach,  a gentleman and a class act. The NHL’s loss is Canada’s gain.

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Here’s To The Winners

Here’s to the winners, lift up the glasses
Here’s to the glory still to be
Here’s to the battle, whatever it’s for
To ask the best of ourselves, then give much more

Congratulations to the LA Kings
2014 Western Conference Champions and Stanley Cup Champions.

Congratulations to the New York Rangers 2014 Eastern Conference Champions

After the Montreal series, I begged for hockey with honor. That’s exactly what we got from the New York Rangers and the LA Kings. Both Clubs are to be congratulated for playing honorably in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers overachieved this season. Prior to the playoffs, the Kings had underachieved. I say this while looking at both teams depth charts. The Kings had the better horses, the deeper roster  The Rangers pinned their hopes on a Hobbit, a Mac Truck and the King.

At the end of the day, the talent on the LA Kings showed up. Too bad the same cannot be said for the Rangers. To add insult to injury, Alain Vigneault succumbed to the same mistake as the last four head coaches of the Rangers.

Vigneault went to the high priced talent, Richards, Nash, Girardi, in the clutch. They let him down. It’s Vigneault’s own fault. He kept putting Richards on the point on the powerplay. It didn’t work for Torts and it didn’t for Vigneault. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

LA made a move at the trade deadline that put them over the top. They acquired Marian Gaborik. Marty St. Louis played admirably but didn’t have the complementary pieces on the Rangers that Gaborik did on the Kings.

Marian Gaborik, once the Rangers 40 goal scorer, the player Torts pissed on, has his name on the Stanley Cup. Good for Gabby.

The people involved in these playoffs that were dishonorable are the incompetent officials. They have been castigated by the fans and the media nightly over all the games played in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. At times they have made the NHL a laughing stock.

It’s time for Colin Campbell and Stephan Walkom to be replaced by people who know what they are doing and can educate their on ice officials properly. Kerry Frazier would be my candidate. Get a committee of retired referees to help him.

Lastly, Gary Bettman is the biggest disgrace of all. As if it isn’t bad enough that NHL fans have to see this little pisher when he presents the Cup, he did so this year without once congratulating the New York Rangers on their wonderful but improbable playoff run. A mistake? I think not. He hates the Dolans and by default the New York Rangers.

I cannot imagine how it feels to be so universally despised.

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Shop NHL Reneges on Ranger Jersey Price

Yesterday, Ranger fans were delighted to go on line and purchase customized White Ranger Stanley Cup Jerseys for $63.99 as advertised on the Shop NHL website.

It seemed to good to be true. Turns out it was. Shop NHL sent out the email below this morning reneging on the price. I’m no lawyer but I do not believe they can legally do this.

If the NHL already charged my credit card and I have a confirmation number, aren’t I legally entitled to receive  the product. They made no claim on my confirmation email that they were out of stock. They even said it would be shipped within 3 business days.

I know many people in the same situation. Shop NHL should be forced to make good, just like any other retailer would. This needs to go viral and, at the very least, a class action suit should be brought against them for false advertising.

If they refuse to make good, maybe Ranger fans should consider not purschasing items from the Shop NHL website in the future.

Here is their retraction email:

“We are emailing to let you know that unfortunately, there was a pricing error for the New York Rangers NHL jersey that you ordered on our website. Despite our best efforts, occasionally an item may appear on our website with an incorrect price and, in this case, a member of our staff mistakenly uploaded a product with the wrong price attached. This type of human error does not occur often, but we do apologize that it affected your order and are doing our best to make it right.

We will be honoring the pricing shown on our website for orders placed on a first-come, first-serve basis for the limited number of jerseys we have in stock. Those customers will receive a confirmation email when their order ships. For the remaining orders for which we do not have stock, we will be cancelling the order for a full refund, and in the cancellation confirmation email we will be providing $10 in promotional credit for the trouble.

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience that this mistake has caused and do hope that you will give us another chance to provide you with your NHL gear.

Customer Service at
If you have additional questions, please visit our online Help Desk.”


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Hockey With Honor

As hockey fans, we cruise around the different websites and message boards to get a barometer on how fans are feeling about games, especially in the playoffs.

Ranger fans are reporting that other fans around the league are rooting for the Rangers over the Habs in this series. I’m not just talking about Boston fans, either.

The Hab Hate is palpable. I think most fans around the NHL want to see good hockey, not the Cirque du Soliel hockey coming out of the Montreal Canadiens.

They want fair and consistent officiating. The officiating gaffes we have seen go on throughout the playoffs have even the most jaded NHL sycophants, ie Pierre McGuire and Barry Melrose, incredulous at some of the calls and non-calls.

Many NHL media members were also scratching their head over the ridiculous scheduling. Fans want to see their teams play at times and dates favorable to the players and not cater to networks and their needs.

If the arena owners (especially Dolan) have to change or cancel other events to accommodate the Stanley Cup playoffs, so be it. Isn’t the NHL catchphrase “Because it’s the Cup”?

True fans of the game want to see players play a tough but respectful game. They want to see the best players in the league, those with skill and speed, display their skills.

Real NHL fans are sick of the goons, the diving, the cheap shots, the mind games and the ridiculous media coverage that turns a great game in to a soap opera.

Get rid of the over-hyped coverage and the talking heads out of whose mouths comes drivel, the Kool-aide the NHL pushes.

If you want to watch a soap opera, watch Scandal or Revenge. If you want a Punch and Judy show watch the WWE.

The NHL needs to hear over and over again that real NHL fans, the ones they are always thanking for coming back after every Owner and Bettman/Daly induced lockout, want to good, clean hockey.

We want hockey with honor.

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St. Louis Come Through For The Rangers

Tomorrow can be the night.

The New York Rangers can take a commanding series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers if they can win Game 4 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And they can thank, in no short order, their prized acquisition Marin St. Louis.

“Playoffs is another season. I don’t know how he sees it,” coach Alain Vigneault said on a conference call Wednesday, “but I do think, prior to the playoffs, even though Marty wasn’t on the score sheet as much as everybody anticipated, he was still contributing. … That’s why our record was so good. He’s a big part of our group — obviously his leadership is helping us as we try to move forward — and we expect him to continue to play the way he is right now.”

It took 14 games for St. Louis to score his first goal as a Ranger after being acquired at the deadline, but he is getting comfortable really fast in the playoffs, something many sports books, especially, have been predicting.

“I mean, you always want to be on top of your game. It’s a tough thing to do consistently. … You work at it. I’m glad to be helping,” St. Louis said after the game. “Anything you can do to help your team win, whether it’s making things happen with the puck or playing well away from it, you’re just trying to play your total game this time of year.”

He is working with old buddy Brad Richards to form a formidable chemistry and has goals in the last two games, especially the deflection of Dan Girardi’s shot that became the game winning. He now has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in his last 13 playoff games.

“I don’t think you got to see the level that Marty can play at during those 19 games [in the regular season]. You’ll see that as it goes on,” Richards said. “I know him as good as anybody. He just wasn’t as fluent; he was out of sorts. When your head is full of junk in any sport, you just get out of your own way and you do things that aren’t natural and free flowing.

“Now it feels like he’s part of it now It took a while to do that; sometimes it does. He’s talking more, he’s getting to get to know the guys more, and he’s being himself off of the ice, which will translate back on it.”

Something the Rangers most desperately need.

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