Friday, June 29, 2007
Even before he became a New York Ranger on Oct. 4, 1991, Mark Messier already had the credentials of a future Hockey Hall of Famer.
He did, after all, have five Stanley Cup rings, a Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP, a Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, four postseason All-Star selections and eight All-Star Games under his belt.
But it was the work that Messier did over the next several seasons with the Rangers that made the eventual decision to put him into hockey's hallowed Hall a complete no-brainer. On Thursday, Messier earned hockey's ultimate honor when the selection committee announced that he would be one of four players inducted at a ceremony in November.
Also voted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday were former Hartford/Carolina and Pittsburgh star Ron Francis, longtime New Jersey Devils captain Scott Stevens, one of two defenseman honored along with former Calgary and St. Louis blueliner Al MacInnis. In the builder's category, the committee honored longtime NHL executive Jim Gregory with induction.
Of the four players, none could have been an easier choice than Messier, a winner of six Stanley Cup championships and the NHL's second all-time leading point scorer behind Wayne Gretzky. Messier's 694 career goals place him No. 7 on the all-time goal-scoring list, and his 1,193 career assists rank at No. 2.
In two stints with the Rangers from 1991 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2004, Messier continued to add to the amazing resume he brought with him from Edmonton. As a Ranger, he would win another Hart Trophy, another postseason All-Star selection and play in five more All-Star Games.
"On behalf of the entire Rangers organization, I would like to congratulate Mark on being selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. From our time together with the Edmonton Oilers up until our reunion with the Rangers, I have witnessed Mark's incredible impact on the game of hockey and the city of New York. His leadership skills, both on and off the ice, have been exemplary to our organization," said New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather.
It was also in a Rangers jersey that Messier passed Gordie Howe to become the highest-scoring NHLer not named Gretzky, and it was within months of his Sept. 12, 2005, retirement that he became only the fourth former Blueshirts star to have his jersey retired.
Of course, the one Messier accomplishment that no Ranger fan will ever forget was the role The Captain played in leading the team to its first Stanley Cup in 54 years. Because on June 14, 1994, Messier accepting the Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and ended a "curse" that had hovered over the franchise for half a century. That achievement alone could only have been the work of a future Hall of Famer.
"He was the prototypical player," said longtime teammate Adam Graves, who played on Stanley Cup champions with Messier in both Edmonton and New York. "If I could build a hockey player physically, skillfully, emotionally and tangibly, then Mark would be that player. His ability to connect with his teammates. His ability to intimidate. His ability to score. His ability to skate. His ability to control games and his ability to meet the challenge at the most appropriate times in the biggest games makes him the most complete all-around, emotional leader and player that I've ever seen."
Messier's fellow Hall of Famer Stevens echoed Graves' sentiments.
"Mark could play in any situation and do it with the best of them," said Stevens. "There wasn't much he couldn't do."
Messier, Steves, Francis and MacInnis all played their final NHL games prior to the 2004-05 NHL lockout, and were Hall-eligible for the first time on Thursday. While this impressive group made it into the Hall, they rounded out the maximum number of four players allowed in any given year. That meant some big names missed the cut and will be prominent on the ballot again next year.
The group that missed out on this year's Hall voting includes Adam Oates, Igor Larionov, Phil Housley, Dino Ciccarelli, Doug Gilmour and former Ranger Glenn Anderson.
While the selection of new members took place on Thursday, the induction ceremony is not scheduled until the weekend of Nov. 9-11, 2007, in Toronto. That weekend is sure to see a large group of the Garden Faithful on hand to salute The Captain on another remarkable achievement in his legendary career.
"It's great to see him enter a place where he obviously belongs as one of the greatest players to ever play the game," said Graves.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
As free agency approaches, there are inside deals happening as we breathe and this July 1 we will see a number of prominent free agents moving to teams for big payola . Money will be spent and money will be wasted, but picking the right free agents can lead to championship games, so The Dark Ranger offers his take on some of the more prominent free agents jumping ship.
So where do we begin?
Scott Gomez, forward - NJ Devils, current salary: $5,000,000 a year
Due to a NJ system that does not rely on individual superstars, Gomez is more the team player rather than a stand-alone force on his own; he would be a welcome addition to the NY Ranger's first Jagr line or even the second Shanahan line. No one really knows his full potential as a player, perhaps due to the system he is accustomed to. Could be an overpriced disaster. Teams rumored to be heavily bidding on Gomez are all going after Chris Drury of Buffalo first -- the New York Rangers, The Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto, Montreal and St. Louis.
Prediction: I predict the Philadelphia Flyers have Gomez locked and loaded. King Lou of New Jersey will attempt to keep him. There is only a 50% chance Gomez will jump. NJ is his team throughout his career, but if Louie feels that his system is greater than the individual players (as evident in their draft picks and team development) then Gomez will quickly jump for more monies. The vitriol between my RANGERS and NJ is too great and he couldn't handle being boo'ed by his fans, so the Rangers don't have a chance.
$: 18 milion for three years contract coming with the worst-team-in-the-league. Adrian!!!!
Chris Drury, Center, Buffalo Sabres, current salary: $3,100,000 per season
Once considered an underrated player, he has risen to the top of the free agent pool as the overall play maker for any team - great speed, shares the puck, huge goal scorer, underpaid and ready to leave Buffalo. Buffalo wants him to stay, the City of Buffalo wants him to stay - but given their salary cap, a deal with Drury will chase away Daniel Briere. The good news for Rangers fans is that he owns a home in NYC and it has always been his dream to play for the Blueshirts, but apparently his wife wants a West Coast offer -- probably San Jose' or Los Angeles. NY Rangers and Toronto are heavily courting him.
Prediction: The Dark Ranger now predicts Captain Buffalo will sign a four-year contract for $28 million with the San Jose' Sharks. There isn't a shot in hell the Buffalo management can prevent this move.
DRURY'S BETTER HALF SAYS: Daniel Briere stays with Buffalo and commands a 4-year contract for $20 million.
Ryan Smyth, LW - NY Islanders, current one-year salary $3,500,000
Leaving Canada might have been the worst decision of his career. This astonishing puck & goal handler is one of the best on the market, and has made a horrible end-of-season trade from his beloved Edmonton Oilers to that Long, long Island. Prone to injury, he is a sharp-shooter and never made a difference on the trade, but the Dark Ranger suspects that Teddy and the Wang-Gang have to pay him whatever is necessary to keep him there - as the Ranger-hated Jason Blake will definitely be leaving to make a real hockey career elsewhere (hint....60% to the NY Rangers/40% to Minnesota......keep your enemies closer). This time last year, when the Islanders owners were making whacky-packy multiple-year contracts with players (DiPietro) and season tickets were a hearty 25% full, the Islanders were an utter joke - but embarrassment brought them a respectable season, and the enhancement of 'Edmonton's Best' transferring to Long Island looked good on paper. No so.
Prediction: Ryan Smyth is wanted by ANY Canadian team and will command a 5-year contract for $26 million. If Toronto lands this guy, it will be one of the best moves for the 'Maybe Leafs' in decades - he might even provide some leadership for the failing Canadian Air Canada sellout-organization. If he stays on the Island, it will cost more, say 3-years for $18 million.
Jason Blake, LW - NY Islanders current salary: $1,550,000 per season
This little fuc%er was a Ranger Nemesis this past season, unexpected team player that played the net and a surprising wrist-shot. He was consistent, confident and a solid player who always took advantage of the Blueshirts defensive weakness every match. A sixth sense. Hate him. Hate him. Hate him. Jason Blake may become a Ranger in a couple of days, and this one would be tough to swallow. If you met him in a bar, he has - what my wife refers to as - 'push-face', meaning you just look at him and want to do exactly that, but....the consequences would be great. Other than that, he is a damn good hockey player.
Prediction: Jason Blake will command $5 million a year for a 3-year contract in either NY or Minnesota. The Islanders cannot keep him because he wants to be recognized as a world-class hockey player. No chance for that playing for a secondary NY hockey franchise. Sorry Ted.
AND FINALLY......THE PLAYERS THAT AREN'T GOING ANYWHERE.... (The Dark Ranger predicts they are staying)
Michael Nylander, C - New York Rangers, current salary $2.4 million
Will NOT leave Jamomir Jagr and Tom Renney won't allow it. We will sign him for 3-years for $14 million.
Sheldon Souray, D - Montreal Canadiens current salary $2,400,000
Will stay with Montreal and resign for 3-years for $14,000,000
Brian Rafalski, D - NJ Devils current salary $4,200,000
Will stay with NJ Devils and resign for 3-years for $15,500,000
Teemu Selanne, RW - Anaheim Ducks, current salary $1,000,000
Will NOT retire (great tricky agent, eh?) and resign for 2-years in Anaheim for $10 million.
This is a sample that I care about -- others might care about another Anson Carter trade, but here in Ranger Land we are a happy bunch coming off a good entry NHL first-round pick and a damn-good season -- which will be attractive to some of those hockey players looking for a world-class hockey organization, a world-class metropolitan and the best damn venue anyone could dream of playing for.
Rangers! The King Will Return. Potvin sucks! Amen.
Monday, June 25, 2007
IF YOU ARE A TORONTO MAPLES LEAFS FAN.....PRESS HERE!!!!
Now in truth, these are not The Dark Ranger's words -- so such Toronto family members and (sorry tml) Leafs fans (Fabio), the Mirvishes should not take offense. So with that, I leave it to the upcoming season to embarrass our Leaf cohorts and point out every game, every mistep and every goal Mr. Darcy scores on his own team.
With love & "Let's Go Rangers!",
The Dark Ranger
After reading the editorials put forth by TheDarkRanger and his bias towards the New York Rangers I felt required to present a different point of view on the coming season...The Toronto Maple Leafs ("TML")
The TML had a great day draft over the weekend in Columbus. The Leafs went in and came out with 2 great players ready to contribute day 1 without losing anyone from the current roster.
Vesa Toskala (26 wins in 38 starts last season) will push Andrew Raycoft (38 wins last season) for the number one starting role. This platoon scenario has worked well in Carolina and Anaheim for the past couple of seasons with Lord Stanley as its prize.
Mark Bell had a couple of great seasons in Chicago and was a key part in the trade which landed Havlat in Chicago. Mark did struggle with the San Jose Sharks last season as he ran into some off ice problems prior to the begining of the season. Doug Gilmour has taken Mark under his wing and is a huge fan of this 6"4 220lbs power forward. I remember Cam Neely and Todd Bertuzzi taking several years to develop? The Anaheim Ducks took this model of big young Canadian players and won the cup just a short while later.
The TML are deep with offense and defense. I project a minimum of 6 20-25 goals scorers for next season. It will be difficult for teams to stop the Big Blue Nation rolling 4 lines.
Antropov Sundin Ponikarovsky
Tucker Wellwood Bell
Deveraux Stajan Steen
Belak Kilger Pohl
This is one deep team on paper and the Leafs if you believe the "rumor mill" will be landing a top six forward who can score via trade for a defencemen. The TML are also in the running for Captain Canada Ryan Smyth. I feel that Paul Karya would be a better fit on Sundin's wing and trade Kubina to Edmonton (looking for scoring D-Men) for Jeffrey Lupol/Raffi Torres/Stoll.
The TML have missed the playoffs for the past two seasons but will make it this year and be a serious contender for Lord Stanley!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
So tonight we were treated to the NHL entry draft -- straight from beautiful Columbus, OH - home of the Blue Jackets and shamed-former-fired Flyers coached Ken Hitchcock.
With the New York Rangers in a paltry 17th pick in the first round, we got our hands on GM Glen Sather's first pick of all of the first-rounders, Alexei Cherepanov - controversial and straight from the Russian hockey league -- home of Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malken.
It may be a year before he skates as a Ranger at MSG, as he's promised his Communist home team at least another year - also made difficult with the ongoing negotiations between the Russians and the NHL. His agent is reassuring the press that he'll be here sooner.
Don't know much about this 18-year old kid, the upside is a world-class talent surpassing more recent trades from Russia, someone who will fit into the European-friendly Ranger lockerroom; the downside is he has a crappy work ethic -- another lazy one, being referred to as 'brilliant but aloof." Nothing worse than a kid who doesn't honor the game - a punk! But...Sather had taken four separate trips scouting Cherepanov personally. As a developing prospect, this could lead to a wonder kid for the Blueshirts. The Dark Ranger was told that Cherepanov was the New York Rangers' first pick and vice versa. The risk is minimal providing the Russians let him play for New York.
In other trade news, last year's #1 pick and this year's #8 pick- Eposito - is now a Pittsburgh Penguin - giving Pittsburgh one of the youngest and dangerous roster of developing and world-class forwards in the entire league. The Dark Ranger fears that Pittsburgh will an enormous team this and many seasons to come.
Free agent bonanza approaching in one week. Wait. July 1. I also hear Sather left a $12-million, 3-year contract offer for Nylander -- take it or leave it. Woh.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
STAYING POWER: Free agent Brendan Shanahan has instructed his agent to try to hammer out a new deal with the Rangers.
June 21, 2007 -- COLUMBUS - There are no doubts and there is no posturing. Brendan Shanahan yesterday unequivocally stated that he will play next season while at the same time declaring a complete lack of interest in testing the open market though he is eligible to become a free agent on July 1. "I'm going to play next year and it is my intention to play for the Rangers," the winger told The Post by phone from his Cape Cod summer home. "I kind of knew within the first few days or week after we were eliminated that my instincts were to return, but I needed to go through a period and step back to make certain my body was in agreement so I could really make the right decision. "And fortunately, my body is telling me that my instincts were correct. I'm fine. There are no after-effects from the concussion or from coming back from it to play at the end of the year. I'm really looking forward to coming back and trying to win the Stanley Cup in New York. "I want to play for the Rangers. I don't want to go on the open market. I've told my agent [Rick Curran] to talk to Glen Sather and try to get a deal done. I don't want to leave, and if they're not interested in having me back, it will be a complete shock." Shanahan, who missed 15 games after sustaining a Feb. 17 concussion in an unforgettable collision with Philadelphia's Mike Knuble before returning on March 21 for the final nine regular-season games and the playoffs, worked on a one-year, $4M deal he signed as a free agent last summer. Under provisions of the CBA, he is eligible as an over-35-year-old to sign a one-year contract with bonus clauses that would allow the Rangers to expand their cap. "I don't want to discuss what I would or wouldn't do in the contract," said Shanahan, whose agent is expected to speak with Sather here before tomorrow night's Entry Draft. "I've never negotiated in the papers. But there aren't going to be any silly games. It's not a traditional negotiation where I'm looking for leverage, let's put it that way. My feeling is that pretty much anything they propose that will help the Rangers be better, I'll be all ears." Shanahan, who will turn 39 next January, recorded 29 goals and 33 assists in 67 games, only one goal (and seven assists) after returning from the concussion. He registered seven points (5-2) in 10 playoff games while obviously not at full strength. He is enthusiastically anticipating next season. "I'm waiting like everyone else to see what happens with free agents and trades that would make us a better team," said Shanahan, who isn't about to intrude in business decisions but hopes the team retains Michael Nylander while adding a premier second-line center from the free-agent pool. "I think we've got something good going that we could turn into something special."
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
So between Teemu and Niedermayer contemplating an exit strategy, the champion management is in crisis mode. What a terrific way to negotiate new terms and contracts.....
He he he eh he eh ehe he!!!!
The good news is that Michael Nylander wants to stay with the Rangers.
Turns out his agents are beginning talks with Glen Sather and The Rangers Brass to, hopefully, lock up a 3-year deal around the $15 to 17 million dollar range beginning this fall. Financially, more than Sather wanted to pay, especially given his secret deal with Nylander's now-fired-former-agent, and count on the new demands to be one year more than he wants to offer.
Though, when you break down that Nylander scored second in goals this past season -- largely thanks to Jagr -- and he provided chemistry with Jamomir on the first line, he is worth it. We've seen one of his best seasons in the NHL and The Dark Ranger is changing his mind on our much-needed Michael. With the additional cap room next season, the NYR franchise can afford it.
One more 2nd-line center for Shanny to go....then on to larger acquisitions!!!!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Great move by Philly, but word is that Timonen is reaching somewhere above the $4 million mark -- for a second line forward. Imagine what that means for Michael Nylander of my dear Rangers - a top player who could be earning $5 million rather than the $2 million range he currently makes. This will be setting a dangerous precedent for teams seeking to acquire some of the more desirable free agents come July 1. The team salary cap will protect and limit these type of deals, but it does make you wonder how far a bottom-feeding-needing team like Philly will go to improve the roster.
Guess what? The price just went up for Drury, Briere and Gomez. With Niedermayer contemplating retirement from the Ducks and the NHL forever, maybe even the 'Mighty' Champs will be looking to acquire some trading talent.
I still predict Gomez will wear the Blueshirt. July 1 is getting more exciting.
Monday, June 18, 2007
1. The Toronto Maple Leafs need to change their flag. If you concentrate on the white area of the Maple Leaf Flag, you can see two long-nosed men arguing forehead-to-forehead! Subconsciously, this is the story of the team this past season. Raycroft and Aubin having an indefinite staring contest...."Are they going to pull me yet?" Aside from this, now onto real interest stories.
2. 82 games each season are too many. Knock it down by 10-12 games per season per team. It will make the fall games more important and enjoyable --- the player injuries will be reduced and this will allow teams to recover for the playoffs. Each team should play more games per season against division rivals, and reduce the number of games in other conferences making the post-season that much more interesting.
3. Widen the nets by a couple of feet and increase scoring. In the States, this will increase visibility with the general public. More goals. More exciting. More viewership. Professional soccer is unacceptable to U.S audiences because three hours of play can produce zero goals. The science of goaltenders playing the angles needs to be slightly altered. The Dark Ranger is certain this will rise KING LUNDQUIST to the top of the league's goalies.
4. All overtime play should be five on five! Let 'em play! Let 'em play real hockey. Limit the overtime penalty minutes to one minute, as opposed to the current two minute penalty. It is ludicrous in a five-minute overtime to allow for almost half of that time for a bad hit.
5. Three-strike rule, then suspension. If any player during the season intentionally uses there elbows or upper-body for head checks, they should get an automatic five-minute penalty. A third penalty leads to a one-game suspension; every additional bad hit, they double the suspension time (i.e. 2, 4, 8, etc.). If the referees have any chance this upcoming season in properly calling the game, then how often a player hits needs to be standardized.
6. Three points for a regulation win. This will prevent all teams from defensively playing the last two minutes in the third period for the extra point. Lame for the game! The Dark Ranger is mad!
7. In 1735, Mrs. Leeds discovered that she was pregnant with her 13th child. She complained to her friends and relatives that the “Devil can take the next one”, and he did. When the baby was born, he was a monster! She cursed him and named him Marty. He thrashed about the Leeds home for a bit and then vanished up the chimney. Brodeur, or the “Jersey Devil” as he was dubbed, began haunting the Pine Barrens, but now resides in Newark. No more awards for this creature. No more wins. The Dark Ranger has had enough of this goalie-creature wannabe.
8. One referee vs. two referees on the ice? How many times is that perfect play snubbed by a half-skating ref getting in the way? With the league relying on replays for close calls and the league in Toronto calling the close shots in general, is it necessary? Until the League widens the ice, there is no room for two. Though, the Dark Ranger could hover above the ice and strike at will....ah, MSG in four months!
9. Expand the teams! Add Kansas City and Las Vegas. It gives The Dark Ranger a reason to site visit the City of Sin. The teams should be self-sustaining financially and in good 'ole Darwinism, the strongest fan base will survive. When the fans don't give a hoot, No Moe Hockey.
10. Fk Nashville. Trade the players to Philly and move the team to Hamilton! Sold out. Good for Canada!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
So in a nostalgic moment in time, our dear 1994 Stanley Cup New York Rangers coach Mike Keenan has taken up management brass coaching the Calgary Flames. As I understand it, not such a popular guy here in MSG-land -- takes more jobs over a career than Darcy Tucker absorbs headshots in one game (but it's close, believe me!). So I did a little research...
Keenan was unceremoniously dismissed from the Philadelphia Flyers a year after leading them to the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals. After taking the Chicago Blackhawks to the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals, Keenan was forced to focus solely on his GM duties when longtime Blackhawk player and assistant coach, Darryl Sutter, was being courted by other teams to be their head coach. Owner, "Dollar" Bill Wirtz did not want to lose Sutter, especially since Keenan had stated, in July, 1992, that he wished to focus solely on his duties as general manager after the 92-93 season. Keenan lost a power struggle with Senior V.P. Bob Pulford after the 1992-93 season, resigned his position, and was soon hired by the New York Rangers. Incidentally, Darryl Sutter resigned as head coach of the Blackhawks in 1996 after Jeremy Roenick made derogatory, and, well-publicized, comments on a local sports-radio show. Keenan managed to coach the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in his first and only year as head coach, but was unable to coexist long enough with general manager Neil Smith and resigned weeks later, citing a violation of his contract by the Rangers. Unremarkable stops as coach or general manager in St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston and Florida (twice) followed.
In September of 2006, Keenan again attracted headlines when he abruptly resigned as general manager of the Florida Panthers. It was speculated that Keenan had lost a power struggle with head coach and longtime friend, Jacques Martin, over personnel decisions. Martin succeeded him as general manager upon his resignation.
It is clear people hate this guy, in a bad way. Check out Scott Burnside, ESPN comparing Keenan to a cockroach. Classic.
With such a resume it is questionable "why" Calgary would see this bozo as an asset, though better a Western Conference team should welcome him than our dear Eastern Conference! What better than to play a team that hates it's coach? (Well, beating the NJ Devils)
The Dark Ranger bites the ear of 'Iron Mike', chews a little and moves on to "Messier" subjects.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The Dark Ranger
The valley was covered in darkness
Nothing could be see
Save for the empty old grave site
Where the Dark Ranger used to be
Now legends go back a long, long time
When the valley was still young
When bandits, robbers and killers
Rode the morning sun
Back then the valley housed killers
Gamblers and the like
Stories are still told
Of when the Dark Ranger came THAT night
As stories go it was a night like this
Several hundred years ago
When a stranger rode through on horseback
Yet left no hoof prints on the hockey snow
“His horse was as black as the devil’s soul!”
Was the response the Dark Ranger got
If you were to see that horse today
That would be your only thought
He rode all night on The Devils heels
Spreading terror throughout the land
Warning folk to change their ways
Or face his wrathful hand
Needless to say they changed their ways
Never again to return to sin
For they knew that if they did
They would meet HIM once again
Though he died centuries before
They still fear him today
For they know that though he is dead
In his grave he will not stay
Even this night his grave lies empty
Some say he’s on the prowl
Looking for his victims
Like a frightening, hungry owl
Some say he looks like the devil
Some say he looks like God
Though none have ever seen his face
Amongst the shroud of fog
No one knows where he comes from
None know where he’s been
One thing they all agree on
To NEVER see him again
Let's Go Rangers! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)....Let's Go Rangers!.......
Turns out that Chris Drury has always had a lifelong dream of playing in New York for the Rangers and now that free agency is at hand, rumors say that his wife is not comfortable with a move to the Big Apple and prefers more of a warmer climate team -- Los Angeles or (slightly cooler) San Jose' - more bang for the buck. The Dark Ranger thinks this is a horrible mistake, though being 'Dark' and all......I understand family rules!
PREDICTION: Drury plays for the Kings beginning September.
Daniel Briere is an unknown to The Dark Ranger. Buffalo will spend a lot of money to retain one of the two biggest Sabre free agents this summer, and even with the additional salary cap in the NHL this season, management will need it.
PREDICTION: Briere will be second choice to Buffalo as they heavily weigh on keeping Drury. Drury will jump anyway, drive up a 3-year deal in LA and Buffalo is left with Briere - having to pay him more than they should.
The New Jersey Devils may have a new arena in the heart of beautiful Newark, an easy train ride from Manhattan, a private walkway as to avoid any neighborly carjackings taking place below the train station, but aside from not having any attendance, they will not have their pride-and-joy career-Devil to open the 2007 season. Gomez is testing free agency. His family will never have to move. He will play to sold-out audiences every game. He will play for a winning team 2007-2008.
PREDICTION: The Dark Ranger welcomes Scott Gomez an addition to the Shanahan line. Ahhhh........Gomez a Ranger (beer me!)
Funny and ironic that everyone in free agency wants to be a New York Ranger!!!?
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Dark Ranger has learned that Immonen, the 25-year-old restricted free agent who failed to grab the Blueshirts' second center-spot when presented with the opportunity last winter, is on the verge of returning to his native country for a guaranteed contract far more lucrative than the two-way qualifier he'll be presented by the Rangers.
At the same time, Lampman, the 24-year-old defenseman who has played only 10 games with the Rangers - one last season - since his fourth-round selection in the 2001 Entry Draft, has signed a contract with TPS of Finnish Elite that contains an out clause should he sign an NHL contract by July 10. The Blueshirts are not expected to extend a qualifying offer to Lampman, also a Group II free agent.
Immonen, who came to the Rangers on Mar. 3, 2004 from the Toronto organization as part of the Brian Leetch deal, played 14 games last season for the Blueshirts in which he recorded one goal and five assists. Though he spent most of the year with the Wolf Pack of the AHL, he did have a run of 11 straight games with the Rangers from Dec. 7-26, the first seven of which he skated between Brendan Shanahan and Matt Cullen (or, for one game, Martin Straka rather than Cullen). Immonen appeared intimidated playing with Shanahan. The line never clicked.
With coach Tom Renney regularly referring to doubts about Immonen's skating and his ability to prosper in an accelerated NHL pace, there is little chance he'd be able to earn a spot on next year's club, even with Michael Nylander's status in limbo. Immonen's ship has sailed.
Should a worst-case scenario develop prior to July 1 with Nylander (who has yet to hire an agent) choosing to go on the open market rather than re-signing with them, the Rangers would aggressively pursue both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury rather than choosing between the impending free agents.
tdr (thanks LB)
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I have to point out that the #3 headline of ten reads:
Bob Barker takes final bow on "The Price Is Right": Barker, 83, took the stage to a shower of confetti and a standing ovation but quickly got down to business conducting his usual assortment of contests and prize giveaways, culminating in a final "Showcase Showdown." Only at the end of taping did Barker finally acknowledge his retirement.
Though the end of an era in game show history, this is another indication of how the American media doesn't give a rat's ass about hockey in general. The NY Times might include something next to the weather tomorrow morning, somewhere wedged behind lacrosse and the Ozone Park, Queens pin-bowling league. The Dark Ranger does not believe this is representative of the level of hockey fans supporting the game.
If I had a nickel for every blonde-host Bob Barker.....vs. a nickel for every NYTimes hockey story? Sad truth.
Anaheim closed the 2006-07 season with a 6-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Enough said.
Now onto the trade season and news that I can get truly excited by. Special thanks to Perry for closing the sixth goal and taking away all hope for Ottawa.
It was a fun season to watch -- and we haven't seen a team with the most league penalty minutes win the Stanley Cup since the Broad Street Bullies (Flyers) winning the cup in the late seventies (thanks DL). With all of the new rules and the backward officiating all teams suffered, tonight's end demonstrates that "force and bullying" remind everyone in hockey why fighting is integral to the game.
Niedermayer lifts the Cup. The season is over. The Dark Ranger salutes and let the real business of hockey trading begin.
The second period is underway in Anaheim and the Ottawa Senators have to dig out of a 2-0 hole if they are going to force Game Six back in Ottawa.
Anaheim is completely dominating the second period and Mr. Ray Emery is holding on with some dramatic saves....they don't have a prayer if things progress from here. This is the true test of Emery as a world-class goaltender.....which he is not. Ottawa has had a great defensive line, and now they are breaking down. Soon, soon to be over.
UPDATE: 9:25pm EST - Alfredson redirects, Ottawa scores with 8 minutes left in the second period. 1 Ottawa to 2 Anaheim. The Dark Ranger is surprised. His brother-in-law is not happy right now. His stomach just growled and he may be in the bathroom. More to come....
UPDATE: 9:31pm EST - Emery scored on his own team....the Stanley Cup Final, and the overrated Ottawa goaltender scored on himself. Fun stuff. 4:16 left in the Second Period. Hey bro, "Come out of the bathroom....your team scored"
1 Ottawa to 3 Anaheim.
UPDATE: 9:37pm EST - 2:30 left in the second, all of Canada celebrates, except one fella I know in Toronto, as Ottawa brings it to 2 Ottawa to 3 Anaheim game. Bro definitely has thrown up dinner. Woh, Anaheim just scored again....now 2 Ottawa to 4 Anaheim. Clean up, get a hold of yourself, eat a banana - very bonding and get ready for a THIRD PERIOD THRILL RIDE!!! 20 minutes to wait, then....more updates.
UPDATE: 10;01 pm EST - Third period begins, Ottawa coming on strong with the Ducks playing super zone defense. Safe. But then, three-player pileups, desperation, players without sticks , sticks breaking. Outstanding hockey. A nation mourns. 16:15 left in the third, and I predict Emery will embarrass himself and lose 2 more....
UPDATE: 10:07pm EST - Emery loses it! He has lost his will in this game. The Ducks feel the win. Canada must live through 15 minutes of agony. Beautiful re-direction goal brings to 2 Ottawa to 5 Anaheim. Wow. The Dark Ranger recalls The Rangers beating Anaheim 4 to 3 during the season!!! Ah, the good 'ole days.
The fat hockey lady is singing, Alanis Morrisette, Celine Dion, Mike Myers and Fabio will wake-up with a hangover making it over 13 years without a Canadian Cup.
The King awaits and The Dark Ranger knows. October soon...
Monday, June 4, 2007
Here is how The Dark Ranger feels about Mr. Nylander. If $2M isn't enough, then "Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish!" As part of the Jagr-Straka line and though his points would support that he is a huge asset to the team, I haven't seen the chemistry between on the line. Yes -- he is a playmaker. Yes -- he is Swedish. He is worth $2M and not much more, because he is riding on Jagr. Without Jamomir, he is worth $1.5M. For a guy who has been known to boost his team's power play, it didn't help much this 'power play playoff season.' For someone who entered professional hockey in the early 90's, this guy has jumped around team-after-team as much as Hollweg gets hit in the face. Plus he has a small head.
Get rid of him and take a Gomez, Drury, Brierre....bring him on. Let's get this trading bullshit going.....THE DARK RANGER is ready for October!!!