TDR is a working professional in entertainment and is obsessed with the game of hockey. More four years ago, this site emerged as a means (or an outlet) to tell some truth'isms about the game post-lockout, rather than the crud fed to us through knuckleheads like Jimmy Dolan and his lemmings universe. Today, there are a hundred Rangers sites and is thankful and grateful to all those that have come after him, but honorable thanks go to his fellow Dark-writers, Graying Mantis and J_Undisputed. And "Let's Go Rangers!"
Bio of Graying Mantis
Graying Mantis is in fact a graying legal practitioner by day (and sometimes, alas, by night). In the cobwebs of his memory, he recalls starting to follow the Blueshirts in 1970 and remembers watching pivotal playoff games against the Blackhawks on a snow-covered Hartford t.v. channel in their 1972 march to the Finals. Giacomin, Gilbert, Ratelle, and Hadfield seen skating on a small B&W TV screens always will be among his first Ranger memories. He is grateful beyond words for the opportunity to work with his colleagues here in their never ending battle to inform and entertain. Most of all, he appreciates the chance to engage with fellow hockey fans.
Bio of J_Undisputed
"J_Undisputed is an Information Tech Professional; a student, and on and off in his dreams, Mike Richter. He caught his first glimpse of Rangers Hockey when an overtime preempted his favorite pro wrestling broadcast on WWOR-9 one late saturday night when he was 5 and he's been hooked ever since. He's been watching the Rangers for 30 years despite family attempts to make him an Islander Fan (Rest easy...they're out of the will). What started as a minor annoyance has become a life long passion (and at times, a frustration...But he wouldn't trade it for anything). Lets Go Rangers!"
Bio of General Ganz
General Ganz is a cynical yet well-informed student of the human spirit. He's a professional of sorts, with a post-graduate education, some experience working in real companies, and some limited athletic ability. The total small package. He got picked on a fair bit as a kid, and he experienced his first human-non-relation kiss in his teens. He also grew up on the other side of the tracks, thereby helping to cultivate a healthy contempt for dreamers and optimists whose rosy upbringing gave them something to smile about, even when "life produced lemons." Like it or not, his only mission is to point out the potholes you're lucky enough to miss on your drive to work. To find the blemish on your daughter's carefully-stitched (and not-yet-paid-for) wedding dress. To take that little smidgen of hope that your favorite hockey teams fill you with, and pour orange paint on it. Oh, and he is a Blueshirts fan, and takes most of his fashion direction from Ron Duguay (whose name he dropped as a way to close the deal on that first kiss).
Try to avoid these guys if you come across them for a pickup game this evening..... especially this guy below -- a demon incaranate that lives in a smelly hole of a city -- where the Devils whore themselves to this beast of a man. Holy crap he is ugly!!!
After a questionable first period where both the Rangers and Thrashers looked evenly matched, the Blueshirts pulled out another dominant third period with drawing the right penalties (and making some bad ones with minutes left) thanks to Nick Zherdev with an unassisted break to the goal and flip for the 2nd goal and the game winning assist to Dan Girardi's game winner in tonight's meeting. Colton Orr is one BIG BAD ASS of an enforcer as he showed Atlanta Thrasher Eric Boulton an actual 'technicolor dreamcoat' after what must have been 2 minutes of uppercuts, power punches and fist sandwiches. Take a couple of aspirin and see you in the morning.
No, we are not dreaming. The Rangers are 10-2-1, holding the infamous reign of early NHL leader by division, conference and 'The Universe.'. Jesus never played this level of hockey!
Knock on wood three times and continue reading....
We have no injuries! Our system is getting tighter. Tom Renney's chemistry set of line changing appears to be working. "The King" Lundqvist in goal is solid and top of the league. Our Ranger newbies are teaching the veteran top lines a little something about crashing the net and reminding them of never giving up. The rotations are in synch. The lines are communicating. We are winning a lot of games.
God on Earth, what is happening here? Doesn't Zen diametrically oppose our winning so many games? Is this the 'ying or the yang'? Damn it, this is a DARK site on my Rangers!!!! Optimism and hope are not something we are used to around here, so hang in there with me. Where is my Jagr and his perimeter pretty-shot power play? Where is Malik? Where is Shanny post concussion? (Go here for the latest)
So for the time being, we are a winning site and team - and based on all of this, we should kick the lights out of Toronto on Saturday! Perhaps it's another opportunity to again show those Ontarions how real hockey is played (with our backup goalkeeper even).
P.S. It must just suck being an Atlanta Thrasher fan!
The Atlanta Thrashers have much to prove to their entire fan base (see picture) as they take on our New York Rangers at our self-proclaimed most famous arena this evening. Knocking down "The King" - goaltender and league standing - would mean everything to this small sector of Atlanta season-ticket holders.
New York Rangers fans can expect one of the more exciting games of the season as we attempt to win four-in-a-row, maintain the lead in the division, conference and league. A win tonight would bring our totals into double digits. Currently, Atlanta is second to last place in the Eastern Conference and they were recently humiliated by the fellow ailing Philadelphia Flyers this week 7-0 - it is guaranteed that the entire league is watching to see if our Blueshirts will fall prey to a team that needs the win more than we do.
“We’ve got to take that whole game and throw it in the garbage.”—Thrashers D Niclas Havelid, on Atlanta’s 7-0 loss to Philadelphia.
There is no better route to improving team morale by knocking down the first-place league leader. Watch out, NY Rangers....just as we approached this week's win against the ailing moronic Islanders, we again must maintain a humble confidence, play the system and never remind ourselves we are sitting in first-place complacency.
Dubi, over at Blueshirt Bulletin, points out "If you're getting a deja vu right about now, that's because one year and eleven days ago, the Rangers met a Thrashers team that was fresh off a 4-0 rout in Philly that left them 0-6 to start the season. Guess what happened? A complacent Ranger team was beaten 5-3 on three early goals."
Hang in there Blueshirt brethren -- tonight is going to be one hell of a doozy!
The chants were loud. "Potvin Sucks", "You CAN'T BEAT US", "Let's Go Rangers!" drowning out any energy left in the Islanders Hockey Airport Hangar, as our Captain made us proud, Chris Drury, scoring his first two goals of the season and the Rangers delivering our third consecutive victory NYR 4, NYI 2. The Blueshirts are an astounding 9-2-1, leading the league in points, wins and leading the Eastern Conference and division. Should I repeat that? Though, with Buffalo, Montreal and NJ heating up in points and wins, it is probable that the playing field will even, but it sure feels sweet for the time being.
For the same reaons we could have lost the game to the NY Islanders last night, so goes our next meeting with the Atlanta Thrashers this coming Thursday. Beware fans! It is always the unexpected games that turn things around -- these last place teams have more to gain in knocking the League first-seeded team into reality.
Is it me thinking we all need a reality check? Our boys do not seem to be playing great hockey -- it feels unreal that we are leading anything at this point, let alone the LEAGUE!!? With an actual working system in place and our coach Tom Renney every evening working on his chemistry set, we are seeing improvements as the season progresses (with the exception of our defense.....side note - "thank you Henrik again and again!") one would think we have more to look forward to....
But we've been here before....feeling like a big shot with my Rangers, but humble.....and small.....and "we can't win 'em all, you know?"
So with the "pull out of our a**" win against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday night (official recap here), our Blueshirts head into our first rival meeting tonight against the NY Islanders this season.
There is every reason to think our boys will pull through and slaughter this AHL squad, especially given the 15-year awarded franchise Isle goalkeeper Rick DiPietro is out for tonight's meeting and backup Joey MacDonald (2-3-0) is his replacement (I hear echoes of Wade from Russia!!?). Perhaps 'wetting his pants against a first-place team' caused Ricky D to check into a doctor this afternoon, despite coach Scott Gordon's insistence that he is doing just fine. Isles fans surely are unhappy.
Not only is tonight's opponent in last place in the Eastern Conference (2-5-0), without former Ted Nolen behind the wheel as premiere coach (fired this season unexpectedly), they are generally considered one of the worst teams in the League - recently pummeled by Buffalo 7-1.
If the Rangers play the system properly and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is in "normal" mode, then all will fall into place. I cannot imagine opening the paper to a 9-2-1 record tomorrow morning!
But then again, as we've seen over the last couple of seasons and no matter where they are in the standings, the NY Islanders have our number and tend to play competitive and winning hockey against us.
The curse of that ridiculous Potvin! Who keeps that stupid chant alive anyway?
New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney saw his past, present and future before him in one WHACK! as he took a direct hockey stick swat to his head, middle of the second period last night against Columbus. He'd be delighted to learn that his Blueshirts dominated throughout, properly rotating and checking and controlling Ken Hitchcock's Blue Jackets from start to finish. Maybe the dent in his head will keep him from moving around the lines for tomorrow's first season meeting against the Pittsburgh Penguins!!?
Nikolai Zherdev was a Blueshirt wonder and an ugly Blue Jacket reminder that Columbus made a bad trade with the Rangers last season, as he earned three points with the third goal and two assists. Dan Girardi scored a beauty and Brandon Dubinsky was credited with the 2nd goal, which more or less was a skate redirection -- controversial - YES - but our goal nevertheless! D-U-B-I-E!!!!!!!
As usual, the Ranger newbies are dominating the game -- and Captain Chris (Drury) is yet to make it onto the books. Without question, all are contributing to the game and in due time, Mr. Drury's dry spell will come to an end.
Short & sweet kids.....our boys are looking good at 7-2-1 for the season - and one can only hope we remain without injury and without anymore horrific Kalinen defensive blunders. Everything is excusable when we win games, but last night's Kalinen line looked comparable to how Tom Renney must have felt right around the 3rd period.
So we lost another one. Ouch. The New York Rangers are now 6-2-1, a great position to be at the start of the season and after tonight's lackluster performance, we are beginning to look like a normal team that has it's ups & downs. It is made worse in that this was the first game against Sean Avery as a Dallas Star and the first game where "The King's" Dallas twin brother Lundqvist was responsible for setting up the game winning goal to defeat the Rangers.
Sean Avery pre-game was quoted on the Rangers Organization: "I extremely enjoyed my time in New York playing for the Rangers. Jim Dolan runs a first-class organization. The fans are as passionate and as tough as they come, and they make MSG a very special place to play and call home. I wish the Rangers all the best.. I have no animosity towards anyone in this organization for not bringing me back."
"High road" words from some guy named Sean Avery who showed up during the pre-skate mouthing off to Henrik Lundqvist, Stephen Valiquette and anyone within ear range of his big mouth. It doesn't matter who this guy instigates. There is no rhyme or reason to his bullying. When he successfully played for the Rangers for a season and a half, he was OUR bully. Now he is someone else's bully. In The Dark Ranger's book, 'plain & simple' this just makes him a PUNK. Everyone has shtick and a hook if you want to succeed in life, I guess. It's no wonder Sean Avery has no friends. He certainly isn't a friend of The Garden anymore.
Yeah, I know Benedict Arnold was a traitor, someone who turned on his people, ratting out the good guys and some of you will say that it was MSG and the Dolans that didn't renew with Avery - it was widely reported that the difference between Dallas and NYR was just under a million a year. Avery as a Ranger on the ice vs when not on the ice demanded his re-signing. You cannot dispute the facts.
I am a supporter of Sean Avery. I like his honesty and what he always brings to the game. But a case could be made that Sean Avery is the ultimate traitor to the game of hockey in general. He follows the money. As long as he continues to find new teams in the NHL willing to pay for his 'on-ice' dirty mouth, 'in the locker room' and his outrageous 'off-the-ice' antics, he will never find long-term loyalty of his teammates, the protection from his team and, most importantly, the honor one gets when you play for a franchise long-term. A thug-for-hire. Ultimately, he will never have a loyal fan base as he is guilty of having too many jobs in the short term, and realistically, this guy will end up hurt badly as someone is soon to punish him for his career behavior.
When you declare your love for the team - you tell your agent where you want to be and do whatever is necessary to stay. Even NY Ranger Paul Mara re-signed with the Rangers for significantly less than he would have received in free agency because he believed in the franchise. Probably the best example of not following the money and believing in the game is the entire Detroit Red Wing 2008-2009 roster -- veteran All-Stars, including sought-after Marian Hossa, all believe in the game, rather than the money. The dumbest example might be Mats Sundin turning down a 2-year/$20 mill offer from Vancouver because he wanted the right team/retirement.
Dallas might have won the game tonight -- they played terrific defensive hockey in the last half of the third period and shutdown my Blueshirts -- but they proved that it can all be done without the infamous Sean Avery - who did nothing to contribute to his team's win. He is 'half-a-Star' in my big bright book and 'an official hockey whore' having taken a better deal in Dallas and deceiving our MSG fans.
Unrelated but just as exciting, The Dark Ranger is penning a new mystery short story entitled, "Where In The World Is Chris Drury?" - so I hope that all fans of the blog will channel positive thoughts toward our dear Captain! If good thoughts & cheer don't work for our Captain against Columbus on Friday, I expect all of you to pre-order an advanced copy and drink heavily.
Tonight in Detroit will be the first real test for the newly revamped Rangers, as Hockeytown welcomes a formidable foe in New York. Tonight seems to have the possibility of being a terrific hockey game between two teams that have stellar goaltending, highly talented scoring forwards and successful team chemistry. Everyone in the NHL's upper management loves when the two biggest hockey markets come together to play one another; as the TV ratings should be the highest since, I don't know, the last UFC exhibition match?
So, back to the whole first test thing. The Rangers have a 6-1 record against teams that are collectively 9-9-1, or 5-9-1 without counting the Sabres. Yeah, that's the hard truth: we are beating teams that we're supposed to beat. The teams the Rangers have beaten by a mere two goals at times are not the teams that are considered "elite". Detroit was the best team in the league last year, and the collective thought among the professinals is that they are aiming to repeat for a second Stanley Cup in as many years. Although, there are those few that believe the Rangers will win the Cup or at least win the Conference, however I don't take advice on the upcoming NHL season from the likes of Mathew Barnaby and a biased ESPN.
Indeed the Rangers are on a hot streak, raising some questions as to why coach Tom Renney shifted up the lines at yesterdays practice. However the new lineup that featured captain Chris Drury back at center and Dan Fritsche and Nigel Dawes back in the fold, produced a "W". The Rangers didn't get as many shots last night as they usually do, but the defensive side of their game looked stronger then it has in a few games. Tonight though, the Rangers will be facing a team that can break the Ranger defense by the end of the 1st period; maybe having Henrik Zetterberg out tonight with a sore groin will help out our Defense, as the "6 Pack" will have to worry about the likes of Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Franzen and the always dangerous Marian Hossa.
It's almost game time and the excitement is overwhelming....Just kidding, but seriously I am looking forward to seeing the Red Wings play. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers match up to the best the Western Conference (and the NHL) have to offer.
Enjoy the game and Test #1, hopefully we'll get an A..
I've been gone for a while, but I was dragged back by the thought of getting heckled by some of you loyal readers, truly a gut wrenching yet striking thought indeed. The Rangers are having their best start in 25 years, but from what I've seen so far, I am not yet fully convinced that this is a how the rest of the season will turn out. I like the play and energy of the team, and I like how the players we received in the off-season are, in the most case, playing up to the hard task of impressing the New York fans. Blair Betts had another strong game he can add to almost every other game he plays in, only this time he actually scored a goal and managed to attain an assist, only the second 2 point game in his career. Ouchh, but not too shabby for a fourth line role player.
Another one of my favorite defensive-minded yet aggressively superb players, Freddy Sjostrom, had a nifty wrap around that luckily caught poor goaltender Marty Biron completely out of position; a great move nonetheless. Nik Zherdev=WOW..I cannot express how happy I am that this guy is producing points so early in the season, it is awe inspiring to see him take charge of his career in New York, and I do see a BRIGHT future for him on Broadway.
So what does this 4-0 record prove? Almost nothing, except that the team is showing good signs of chemistry and scoring potential, while keeping the defensive zone and goalie area very well covered. On another positive note, the Rangers are in fact getting league wide recognition for their defensive zone trapping system and always have players in opponents passing lanes, a tough system to breach, don't ya think? Well, I do, and that's why I have hope instilled in my heart that this team can keep up their winning ways and continue on this path of seemingly good play. I do know that there is a long, long, long way to go in this season, and yet I can't get the vision of the Rangers playing in the Conference finals out of my head while simultaneously believing that this will all be over by the end of the weekend.
Word- oh yea, isn't that a great pic of our two goalies? It's as if it symbolizes the great relationship between Henrik and Stephan.
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