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Apr
18

Remembering John Amirante

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John Amirante died on Tuesday. I’ve been thinking about it almost nonstop, and the feeling of grief still hasn’t left me. I’d only met him twice, briefly, and aside from that I’d only ever heard him do one thing: sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Rangers games. Still, John Amirante was more than just the guy who sang the national anthem before Rangers games. He was a part of the Rangers family, what the Rangers meant.

I choose those words carefully, because right now, there’s no guarantee he’ll still be a part of what it means to bleed blue in this ever-changing era. Our team, the sport of hockey, and the world we live in are rapidly shifting, all given to us by our forebearers, many of whom are still with us but many of whom, like John, have either moved on or will be moving on as the pages turn. As this passage of time occurs we must commit ourselves to remembering and retelling their stories, over and over again, to keep them with us and one day pass them on to those who come next.

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Apr
17

John Amirante has died at 83

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john amirante

Today is a sad day. John Amirante has died at the age of 83. Until recently, Amirante was the only person who sang the National Anthem at Rangers games. It was an absolute joy to watch him. The anthem hasn’t been the same since, and will never be the same.

Game Seven in 1994 will always be the lasting memory I have.

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lindy ruff

The playoffs are officially underway. Seems weird because the Rangers not only aren’t in them, but missed them by a wide margin. It wasn’t even close. They swan dived off a cliff. But that doesn’t mean the week has been slow. Alain Vigneault, Daryl Williams, and Scott Arniel were all shown the door. Ilya Kovalchuk appears to be on his way to New York. Alexei Bereglazov is having his contract terminated. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First the new news, as Bereglazov was placed on unconditional waivers to have his contract terminated. I’m not surprised by this, and neither should you. When he didn’t make the team out of camp, he eventually went back to Russia. This was the logical next step, as it’s clear he’s nowhere near the top of the depth chart, even with a new coach.

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Apr
07

Prayers and Funds for the Humboldt Broncos

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I didn’t have the chance to write anything about the Rangers last night or this morning but just wanted to throw up a quick post regarding the tragic bus accident that took the lives of 14 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in Saskatchewan and injured 14 others. I can’t really find any words to express how deeply upsetting this is, so I figured this might help instead: below is a link to the gofundme page set up to raise money for any expenses incurred by family members of the team, and if you have the means I’d encourage you to donate. Hockey is a tight knit community and even though we’re far away I’d imagine this one hits close to home for a lot of us. Let’s all say a prayer for the Humboldt Broncos.

https://www.gofundme.com/funds-for-humboldt-broncos

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MSG in May (Deadspin)

Happy Friday, BSB people.  With last night’s loss to the Islanders, the clock continues to tick down on a lost season.  With one game to play, the Rangers currently sit in 23rd place in the league, just one point ahead of the Blackhawks and Oilers.  If those teams win their remaining game(s), there is a long shot possibility that the Rangers could drop as low as 25th.  With some moving parts still ahead for the Blueshirts, I have some thoughts…

1. If the Rangers do happen to fall into 25th place, they will have a 6.5% chance at the number 1 overall pick.  Slim chance there, even though the 31st ranked team only has an 18.5% chance.  The general consensus is that the talent drops off significantly after the top 9-10 picks, so the Rangers could use a stroke of good fortune when their lottery ball pops.  Read More→

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jimmy vesey henrik lundqvist

Photo Credit: The Tennessean via AP / George Walker IV

Add two more to the injury list for the Rangers. Jimmy Vesey is out with a concussion, suffered at the hands of an elbow to the chin by Filip Forsberg (pitiful three game suspension). Staal was hit high by Alexei Emelin, who left his feet for the hit. No suspension for Emelin, of course. Because the NHL plays suspension roulette. It’s embarrassing.

Vinny Lettieri was recalled to replace Vesey. No defensemen were recalled to replace Staal, so it’s Steven Kampfer in tonight. I’d expect both of these injuries to last a while, too.

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ryan mcdonagh

Back in August, we explored the possibility of the Rangers trading Ryan McDonagh. The comments section is kind of funny, but at the time of the post there were already “rumblings” that the Rangers had a deal for him with Edmonton at the 2016 draft. The deal had the #4 pick heading to New York. It’s something Elliotte Friedman confirmed a week ago. Then in December, Chris Watkins wrote about what McDonagh could possibly fetch in a trade.

With the news that the Rangers are all but guaranteed to be sellers, it’s time to revisit the situation. For the Rangers, McDonagh is their most valuable piece in a trade, certain to bring back a haul. From a business perspective, it makes sense as well. McDonagh’s deal expires at the end of next season, when he will be 30 years old and due for a big time deal, roughly around six years and $6.5 million. For a team that needs to avoid bad deals, McDonagh’s deal would be bad, even if he is one of our (my) favorite Rangers.

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Jan
19

Random Friday Thoughts

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Photo credit: Julie Jacobson

With their nail biter win last night, the Rangers have now won two in a row and the process looks a lot better than it did a week ago, despite a rash of injuries.  The Blueshirts have four games remaining before the All-Star break, all against Western Conference opponents.  Should be an interesting week. Anyway, I have some thoughts…

1. It’s nice to see Rick Nash see some reward for his effort.  According to Matthew Barlowe (@matt_barlowe), Nash leads the Rangers in discrepancy between his iXG (expected goals) and actual goals.  The implication here is that Nash is snake bitten, which is certainly true, but I think there is also reality that he just simply isn’t the finisher that he used to be.  He still creates, as he is 26th in the league overall in iXG, and we are seeing some of that statistical correction this week, with four goals in his past two games.  This raises his season total to 13 on the season, which increases his pace to just over 23 goals for the season.  Obviously, not what you would expect for a $7.8 million cap hit, but this is still a very useful player the team should re-sign if the cost is reasonable.

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Jan
18

The Rangers miss Chris Kreider

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Cam Ward, Chris Kreider

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Chris Kreider has been a pretty interesting Ranger to date. He burst on the scene in the 2012 playoffs, then struggled to stay on the NHL roster. His mix of size, speed, and skill is difficult for other teams to match up against, and it has created some nightmares for the opposition. Yet since he doesn’t put up 50 goals and 100 points, he’s deemed a failure to some (which is asinine).

Kreider is usually good for 25 goals and roughly 45 points per season, and it’s within the realm of possibility that he eclipsed 30 goals this season. His contributions go beyond the counting stats though. He’s a constant net front presence and one of the few Rangers that has some snarl to his game. His speed and ability to get to the front of the net creates space for his teammates.

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Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers went into this season with question marks surrounding both of their goaltenders.  Henrik Lundqvist was shaking off questions about an uncharacteristically poor season last year, and Ondrej Pavelec, Benoit Allaire’s latest pet project, had one foot out of the NHL.  There were good reasons for fans and pundits alike to be skeptical of the stability in the Ranger crease, especially with Lundqvist turning 36 this season and the ridiculously high-quality backup goaltenders the Rangers have had the past four years.

At the halfway mark of the season, it seems that many of those fears have been unfounded (mine included), as both goaltenders have been strong through the team’s first 42 games. Let’s a dig a little deeper at each of their respective performances, shall we?

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