Get off my lawn!


Normally, I would say “Happy Friday” and other pleasant greetings on the eve of Memorial Day weekend. Nope. Not today. Last night, my air conditioning decided that it didn’t feel like cold air was the life choice it was looking for anymore. This was on top of the Penguins winning, the Yankees losing and few other personal life factors that I could have done without. In the wake of this, I decided to take it out on a few Rangers off-season concepts that have been irritating me over the last few weeks. You’ve been warned. Just to qualify these fractured mini-rants to those who will find themselves disagreeing with me. They are not meant to insult you, I just find them to be ridiculous and need to vent. Feel free to pick a fight with me in the comments.

Ok, first, I’ve had it with this “you need grit and determination and not to be soft” garbage when it comes to assembling a team. I’ve “been in the room”, I’ve won championships and I understand the culture. Sure, it’s great when a teammate stands up for you and it helps create a bond to that person.   However, do you know what I really want when I’m out there on the ice? Talent. I want the guy who will put the puck in the net. I want the guy who will avoid the check and make the outlet pass to go the other way. There is nothing better than playing in the third period of a huge game and the puck is in the other zone.   This falls on the narrative of “he doesn’t step up for big games” as an excuse for when an athlete doesn’t do exactly what you want him to do at the time and will his way to making you happy. Hockey is hard.  Talent gets a lot farther than an intangible desire to compete harder than the next guy.

I’m also sick of this “we need to at least look at a Hank trade as the center piece of a re-build” nonsense. It’s been long established that teams who trade away high-end goaltenders get nothing in return. Nothing. Trading away your best player because he hasn’t been given the support he needs to maximize his talent in insane. And no, he doesn’t need to step up and make it so with his toughness regardless of what is happening around him. Goaltending is a reactive position. All you get is what is thrown at you. While we’re on this topic, I’ve seen people mention Hank’s supposed poor body language after he gets scored on. You know what? He is a human being. When you get scored on the third rebound after a terrible turnover, you would have the same look.

Sticking with the goaltending theme, it has become a popular theory that you can have wildly effective goaltending for no money so far in the playoffs. “Just look at the goalies in the Final Four!” they say. This narrative has caught fire and ridden on a full tank of stupid ever since. Here is the dirty little secret. Every goalie in the NHL is good. Gasp! Every. Single. One. The great ones can play at that level for 60+ games per season and make sure you get to the playoffs so their backup can get hot and make the world wonder why teams pay for goalies. Martin Jones and Matt Murray are very good goalies who have very bright futures ahead of them. However, the Sharks had less points than the Rangers. Jones picked a very good time to get hot and I truly hope he is lifting the Cup in June. But the notion that he is better than Hank or Carey Price or Tuukka Rask because he is playing right now and they aren’t is absolutely asinine.

It is impossible to home grow an entire team with drafting and development. It has never happened and will never happen. All championship teams are a combination of drafting, trades and signings. It is a reality of roster construction. Cost controlled young talent is also a necessity in a salary cap world, so I am all for having a phenomenal player development model, but you can’t say “no more free agent contracts!” and expect to realistically assemble an NHL team. A front office needs to show restraint and savvy, but it’s a resource you cannot ignore.

I try to be an optimist and after 1994, that tantalizing possibility of seeing the Rangers lift the Cup again keeps me going. However, if this front office does not modernize its processes and analysis, I will be waiting for a long time. I understand you aren’t going to advertise the fact that you are shopping two career Rangers when there may not be a market for them, but if the plan is really as Brooks describes it, then I got nothing. The fact of the matter is, the game is changing. It just is. The days of bruising defensemen and deterrent tough guys is over. O-V-E-R. The game is too fast and controlling the puck is too important to concentrate on things like hits and fighting. The game is now about speed, possession and putting the puck in the net.

Honestly, at this point, I want Yandle to walk so I don’t have to hear about how terrible he is defensively anymore, regardless of the reality of his effectiveness.

You also do not have to eat salary if you trade Rick Nash. Any team with cap space would love to have him. The hate that guy gets for not being a genetically engineered Wayne Gretzky/Mark Messier/Cam Neely/Steve Yzerman hybrid boggles the mind.

I’m also excessively sick of the “_____________ (insert random hockey professional) works in the game, so they must know more than you” attitude that some people have. The world of pro-sports is a nepotistic boys club filled with sycophantic “yes men”. Before you dismiss someone’s opinion criticizing a coach, GM, journalist, maybe take an objective look at the professional in question and see if there is any validity to it. No matter who you are, I think you can agree that Mike Milbury and Jim Benning have no business making money from this game.

Ok, I think the tank is empty. Let me know how much I pissed you off this morning in the comments. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

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      • I’m so glad to see someone say the stuff you just said. The only thing I don’t agree with is I want Yandle to stay if it’s possible. I’m so tired of the bad rap Nash gets. How many other guys do you see score goals like him n play on the PK, PP and everything in between. He’s made so many plays that led to goals that never hit the stat sheet like stealing pucks from behind and sending the play the other direction. I wonder of Tarasanko is gonna get the same bad rap now that he didn’t do anything this past series until it was too late. It happens to the best of them. I guess Ted Williams was a bum too then cause he never won a championship. I’m praying that what Brooks talked about as far as trades involving guys like Stepan is just talk cause then we’re talking insanity. No way would I trade Step. Last point you made that was great was Milbury having no business being where he is. He stinks. I can’t think of any better way to say it.

  • Love it because I am in complete agreement with every damn rant! Especially the ludicrous “trade that Prima Donna overpaid horrible no good goalie” narrative. No matter how well my AC is working that one get’s me hot….

  • This week-end we celebrate a long three day summer kick off . To my brothers and sisters in arms, Leather, Jerry, and all who served, lets never forget the loved ones who sacrificed their lives so we have the freedom to express ourselves as free people, and fans.

    Having been at Danang, when the first Marines made their landing on China beach, with the cameras rolling, slight dig at the jarheads, that is a term of endearment, I for one want to thank them for making me feel secure on the air base. They were out there, in the field, while I was on base, sleeping in decent housing for the war zone, relative to the guys in the field. All you guys, as well as the Army personnel in the field, be advised we in the back lines do, did, and will always appreciate what you did. To the rest of our fans, please think of these guys this week end, they deserve the recognition, and thanks for what they did, and still do. Have a great week end to all……………….

    • Thanks Walt. This weekend is for those that made the ultimate sacrifice for us all. When I got released from the hospital and returned to the US, I made a point of personally visiting each family of every one of the SOG men I served with who weren’t as lucky as I was and got to come home.
      That my friend, was harder than the almost two tours I did there.
      Fotiu is God, is right on the money, you’re one of the good ones.

      • Two purples, coming from you makes this even better. I thank god I came home sound of body, and mind, but my wife questions that on occasion, thanks my friend!!!!!

  • Pissed me off? This was the best thing I’ve read this morning second to Mike Murphy’s Summer Survival Guide. Great work, Justin. The reality is that the NYR org is out of touch and hasn’t done anything to show that they’re adapting to the new game. In fact, it feels like they’re digging their heels in deeper to an antiquated thought process that barely worked in 1994.

  • That was Awesome Baby with a Capital A! I sincerely hope the Rangers FO is playing opossum….that being said, if Tanner Glass is on this team next year, I will lose it.

    • Will be a hell of a series. Rooting hard for Jumbo Joe and SJ.

      How about DeBoer getting back to the dance? Good for him. Let the thumbs down rain in : )

    • Really? Is there even a doubt? San Jose every time.

      Could care less about DeBoer, and as much as I would like to see Jumbo Joe and Patrick Marleau win a cup and get the vindication they deserve, it’s more about a deep burning hate for the odious ice chicken franchise from that rotting husk of a town called Pittsburgh.

  • Eh, as much as I love goalies, I am on the bandwagon that an elite goalie is not what wins you the cup. You do need do good goalies though. Is Lundqvist going to win it next year? Who knows, possible for sure.
    But to pay a goalie the kind of money he got should never happen ever again. I am in the camp that the Rangers will be scratching to get into the playoffs next year.
    As for salary I also have been in the mind set that you should never have guaranteed salaries. You should get paid for your performance. Seen way too many players get a big contract from the Rangers to become fat cats and just coast for a paycheck.
    Are the Rangers in rebuild mode, no but the asset management has been atrocious with major ramifications for the future. As long as we have this coach of ours and Hank I don’t see a good future once they are gone.
    We have lost Cally, Boyle, Stralman, Hagelin, soon Yandle for nothing in return. I still believe the St Louis trade is in top 3 of the worst trades in Ranger history. It is very hard to beat the Middleton trade. But yeah St Louis and Carpenter trades were God awful too.
    So I m a sweater man, I am a Ranger fan, as much as I loved Messier once he left it was adios. So Lundqvist has to go to get some assets back. Nash has to go to get assets back. This team needs to get players to play for us from within. They need to become friends in the AHL and grow to get up into the NHL as they get mentored by the core.
    Who is the core of this team? McDonagh, Skeij, McIlrath? Where does Klein, Staal and Girardi fit into?
    Stepan, Brassard, Miller, Zuccarello, Hayes Kreider as forwards? Where does Nash, Lindberg, Fast and any other forward not mentioned fit?
    Lundqvist and Raanta part of the core?
    There is not a name on here that I consider untradable. Not a one. Not one name on here is worth the Ranger organization to become subpar for 5 years to rebuild or worse re tool. Re tooling will not get the job done.

    As for Memorial day enjoy your weekend folks but remember the fallen at least once during the weekend. Semper Fi and thanks for reading my rant.

    • Best Comments I have ever read on this site or any other!!!!!
      You nailed 3 of the 4 worst trades in rangers history.
      The other was Ratelle and Park for esposito and vadnais……which caused us to trade middleton for hodge!!!!
      And then Espo became GM and traded for carpenter giving awat 2 young studs Ridley and samuelson ? [ 6 foot 6 defenseman]

      For my money I keep JT Miller, kredier, zuccarello, stallberg, Skeij, McIlrath and maybe brassard and mcdonagh unless I can package them along with a girardi [to unload] and get a Pk subban
      everyone else trade able…..esp stepan
      not sure about hayes….with new coach could be a player….

      • We got Bobby Carpenter for Mike Ridley and Kelly Miller not Samuellson. Trading away big Kjell Samuellson was a bad trade too, but it was a different trade.

        • Samuelsson was dealt to the Flyers for Bob Froese. We already had Beezer. Richter has been drafted and was only a couple of years away. You had Soetart as a competent enough backup. Another dumb trade by hands down the worst GM in Rangers history.

          As for the rest, obviously, the Middleton for Hodge and the Ridley and Miller for Carpenter were hands down the worst trades in Rangers history.

          Ratelle/Park (and Zanussi) for Espo and Vadnais was not an awful trade. Controversial yes. Blockbuster involving three future HOFers? No doubt. Hated it at the time. But, no question Espo and Vadnais were key cogs in the Rangers SC Finals run in ’79, so you really can’t call it a bust.

          Same for the MSL-Cally deal. How is it a bust when you make the deal, you go to the SCF and then the next year get to game 7 of the ECF? That likely doesn’t happen without that trade. If the deal makes you better, which it did, then it’s not a bust. Now, IF the two draft picks amount to anything (TB I think already traded one, so there you go, another “foolish” team mortgaging the future to try and win now…what ARE the thinking?!!!!), then that might change the narrative.

          To me, it was a gamble worth taking. And personally I was at the Garden for MSL’s OT winner over MTL in Game 4. A moment I will never forget. Well worth it.

      • This is not true. The Rangers gave up two draft choices for Ryan Gropp (along with Hagelin for Etem). Stand alone trades of two draft choices for one higher choice happen all of the time and I don’t know how the swap with Anaheim compared to the stand alone swaps.

        • What were the numbers?

          We would not have gotten the 41st overall from the picks we gave up. Trading Hagelin secured that pick.

          • 59th and 179th picks — so the Rangers moved up 18 spots in the second round at the cost of their 6th round pick.

            In comparison, Ottawa moved up six spots from 42nd to 36th at the cost of a 4th rounder — and that sounds typical.

            So you are right, the Ducks don’t make the draft swap without Hagelin.

    • I’ll say this once, and it’s obvious that I’m gonna have to say it a hundred times more. Cally wasn’t going to be property of the NY Rangers two months after he was traded. Cally was a UFA. It wasn’t like Cally was traded two years into a five year deal like it’s being made out to be. The draft pick is what hurts in that trade, but we went to the finals with Marty.

      Boyle said himself, he wanted to leave because Yzerman and Snarky promised him more playing time.

      Stralman. That ones on management, no doubt!

      • Well played, Original.

        Now my understanding–if you can weigh in here with insights, clarification, or a handful of Swarty’s amphetamines–was Captain Cally was loathe to pay New York taxes.

        That his side and Slats were only $100K apart.

        And that we backed out of a deal with Doug Wilson for Ws Matt Nieto and Tommy Wingels before accepting Steve Y’s fleecing, er, Rohipnol-induced date ape, uh, thievery. Yes; trade.

        • Nick

          I’d just rather send you the amphet’s but all they’ll do is make us sober from our Opiate state of mind, and clearly, we wouldn’t want that to happen 🙂

          I’m not that sure on the specifics with the Cally deal, but from my understanding the NTC was the deal breaker. I believe there’s %10 to be saved via the absence of a State Tax in FLA. and I may be wrong but it was somewhere around 500k per year as the difference with both contracts up against one another.

          Lol, you’re so right though as Yzerman has utterly fleeced other GM’s over the past few years in several deals.

          • You got it exactly Rob. Imagine IF Cally had accepted Sather’s more than generous offer. Everyone would be screaming what a waste of valuable cap space. And we likely don’t have those two deep playoff runs.

          • Holy parallel universe!

            Eddie posting an anorexic 36-words?… No!

            Wait; have the clocks stopped?

            Has The Earth come to a standstill?

            Who’s the extragalactic ambassador in silver-reflective robes alongside Leslie Neilson?

            “Phew. Thanks Swarty.” (He just pointed out Eddie’s 8,000-word screed below.)

          • I got abt 1/4 way through that screed and gave up LOL!! From now on I tab him as Eddie The Garrulous(ETG)!

          • Florida has no state income tax, nor does Tampa. In Callie’s income bracket he saved 10% NY State, and some 5 % NYC taxes, giving him approximately $150,00 savings per million, per year @ $4 mil, or $600,000 extra savings in his pocket for the life of the contract. That my friend is a load, and I wouldn’t fault Callie for making the move !!!!!!!!!!!!

            Additionally, housing is very reasonable, and you can get a mansion for about $1 mil, and live like a king as well…………………

          • You said it, Big Walt.

            I understand Capt Cally is renting the “Scarface” mansion from Swarty, the former Florida crime lord, current BSB blogger cum laude.

          • I doubt that matters very much. When the numbers get that high, who really cares about the value of the salary. It’s mostly ego and taxes don’t come into that.

          • and you’d be willing to pay an extra couple of million ??????? I for one wouldn’t !!!!!

            that’s why so many athletes become broke after a few years into retirement………

          • Copy that, TOR.

            Yzerman’s gone from one of the NHL’s most gifted and complete players to one helluva’ cagey executive. (Gotta’ be those Clark Kent meet Sean Avery frames, eh…)

            Without question, he came out of the Drouin ‘sitch well. Going forward now, we’ll see how Stevie acquits himself with Stamkos.

            I see him in either ‘Tranna, lining up with the Scottsdale kid, Auston Matthews; or taking $10M of Terry Pegula’s dollars in Buffalo.

            You got a feel?

      • The real problem was that Sather had a stand-off with both Girardi and Cally at the same time.

        Girardi blinked and signed – Cally held out and was shipped out. I agree the NTC was the stickler. He’d did ultimately did take less to come to Tampa because of our friendly tax situation.

        Now – think about if it was Cally who signed first and Girardi who held out. There would still be a bunch of hate on Cally’s Cap hit but I would venture to say that his overall play would have been a positive rather than Girarid’s negative.

        But who knows if we would have gotten MSL, and if not, then would we have gotten as far

        I personally think that Cally could be a Cap casualty in Tampa and could end up in Buffalo, near home in Rochester, and provide some leadership to that group of up and comers.

        That could be a move that could help them keep Stamkos….

          • Yeah Eddie – didn’t think of that.

            He has a full NTC for first 4 and a partial for the next 2.

            I think he would consider Buffalo but given he has the veto who would want to leave Tampa with all that talent?

  • The Pens, the better team, won and move on. The Bolts, the team with more heart, LOTS more, go home. But what a great series.

    The NHL is going to have to deal with the Lighting for years to come. Their depth of young talent is just plain ridiculous. But it is all about the CAP and there are and will continue to be impactful decisions to be made. And the Penguins, with a couple exceptions, are not that old either.

    I look at this series and see guys like Drouin, Kucherov, Koekkoek, Hedman, Vasilevskiy, Rust, Hagelin, Murray, Sheary and say – “Wow – Get me some of those please”

    And then I look at the Rangers roster and say – “Wow – Have we got work to do”

    • And that’s the reason that TB will let Stamkos walk. They’ve got so much young talent on that team (who all will be up for raises at varying times over the next few yrs) that it wouldn’t be prudent to tie up that much of the cap. Contracts like Callahan don’t help the situation, but the reason they could afford to pay him, and we couldn’t is due to the young guys over-performing/scoring (relative to dollars). It makes it more manageable to pay a guy north of 5 and a half mil to play bottom 6. That said, let’s all keep in mind how long TB was irrelevant to accumulate the picks and develop all that young talent. It doesn’t happen over night. It is cyclical. It’s fun to watch. NYR will get there too, but right now we are not at that part of the life cycle.

      It’s no Kucherov, Drouin, Johnson, Palat, Hedman- but Stepan, Miller, Kreider, Hayes, Buchevnic, McDonagh, Skjei is also, to me, exciting.

      Of course we lack the game breaking talent, but it is a fun core to watch play. Those are the guys we need to build around. Gimme some Zuc, Fast and Lindberg too, just wanted to keep the above list brief

      • Thanks for the reality check Hatrick. As Rangers fans we love to gaze at our neighbors’ green gardens and forget that the grass is pretty damn green and lush on our own side of the fence.

        The Rangers aren’t even an old team. Only Nash, Glass, Hank, Klein, and Girardi are over 31. and it’s possible three of those guys are gone this summer.

      • Hatrick – you are preaching to the choir. I get it. Not debating any of what you say.

        But IMO, the difference in the Lighting and Rangers talent is that the Lightning have more, much more and they are generally of higher quality. And, they have guys in the minors who are already pushing. Outside of Skjei – we have not seen any of that YET.

        One Example – The Dude behind Vasilevskiy is Gudlevskis and he is the guy whose 55 saves almost singlehandedly took out the Gold Medal Canadiens for the Latvians in 2014.

        And yes certainly, the Lighting had some lean years in order to pick up some of these guys. So did the Blackhawks. That is how it works.

        But the NYR choose to give up their quality draft picks and if a team consistently does that they are left with system that reflects that approach. And on top of that they have made poor personnel decisions and contract choices, which add to the struggle.

        I see the Lighting all the time so it is hard for me to not gaze at their green grass. But when I do, I don’t wear rose-colored Glasses.

        It’s great to look at our boys and say “yeah we got a good bunch” – and for the most part we do. But something is missing and again in my opinion it’s got to be changed up.

        This offseason is critical to us getting better. Safe is Death…

        • Absolutely agree. We pushed all in, and couldn’t quite get there. Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty and angst that we’re feeling.

          Pretty cool how TB repeated our path – Yr 1 SCF, Yr 2 ECF Game 7 loss- at such an early stage in their life cycle. I think we both know the correlation between prompt success realized with a drafted core and # of years of irrelevancy. A ton of variables involved but I’d surmise there is a tangible inverse relationship that exists in many cases.

          • I wouldn’t say TB are similar, other than in the outcomes of the last three years.

            Stamkos was a #1 overall pick
            Hedman was a #2 overall pick
            Drouin was a #3 overall pick
            Koekkoek (what a name!) was a #10 overall pick
            Vasilvevsky was a #19 pick

            With all those high picks they should be the class of the NHL. If anything TB is what Buffalo could be or what Edmonton should be.

          • All I meant was their seasons and how they ended.

            2014 and 15 Rangers were 2015 and 16 Bolts.

            Team construction and roster composition cant be anymore different. I think you read too far into my statement.

          • Fair enough. I guess I wanted to show everyone just how grateful we should be. The Rangers are the only team from the NHL’s upper echelon that didn’t tank to get there. LA tanked, Chicago tanked, Pitt tanked, TB tanked.

            Sure the Rangers were terrible and should have tanked in the early aughts, but they didn’t, and we still got a great outcome.

          • Great analysis Chris. You are right, we didnt tank. But when we were awful, we didn’t land enough high end players. That leaves us with the team we’ve had the past decade. Good..often very good. But ultimately not good enough.

  • Great rant Justin!

    I have a feeling this is going to be a real divisive summer for Ranger fans. Some of us are going to be super excited and the rest are going to be crestfallen.

  • Good work!

    One hopes there is some good sense in the Rangers management, but one is skeptical.

    One waits to see what they do.

  • Agree with most of what you say except for the specious argument that it’s skill vs grit. The two are not mutually exclusive you know. And when you have both in one player then you have something special, like Howe & Messier, could play & could rearrange your face. A team needs skill AND grit in hockey. The day of the goon is O-V-E-R, but the need for grit will never be over. In fact, a recent psychological study showed that grit in children was the single most important factor in success. Now go take another valium Justin!

    • Here’s the thing Paul. Grit, determination, heart, and all that stuff creates drama. It makes Rocky and Rudy and the Miracle on Ice so compelling. It doesn’t create success. Look at the Russian teams from the 60’s-80. They were dominant. They weren’t interesting or compelling and didn’t overcome insurmountable odds to accomplish what they did. They were simply better than everyone else.

      Howe and Messier, Yzerman, etc., are generational players. They had a special combination of skill and toughness. It is borderline irresponsible to expect every team to be able to build their philosophies around guys like that. There simply aren’t very many of them.

      The other problem is the modern game wears you out. Guys like Backes and Kesler, who had that type of game, are reduced to 3rd line muckers by their early 30’s. It just takes too much out of you.

      • “The other problem is the modern game wears you out. Guys like Backes and Kesler, who had that type of game, are reduced to 3rd line muckers by their early 30’s. It just takes too much out of you.”

        BOOM. Stick tap for that one. Right on.

      • I just told you that grit predicted more to success in school than IQ did. Of course, it predicts to success. You see we have a generational gap here because any of the older guys will tell you that the game was way tougher physically back in the day. You don’t see the kind of hard checks you saw from guys back then. The hip check is almost extinct. The game is much faster but today with the instigator rule you see more vicious head shots back in the 60s. Goonery started in the 70s with The Broad Street Bullies who battered teams into submission. But don’t fool yourself, those teams were highly skilled too. You see a lot of guys playing longer. Take Jagr, or Brodeur even Boyle, and I’m not saying he was great. The players take much better care of themselves today than they ever have. You’ll never win any sport without a collection of guys who embody grit and I’m not talking goonery here. Skill is not something new to the game. The Canadians & Oilers had tons of skill. I recall reading in Messier’s book how when they lost to the Isles the first time, they couldn’t believe it because they felt they were way more skilled. And then Gretzky, Mess & Lowe went past the Isles dressing room & saw all these guys beat up & bowed & suddenly realized that they were beaten by a team with more grit. The light went on in their psyches & there was no denying them in the rematch. Just making it to the NHL indicates that a player is skilled, and although it varies along a dimension, there is nothing worse than a highly skilled player with zero grit, these are the Zherdevs of the world.

  • Aside from the self-indulgent, ‘oh, woe is me” comments, I take strong issue with your flippant dismissal of the need for grit and toughness to a Championship caliber roster. I’ve notice on this site, whenever this topic comes up, somehow, grit and toughness warps into the notion of having a goon or a one dimensional “meathead” on the roster. Was Adam Graves a goon? Is Milan Lucic a goon? Is Boston’s Marchand a goon? Or, Are they the type of players who go out, shift after shift, doing what it takes to get the job done? Name the player/players on the Rangers who do that(excepting Zuke—and the fact that I mention the smallest guy on the roster is kind of telling). These are the type of players that enable the so-called “talent” to do their thing. They are essential to any winning team. This team is lacking,badly IMO, in that type of player. That’s the kind of “talent” this team really needs! As for the rest of your diatribe, yes Hank is going nowhere—its stupid to even bring it up. As for Nash, he has not lived up to his billing, no matter how many times people apologize for his shortcomings—-Yes he does a lot of things well—except the one thing he was brought here to do—-SCORE!!!! Give me the tel. #s of the teams with cap space, and I’ll make the calls. As for Yandle, I just don’t see the love affair with him that some people on this site have. If he had a shot that could actually make it to the net without being blocked, then I’d forgive all the stupid, risky plays he makes on the ice. But he doesn’t; and to tie up money on another long term contract to a very poor mans Brian Leetch is just bad business. The summer will play out, no matter what opinions we have. Like it or not, we are not making the decisions here. To get that riled up, real or just for effect, is kinda’ lame. Its Memorial Day Weekend!!!! The hell with Rangers—-You think there thinking about you? Get out to the links, and take out your frustrations there. I, myself, am going fishing!!!! Have a safe weekend, guys!!!!

  • Great job Justin. Sorry you couldn’t enjoy yesterday though.
    Talent 1 Grit 0.

    I’ve been gone from NY area since the days of Gilbert and Ratelle and so I’m not much into regional rivalries. I hate TB from last year and the Penguins haven’t been a playoff problem for years so it was no difficulty rooting for the Pens.

    One thing though. I do think a team needs to believe it can win regardless of their playing style. It is not surprising that it was the least talented of the three Penguin playoff opponents that took them to seven games.

    When was the last time the Rangers lost to an inferior team? Winners lose to inferior teams because they see all teams as inferior.

  • great friday rant. you should make that a thing. happy holidays everyone.

    let’s go sharks! let’s go undrafted king-s backup goalie! stick it to those pit clowns!

  • Justin


    I’m just glad to know, I’m not the only one that feels the way you do!!!!!!

    With that being said…..Go SHARKS Go!

  • Outstanding!! I agree with the majority of this. I vehemently disagree with the “can’t be soft” comment though. Teams that win are always willing to skate through the checks, hold onto the puck just a second longer to make a play w/o regard for their bodies, and furiously battle along the boards and in front and in the corner. But I think somehow this definition of “soft” has morphed into the equivalent of “not enough fighting/throwing body checks all game long”. The game has changed. You don’t need guys slamming into one another all game long. You don’t need pugilists. Having the more skilled players become important throughout the lineup is essential in today’s NHL. And I still don’t understand why people are unhappy about this.

    Good rant though – let it all out!

  • Great rant Justin! I agree with a lot of it (but you can probably guess what I DONT agree with!). 🙂

    Point by point…..

    Grit vs talent- I largely agree with you. This is a talent driven league. Examples….Callahan plays with grit. So does Dubi. What have they won? Does Crosby play with grit? Did Gretzky? I don’t know really know what the line is to define this. Clearly, when you have a guy with elite talent that plays hard every shift and can play with skill and physicality (Messier), then sure, you’ll sign up for that player all day every day. But how many guys are out there like that?

    I think sometimes we get too caught up in those guys with lesser skills that you just love having on your team. In the 80’s, I remember Larry Melnyk and George McPhee. Just LOVED those guys. Max effort all the time. Not really all that good though, and certainly not high end pieces that lead you to a title.

    So, given the choice of a high end skill guy like let’s say a Tarasenko over a grit guy like let’s say McIlrath, who would every GM in the league not named Glen Sather likely choose? (I know….cheap shot, but I’m just making a point).

    The Rangers haven’t been able to win it all in recent seasons because their high end skill is simply not high end enough. It’s not, in my view, because they lack “grit”.

    Hank– the whole notion that Hank can be traded, should be traded, will be traded, is nothing short of lunacy. You are absolutely correct…..goaltenders yield minimal return. He has a full NMC. He is not going anywhere. Now, a separate discussion, which is a fair one, were the Rangers wise to sign him to that kind of deal two years ago, or could that money have been better spent on other assets? I was not comfortable with the dollars and years at the time. But, in fairness, the Rangers didn’t know at the time what they had in Talbot (and I’m still not sold btw), they had no other high end talented players to invest in, so unless you can show me who they could have had for the $8 mil instead, I think it was the right move. If they had had a player like a Kane or Toews, and you could only keep one, then sure, you’d have to say bye to Hank. But not the way the Rangers were constructed.

    Age vs youth–thank you for writing this. You are 100% correct. This whole bogus narrative of “never sign old farts” is simply absurd. Want proof? Look at the roster of the San Jose Sharks. It makes the Rangers look like a junior hockey team by comparison age wise. Pavelski (31), Burns (30), Thronton (36), Marleau (36…and who no one out here wanted when the rumors were flying), Ward (35), Martin (34), and to a lesser extent Zubrus (37). And where would the Pens be without Fehr (30), Lovejoy (31), Daley (32), Kunitz (36) and Cullen (39)? Probably home watching on TV. You win with a balance of youth and age, that you acquire through drafting, trading and FA signings.

    There’s a false narrative that the reason the Rangers have won only one Cup in 76 years is because they went with older players. Well, sometimes that’s true. But you can look back over all those rosters where they fell short, and to me, just as much of not more of the reason we have fallen short is because we have failed to draft high end players. So the young players we kept weren’t good enough. Maybe if we had dealt more of them, we would have won? Works both ways.

    Some of you think AV gets out coached. I certainly don’t. This year? We got out-GMed. Jim Rutherford cleaned our clocks. So did Brian MacLellan. In fact, other than the stretch from 1990-1994 when Neil Smith did a remarkable job inheriting the mess left my Espo to acquire a better Mess (get the play on words?) and company, our GMs since Emile Francis have been mostly pitiful.

    Who was the last GREAT player the Rangers drafted? Lundqvist, but let’s face it, we got REALLY lucky on that one. No one likely said when he was selected in the 7th round in 2000, hey, we just drafted a future HOF goalie.

    Who else? Well, there was Kovalev in 1991, but he was an enigmatic player who never became the star he was supposed to be.

    Before that? Brian Leetch and Mike Richter were obviously great picks by Craig Patrick. But the rest were nothing special. Before that? Have we EVER drafted a high end elite scorer? A difference maker offensive player?

    Maybe you go back to 1973 with Rick Middleton (and, well, we know how that turned out!). Brad Park was a great pick in 1966, but he was a defenseman.

    Bottom line, since the draft began in 1963, the Rangers have NEVER even once drafted an elite offensive force that can put a team on its back, win championships, and go to the HOF. Not…even…once. That’s astounding. So when you ask why the Rangers felt the need to then double down on trades they shouldn’t have made, it’s simple….it’s not because they traded away picks as much as it’s because their picks have been usually, at best, good, but not great second tier player (other than Park, Leetch, Richter…maybe Middleton and Amonte). It’s really hard to win a championship if your team is essentially a bunch of very good but not high end playmaker types.

    Gorton needs to prove he can break that hideous drafting history. Otherwise, you will see more of the same in terms of dealing away picks.

    Brooksie’s story–I disagree with you here. Why would Girardi agree to be traded? Why would Staal? If the player doesn’t want to go, that’s the end of the discussion. They have NMCs. I know players waive NMCs, but that’s only IF they want out. There’s no indication either wants out. So what do you want Gorton to do? Besides, you will get nothing back, will likely carry half their salaries, and then do you really think we can find affordable replacements? It’s more than reasonable to see if they both, after a long off season of rest and recovery, can return to the form they showed just 13 moths ago.

    And why do you “have nothing” if the plan reported is indeed the plan? Brooks is saying everyone other than Hank, Skjei, and Buch can be dealt (and assume Girardi and Staal stay too). How do you know that analytics and “modern thinking” won’t be involved in Gorton’s approach here? We will give him a pass on last off season. Let’s see what he does this summer. I’m optimistic about what Brooks is reporting, not pessimistic. It means the Rangers recognize they need to retool to some extent to remain legit contenders. Good thing, not bad.

    Yandle–agree with your sarcasm. :). Depending on the roster construction and what it would cost to keep him, we may lose him. But if we do, unless other big moves are made, that will be a huge loss. Players like that don’t grow on trees.

    Nash–on the fence here. What’s his salary??? $7 mil? That’s a lot for a team to take on without handing us comparable finacial assets? And at his age, would such a move really make us better? Clearly, he needs to be shopped. What he would yield in return is another question. And, while I realize he’s a very complete player, I’m not so sure we would make that same trade again if this is the best he can do. Much, much more was expected.

    Ok, the last comment, I am admittedly biased because of my profession. But while I agree those not directly in the business of hockey (like I guess all of us!) shouldnt have their opinions quickly cast aside simply because of that, I think some of you have a disproportionate sense of your own knowledge here. Yes, we are all very knowledgeable and passionate fans. But we are not professionals in that field. We don’t have all the answers or even close. If you wanted advice on how to deal with the flu, and you had a friend who was a doctor and one who wasn’t but read everything there is to read on the flu on social media, who’s more likley to give you the best advice?

    So, here you go…you have a chance to run the Rangers for one season. But here’s the catch…you can’t consult with anyone except for ONE person. Just one. Your career depends on it. Who are you more likley to pick? A Mike Milbury, who’s been in the business on every level? Or someone out here on BSB? I think we all know the answer.

    Ok, now my “get off my lawn” rant– “Genius” John Cooper. Three full seasons in TB with high end talent. 142-82-22. Playoffs 25-21. A trip to the SCF, a return trip to the ECF with a loss in Game 7 to a great team (perhaps derailed due to injury). One season out in the first round.

    “Clueless” AV. There full seasons with very good but not nearly as great talent that Cooper has (disagree? Do you think any GM would take the Rangers roster over the Bolts roster?). 144-80-22. Playoffs 24-20. A trip to the SCF, a return trip to the ECF with a loss in Game 7 to a great team (perhaps derailed due to injury). One season out in the first round.

    But as I understand it, Cooper = Genius. AV = Clueless. Just checking here. 🙂

    Oh, and btw, where are all the Barry Trotz fans who were just raving about what a great coach he is. He’s handed arguably the best roster assembled in the post lockout era….and once again, out in the second round. But Trotz is great….AV not so much. Just wanted to make sure I had this straight. 🙂

    • Eddie,

      I appreciate your comprehensive response and apologize for being far briefer. There are two things from your post I wanted to address.

      1. And why do you “have nothing” if the plan reported is indeed the plan? Brooks is saying everyone other than Hank, Skjei, and Buch can be dealt (and assume Girardi and Staal stay too).

      I’m not saying a reasonable strategy cannot be worked around a plan of making everyone but those players available. My point is that they seem so anxious to make changes without addressing that the blue line is their biggest issue. It’s sticking their head in the sand and hiding from the reality in need of addressing.

      2. So, here you go…you have a chance to run the Rangers for one season. But here’s the catch…you can’t consult with anyone except for ONE person. Just one. Your career depends on it. Who are you more likley to pick? A Mike Milbury, who’s been in the business on every level? Or someone out here on BSB? I think we all know the answer.

      This statement and the inference assumes that people who have this type of experience achieved it on merit. I assure you, I wouldn’t consult Mike Milbury on anything. I believe that intelligence trumps experience and if I were running a team, I would surround myself with advisors with very specific areas of expertise and consider it my responsibility to turn those perspectives into a strategy. There are plenty of people who have significant power in this game who most certainly do not deserve the positions that they are in. Simply being in those positions does not entitle them to my respect.

      • Justin-

        Thanks for the response.

        1) again, if we assume Girardi and possibly Staal can’t be moved because the players don’t want to go, then it’s game over on that discussion, right? That doesn’t mean management’s heads are in the sand. Klein can be dealt. Yandle probably leaves. McDonagh in theory could yield a blockbuster return. There are other deals possible. I think they know they have to upgrade their defense. Just because Girardi and probably Staal won’t be dealt this summer doesn’t mean they don’t want to upgrade.

        2) I agree with you about merit. I’m just saying that it’s too easy for example to say Brooks knows nothing, AV is clueless, so on and so forth, just because we disagree with them. We are limited in what we know, because we are fans. When I was covering the team, I knew much, much more. Doesn’t mean I was always right, but I certainly had a far closer perspective than I do now.

        Here’s another example. You are on a cross country flight from LA to NY. Suddenly, everyone gets sick because they ate bad fish, including the pilot, the co-pilot and the navigator. Only a hand full of people didn’t eat the fish. One of them happens to be a pilot, but he’s not a good one. He bores people to death with awful stories about his life. There’s a doctor on board who seems a heck of lot smarter, but has never flown a plane. But the plane has to land or everyone dies. Who is best qualified to fly the plane? The bad pilot, or the smart doctor?

        “Surely”, you know what the answer is! I’d go with the bad “pilot” (Milbury) over the smart doctor (you) any day if my life depended on it.

        • But there really aren’t bad pilots. Bad pilots crash and die. Bad hockey people don’t die. They linger forever.

          You are missing a key point here. Yes, AV and Milbury know very much more than almost anyone here. The problem is that they “know” a lot of stuff that is wrong. And the most important thing is not what you don’t know, but what you know that is wrong. Now, I don’t want to just lump AV (a reasonable good coach) and Milbury. Milbury has shown that he has enough baggage that he effectively knows less than nothing.

          And if you had the choice of picking as your adviser someone here or Milbury, you would be better off with the intelligent person that you feel comfortable ignoring than the seemingly knowledgeable one that who tells you a lot of stupid stuff that really appears to make sense.

        • Eddie,

          Of course, if those guys simply refuse to waive, it is game over. The discussion comes with the caveat that they could be either incentivized or leveraged into waiving. But the baseline concept is that their contracts are a huge issue in the current cap environment needs to be at least implicitly acknowledged by management or fans will continue to believe they have no idea what the hell they are doing.

          I take issue with the airline example that you used. You cannot create an analogous hockey equivalent that would involve the urgency and the stakes of a falling plane. Of course I would take the bad pilot over the good doctor if faced with a plummeting projectile that would end my life. But, if I was the owner of a sports franchise, I would hire a JD/MBA from Harvard who has played the game all his life over an ex-NHL player who never went to college to run my multi-million dollar business.

          It’s simply not the same skill set. That’s not to dump on people who have achieved success without higher education, but an acknowledgment that no publicly traded company is going to hire an ex-athlete as a CEO, without it being a massive publicity stunt.

          • Really though Justin, I think that if you were GM, you would begin by asking Girardi and Staal discreetly about waiving their NMC. And AFAWK, Gorton may have done that. Let us suppose Girardi is a firm no. What is your next move?

            Might you do exactly as Gorton did – or would you make the matter public?

            Not saying Gorton asked, just saying we don’t know that he didn’t.

          • Vancouver has a Harvard boy(John Weisbrod) who played the game his whole life as assistant GM, was GM for the Orlando Magic. Crashed, burned, killed everybody on board.

    • Great post! Agree on all points except I have zero qualms about Hank’s contract. You pay your best player the most money and the guy that has carried you on his back for 8 or 9 years earns every dime of a long term, high dollar contract. That IMO is Henrik – what he has done year after year is truly sensational especially without the benefit of a truly elite scorer and more recently without the benefit of a solid defense.

      My only other comment is to express total agreement that just maybe AV actually know what he is doing….

    • Oops…like a good journalist, I must correct when I make a mistake. AV’s playoff record on the site I checked hadn’t been updated for this season…its 25-24 overall as Rangers coach. But the point remains…,,largely the same record with in my view Copp having a stronger roster to work with.

      • One more “oops”. The Bolts loss last night didn’t update on Coop’s record. So to recap, AV post season with NYR is 25-24. Coop 25-22. Coop in my view has had a much better roster and has had an easier path in the Atlantic than AV has had in the Metro.

        Bottom line…both are about the same.

      • Phew. I started reading Eddie/x3 around Yuma, AZ, Swarty…

        Now I’m in Telluride, CO., and maybe halfway through.

        You got any black beauties? Dr. Paul?…

        Wait, Swarty: that’s Eddie’s short post?! Oh ma don.

        • Fotiu–I once had an 11 year old client who like ETG would want to tell me a movie plot & would go on & on & on ad nauseum. His problem was that nobody wanted to listen to him because after five minutes you go into a trance to escape. In fact, the great clinical hypnotist Milton Erickson used to do this as a technique to induce trance(the drone on effect). So I taught the kid abt the precis that you learn in English class, how to distil a narrative to its essential points. I laughed when months later his mother reported to me that “he talks different now.” The kid learned to stop putting people into trances!!!

          • Well played, Doc Ronty. Those kind of breakthroughs and achievements must be terribly satisfying.

            Don’t get me wrong, though, paisan: I relish the due diligence Ex3 exhibits here with his Unabomber-length abstracts.

            Forasmuch it’s boggling bordering on extraordinary that in a Twitter-era/120-character/no-attention-span age Ex3 can still opine at such a lengthy-breathy level.

            I mean, did you prescribe him Provogil-Nuvagil?

    • I am not one who believes that AV is clueless. He is basically a good coach, though he may have critical shortcomings. But I don’t like your Cooper-AV argument. Is Tampa Bay more talented than the Rangers? I don’t think so. The Penguins skated circles around them, controlling play more effectively than they did against their first two opponents.

      Yes, TB lost to a great team this year. The Rangers did not do that last year. They lost to Tampa!

      I see something else besides grit and talent. There is also heart – a team that believes it can get it done. Last five years, the Rangers have fallen to NJ, Boston, LA, TB, Pitt. Every time they understood in hindsight why the final series was unwinnable. Tampa never had a chance last year against Chicago or this year against Pitt, but they probably still don’t know it. And who knows, they may just win a Cup they don’t deserve.

      deBoer changed the dynamic in SJ. They used to fold at the sign of trouble – now they don’t. Had AV been their coach this year, they would not be in the Finals. He would have been the wrong coach. Could he win a Cup in Chicago? Yes. In New York? Ah, that is the question — but somewhere this team needs to find a way to believe in itself.

      • Ray-

        You believe the Rangers gave the Pens a tougher time than the Bolts?

        And I’ll say again, IMO, there isn’t a GM in the sport that wouldn’t take the Bolts roster over the Rangers. Not even close. Let’s start and end with Stamkos. Who on the Rangers can even hold a candle to him? Want defense? Hedman is one of the best in the game. The pairing of Hedman and Stralman is arguably among the best. McDonagh and whomever doesn’t match up. Not even close.

        And let’s not forget the Triplets. Who are the Rangers triplets? Miller, Hayes and Kreider? I think I’d take Johnson, Palat and Kucherov. Goaltending even. Depth edge maybe, just maybe to the Rangers. I don’t see how you can possibly say the Rangers have a better roster.

        I think the Rangers lost to team last year just as good as the the team the Bolts lost to this year. Maybe both make it to the the finals if they had been healthy. Rangers weren’t last year. Bolts weren’t this year.

        Your third paragraph confuses me. Not sure I understand. The last five years the Rangers lost to some very good teams. They should have beaten the Devils in ’12, but they were burnt out because of the tough first two rounds and the Devils had an easier path. They lost in ’13 to a better Bruins team, but it’s true they were lifeless in that series and also we learned later that many of the players were done with Torts. Losing to LA in the SCF was no shame at all…the Kings had a championship pedigree and were a better team, plain and simple. We lost to the Bolts largely because we were severely compromised in terms of injuries. The Pens were red hot and just have been on an amazing roll…and they are simply better.

        Tampa never had a chance vs Chicago and Pit? Seriously? What series were you watching? They most certainly did.

        DeBoer has done a great job, no doubt. But let’s not forget the Sharks have been a very, very good team for years that just couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. It’s not like DeBoer inherited a poor team and turned chicken $&@! into chicken salad here.

        If AV had been the Sharks coach they don’t make the finals? Based on what? I mean, maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe under AV they win more regular season games and have an even easier path. Or not. Maybe if Quenneville or Sutter coached the Sharks, they don’t even make the playoffs. It’s unanswerable. I just don’t know what in the world you are basing that on, since AV typically makes the playoffs and makes deep runs more often than not.

        So AV can win the Cup in Chicago, but not in SJ? Or NY? Ok…uhhhh? Why?

        Sorry, this last part I just am not following your chain of thought.

        • Scenario: Team A is convinced they can beat Team B.
          Team B knows that Team A is better. They play a best of seven series. Do I have to tell you the outcome?

          But here’s the interesting part. Fans watch the series. They think they have learned something about the relative strengths of the teams. Basically on a trivial amount of data totally colored by psychological factors. They’ve learned nothing.

          Now Team A was the 2014 Kings and Team B the 2014 Rangers. In fact, the Rangers were almost certainly the better team. You may disagree, but it is critical to realize that you have pretty much nothing to go on.

          One difference between AV and deBoer is that deBoer refuses to coach Team B. The Sharks have been good for years, but they haven’t believed in themselves. This year they believe. This year they are in the Finals. My point about Chicago is that they already believe. If AV replaces Quenneville, they don’t stop believing in themselves. AV, like all coaches, has strengths and weaknesses. In different jobs, the relative importance of each trait varies. Which is why good coaches are rightfully fired.

          The Rangers now vitally need what deBoer has brought to SJ. Player or group of players can bring it – or a new coach. But until they have it, people will wrongfully think they are not very good.

          No, the Rangers did not give the Pens a tougher time than the Bolts. The Pens dominated the Bolts more than they dominated the Rangers, but the Bolts always believed they could win and made the most of every opportunity. And of course they had a chance.

          Making up numbers, the Bolts had one chance in 8 against the Pens and the Rangers had one chance in 6. The Rangers said why bother and didn’t even roll the die. The Bolts said a chance in 8 is a chance.

  • For that air conditioning problem Justin you probably just need a Frion charge. AC units leak (tho they’re not supposed to) and you probably just need a little shot to get it back. If you have central air check that there’s warm are coming from the condenser unit outside the house. If not, that’s your problem.

    • R-22 refrigerant or Freon is bad for the environment. My system has the new type (R something else) as R-22 is being phased out.

  • If girardi would not accept a trade….and I dont know who in their right mind would want him, unless we throw in a stepan or fast , I would sit him in the stands every day until he agrees to go to another team or the minors…….

    I hate it when players, [st louis, girardi, mets david wright ] dont retire when it is obvious they are hurting the team, make a retirement/buyout deal with the team and enjoy……….retirement…..

    as for av …..he stinks….no change of strategy when team is losing , 3 years no answers for the power play, doesnt dress the best players……doesnt develop rookies,…….

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