Guest blogger: miked (update)

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We all know what 1994 meant to all the Ranger fans all around the world, but the year 1997 will always stand out in my mind. That was the only season that Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Mike Ricther all got to play together and if it wasn’t for some key injuries (namely Leetch playing valiantly with a hurt wrist and some others ailing as well) and the dominant performance of Eric Lindros for the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, we could possibly taking about 1997 as a Stanley Cup year too.

While the Rangers won the Cup in 1994, I moved away from New York to a small town called Doylestown (a suburb of Philadelphia), and imagine how my Rangers jacket and championship T-shirts went over there. Eventually, in 1996-1997 I ended up in Houston, Texas.  After a return trip to New York to visit family, I attended my first Rangers game against the Los Angeles Kings and was hooked, despite missing the second period while I had to wait outside a suite as my dad partied it up with some suits. My family was heavily into hockey since my uncle got a job at Madison Square Garden working as a video replay judge, but after seeing it live I could not wait to get back to Houston and start playing. I met a kindred hockey spirit in middle school – he was a Flyers fan though- but we both loved the sport and began learning how to play roller hockey before eventually graduating to the ice.

My grandmother bought me my first pair of gloves — black, red and blue Mark Messier Louisville’s — and I used those until the palms came off. When my grandmother died years later, I always remember that she got me my first pair of hockey gloves.

I spent the year of 1997 learning how to play and trying to watch all the Ranger games that would come on ESPN. I’d play my NHL Faceoff ’97 game on Play Station religiously, and my Flyer fan friend and I could not  enough hockey.

While I was adding to my hockey addiction, the Rangers put together a memorable season. It was, for starters, Gretzky’s first season on Broadway, reunited with Messier (anyone else remember the ‘New York’s Finest’ posters that came out with Gretz and Mess on them?). Gretzky did not disappoint, leading the team with 25 goals and 72 assists for 97 points.  Messier was just behind with 84 points and continued to be the best captain in the entire league with his combination of skill, passion and grit.  Leetch had one of his finest seasons too, winning his second Norris Trophy for best defenseman and further established his reputation of being one of the game’s great blue liners.

Superstars aside, this 1997 team also had the likes of Niklas Sundstrom ( I was convinced he would be a star), Ulf Samuelsson, Jeff Beukeboom, Doug Lidster, Luc Robitaille and countless others ( heck, I even thought Christian Dube and Daniel Goneau were pretty rad too).

The memories came in the playoffs. Gretzky blasting slap shot after slap shot past John Vanbiesbrouck for a hat trick as the Rangers knocked off the Florida Panthers in the first round. Anyone else remember the gutsy performances the rest of the playoffs by Esa Tikkanen and Russ Courtnall? What about Graves’ (wearing the fresh new Liberty head third jersey) series-clinching wrap-around on Martin Brodeur to knock out the Devils in overtime?  I really felt if it wasn’t for Lindros’ coming-out party in the next round, the Rangers could have possibly beaten Detroit. That summer was a depressing one for Ranger fans, as just as my away blue starter Messier jersey arrived in the mail, a week later he bolted to the Vancouver Canucks.

The point of this column is what makes this game great —  that certain moments in time can elicit bold memories from on the ice and from our own world.

——————————————————————
Afternoon update: Kovy speaks.
Not that I see anybody’s been clamoring for this, but here’s a link to Kovalchuk’s press conference this afternoon and the story about his desire to be “a Devil for life.” Well, we’ll see about that, won’t we.

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295 Comments

  1. great post mike!! good memories man. i certainly remember that playoffs well. lindros-leclaire-renberg were pretty freakin nasty werent they? i started playing hockey around teh same time as you. starting with rollerblades. very fun, wish i could still play. theres just no interest where im living. i cant even get someone to talk about hockey over here let alone get some guys to play. it seem hockey should be bigger now than it was then but its not teh case. i could go into a kmart and buy cheap but still fun hockey equipment when i was a kid. maybe its just the midwest, but it sure as hell beats nascar. you see more nascar fans here than hockey. and im about a 4 -5 hour drive from at least 3 nhl cities.

  2. eric- they signed a d man named magoo or somethin like that. hes supposedly a big guy who hits. but is hartford material from teh sound of it. at best. i think were basically looking at our opening roster right now besids getting stal signed and maybe 1 more trade or signing at best. doesnt matter anyway. were going to be a young team again, which is what everyone wanted. everybody said no free agents. well, we got that. basically. besides afew minor ones, we didnt sign anybody over 2 mill. besides girardi. thats a good thing thjough. we all wanted to give the kids a shot and if you keep adding middle of teh road FA’s then they’ll be stuck in hartford forever or on the 4th line.

  3. mike in ia

    u say we are giving the kids a shot. how i dont see it

    prospal christy gaborik
    callahan animisov dubinsky
    avery drury mza?
    prust boyle boogard

    staal girardi
    rozival delzotto
    mcdonagh eminger/gilroy

    the only changes from last year is maybe mcdonagh and mza.

    its basically the same team. prospal and christy should not have been signed they are taking mins of kids who need about 14-16 mins a game not 4-5 on the 4th line.

    if stepan and kreider show they are ready will they get those 14-16 mins a game not a shot in hell

  4. first eric, you have to resign prospal at his price just because he was such a good leader and was very productive on the first line. christy idk, but im sure its not set in stone if he or boyle will be on teh roster. its all up to stepan,grachev, and maybe kreider but i think hes still a year off. mza is a prospect as far as im concerned. so even if were just adding him and mcdonagh to start out with, thats 2 this year on top of 3 last year. we cant change over the whole team and make it the ny wolfpack. how many rooks did you think we would promote?

  5. hell, even avery may not last with torts very long. ya never vknow what in-season changes will occur. just because some of the high valued prospects arent on opening night roster, doesnt mean they wont be getting any games in

  6. gregm_section403 on

    Hey Miked,

    Great post.

    But remember, Messier did not “bolt” to the Canucks.

    MSG basically said, “thanks for the Cup, helping to return the franchise to respectability, and for the nice run in Spring 97 to the conference finals, but we are going to take all of our $$ and give it to Patrick Ewing who is also a free agent this summer. Yes, we know Ewing has never won anything for us, but whatever. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

    They treated Messier like crap. I can’t blame Mess for leaving.

  7. gregm_section403 on

    Oh, you forgot. After Messier left, the Rangers master plan was to go out and sign Sakic (an RFA) to a huge offer sheet. Colorado had to resign him since he was the face of their franchise, but it made the Rangers look like fools and made them the enemy of every other GM. That was the beginning our lost decade following the snubbing of Messier.

  8. eric, where are ya? i need some hockey talk before i go to work?? lol. anyway, so u dont like christy. me neither. im not sure hes anything but a depth signing incase one of the kids cant handle top minutes. but prospal is one of the only vets with any real leadership qualities. u have to have these type of players to help the kids learn. drury seems to have taken cally under his wing there and they are possibly one of the best pk duo’s in the league. but youre right, boyle or EC both should not be getting a spot in favor of stepan,grachev,weise,byers,etc.. hope we can at least add 2-3 prospects and have at least 3 as full timers by the end of teh year.

  9. eric

    having 2 (possibly 3) rookies come up and start the season is a pretty good amount. Considering Grachev and Stepan could be here this season as well, its a pretty substantial youth movement.

  10. Coach Beeblebrox on

    oleo:::

    I agree, this season might not be filled with rookies, but McDonagh is a sure bet, and MZA is probably not going to the AHL either. So that’s two, added to last year’s three. The Rangers are a fairly young team already, two more rookies will be nice.

    I think Grachev has an outside shot too. He’s a very big kid, physically mature this year. And he’s got great speed. He could find himself knocking down the door to a top LW role, even perhaps pushing Prospal down to the 3rd line.

    Even if neither makes it out of camp, we know injuries happen and both Stepan and Grachev will be waiting. Also if the Rangers struggle to score again, I can imagine them dipping into the AHL more quickly this season. Think about how much they dipped into the AHL last season looking for offense. Parenteau was the best they had at the time but they went with him.

  11. oleo- yes 2 or 3 is great especially if were doing this every year now. by the time dru and rozy/redden? are gone, guys like duby,mcally,artie will all be young vets and grachev,kreider,stepan,werek,byers,dupont bourque, and d men like mc donagh, mcilrath, kundratek,pashnin, maybe even niemi will have made the team or at least been given a shot. the way the team is headed, like carp said, they know they arent winning teh cup and it would be a pleasant surprise if they made the playoffs. this is the closest we have been to a rebuild in some time. its also gonna be good for the team as a whole to not have all this pressure put on them. every team in our division got better and we just didnt do enough to get kovalchuk. so as far as im concerned, i am not gonna kill myself over this team if they dont make the playoffs. as long as sather stays the course and keeps drafting and making good trades, lays off overpriced FA’s, things should be much better in 2 years or so. dru and rozy are gone, and gabby and hank will both be about 29 or 30. still prime aged. maybe mess is ready to take over by then while not having a huge cap mess to deal with and probably have a great core of players with which to build around.

  12. coach- yea im sure torts will not hesitate to bench a guy and bring up somebody to spark the team maybe. i actually liked pap and thought we shouldve kept him. i know hes not gonna get much better, but he was real good in the SO, and scored a few goals. with him and locke gone, you can expect grach,stepan, and kreide to be getting top minutes in hartford so at least they’ll be ready if they get called.

  13. mike

    next offseason is going to be a very interesting one. If Grachev and Stepan are for real, the Rangers will have some very interesting decisions to make…

  14. Good post, Miked.
    I’m sure everyone remembers the spring of 1997. I think they didn’t go all the way not only because of Lindros & Co, but because our superstars were getting older. That was a nice attempt by the organization to repeat. Didn’t work, but what they did with our team after is the reason us, the fans, had to suffer for many years. I’ll go on record here and say that whatever Lou is attempting in NJ is pretty similar- he is trying to win another Cup with 38 year old superstar goaltender, surrounding him with some aging veterans, who are largely overpaid. The contract he gave to A-train is too long. And before you praise him for being creative with Kovalchuk’s contract- take a look how it’s structured- he is paid $6 mil for the first two years, and $11.5 mil right after. Which is the year of new CBA. That’s going to hurt the league and, more so, the players when the new CBA is being negotiated. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another year off. And, yes, I don’t think the Devils will win it anyway.

  15. Eric- Christensen and Prospal are good, cheap insurance signings. If some of unexpected youngsters is ready to step in- Christensen goes to AHL and Prospal’s contract is easily tradeable. Boyle is another obvious choice, although he can only surrender 4th line minutes.

  16. Spring ’97 also ended because all the top players were getting hurt. Leetch had the busted up wrist I think then, Sundstrom got hurt, Gretzky was beat up too. I just remember after every playoff game someone else was going to be out for the rest of the playoffs. Then again I was also at a bar chugging beer throughout each game so who knows what really happened

  17. Does anyone else think we are going to sign a big name scorer to play with gaborik? We need that playmaker really bad in our line-up and i dont see it. Devils made some serious moves, Tampa looks good, Philly will be there of course. I feel like we need other boost. Unless Torts got something up his sleeve. Someone answer haha

  18. Tank The Season on

    Supposedly Brian Boyle is going to Hartford if Stepan makes the team.

    Does anyone think Stepan will be another Toewes like they say?

  19. YouveGotGold on

    So, Christy and Prospal – they both signed pretty cheap. It looks like the Rangers will not be world beaters by any stretch this year, so if they perform, Christy and Prospal become nice trade chips to a contender (for prospects or draft picks) and then you can promote 2 more players from the Wolfpack who would have gotten another half season to get ready for the NHL. Those signings make sense.

  20. SLAP, no.

    miked, great job. I remember the ’97 playoff injuries got so bad that Pat Flatley’s injury was like the last straw … and Shane Churla came back from a knee that later needed complete reconstruction to play on a line with Dallas Eakins against Lindros. Good god.

    Good morning, Sally!

  21. No one talking about Ilya to the Devs….guy will be 44 by the time he’s done. I think we should try and snag Bryce Salvador….

  22. Great read miked,
    I remember ’97 as the most fun to watch. Of course Gretzky had a lot to do with that. There are more visual memories of ’97 in my mind than ’94.
    I remember Ulfie delivering the most vicious open-ice hit I have ever seen. He hit some rookie, and broke his shoulder. The kid never played in the NHL again. Can anyone remember that play?

  23. Good morning all!

    miked, love the post. the last paragraph kind of sums up why we’re all fans despite our heartbreak.

  24. Not to hijack miked’s very good post, but I wasn’t around yesterday to comment on the Kovalchuk farce…

    It’s bad enough that the Devil “fan base” is full of such complete imbeciles to begin with, now this obscenely transparent Kovalchuk deal makes them think they’re automatically Cup champs now? I mean, why even bother playing the games at this point? As if they weren’t insufferable enough. What’s going to be the excuse next April when they’re quickly dismissed in the 1st round yet again because Brodeur insists on playing 75 games yet again? I eagerly look forward to this blowing up in their faces and creating crippling cap issues for years to come.

  25. slapshot

    the Rangers are so far behind the competition that a top line player wont help anything…

  26. miked, thanks for stirring my memory pot. I have just as many memories of watching games with friends as I do about the games and the players. Hockey, the best team sport!

    I can’t wait for camp and pre-season games so we get a good look at which kids manage to grab the brass ring. Our young prospects must be working their as*es off this off-season to make a good impression at Torts boot camp. Go boys go!! We need help!

  27. oleosmirf — haha, you got a point.
    — well the only thing we can all hope for is that they put on some kind of performance and maybe the young players can get us going. we dont have a choice.

  28. Favorite memory from the ’97 playoffs:

    Tikkanen’s overtime winner against the Panthers … that no one saw go in. Play continues and Tik keeps pointing at the goal. During review of the play, Tik can be seen with his arm around Richter smiling and laughing. Finally, the goal is awarded to the Rangers and Mess dances across the ice. Pretty sweet.

    Tikkanen is one of my all-time favorite players.

  29. The 96-97 Rangers had something like a 15-3-1 stretch in the middle of the season…aside from that, the team was actually pretty lousy in the regular season. Hence the final record (38-34-10). It wasn’t until the playoffs when Richter got smoking hot and the team finally bought into Collie’s more defensive system that the team finally started to live up to the expectations. Gretzky actually had two hat tricks in the playoff run (Game 4 against Florida on the second half of a back-to-back, and Game 2 in Philly).

  30. Bush-League (formerly Miami Pimp) on

    hey jackassasins!

    Mr. Bush-league is back (and better than ever).

    Does ANYONE have a link to that 1997 Gretky natural hat trick?

  31. Doodie Machetto on

    Miked, great post. I remember the 97 playoffs well, especially the conference finals where the Legion of Doom line repeatedly punished us.

    The way they treated Mess on the way out was terrible, but they were gambling on getting Sakic. With Gretzky, the recently traded for Pat Lafontaine, and hopefully with Sakic, they didn’t really have a place for him. Doesn’t excuse the absolutely terrible way he was treated, but his being shown the door in a hockey sense is somewhat more palatable when you look at it in that light.

  32. With all optimism, so far on the paper unimproved Rangers looks definitely worse in Division, may be in Conference. BTW, contrary to Carp opinion, I do believe Atlantic become (except Rangers, of course)one of the best/toughest in the League. Even Isles improved significantly and may surprise us.
    Dear Lord (Stanley)have Mercy on Rangers and us next season!

  33. Doodie Machetto on

    Gretzky did not have a hat trick against the Flyers. I’m like 99% certain.

  34. Doodie Machetto on

    Rangers are still better than the Islanders. No question.

    They aren’t a playoff team, but they aren’t scraping the bottom of the barrel. In other words, they are gearing up for another long stretch of mediocrity.

  35. i will take mediocrity this season as long as they are doing it with a young, up and coming team…

  36. BTW, I think according to cap geek the Devils are the oldest team in the East. And they’re about $1.8mn above the cap. I have a feeling that Zubrus is going to get waved. He clears enough space and doesn’t really have an important role on the team. Either that or Rolston, but at least he can play the point on the PP.

  37. CTB, Leetch had a hat trick against the Flyers in ’95, Game 2 of the second round…Flyers won in OT to take a 2-0 lead on the way to a sweep. A little while later that afternoon, Ewing missed the finger roll against the Pacers and the Knicks lost game 7. One of the top 5 worst sports days of my life.

  38. Doodie Machetto on

    CT Blueshirt, Rolston is a 35 and over contract, waiving him will not remove his cap hit (except like 100k of it).

  39. Kevin

    It’s not just Kovalchuk ( potent enough on his own), but they also made some other sound additions. Devils have obviously and disturbingly improved themselves..much more than Rangers or even several others of division. I don’t envy them the problem of this old Russian guy trying to keep up, in a few years, uh what’s his name Kovalev? Oh yeah, KovalCHUK.

    But at that time, Rangers will be wondering what to do with an aging so called D man who is about to arrive at the old folks home…plays for the Hartford Wolves or some such thing.

  40. Coach Beeblebrox on

    GET GABORIK A CENTER!

    I see this a lot, yet where is the evidence that he really needs one? Gaborik set careers offensive high marks last season, playing with centers named Prospal, Dubinsky and Christensen.

    He scored in Minny playing with guys like Wes Waltz. And very young center in Bouchard and Koivu. His time with Demitra was very small, yet again these was this myth that Gabby and Demitra were so good together.

    I’m just saying, that even if they get him a great center, where is the evidence that he will do much better than 42 goals and 80+ points?

    I think spending assets, to bring in a “playmaker” for Gaborik might result in nothing but wasted assets. Would a true playmaker like Brad Richards (for example) really boost Gaborik into Ovechkin scoring territory? I’m not so sure that it will.

    The scoring needs to come from someone else besides Gaborik, not a single argument there. But I’m not convinced that a top center for Gaborik would be the best way to get it.

  41. Right, forgot about Rolston’s deal being their 35+ cap killer.

    Combine his deal with Zubrus and that’s pretty bad. Not R&R bad, but Lou hasn’t exactly figured out the whole salary cap thing either.

  42. All I remember about those 1997 playoffs is how Lindros blew by an old and slow Mark Messier to score. As far as I’m concerned, that’s about the time when Super Captain should have retired.

  43. Coach Beeblebrox on

    Doodie:::

    I’m not sure we can definitively say the Rangers are NOT a playoff team. After all, they should be slightly better this year based on the fact that the kids should improve. Del Zotto could have a second year like Doughty did and that would help a lot. If Anisimov follows his first NHL season the way he followed his first AHL season, that will be a nice boost also.

    After all, last year’s team just missed the playoffs thanks to a shoot-out. And we know where Philly went.

    I think the East is still wide open, as it has been. It seems the last few years one team rises up, then falls. Boston was going to win it all two years ago, last year they looked, well like the Rangers, they could not score to save themselves.

    I think the Rangers will have enough to knock on the door of that 8th and final spot once again. When you have Lundqvist, that is almost assured.

  44. fran, I think the Devils marginally improved because even though they’ll have Kovalchuk for an entire season (and presumably 16 years thereafter) Volchenkov is a good D, net-net it’s a lateral move to replace Paul Martin. Martin was a better puck mover and could help QB the PP. Add in Kovalchuk’s known defensive deficiencies and I think the Devils overall goal differential will see only a modest rise (more goals for, but also more goals against).

    Just in the Atlantic, the Pens improved their D a lot and the Flyers have a very solid blueline, maybe even strong enough to cover the gamble they’re taking on goaltending. I think the Devils will do what they’ve done since the lockout. Strong regular season and maybe even win a round, but I wouldn’t say they’ve vaulted themselves back to Eastern conference favorites.

  45. Doodie Machetto on

    I don’t know why everyone is all over the Devils. This is basically the same team that just had a first round exit. The only real difference is Volchenkov and Tallinder for Martin. Volchenkov will make them somewhat tougher to play against (Martin was very good defensively), but their transition game will be hurt significantly without Martin (a much better puck carrier than Volchenkov). Tallinder sucks.

    Adding Hedberg doesn’t mean anything unless he actually plays. They have had a whole host of quality goaltenders have been on the bench in NJ with Brodeur only playing in less than 70 games in a full season twice since he became the clear top dog in NJ (two years ago from injury, and in 96-97 he played 67 games). Is Hedberg really that much better than Dunham, Vanbiesbrouck, Clemmennson, or even Weekes to warrant an extra 15 games than those guys got?

    As for the coaching situation, do you really think John MacLean is going to do a better job than Jacques Lemaire, let alone a good enough job to lead them to the Cup?

    The Devils are a good team, absolutely. But they haven’t really improved all that much since last season.

    The East remains the Least.

  46. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    Miked
    thanks for the great post man!

    CW
    I remember that ulfie hit as well, but can not remember who the heck it was he leveled either.

    We ARE still better than the fishies!

    The other thing I remember about the playoffs that year is lindros out muscling mess to get to an empty net at centre ice.

  47. Doodie Machetto on

    Beeble:

    Yes, they will probably be scraping for the bottom of the playoff picture. That speaks more to how bad the East is than to whether the Rangers are actually a worthwhile team this year. If they are in the Western conference, they are lucky if they don’t finish 12th.

  48. So after this past weekend I’m officially engaged to the future Mrs. Bonehead (as Linda put it)

    Carp- Who wants to celebrate with me by meeting up for a double at Walter’s before the end of the summer!?

  49. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    jbytes
    sorry, didn’t see you had posted about that moment already!

  50. Carp,

    Any good Shane Churla stories? My fantasy hockey league is named after him and growing up me and the kids in our town would play in the Shane Churla roller hockey league…if you didn’t fight once in 3 games you’d be suspended…

  51. Agree 100% with you Doodie about your Devils post (pretty much what I said a few posts earlier) and the Rangers projected finish this season. Easily the Pens, Devils and Flyers are better teams. Throw in the division winners from the NE and SE and that’s 5 teams that will finish above the Rangers. I’d say the NE will be between the Buffaslugs and Boston and whomever doesn’t win the division will still make the playoffs so that’s 6 teams.

    Then you’ll have a probably improved Tampa team, the Canes might not necessarily leaps and bounds better than the Rangers but they’re not any worse, ditto for Montreal and Ottawa.

    The Rangers fall into the range of a 7th through 11th place team. And if some the talent on the Island start to jell there’s a chance the Rangers could be looking up in the standings at them too.

  52. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    would anyone want to add ryan malone from tampa? Just curious here. At one point I thought tampa was thinking about moving him to toronto for kaberle. I’d move him for rozy in a heartbeat personally.

    Thoughts?

  53. as much as i’d like to see it, i’m having a real tough time seeing stepan making the team out of camp. he’s not going to be able to step in right now and play center on the top line. as far as i’m concerned, he’s at least a year away from the big league. that’s fine though. I can wait. down the line, i can see this kid as our captain.

    loved hearing that sather tried to convince kreider to go pro while he was at the prospect camp but I don’t want to rush him. I think out of all of our prospects, this kid is going to be great.

    Does anyone on the Bluejackets interest you? the jackets are already in need of a defenseman. if they go to arbitration with stralman and decide not to sign him (looking like this will be the case), they’re going to need two. i know they have a cap ceiling that’s set much lower than the actual ceiling but they’re in a position where they need to make some serious strides as a franchise. their big time d prospects are still a year or two away at least and they need to do something to buy themselves some time for kids like golobeuf to develop.

    maybe they’d take rozi off our hands. he’d be the best puck mover on their squad and probably even help their anemic power play. would rozi, gilroy and a pick be enough to snag someone like filatov? are there other players or prospects on their roster that might interest you? outside of voracek and nash, i think they’d be receptive to offers for just about anyone. purely speculation but i could see us making a deal with the jackets in the next month or so.

  54. @ wicky – malone makes a pretty penny and takes a lot of bad penalties but he’s tough as nails. i’d take malone but only if we had some serious salary going back the other way and we had a spot in the line up for him. i don’t want his contract being a hurdle to retaining our core players. i’m not sure yzerman would be interested in moving him either. just moving rozi out isn’t enough. salary wise it works but where would malone play? we’d need to move a forward out as well. i guess the same goes with what i said above about filatov.

  55. Malone looked pretty good for USA in the Olympics.

    He had a pretty good year for the Bolts this past season. I’d take him for Blowzy.

    He’s a Shanahan type of player, just not as good as Shanny.

  56. The Rangers entiree season rests on what exactly the upside of their young players is. If Mike Del Zotto is the next Drew Doughty, if Dubinsky raises his game and becomes a 30-goal guy, if Callahan produces at his usual 25-goal pace, if Anisimov progresses, if McDonagh and Gilroy can step in and start becoming big time players, if Staal continues to progress…you cannot base your prediction for the Rangers on what everyone has shown so far because so much of it is untapped potential. Could all of those guys stink? Sure, they could. But every team that has spent huge dollars on a few high level players has areas of weakness. Brodeur is not a playoff goalie anymore especially with their current defense in fron tof him. The Flyers still have no goaltending at all and Pronger is getting old. Pittsburgh lost Gonchar and so has no PP QB which could kill them, not to mention outside of Staal, Crosby and Malkin their forwards are not up to snuff. Once you bury Redden in the minors, the only egregious use of cap space is Drury at $7 mill.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m too optimistic but we’re going to be watching a young team develop together and if they have a real upside they will be a good team. The key actually is that at some point this year it has to stop being Drury’s and Rozival’s and Redden’s team and start being Dubinsky’s and Callahan’s and DelZotto’s and Staal’s team.

  57. If the Rangers trade a defenseman that means no prospect gets to play on offense…no thanks…

  58. Doodie- the Devils got one year older. And added 36 year old center on top of that. They have multiple NTCs and NMCs. So I do agree that it’s premature to say they are going very far. Something tells me that some of the moves (including Kovalchuk) may have been pushed by ownership rather than being Lou’s desire.

  59. how many years have Rangers fans said Brodeur is old and gonna wear down?

    yet year after year, he puts up Vezina numbers. Sure he hasn’t been great in the playoffs lately but if its a game 7, im sure as hell picking him over Lundqvist and I’m a huge Hank fan…

  60. Peter, well said and I agree. However, with our team being as young as it appears it could be and hopefully will be, I’m concerned about Torts’ coaching style. Each game last year saw different line combinations, inconsistent efforts and damn little on-ice chemistry. Our team needs a coach who’s a teacher that uses positive motivation, not someone who’s screaming at them on the bench during a game.

  61. ilb,

    How’s the new phone? You getting a free bumper/case?

    I think the Devils will still be a top 4 team. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they know how to play consistently. Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner and Kovalchuk-Arnott-Elias is a pretty decent top 2 lines. I just think their problem is that eventually their older guys will wear down as the season goes on and they won’t have enough left in the playoffs. I think Kovalchuk could give them enough to win the first round, but not the second.

  62. CTB- never had any problems with it. Love it. I’m getting the refund for bumpers.
    The Devils need to shed some serious salary. Obvious choices- Zubrus ($3.4 mil per) and Rolston (above 35 yr, $5mil per with NTC)- not an easy proposition. That may require another firs rounder to go back. Don’t feel that elated if you are the Devils fan. Has Lou lost a step or two?

  63. I have looked all over youtube for that Ulfie hit that ended that kid’s career. I am gonna look for the Janet Gretzky/ Ulfie hit

  64. Peter,

    I think there’s a glimmer of hope on the team but there’s a lot that has to go right for the Rangers to sniff making the playoffs. I love DZ’s potential but he’s not even close to Doughty. On defense alone I’d take Doughty.

    Even with the expected increase in production from the youngsters, this is a team that 3/4 of the season was pretty dreadful. Take out the 7-1-0 start and the 7-1-2 end and you’ve got a team that went 24-31-9 or 57 of a possible 128 points (44.5%).

    And they’re returning essentially the same team.

    The Pens have a very good top 2 pairs on D and I think they’re glad to have rid themselves Gonchar’s injury woes even if he was productive when actually played.

    The Flyers D is rock solid and they have decent scoring depth with Richards, Carter, Giroux and Briere. Not to mention the physical presence with Hartnell, Knuble, and Carcillo.

  65. fran:

    That they have. That’s the most annoying part about it. It’s obvious they’re going for it the next couple of years. Oh well.

    And thanks for not mentioning that d-man by name, I twitch every time I hear/read it.

  66. ilb,

    Yeah I’ve found mine works fine too. I’ll be interested to see what the choices are from 3rd party vendors for the cases. I wasn’t too keen on Apple’s bumpers.

    Again, I agree the Devils are not immediately vaulted back to the top of the East just by getting Kovalchuk. It seems to me (and Doodie) that Volchenkov is essentially a lateral replacement for Martin, better D but not as good moving the puck. That’s where I think the Devils weakness ultimately is, past Volchenkov their D is very ordinary and not a huge amount of upside either. Tallinder is basically their version of Girardi.

    Still, I think they’ll have consistent enough scoring and good enough goaltending and D throughout the year to fight for the division title. But the old bones of Elias, Arnott, Rolston, White and even Langenbrunner will run out of gas in the spring.

  67. Flyers improved, for sure. Even if Leighton or Boucher have average years, their defense is good enough to make life easy for them.

    They obviously have the offense, and losing Gagne isn’t much of a big deal.

    Ah, we suck!

  68. Right, I’m getting forgetful about who plays where. Either way, the Flyers have more than enough players not afraid to get their mitts dirty.

  69. Also, James VanRiemslesiban has a year under his belt, and he had a strong finish in the playoffs.

    He’s pretty good, but nowhere near Patrick Kane. We got lucky that the Hawks got that first overall pick instead of the Flyers. Imagine Kane tormenting us six times a year?

  70. Yeah, throw JVR into the mix too. He had some growing pains but he’s going to be a solid fixture in their top 6. If they are ever able to unload Briere and keep the core of Richards/Carter/Giroux/JVR up front they’d really have a strong team for years. But as it is they will probably have to lose one of Carter or Giroux when they’re up as RFAs next year.

  71. Say what you want about the Devils D from 09/10 But with Martin out for 5 months, that same Defense finished #1 in the NHL in GA/G (Goals Against Per Game) in the regular season. It actually tapered off when Martin came back.

  72. Point taken Ricky. I think the Devils success in keeping the goals against down is that their whole team understands defense. I’m not saying they employ the trap, but they usually have all 5 skaters deep in their own end. I have to imagine that MacLean is going to go for a more aggressive offense and that will probably sacrifice the tight D. Otherwise what was the point in splashing all that money on Kovalchuk?

    But on an individual talent basis, the drop off after Volchenkov is quite stark. Not saying the Rangers are better, but when compared to some of the other top teams in the league the past few seasons I don’t think of a particular Devils defender that other teams fear going up against.

    And I think once it’s the playoffs where teams get to see each other every other night, the opposition begins to find holes in the D and the Devils don’t have a Pronger to make life miserable for opposing forwards or a pairing like Keith/Seabrook that can withstand the opponents top lines for half the game.

  73. That is true. Playoffs are tougher if you have any holes to be exposed. That’s where Stevens made a difference. Which is what they hope to get out of ATrain. Not so much Tallinder. Did you know that Martin was never made an offer to stay with NJ from Lou? It was agreed that it was time for them to part ways.

  74. Sounds like the same situation with Gomez.

    Obviously as a Rangers fan I wouldn’t normally add constructive criticism of Lou, but the Rolston and Zubrus deals really screwed the Devils when it came time to re-sign some players for this season.

    I don’t think Kovalchuk’s deal necessarily effects Parise because Arnott and Langebrunner are off the books after this year, but it seems like it would have taken just a little bit less than what Rolston is making to retain Martin. Now Martin and Volchenkov as a top pairing is something worth worrying about as an opposing team.

  75. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " 1997!!! " … says Greg L. on

    Ahhhh now thats a guest blog!!!! wow 1997 was pure Ranger pleasureeeee!!! I loved that year!!! Sure glad ya mentioned we could be celebrating 1997 as well . Well put and the story about you went with the Rangers playoff run…well done Miked. Impressive.

  76. I really hope that McDonagh turns out to be a great d-man. I’d love to stick it to the Habs for that game where we blew a 5-0 lead and lost in the shootout.

    Every Hab fan I talk to always brings that up, and it would be nice to reply with “At least we gave up that loser Gomez for an awesome d-man like McDonut, bwahaha, you idiot!”

    Habs own NYR as it is right now. I hate going to Montreal because Hank flat out sucks there.

  77. What, no “Kyle Quincey is better than Marc Staal despite what your ‘statistics’ might say” debate today?

  78. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " 1997!!! " … says Greg L. on

    Blogmomma- ” Hmmmm. interesting party here last night into the wee hours.”

    Yeahh crazzzzzyyy!!! I path’d outttt while Olga was singgingg!!!!!

  79. Coach Beeblebrox on

    Peter:::

    Good post. You’re right on point. The Rangers future and present rests in the hands of the kids. For better or worse. This team has done nothing but bring in hired gun after hired gun for a decade, and we’ve seen nothing but mediocrity at best. Its time to let the kids develop as they may, and THEN bring in hired guns to round them out.

    If Dubinsky and Callahan can provide 50 goals together (as they should) and Anisimov can score 50-60 points (as he capable of) this team will be a lot better. And the reality is that those three things are highly possible.

    Del Zotto had a rookie season almost identical to Drew Doughty. If he can manage to have a 2nd year even close to what Doughty did in his 2nd year (last year) then the Rangers move up a notch.

    Their plan has been to draft and develop for a couple years now, so we much be patient to reap those rewards. IMO going out and getting marginal players like Malone, or Savard etc. is only prolonging the rebuild.

  80. ’97 was the last year the Rangers had any hope.

    As nice a run the Renney years were, they just didn’t have the talent (obviously other than Jagr).

    Reluctantly predict that this years squad will also disappoint unless Sather makes some drastic changes without compromising next next season.

  81. Doodie Machetto on

    “As nice a run the Renney years were, they just didn’t have the talent (obviously other than Jagr).”

    I thought they had a real chance in 06-07. I really did. Then 7.7 Drury had to go and ruin it (and the next 5 years of the franchise with the contract that game earned him).

  82. Doodie – I’m disappointed that you have not put on as much of a show today. I’m waiting for those Eastern Conference players that are better than Staal. It’s well thought out, even if we disagree on some of the choices. I would say he’s better than 60th, but we’ll see. I guess you are doing overall defensemen, not just defensive rankings.

  83. I’ve been busy at work & have not been here posting for awhile.
    I’m trying to catch up – Is it true that Kovalchuk got a 17 year contract ? 17 years ?
    What the hell is going on in sports today !

  84. Thanks for the intro Tony! Speaking of which, some Kovy links posted in update above from today’s press conference. Bemuse yourselves at will.

  85. Don’t be misled by the contract. It’s a 10 Year deal stretched over 17 years for cap reasons ($6 Mil on CAP). First 10 years he makes $95 Mil then the last 7 its $7 mil divided up. He’ll be in the KHL by then. Or just retire.

  86. Tank The Season on

    I think if we still had Pat Verbeek in 97 we would have gotten somewhere.

  87. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Lou Lam is dumber than Sather!!! " … says Greg L. on

    I ‘d be the first to say if we landed Kovy , I’d be happy. It seems the Rangers always try to sign this guy…that guy…and this time , We didn’t!!!!! We are gonna play the kids. We didnt pay some guy $11 million to play til hes 44 !!!!

    OMG what idiots NJ Devils are. Seriously who ever said Lou Lam was so good needs to get there brains checked. Ownership did it? Who cares , this has Lou Lams name all over it and Im gonna say he sucks WORSE then Sather. Sather has had bad luck while Lou has had great luck . NJ jinx? Yeah I’d say this is the Kovey Kurse. NJ devils , OMG $11 million after the first 2 years up to 17 years HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHHHAHAHAA!!!! Dont get me wrong cuz I woulda done it but we didnt!!!!! HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHHAAAA Defensive Devils with offenseive Kovey???? WHAT A JOKE.

    “I’ll only be 44 at that time and I’ve played with guys that have played at a pretty good level at that time. Hopefully I’ll keep myself in shape to still play.” – Kovalchuk

  88. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Lou Lam is dumber than Sather!!! " … says Greg L. on

    He said “Hopefully” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAAAAAA OMG what a JOKE!!!

  89. Depressing realization for the day:

    Devils (3), Panthers, Flyers (2), Caps, Sabres, Canes (2), Lightning, Sens, Pens (2).

    What is this?

    It’s the teams that have made it to the finals from the East since 1994. 9 teams, over half of the teams in the Eastern Conference. Sure there were a couple of Cinderella runs (Panthers in 96, Caps in 98, Canes in 02 and the Flyers this year) but that’s what really gets you thinking about how inept the ownership and management of the franchise really is.

  90. The CBA rules are: No contract shall be issued without the intent on the 2 parts to complete the length of the contract.

    Since it’s very hard to prove “intent” Lou got around it. Kovy is not playing his last 6 years earning $550,000 a year. He’ll make more money than that just in interest.

  91. Coach Beeblebrox on

    Greg:::

    I think both Kovalchuk and Lou know that he will retire long before he hits 44. The way his contract is structured, he will be making $575,000 a year at the end, no way he plays for that little salary. He will leave whatever money on the table he does not need and retire. He will have most of his money in the first 10 years, so he might just retire at 36, leave the NHL money on the table, and go play in the KHL for another 2-3 year and make back what he left, and then some.

  92. hit em with your purse Staal on

    the 97 playoff run was about Richter, and the in the crease rule. the Rangers benefitted from a few overturned goals on the in the crease rule, especially against the Devs.

  93. Coach Beeblebrox on

    Ricky:::

    I see we were thinking the same thing. You’re 100% right, there is no way to prove intent. Just like with Hossa’s deal, no way is he playing that long and for that little salary either.

  94. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    tank
    I agree on the little ball of hate, bad move letting him go.

    I read somewhere that the devs will try and move langenbruener. Not sure how valid it is though!

  95. Doodie Machetto on

    SP: I resigned over the 60. It’s harder than I thought. I would realistically have him somewhere in the 35-45 range. Some of the guys I had listed were a bit of a reach. I’d say I had 20 legit guys on my list for the West and I could probably find 15 in the East.

    And yes, it was overall defenseman, not defensive play.

  96. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    does anyone have a link to the cerny sather interview from yesterday??

    Thanks

  97. Doodie Machetto on

    I think what was smart about what the Devils did in terms of circumventing the league was that the structure isn’t so blatant. Yes, he will only be getting 750 at the end, but he makes an actual wage every year before that. Had they gone with something like Hossa’s deal but just for 17 years instead of 12 (Money all up front, then several years of league minimum) except with even more years at the league minimum, the league may have voided it.

  98. I like an idea I read about how to avoid the mega length contracts. They need to make it so the actual salary paid in any year is not less than a certain percentage off of the cap hit. So for instance if the limit is 50%, on a 10 year $100mn deal the lowest annual salary in the deal could not be less than $5mn.

  99. Just think, you could have had Kovalchuk for less a cap hit than either Drury or Redden. And locked him up for 10 years too.

    Redden and Drury both end their NTC contracts July 1, 2014. Only 5 or 6 years later, Kovy will retire and take his cap with him. With Kovy only at 6 Mil on cap, and Arnott and Langenbrunner coming off the books (about 7 Mil in cap) July 1, 2011, That leaves plenty of room for Parise. Then a year later Rolston and White are done, freeing up up 8 mil to add some more young players in 2012.

    Doesn’t seem so funny to me from that view.

  100. “I think spending assets, to bring in a “playmaker” for Gaborik might result in nothing but wasted assets”

    Sort of like signing Gomez to be the playmaker for Jagr. That turned out just great.

  101. debbie does not draw on

    I will bet you debbie lovers right now that they will NOT come close to sellout their building for the entire season, and that they will draw less than the Rangers do

    so, what good did kovalchoke do for their bottom line?

  102. are you talking about actual attendance? or tickets sold? Tickets sold, yes. Actual attendance, it’ll be pretty close.

  103. Doodie Machetto on

    They won’t sell out, but their numbers will definitely increase.

    They will alwys do less than the Rangers do because we have a ton of corporate season ticket holders.

  104. Doodie, it does, maybe make it applicable to deals over a certain length.

    Or scale it that you can drop a certain percentage on 1-3 year deals, another percentage on 4-7 year deals and then another on 8+ year deals.

    It will make teams think twice before handing out deals when you’ll have to pay a 40+ year old player $5-$6mn.

    And another twist is to limit the amount of years a team is allowed to buy out or create an additional cap penalty if more than a certain number of years are bought out.

    No other sport is seeing these ridiculous length contracts doled out.

  105. *No other sport is seeing these ridiculous length contracts doled out.

    Or at least where you can’t cut a player and remove the salary. I know the NFL has some wacky cap rules but often times the amount of money guaranteed to the player is a lot less than the contract that gets reported.

  106. Avery? Last time they had a conversation Avery’s mouth guard somehow fell 7 feet from his mouth

  107. Look folks

    Please take into account the fact that regardless who the Rangers have this season, the fact remains that as a team they played pretty lousy ( read kinor league calibre) hockey. Poor passinhg, poor puck control, failure to maintain “situation awareness” where everybody was, who takes who and sticks to a plan, goes to the net and doesn’t join the ballet that shoots in takes a quicky shot and then scampers to the sidelines, etc. all symptomatic of a comatose Coaching Staff.

    They have got to play better hockey. period. No matter what the team makeup is.

  108. Look folks

    Please take into account the fact that regardless who the Rangers have this season, the fact remains that as a team they played pretty lousy ( read minor league caliber) hockey. Poor passing, poor puck control, failure to maintain “situation awareness” where everybody was, who takes who and sticks to a plan, goes to the net and doesn’t join the ballet that shoots in takes a quicky shot and then scampers to the sidelines, etc. all symptomatic of a comatose Coaching Staff.

    They have got to play better hockey. period. No matter what the team makeup is.

  109. Mister Delaware on

    Does anyone know what the logic was of averaging out the contracts? I can’t imagine the powers that be somehow didn’t forsee the exact scenario playing out.

  110. ” I resigned over the 60. It’s harder than I thought. I would realistically have him somewhere in the 35-45 range. Some of the guys I had listed were a bit of a reach. I’d say I had 20 legit guys on my list for the West and I could probably find 15 in the East.

    And yes, it was overall defenseman, not defensive play.”

    Just like I thought. Stall will never win a Norris trophy, but he is DEFINITLEY a top 25 defensman in this league. I will respect your opinion of 30 Dmen in the ENTIRE NHL better than Stall. I could only find 13 that were abolutely better, but I will defer and say MAYBE 25. . . . .MAYBE.

  111. Don’t take this the wrong way (trust me, not trying to be a smart–s), but who cares what the Devils attendance is, or if Kovy helps at the gate? Fact is they added/kept a quality player, their owner was willing to spend $102 million, and their GM found away to do it. Our Owner wasn’t willing to spend that much and our GM couldn’t or wouldn’t do what was contractually obvious.

    Fact is the Kovy cap hit of $6 mill per yr. is like trading Kovy straight up for Redden. Want to tell me that’s a bad trade for the next four years? And yes, I’m not looking beyond that timeframe. Who knows what kids develop or don’t, what Hank is in 4 yrs, has Gabby broken down or not, etc, etc. As others have said, it’s not a 17 yr contract, realistically it’s more like 10 yrs. To me, it’s a no brainer when you look at it in the context of the Redden. My opinion…..Rangers made a mistake.

  112. Doodie,

    As good as the 06-07 Rangers were, I actually thought the 07-08 outfit was the best team we’ve had since the dream 97 playoff run. While Nylander was not on that team, Jagr and Straka were still working their magic together. Dubi somehow became Jagr’s playmaking center that Gomez was supposed to be. More importantly, Drury fit in perfectly as the role player he is (while not paid like one).

    They handily beat the Devils in a series that was actually closer than the 4-1 win shows. I’ll never forget the crowd eruption after Staal put home the game-winner in Game 4 after being the goat the game before.

    And that Pittsburgh series…sigh. I’m still mad about that one. 3-0 lead in Game 1. Avery showboats after his goal, and all of a sudden, Pittsburgh gets fired up and wins the game. Then came the disallowed goal in Game 2 that would’ve tied the game. Then the furious comeback in Game 3 at the Garden led by Jagr’s ridiculous tying goal. Of course, Hollweg takes an awful major penalty…momentum over. Game 4 shows the Rangers not laying down in the slightest. Then Game 5…after a furious 3rd period 2-goal comeback, Marian Hossa gets gifted a juicy deflection and fires it home to end the season.

    Sorry guys. I just miss when the Rangers were actually fun to watch and played with heart.

    RAMBLE OVER!

  113. Doodie Machetto on

    Noah, I disagree. You discount too much. First, Straka and Nylander both had monster seasons in 06-07. Nylander was also a beast in the playoffs. Shanahan had his last good season. Avery was at his finest. Rozsival easily had his best season that year (the one that “earned” him his ridiculous contract).

    But most importantly, there were no clear cut monster teams. In 07-08, Pittsburgh and Detroit were clearly superior to the rest of the league.

  114. mtm4
    July 20th, 2010 at 2:54 pm
    Bring back Prucha!

    he scored 22 points last year. i am impressed. yes by all means bring back prucha.

    oh that was points not goals. never mind.

  115. Avery was at his finest…against Atlanta. He disappeared against Buffalo big time. And yes, the same thing happened against Pittsburgh the following year, but he also ruptured his spleen so I’ll give him a pass for that.

    I do agree with you though about there being no monster teams in 06-07. But, sometimes that doesn’t matter in the course of a playoff run (See: Giants, New York in 2007).

    And now here’s a question: would you give back Rozsival’s 06-07 run (including his double OT goal against Buffalo) if it meant avoiding overpaying him after having knee surgery? ABSOLUTELY!

  116. we all agree for sure that if slats made this 17 year signing the ranger nation would be livid…17 bleepin years! i think lou has lost his edge,for sure….and marty sure ain’t gettin’ thinner….in two years,lou and marty ride off together(and marty’s sister-in-law) and the devils crumble

  117. Doodie Machetto on

    I would’ve made the 17 year deal if it was like Hossa’s and was a blatantly front-loaded deal. pay him the max salary for the first 8 years, then 1.2 million a year for the next 9. Easy to bury 1.2 million in Hartford. Hell, the guy would probably retire rather than ride the buses for 9 years to make 12 million bucks after making 90 in the first 8.

    But the way this contract is structured? Lord no.

  118. kovalchuks contract is blatantly front loaded. just as much or even more than hossas

  119. Doodie Machetto on

    what, Kovalchuk’s contract pays him legit money for the first 11 years, aka, until he’s 38.

    My proposal was to be able to dump him at 35.

  120. Doodie – How is paying “legit money” for 11 years then next to nothing for another six anything other than “blatantly front loaded”?

  121. Coach Beeblebrox on

    Doodie:::

    Lou Lam being pissed at ownership is very telling, I almost can’t believe I read that. Good get.

  122. Coach Beeblebrox
    July 20th, 2010 at 12:13 pm
    GET GABORIK A CENTER!

    I see this a lot, yet where is the evidence that he really needs one? Gaborik set careers offensive high marks last season, playing with centers named Prospal, Dubinsky and Christensen.

    He scored in Minny playing with guys like Wes Waltz. And very young center in Bouchard and Koivu. His time with Demitra was very small, yet again these was this myth that Gabby and Demitra were so good together.

    I’m just saying, that even if they get him a great center, where is the evidence that he will do much better than 42 goals and 80+ points?

    I think spending assets, to bring in a “playmaker” for Gaborik might result in nothing but wasted assets. Would a true playmaker like Brad Richards (for example) really boost Gaborik into Ovechkin scoring territory? I’m not so sure that it will.

    The scoring needs to come from someone else besides Gaborik, not a single argument there. But I’m not convinced that a top center for Gaborik would be the best way to get it.

    post of the day award goes to coach beeblebrox. very good points about gabby not really needing a center. not just that, but we have too many centers as is. stepan,who is projecting to be possibly a 1st liner, then duby and artie, both are decent 2nd or 3rd line options, and of course the old farts dru n prospal(who has great chemistry and playmaking ability with gabby), then ya have boyle? maybe a goner, and EC, another 3rd liner. if we were to get a brad richards, im almost positive both prospal and ec wouldnet have been signed. maybe 1 of them but i doubt it. i can see gabby maybe getting to teh 50 goal range if he plays all 82 games, but exactly what you said is that we need other people to score. duby,cally,artie are all going to be counted on more than ever now. i would like to see at least 1 of them really break out. im not sure its fair to expect any more but 20 from cally, hes also very good on teh pk so i can live with that. i’d like to see some of the other kids catch cally fever and do some relentless forechecking.

  123. “The scoring needs to come from someone else besides Gaborik”….

    I truly believe both Dubi and Cally (both playing for new contracts) will have break-out years this upcoming season. book it.

  124. noah-rozy was awesome for us playing as a top pair d man for us while jagr was here. he was decent in pittsburgh but he was even better when he came here. bill clemenet said that in nhl 10!!! haha but yea, id give redden up, not rozy. after his knee surgery or hip surgery? he was pretty crappy. and hes still looking for jagr to call for the puck, but i’d still take him over redden or poti or malik. ozolinsh, all of them. cmon man, bill clemenet said so!!! in a video game!!!

  125. Mike,

    My bad. It was hip, not knee surgery. Though with the way he skates these days, seems like he had surgery on his entire lower body.

    BRING BACK THE BEARD!

  126. santa claus and easter bunny on

    blaze
    July 20th, 2010 at 7:02 pm
    “The scoring needs to come from someone else besides Gaborik”….

    I truly believe both Dubi and Cally (both playing for new contracts) will have break-out years this upcoming season. book it.

    another believer in us

  127. “I truly believe both Dubi and Cally (both playing for new contracts) will have break-out years this upcoming season. book it”

    Statistically, what do you mean by “break-out” for Cally?

    He’s nothing more than a 20 goal scorer. I don’t expect much more from him.

  128. Doodie Machetto on

    LW, in retrospect, it’s just as much as Hossa’s. Each goes for about 2/3s of the contract length. I thought the payout on Kovalchuk lasted a little bit longer, like to year 14.

  129. nearing the 30 goal mark and a 50 – 55 point season is a break-out year IMO, especially for a player of Cally’s ilk… having 40 point and 37 point seasons under their belt.

  130. A 60 point season for Dubi would be huge. Especially for his development. I’m content as long as he continues to improve statistically each year like he has the previous 3 seasons. Had he not missed the 13 games due to the wrist injury…he could have easily hit the 50 point plateau this past year.

  131. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Good ol' homegrown!!! " … says Greg L. on

    …Remember ORR , we need Dubi to use Gaborik ( sucker Gaborik)and fatten up Dubi’s stats so Dubi can make BIG BUCKS somewhere else!!! Yeah then ya cant say our farm system dont work when Dubi will be making Millions after he “holds out” on Sather .( good for you Dubi)

  132. I don’t know, I just don’t consider Dublowsky scoring four more goals much of a break-out. He missed 13 games last season, I would think he would have scored four more goals.

    He needs to get in the mid 30’s.

    As for Cally, I expect inbetween 25-30.

  133. Kovalchuk’s contract has owner’s will written all over it. We’ve been saying it here all day. Lou would never give this one out. That’s why the numbers went from 60 over 7 years to more than a 100 over 17 within one day- the owner made him to propose that. All Lou knows is that he has a couple of years to win another one. I believe he is already late. Kovalchuk’s contract would be good the way it’s structured for younger teams that are threatening to win now or within a couple of years. It’s a mistake for the Devils, and Lou knows it. That’s why he is upset.

  134. mid- 30’s might be asking a bit too much. 25G – 35A would be a nice season for him.

  135. But who cares about the Devils anyway. We need to worry about our team. I just hope that they stay with it. Don’t bring anyone for a quick fix. And don’t trade anyone away, unless it’s legit. See what we look like in September. The hope is that we get better by a virtue of all our 20-25 year olds getting more mature. My worry is that Torts, as good as he is as a coach, isn’t necessarily the best one to teach the youngsters. His treatment of MDZ is only one example. They still need to learn basics- effective passing, how to properly accept the pass, basic positioning etc. Put Dubinsky on the wing, let him collect the garbage goals. AA is better suited for a centerman than him.

  136. Which reminds me- CCGB, any news on new-coming crease clearer in the family? The way Kovalchuk’s contract is structured, however, there is no rush. By the time your new family member is ready for our team, Kovy will still be skating for the Devils :-)

  137. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    I’m not sold on torts at all. I liked his fire when we got him, but he isn’t exactly old school. He won a cup with a team that had 3 superstar forwards on it and rode those forwards. He doesn’t have that here (obviously) and he changes lines way too much and gives gabby ZERO protection. With our roster now and in the foreseeable future, he has to roll 4 lines, rest hank more, and give gabby grit on his line whether he likes the player or not (it shouldn’t be about personal feelings on a player, it is about winning).

  138. where the kovalchuk has linda been lately?? its not teh same without one of our premiere blogettes, along with sally,babs,mickey,deja…

  139. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    ILB
    waiting for the first 2 to be potty trained before number 3.

  140. Mike- totally agree. Linda did appear once today, I believe. Must be too hot in ‘Bama.

    wicky- I may have to send you and mrs some basic toilet training guidelines and tips. Some DVDs too, perhaps.

    I do think that Torts deserves another chance though..

  141. noonan- lmfao dude!!! nice find. redden shouldve been on teh cover though. he’ll win the masterton of the ahl trophy. if they have one. they should. him sitting there on teh bench next to kurt sauer feeling shame. oops, mike sauer. whatever,. both suck. anyway, i cant see redden staying in the ahl. you think his pride would get in teh way of 8 million? actually, he gets less annual salary(not cap hit)if he plays in the minors right? or does it stay teh same? either way, do you guys think he would go to some european league or something if he is waived?

  142. He’ll be fighting for his spot in September, Mike, that’s for sure. Never a bad thing for the team. But if he is sent down, I believe he will ask for a trade(good luck) and show up to play for Hartford. Btw, he makes the same money down there, not a penny less.

  143. ohhh thank sweet mothers milk ilb!! whew i was worried about lind-zo for awhile now. i should get my brashear back on FB so i can keep tabs on some of youse. what next? cccp and 4ver-ranger move to kansas to open their own ukranian restaraunt??? from now on, i expect all heads to be here at 7 am sharp for roll call!!!

  144. ilb- but dont prospects who hav yet to make the team get paid less than their actual base salary if they only play in the minors? or is that if they get demoted to echl or something? i thought for sure some of those guys make less by playing in hartford.

  145. Czechthemout!!!! on

    Nose picker

    I think you need to seek professional help, I really do. You are obsessed with Dubinsky. Do have gay crush on the guy perhaps?

    Maybe you should change.your name to nose licker?

  146. Mike- that only applies to two-way contracts. MZA, for example, gets paid much less if he is in AHL than he is in NHL. Redden, sadly, has one way contract. But his cap hit comes off totally. He only counts as a body towards the total amount of NHL contracts, but that isn’t an issue for the Rangers.

  147. ilb- any idea if u and sally will be making any new shirts in the xl range? i would gladly send u extra for shipping and for doing it in the first place. and btw, next time we have boneheadapalooza 2011, i want greg, wicky, tony and orr to be there!! i gotta meet all of you guys, i can just imagine the mayhem that would ensue if all of us got together! it would be pandemonium.

  148. Mike- we may order more but the place will need certain amount of Ts to even start printing. What’s the matter, did you gain some weight sitting at the computer from 7am on? ;-))

  149. 4generations; 4 cups on

    I hope the rangers dont go for anybody this year, other than a center that can play first line minutes with Gaborik. If Spezza were in play i’d say possibly him, but what’s the use in sinking money into that? PLAY THE KIDS! END THE CYCLE OF INDEFINITE LOSING!

  150. Czechthemout!!!!
    July 20th, 2010 at 9:00 pm
    Nose picker

    I think you need to seek professional help, I really do. You are obsessed with Dubinsky. Do have gay crush on the guy perhaps?

    Maybe you should change.your name to nose licker?

    well do know i could kick your sorry a$$

    how are the rangers without jagr. great move wanting him gone i’m sure like you were crying about for a couple of years

  151. thanks ilb for clarifying. ever since discovering this blog, ive actually learned alot about the business side of the game. idk if its just me but all you diehard ranger fans, whether we agree or not, are the best damn people on earth. love this place!. i would rather watch this team lose year after year with you guys, than be a pens or wings fan watching them win year after year. our time will come ranger faithful!!! rememeber what kevin lowe said after game 6 loss to the nucks in 94. he said, “dont worry guys, it will just make winning game 7 that much sweeter”, or something like that. one day we will win again!! right greg? you promised!!

  152. Czechthemout!!!!- there is a good, old Russian saying. Roughly translated- if you don’t step on carcillo, it won’t smell.

  153. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    ILB
    any info is always welcome.

    I hope torts is successful, if he is we are, but he didn’t impress me that much last season.

  154. hahah ilb, no i get up at 5, sit on computer from 6 to 7:30, then go to work to bust my carcillo all day, then come home, shower, then sit on my carcillo most of the time. i actually lost weight. i usually do in the summer. the shirt actually fits, its not too tight, but i just fit better in an xl. i am a big guy. im 6’1(with shoes lol), 225lbs. i do look buff when i wear the shirt though. hehe

  155. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    just off twitter

    kuklaskorner
    RT @RealKyper: Word I’m hearing is the league has rejected Kovalchuk 17 year NJ contract… Stay tuned….

  156. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    more of the same

    kuklaskorner
    RT @chollis: @kuklaskorner Same thing from @TSNRyanRishaug. Gord Miller says the same

  157. Ouch, that should prompt an interesting peeing contest between Lou and the league.

  158. The league is unlikely to win this one- they shouldn’t have allowed similar contracts by Detroit( Franzen, Datsyuk, Zeterberg ) a few years back. And amended the CBA perhaps. Too late now.

  159. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    oh yes, apparently. here are a few tweets on it

    mirtle
    This is going to be a big-time battle. League should have made clear years ago what constituted circumvention because this was always coming

    RealKyper
    NHL deems Kovy contract “a retirement contract”. Says it “artificially drops cap hit”. Also states its too overloaded the first 10 yrs

    tsnscottcullen
    My guess is NHL didn’t like 6 sub $1M seasons at end of Kovalchuk deal. None of other cap-friendly mega-contracts are structured like that.

    kuklaskorner
    I would imagine they try some other numbers first, then..? RT @PATR2012: @kuklaskorner Now what Happens??? WTF…..Enter SATHER!!!!! HA HA!!

  160. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    ILB
    you need to get twitter my friend!!! EVERYBODY DOES IT!!!!!

  161. Czechthemout!!!! on

    Ilb2001

    I am very familiar with that saying as I happen to be Russian. And in this case that saying could not be more appropriate.

    Nose licker

    I am impressed that you follow my postings so closely. Or perhaps maybe I should also be worried about you having some weird obsession with me? I mean you did mention something about doing something to my A$$. Anyway, as for Jagr, I can’t believe you are still pining for him. He is only what, 39? Oh by the way, if I remember correctly, it was your boy Jagr who insisted that Dubinsky play on his line because he played very well that year with him. In fact, he has played better and better every year. And at age 24, coming off of a career high in goals and points in only 69 games, I think we are for quite a good year from him. Perhaps even 25-30 goals and 30-35 assists. 55-70 points would be quite a nice season from Dubinsky and a direct F………U to you nose licker!

  162. from czechthemout

    Perhaps even 25-30 goals and 30-35 assists. 55-70 points would be quite a nice season from Dubinsky and a direct F………U to you nose licker!

    operative word there is perhaps. as in perhaps i can win lotto. both are equally possible.

  163. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    this tweet is hi larious

    StapeNewsday
    In other #Devils news, the team will hold a Stanley Cup parade before the season begins…

  164. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    CCCP
    ok, my bad, almost everyone!

    tweet here

    capgeek
    Commissioner may impose a team fine of up to $5m but no less than $1m; forfeit of draft picks; and suspend a club employee, player or agent.

  165. hopefully the league also investigates the Redden contract.

    it was signed by a GM who was quite a few fries short of a happy meal

  166. wicky (Crease Clearing Blog Goon) on

    I think in the dubi case, for everyone to be happy would be this:

    dubi gets traded for someone and then gets 40 goals and 40 assists. Whomever we get performs well also.

    Nose picker is happy (and others who want him gone) and the rest who like him are happy for him because he succeeded!

    Sound right?

  167. They’re gonna screw up all the other FA’s again… Kovy will have to accept a slight drop in his prime salary or lose his deal. Take the 5 years at 11.5, make it 11 and add the balance to the last 5 years of his contract, and there you have a Hossa like contract. Then the NHL will lose. The NHL may not expect to win this, but they have to save face and act upon this.

  168. RealKyper
    NHL deems Kovy contract “a retirement contract”. Says it “artificially drops cap hit”. Also states its too overloaded the first 10 yrs

    Exactly what i said. Too bad you loser Bettman, you’re a stooge who implemented a salary cap.

    Socialism is a dirty word here in America, but a salary cap is a form of socialism. I LOVE the Devils skirting the rules. I only wish our NY teams would be smart enough to do the same. Too bad Slats is (hopefully) near his grave time.

  169. NHL won’t win in court, they set the precedent with Hossa, and Pronger. Pronger and Hossa will both be 42 when contracts end. Pronger gets 550 his last 2 years and Hossa will avg 875 his last 4. Lou can make the NHL look very stupid and embarrass Betteman and co. It was his making of the CBA that he allowed a strike for. Now it has come to bite him in his butt.

  170. Olga Folkyerself on

    NHL to Devils: Nice try to buy the pot Lou! Now take your chips off the table…

  171. I think Lou planned a move like this since the new CBA was created.

    I’m shocked that the NHL stood up to it. This is going to get very interesting… I think the contract will end up becoming somewhat restructured in the long run… so the hit on the Devils may go up… but it will all depend on how the CBA wording of the situation goes.

    Wow…

    @@

  172. The current collective bargaining agreement states that a player who signs a contract before the age of 35 can retire and have his contract come off a team’s salary cap; however, teams must negotiate the contract in question in a good faith effort to have the player remain in the league for the duration of the contract.

    The current CBA explains circumvention as the following in section 26.3:

    (a) No Club or Club Actor, directly or indirectly, may: (i) enter into any agreements, promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind, whether express, implied, oral or written, including without limitation, any SPC, Qualifying Offer, Offer Sheet or other transaction, or (ii) take or fail to take any action whatsoever, if either (i) or (ii) is intended to or has the effect of defeating or Circumventing the provisions of this Agreement or the intention of the parties as reflected by the provisions of this Agreement, including without limitation, provisions with respect to the financial and other reporting obligations of the Clubs and the League, Team Payroll Range, Player Compensation Cost Redistribution System, the Entry Level System and/or Free Agency.

    @@

  173. Olga Folkyerself on

    If they would just make the Cap hit for a particular year equal the amount paid to the player during the year, there wouldn’t be a problem. What purpose was cap averaging supposed to accomplish? Other than confuse the issue and create loopholes…

  174. So the Devils will have to prove that they fully expected Kovalchuk to play the vast majority of the 17 years if not all of it… and Kovalchuk will have to prove that he’d be willing to play hockey at 44 for minor league dollars. ??

    Let the games begin!

    @@

  175. definitely orr. i told you once duby gets a kane style mullet with some toews style mutton chops, he’ll be a 50 goal scorer in no time! id like to see him part his mullet to the left just a little for him to make it “his look”

  176. they bargained for cap average so that a team could front-load or back load their contracts for their players in a manageable manner depending on the total money given out each year.

    This aspect helps the franchises that are not as lucrative as teams like the Rangers are with spending their own money.

    @@

  177. Yeah… this should make for some interesting drama… nothing like this since the Lindros Saga…

    I think Lou is going to come out sounding like a moron if he defends this thing weakly… He’s ruining his rep as the Hall Of Fame puppetmaster.

    @@

  178. Tank The Season on

    This LOLvalchuk thing is hillarious. It will go to arbitration and Kovalchuk will stay with the Devs.

  179. Olga Folkyerself on

    I think Bettman will pull out some obscure league dictate and the contract will be restructured.

  180. 4generations; 4 cups on

    I love this to be honest. I hope that Sather comes in and buys him up for his money, this is a great player for 10 years, period. Screw the hit, if he wants 9 million we can ditch Redden and Rozsival and come up with it. Period.

  181. As far as Sather stepping in… Eklund already mentioned that as a possibility as per his “sources”… So that kills that idea

  182. Ilya Kovalchuk is not worth 1/6th of your payroll. No leadership, no heart, no defensive abilities.

    scoring 40 goals is not enough to warrant this kind of deal

  183. ThisYearsModel on

    If it were the Rangers that offered this contract, they would be getting killed in the media and on boards. It is Lou, so everyone laughs about it.

  184. From the bottom of my bal…err, heart…i wish this CAPalchuk thing to be the most embarrassing and painful experience for the Devils organization and Devils fans! Hopefully they will end up looking dumb and CAPalchuk-less!

    Now, Olga, spark it up!

  185. I hate to do this, but if Boston made this contract deal, there is NO WAY the nhl looks into it, let alone rejects it.

  186. Here’s the best part. The guy the Devils hited to handle their cap concerns with contracts is Steve Pellegrini. Was the former NHL “CAP GUY” that dealt with teams. He was hired by the Devils at the recommendation of the NHL just prior to the 2006/2007 season. No way this goes without a serious battle

  187. whew! I thought everyone would be angry! I wont go as far as to say that this happened to a NJ team because NY/NJ are usually considered one, or because Mr. Steinbrenner once owned a part of the Devils, but that certainly is a possibility. :)

  188. CCCP… One sided blog? Are you a ranger hockey FAN? Or a Ranger CHEERLEADER? There is a difference.

  189. Ricky

    No need to come to a Rangers blog and start trouble and begin attacking our posters. You’re a Devils fan, that’s fine. Everyone here respects the Devils and hates the Bruins. Move on.

  190. No swamps in Newark. Also, I wanna know why I’ve never heard anyone here use “swamp” references with the Giants and Jets?

  191. Ricky

    Because they have the greatest two words in the world in front of them “New York”

  192. Ricky

    Nobody cares. You’re not upsetting anyone. Trolls generally troll to gain enjoyment from causing disruption. You’re not disrupting anyone.

  193. CR9.. Not trying to. Not being a troll at all. Are you guys upset about the Devils getting all the headlines (good or bad) with major signings such as Volchenko, Arnott, and Kovy? While Sather traded for a couple of unknowns?

  194. Ricky

    The better the Devils are, the harder for the Bruins to come out of the East next year! Rangers will not win a Stanley Cup until Sather is gone anyways, unless they luck into it. It’s possible.

  195. Most NHL fans (excluding detroit and pittsburgh) despise Betteman. Now the Devils, led by Lou, are gonna be forced to lead the charge to publicly expose him all over the main stream media, as an abuser of power and embarrass him everywhere.

    At least support this one.

  196. CCCP.. Where was I? I was too busy hitting refresh on my computer 100 times a day for 19 days..

  197. Olga Folkyerself on

    Bettman will win. Even though the other long contracts went through. Lou went too far. This one is worse by several degrees. It’s too lopsided, too long, and lacks credibility that it will be honored.

  198. Olga.. That’s known, even Lou said he was against the CBA allowing it, but it still allows it.

  199. Olga Folkyerself on

    It’s not just that the CBA allows it, it is detrimental to the NHL’s best interests and can’t be allowed. That will be Bettmans argument.

  200. Getting back to the Rangers, I was thinking that with one year under Torta’s system, and the fact that they recognize that they only played well in the beginning and end of the season, they can rectify it next year…

    The team does have scoring, despite the idea (that I hold sometimes as well) that our team cannot score.

    35 goals in the first 9 games of the season. 7-2 Record

    36 goals in the last 10 games of the season. 7-3 Record

    That’s 71 goals in 19 games. That’s about 3.5 goals a game. If we play with heart every game next year, and have a better defense, we can be a decent team.

    Redden will be addition by subtraction, and maybe some of our other moves will pan out.

  201. Olga Folkyerself on

    If there were just a 19 games only season last year, Rangers would have won the Presidents Cup.

    This years team will tune out Torts pretty quickly. That Nazi dictator style of coaching wears out fast.

  202. Lou is starting to really falter post lock-out. For instance, he balked at giving Brian Rafalski 5 million, then turns around and gives Volchenkov 4.5 million.

  203. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " BREAKING NEWS FLASH!!! " … says Greg L. on

    KOVALCHUK’s Contract is officially NULL and VOIDED!!!!

    You heard it here first!!!

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