A reason to get out of bed in the morning: My first annual end of the season awards


Of course, that’s not necessarily applicable if you can somehow access your Internet in bed. And by the way, if you ARE reading this blog in bed, maybe that’s something you should keep to yourself.

Anyway, in the absence of a lot of hard news over the next few days, I’ll be rolling out my own personal end-of-the-season Rangers awards. The nominating process is fairly grueling. It will likely involve me sitting around until something pops in my head, at which time I’ll type it here. In other words, kind of like how they nominate U.S. Senators.

With that in mind, let’s get the easiest one out of the way, which is team MVP.


Let it be known that I am somewhat indifferent toward goalies as a species. They stop the puck. They don’t stop the puck. Sometimes they’ll be accused of slashing a scantily clad Ice Girl. Other than that, I am usually not as compelled by goalies as I am by forwards or even defensemen. It’s a bias, I admit it.

And yet all that being said, there is no question that *Henrik Lundqvist* was the Rangers MVP this season. He was the reason they weren’t as bad as they could have been to start, and he was the reason they were better than people thought they should have been toward the end. I maintain that it was the Rangers renewed commitment to team defense that enabled Lundqvist to stand out to the extent that he did. By that I mean they helped limit the shots he faced and put him in a position to succeed. But even then it was Lundqvist who bailed them out time and again this season, and was the reason they made it as far as they did.

So congratulations, Henrik. I know even if you miss out on the Vezina, this was really the award you were gunning for….

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  1. your boy Malik on

    thanks, Sam…been looking all day for some Rangers news…anything…..and I agree with your choice!

  2. how about the canadian senators kicking sully’s chips in game 1 on buffsolow dirt ice?

  3. “I think both conference finals will stink. Ottawa and Anaheim in 5, but the Cup will be a great matchup.”

    Ott-Anaheim would be one of the lowest rated finals ever, both in USA and Canada.

    nobody cares about the Ducks, and the ratings in Canada have already been down this playoff season without the leafs.

  4. Sam,

    any award for “your boy, Malik”?

    had to ask………going through really bad Ranger withdrawl………

    I’ve never had a Ranger let down worse than Game 5…….really.

  5. As devastating as Game 5 was, I think Game 1 against Vancouver in ’94 was worse. Home game, they tied it with a minute to go, we dominate OT, Leetch hits the crossbar, and then Greg Adams wins it with 30 seconds left. MacLean made 52 saves and we lost home ice in the Finals. Yes, it was only Game 1, and yes, we eventually got home ice back, but given the circumstances of the game itself, and the fact that it was a Finals game, I think it was worse. Anyone agree or disagree?

  6. Sam — you’re right on with your choice. He should get the Vezina just for having to play behind that poor excuse for a defense all year.

  7. Lowest GAA in the east for the second half of the year constitutes a “poor excuse for a defense”?

  8. I still think Messier shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Blueshirt management offices until he’s got some experience.

  9. Sam

    I think that your end of the year awards should be called….”THE WEINIES”…….

    Congrats Henrik!

  10. AngelusMortis on

    I agree, Chris. Let him get some experience in the bigwig world of hockey before he takes the GM spot. He’s gotta pay his dues before he takes over as GM. You don’t see Steve Yzerman demanding the GM job in Detroit. He’s working his way up the ladder and gaining experience in the office before taking over, if he wants to do that.

  11. Rangers6830 on

    I agree with your choice Henrik was mvp but I would put Jagr right there too.

  12. AngelusMortis on

    I think Henrik deserves it more than Jagr. Yes, Jagr was the team’s leading scorer, but he was only so-so for part of the year because of his shoulder and whatnot. Given, Lundqvist was also only so-so at the beginning of the year, he more than redeemed himself after the All-Star break and, I think, was a bigger reason for the Rangers’ success than Jagr.

  13. I agree. I love #11, but he hasn’t even been an assistant coach yet….now he wants to be GM? No way. Get some experience, then come back to broadway.

  14. Watch the Final four teams in the playoffs and you will be able to tell immediately what the Rangers need to improve and upgrade. Passing, puck movement, and blazing fast decisions on the ice down low. Its not about skating speed. It is about brain processing speed.

  15. Adam Z.

    Yes, Game 1 against Vancouver in ’94 was very, very painful. A lead soughed up very late in regulation, and then the events you describe. I remember sweating through Game 2 as if I were waiting on a diagnosis from an oncologist who had just done a biopsy. But there was a happy ending.

    Game 5 vs. Buffalo didn’t kill me because I knew the Rangers were at least two players away from genuine Cup contention. It was extremely unpleasant, but not a crime against nature that a fan would feel about a team loaded, primed, teed up to win a championship falling short.

  16. Lundqvist is the best goalie the New York Rangers have ever had under contract in my lifetime, and I have been an avid fan since ’64-’65 (which was an awful season!)

  17. reginald dunlop on

    they all wear red jerseys or shirts or white jerseys in detroit ………..been there……seen it………most jerseys i’ve ever seen at a game…….seems everyone wearing them……..watch closer, its not red empty seats…..

  18. Rangers6830 on

    There’s a rumor that Jags is getting married, any truth to it Sam? We should draft his children now, lol.

  19. John M it’s about Renney’s speed. I wonder why Maloney is even considering leaving a job, where failure is ok. The only goal dolan wanted achieved was to make the playoffs so he could raise ticket prices. Until he demands at least making the finals, there is no accountablity. Renney is green in NHL playoff hockey coaching and I’m not sure how many years of payoff experience he needs to get it right. How this team went from being .500 to making the playoffs is a mystery with alot of smoke and mirrors. Nobody really wants to talk about what went wrong, but instead give the chips credit, and the NYR players blame for losing a series they should have won. And Sather alias pontius pilot, gave us barabbas, and we are suppose to be satisfied, Renney turned them around and made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs. They should have won the 2nd round, it was miscoached and he was outcoachrd. You won’t hear the media say this or even disect each game objectively. Hopefully this management team will, but I doubt they can gt it right. Yet all the genius’ say Messier is not ready, Trottier stunk, etc giving Sather, Maloney, & Renney applauds for making the playoffs that 15 other teams did too. Talk about setting the bar low, so that one inch above is the cat’s meow. This team was derailed by Renney. But NYR fans are so dedicated, that they accept way too much and say thank you. That wasn’t Keenan’s philosophy.

  20. Chris F wrote: Chris F. May 11th, 2007 at 8:02 pm
    I still think Messier shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Blueshirt management offices until he’s got some experience.>>

    You’re gonna have every juvenile frat boy with a Messier jersey screaming and mocking you for something that intelligent. Just think, even the “messiah” needs to learn the ropes of a BRAND NEW JOB, just like other mere mortals.

    Chris, I always enjoy your posts….though I am bored and still have not recovered from Game 5. Mild hockey depression. Apathy. The let down was very hard.

  21. imagination on

    so where is the GM school and who is a graduate of it? What’s JD’s experience to be a Pres, Snow’s exp to be a GM, what was Neil Smith’s exp to be a GM, Keenan’s etc etc. People that don’t want Mess have their reasons, mostly personel. Most back into their conclusions with little proof if any. Does asst GM need exp too? The 3 stooges who dance to the beat of ‘nobody beats the wiz’ dolan have made it to the playoffs 2 years in a row. What is the criteria to decide when it’s time for any or all to be let go? Is next year’s goal the 3rd round or bust? How long should he give Sather, Maloney, &/or Renney to win The Cup? Who’s willing to wait 5 years? Seems like Maloney wants out or feels he’s not really wanted, or possibly just pushing his bosses to give him the title or is Mess in their plans. Renney is the one who needs to be worried if Mess is hired as asst GM or GM.

  22. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    While were all on the Messier subject

    Did anyone watch the game last night…Messier sounded drunk out of hs mind

    He was having trouble pronouncing words…

    I might have been tired…but i thought i heard him say..”wed rings” among other weird words

  23. I bet Nylander signs somewhere else 3 year deal $15 million.
    As much as he wants to remain here, he rather have a brighter future for his family and all those children.

  24. ORR kicks Ying Yang on


    He wants to stay in New York..He WILL get re signed…For 2 o 3 years im guessing.

    Why sign any where else when you had a career year…and his kids are probably used to being there..

    Im more curious on Avery..Ortmeyer..Mara..etc

    Im not worried about shanny or nylander

  25. “””reginald dunlop May 12th, 2007 at 12:47 am

    they all wear red jerseys or shirts or white jerseys in detroit ………..been there……seen it………most jerseys i’ve ever seen at a game…….seems everyone wearing them……..watch closer, its not red empty seats…..”””

    OH REALLY? read below

    Where Are All the Red Wings Fans?

    Posted by Eric McErlain
    Filed under: General NHL, Wings, Western, NHL Fans
    The paint under the ice at Joe Louis Arena reads Hockeytown USA. But if the crowds during this playoff year are any indication, plenty of Red Wings fans have either been abducted by aliens or have moved out of town and left no forwarding address.

    Four home playoff games and zero sellouts so far for the top seed in the Western Conference. What’s wrong in Detroit? Here’s Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press:

    There were thousands of empty seats at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday. The Wings gave the official attendance as 18,712, but I suspect they meant limbs. We saw this kind of attendance in the first round, too. I really thought that if the Wings made it past Calgary, they would convert some skeptics, and the atmosphere would change by Round 2.

    And the atmosphere did change. It got worse.

    What’s the problem? In two words, ticket prices. Here’s my friend Lyle Richardson:

    The Wings might regain that buzz later in the post-season should they advance to the Conference Finals or the Stanley Cup finals, but even so, ownership can’t ignore the complaints of their once die-hard fans, who have made their displeasure known by the sea of empty seas at the Joe Louis arena this spring.

    If the Wings want to bring back their fans, they’ve got to reduce their ticket prices. Otherwise, they’d better get used to those empty seats.

    Another friend of mine, Paul Kukla, a long-time Wings fan and a critic of the franchise, points out a number of other “fan-unfriendly” practices that the Wings engage in that he thinks have contributed to the empty seats: No open practices, no player involvement in the community and a general lack of cooperation when dealing with anybody who works for the Wings.

    like I said, empty seats.

  26. Mara is signed for another year, how is it you don’t know that?

    Nylander could look great back in Calgary centering Iginla or in Washington centering Ovechkin or in Atlanta centering Hossa and/or Kovalchuk.

  27. Sabres Suck on

    Anyone catching the Buffalo-Ottawa game? I cannot help but sincerely hate Buffalo’s fans, how much ruder can they get but to chant Emery’s name every time they score or almost score? And didn’t they chant something like “Rangers Suck” in Game One? Even at the Garden for game 3 against the thrashers we didn’t say crap to them. Have the Sabs even won a cup?

  28. impeach the senators on

    Emery is a wise-ass punk who deserves more than just sing-songing his name. I hope he gets his ass whipped again like Peters did to him in the regular season game.

    that gutless puke got suspended for slashing a player in the face during the season. he is a Simon with an attitude.

  29. impeach the senators on

    it’s obvious the league wants a canadian team in the finals after looking at the atrocious one sided calls in tonight’s game. giving Ott. a 5-on-3 on 2 phantom calls after taking away a goal from Buffalo.

  30. imagination on

    buffalo is a canadian team, and they deserve to lose the series against ottawa. …SULLY are you sulking?

  31. SULLY what happened? Proof of how good your team is, losing 2 at that foster home posing as a city, boooffalow

  32. AngelusMortis on

    Buffalo seems to have trouble with shots from the blue line in double overtime. Too bad. Neither of these teams will win the Cup. Detroit and Anaheim are much too good and deep on both ends of the ice for either of the Eastern Conference contenders to handle, as well as superior goaltending.

  33. AngelusMortis on

    Maybe I should re-read what I write before posting it. Excuse my poor grammar.

  34. Detroit ticket prices and all the people out of work (auto industry) in that area are major contributing factors to poor attendance. check out the prices on their ticketmaster.

    Buffalo now down 2-0 they tied the game with less than 6 secs but Ottawa did not wilt and won on long shot from d man in 2nd OT. Ottawa stayed mentally tough with that disaster unlike our Rangers in game 5. Wonder who the folks in Toronto (meaning Leafs fans not the NHL brass) are rooting for.

  35. stick a sabre in the buffalo, it is cooked.

    Sabres are really lacking role players/grinders and their defense is average at best.

  36. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    Did anyone see the BUF vs OTT game last night…

    Heres two reasons why i think the refs let the Sabres get away with to much a little to late

    1) A sabre pulls Giardi down with a free hand with 10 seconds left…That causes Nylander to trip over the stick of giardi and leaves Drury open for the eventuall loose puck…and he fires the rebound with 7 seconds left…No penalty called


    2) 4 players are fighting for the puck in the corner…Brian Campbell comes out of nowhere and flat out cross checks a sens player from behind…Its either a cross checking or roughing call that was missed….Guess what..5 seconds left Briere scores.

    Im getting sick of this…..just cause theres not alot of time left the refs let them play dirty to come back….Its pathetic…

    But thank you Corvo…Your my hero of the day…..

  37. imagination on

    ORR there is no doubt the chips get away with alot of uncalled penalties, & they are the kind that change a game not the crap buttman wants called.

  38. I said Buffalo was very overrated. They’ll be even worse next season when one of Briere/Drury is gone.

  39. I wonder if SULLY jumped yet. Anyone read any of the Buffalo newspapers they must be looking over the edge wanting to jump.
    Good job Joe Corvo!!!!!!

  40. the falls are always available . hockey karma is on the job, the chips shouldn’t even be playing ottawa. they worried too much about the president’s trophy, now they can shine it in the off season.

  41. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    Im really hoping the sens sweep the sabs.

    Id have no problem with the sens winning the cup but i friggin hate Ray Emery…But i like there big guns and a few of there d men….

    But for now i want the Ducks to win the cup.

    Who knows…if ducks make it to the finals and lose a game 7 again….Maybe Pronger will cry and sign with another team and say his wife wanted to move somewhere….

    I still wish i was with NYR…We can use a d man like him

  42. I watched the Sabres-Sens game last night. I enjoyed it so much I laughed myself to sleep. This is payback for the non-call on Girardi which looked more like a tackle (football) done on Dan which ultimately led to the horrible 7.7 seconds moment. Ugh….

    The Sens took away home ice and are up by 2 games…how about a sweep. Emery I neither like nor hate but I do like the Sens exposing the play of the mediocre Sabres. Where are you Sully??? I am rooting for the Wings to win the Cup.

    Let’s Go Rangers!!!!!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all!!!!! I am enjoying it…

  43. What is all that about routing for the team you lost to? Like it would be OK if Buffalo wins the cup and we could look back and say that we lost to the team that eventually won the cup. Like that would make the 7.7 tieing goal any easier to stomach – Total BS.

    Tom Renney out-coached Ruff by a mile. Tom Renney countered the Buffalo offense with a style that the Rangers could play and could use to win. Ruff was forced to change the style of play that his #1 seed team used all season. If not for the bad calls in game 2, some mistakes etc, the Rangers could easily have won the series 4-1 or maybe even 4-0.

    If not the Rangers, why not Ottowa? And if Buffalo gets swepped along the way – no problem.

  44. imagination on

    jay Renney also lost the seies with his lineup moves and lack of playoff experience .Still they should have won.

  45. Richtersgirl on

    If anyone watched the Buffalo game and saw the goal that was reviewed and called no goal cuz it went off of Buffalos hand. the thing is he was swinging his stick with his hands on the stick and the puck inadvertently goes off his hand. Now thats fine but how come this was ruled as no goal when the Buffalo guy took his hand off his stick and punched the puck in against the Rangers and they say it was a goal. i really dont understand this league at all, its very frustrating!

  46. from the Rangers site

    Defenseman Marc Staal made history on Sunday night as the first player from a losing team to win the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the Ontario Hockey League’s postseason MVP.

  47. And that last posting gives me the most hope for the future. The team really has to look to upgrade the blueline. Replacing Malik with Staal next year is a start, especially if the kid can play up to his potential.

  48. AngelusMortis on

    Our old pal Aaron Ward is joining the Versus crew, along with Doug Weight.

  49. Renney made some serious errors in judgment that may have cost them the Buffalo series. Wrong guys on the ice at the end of game 5, and his decision in game 6 to move Straka up with Jagr/Nylander and dress a minor leaguer for the 2nd line was bizarre to say the least. It’s a move a coach makes when he feels the need to do something deperate and/or for the future (think Richter starting game 4 of that Pittsburgh series down 3-0), not one made by the team that’s confident that but for a couple of bad breaks/calls they’d be ahead in the series. One of the keys to success in the late run and playoffs was spreading the scoring to all lines, and against Buffalo in particular was the forecheck, working the corners, tiring the defense. Having Hossa and Jagr together was a big part of that and it also spread the offense having straka on another line. With the 3rd line playing well against Buffalo but not scoring, Renney’s moves made the Rangers a one line team again for game 6. The move was a deperate one and signaled as much to Buffalo- certainly contradicted all the statements that the Rangers thought they were the better team.

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