Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cablevision To Spin Off MSG

via CBS Sports.
Cablevision Systems Corp. said Thursday that its board has approved a plan to spin off as a separate company its Madison Square Garden business, owner of the New York Knicks, Rangers and the famed sports arena where they play.

In a widely anticipated move, the Bethpage, N.Y.-based company said the unit will be spun off to existing shareholders by the end of the year. The Dolan family, which controls Cablevision through a special class of shares, will retain control of the new company. More here.

So what else is new? Saw this one coming a mile away.


I Am A Dark Ranger!

So, with little to look forward to over the next couple of weeks in Blueshirtland - with the exception of the much anticipated arbitration day for that overpriced Russian kid Friday - The Dark Ranger has decided to escape to Paris for a couple of weeks.

So, no posts from me criticizing the texture and quality of the new jerseys, no posts mentioning Dany Heatley, Brad Richards, Brendan Shanahan at camp, Gaborik's potential for injury, or Sean Avery's bar downtown. My dear readers, you need a break from 'tdr', but don't count out our residents J_Undisputed and Graying Mantis - who have always been there if there's 'news worth reporting'.

But before I depart, I'd like to invite you all to check out our new site, I AM A DARK RANGER - a counterpoint to what the folks at The Garden would like us to see -- hopefully, a place that the readers of DARK can contribute and playfully make fun of our beloved Blueshirts.

If you want a FREE PIN & STICKERS with I AM A DARK RANGER, drop us your name & address ( ) and AT NO COST TO YOU, you'll receive them at the end of the month. Wear them to the games and we'll TAKE BACK THE GARDEN!

Let's Go Dark Rangers and have a great August. See you in a couple of weeks.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

'A Wolf In Wolf's Clothing' Named Brashear

The criticism of Donald Brashear must come to an end.

We know what and who he is and he will serve an important purpose on the Rangers roster this season.

For fans of professional hockey in North America, Donald Brashear is an imposing 6-foot-3, 235-pound forward, one of the sport's most recognizable enforcers, a man whose skating and stick skills have been dwarfed by his ability to pummel opponents with his fists.

For now, he is wearing Blue on Broadway for the next two seasons and is the NYR resident enforcer. Not since before the lockout has the Rangers had a full-fledged fear-factor on the roster; we’ve had years of watching our star players get destroyed without collegial retaliation - let us not forget Jaromir Jagr getting man-handled year-after-year without anyone stepping in to send the right message. Let us not forget that Tom Renney relied on rookie enforcers and the NHL’s new rules to referee the physical misdeeds of the game.

We have watched Colton Orr grow into our enforcer over the last couple of seasons – it has been fun getting to know him, to watch his early Rangers years ‘enforcer-training’ getting his ass kicked to becoming a more confident low-salary-cap-eating player who had his heart in the game first. This past year he became a hard-working, okay-dokey hockey player, but mostly, a solid enforcing fighter. The new coach didn't like his level of play, so he left for free agency. What now Rangers fans?

We get one of the scariest of enforcers on the team during free agency, though Rangers' media and bloggers have spent the last three weeks labeling him a criminal, unwilling to accept the signing to our beloved Blueshirts. They have seen this as a bad thing and yearn for the Orr days of past and refuse to accept the ‘free agent Tortorella deterrent’ named Donald Brashear because he’s too brutal.

3 words: Get Over It!

For the redundant background, if you recall during our 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the April 26, 2009 game against Washington, Caps enforcer Brashear was given a 6-game suspension for both a pre-game altercation with NYR enforcer Colton Orr and a very obvious late hit on Rangers center Blair Betts (of which Betts suffered an orbital eye socket fracture as a result of the hit). Not cool.

But all is fair in 'love & war', as this past month Brashear agreed to a free-agent contract with the Blueshirts for two-years at @$1.2 million per year to fill our need of an enforcer after Colton Orr signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for four years at just over four million dollars.

After the altercation with the Rangers in the previous post season, NYR General Manager Glen Sather was asked why he chose to sign Brashear. He said, "Donald is a great player and we need a guy to fill the tough role. He is a tough guy and the man we need. He certainly will be the man his teammates can go to and I have no doubts in my mind his new teammates will accept him."

This I do not doubt, as for many hockey fans, “the fist” is an essential part of the game. Sean Avery has been an important component of the verbal necessity in the game, and distracted our opponents in a mental and physical fashion --- and in some strange way, he satisfied the fans need for blood & smack-talk (excluding crude non-hockey ex-girlfriend comments) and he won over the fans because his antics helped us to win games. He is our on-ice verbal enforcer. Donald Brashear, on the other hand (the left one specifically) serves the physical necessity in the game and distracts our opponents through fear and force. He is on the ice to protect our key players. He is our on-ice physical villain. He, too, will help us win games. No one can dispute this.

Every New York Rangers fan should expect our first home game against Ottawa to be an 'all-out fist-ballet' between Chris Neil and our very own Donald Brashear, and the Don will win in the eyes of Rangers’ fans everywhere. This has to happen and Donald knows he needs to win over those blood-thirsting 300 & 400 section die-hards. Just as Shanny dropped his gloves to then Washington Caps Brashear to win the hearts of the Garden faithful seasons ago, “The Donald” will find his audience in NYC. Some critics and purists will continue to curse his name and label him, but when it all comes down to it – we know what he is and he is one that we’d rather have on our team than face him with fists flying. This is a guy who has trained with boxing legend Joe Frazier and continues to train with legendary UFC Champion James “Hoss” Skelton.

As Donald Brashear was quoted as saying during this year’s playoffs, "To tell you the truth, I never liked fighting. I always wanted to be the type of player that plays hard, hits, body checks and scores some goals. But that's not what they wanted me to be."

And we wouldn’t want him to be anything other than what he is. Our enforcer.

The Dark Ranger embraces “The Donald” with a platonic, non-threatening bear-hug and welcomes this thug as ‘our thug’. Onward…


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rangers Regular Season Announced

The Rangers open the 2009-201 regular season in Pitt on October 2 and then open home schedule next night vs Ottawa in back-to-back.

Press release here.

Direct link to the schedule here.

Quick thoughts:

Opening night in Pittsburgh to watch the Stanley Cup Flag get hoisted. I wonder how close any of these Rangers will ever get to participating in such a ceremony.

Home opener is vs. Ottawa -- how bizarre would it be for the Rangers to have Heatley in their lineup for that one?

The overall schedule is compressed because of the Olympics' 15 day break. Looks like 7 games in first 12 days with 2 back-to-backs.

The Rangers have 14 games in October. Overall, they will have 13 back-to-back sets (including the opening 2 games).

Rangers have a 6 game road trip and seven 3-game homestands. So there will be less traveling during the season which will be a good thing for the team to rest and to work on things that may be out of sorts (PP and/or PK especially).

Pacific division teams are visiting MSG.

Prucha returns with the Coyotes on October 26.

Red Wings pay a visit on December 6.

Rangers conclude regular season with a back-to-back series vs. Philly. Who knows how important those games may be this time. . . .

--- Tony

What, no trip to mars on the space shuttle to play for The Intergalactic Supremacy Cup?

THE 2009-2010 Schedule is here.

And our first game is against those Cup smuggling B*tches from Sh*tsburgh. Nice, we get to sit through 30 minutes of them raising their cup banner and little Cindy doing his teary eyed prom queen acceptance speech to the delight of their obnoxious (mostly)fans and their cheerleading douche of a Commissioner. So set your Tivo's and don't miss this chance to witness the circus that surrounds the success of Bettman's "product"!!!!

The rest of will join you shortly after @ 7:30 when hockey (well, the diving, slew footing,headhunting and penalty dodging-- we are playing the Pens afterall) starts.

Some dates of Interest...

*Mon Oct 12, 2009 Maple Leafs @ Rangers 7:00 PM
- Possible Return of Colton Orr (Bout with Brashear?)
*Thu Oct 22, 2009 Devils @ Rangers
- Return of the Lemaires Devils & the Trap. Bring a pillow. zzz....
*Sat Oct 24, 2009 Rangers @ Canadiens 7:00 PM
- First look at the overhauled Habs Team and Gomez/Mara's shot at revenge?
*Wed Oct 28, 2009 Rangers @ Islanders 7:00 PM
- Look at the highly regarded Taveres
*Fri Oct 30, 2009 Rangers @ Wild 8:00 PM
- Gabbys return to Minnesota -- if he lasts that long
*Thu Nov 5, 2009 Rangers @ Oilers 9:30 PM
- Tom Renney's first chance to send a dozen pizzas to our hotel room as a prank.
*Tue Nov 17, 2009 Capitals @ Rangers 7:00 PM
- First time playing Cap since we got hosed in the playoffs. Brashears Reunion.
*Wed Dec 30, 2009 Flyers @ Rangers 7:00 PM
- First time we play the Fly girls and Chris Prongers Elbow.
*Thu Mar 18, 2010 Blues @ Rangers 7:00 PM
-Annual Visit from JD-- can I get a "Whoah baby..."?

- J

Could Broadway be calling again?

There seem to be some rumors circulating out of Philly that Brendan Shanahan not accepting an offer from the Flyers, saying the he will play for the Devils or Rangers. Who knows if this is pure speculation on Shanny's behalf that either club is in the market for his services after deciding to play one more season or.. if he has indeed spoken to Reps from each club that have confirmed the interest.

The proverbial door swings open yet again? It wasn't too long ago that Shanny seemed to be getting the runaround from Sather on whether or not he could be signed to play in New York. Finally after missing half a season, Shanny returned to where he started... in Jersey. (Forgive us, Shanny). It remains to be seen if we have actually shown interest... but in the interest of getting the most of my door analogy (humor me, I'm still in the deep stages of Hockey withdrawal)... I will say the door swings both ways.

- On the negative side. Yet another year older, Shanny's hardly built for the fast paced attack style that Torts is pushing in an effort to get some offense out of this club. There will be young legs abound in camp and perhaps a seemingly endless amount of energy. Hardly a comfort zone for the aging vet. Plus could you really imagine Brashears and Shanny swapping recipes while gearing up for the game?

- On the positive side. With all the young legs, come young minds... and a veteran presence could be the best thing for the development of these young kids. Now I would like to say we have plenty of that.. but I can't really do so with a straight face as I recall the endless string of clutch jokes and sarcasm that trailed Drury like a Rattling Chain in the afterlife. Ever since, captain clutch made the infamous, "I won't let a losing streak ruin my holiday" remark... Many fans have turned on the somewhat timid captain. That leaves just 7 million dollars worth of Wade Reddens leadership influence and veteran presence *wince* and our newest role model, Mr. Brashear. We have a hard coach that wants honesty and gives honesty (however painful) to his players. If theres one thing, you could count on Shanny for, it was an honest assessment in the post game. Could Shanny be Broadway's answer to Tort's Tampa version of Andreychuk? Who knows? When the dust clears on this season, I say it would great to have someone like Shanny in the organization bringing these kids along after this season. Not in the swell guy sense, that we have Ranger Alumni staples Gilbert, Graves, Dugay and others... but in the Hockey sense. Not that the formers don't have the hockey sense, but they have been long removed from the ice and their personas have overshadowed their once legendary desire and hunger for a Stanley Cup. I think Shannys got a lot to teach and pass on from his mentoring under Bowman and others. Perhaps the 1 Million, it would take to give him the head start of a season on the ice (limited TOI, of course) with these kids, will be worth it in the long run.

- J

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Preseason Schedule Announced

A sign that autumn is in the future. . . .

HOME GAMES -- All are 7:00 p.m. starts

Sept. 15 Bruins

Sept. 21 Red Wings

Sept. 24 Capitals

Sept. 16 Devils in Newark
Sept. 18 Red Wings in Detroit
Sept. 19 Bruins in Boston
Sept. 27 Capitals in D.C.

Tomorrow -- NHL regular season schedule is announced.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ryan Is "In" & Lauri Is "Out"

Readers of Dark....this just in.

Ryan Callahan is in....

Associated Press
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are bringing back forward Ryan Callahan, coming to terms with the restricted free agent on a multiyear deal.The deal was announced Monday by the Rangers, who were scheduled to have an arbitration hearing with Callahan on July 23.The 24-year-old right winger set career highs with 22 goals, 40 points and 81 games played last season.Callahan ranked second on the team with a career-high 237 shots, first with a plus-7 rating and fourth in goals. He was tops on the Rangers and fourth in the NHL with 256 hits.He reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his three seasons and tied for the team lead with two goals in New York's first-round playoff loss to the Washington Capitals. In 147 NHL regular-season games, Callahan has 34 goals and 25 assists.The Rochester, N.Y., native was one of 34 players invited to next month's U.S. Olympic hockey orientation camp.The Rangers also announced Monday that they agreed to terms with 23-year-old goalie Chad Johnson, acquired from Pittsburgh at last month's NHL draft.

And Lauri Korpikoski is out.

Associated Press
The New York Rangers have traded Finnish left winger Lauri Korpikoski to the Phoenix Coyotes for Russian right winger Enver Lisin.The deal was announced Monday in Glendale, where the Coyotes are being funded by the NHL while a U.S. Bankruptcy Court determines who will own the team.Korpikoski, 22, played in 68 games as a rookie for the Rangers last season and had six goals and eight assists. He added two assists in New York's seven-game loss to Washington in the first round of the playoffs.Korpikoski was New York's first-round draft pick in 2004, the 19th choice overall.

Lisin, 23, was a third-round pick of the Coyotes in 2004, recorded 13-8-21 and 24 PIM in 48 games with the Coyotes last season. In 78 career NHL games, all with the Coyotes, Lisin has registered 18-10-28 and 46 PIM.

The Rangers also announced Monday that they agreed to terms with 23-year-old goalie Chad Johnson, acquired from Pittsburgh at last month's NHL draft.


Ryan Callahan is Coach John Tortorella's favorite player on the team, with the exception of Henrik Lundqvist, and it was inevitable that a deal would be made prior to the scheduled salary arbitration hearing. He is a strong hard working fast-skating hitting machine, not to mention he can put the puck in the net....a lot for a newbie. No terms were announced at the writing of this post (11:20pm), so I would guess his 2-year term is in the $2.5 - 3M range total. Throw me your guestimate....

This is a short-term sad day for those of us familiar with Korpokoski's potential as a Ranger -- one of the hardest working guys with this new Torts system -- I appreciate the relationship NYR management has with a losing, bankrupt, unsellable franchise and I am not familiar with Lisin's level of play, but I cannot imagine that Korps would have cost the Rangers a lot to keep him on the squad this season. I hope this Coyote bozo has the chops --- I like his PIM stats from last year. Obviously a little muscle has been added to the team.

And who said there wasn't much happening in Ranger-land? Good-night.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gaborik Looked Healthy This Game

Well fellow Rangers fans, time to get pumped! It's been a long season without a goal scorer, and if we experience a healthy Gaborik this upcoming season we could experience a new love for our Blueshirts.

I remember this game -- I didn't like it one bit. How differently I now feel with him wearing Blue.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Grizzly Bear Moves North -- Habs Nab Mara

Just announced today. Very sad. I will miss him but room must be made for the youngsters.

One year contract. No financial terms disclosed.

In Wikipedia, this should be the picture accompanying the entry "PLAYOFF Beard."

Paul bear-hugging Clarkson into submission.

Mara showing Alex Tanguay how much he will enjoy being his teammate.

Canadian teams raided the Rangers for Mara and Orr.

---Tony V

In other news, the Flyers lost Antero Niittymaki (which was a foregone conclusion) as he ends up with Tampa Bay. No terms announced at this time. He will compete with Mike Smith for the #1 goalie position. Smith missed the final half of the season with a concussion.

The Devils picked up a backup to replace Clemmenson by taking Yann Danis from the Isles. No financial terms announced. Dannis probably earned a bundle of Metro-North frequent rail miles with his numerous trips to Bridgeport during the past season. Provided that Brodeur is healthy, Danis will be a capable backup.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ales Kotalik: Courtesy of Outside the Rink

Bargain Price on Kotalik..

The New York Rangers signed forward Ales Kotalik to a three-year, $9 million contract on Thursday. The 30-year old split last season between the Buffalo Sabres and the Edmonton Oilers, putting up 20 goals and 23 assists.

In the 2005-06 with the Sabres, Kotalik had his best season in the NHL, scoring 25 goals and adding 37 assists. The 6'1, 227-pound native of the Czech Republic was selected 164th overall by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

At least we can now start piecing together a few of our lines for next season. Let's say we don't sign a center and and we were starting the season tomorrow:

Avery-Anisimov-Zherdev(? Korp)
Brashear-Boyle-Voros(? Rookie)

Now, as unappealing as that looks right now, one must assume that Sather is trying to spread the talent around so that our opponents don't just have to focus on shutting down Gaborik to get the 'W'. With at least two solid lines that can score, any way you look at it, Gaborik should have enough space to put 40 or so in the net. Not a bad outlook, considering free agency isn't over, the season isn't starting tomorrow, and we still have King Lundy holding down the fort. Also, you can't count out the trade rumor that keeps popping up: Zherdev, Roszival for Heatley..Wow, I don't care about the cap hit Heatley would bring on, because that squad would be so much fun to watch. Especially since we won't miss Fatty, I mean Roszy back there..I would much rather see Sanguinetti or Potter for that matter gaining experience and earning far less as well as having Heatley and Gaborik up front.

Of course this is all speculation at this point, but one cannot argue that the Blueshirts will have a different look and game altogether next season, and whatever happens, it should at least be extraordinarily entertaining watching them compete.


Kotalik a Ranger

Yes, you heard it here first on the Darkest Gotham site out there. Ales Kotalik, a talented winger who has averaged over 20 goals per season over the last four seasons with Buffalo and the Oilers, has signed on to play wing for the Blueshirts. Details to follow...


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brian Boyle The Ranger

Rangers Report says:


New York, July 8, 2009 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Brian Boyle.

Boyle, 24, was acquired by the Rangers on June 27 from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Boyle appeared in 28 games with the Kings last season, registering four goals and one assist for five points, along with 42 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in games played (28) and penalty minutes (42). Boyle notched three goals in a four-game span from March 28 at Nashville to April 4 vs. Phoenix. He also skated in 42 games with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League (AHL), recording 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points, along with 73 penalty minutes. He collected two points (one goal and one assist) in his season debut with the Monarchs on December 5 vs. Worcester. In addition, Boyle posted two, four-game scoring streaks – December 13 vs. Providence to December 17 at Manitoba (one goal and four assists) and March 4 vs. Springfield to March 8 at Worcester (two goals and two assists).

The 6-7, 252-pounder has skated in 36 career NHL games with Los Angeles, recording eight goals and two assists for 10 points, along with 46 penalty minutes. He registered two points (one goal and one assist) and a plus-two rating in his NHL debut on February 2, 2008 at New Jersey. Boyle has also appeared in 114 career AHL contests with Manchester, collecting 41 goals and 42 assists for 83 points, along with 162 penalty minutes. In 2007-08, he established AHL career-highs in games played (70), goals (31), assists (31), points (62), and penalty minutes (87). That year, he led the Monarchs in goals, ranked second on the team in points and fourth in assists. His 31 goals also led all AHL rookies and ranked 10th in the league overall, while he finished second in the league among rookies with 62 points. Boyle also tallied three goals and five assists for eight points in 16 postseason contests with Manchester during the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Hingham, MA native was originally Los Angeles’ first round choice, 26th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Rangers Sign Murray Heatley!

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with retired and aging WHA free agent Murray Heatley.

Of course this hasn't happened, but maybe Slats & Co. should start thinking about how to truly get the much ridiculed and mocked Ottawa Senator left-winger Dany Heatley in a Rangers uniform this season.

Sign his Dad, Murray Heatley.

What Daddy says, Dany does. Where Daddy says to go, Dany goes (see Eric Lindros). Some suggest that it is Father Heatley that has decided that his ideas of how to play his son conflict with Senator's management, which has led to this cluster-f**k of a negotiation.

While Senators GM Bryan Murray has maintained the price has gone up after the unhappy winger refused to waive his no-movement clause to be dealt to the Edmonton on July 1, Heatley's Calgary-based agent J.P. Barry has said his client hasn't closed the door on playing for the Oilers or the New York Rangers. Receiving more than appropriate criticism for the way things have been handled, J.P. Barry apparently is following the rules of the player's association and they have done nothing wrong.

That is...except, piss off every single ticket buying patron in Ottawa, piss off every player in his own locker room and embarrass the NHLPA.

A trade of Nik Zherdev and Rozsival plus a couple of draft picks for Heatley is probably more attractive now then it was in late June, as Bryan Murray obviously would like to get rid of Heatley and his $7 million a year circus.

My advice: Offer the Senators the above players and draft pick trade. Offer to pay the Senators an additional $4 million to cover the bonus he received on July 1 - and make the deal with (Papa) Murray Heatley first, who will then dictate to agent Barry...and The Dark Ranger guarantees that Dany Heatley will be a Blueshirt.

Slats can send my commission check to the fans.


In other news:
Christopher Higgins has inked a one-year deal with the New York Rangers. We couldn't be happier, especially for the price ($2.25M). The Manic Ranger says is best.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 2: Icing on the Cake or Sloppy . . .

News -- on Day 2 of Free Agency. Click times for links (where available).

4:25 p.m.: The signing of Rob Scuderi by the Kings is official. 4 years at $13.6 million.

4:05 p.m.: Reports are out that Rob Scuderi is moving from the Pens to the L.A. Kings. No details about the terms. His Wikipedia entry already has been updated.

Interesting to note that the entry for Blair Betts (noted yesterday) has been edited to show him as a Ranger still instead of an Oiler.

3:20 p.m.: Karlis Skrastins, Florida defenseman, now a Dallas Star. I never paid attention to him and was shocked to see he has been in the league for 10 years. His contract is for 2 years worth $2.75 million.

3:12 p.m.: Quiet afternoon. Leafs resign Mikhail Grabovski, a RFA, to a 3 year deal worth $8.7 million.

On the Heatley front, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray simply states that Heatley is a Senator. Apparently, Edmonton was not one of Heatley teams he would consent to be traded to. He states that he felt blindsided because he believed Ottawa was negotiating with San Jose and/or the Rangers.

12:12 p.m.: Bruins resign Mark Recchi, 41, to a 1 year deal for $1.25 million. Formerly of the Pens, he joined Tampa Bay in their free-agent signing festival last July before being moved to Boston at the trading deadline.

Nice overhead shot from Nassau Coliseum from March of Antropov winding up to shoot.

12:03 p.m.: First news of the day is the loss of Nik Antropov to Atlanta. 4 years at $4 million per season. Reports had him seeking even more from the Rangers but there was no interest. Nik showed some skills and had 13 points in 18 games with the Blueshirts. I liked him but not for the long-term (i.e., as a rental was fine).

The look of a man who understands that defending the Cup will be harder than acquiring it. Sid will be seeing a lot of Brashear and Pronger next season.

--- Tony V

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Running diary of news of the day -- click times for links (where available):

TSN has a neat sortable chart of all the free agent signings here. No need to recreate such a useful tool.

12:09 p.m.: Heatley announced he is not deciding whether to waive tonight. GM Murray old people if the Sens have to pay the bonus, they are not trading him. The game continues but the trading price has risen. Heatley=Dickweed. But he really wanted to come to NY. Sorry, Dany, you're still a dickweed. And I think that is a wrap. Sheesh.

11:14 p.m.: Official --Havlat to the Wild for 5 years at $30 million.

11:00 p.m.: Final hour before Heatley's bonus kicks in for Ottawa. The clock is ticking. Each minute is costing a bundle to the tune of $66,666.67 per minute.

10:44 p.m.: Catching up with my friends on Facebook (my office banned it) and I read that Blair Betts is on the Oilers. Not true. . . yet. I decide to wander over to Wikipedia and it has him now playing for the Devils. I am confused. Big time. More Internet chicanery or does someone have inside information?

10:28 p.m.: Back to real time - Martin Havlat is reportedly leaving Chi-Town for Minnesota. The Wild replace Gaborik.

10:21 p.m.: Sather comments of interest (with kudos to Andy Gross and Scotty Hockey for their transcription skills):
  • On Brashear: "I think our players are excited to have him in the room. They know he's going to be the man. It's a tough job to do. Colton is a good guy, he works hard and he deserves every cent that he got."
  • On signing the team's RFAs: "I still think we're in a good position. I don't think anybody's going to come after these guys at this stage."
  • On Dubinsky (a message to Brandon that the opportunity is knocking): "Dubinsky is capable of being a No. 1 center. If we get a chance to get another player, we're going to do it."
10:04 p.m.: Catching up -- the Devils lose 2 stalwarts -- John Madden to the Blackhawks for only 1 year at $2.75 million and Brian Gionta to Montreal (he gets to catch up with Gomez) for a nice $25 million over 5 years. Wow -- no Rupp, no Madden and no Gionta. Meanwhile, we will need a scorecard to understand the Canadiens' new roster.

Chris Neil turned down $9.2 million from the Blueshirts to remain with Ottawa for $8 million for 4 more years. He obviously knows how Ranger fans react to players who cannot stand the spotlight.

Former Ranger Jason Strudwick resigned with the Oilers for one year at $700K.

9:58 p.m.: And it's official -- Fredik Sjostrom is now a member of the Calgary Flames for 2 years at $750G per year. He was one of the team's better skaters who should have seen some serious power play time instead of the stiffs that Renney constantly threw out there over and over and over. He had a nice scoring touch in shootouts. I like him a lot. The replacement of the 4th line is nearly complete. Waiting to hear where Blair ends up. . . .Edmonton??

9:35 p.m.: Some evening thoughts (and thanks to my colleagues for reporting on the Gaborik signing while I was traveling home) -- it was obvious that Sather decided, with Tortorella's input, that the team needed to get bigger and nastier. The Pronger pick-up by Philly was a wake-up call. In comes Boyle, in comes Brashear, a run is made at Chris Neil. Remember when Betts was lying on the ice during the playoffs? Remember how lonely he looked as no one came to his defense? How many times this season did we see the mild-mannered Redden and Roszival turn the other cheek?

Snarl, barking and perhaps some biting.

The Rangers led by Callahan, Dubi, Girardi, Boyle, Brashear and Avery are going to hit and there won't be any turning the other cheek.

Scoring is needed so out goes the soft Gomez and in comes the sniper Gaborik. Antropov and Betts are not being resigned.

8:21pm: Former Minnesota Wild winger Marian Gaborik has agreed to a five-year contract with the New York Rangers. The Slovakian forward will earn $7.5 million per year. This makes it a new day.

Some thoughts on Marian -- Ottawa/Heatley's dicking around held up this signing. Ottawa had to pay Heatley $4 million at midnight tonight. To get Heatley in a trade, it was going to cost the Rangers either Callahan or Dubinsky plus more. Sather correctly refused to trade players on the upswing for a felonious whiner. Gaborik only cost money which was freed up yesterday. So Gomez was exchanged for Gaborik.

The most pressing question is whether Gaborik will play a full season. Reports are that his groin was successfully repaired but then he had back and hip problems, including hip surgery. All this for a 27 year old. He did come back late in the season and played well. Out for 37 games in 2007, 34 games in 2008 and then 27 more in 2009. You can understand the timidity to shell out big bucks for a potentially fragile player. During his career, he has scored 5 goals in one game (the only player since 2000) but he averages only 32 goals a season.

Final note -- reports have had the contract valued at $5.5 per year (ESPN) then $7.5 and NHL Network is reporting $6.5 million. What's a million or two among friends?

6:25 p.m.: Mike Cammalleri goes to the Habs for 5 years, worth $30-million. Perhaps GM Bob Gainey will keep his job. One scorer on the table for the Rangers. Havlat and Heatley are still in play. I can hardly wait to see the chemistry between him and Gomez. If they click, we will all grit our teeth.

Samuel Pahlsson leaves Chicago for Columbus. 3 years for $7.95 million.

6:07 p.m.: Defenseman Mike Komisarek leaves Montreal for Toronto for five years at $4.5 million per season or $22.5 million total.

5:45 p.m.: Trade news -- Leafs are trading Pavel Kubina to Atlanta in return for Garnet Exelby.

5:07 p.m.: Rumors slowly becoming reality -- several teams interested in Chris Neil, but the Rangers are the only team offering a 4 year deal. For more on the 30 year old winger, go here.

Latest tweets about Heatley report that Oilers want him, but he still has not waived the no-trade.

4:55 p.m.: Pitt announces signing of center Mike Rupp from the Devils for 2 years, $1.65 million. So the Devils lose two decent players in a matter of minutes.

4:50 p.m.: A flurry of announcements late in the day. Scott Clemmenson goes from the Devils and Brodeur's shadow to Florida for 3 years at $1.2 million per season. Good for him.

Erik Cole is staying with Carolina for 2 years at $2.9 million per season.

Hal Gill has left the Pens for Montreal for a 2 year, $4.5 million deal, so the Pens lose their first front-line player, unlike last year's exodus. Montreal fans are totally annoyed with all of their team's moves so far.

4:41 p.m.: Former Ranger and now former Colorado forward, Ian Laperrière, is headed for the Flyers for 3 years at $3.5 million. He was Colorado's franchise leader in fighting majors and 163 penalty minutes last season. Flyers have gotten even snarlier. I'm foreseeing some serious body-banging between the Flyers and their rivals -- Pens, Rangers and Devils -- next season.

Meanwhile, no news regarding a possible Kessel/Kaberle trade or Heatley signing.

4:36 p.m.: I find it interesting that rumors regarding the Rangers' interest in Chris Neil do not go away despite the Brashear signing. Is it possible that a trade is in the works to flip Brashear, get Neil and a top-flight scorer? One friend has posited that very theory.

4:11 p.m.: I am not saying I am happy about it but the Brashear signing appears to be the piece and the price that Sather feels compelled to pay to ensure that a prolific scorer the Rangers will sign is protected. I understand the logic. I don't have to like it. I understand getting a prostate exam, I don't have to . . . . Meanwhile, note how NYR has gotten snarlier -- Boyle replacing Betts (presumably) and Brashear replacing Orr. The Atlantic Division games are going to be entertaining this year.

During the playoffs, I likened Brashear to the beast in the movie, 300. Now he's our beast.

4:06 p.m.: Hawks' goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin, going to the Oilers. 4 years, $15 million. Blackhawks lose their 2nd UFA today. Havlat and Pahlsson remain. Blackhawks website already eliminated Khabi from active roster. It's going to be Huet's team unless the Chicago wants one of the Philly goalies.

3:57 p.m.: Jaroslav "Spacho" Špaček goes from Sabres to Habs. 3 year deal for $11.5 million. Surprising that Gainey could not get Kaberle but Spacek did have 45 points.

3:44 p.m.: Brian Boucher of Sharks now backing up Ray Emery of the Flyers. 2 years @ $925K per season. Death knells for Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki.

3:14 p.m.: I'm starting to tire. I have visions of the Rangers' loss to the Caps dancing in my head with Blair Betts prone on the ice. I'm supposed to cheer his attacker now?

Meanwhile, Scott Niedermayer is staying with Anaheim for another year for $6 million. Thrashers have resigned Joel Ward for 2 seasons. And Columbus picked up Aaron Rome (D) from Vancouver for the proverbial dog track $$ of $550G.

Ho-hum. Wait I feel another heave ---> Donald F---ing -- 4 points for the season -- Brashear. 37 years old.

A brief bathroom break for me. . . .

3:05 p.m.: It's official. Donald Brashear is now a Ranger. 2 years for $2.8 million. Really, was the price for retaining Colton Orr that much higher??

3:03 pm: Mike Knuble goes from Flyers to Caps. Interesting. 2 years for $5.6 million.

2:49 pm: The Rangers' antidote to Flyers' signing of Pronger??? Zipay at Newsday is reporting that Rangers acquisition of Brashear is being finalized. The 4th line -- the Rangers' best line in terms of exceeding potential -- is about to be destroyed. Orr gone, Betts will be gone (signing Brashear is like inviting a rapist to live in a convent) and no tendering a contract to Sjostrom. Mark this moment down as when I became depressed over today's events.

2:45pm: Nap time interrupted by the news of Buffalo signing Steve Montador away from the Bruins. I scratched my head a little before I remembered him. 2 years for $3.1 million.

2:32 pm: Oiler netminder and near hero of the 2006 Cup Finals, Dwayne Roloson, to the Isles for 2 years, $2.5 million per year. Quality backup for the fragile DiPietro. Team will simply improve thanks to Tavares and better goaltending.

2:30 pm: Blackhawks get some muscle by signing Thomas Kopecky away from the Red Wings. 27 year old defenseman with 19 points and 109 hits. Now with skinflint former owner Wirth dead, the Blackhawks are continuing their bid to become relevant in the Western Conference.

2:17 pm: More deals on the announcement assembly line -- Ty Conklin going from Detroit to St. Louis for 2 years at $1.3m per season. Matt Walker, Blackhawks defenseman, goes to the Lightning for 4 years at $1.7 million per season.

2:06 pm: It's official -- Hossa to the Blackhawks. Terms are reported at ESPN as a 12 year deal at $5.2 million per season. Not a bad price for a quality scorer. We'll see if he shows up in next year's playoffs. He will be about 42 when the deal ends. Hossa gets lion's share of contract ($53.8 million in 1st 8 years of deal and remainder over final 4).

2:03 pm: Rumors now abounding that Donald Brashear may become a Ranger-- source are a couple of 2nd-tier Ranger bloggers. If true, I will burn my season tickets. Let's get Heatley and Brashear -- two criminals -- the fan/family friendly franchise. THIS IS DISGUSTING!!!! I will cling to the hope that this is a dumb rumor.

1:56 pm: Panthers resign David Booth for 6 years at $25 million. Florida is trying to keep their young core intact as they seek to improve. Meanwhile, they lose backup goalie, Craig Anderson, to Colorado. Anderson had a solid season (15-7-5) and is slated to become the Avs starting goalie.

1:55 pm: Blogosphere full of rumors that Marian Hossa is leaving Detroit for archrival Blackhawks. I think this means Detroit will be sipping from the Stanley Cup next June in keeping with the Hossa curse (Pitt in 07, Detroit in '08). Where is Martin Havlat going?

1:35 pm: As reported by my colleague, J, Dvorak has resigned with the Panthers. 2 years for $1.7 million per year.

1:25 pm: A Ranger out the door -- Colton Orr to the Leafs. 4 years for $4 million total. Not surprising because of the Boyle signing but I loved Colton. He had the balls that Gomez lacks.

Flyers' Fedoruk experiencing a trip to the stars courtesy of an Orr right hand.

12:25 PM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund is going to the Tampa Bay Lightning with a new seven-year contract worth $3.75 million a season. 12 year career in Vancouver ends.

12:15 pm: Tentative deal pending waiver of no-trade clause -- Dany Heatley to Edmonton (rumors abounded all night long that something was in the works) for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid. No details as to terms yet. DEAL CONTINUES TO BE ON HOLD as of 1:45 pm. .

11:50 am: Sedin twins re-sign with Vancouver for 5 years. These guys like to play together and travel together. I am happy they are remaining in Vancouver because it's good for that franchise to have marquee players.

Last night:

8:45 pm: Jay Bouwmeester resigned with Calgary for 5 years at $33 million.

--- Tony V (with assistance from the gang)
This site/blog is not affiliated with the New York Rangers or The National Hockey League in any manner whatsoever. Some photos on this site are used w/out permission but are hosted on the blogger server, therefore not interfering with the profit or bandwidth of the original owner. If you are the owner of a specific image that we have used in our blog , please email me at to have it removed - we will gladly remove it immediately.

If you have a hockey blog/website and would like to place a link on our site, please contact me & we can do a link exchange (the best way to get more traffic to our blogs).

Any offer of 'tickets at cost' is exactly that -- I have season tickets and will sell them for what I paid --- so no mark-ups.

The Dark Ranger is a not-for-profit site, not officially, but we derive no income at all from anything on this site; in fact, DARK at his own expense enjoys the freedom of having no sponsors and speaking his f*cking mind.