Some final thoughts to close out 2006

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All told, a pretty good year for the kid, from covering the “2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=USOPEN, to this chance to re-immerse myself in the greatest game in the world. I know, I’m a journalist, I’m supposed to be impartial. But seeing how hockey has always been a significant part of my life, it’s still pretty cool to be around it on a daily basis.

And then there’s this from two days ago, when I took my 18-month old son to a nearby ice rink to watch my twin niece’s skate, and he wanted only to walk on the ice with me holding his hand. Right before the Zamboni came on, we plodded our way out, and he was ecstatic negotiating the ice below his feet. Eventually I told him we had to get off, and he resisted. When I picked him, he started to cry. Needless to say, inside, I was beaming. 

 Anyway, onto the Rangers. As I alluded to last night, there are a number of reasons to discount the signifiance of “last night’s win for the Rangers”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061231/SPORTS01/612310364/1046/SPORTS, beginning and ending with the quality of their opponent. But you still get the sense that it can spur them to something better, and we might have a better gauge of that Tuesday in New Jersey.

 Are the Rangers a flawed team? No question. But are they as bad as they were during the seven-game losing streak? No way. And last night at least provided a foundation to build on, from the play of Henrik Lundqvist, to two goals from the struggling Petr Prucha; to the team’s willingness to finally stand up for one another.

And it’s not just about fighting. As even Brendan Shanahan said after his tussle with Donald Brashear, that part of the game simply doesn’t play the prominent role that it once did. But what it showed is the Rangers might be finally melding into a cohesive unit. And for them to have any hopes of making it past the first week of April, they desperately need to be that.

 In the meantime, the Rangers are off today, and in a rare gift from Tom Renney, they aren’t on the ice tomorrow until 2 p.m. I’ll be sure to check in around then, 

Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Year. Be safe. Or as they say in hockey, keep your head up….

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32 Comments

  1. Sam, Happy New Year to you. May 2007 be as good for you as 2006 seems to have been. See you at the next home game.
    Let’s Go Rangers!!

  2. Sam, and all here, even those from the Bird and Rodent Islands, HAPPY NEW YEAR.

    Keep up the good work in 2007 Sam, and thanks for having this blog.

  3. Way to go Sam. Happy 2007. Hopefully the Rangers will have as much success as your blog and hockey writing has in 2006. Happy New Year to Josh and Thanks to both of you for giving us a forum.

  4. That’s a lot of bull coming from Soupy. He of course has a bias against the Rangers because of his unceremoneous firing as Ranger coach. He sucked at that job and sucks at this one.

    No way was that a 5 to 1 difference in punishment. Ranger players have been abused worse than that and the perpetrators got away with zero suspensions.

    There was some talk about not being good when your top players have to play policeman and handle retaliation but not necessarily so in the old days.

    In the old days, a lot of the star players had that job. Bathgate with the Rangers, later Hadfield and Kurtenbach. Howe and Lindsay with the Red Wings, Tim Horton with the Maple Leafs, just to name a few. Shanahan plays like he’s from the old school so go get em Shanny.

    Too bad the Rangers don’t have Grenier any more. There’s a guy who can duke it out with the best. Why the Rangers got rid of him befuddles the mind. I saw him at Hartford last year and he isn’t the fastest skater around but you can think of him as a bigger version of Malik who could fight. Could we use him now!!

    There should also be some thought about bringing up Weller to handle Orr’s duties for at least the next 5 games.

  5. Not a bad choice either but think Weller is the better skater so might even score a goal plus police things for the Rangers.

    Of course, the Rangers won’t do that.

  6. Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

    I am getting psyched for Tues game vs the Devils

    hopefully NYR plays the game they are capable of…

    A good game vs them and we can all feel better about

    being in Rangerland !

  7. Anthony (Abev) on

    Happy New Year Sam.

    Can you try to get some reaction about the 5 game suspension with respect to Orr’s future? And maybe with the amount of abuse some Rangers have taken from opponents (Jagr) if he approves of what happened (Orr to AO) ?

  8. Maybe Jarkko could play some games with Orr suspended?? Hes pretty close to Ward and Betts in points and hasnt played half the games they have. Anyway is Malik ready to return Sam??? If he comes back and Pock sits on the bench I’m not gonna be to thrilled, seeing how Pock has played makes me think he is our best defensemen.

  9. ORR SUSPENDED 5 GAMES WHILE BRADSHER ONLY GOT A 1 GAME SUSPENSION. WHAT A JOKE.

    Well, NHL is protecting their stars. Im sure if Brashear did that to Jags he would be out at least 5 games too

  10. Sorry GoNYR, I’m not. Campbell is harboring a deep resentment towards the Rangers for dumping him as a coach (wel deserved by the way). Campbell would have found some excuse not to give Breshear or anybody else who hit Jagr like Orr hit Ovechkin, the same amount of punishment. Just my opinion of course.

  11. To welcome in the new year, I just wanted to let it be known that I am glad Sam has this blog. Along with BB and proboards, the best place to post.

    As an example of what I mean, just saw this at my friend Rodent’s site.

    The Rodent board,

    They’ve been intimidated by me and letting their imaginations run wild, here’s the latest:

    RODENT WROTE:

    “He’s got at least a half-dozen different names he uses simultaneously over at Weinman’s place to gang up on Weinman and other responders who disagree with his anti-Sather tirades. Weinman didn’t realize these were all Lenny until about a month ago.”

    Yeah Rodent, names like Chardkerm, Peter, 4Rangers, Twin, Shane, tsalad, Mark, and a few others. They’re all me guys, right? What a joke.

    Rodent can’t understand that there are many others who feel as strong or even stronger than I do about the incompetant management and he tries to rationalize their contrary opinions as if I’m the only one having those views using different screen names. If the guy has any credibility left, it’s disintegrating fast.

    True Ranger fans, don’t waste your time there or on Bird’s board.

    To the rest of the Ranger world, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  12. In the old Big Six days no player could make a team unless he possessed good playing skills. There were no fighting specialists. Even John Ferguson and Reggie Fleming were expected to score. Things seem to moving back in that direction and that’s good. The next generation of fighters, assuming Bettman doesn’t complete his diabolical plan to castrate the game totally and there are some, will have more skills than in the age of the goons. Iginla takes care of business and Shanahan is a throwback but he’s not a never-aging Rocky, and should be allowed to grow old in peace.

  13. I don’t disagree with Orr’s suspension. However, the night of fights started with Bradshear. The league needs to look at instigators that force the game to get out of control. He should have been suspended a couple of more games for his night-long garbage and his ice-leaving sucker punch. His career has been total crap.

    Orr is no saint, but glad he took some action. When Boston dropped him, the Rangers said they saw more in him then an enforcer. They began working with him, but I haven’t seen any talent come through. He is no different than Bradshear.

    Congrats to Pock. Knew he could do it all along. Rangers should keep him in lineup.

  14. Thanks for the kind words, guys, but again, let’s not make this about what’s wrong with other people and their sites. Yes, I’m all for expressing opinions, even if they’re in disagreement with my own. But I still want to stay away from the petty stuff.

  15. This is Brashear’s second suspension this season. If CC and GB really want to have discipline mean something, they should consider mandatory time for multiple suspensions.

  16. I would love to hear Glen Sather’s take on these suspensions. Does he even exist any longer? Ever give an interview to anyone? Don’t GM’s usually stand up for the team they head?

  17. Sam, great blog… keep up the excellent work in ’07.

    I write sports every now and then for the CW11 Morning News, and this morning, I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to write about the obvious double-standard that is the Orr/Brashear suspensions. (Wanted to write about it, but they hate hockey and the story would have been killed had I written it.)

    When you get to the rink today, do you plan on asking the guys about the suspensions? It’d be interesting to hear their take on it, although I’m sure there’s not much they can say that hasn’t been said already.

    Congrats on the lil’ tyke’s love of the ice! Have ye bought him a wee stick yet?

    -John-

  18. I am griping about the light sentence given to Brashear.

    They won’t change it, but the coach has to let it be publicly known that he disagrees strongly with Brashear’s slap on the wrist.

    If Renney won’t stand up and be counted, then he is the glad-handing, pacifist softie that I suspected he was all along.

    Why should the players back him if he won’t back them.

  19. Sam, only reason I brought up Rodent’s site, he was attibuting quotes from you and I thought you should see them. That’s all. HAPPY NEW YEAR

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