This is what it’s come to


When I was 11 years old and I dreamed about one day being a sportswriter (by that age, it was very apparent I’d never make it as a hockey player) I never thought I’d spend so much time asking grown men about the state of their groins.

It’s glamorous stuff, I know, but that is what a job following the Rangers necessitates these days. First you have Kevin Weekes and Darius Kasparaitis working their way back into playing shape after sustaining groin injuries before the season; and now you have defenseman Aaron Ward, who sat out today’s practice because of a tweak in the same area.

Ward said he first felt something in the second period in Philadelphia on Saturday, but that some treatment from the Rangers’ trainers got him through the game. Now the question is whether he’ll be ready for tomorrow night’s rematch with the Flyers at the Garden. As expected, Tom Renney said they’ll re-evaluate Ward in the morning; and Ward, for his part, said if it were up to him, he’d play.

But if I’ve learned anything in the past couple of weeks, it’s that the groin is a mysterious area,

And yes, to answer your question, I’m aware of how odd that sentence sounds.

Anyway, a couple of other tidbits:

— Not sure if this is a good sign, a bad sign, or significant of nothing at all, but the Dolan family has made a bid to buy out Cablevision shareholders in an effort to take the company — which of course, owns the Rangers — private. Now, seeing how I can’t even balance a checkbook, I don’t know what this means for the Rangers, and the team, as expected, had no comment today. But I suppose the most pressing question is whether giving the Dolans more control is something you want. If some of you want to offer your insights, I’ll try to look into the matter further.

— Perhaps I’m making something of nothing, but I spent some time today pressing both Renney and Weekes about when the backup goaltender will play his first game. Maybe it’s not an urgent matter — especially the way Henrik Lundqvist, the team’s No. 1, is playing — but I can’t help think that you need to get both your goaltenders some steady work if you’re going to use both down the road.

For one, you don’t want to overwork Lundqvist at this early stage in the season. But for another, I’d have to think it’s important for a goalie’s confidence to actually see some time in a real game as opposed to just playing in practice. Part of the problem, if you want to call it that, is that the Rangers schedule is fairly manageable right now, without a back-to-back game until next month on the West Coast. That allows them to use Lundqvist quite often. But again, you don’t want to let Weekes sit too long if you expect him to be sharp.

— Kasparaitis is indeed getting closer to playing, and the Ward situation might mean he plays tomorrow against the Flyers. It’s worth noting that he practiced alonside Ward’s normal playing partner, Fedor Tyutin, in Ward’s absence.

Again, it all comes down to groins. I’m serious.

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  1. Sam, love your blog and the fact that you update more than once a day… always nice to get fresh insight.

    And good job updating us on all the groin action… you have a lot of balls to juggle with all this info, huh? :)

  2. Anthony (the other one) on

    I agree with you that Weekes should see some quality starts over the next few weeks – but not just for his conditioning.

    He signed on as the starting goaltender two summers ago, only to get trumped by Henke. I think he settled rather gracefully into a #2 role last year, and by all appearances has continued the trend this year.

    But if I were him, well: his contract is up at the end of the year, Montoya’s breathing down his neck for the #2 slot and his last couple of regular season starts weren’t all that awe-inspiring. I’d say that all of that pressure could start to play with a man’s head.

    What’s his role? If he IS in future plans here, then he needs to get some starts, to show him that he’s a valuable member of the team. If he’s NOT? Then he still needs starts to showcase his skills to any teams that might want to pick him up in a trade later this year.

    It’s not practical to sit him for too long.

  3. wow, man, that sounds almost philosophic !

    You are squandering your talents here as sportswriter ! I feel deep in me you have the abilities to do something different !

    You should write about something which is so more important than sports !

    I can´t wait to read your next entry !

    So please do not dissapoint me :):):)

  4. There’s things more important than sports?

    Well I too survived the Wachovia Center, wearing my Rangers regalia (which was a first for me down here, I normally have more sense) though I did pick up a warning “to be careful” and a bizarre anecdote about some luckless Maple Leafs fans who were attacked while quietly waiting in the beer line…something I happened to be doing at the time the anecdote was being relayed to me.

    At any rate, it was a surprisingly successful result in a game that saw some pretty dubious performances from the Rangers. BTW, can I still say I’m not a fan of Hossa?

    One player I am learning to quickly respect though is Aaron Ward. I’ve been very impressed with how he has played early in his stint with the Rangers, and hearing that he could be out is a bit disappointing. Still you have to expect that Ward will miss 10-15 games this year with injuries, or so say the Carolina fans I’ve talked to.

    As for Weekes, it’s a bad situation all round there. You have to expect (based on previous experience) that he’s got a good chance of struggling in his first game back, especially when you consider that he hasn’t even faced a shot this year. Then if he fails miserably it’s going to be even harder to get him more starts.

  5. Well, I have travelled around the world for almost a quarter of a century right now for sport events but I feel slowly but surely there´s something missing..

    I do not know what it is but as much as exciting it was to go par exemple to nine different NHL venues in eight different cities (including Wachovia Center and Madison Square Garden!!), there is time for a change now…

    Believe me when you are a little bit older, you would agree…

    Wow that is almost as philosophic as the writer was !:)

  6. Well Bozo you can rest assured that the comment was purely tongue-in-cheek. While I’ve always been a sports fan and have followed a wide variety of sports in the countries I’ve lived in, I’ve never let it get in the way of living my life.

    In fact I’ve found being a sports fan often opens up opportunity, whether through travel…or just meeting a wide variety of people that you probably wouldn’t give the time of day to otherwise.

  7. Since we’re going global here…

    I don’t think people have any idea how big a fanbase the Rangers have outside the US/Canada. I’m from Finland myself and there are probably thousands of Rangers fans here and in Sweden — and not just because of Lundqvist. It has always been that way.

    For some reason the Rangers and the Red Wings are the two teams that have the most following all around Europe. People here go to bars in the middle of Wednesday night just to watch a Rangers/Wings game on PPV.

    Not to mention how many people from Norden (Sweden, Finland) visit New York for a few days just to see a Rangers game at the Garden. I’ve done it myself too. Expensive maybe, but well worth it.

  8. Wow. You just mention groins and look at the responses it gets.

    Not sure what that says, but it says something.

    Bozo, thanks for the compliment…I think. Toby and Anthony, I think you’re right about Weekes. I’m not basing this on much, but if he were to end up traded or on waivers before the season is out, I wouldn’t be surprised (By the way, I have more on Weekes in tomorrow’s paper).

    And Tom, good to see that the rest of the world is paying in attention. I value my international readers. Word is I’m huge in Taiwan.

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