The World Cup games are underway, even if it’s just pre-tournament games. There is finally some hockey on TV, which is always good. But the World Cup is drawing some negative attention from people who want it to fail. I see that point. So here are some musings on why I’m excited, and why I’m not, for the World Cup of Hockey.
Why I’m Excited
1.International hockey is always fun for me. It’s exciting to see players outside of their club situations, and the selection of players on each team means that each night is going to be filled with great hockey. There’s rich opportunity for compelling narrative too – will Canada continue their dominance in international hockey or will a team like North America make a splash? It’s just a great opportunity for great players to showcase their talents and hopefully bring glory to their country in the name of sport.
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.
The 2017 season is right around the corner, and as the World Cup of Hockey begins we will finally have something new to talk about in regards to hockey. This comes right on time as I am absolutely drained of any ideas after this one for the near future.
While many of us are certainly intrigued at how the forward depth will shape up for the New York Rangers post training camp, many more fans are eager to see what move GM Jeff Gorton may have in play to fix up the defense. It has been a long anticipated move, combining the rumors on Kevin Shattenkirk, the “guaranteed” Rick Nash trade, young defensemen remaining unsigned, and that the Rangers seem to do their business in the shadows with moves nobody sees coming (I love you Brassard, stay golden). In any case, there are a lot of factors surrounding the Rangers, but sometimes there are management and advisory roles that need to be filled as well.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day Weekend. This summer flew by, didn’t it? It’s already September. It’s already cooled off a bit where windows can be opened without fear of melting, and there are already reports coming from World Cup training camps. Unbelievable. I think a nice musings is a good way to start off the short work week.
1. To address the rumors regarding Henrik Lundqvist, he is not injured. He said he took a puck to the ribs during a practice and is fine. He certainly did not hurt himself playing golf. And even if he did, it never seemed like it was a serious thing when the rumors broke.
2. Speaking of Lundqvist, I want to address the “Lundqvist is overpaid and is not good” crowd. You guys are small but as vocal as you are misinformed. Justin summed up the “Hank is on the decline” fallacy pretty nicely here. But here’s the thing: Last year Hank played behind of the worst defense he’s ever seen. And that defense actually got worse this offseason. It’s not Hank.
The below is a guest post written Dan McCurry, a long time reader of BSB (he actually was one of the winners in the Dylan McIlrath bobble-fist giveaway we did here a few years ago). Danny is a public middle school teacher in Brooklyn, teaching History, and is trying to get donations for his classroom through a nonprofit organization called Donors Choose. Most of his students and their families have a tough time making ends meet and through this project, he’s able to supply them with everything they need for the upcoming school year. All donations go towards supplies for his students.
Hello my fellow Rangers brethren! I’m Dan, 31 years old and I’ve been a Rangers fan for the last 22 years. I started playing hockey and falling in love with our beloved Blueshirts in 1994 when I was 9 years old, which as we all know, was a pretty magical year. I would love to go on about my Rangers fandom (like how my brothers and I have the ‘94 Stanley Cup video memorized word for word, you know you want to try one of Glenn Anderson’s mom’s famous salmon sandwiches!) but I’m actually here writing to ask all my Rangers fans for a little help.
It’s September, and while the NHL regular season is still somewhat far off, hockey is just around the corner. With the return of the World Cup of Hockey, fans will have some solid hockey to sate their appetites before things really get underway for the club teams in October. Although Becky has already weighed in with a great preview of the general action, I figured I’d do a deep dive into Team Sweden for a couple of reasons. The first is because our very own King, Henrik Lundqvist, is the team’s biggest star, and second is that I’m high on this team’s roster and think they’re my favorite to win it all (with North America being my dark horse pick).
Let’s start with the forwards. Some disappointing news came recently when it was announced that Henrik Zetterberg, a veteran of the squad, would be unable to play, but Mikael Backlund should prove to be a serviceable replacement. Along similar lines, Alex Steen, a highly effective two-way forward, will be replaced by Rickard Rakell, who is also more than capable of filling Steen’s shoes. From there, although there’s no real superstars (except for maybe Nicklas Backstrom) on the front end there are plenty of quality players ready to make a splash on the big stage. Recent Stanley Cup winner and former New York Ranger fan favorite Carl Hagelin’s on the team, as are the likes of Filip Forsberg, Patric Hornqvist, and Gabe Landeskog. All in all, while the team lacks the offensive firepower of say Canada, they should be able to put up points effectively, especially with the defense chipping in as well.
Drury has been with the Rangers organization in some fashion since being signed as a free agent in 2007. He played four seasons with the Rangers, and was very productive in his first two seasons. Knee injuries limited his playing time and productivity, and let to his buyout and eventual retirement.
Drury was named Director of Player Development in September of 2015.
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…
– I have no idea where Brandon Pirri fits into the puzzle, but that’s not stopping me from being very pleased by the signing. There’s loads of evidence that Pirri is truly an elite goal scorer, and while he leaves a lot to be desired with his two-way play, being able to put the puck in the net at the rate Pirri does is truly a rare trait.
– The Pirri signing is the latest in a string of moves by the front office that show increasing reliance on #fancystats and sound economical decision-making. Part of the change is due to the team’s tricky cap situation entering the summer, but all of Pirri, Michael Grabner, Josh Jooris and Nathan Gerbe are under-the-radar depth signings that extend the lineup and could turn a mediocre possession team into a good one – if the Blueshirts could fix the defense.
– Remember when everyone briefly panicked about the reports that New York was going to offer Maxim Lapierre a PTO? That seems like a distant memory. He’s probably near 20th on the forward depth chart now.
The New York Rangers recently announced their Traverse City roster and invites, and while the names don’t include players from my previous post there are some interesting names. There are three non-organizational forwards invited to the camp; Reid Duke, Nick Betz, and Zack Zborosky. On defense we have Colton Bobyk, Zachary Malatesta, Turner Ottenbreit, and Dylan Di Perna as the non-roster invites. Let’s look at these invitees.
Reid Duke – The versatile right handed center and winger is the only center the Rangers invited this fall and he provides this team with some intriguing depth. He plays an all around two way game focused on speed and being responsible in his own end. The teams he has been on use him in a defensive role for this very reason, yet he does show some flashes of skill. The issue with Duke is that his offense isn’t exactly consistent nor is it impressive as a 20 year old in the WHL. Duke was lost in the numbers as he went unsigned by the Minnesota Wild, but in any case should provide some forward and penalty kill depth to the roster as he tries to get his name on a possible AHL contract.