Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some of Us Have Work to Do!!!!! Scott Gone & Dany Coming?

Wow! Things were so quiet this afternoon with everyone eyeing tomorrow when free agency officially opens. I was ready to mock the GM (I'll save that for another date) when once again in true Steinbrennerian fashion, he takes over the NHL front page with his trade of Scott Gomez.

What's interesting is Tortorella's quote from this morning (cue the foreshadowing music):

"As far as the lines are concerned, as far as the makeup of our team, from Scott Gomez right on down, the only guy I know is gonna be there is Hank,'' he said, referring to Henrik Lundqvist. "He's gonna be our starting goalie. But other than that, it's wide open. And I'm not afraid of youth. It's going to be done on merit."

Remind me never to have the coach use my name in a sentence unless he is lavishing serious praise on me.

Rumors are starting to appear that Dany Heatley will be the Rangers' new acquisition.

Oh Dany boy! -- 180 goals over the past 4 seasons at Ottawa -- the Garden goal pipes, the Garden goal pipes are calling you . . . as visions of goal scoring dance in my head.

---Tony V

Scott Gomez Is a Canadien!!!! See Ya Ole Boy!

Off to Montreal. Scottie is gone. We get Christopher Higgins. Part of the NYR salary dump.

On the eve of the NHL free-agent shopping season, New York sent Gomez and his big contract that has five years remaining to Montreal on Tuesday with minor leaguers Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto. Along with Higgins, a Long Island native, the Rangers are receiving defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko from the Canadiens.

Go here and here and here.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Need We Say More?

Casually walking through my West Village neighborhood this weekend, I noticed something that I have never seen having walked by it just about every day for ten years. I pulled out my camera and snapped a shot.

The picture has meaning for those that have felt loss in their lives. For others it refers to something they have gained in their lives over the last year.

Don't get your undies in a bunch, I am not suggesting anything bad happen to anyone -- but perhaps this picture and establishment can symbolically represent a certain player's performance of late and the direction of a contract.

(Hurray up Brian Burke....I heard you're interested).


Friday, June 26, 2009

I'll Give You a 'Chris Draft' For a 'Chris Trade' ?

The New York Rangers drafted a 'Chris' and the Philadelphia Flyers traded a 'Chris' tonight during the NHL draft. One will make a huge difference in the short term. The other remains to be seen.

Few trade deals were made during the first round of the NHL draft in Montreal tonight. There were brief encounters between our very-own-cigar-stub-sucking-general-manager Herr Glen 'Slats' Sather and Ottawa's Brian Murray in getting Dany Heatley to New York (apparently, Brian Murray was seen sitting down at the Senators table after speaking with Slats and screaming, "No, no, no..."), but one trade overshadowed the draft for those of us living in the Atlantic Division of the NHL; a massive trade between Philadelphia and Anaheim that brings the Duck's blueline-monster Chris Pronger to the City of Brotherly Love, in exchange for Jeffrey Lupul and 2 first round picks. Tonight, Philadelphia established themselves again as a major contender, one of the strongest defensive teams on paper in the Eastern Conference. Ouch.

And then there's our new 'Chris'....

The New York Rangers, with the 19th pick in the first round, drafted an unexpected choice, yet again, defying anyone's pre-draft picks. Chris Kreider was the lucky draftee for the Blueshirts, born of Massachusetts - I wondered if there was a slight disappointment he hadn't been passed over for his home-state Boston Bruins. "HEY KID, MAYBE YOU SHOULD SMILE A LITTLE MORE WHEN YOU PUT ON THAT Rangers JERSEY....?"

I don't know much about Chris, but he seems to be lauded in the few scouting reports I've been able to dig up. He's big (6'2", 201lbs), and described by some scouts as the best skater in the draft. One anonymous scout quoted by THN said that he's "not sure there are many guys in the NHL now who skate better than this guy". Eyes on the Prize and Matchsticks and Gasoline have both done previews of Kreider; the former being rather complimentary and the latter being far less so.

The expected number one pick for the Islanders was (and was always going to be) John Tavares, the 'wonder kid' scouts have been drooling over for the last four years (look out Sid). Tavares was immediately flown by jet to the Loooooong Island (compliments of Waaaaang) to meet the thousands of desperate Islanders fans hoping for a spark. With the top pick and trading up for more of them, the Islanders look to be a contender once again.

Two of our rivals improved dramatically in one evening. Hey guys in Rangerland...! We are ready. Make the changes promised in the season-ticket letter. You got us into this mess. Now get us out and surprise us. Heatley would look good in Blue. Redden would look good in Leaf.

You know what to do.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Respected Leafs Fan Counterpoint

I received this note this afternoon, supporting the idea of a Redden trade to Toronto (for a price):

"Nice column Mr. Dark or is it Sir Ranger. We have been hearing word of such a deal via Bob Mackenzie (TSN hockey analyst) as well as other respected hockey gurus. Burkie himself mentioned in one of his interviews, that he is willing to take on other teams cap mistakes for either draft picks and or young talent. Redden who I believe is not that bad a D-man is worth 3 to 3.5 million a year salary. The problem is... he's not playing up to his 6.5 million which would put him in the Phaneufs of the world. I can honestly see a Redden and a first for Ian White and a 4th deal. Helps NYR with the cap (can trade for Heatley... which is been reported Sathers is very high in him) and helps the Buds in the accumulation of draft picks in hopes of moving up in the draft.... "

Once you get beyond his reference to "Redden is not playing up to 6.5...blah, blah, blah" - we know all that...... it does bring to mind some of the ongoing rumors of Marc Staal being thrown into a salary dump trade. I don't like it.

It might be worth including Staal in on a trade to pick up Heatley (or any proven STUD for that matter) as we have many D-men in our system, but....it would be plain sad to not trust the franchise with home-grown newbie Blueshirt talent - a Staal, Girardi, Callahan, Dubinsky, Del Zotto, Sanguinetti -- these are the guys that will grow the franchise in time. Other team managers believe in their youth -- look at Pittsburgh, look at Chicago, etc. -- this approach makes for a stronger franchise foundation, a team loyal to the core and a stronger bond with the fans.

We are sick of buying jersies with the newest stud, later having to throw them out because they wore BLUE only for one season. Keep the kids on the roster Slats and Co. They are 'what is keeping us coming back for more' bad season after bad season.

One thing is for certain, the next couple of weeks will 'lay it all on the table.' Hang tight Rangers fans. There's a hellava ride ahead of us.


How Eklund Makes A Living

The infamous Eklund of Hockeybuzz, once known for being hockey's 'Deep Throat' has made a living pretending to know more 'inside' information that the average 'Joe Beat Writer'. He was at one point so influential that analysts in hockey actually listened to the guy, sometimes effecting the asking fees and negotiations of players during free agency. People actually paid to hear his rants. The mainstream papers reported on his garbage.

Now Eklund is just an 'Average Joe'. A schmuck. A fraud. Feh. Then there is the Globe & Mail....

As a Rangers fan and knowing how deep in the hole we are with salary cap restrictions, flexibility and bad contracts & management (that makes bad choices), the legit Toronto Globe & Mail piece below is a great example of the kind of 'monkey journalism' that employed our dear-old-make-it-up-as-you-go-along Eklund:

From today's Toronto Globe & Mail:

"There is belief the Maple Leafs have been zeroing in on New York Rangers defenceman Wade Redden and forward Peter Schaefer of the Boston Bruins.

Schaefer, 31, was buried in the minors by the Bruins last season because of salary cap concerns. He has one more year on his contract at $2.3-million (U.S.). Redden, 32, was signed to a six-year, $39-million unrestricted free-agent deal last summer, and the Rangers would not be averse to moving him. The Leafs have plenty of salary cap room – $10-million to $13-million depending on the contract given to restricted free-agent forward Mikhail Grabovski – to accommodate both players.

But if the Leafs have interest in Redden, it means Burke must be serious about trading away either Tomas Kaberle or Pavel Kubina. The two veteran defenceman have no-trade contracts, but a window in which they can be traded opens when the draft commences on Friday. “I’m going [to Montreal] to listen to offers,” said Leafs GM Brian Burke."

Now this is the biggest piece of poo reporting I've ever heard, because I'll tell you something.

"I know Wade Redden. And he 'aint no trade bait, I'll tell ya!"

Now if this were to happen in real life, defy logic and actually make Glen Sather, the Dolans and MSG look like superheroes this off-season, even in exchange for a first-round pick, I'd be the happiest mother f***er on the planet!

...but you know it's not going to happen. (sigh)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

iSpy a Stanley Cup!

Here is a pictorial exclusive* for The Dark Ranger and it's readers, in all it's glory. *exclusive until the kid posted her shots on Flikr, ya little shit.

The Lord Stanley Cup is taking a dip in the pool with various Penguins and friends as part of Mario Lemieux's celebratory mansion barbecue last week.

The pictures depress me. How about you?

It reminds us how far our Blueshirts are from this moment captured. Is it conceivable that someone like Jimmy Dolan or Glen Sather would ever welcome someone who worked for them into one of their homes, let alone swim in their pool? I think not. Furthermore, as much as I dislike the Penguins, it did remind me that they won as a team and their manager and owners were with them every step of the way (maybe not the coach...he eh eh eh e). Christ..., the very fact that Sidney Crosby has been living in Mario's home since puberty shows a display of 'caring for a star player' that our Slats & Gang would never have shown to Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan or Sean Avery (maybe the latter isn't a good example). Not to suggest that Shanny or Jagr needed housing, but a phone call during free agency would have been nice.

I don't begrudge Pittsburgh from having fun with the Cup, so in tribute, only once, I will pay a compliment to Sid and his team followers:

"Well done on stealing the Cup, Birdmen of Allegheny County. No 'Diving' jokes for now as we're in the off-season and you are one-year-older than underage drinking. Bottom line is - you and your boys are now swimming with the Cup. Others are not. When September rolls around, I will again hate you with vitriol and rivalry. " (tipping The Cup)


"You Are Actually Number One In My Book, Number Two."

What more can we say, except that this should have happened sooner?

Brian Leetch - New York Ranger jersey #2 and blueline commander - remains one of the greatest and most memorable of our Blueshirts - some consider him to be one of the best defenseman in the NHL. Around 3:30pm today, it is likely that Mr. Leetch will have been selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

It will be a proud moment for all in hockey. (tip the glass)


UPDATE: As expected it was announced four hours after this posting, Brian Leetch and (strangely) NJ Devils Coach Lou Lamoreillo will be inducted on Nov. 9 in Toronto along with fellow former Team USA teammate Brett Hull, ex-Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, who now heads up Team Canada.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lurch For $4 Million a Year?

Supposedly, Nik Antropov is looking to solidify his place on next season's roster by offering a cool $4 million a year for his services. Go here, here for better coverage.

No thanks Nik. Yes...you have the size we need. Yes...you stand at the net and no one is strong enough to push you out of the way. Yes...you scored some goals. But for $4 mill a year, you have to show up every game.

Thanks for the offer. Free agency approaches and remember Toronto gave you away for a draft pick.

No hard feelings, though.


Friday, June 19, 2009

The Bionic Twins Away.....


Who would you rather have on your team in the age of salary cap limitations? With salaries reaching an all-time high and free agency upon us, it is rumored that Vancouver's Sedin twins are looking for twelve-year, $63 million each as a package to re-sign as Canucks -- to guarantee the remainder of their careers as brothers on & off the ice. I wonder what the open market would pay for these guys, which is roughly $5.25 per year -- a pretty good deal for some of the most consistent scorers in the game. One thing is for certain, the Rangers cannot afford them.

Go here, here and here for the latest on the 'bionic twins'.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Going To Be A Fun Filled Free-Agent Frenzy

Here's my list of the notable free-agents that will become available less than two-weeks away --- we all know what the Rangers are currently lacking and free agency is the perfect destination to find those missing pieces (albeit our missing salary cap space). The full list of free agents is much greater than my list, so I excluded a number of players that are virtually guaranteed a spot on their current roster (i.e. Callahan, Dubinsky). One thing is for sure --- I think we are all done talking about where and who Forsberg is going to play for! Ouch...my heel!

Whoever said the off-season was boring in hockey? I think these are exciting times with the draft happening this week, free agency a blink away, and, next thing you know it, our boys are in a military camp swimming laps across the Hudson. I suppose Torts will send our boys somewhere else than West Point!!? Either way, enjoy the list below -- hope is upon us. (I also hope they leave Wade Redden and his contract in Hartford at the beginning of the season).

Here goes nothing...I have bolded players that will probably be on Slats radar:

F Eric Perrin
F Marty Reasoner

F PJ Axelsson
F Mark Recchi
F Stephane Yelle
D Shane Hnidy
D Steve Montador
G Manny Fernandez

F Maxim Afinogenov
F Dominic Moore
F Andrew Peters
D Teppo Numminen
D Jaroslav Spacek
G Mikael Tellqvist

F Ryan Bayda
F Erik Cole
F Chad LaRose
D Dennis Seidenberg
D David Tanabe

F Radek Dvorak
F Ville Peltonen
F Richard Zednik
D Karlis Skrastins
D Jay Bouwmeester
D Nick Boynton
D Jason Cullimore
G Craig Anderson

F Saku Koivu
F Tom Kostopoulos
F Alex Kovalev
F Robert Lang
F Alex Tanguay
F/D Mathieu Dandenault
D Francis Bouillon
D Patrice Brisebois
D Mike Komisarek
D Mathieu Schneider

F Brian Gionta
F Bobby Holik
F John Madden
F Michael Rupp
F Brendan Shanahan
D Johnny Oduya
D Niclas Havelid
G Scott Clemmensen
G Kevin Weekes

F Dean McAmmond
F Mike Sillinger
F Andy Hilbert
G Yann Danis
G Joey MacDonald

F Nik Antropov
F Blair Betts
F Colton Orr
D Paul Mara
D Derek Morris

F Mike Comrie
F Chris Neil

F Mike Knuble
D Andrew Alberts
G Martin Biron
G Antero Niittymaki

F Craig Adams
F Ruslan Fedotenko
F Bill Guerin
F Miroslav Satan
F Petr Sykora
D Philippe Boucher
D Hal Gill
D Rob Scuderi
G Mathieu Garon

D Marek Malik

F Boyd Devereaux
F Brad May
G Martin Gerber
G Curtis Joseph
G Olaf Kolzig

F Donald Brashear
F Sergei Fedorov
F Viktor Kozlov
G Brent Johnson


F Todd Marchant
F Rob Niedermayer
D Francois Beauchemin
D Bret Hedican
D Scott Niedermayer

F Todd Bertuzzi
F Mike Cammalleri
F Jamie Lundmark
F Andre Roy
D Adrian Aucoin
D Jordan Leopold
D Andrew Pardy
D Rhett Warrener

F Martin Havlat
F Samuel Pahlsson
D Matt Walker
G Nikolai Khabibulin

F Chris Gratton
F Manny Malholtra
F Michael Peca
F Jason Williams
D Christian Backman
G Wade Dubielewicz
G Fredrik Norrena

F Tyler Arnason
F Ben Guite
F Ian Laperriere
F Joe Sakic
D Daniel Tjarnqvist
G Andrew Raycroft

F Steve Begin
F Jere Lehtinen
F Brendan Morrison
F Mark Parrish
D Darryl Sydor
D Sergei Zubov

F Marian Hossa
F Darren McCarty
F Mikael Samuelsson
D Chris Chelios
G Ty Conklin

F Ales Kotalik
G Dwayne Roloson

F Derek Armstrong
F Kyle Calder
D Denis Gauthier

F Marian Gaborik
F Stephane Veilleux
D Marc-Andre Bergeron
D Kurtis Foster
D Martin Skoula

F Radek Bonk
F Vernon Fiddler
F Scott Nichol
F Steve Sullivan
F Joel Ward
D Greg de Vries
D Ville Koistinen
D Greg Zanon

F Brian McGrattan
F Steve Reinprecht
D Dmitri Kalinin
D Ken Klee

F Mike Grier
F Travis Moen
F Jeremy Roenick
D Rob Blake
D Kent Huskins
G Brian Boucher

F Dan Hinote
F Keith Tkachuk
F Brad Winchester
G Manny Legace

F Taylor Pyatt
F Daniel Sedin
F Henrik Sedin
F Mats Sundin
D Mattias Ohlund
D Ossi Vaananen
G Jason Labarbera
G Curtis Sanford

Who do you like?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stopping The Clown Parade At Cablevision

Everyone knows that Chuck and Jim Dolan are among the most made-fun-of moguls in cable because of their scattershot deal making, their intrafamily squabbling, and their arrogant dismissing of shareholders. There's even been something called the Dolan Discount for a long time -- a penalty put on the stock of their No. 5 Cablevision, because investors don't trust the duo. But their dysfunction has been overlooked of late as the stock price has shot up. The Wall Street Journal now is laying it on the line -- at least as much as it can using wish-washy language of mainstream journalism -- and calling for Jimmy Dolan (aka the leader of blues band JD & The Straight Shot) to get the f**k out as Cablevision CEO. The “Heard On The Street” column says the company is right now overvalued unless Dolan “as speculated” leaves to run his company’s Madison Square Garden subsidiary, thus clearing the way for a buyer for Cablevision. That's because the real brains of the operation is COO Tom Rutledge, and the WSJ warns that when his contract is up in December “it isn’t a slam dunk” that he’ll re-sign. My own sources say some pretty important people have been whispering it’s time for the clown parade at Cablevision to end so that Time Warner Cable or Comcast can take over its coveted franchises concentrated in NYC’s most affluent suburbs.

Where does that leave our darling New York Rangers?


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Dark Ranger Wurdle

Given nothing is happening on the Rangers front and The Manic Ranger declared professional wrestling 'effin fake', one of our readers sent in a 'wurdle' (go here) created by the url of this site. There are some funny keywords that are pretty consistent throughout the years of posting and this program picked them up (i.e. 'actually' and "little scored").

So, I present to you a little piece of art based on The Dark Ranger's posts. (thanks Brett for visiting the site and teaching me about wordles).


Friday, June 12, 2009

and the seas boiled..... (A humble request of the Red Wings from a hockey fan..)

Dear Detroit Red Wings,

You don't know me but, I am a hockey fan and primarily a New York Ranger fan. I know... I know...however, nows not the time for details. I am writing to you to implore you to start playing a more physical game and secure the Stanley Cup victory in game 7. We've all seen what you can collectively accomplish when you are focused and the equation thus far has been... Detroit plays physical= Detroit wins. I understand... you guys are tired and battling uphill against cheap-shots from Malkin, Cindy and the rest of the sh*tbirds, as well as the refs that turn a blind eye, backpeddling and reinterpretation of the rules by that useless tool Campell and lastly,........... that cheerleading idiot commissioner rooting for his golden boys. To quote Peter Gibbons, "he represents all that is soulless and wrong"... if you have ever seen the movie office space, there's this guy.... anyway, I digress... The point is, the fact they are conspiring against you should only make you want it more.

You may not realize this, but the fate of hockey hangs in the balance. How you play in this game 7 not only decides who wins the Stanley Cup, but what type of hockey will be played and watched from here on out by fans of the sport everywhere. The hopes of all hockey fans everywhere rest with your opportunity to beat the odds and stick it to Bettman, Crosby, Malkin, that toad Tyler Kennedy and the rest of the kool-aid drinkers. As a fan of a fellow Original 6 team, I beg you to step it up and restore order to our once beloved game. (well as much as can be fixed at this point).

- J_Undisputed

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sidney Crosby Multiple Choice

The final game '7' between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins approaches. One particular player (hardly loved by Rangers' fans) will be complaining his way to the Stanley Cup or complaining his way to the locker room. What's going to happen?

A. (Insert this)
Nothing feels better than Sidney ‘the Diver’ Crosby watching the last seconds tick off the clock, knowing that yet again the Cup is not within reach. Everything that thin-lipped Gary promised has been ripped from his slimy little fingers – and the old guys in red & white take it again. Take the summer off Sid, pull out some of your Goosebumps novels and revisit your New Kids On The Block CD collection and relax a little. See you next year.


B. (Insert this)
Nothing feels worse than Sidney ‘the Cup Diver’ Crosby picking that friggin Lord Cup and realizing everything Gary had promised him for the last two seasons. “Listen kid, we’re going to make you a stah…”, uttered the thin-lipped and heartless Commissioner. He earned it and there is nothing more to say – as a Rangers fan, historically registered, but easily forgotten. It hurts in an emotional way, building his confidence for next season, visualizing his taking the Cup prize home for a week and drinking wine coolers from it. The very fact that the Penguins won is taking the Lord’s (Cup) name in vain, as far as I am concerned.

So which is it? "A" or "B" ?


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cheechoo Can Stay Home!

Well - it is that time of year when playoff hockey is awe-inspiring and fun to watch, though on most levels as Blueshirt fans we actually don't care a whole lot. Most are afraid to actually say things like that and commission'ehr Herr Bettman never wants to hear such blasphemy from anyone that adores hockey, but here at The Dark Ranger we like our hockey home-style: at The Garden.

Because we don't care about hockey other than our own, the beat writers are on the wire speculating who Slats and Co. are thinking about during the off-season, who is available and who we're going to have to trade in order to get another "a change of scenary to NYC will bring them back to the highly productive days" player. Here enters Jonathan Cheechoo of the San Jose Sharks, now reported by Steve Zipay at Blue Notes as a viable option for New York (Zipay actually used the words "from a spy out West"....which makes him sound more and more like the bloggers he criticizes).

Here's my take: Leave Cheechoo in San Jose!

Let a post from a San Jose' Sharks blogger last season do the talking (which could easily be describing either Scott Gomez or Chris Drury):

Cheech is under way too much pressure. He"s griping the stick too hard and he wants to score. He's waiting to score, which is making it so that he isnt reacting on impulse or reflex, he's reacting on the pressure he feels whenever the puck comes to him. trust me with this one, I see him play every game and I can tell he's not the Cheechoo we used to know. The other night, he played on Joes line and he didnt even get one point (unless he got a secondary assist) when all the goals scored were scored by his line. But him playing on Joe's line is a good sign. Coach Wilson obviously thinks he can play better and well enough to be rewarded by playing on a scoring line. However, it's not showing up during the games and that's when it matters. There is so much expectation from Cheech that he cannot possibly live up to it. All you can expect is to be disappointed.... Besides, we all know Cheech isn't anything without Joe....even if you don't want to admit it.

Now that is just one Sharks blogger's opinion, but hit the boards and you'll see the dramatic deterioration of goals and assists (see here) over the last three seasons. This sounds all too familiar (see Wade Redden) and as our Blueshirts are in desperate need of a scoring sniper or someone who boosts the confidence and the abilities of our highly-paid veterans, the last thing to consider is another 'once shining star' looking to light it up once again under the banner of the exciting Big Apple lights (and my economy-plagued season-ticket dollars).

We need to focus on the youth on the current roster, the youth of our prospects and draft and seek out the rookies from other teams that are currently being overlooked. There are a limited number of free-agent options by July 1 that will be worth the limited monies the Rangers have left in salary cap -- so this may be the year to build a roster that has the energy to actually play a high-end attack-hockey Torts level of game (including the third period too!).

So let's move on to realistic and smart signings, ok Glenny Boy? Oh, and by the way....one of my spys out West wanted me to say........"Rumor is the Red Wings are going to win the Cup!" I heard the same rumor here. Ooh, it must be true!!?


The New York Rangers officially sign Zaba. Go here, here, here, here for details and opinions.
Good to see our boys in the office are actually considering building some depth in goaltending -- Vally has been shaky and it will be nice to consider new options if/when Hank decides to get injured.
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