Friday, August 28, 2009

Eastern Muscle and More Heatley Thoughts

from Shawn P. Roarke of,
Toronto, once the epicenter of hockey, has missed the playoffs the past four seasons, including last season’s 81-point debacle. Nobody knows if the near-term future holds a playoff berth for the Leafs, but Burke promises that his team will give its all to return the Original Six franchise to its former glory.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs next year; we’re going to have to make some changes to do it. We’re going to be a different team,” Burke said this summer. “I like a lot of hitting. I like a lot of fighting. We have a passive group. All year long, when a trainer was on the ice—it was always our trainer—that really bothered me.
“It will be a more hostile group in the fall.
With New York Rangers John Tortorella's speed skating system in place, certain members of the Blueshirts (Gaborik, Avery, dare I say Brashear) will be competing against a much tougher class of competition this season -- the most obvious being Brian Bionic Burke's Leaf Muscle Machine he has assembled this off-season, including our once very-own-enforcer Colton Orr (who will be looking to accumulate more PIMs than Avery has words).   The Philadelphia Flyers with the addition of Chris Pronger has added some fire and brute on the blueline, making them one of the biggest contenders in the Atlantic Division (still looking forward to that Chris Pronger slamming Sidney Crosby into the boards highlight reel).  Our Blueshirts need to 'look out' and hit back and defend their own. 

As to the rumors of Dany Heatley going to the Los Angeles Kings -- talk has been muted and no one appears to be spilling anything further. We seem to have caused enough panic on both coasts and up north as our post Dany Heatley To The Kings? drummed up more hits and page loads than ever before on this site.  It goes to show you that people do care where Heatley lands.  I think this Heatley-trade-me-because-I-am-Not-Appreciated off-season debacle is something comparable to watching Britney Spears.   We are sick to death of her and her antics, but as the hockey equivalent we cannot get enough --- all waiting for the next misstep, to find out who is stupid enough to engage in Murray's trading tactics, bow our heads as Edmonton continues to display inferiority in their own roster, etc...  More, more, more....   If you are sick to death of hearing about it and it is getting all blown out of proportion, then stop reading about it you sycophants!!!  (and also, The Dark Ranger welcomes sycophants)


Monday, August 24, 2009

Dany Heatley To The Kings?

This was sent to us last night from a Toronto source --- this by no way is the guess-work or insider-work of THE DARK RANGER or anyone affiliated. What do you think?


I am going out on a limb and declaring the Los Angeles Kings the winner of the Dany Heatley sweepstakes. The Kings has the cap room and more than enough young talent to satisfy the Ottawa Senators.

The deal will go down as follows –

To the Senators
Alexander Frolov (32 goals last season) - 2.9 million cap hit
Oscar Moller (2nd round pick in 07 draft – 19 years of age 7 goals 8 assists in 40 GP)
Thomas Hickey (1’st round pick 07 draft – 4th overall)
A conditional pick based on Frolov resigning or not resigning with the Senators

This deal opens the door and cap room to sign Sykora for 1.5 million on a 2 year deal. (similar money as Bertuzzi)

To the Kings
Danny Heatley – a top player in the NHL who brings baggage but scores 40-50 every year.

So here is how both teams will look at the beginning of the season:

Senators Lineup 2009-2010
Frolov Spezza Alfredsson
Foligno Fisher Kovalev
Sykora Kelly Neil
Ruutu Moller Shannon

Phillips Volchenkov
Campoli Kuba
Lee Smith

# Erik Karlson (1’st rounder 15th overall 2008) and Thomas Hickey (acquired through the LA deal) have an outside chance of making the team out of training camp. Along with Jared Cowen (9th overall 2009 draft) the Senators are deep on defense paving the way for their future. Look for Brian Lee (1’st rounder 2005 – 9th overall ) to make a huge step forward this season. Nick Foligno and his 17 goals last season is a sure bet to hit 20-25 goals playing on the second line with more ice time and better offensive players. Frolov will score 35 goals and help make fans slowly forget Heatley. Sykora adds playoffs experience, secondary goal scoring, winning attitude and multiple Stanley cup rings. He is good for 10-15 goals this season. This team makes the playoffs and could be a dark horse in the East.

LA Kings Lineup 2009-2010

Heatley Kopitar Brown
Smyth Stoll Williams
Simmonds Handzus Purcell
Ivanans Lewis Richardson

Doughty Greene
Johnson Scuderi
Harrold O’Donnell

# The Kings are a team that is young, fast and talented. They are ready to take the next step and join the upper echelon in the NHL. The emergence of Jonathan Bernier between the pipes is vital for the future of this franchise. Taken in the first rounds 11th overall in 2006 he must take the next steps. Brayden Schenn 5th overall this year could play next season on the third line and is captain material in the NHL. Heatley, Kopitar, Brown, Smyth, Doughty, Johnson and Bernier clearly establish the Kings as perhaps the best team this season out of California! Welcome back to the playoffs Los Angeles.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tortorella Speaks

If you missed it and you're reading this post, go here for mandatory reading. Jeff Klein of the New York Times interviewed 'Coach Torts' and we get honesty like we haven't heard since the days of Mike Keenan (the similarities are uncanny).

I do think Tortorella is a 'tone-setter' for training camp, someone who cares about the team as much as we do as die-hard fans. Even during the playoffs, it felt that Jaromir Jagr and Tom Renney left their marks on the franchise -- inconsistent style of play, tired, lazy, 'looking for the perfect shot', horrible power play, etc.

A month from now, these things will be addressed and we can thank the new coach for the attitude change.

Though, we can only hope this season he'll resist throwing chairs at fans that have a quicker wit than he does...


Monday, August 17, 2009

If Burkie Were In Charge Of The Rangers

The Dark Ranger and clan arrived back from Paris and London, ready for hockey and for training camp to begin 'Amen to that'. Much has happened in the last couple of days and I suspect more is to come in terms of the NYR roster shakedown that is consistently happening on Broadway this off-season; no one can say it has been a boring summer in the hockey world across the NHL. Just ask Patrick Kane!! (what is THAT about?). I know the economy is tanking, but from 'Dollar Bill' to "Twenty Cent Kane", I'd say that is a horrible return.

Anyhoo...One of our regular readers - BlueNationLeafs - is sharing his own version of what the Blueshirts lines will look like after Jedi Glen Sather finally makes some additional changes (for the good or bad) this off season, much like Brian Burke is re-shaping the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer and as we read this post. I titled this in the spirit of 'Burkie' because if you believe the Toronto hockey trades, you'll know that Burke is attempting every and any trade angle to rid the overburdening salary cap of the Leaf's Tomas Kaberle (sound familiar?) -- and my Toronto buddy BlueNationLeafs conveniently dumps Kaberle into our roster as a good thing for NYC (see below).

So hang in there with this may get you thinking. What do you think?


Scenario #1: The Rangers lineup for 2009-2010

Prospal - Higgins - Gaborik
Avery - Drury - Kotalik
Lisin - Betts - Callahan
Brashear - Anismov - Voros
* Bertuzzi (25 goals – 20 assists and strong on the PP)

Kaberle - Redden
Staal - Girardi
Rozsival - Gilroy

This lineup is conditional on the NYR being able to resign Betts (required for the PK) and trading Dubinsky and Bobby Sagnuinetti for Kaberle. This will open the door allowing the NYR to trade Rozsival for a 2nd line forward (Hecht?) who can score 20-25 goals and with the cap room now available sign *Bertuzzi (1.5 million on a one year term) who would provide additional secondary scoring. Buffalo could use a puck moving defenseman - this deal would benefit both teams. Hecht and Kotalik also know each other well from their playing days with the Sabres.

Lashoff unsigned in Tampa should also be acquired for a draft pick to offset the loss of Sagnuinetti. Lashoff is a former first rounder of the Bruins with a bright future and would be affordable. He was brought in for Mark Recchi at the deadline last season.

This following Scenario #2 lineup would be affordable and provides youth, skill, grit, veteran presence and scoring depth to challenge for the cup.

Scenario #2: The Rangers lineup for 2009-2010

Prospal - Higgins - Gaborik
Avery - Drury - Callahan
Bertuzzi - Hecht - Kotalik
Brashear - Betts - Voros

Kaberle - Redden
Staal - Girardi
Lashoff - Gilroy

Slats wake up and make my vision and reality!

- BlueNationLeafs

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Prospal And Torts Back Together Again? and Sather Says To His New Apprentice "You're Hired"

Some interesting New York Rangers news today:

TSN: It appears as though Vaclav Prospal's time on the unemployment line was a brief one as the New York Post is reporting the veteran forward has signed with the New York Rangers.

According to the Post, the deal is for one-season and is worth $1.1 million.

The 34-year old Czech Republic native became a free agent earlier in the summer when the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out the final three years of a four-year, $14 million contract. He had 19 goals and 26 assists in 82 games for the Bolts last season.

The move will reunite Prospal with John Tortorella who Prospal coached Prospal in two separate stints with Tampa Bay.

THE DARK RANGER SAYS: This is a great signing for one year and just over one million bucks - please tell me why half of our signings are not this reasonable and fair?, not to mention this is a guy that can (will) deliver 50-55 points a year -- there is chemistry with the up-tempo-coaching methods of Coach Tortorella and they have history and trust together. Works for me --- plus I cannot help that some major trade will be happening with all these signings....Dubi is in limbo with this team as Slats is shopping his ass and looking for one of the big rumored trades out there. Richards later in the season, Heatly, Bertuzzi -- who the hell knows, but this we do know.....DUBINSKY IS NOT SIGNED (something is happening here in Rangerland, folks) AND ONE WOULD THINK THAT DUBI'S AGENT IS IN TANDEM WITH SLATS TO GIVE HIS CLIENT THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A LARGER AND MORE LUCRATIVE CONTRACT, WHILE SATISFYING THE RANGERS NEED TO SEEK A MORE EXPERIENCED GABORIK PLAYMAKING CENTER.

Mark Messier is returning to the New York Rangers and will serve as special assistant to president Glen Sather, the team announced on Sunday.

"I couldn't be more thrilled with the opportunity to move back to New York with my family, to learn from Glen and to work for the Rangers," Messier told the New York Post during a phone interview. "I'm going to come in and get my feet wet and get an overview of how the business runs and how the team runs and take it from there."

According to the Post, former Rangers head coach Tom Renney asked Messier about working with the team's coaching staff last season. The newspaper went on to say Messier interviewed for the Edmonton Oilers head coaching position earlier this summer. The Post was the first media outlet to report Messier was taking the position with the Rangers.

The 48-year-old is hoping to learn more about the front office side of hockey with his new position.

"I think I have a pretty good eye for talent, but really, there are so many things about the management and business side of the game that I've never been exposed to. So I'm going to soak it all in and learn as much as I can about what it takes on that end to build a champion."

For his part, Messier believes his playing career will provide valuable experience in his new position.

"I think I bring a little different perspective to the organization after and playing in the NHL for 25 years and playing in New York for 10 years," Messier told the Post. "I understand what a player needs to succeed in this environment that's riddled with pressure to win."

THE DARK RANGER SAYS: It's about time. Though, I hate being second fiddle to Edmonton as that job was already filled.

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