Here goes nothing


Greetings from a snowy MSG Training Center (well, outside at least), where your faithful correspondent risked life and limb just to file this dispatch.

Actually, I’m being overly dramatic. The roads weren’t bad at all, and although flights are being canceled en masse at the area airports, the plan is still for the Rangers to fly out to Buffalo this afternoon.

What I didn’t know until today is that the team plane shared by the Knicks and Rangers is usually stationed in Pennsylvania, and normally only swoops in to Westchester County Airport to pick up the team when it’s ready to fly out. Knowing that today was going to be dicey, though, the plane arrived last night.

So that’s one half of the equation already taken care of. Now it’s a matter of getting to Buffalo at some point today, which is important seeing how the last time the Rangers flew there on the day of a game, they got run out of the building that night.

Meanwhile, some notes:

<li>Henrik Lundqvist is expected to play tomorrow. Tom Renney said he’s still mulling his choice for Sunday.

<li>Petr Prucha sounds unlikely since he hasn’t been exposed to a lot of contact.

<li>A lot of trade deadline talk, which is inevitable with 3 p.m. next Tuesday fast approaching. The general consensus from players and coaches is that this team doesn’t need any major overhaul to make a run. But that doesn’t mean something won’t be happening — think defense — and even some players admit a potential move is on their minds. More on that later…

<li>Thanks to reader Adam Verstandig for his account of Casino Night last night. Here it is:

I was at Casino Night last night with my father and brother. We had a great time and thought it was an excellent night.  I felt as though most of the players were happy to be there, especially the younger guys.  I don’t know how many other teams have events like this one, but it seemed Gomez and Drury were taking it all in. 

Sam and Joe were really nice, as was Renney and we had a long conversation with Pearn.  Lundqvist, despite being a rock star and having cameras follow him all over, was gracious. 

Our highlight of the night was talking to Adam Graves–he is even nicer in person than one would think from watching all that he does for charity and the community on TV.  He was the only one who asked us how we were doing and was interested in hearing about our Rangers family stories.  I don’t know how else to describe him, other than him being a true “mentsch” and it’s a well-deserved honor the Rangers are giving him by retiring his number.  He is certainly a role model. 

The biggest disappointment of the night was Jagr.  I have “supported” him all season, and am a fan of his, but he didn’t mingle at all.  He sat at a poker table most of the night, I tried to go over to him, but a “bodyguard” told me, “not now, he’s playing.” But then he never went into the crowd and sat behind curtains with his, admittedly gorgeous, girlfriend. 

Thanks again, Adam. More later….

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  1. Sam – “…and even some players admit a potential move is on their minds.”

    You gotta tell us who mentioned it. Come on!

  2. Sam,

    Maybe you can fill us in on what potential moves some players had on their minds… without giving the names of those players?

    How ’bout just saying Defense or offense?

    (Hoping it’s not the latter)


  3. Could not make Casino Night, but I can totally relate to Adam’s account.

    For Leetch Night, I had the privilege of sitting in a luxury suite where I got to meet a bunch of retired Rangers.
    Mullen, Greschner, Domi, Beukeboom were all cool. Richter and Messier were approachable and I got their autographs.
    Graves was simply amazing. He took out time to talk, take pics and was in no rush to bolt.

    Stephan Matteau and I had a long talk and we’re now doing some business together.

    After the game, it was downstairs to the Green Room for me which is above the locker room where player families and friends wait to meet the players after the game, have a few drinks etc….

    I met all but 3 guys on the team…Shanny, Drury and Staal.
    Rozsival was the nicest player i’ve ever met. Vally was amazing as was Dawes. The Czech players ALL sat in one corner around this one couch and stuck together, which I thought a bit weird.

    Jagr, wearing a 3/4 length black leather coat stood in that corner about 6 inches face to face from his yes, unbeliebvably hot girlfriend. I was a bit nervous to even approach him as he looked to be really serious. After a few minutes, I went over to him, congratulated him on the win and asked him for his auto. He never made eye contact with me, didn’t say a word and quickly with a reluctant way about him signed my jersey. He turned around quickly and I called his name while tapping him on the shoulder to ask for a pic with him. THE GUY IGNORED ME AND DID NOT EVEN TURN AROUND.
    I lost all respect for him as a human being at that point.
    What a Captain we have!

    All in all, the guys were great. Leetch night was my birthday and the best birthday ever it was!

  4. I don’t think a big move will be made. I think we will either get a D man or some sort of minor move.

  5. funny hearing that about Jagr
    but i also heard how he would
    stick around and sign tons of
    autographs…..someone might be able
    to relate a little more on this.
    don’t know if it was just a bunch of
    kids or mix of adults and kids
    but i coulda sworn
    that i read…..maybe even here at
    Rangers Report about Jagr spending
    an extra long time signing autographs.
    maybe he didn’t want to give you
    too much attention because one
    of his Czech brethren may have
    hit on his girlfriend when he wasn’t paying
    (just a joke!!!)

  6. Hey guys.. how much $$$ were Casino Night tickets? I’m curious.

    And, yeah, BOYLE.

    Ruchinsky for Malik is interesting as well.

    But yeah, BOYLE.

  7. Liles before Boyle for sure. He’s younger and I think Colorado wants to move him.

    Casino night tickets were 500 bucks a pop. The Rangers called me 3 days ago and said they still had some seats left, but sold out shortly after.

  8. yea id imagine these players are a lot more willing to go out of their way to sign autographs and take pictures with kids then grown men….no offense intended but if i ran into a player nowadays id rather talk to them then ask them for an autograph

  9. Lol lost all respect for him as a human being because he didn’t make eye contact? That is a bit much don’t you think? I want Malik gone but not for garbage like Rucinsky. He’d take a spot away from cally or dawes.

  10. I think we’d be better off with Rucinsky than Malik. Malik sucks. And if Dawes or Cally go cold…

    And, yeah, Liles would be a better move than Boyle. But at a greater cost, I would think.

  11. Really, I’ve heard lot’s of stories where Jagr sticks around and signs tons of stuff for kids. To me whether someone autographs something for you is not going change my opinion of that person, I don’t own them for goodness sakes.

  12. liles would be a lot easier to obtain compared to boyle, colorado wants to get rid of him, tampa’s top priority is to sign boyle

  13. That’s the point.

    Jagr is all nice when the cameras are rolling and when he’s in the public eye.

    When he’s not, he act like a diva.

  14. The Jagr rejections are suprising … everything I have heard about him is he signs and signs and signs … thinking about it though, it usually are kids that he is signing it for … but I have had second hand stories of how accommodating he is with fans …

    I’d rather have Boyle than Liles — look at the stats … career etc. Boyle is a top 20 d-man, probably a top 15 … Lightning are trying to get him signed … they have to trade Richards who is rumored to possibly going to Philly if Forsberg falls thru …

  15. Why would St. Louis want Malik? and I wouldn’t mind Martin Rucinksy if Jagr were playing well, but he’s not.

    I am a Jagr supporter and have given him the benefit of the doubt all season and still hope he will bring it together soon. but the more and more I watch him play, the more things stay the same or get worse for him on the ice.

    He can hardly get shots though to the net any more. They either get blocked or the pucks slides off his stick.

    I know he’s a HOF player and he deserves to be treated with respect, but if he continues to play like he has recently, which in my mind is his worst stretch of the season, there is no way he is on this team next season.

    I think this team gets remarkabely better next season with the subtraction of Jagr, Shanahan, Malik and Mara. We will be much more faster on two lines of offense and on defense.

    And if Renney is going to continue to be the coach, his system demands speed players to cause turnovers.

  16. Hey

    Maybe Jagr’s behavior right now is only typical of him as of late.
    When he was scoring a lot and flying high, he’d sign away and chat.

    Maybe he’s just depressed. Who knows, but all I can rele is MY experience. He was simply cold.

  17. Jagr is a jerk, period.

    his idea of being a captain is to dictate to the mgmt who will be on the team, who will be on his line, what style of PP they play, and how many cheap assists can he accumulate to reach a greedy money bonus for him at the expense of the team concept

    see Mtl game and his loafing off the ice causing the goal that started the comeback to illustrate that

  18. Just a thought, the Czech players seem VERY self counscious about their English still. I’ve even heard Jagr say that as recently as last year. Do you think that is some of the reason that they stick together in a group? Or is there some cultural issue? But most of them have been here for some time, should be used to meet and greets. Just a thought.

  19. I think you need to remember that these guys are human just like anyone else. My personal experience with Jagr was opening night 2 years ago when Montreal was in town. I did work for a Ranger staffer (you see him on the bench every game), and as a thank you, he gave me seats for the game. I was short a couple seats, and I (I guess rudely) asked for 2 more tickets. This guy said he couldn’t help me, but Jagr overheard him, and offered his extra tickets for the game. So, Jagr is A-OKAY in my book. Stop trying to live vicariously by your heroes.

  20. Marina,

    Let me ask you a question: If you were playing hockey in China, and some foreign speaking stranger huddled up next to you (and it happened CONSTANTLY) would you be comfortable 100% of the time? Is there a chance that they may offended by your etiquette? What if you were in the “Green Room” a place where only former players/ org. people hang out, and you were approached by a stranger?

    You can probably answer your own question with a little considerate thought.

  21. OldTymeHockey14 on

    You also have to remember that there are loads of people out there who wait outside of sporting events to collect autographs just to auction them on eBay. I know this one guy who became a junkie and spends his time outside of Yankee Stadium, and then on the interwebs.

    I took my daughter to get autographs after a game at MSG last year and we got them from almost every player with a smile. Photos as well. Note that none of these autographs were for me, and that I am not in any of the photos. Just my daughters…

    You should see my older daughters expression in the Lundqvist photo. Talk about having a heart-attack at 13-years old…

  22. if you’ve ever lived (not visited) overseas in a country where they don’t speak your language you’d begin to understand how challenging it is for these guys. Graves and Messier deserve all the credit in the world for the time they take out, but the opposite isn’t necessarily true for guys like Jagr.

  23. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    I think the opposite Chris. Tampa will rape us for Boyle, especially if they are trading him in the east. Plus it will cost 7-8 million for many years to re-sign him. Liles is kind of on the outs in Colorado, will be cheaper to re-sign in the offseason, and is younger.

  24. I don’t see how Jagr is a jerk because you were asking him for a photo and he didn’t want to take one? I mean how would you feel if some stranger just came up to you asking for all these things? I mean just because he’s a celebrity/athlete doesn’t mean he’s not a human. Its not like he cursed you off. He gave you the auto so just take it. I know I dont even care about getting auto’s and photographs because even though they are cool, actually talking with the guy is cooler in my book.

    I met Graves a couple of times and he’s always been the nicest guy ever. The first time I met him was in Penn Station, he was doing something for Mike and Mike in the Morning helping them get food to donate for charity and stuff. It was really early so nobody was around but I got to talk to him for like 10 or 15 minutes. I thought we’d talk about hockey but he was asking me questions about my life and stuff like that. Then he just gave me the autograph without me asking which was an added plus but I wasn’t even gonna ask for one. Honestly for a guy that I idolized as a kid, it was one of the coolest moments ever.

  25. “Brett Hull once said he only gives autographs to kids, and always refuses adults.”


  26. I totally agree. Autographs should really be for the kids. Why a grown adult would be upset cause a athlete doesn’t give them one or a picture or whatever, it is a bit immature.

  27. You should have dropped a few bucks on the poker table if you wanted to talk to him, isn’t that the reason they have casino night to make money for a charity, I don’t think signing autographs or taking pictures was their priority

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