Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jagr Haters? Hardly.

Rumors are abuzz throughout the blogosphere that Avangard Omsk - the Russian hockey league - is offering New York Ranger forward Jaromir Jagr upwards to $12 million to play in this upcoming season, which puts our very own GM Glen 'Slats' Sather in quite the precarious position as he is currently negotiating with Jags, probably looking to secure some one-t0-two year deal for less than he was paying him this current season - with incentive bonuses. Stay tuned.

While we eagerly await our 2009-10 fate of whether Tom Renney will finally coach (for real) our team without Jagr or will he (pretend to) coach with Jagr in the lineup, I thought it was thoughtful to look back at the playoffs and see what the Pittsburgh fans really think of their ex-Pittsburgh Penguin Jagr , when Jags played side-by-side to Lemieux's #1 seating. The very fact that Pittsburgh fans boo'ed him every time he touched the puck this season is a good reading of 'Jagr Hating', but in looking a little closer the reality was very different. (As you know, The Dark Ranger has been accused of being a "Jagr Hater" myself (which I am not - "it's just time to move on...")).


from Mike244:
''I have been a Pittsburgh Pens fan all my life.''
You should be ashamed of yourself saying anything negative about Jagr after what this man did for your hockey team .You and the rest of the pitt boobirds should not be so quick to forget. Ask any Ranger fan if they ever booed Messier when he came back to the garden in a Cannucks uniform, Leach in a Bruins uniform. the answer is NO, Why Beacause Ranger Fans Have CLASS .something all of pitts. needs to learn .BTW IT AINT OVER TILL ITS OVER !!!!

from JGBerc:
I have never really understood the venom Penguins fans display to one of the all-time greats in Jaromir Jagr. It makes me very sad and cringe every time the igloo boos him. It seems like one, people forget what Jagr did while he was a Penguin, I don't. He carried this franchise during some of the darkest days of the Penguins era. Two, people also forget that Jagr, though vocal about his desire to be traded, knew there was no other option. Do people forget the team was in financial ruin? Do they forget this team was in danger of leaving the city?

It was not just Jagr who was victim of the post Howard Baldwin spending spree. Was he not supposed to take the money? Baldwin spent like a teenage girl with a credit card at Macys. Ron Francis, Martin Straka, Alexei Kovalev, and Robert Lang were among many players who simply had to be moved due to financial constraints. In the pre-salary cap NHL, many teams could not keep up with the free spending Red Wings, Flyers, and Rangers. Jagr saw the writing on the wall and personally, I think he asked for a trade because he knew there was no other options. Out of respect for Mario Lemieux, he took the role as bad guy. Could he have handled the situation better? Sure, but he and the Pens were out of options.

Look at it this way. If Jagr does not get traded...Pens never get Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. The Pens are likely playing in Kansas City or Seattle. Mario Lemieux is not the super-hero he is deservedly considered to be now for saving the Pens. We are not waiting for a beatiful new arena. We are watching another team dominate the NHL like no one has in a long time.

To anyone reading this who boos Jagr every time he touches the puck. Did you become a Pens fan after Sidney Crosby got drafted? Did you not watch Jagr play a critical role in winning two Stanley Cups? Did you not have the pleasure of watching the best player not named Lemieux or Gretzky for a decade? Next time you feel like being a dim wit and booing someone who was a victim of circumstance and the mismanagement of others, think about it and shut up. Im done ranting...Lets go Pens.

from GoHabsGo:
For anyone that boos Jags at the Igloo, you must be one of those Pens fans who didn't know any of the Pens' names 2 seasons ago. Jagr's a big reason the Pens won their last cup. I think you should go back to playing tiddlywinks. Bloody bandwagoners who suddenly think they know something about hockey.. ugh!

from The Burgh Blog:
I realize that the following are true:
  • Jaromir Jagr is no longer a Penguin and hasn’t been one for a long long time.
  • Jaromir Jagr had/has a gambling problem.
  • As a good Burgher, I should boo and hate and possibly try to Juju-curse Jaromir Jagr, because he is a “traitor” and because he talks smack about Sid.
  • However, all of the following are true as well:
  • I love Jaromir Jagr. I always have and unless he hunts me down and sticks an angry pigeon down my shirt, I always will.
  • If I wasn’t already dealing with the constant bickering of three very different imaginary self-united husbands, I’d totally self-unite with Jaromir Jagr, too.
  • Jaromir Jagr is a fun name to say.
  • When Jaromir Jagr and Ruutu were jawing at each other yesterday, and Jaromir threw some jesting kissy-kisses at Ruutu, resulting in Ruutu pushing him to the ice in anger … I loved Jaromir Jagr all the more. I love Ruutu, but come on, that was awesome.
  • When the game was over and Jaromir Jagr didn’t just shake the hands of the Pens, but looked every single one of our boys in the eyes and congratulated them with sincere graciousness and a smile on his face … well, I wonder if Jaromir Jagr has any babies he’d like me to birth for him? (Coming up at 11:00!)
  • As suggested to me by a reader, I completely agree that the Pens should sign Jaromir Jagr to a one-year contract so that he can end his career as a Penguin.

from BolognaMan03:
I have never and will never boo Jaromir Jagr at a Penguins game for several reasons, about 429 of them. After watching his spirited play last night and his solid play throughout the playoffs I hope he doesn't go to the Russian Super League next year. Jagr is still a great player and should continue to play in the NHL. If the next game is perhaps his last in the NHL, as he stated, then I wish Jagr the best and hope he goes into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Penguins.

from PSUimu sai
If Jaromir Jagr hates Pittsburgh so much, then why does he maintain a residence in Muraysville PA and rent it to... you guessed it... Peter Sykora? They're really close friends. In fact, Jagr still stays there when he's in town against the Pens. Dateline...1992...conference semi-finals.... Mario Lemieux gets his wrist broken by Adam Graves. The ENTIRE WORLD believed that Mario WAS the Penguins, and just like Evgeni Malkin in this day and age, Jagr stepped up his game, helping the Penguins sweep the next 12 games and win the 1992 Stanley Cup. Certain Pens fans forget this. If you have questions about Jagr... just like the interview thanking his mentor, remember this...

J A R O M I R when rearranged spells MARIO JR.


So with that, there is some Jagr sentiment in The Igloo -- not that us Rangers fans need to cheer on the Atlantic Division during the Stanley Cup finals this weekend, but it was a surprise to see how much support Jaromir Jagr has received from his former fan base.

Let's go Red Wings and bring on the "Sid Haters", a more timely discussion point as the first game arrives this Saturday.


Friday, May 16, 2008

The Devil Wears Prada

REPORTING FOR DUTY: Sean Avery started his internship at Vogue on Monday, and already staffers at Condé Nast Publications Inc. are buzzing about the New York Ranger star's presence at 4 Times Square. Observers say he's involved in all sections of the magazine, including features and accessories, and attends edit meetings. And while Avery pulled down $2 million last year with the Rangers, he's earning minimum wage for his time at Vogue, a magazine spokesman confirmed, denying speculation Avery was being paid $5,000 for his summer job. While Vogue has been mum on the specifics of Avery's internship, insiders say there's been talk of the hockey hard man attending the couture shows in Europe next month along with Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and editors André Leon Talley, Hamish Bowles and Sally Singer (which would be sure to raise the eyebrows of jealous Voguettes). No word yet on if he'll be filing reviews on the shows, or, like tennis star (and Wintour favorite) Roger Federer, appearing on an upcoming cover of Vogue or Men's Vogue.

Not sure I understand this venture from Ranger's bad is the most unlikely venture thus far, but I wouldn't be surprised if Marty Brodeur -- who is at the end of his career -- follows in Avery's footsteps by making appearances on Sesame Street or leaves hockey entirely to become the fifth member of The Wiggles. You never know.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An Open Letter to Glen Sather

Dear Slats,

Bet you never thought some kid from High River, Alberta would become the general manager of the most prestigious hockey organization in North America?........You did.

As a lifelong and loyal New York Rangers fan, I want to congratulate you on everything you've done through now. I am most impressed in how you've morphed our beloved team into a 'once again' true contender in the NHL post-lockout. You've surprised your critics with your ability to adapt to the new-NHL and ridding us with the moniker of "veterans come to the New York Rangers organization to die." The veterans you have added of recent have contributed and added much-needed depth to the team over the last couple of years.

Though, your biggest challenge is now.

Knowing who the free agents are this summer and as you sit in your little bungalow with NYR brass this week, you must find yourself in a bit of a pickle? Turns out the entire roster of Blueshirt free agents are declaring their love of New York, MSG, the fans and leaving it to you to decide their fate. You 'aint called the Big Cheese for nothing, because my future Stanley Cup team rests in your chubby and overfed hands, Herr Sather! Scotty Hockey has some great ideas to start.

Maybe we should start with the most obvious?

As a former hockey player with the Memphis Wings, the Oklahoma City Blazers (giggle) and soon after the Boston Bruins, you gained your own young reputation with a gritty style of play- others referring to you as 'Slats.' Even as a successful coach in Edmonton, you followed through with your antics and no one got in your way. Maybe this is the time for a change? For once in your career, 'we the people' are beginning to see that you are threatened by a similar thug -- one who has become the 'Bigger Man' than you dear Glen "Slats" Sather.

There are times in a career that you need to hire the guy that is more talented or visible than you - THAT is good management; hiring the people that make you look good. You may not like Sean Avery. He probably doesn't like you either. Despite how well you've done thus far, his record when playing for the Rangers speaks louder than yours playing "THE MAN" upstairs; with the big free-agent changes ahead, we need to at least hold onto our team attitude & troublemaker. Until you have found a 'real goon' on the squad that respects you, he's the best and most affordable even at $3.5-4 million per year, and no one can argue that with Sean Avery on the ice, we win games. Plain & simple. I know, I know, Glen - "it's the placebo effect when he plays and if you don't listen to him he has no effect"....yada, yada, yada. Stop your head from spinning, Glen, and do the right thing for the team. For the team. The team is first.

If you were to listen to some of your critics (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here) you'd just sign the f**king guy! Sorry to get harsh, but you are beginning to annoy all of us and becoming a detriment to OUR TEAM. Soon we will be calling you 'The Malik of GM's.'

Back to good news, Brandon Dubinsky with a hat-trick in the worlds competition? Slatty baby, gotta hand it to you in the prospects department as we have more than a handful of young'ens that stepped up to the ice this season and provided much-needed support in some of our lazy veterans. We are all thrilled to watch the improvements of Dubie, Callahan, Girardi, Dawes, Staal and the risings of Bobby Sanguinetti and Cherapanov (we'll wait another year for the Russian).

Take care of our superstars Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan this summer. Respectfully decline their invitations and find some Gomez-supporting forward, another front-line mega-star and add two defensemen (one goon and one offensive-minded). Rozzy should walk, Malik is sawdust, and Valiquette deserves a potential starting position if needed on another team (otherwise, we should keep him).

I will not and cannot tell you who is appropriate for the team -- that is your job. Just be respectful in handling our franchise and, especially, the franchise players. They keep you in the holy-high office, so look no further than your own hockey family as a starting place in re-building the New York Rangers this off-season.

I feel privileged to be a Rangers fan and blogger. Others agree with me. We know you will make the 'right' decisions this week and pursue the 'right' path for our Blueshirts.

Good luck and "don't eat that third cheese danish"...

Warmest regards,

The Dark Ranger (a.k.a. 'tdr')

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/NEWSDAY/TSN/CP: all reported NY Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr claims his priority is to return with the Rangers next season. The reports note the Rangers aren't the only option for Jagr, as he could also sign with Avangard Omsk of Russia, and eventually he intends to return to his hometown club Kladno in the Czech Republic. He noted any deal he signs probably won't be longer than two years because his father would like him to return by that time. John Dellapina of the Daily News suggested the Rangers could offer Jagr a bonus-laden contract much like the one they signed with Brendan Shanahan last season, as bonuses for players over 35 can be deferred toward the following season's salary cap.

(the above courtesy of Spector's Hockey)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Off-Season Is Upon Us (UPDATED)

It is 'The End' my dear Blueshirts. The Dark Ranger salutes the team, the fans and the hockey Gods.

We are officially on hockey hiatus and it hurts.

Aside from the tongue twister, in looking back at last summer, the entire season and our playoff run - all in all - I think it ended how we all expected it would end. Our demise in the second round was due to our lack of defense, simply. We knew it during the season and we wanted to ignore it in the playoffs. King Lundqvist kept us in the game with his amazing ability to 'step up' when needed, but even his worldly skills weren't enough to support an empty blueline. Our forwards were stifled having to play defense, much due to our Tom Renney defensive system - and our specialty units were some of the worst in the NHL.

The Rangers were overrated this season. Plain & simple, but we discovered a youth movement along the way that gives us hope for years to come. The future is looking bright, and one needs to look no further than today to see who might be available come free agency.

Let us assume for a moment that Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Michal Rozsival, Martin Straka, Marek Malik, Paul Mara and Jason Strudwick are all leaving the Rangers for free agency. With the additional cap, that leaves us around $19 million to play with and target until July 1. Enjoy some links regarding 'what's next?' for our dear Blueshirts here (NY Times, pursuing the guy who ended our playoff run), here (NY Daily News, outlining the hard work ahead in the off-season) , and here-(Newsday article and the salary cap discussion).

Below is a list of all available free agents this year post season. Assuming most of our free agents were to leave this summer I'd say we need a 'real goon'(and I 'aint talkin' Colton Orr), a solid offensive defenseman (thinking Brian Campbell), and a first class forward to support Scottie Gomez (think Marian Hossa).

The list is below. Tell me how to fill that $19 million of opportunity.


Centers - Potential 2008 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
Player Age Team 07-08 Salary Contract Notes
Joe Sakic37COL$6,750,000
Sergei Fedorov37CLB$6,080,000
Mats Sundin36TOR$5,500,000
Bobby Holik36ATL$4,250,000
Alexei Zhamnov36BOS$4,100,000
Doug Weight36STL$3,500,000
Martin Straka34NYR$3,300,000
Brendan Morrison31VAN$3,200,000
Craig Conroy35CGY$2,850,000
Daymond Langkow30CGY$2,442,000
Steve Rucchin35ATL$2,400,000
Bryan Smolinski35MTL$2,000,000
Sean Avery27NYR$1,900,000
Vaclav Prospal32 PHI $1,900,000
Jason Williams26CHI$1,600,000
Yanic Perreault36CHI$1,500,000
Chris Gratton31TBL$1,500,000
Mike Peca33CLB$1,300,000
Chris Kelly26OTT$1,262,000
Stephane Yelle33CGY$1,250,000
Mike York29PHX$1,000,000
Marty Reasoner30EDM$950,000
Stu Barnes36DAL$900,000
Niko Kapanen29PHX$900,000
Ryan Johnson31STL$800,000
Josef Vasicek26NYI$750,000
Dominic Moore26 TOR$700,000
Curtis Brown31SJS$700,000
Byron Ritchie30VAN$675,000
Kevyn Adams32CHI$650,000
Randy Robitaille31OTT$625,000
Jaroslav Hlinka30COL$600,000
Trevor Linden37VAN$600,000
Patrick Rissmiller28SJS$595,000
Kris Beech26 PIT$585,000
Mark Hartigan 29 DET $550,000
Jason Krog31ATL$500,000
Glen Metropolit33BOS$500,000
Zenon Konopka26CLB$500,000
Wyatt Smith30COL$500,000
Jim Dowd38PHI$500,000
Jeremy Roenick37SJS$500,000
Andreas Karlsson31TBL$500,000
Craig MacDonald30TBL$500,000
Tim Taylor38TBL$500,000 Retiring
Mike Glumac 27 STL $495,000
Mark Smith29CGY$488,000
Michael Ryan27BUF$475,000
Krys Barch27DAL$475,000
Brad Winchester26DAL$475,000
John Pohl28TOR$475,000

Defenseman - Potential 2008 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
PlayerAgeTeam07-08 Salary Contract Notes
Wade Redden30OTT$6,500,000
Rob Blake37LAK$6,000,000
Adam Foote35 COL$4,600,000
Mattias Norstrom35DAL$4,250,000
Brad Stuart27 DET$3,500,000
Darius Kasparaitis34NYR$3,116,000
Paul Mara27NYR$3,000,000
Aaron Ward34BOS$2,750,000
Teppo Numminen38BUF$2,600,000
Oleg Tverdovsky31LAK$2,500,000
Marek Malik32NYR$2,500,000
Bret Hedican36CAR$2,432,000
Michal Rozsival28NYR$2,300,000
Dmitri Kalinin26BUF$2,250,000
Keith Carney37MIN$2,100,000
Dick Tarnstrom32 CLB$2,000,000
Jason Smith33PHI$1,976,000
Brian Campbell28 SJS$1,750,000
Mark Eaton30PIT$1,600,000
Bryce Salvador31 NJD$1,500,000
Aaron Miller35VAN$1,500,000
Andrei Zyuzin29CHI$1,475,000
Glen Wesley38CAR$1,400,000
John-Michael Liles26COL$1,400,000
Karel Rachunek27NJD$1,400,000
Richard Matvichuk34NJD$1,368,000
Mike Commodore27 OTT$1,300,000
Jim Vandermeer27 CAL$1,225,000
Nolan Baumgartner31DAL$1,200,000
Jaroslav Modry36 PHI$1,200,000
Petteri Nummelin34MIN$1,200,000
Jan Hejda29CLB$1,000,000
Andreas Lilja31DET$1,000,000
Ron Hainsey26CLB$900,000
Chris Chelios45DET$850,000
Branislav Mezei26FLA$850,000
Steve Montador27FLA$800,000
Steve McCarthy26ATL$725,000
Bryan Berard30NYI$725,000
Kurt Sauer26COL$719,000
Joe DiPenta28ANA$700,000
Magnus Johansson33 FLA$700,000
Patrice Brisebois36MTL$700,000
Alexei Semenov26SJS$650,000
Sandis Ozolinsh34SJS$625,000
Joel Kwiatkowski 30 ATL $600,000
Mark Streit29MTL$600,000
Matt Walker27STL$600,000
Mike Weaver29VAN$600,000
David Hale26CGY$590,000
Nolan Pratt31BUF$550,000
Rory Fitzpatrick32PHI$550,000
Jassen Cullimore34FLA$535,000
Alain Nasreddine31PIT$535,000
Freddy Meyer26NYI$525,000
Rob Davison27SJS$525,000
Bobby Allen28BOS$500,000
Dan Jancevski 26 DAL $500,000
Jeff Jillson26COL$500,000
Wade Brookbank 29 CAR $500,000
Sheldon Brookbank26NJD$500,000
Andrew Hutchinson27NYR$500,000
Jason Strudwick31NYR$500,000
Luke Richardson38OTT$500,000
Micki DuPont27STL$500,000
Garrett Stafford 27 DET $500,000
Andy Wozniewski27TOR$500,000
Kevin Dallman26LAK$490,000
Jeff Finger27COL$475,000
Allan Rourke27EDM$475,000
Sean Hill37MIN$475,000
Mike Mottau29NJD$475,000
Matt Carkner26OTT$475,000
Ryan Caldwell26PHX$475,000
Brad Norton32SJS$475,000
Doug Janik27TBL$475,000
Bruno St. Jacques 26 ANA $475,000

Goaltenders - Potential 2008 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
PlayerAgeTeam07-08 Salary Contract Notes
Jose Theodore30COL$6,000,000
Olaf Kolzig37WAS$5,450,000
Cristobal Huet31 WAS $2,750,000
Dominik Hasek42DET$2,050,000
John Grahame31CAR$1,400,000
Johan Hedberg34ATL$1,150,000
Johan Holmqvist29 DAL$1,000,000
Patrick Lalime32CHI$950,000
Jocelyn Thibault32BUF$760,000
Stephen Valiquette29NYR$635,000
David Aebischer29PHX$600,000
Alex Auld26 BOS$600,000
Curtis Sanford27VAN$600,000
Michael Leighton 26 CAR $550,000
Jean-Sebastien Aubin29 ANA$525,000
Mike Morrison 27 NJD $525,000
Fred Brathwaite34ATL$500,000
Frederic Cassivi 32 WAS $500,000
Scott Clemmensen 29 TOR $500,000
Ty Conklin 31 PIT $500,000
Dan Ellis 27 NAS $500,000
Jordan Sigalet26BOS$500,000
Wade Dubielewicz28NYI$500,000

Left Wingers - Potential 2008 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
Player Age Team 07-08 Salary Contract Notes
Markus Naslund33VAN$6,000,000
Ladislav Nagy28LAK$3,750,000
Sergei Samsonov28 CAR $3,525,000
Martin Rucinsky36STL$3,000,000
Ruslan Fedotenko28NYI$2,900,000
Brendan Shanahan38NYR$2,500,000
Gary Roberts41PIT$2,500,000
Petr Cajanek31STL$2,000,000
Cory Stillman33 OTT $1,750,000
Andrew Brunette33COL$1,600,000
Matt Cooke28 WAS $1,525,000
Geoff Sanderson35EDM$1,500,000
Scott Thornton36LAK$1,500,000
Ryan Malone27PIT$1,450,000
Kristian Huselius28CGY$1,400,000
Martin Gelinas37NAS$1,250,000
Jarkko Ruutu31PIT$1,150,000
Donald Brashear35WAS$1,100,000
Jason Chimera28CLB$1,000,000
Antti Miettinen26DAL$885,000
Pascal Dupuis28 PIT $880,000
Todd Fedoruk28 MIN $875,000
Jay Pandolfo32NJD$836,000
Jan Hlavac30 NAS $700,000
Niklas Hagman27DAL$675,000
Jody Shelley31 SJS$650,000
Eric Boulton30ATL$525,000
David Koci26CHI$525,000
Brad Isbister30VAN$525,000
Darcy Hordichuk26NAS$517,000
Kip Brennan 26 NYI $500,000
Steve Kelly 30 MIN $500,000
Matt Murley 27 PHO $500,000
Jeff Taffe 26 PIT $500,000
Ryan Bayda26CAR$475,000
Raitis Ivanans28LAK$475,000
Chris Simon35 MIN$475,000
Mathias Tjarnqvist28PHX$475,000
Mathieu Darche30TBL$475,000
Noah Clarke 28 NJD $475,000
Jeff Giuliano 28 LAK $475,000

Right Wingers - Potential 2008 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
PlayerAgeTeam07-08 Salary Contract Notes
Marian Hossa28 PIT $7,000,000
Pavol Demitra32MIN$4,500,000
Miroslav Satan32NYI$4,500,000
Michael Ryder27MTL$2,950,000
Brian Rolston34MIN$2,432,000
Martin Lapointe33 OTT$2,400,000
David Vyborny32CLB$2,200,000
Owen Nolan35CGY$1,750,000
Mark Recchi39 ATL$1,750,000
Teemu Selanne 37 ANA $1,500,000
Georges Laraque30PIT$1,300,000
Radim Vrbata26PHX$1,225,000
Andre Roy32TBL$1,000,000
Shean Donovan32OTT$925,000
Brian Willsie29LAK$900,000
Trevor Letowski30CAR$800,000
Mike Johnson32STL$750,000
Arron Asham29NJD$700,000
Matt Bradley29WAS$700,000
Branko Radivojevic26MIN$680,000
Wade Belak30 FLA$625,000
Niko Dimitrakos28OTT$575,000
Dallas Drake38DET$550,000
Darren McCarty 35 DET $535,000
Aaron Downey32DET$525,000
Adam Hall26PIT$525,000
Josh Langfeld 29 NAS $500,000
Junior Lessard 27 TBL $500,000
Jeff Hoggan 29 BOS $495,000
Mark Mowers33ANA$475,000
Darren Haydar27ATL$475,000
Keith Aucoin28CAR$475,000
Eric Godard27CGY$475,000
Scott Parker29COL$475,000
Jesse Boulerice28PHI$475,000
Kyle Wanvig 26 TB $475,000
Craig Weller26PHX$475,000

Monday, May 5, 2008

Still Digesting

As of yet I have no words for the final game of the season for the Rangers - we were beat, fair & square, and it was definitely a physical matchup, but perhaps some pictures will illustrate how Rangers fans are thinking of the referees in this series. Most questionable was the OT winning-goal by Pittsburgh's Marian Hossa, which on second look was 100% off-sides!!!!

Gary Bettman of the NHL is certainly happy that his 'Kid Wonder' is moving forward in the series.

Nothing like a little picture-book of good 'ole fashioned hockey - take a look below: no calls against Pittsburgh, and not even a 4-minute major for slashing Chris Drury. I know, I know..."poor baby Rangers cannot take a beating..." That's right, Penguins -- wait until the finals -- LET'S GO FLYERS!!!! You will see it back in spades.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

The End

Almost doesn't count. More to follow...


Thursday, May 1, 2008

King Lunkan Steals It, NYR 3, Penguins 0

If you've seen the movies Invincible or Miracle recently, last night at the Garden you might have experienced similar goosebumps watching the impossible made possible, minus the dramatic music and melodramatic acting (though one only needed to look as far as the Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby for dramatic music and acting). The win last night must be credited and made possible by our Captain Jaromir Jagr (rumored if the Rangers lost it would have been his last game in the NHL), more thanks to our 'kid' Brandon Dubinsky (physical brute and flair) and mostly, our King, or Prince & Pauper - Henrik Lundqvist, goalkeeper of the Gods. Tonight he displayed the earned title treatment as he made up for the lack of defensive strength on the NYR blueline and stole any potential goals away from Pittsburgh beginning to end. Dan Girardi certainly didn't contribute in this game, nor did anyone on the blueline, but superhero Chris Drury was there to play both ends of the game in true 'clutch fashion.'

It just so happens fellow blogger BlueNationLeafs joined me for the game and we were sitting in front of a couple of Swedes who flew in just for the game. The Dark Ranger proudly wore his Lundqvist jersey and during one of the many "HEN-RIK" chants during the night, he informed us that Henrik in Sweden, during similar chants, is affectionately referred to as "LUN-KAN", which means spectacular one. Certainly a better nickname than 'Foppa' which means nothing!!? We have proudly taken both Swedes into our homes only for good-luck-sake - they will not leave if we keep winning!

If only for one game, Jaromir Jagr took the heat (and a shoulder to his face) and delivered on his promise that we all "have to believe that it will happen" and followed through on his promise. At this point, I think it is inevitable that this will be his last season as a Ranger and if last night was the last time Jagr plays at MSG, then my 'having lost my voice from screaming' was worth every moment.

I am absolutely looking forward to seeing more of Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan - our Ranger-'kids', as they kept the flow alive and contributed to the game throughout. With the addition of Chris Drury, Scottie Gomez, and our kids brilliantly playing uniformed hockey, we shouldn't feel bad about the potential departures of Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, Marek Malik and others post season. Whether or not Sean Avery re-signs, there will be plenty of salary cap available to strengthen the blueline (we need one goon and one offensive-defenseman) and find that forward play-maker that the Blueshirts will desperately need without Jagr.

Last night's game, the bounces went our way and we followed through with it. We halted the Penguin-roller coaster and reminded them that this franchise is a strong one - full of pride and greater fan base than any in the world.

We all go into Sunday's game with low expectations -- which is an emotional safe-haven, as most of us had already written off the game thinking July 1 trades already. Something tells me, though, if they win in Pittsburgh on Sunday -- we will take it all this series. Something about the '33 years' myth....

Tomorrow The Dark Ranger will camp out in the deep recesses of The Igloo, making sure Malkin and Crosby get a very, Dark curse during practice.

Cross your fingers...

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