Guest blogger: Sam Weinman


Jane here to introduce our special guest blogger, a (former) hockey writer who looms large over this blog even though he doesn’t live here anymore. Ladies and gentleman, the Great Sam Weinman:

I am grateful to Carpie and Jane for letting me swing back by the old blog, a corner of cyberspace that I’m still adjusting to life without.

Not that I’m complaining about the new gig. But after the privilege of talking, writing, and thinking about hockey (very often in that order) incessantly the previous few years, it’s not the same sharing my thoughts with a) a wife who only tolerates hockey, and b) two young boys who barely grasp the concept of keeping score.

A typical conversation goes something like this:

Me (jumping up and down): Can this power play be any worse?

My wife: Sit down. You’re scaring the children.

But now it’s the playoffs, and both wife and children are beginning to understand that everything takes on a deeper meaning. On Wednesday night, before we headed over to watch Game 1 against the Capitals with my father, I explained to my 4-year-old son Charlie a long-time playoff-watching ritual of my Dad’s: if the Rangers are losing, you are not permitted to sit in the same seat. If the Rangers are winning, you are not permitted to move.

At that point Charlie took on a quizzical expression, as if he was contemplating a dark and twisted side of his grandfather that he had never seen before.

But he made it through on Wednesday, and so did the Rangers. And now after stealing a game in Washington against the Capitals, it’s worth asking whether this group has any sort of run in it this spring.

My typically nuanced answer: Yes. I think. Let me get back to you.

But first, a few random thoughts on the team since I went back to being just a fan:

<li>The coaching change. It’s no secret in my time covering the team that I was a Tom Renney supporter. After all those depressing seasons that ended the first week of April, Renney was the coach who returned the Rangers to respectability, and he did it with a level of decency that is often missing in professional sports. But what became apparent after a while was that this group needed the type of kick-in-the-pants that Renney couldn’t provide.

In short, when your team is comprised of giants of the game like Jagr and Shanahan, then a coach who is going to allow veterans some latitude is a perfect fit. But when your group is clearly lacking a spark both on and off the ice, then you need a fiery presence to fill the void.

I am dubious of what kind of long-term shelf life John Tortorella will have since he’s been known to ride his players into the ground. But this season, he’s exactly what the Rangers needed.

<li>As for Tortorella’s system, I doubt I’m breaking any new ground when I say it is infinitely more entertaining. Tortorella’s pressure system is  more up-tempo, it allows his skill players to take greater chances, and it at least subconsciously has players on their toes as opposed to their heels (which is another way of saying the Rangers are now playing “to win” as opposed to “not to lose”).

Given that the Rangers still lack a team-wide scoring touch, I worry about what happens if they get bottled up by a patient, defensive-minded team like the Bruins. But against the Capitals, especially since they boast the superior goaltender (Hey Jose Theodore, this is a puck. Have you guys met?) I think they can afford to open it up.

<li>Sean Avery. OK, I admit it: I was one of those guys who thought the Rangers were smart in not re-signing Avery, mostly because I thought — to an even greater extent than Tortorella — that his act would wear thin over time. But the bizarre confluence of events earlier this season seems to have alleviated the problem. For one, the Rangers are currently on the hook for only half of Avery’s salary, so even if things erupt, say, a year from now, it won’t be as costly. But secondly, by all accounts Avery seems to be a different person. Still a vastly underrated skater, still a world-class pest (I admit, I laughed out loud a few weeks back when he whacked Tim Thomas from behind and pretended like he didn’t know what happened), he isn’t the in-house disruption that he once was. Don’t get me wrong: I always liked covering him. But the very reasons I liked covering him — i.e. the constant drama swirling around him — is the same reason why the Rangers were at first happy to see them go.

But now after a suspension and some requisite soul-searching, he’s the precise mixture of boring (off the ice) and excitable (on the ice) that the Rangers seem to need.

<li>Plenty more to discuss, but I’ve gone long enough. So for now, I leave you with this:

Does anybody have any extra tickets for Monday night?

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  1. What a delight to see you again. I loved that Avery moment, too; I mean, how could one not? (If you drop by occasionally, I promise not to call you out on errant commas.)

  2. Sam I too liked Renney, but after a while it was obvious that change was needed. I also think only half the job is done. Sather too needs to go bye bye. He has literally hand-cuffed this organization for years to come.

  3. Hi Sam

    Good to hear from you. Agree wholeheartedly on Renney … good when Jagr and Shanny was in the room … not good without any real leaders of that magnitude.

  4. Sam, very nice to hear from you. Glad we are not the only ones that have crazy ranger game rituals.

  5. WASHINGTON—Disturbing moment. Nik Antropov, skating in front of Henrik Lundqvist, who was sliding to his left. Antropov’s leg seemed to clip Lundqvist’s left shoulder. He lay on his stomach, kicking his skates, then skated to the side boards and when he returned to the net, was flexing his left glove arm/shoulder for several minutes.

  6. Sam!!!
    welcome back…thanks for slumming it a bit…any PGA beard growing contests going on???

  7. Welcome back Sam…

    This must be a nice change from dreary old Augusta… hmmmmmm? hmmmmm? hmmmmmm?

  8. LOL Wienman can’t even get tix to a MSG playoff game he must be really out of the loop

  9. Hi Sam. I’ve been here for a couple of years and I thought we were in trouble when you left. But, Carp and Jane have done a great job and the transition was smooth. Still the best place to talk/fight about the Rangers. All the best to you + family.

    I thought the guest blogger was going to be Josh Thomson.

  10. I have to go soon. It is the Faculty Vs. Students volleyball game at 2:15. It’s always a great time. Ha. Faculty Vs. 6th graders. Should be a gimme that the teachers win, right? WRONG! I am one of 3 teachers that are under the age of 48. On top of that I am one of two men. And I am not saying that women can’t play volleyball at all, because the best volleyball players that I know are women, but…….you would just have to see who I work with. That is all I am saying. Wish me luck. Because in a few minutes I am going to go C. Thomas Howell on all their asses. Side Out mofos, Side Out.

    Please tell me some of you know/remember that movie.

  11. Richtersgirl on

    Hey Update — where did you hear about the Antropov/Lundqvist thing? I havent seen that anywhere.

  12. Renney hockey was not worth watching.For me Renney can thank King Hank for lasting as long as he did. If, you want a dull winning team – Fine. I’ll follow the box score in tomorrow’s paper. I don’t feel watching 3 hours of that stuff is worth my time. Entertainment should produce the revenues that brings out the fans. Just check out the attendance figures for the Devils before their new coach came on board. They won with prenty of seats going onsold.

  13. hi. isn’t it funny how the reporters covering the team get it wrong, but the diehard fans who know hockey were right on the money about Renney’s system way before he was fired, and were right about Avery’s value to the Rangers too.

    the reporters are too exposed to, and drowned in, the mgmt spin, and cannot bring themselves to believe that the fans know more than a mgmt that picks Hugh Jessiman with 10 topnotch players still available in that draft.

  14. sam, so great to hear from you sorry you have to deal with those old farts over at the golf blogs

  15. Great to hear from you sam, enjoy the playoffs, hope all is well with you and your family.

  16. playoffs

    Yet…some people will only believe these “experts” and laugh at the normal, fat, beer swilling, neanderthal fan…..not that there’s anything wrong with that

  17. Richtersgirl on

    I wonder if its the same injury from when he got bumped into the post during that game recently…i hope he is ok!

  18. Weinman was a Renney lover. In other breaking news, arabs and israelis fail to reach peace agreement.

  19. if Drury cant play in game 2, can we bring up Mark Bell instead of playing Voros??

    I’d like to see what he could do …. we all know what Voros can do

  20. Phil that might be the dumbest comment on here sine bob tried to walk these streets

  21. Nasty – sadly, sadly, sadly, VERY sadly, I remember Side Out.

    Bernie Lomax was in that!! haha

  22. “hi. isn’t it funny how the reporters covering the team get it wrong, but the diehard fans who know hockey were right on the money about Renney’s system way before he was fired, and were right about Avery’s value to the Rangers too.”

    Isn’t it? I gave Renney a shot but I wanted his head like every other fan after we’d had enough


  23. right, Kaspar. and listening to the hockey talk shows today, and ex players such as Jim Dowd, I feel that the league has to let the players play, and quit calling every little ticky tack penalty. watching 20 mins of PPs every game is not enjoyable

    if a guy does not lose the puck, then there is no need to penalize a simple touch on the arm like the first call on Girardi the other night just seconds into the game. those kind of things have been going on in the other games too, and it just ruins the sport to have it turned into touch football by the league.

  24. Unconfirmed reports at SNY twitters blog that hobey award winning BU defensemen matt gilroy is close to signing with our team, the New York Rangers! Huge signing, heard from a source close to SNY which is supposedly A friend of Gilroys dad.

  25. noonan, you act like we the fans let JJ walk…wake up.
    I didn’t want him back and I didn’t want Naslund or Redden

  26. BillyDeeWilliams on


    Great hearing from you.

    Monroe Clark and Zach Barnes? who can forget that movie. Courtney Thorne Smith…Rollo Vincent…cheesedick…i’ve got such fond memories of it.

  27. I hope that is true about the Rangers signing Gilroy. he made a great pass to set up the tying goal in the last seconds of that champ game last week

  28. Lol… I didn’t refresh this page for like 30 min and made my Gilroy comment COMPLETELY out of the blue… perhaps it’s psychic abilities? :D

  29. Not to fret though, despite a sore neck, Lundqvist says he’ll be fine after hulking Nik Antropov collided with him during practice.

    Thank god its nothing serious

  30. Staal Wart,
    That’s because Bettman and his buts protect the penguins at all cost. The refs and bettman will make sure the pens have all the help they need to make it to the finals this year.

  31. Great job by Cindy Crawford on the Hockey Players/Celebrities Separated By Birth. However, they forgot two of my favorites:
    Kim Johnsson and Hilary Swank, and Sean Avery and Jason Wiles Jason Wiles (Officer Maurice “Bosco” Boscorelli from “Third Watch” – which is why Sean Avery is called Bosco in my house ).


  33. “Shoryuken (Redden gets a clean slate for the Playoffs)
    April 17th, 2009 at 3:00 pm
    Carp either you put my before picture up or I’m sending you a Wade Redden highlight montage.”

    You are one evil person!

  34. Andrew Gross is reporting that Lundqvist said he’d be fine when asked about the collision at practice. There was a scary scene here at Jets camp today which I wrote about for Jets Journal (Anyone who resents mention of another sport on Rangers Report, sorry, but I did fulfill that request to have Sam do a guest post. Hope it balances out for you.)

    Nasty, I’d be happy to throw in a Suburbia bumper sticker — if anyone wants one! If you win I promise you’ll have one. Get those beards and eyebrows going!

  35. “I’m still glad Jagr wasn’t signed.”

    so am I. it was not a jagr vs Redden hobsons’ choice. it was Jagr was demanding too much money and too many years, 2 instead of 1, and $15 mill, and he was let go.

    then, sather made the wrong decision on the available Dmen. he should have signed Streit instead of redden, because it was common knowledge that Streit was a real PP qb, while Redden had been washed up for a couple years and was no longer a PP factor.

  36. What the fugg is with that ugly stretch marks ad. I was eating !!!!!

    Im a little nervous over this Hank “injury”, the timing is fuggin horrible. Hopefully it’s nothing.

    Also, im hoping this Gilroy signing is true. I don’t know if Sangs is gonna be what we all hope he’ll be, and Del Z, who knows aboot him. Doesn’t hurt to add a guy like Gilroy.

  37. Sam – hi from 1 of your original readers and frequent comments on your blog. hope all is well with you and the family. also hope you are able to attend some of the games with at least the older one. its not too late for you to enter the beard contest. i figured i’d break for this 1 time my non posting just to say hello to a very classy person.

    Jane and Carp are doing a good job as evidenced by hundreds of comments on each post.


    L.I.’s Matt Gilroy close to signing with Rangers

    North Bellmore native Matt Gilroy, the Hobey Baker Award-winning defenseman from Boston University, is about to sign a deal with the Rangers today, according to a source familiar with the issue.
    Gilroy, 24, is coming off an NCAA championship season with the Terriers, and has been weighing free-agent offers from several teams. He would not be eligible for this year’s playoffs.
    “He’s sorting through the interest and trying to figure out what his next step is,” Kent Hughes, Gilroy’s agent told Newsday’s Greg Logan yesterday. “I don’t want to comment on the Islanders, and as far as the teams it’s down to, until he’s made a decision, I’d rather leave it.”
    We’ve since learned that the Rangers appear to be the choice, and it could happen today.

  39. great, I hope it’s true. you cannot have enough dmen who can move the puck like Gilroy can.

  40. SNYrangersblog has gilroy all but confirmed.

    Seems like they had it first on twitter or something.

    Could be big for next year

  41. No Country For Old Rangers on

    cant wait for the freakin nbc guys to jizz in their pants everytime ovechkin touches the puck while emerick does his best to downplay all the good things nyr do. shooooots one.

    hank will be fine

  42. SAM!!!!! Welcome back!!! Hope you are enjoying the new gig!! Rick and Jane are doing a terrific job in your absence – I mean you have to PAY for the info they give us on some sites (cough cough BB) – did I say that ;)

  43. too bad he’s not eligible for the playoffs. I wonder if he’s eligible for the AHL playoffs?

  44. Gilroy to the rangers make sense. He has ties to C Drury, Torts and Mike Sullivan(Hopfully-Rangers assitant coach next year).

  45. wow. I hope he gets to play some games for hartford to get a taste of the pro game.

  46. 4-5M?

    I guess this means that someone who makes a ton of money… on defense… won’t be here next yr.

  47. Carp – does this mean the Rangers will trry and package Potter/Sauer/or Sangs with one of our big contracts and view Gilroy as a replacement for that defenseman?

  48. He signed a 2 year deal for 3.5m… which is a $1.75m cap hit.

    quite reasonable. good move

  49. somerset April 17th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    if Drury cant play in game 2, can we bring up Mark Bell instead of playing Voros??

    I’d like to see what he could do …. we all know what Voros can do

    I went to the Wolfpack game last night and in my opinion, Bell was nothing great. So far he hasn’t impressed the heck out of me. Potter looked good on D.
    Great about Gilmore. Maybe he will play tomorrow night with the Pack. I will be there.

  50. ZzZz 13 ZzZz Rules !! says Greg L. on

    Yo Sam ,Nice to see ya back !! things have gotten pritty strict around here with Colin Carpiniello running the show here with his side kick Jane!!! HAHA , Sam these guys run this blog pritty dam good and we all appreciate the time they spend. excellent work Sam handing the ball to 2 very capable backs. ty.

  51. why is the contract worth so much? This guy has never even played in an NHL game.

  52. What I love about the signing is that The Sun was saying that he would most likely be a Leaf….Haha, I love it!! I would think he will replace Mara.

  53. “why is the contract worth so much?”

    because there were several teams, including the Leafs, Devils, and Lightning driving up the price. at least 6 teams bid on him

  54. The fact that Lou wanted him is a good indication of Gilroy’s potential… and the attraction to the beautiful city of Newark to play in the brand new Tombstone.

  55. Well we all know who the “weak links” are on D I honestly believe if Redden and Roszi were gone, had Gilroy and brought up Del Z or Sags the Rangers would have a great group of Dmen.

  56. What’s a gilroy?

    Do you commit one or aggravate one?

    “I banged my leg and aggravated my Gilroy”

  57. Welcome back Sam! How’s the new gig?

    Awesome on Gilroy. Awesome! Can’t have enough good young D! It wouldn’t hurt if we also had some good young scoring. Grachev / AA can’t get here soon enough.

  58. I think we should sign that hottie on the CIVONY banner….I would offer her the remaining cap space :)

  59. great guest blog SAM.

    GIlroy good move, gives them an option to trade some D depth for more scoring for next year.. $1.7 for him, a good deal…………….

  60. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    I went to the gym this morning and think I hyper-extended mine.

  61. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    You know how many of us have heard/read that the Rangers have one of, if not, the best goaltender/backup goaltender combos?! I just realized that Chicago has Khabibulin and Huet who make 6.7million and 5.7million, respectively. They split the season schedule nearly in half (42 games and 41 games, obviously some relief work in there). Huet’s SV% .909 and Khabibulin better at .919. Damn! I can’t remember a team that had two-starters at full-price (ie. beyond their entry contracts).

  62. alex b (the poster formely known as czechthemout!!!!) on

    Good to hear from you again Sam. I now realize why you never asked Renney any tough questions. You still are drinking the Renneyaide.

    As for Gilroy,great signing!!!!! If he is eligible to play in the playoffs,I would not at all hesitate in putting him into the lineup instead of Orr who is uselss n the playoffs.
    Gilroy can step into the lineup right now and be our best offensive dman even if that’s all he does for now in a limited role. It could be the difference in how far we can go.

  63. that former habs and Colorado goaltender named Patrick would call him Gil-WAH

    that’s also what Sidney likes to say to the refs, “WAAAH”

  64. Speaking of goalies, this kid Zaba in Hartford has looked exceptionally good in the few times I have seen him. My favorite “newbie” goaltender is still Jonathon Quick from the LA Kings, but this Matt Zaba is looking good.

  65. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Hi Joey! :)

    * LI Joe
    April 17th, 2009 at 3:36 pm
    Sam – hi from 1 of your original readers and frequent comments on your blog. hope all is well with you and the family. also hope you are able to attend some of the games with at least the older one. its not too late for you to enter the beard contest. i figured i’d break for this 1 time my non posting just to say hello to a very classy person. Jane and Carp are doing a good job as evidenced by hundreds of comments on each post.

  66. alex, apparently he is not eligible to play in the NHL playoffs, but he is ok for the AHL playoffs, according to TSN and Brooks

  67. C. Thomas Nasty 1 on

    What a fun filled afternoon of volley, that was highlighted by a dominating performance that would make Randy Stoklos envious. Ha.

    So that is good news about Gilroy. Let’s hope he is the real deal.

    I really wish we were playing tonight.

  68. NBC is prohibiting NHL teams from showing the games on outdoor big screens outside the arena so that more fans can join in the experience.

    that figures. that clueless, garbage network wouldn’t want to have their games reach more fans now would they?

    and of course they pay ZERO for the NHL rights. all the NHL gets is half of the ad revenue.

    another reason to boo the clowns at NBC. you can bet that tomorrow will be a 3 hr tribute for Ovechkin, with little Ranger coverage.

  69. Sammy, great to have you back, buddy. Pat’s Hubba Hubba???

    Hope you enjoyed Augusta. How’s the best practice swing in golf?

    LIJoe, good to have you back, too. Hope you’ll return to the fold. You always were a good, informative, insightful commenter.

  70. Let’s go Flyers! Knock that Cindy figure skater outta there. On Versus (uggh) now

  71. HockeymanRangers on

    Hey Sammy boy!!! (spoken like Yogi Bear)
    Good to hear from you Sam, Rick and Jane are doing a good job, as a team they almost cover as good as you did. I can imagine your pain not to have the blog at your finger tips all the time.

    I like the way you said they are now playing to win as opposed to to not too lose??? very well said. And again you are right much more entertaining to watch.


  72. Thanks for the blog, Sam! No one has updated since after the 1st period of game 2 yet……….we miss you!

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