It is now nine days until July 1, and if you don’t believe me, just pick up the New York papers which have been counting down since, I don’t know, April? (It’s actually 11 days, including today and July 1, but there are nine days between today and July 1, I guess).
Problem is, this July 1 reminds me a bit of July 1, 1997, because of LeBron James. In 1997, all of MSG’s efforts were aimed at Patrick Ewing, who would be a free agent. This year they’re aimed at King James, only about 1,000,000,000 times more so. And I wonder if that will at all affect what the Rangers try to do that day. I wonder, if the opportunity to do something big arose, if the Rangers would have trouble getting the go-ahead from upper management/ownership, because they’ll all be in Akron or involved with James and his agents.
If I had to guess, I’d say the Rangers aren’t likely to do anything major this July 1 anyway. The cap won’t let them, and one big player isn’t going to make a huge difference, and they’re kind of on the right path with the youth, and … well, haven’t they learned their lesson yet?
But I clearly remember Mark Messier being kicked to Vancouver. The naive will still say he went for more money. The fact is, he went because he was told in many ways that he was no longer wanted here. One of those was the way the Knicks took care of Ewing on July 1 and let Messier sit by idly for days thereafter.
MSG Network tonight launches it’s “Hockey Night Live: Summer Ice” series on which it will show old games every Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. Now, I fully understand where MSG is coming from, but this being a Rangers blog, I must warn you that the network now is responsible to the Devils, the Islanders and their fans. Thus only every third game, or so, will be a Rangers game, starting Wednesday, with Adam Graves scoring his 50th and 51st goals in 1994.
Some of the choices are also barely classics: Gaborik and Del Zotto scoring their first goals as Rangers; Lundqvist getting his first playoff shutout against Atlanta. But the idea is good, and I’m sure any hockey in June and July and August can’t be all bad, right?
Also, tomorrow’s MSG “Countdown” revolves around the top 25 “Cheapshots” in games involving the Rangers, Islanders and Devils. Of course, we can expect that none of the Rangers, Islanders or Devils will be doling out the cheapshots.
Forgot to mention in the previous post about the week ahead: Tomorrow the NHL regular season schedule comes out!