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A true hockey icon and legend has passed, as Gordie Howe has died, according to several reports. Howe was a legend and a true iron man, playing professional hockey into his 50s. His 801 goals and 1,850 points were league records until a kid named Gretzky came along.
The Rangers infamously had Howe in their grasp, but let the then 15-year-old go back home after a rough experience at a pro training camp in 1943. The rest, as they say, is history.
RIP, Mr. Hockey.
With the Sharks 4-2 win last night in game 5, the 2015-2016 season lasts just a little bit longer. Once Lord Stanley has found his summer home, we move on proper to the business of improving the New York Rangers. Much digital ink has been spilled, including some stellar pieces around these parts, about who should stay or go, cap math and statistical analysis. This morning, I want to talk about some subtle distinctions.
I was having a beer with a buddy of mine yesterday afternoon. I grew up playing with this guy, and we been friends and Rangers fans for over 20 years. We started talking about the team; who we liked, who was overpaid, who should be shipped out and replaced in an effort to re-tool the roster back to a legitimate contender. It occurred to me during this conversation, partly because of our dynamic, that it kind of sounded like those old school scouting conversations. He isn’t much of an advanced stats guy, so we were talking like it was the 90’s. Read More→
The deadline to sign draftees is June 1 two years following their draft year (for the most part, there are exceptions for NCAA/Euros). For the Rangers, this means that 2014 draftees must be signed by midnight tonight. Keegan Iverson (3rd) and Ryan Mantha (4th) remain unsigned, and appear to be on the verge of being let go by the Rangers.
Iverson, who was drafted with the pick acquired from Vancouver for Derek Dorsett, was a questionable pick when made. The 6’1, 218 lb forward scored 22 goals in his draft year, but has seen his goal and point totals slip in subsequent years. Junior hockey players are supposed to see improvements in scoring as they get older and more mature than their teenage counterparts. Iverson did not.
Although this past season certainly didn’t end the way fans wanted it to, and the regular season had its own fair share of disappointment, one of the brightest spots for the Rangers was the continued development of Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast.
The two of them were juggled around a bit, but each player demonstrated a solid two way game and managed to put up some points as well. While Fast found himself often in the top six, much to some fans’ frustration, Lindberg found himself continuously scratched towards the end of the season.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to instill some humor on the blog in the stressful times that are the playoffs. This time, the laugh/smile comes from good ole Sean Avery. Avery, who hasn’t fished his skates out of the Hudson yet, apparently landed a role in Patriot’s Day, a Mark Wahlberg movie about the Boston Marathon bombing.
Honestly, I’m surprised that he hasn’t received more attention for his acting. He killed it in Avatar and Terminator.
Kudos to the Rangers, who are taking the first step in combating ticket brokers. Yesterday they sent an email to an unnamed number of season ticket holder accounts, removing their ability to renew season tickets. No single season ticket holder will be able to control more than eight season tickets, and are making an attempt to identify season ticket holders that are a part of a larger conglomerate of ticket holders.
This is the first step in ensuring more fans can get in the door at hopefully lower prices on the secondary market. Face value of tickets won’t be affected by this, but the secondary market prices might see a drop. Well done, Rangers.
This week on the Blue Seat Blogs-cast we talk about the preliminary rosters for the World Cup of Hockey, initial impressions of Eric Staal, and thoughts on resting Henrik Lundqvist. As always you can find us here, on Soundcloud, and on iTunes. Thanks for listening and be sure to join us next week!
The Rangers once again chose to go “all in” this trade deadline, sending two second round picks and highly touted prospect Aleksi Saarela to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for pending free agent Eric Staal. Staal, who is now reunited with his brother Marc in New York, is yet another player in a line of those seen as the missing piece to a Stanley Cup winning team. There’s various ways to pick apart this trade, and I recommend reading Dave’s piece here or listening to our discussion of the trade with Patrick Kearns on the podcast for those purposes, but one thing I feel is important to stress with this move is patience.
Patience is what paid off in both of the Rangers’ previous splashy deadline day trades, in which they acquired Martin St. Louis in 2014 and Keith Yandle in 2015. In both cases, the players acquired needed some time to adjust to a new system, were plagued by poor puck luck, and just overall required some time to gain chemistry and identity with their new team. In both cases it may have seemed at first that the Rangers lost each trade, especially given the price paid to acquire both St. Louis and Yandle, but in the end we saw Martin St Louis lead the team to the Stanley Cup Finals and Keith Yandle blossom into the commanding defenseman that we know today.
Some sad news here. Rangers great and Hall of Famer Andy Bathgae has died today, as noted by the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bathgate played most of his career with the Rangers, a total of 719 games. He amassed a scoring line of 272-457-729. He was inducted into the HHOF in 1978.
The Rangers matchup against perennial contenders the LA Kings ended in heartbreak after the visiting team tied it late and came back to win it in overtime. The Kings opened the scoring early, with Anze Kopitar scoring the first of his three goals just 33 seconds into the game. The Rangers came back to tie it and eventually take the lead, but once again Kopitar had their number, sending his team to overtime and completing his hat trick late in the third with the goalie pulled.
While it’s hard to be entirely happy with the way the team played, struggling to generate sustained offense or connect on passes, it is worth noting that the Rangers were missing some key players, and they still managed to walk away with one point on the evening.
Kings 1 Rangers 0