Happy Friday, BSB community. I’m going to go out of character and hit you with a short thoughts post today. I’ve been buried at work and we rescued a cat this week that was dumped in a park, so I’m a bit short on time. Either way, the World Cup starts this weekend, Traverse City does too, and before we know it, Rangers hockey returns. As you can imagine, I have some thoughts.
- I don’t blame those of you who think the World Cup is a cheap gimmick. Especially when you see the league use it as an excuse to introduce non-traditional elements; Adidas jerseys, uniform ads (albeit very small ones) and teams representing non-nationalities. However, I am a sucker for professional hockey being played during times I wouldn’t normally see it coughWinterClassiccough. So, I’ll be watching curiously, actively rooting against the USA’s Brooksian (Herb, not Larry) roster construction and laughably dated outlook on how to build a winning team.
For the first time since 2004, the World Cup of Hockey has returned. This has been quite the polarizing event since it was announced. Many feel it is simply a cash grab by the NHL, risking injury prior to the regular season. Others are delighted that we have an early return for hockey and some interesting international competition between Olympic years (the NHL’s continued participation is a topic for a whole different post). Either way, we will see the puck drop a few weeks early this season.
Naturally, there has been quite a bit of hand wringing over roster decisions; Team USA’s archaic, backwater team building philosophy chief among them. This morning, though, I am here to talk about the goaltending for each team. In case you have been actively avoiding the tournament and its nuances, quick primer: there are eight teams competing, six of which are familiar. USA, Canada, Sweden, Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic are properly represented. The final two teams are Team North America, comprised of American and Canadian players, twenty-three years of age or younger, and Team Europe, which catches all European players not rostered with one of the other countries.
Welcome to the final edition of this year’s Top 30 goaltenders. We’ve been through twenty of the top keepers in all the land over the last few weeks, but here is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Just in case anyone missed the first two entries, they can be found here and here. The first one covers all the introductory info and criteria, so make sure to check that out if you haven’t already. Get your tar, feathers and NHL Network/ESPN/TSN Top 10 lists ready to waive in my face….here are my Top 10…
Welcome to our second installment of the 5th Annual Top 30 goaltenders. Today, we will be discussing the 20-11 ranked tenders in the NHL. If you missed last week’s rankings, be sure to check them out here. That post covers rankings 30-21 and all the introductory/housekeeping considerations, so make sure you get up to speed.
Without further adieu, goaltenders 20-11… Read More→
Welcome to the 5th Annual Pre-season Top 30 Goaltenders List. It’s that time of year again, and after five years of putting this list together, the one thing I have learned is the value of consistency. Many a goaltender has now passed through this list with worlds of talent and bright futures’ ahead. The NHL, however, often has other ideas. The mainstays at the top are some of the most talented and hard working athletes on the planet, and it is truly a pleasure to watch them work.
This year’s list felt a little bit thinner than in seasons’ past, as performance attrition reared its ugly head on more than a few tenders this season, both vets and rookies, alike. There are a few bounce back performances and some steady steps forward, but I feel like this list has been scrambled quite a bit over last season. Read More→
Henrik Lundqvist has been the backbone and the face of the New York Rangers for over a decade. It’s been a fascinating career to watch, as we have become somewhat jaded to his consistent excellence and the impact he has had on a franchise in transition, coming out of the lockout in 2005.
Now, at age 34, with a huge contract and still without that elusive Stanley Cup ring, detractors have begun to emerge and question The King’s right to his throne. Specifically, they have taken shots at his current performance level and anticipated decline.
Happy Friday, BSB community! Can you believe it is August already? It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve had the time to write, as the summer is the busiest time of year for me at the office. I suppose I haven’t missed much, though, as most of the Rangers’ business was taken care of in early July. We are now only a few weeks away from the return of the World Cup and training camp/pre-season is just around the corner.
There are still a few features I plan to write before the season (Top 30 Goalies!), but for this morning, I wanted to share some thoughts now that I have had some time to digest the summer moves.
The concept of change is not a complicated one. One thing becomes another. Yet, out in the real world, change embodies complication. It can be lengthy, violent, compromised, terrifying and exciting. It tends to affect most things, some more than others. Some is met with little resistance, some with the greatest force you could ever imagine. The way it effects you will be determined by your investment, your willingness to adapt, and what you stand to lose. It effects economics, politics, art, religion and yes, sports. At this juncture, our beloved sport of hockey is at such a crossroads of change.
It was brought to light yesterday that Matt Pfeffer, an analytics consultant for the Montreal Canadiens was let go from the organization for his impassioned plea for the club to reconsider trading PK Subban. Now, in a vacuum, while it raises operational questions, it is not a big deal. Any employee who does not see eye to eye with their employer can be let go. However, this situation is emblematic of hockey’s growing civil war between the current powers that be and the emerging sub-culture of analysis-driven management. Read More→
The ridiculousness of free agency is now a week behind us, and a whole lot has happened. Not much with the Rangers, mind you, but that is more or less a good thing. The Blueshirts brought in Michael Grabner, Nathan Gerbe, Nick Holden and a couple AHL signees. Most of the heavy lifting appears to be done, and as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…
- I can’t help but wonder if Jeff Gorton was aiming for some sort of actual return for Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. I am painfully aware that the number of cap floor, analytically-averse teams are dwindling rapidly and that there simply may have been no interested parties. This could explain why no one has signed Kris Russell yet. Point is, I hope Gorton would have jumped on the opportunity just to shed the salary and not hoped for an actual return.
Ah, the first day of free agency. That magical time of year when GM’s completely lose their minds and spent huge amounts of precious cap space on mediocre players. Unlike most other sports, NHL free agency is like a shotgun blast followed by several hours of “musical cap space”. It’s like a bizarre version Supermarket Sweep (note my dated reference) where everyone throws their items into their cart without looking at prices and runs to the checkout. It makes no sense.
In fairness, players want to sign quickly. No one wants to see teams use up all their cap space and be left without that lucrative contract that will set up generations of your family (hopefully). It had gotten so bad that the NHL has decided that a window for teams to meet/woo free agents prior to the formal offer window was necessary. This seems to make for an awkward courting period/possible tampering fest going on between the Draft and July 1.