Yes, Craig, it is as bad as it looks.
I was watching some hockey game last week – Lord knows it wasn’t the Rangers, since they had basically all week off – when the standings flashed on my screen and I nearly choked on my hot chocolate. The FLORIDA PANTHERS have more points than the Rangers!? Surely I must’ve been drunk, but no, I wasn’t. I wondered what the heck was going on around the league.
We’re more than a third of the way through the season, so although nothing is set in stone, most of the trends we see are, well, more than just trends. There were some predictions I made early in the season which are horribly wrong (I thought the Oilers would break out. I understand if you don’t want to read this post anymore), and some that were right. Instead of analyzing these, I’m breaking down what you need to know in my (second) favorite form: bulletpoint.
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With the Rangers playing so many games in such a little amount of time, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole league out there that’s been happening without us. Luckily, you don’t need Center Ice or NHL.com when you’ve got a Sunday BSB update. A lot of really amusing things have been happening lately, so let’s go through them.
The Maple Leafs (temporarily) turn into the Oilers
On Tuesday, the Maple Leafs lost to the Predators 9-2. As in, if you were watching TV and just saw the score, you’d think Toronto just got an NFL squad and lost in a strange, safety-filled game. Though the Leafs are prone to these blowouts at least once per season (hello Rangers last season), this loss came after a lifeless loss to the Sabres. The Leafs didn’t even look like they were trying against Nashville and, surprise, fans were pissed. This came in a week where Phil Kessel blew up at the media and the Leafs, after finally winning, didn’t salute their fans in an effort to “try something new.” The Leafs truly are the gift that keep on giving. Read more »
The NHL has finally killed the dry scrape of the ice between the third period and overtime of tie games. The reasons for killing it were obvious: It took too long and the crowd died after it. The last dry scrape will be done on Saturday.
Also, the phrase “dry scrape” sounds horrible. It sounds like an invasive test at a doctor’s office where you walk funny afterwards.
Voynov and family
LA Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested early Monday morning on charges of domestic violence, a story that unfortunately made more headlines than your average NHL story. Voynov has been suspended indefinitely pending the investigation, which came after his girlfriend was rushed to the hospital with injuries.
Of course, when something heinous happens, it’s very easy to assume things. We think we know everything because we have a nasty habit of wanting to know the news as soon as possible, regardless of its verity. The facts here as we know them are that a woman involved with Voynov was rushed to the hospital, and that the doctors deemed it necessary to alert police. We also know that, although we rip on Gary Bettman mercilessly, the NHL doesn’t want to channel their inner Roger Goodell, and would rather the player be suspended to handle the situation than be playing and glorified when they’re accused of a disgusting crime.
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Coming to a Garden near you…
We’re almost two weeks into the regular season, giving teams a light litmus test of where they stand against the league. It’s important to remember that it is still very, very early in the season, but 5 or 6 games gives coaches enough of an idea of which lines are working and which aren’t.
Here in Rangerland, we’ve spent a lot of time analyzing defensive woes and arguing over whether or not we should be worried. It’s easy to forget that there’s a whole league out there, even though there’s a team only 15 miles away from us. In the spirit of keeping our friends close and our enemies closer, we should take a look at what’s going on around the league.
So… what exactly is happening outside of the Garden? Read more »
The faces of a dying breed in hockey. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)
When Lockout: The Sequel happened and wiped out the entire 2004-2005 season, the NHL was at an all time low. Too much clutch and grab, too little skill, and too many “enforcers” that couldn’t actually play the game of hockey. The game was in a bad place, and something needed to be done.
This was also the time when coaches routinely deployed their lineups in the following manner: Two scoring lines, called the top-six, one checking line, and one line of enforcers to “keep the peace.” As the game has evolved since Lockout: The Sequel through Lockout: I Can’t Believe We Are Going Through This Again, the anatomy of a lineup evolved as well.
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With the season beginning, the topics of conversation are all over the place. Some interesting ones from around the league include the Avalanche start (abysmal at best, someone really needs to start a Patrick Roy bail fund for when he loses it) and the shaky starts of some elite goaltenders (Jonathan Quick and Tuukka Rask), among many great single games to discuss.
Since we’re always trying to find fun new ways to open Rangers fans eyes to league happenings, today we’re going to play Devil’s Advocate. Here, two of us (Dave and myself) will argue both sides of an issue. Perspective – it’s a hell of a thing.
Today, we discuss the NHL hiring Chris Pronger to head the Department of Player Safety.
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Senators makin’ waves
Today marks the last day of the preseason for hockey, with just one game being played at 3pm between Carolina and Washington. The season is three short days away. The endless summer is over. Is this music to your ears yet?
It certainly has been around the league, where several teams have been forced to make moves based on what they’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. Injuries have struck, tryouts have gone decidedly well or poorly, extensions have been signed (and some haven’t been considered), and leadership moves have been made.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know before the season starts on Wednesday. Read more »
For fans of HBO’s 24/7, you were disappointed this weekend when news broke that HBO would no longer be carrying the show. For those who have HBO for that sole reason, you can cancel your subscription today. The show isn’t going away, and Scott Burnside is reporting that the NHL will produce it’s own version –without the soothing dulcet tones of Liev Schreiber– to air on EPIX.
Puck Daddy pointed out that the NHL was carrying the financial burden of producing the show, and that HBO was unwilling to do a second show for the other outdoor game (Kings/Sharks) this year.
For those of you trying to figure out what channel EPIX is, don’t you worry. I googled it for you, and have no fear, Cablevision doesn’t carry the network.
Study up, boys!
With only 23 days til the open of hockey(!!!!), the officials with the National Hockey League have, as is often done, made provisions to the rulebook. This is done to keep up with the ever-changing sport, to give referees a reason to have pop quizzes, and to confuse (and sometimes upset) the common fan. But fear not, faithful BSB reader! I have done some research for you and I’ll zero in on what you need to know.
There were only ten changes made, some having to do with penalties, some having to do with ice space, and a couple about overtime. A spark notes version of the changes is as follows: Read more »