Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Does Craigslist have a 4th liner or Defensive Prospect section? [UPDATED]

OK Its a Fire Sale. Everything must go! NO REASONABLE OFFER REFUSED!!! Ok, so maybe I'm still burning a little about the end of the last season.

As it stands now.. heres whats been making the rounds is the gossip circle as far as I have heard.


Olli Jokinen, C; 32, $5.5 million - No news, Returned to the Rent-A-Center.

Vaclav Prospal, LW, 35, $1.1 million - No News, Maybe getting the Shanny wait and see treatment.Larry Brooks reports that Sather is trying to resign Vinny. Prospal remains a key part of Tort's plan to get the message to the troops. Yet another guy who could squeeze another few dollars out of us due to his role on this team being bigger than it would be on another team that would be progressing soundly every year.

Alex Auld, G, 29, $1 million - I haven't heard anything. A solid backup, I'd love to get this guy back... I Like Chad johnson, but after the chance we gave him last year, i cant see Auld being an issue with his development opportunities in the yes of the organization. UPDATE: Auld Signed with Montreal after the Rangers picked up Biron.

Jody Shelley, RW, 34, $725,000 -In talks with the team now, 100K raise on the table... His agent is expected to counter offer. I didn't know if we'd be giving this guy an offer at all if someone better or more intimidating was available. His willingness to get his hands dirty coupled with the fact that the organization doesn't want to pay and often can't find the excuse to play an enforcer for more than 5 minutes at a time, made his effort as part of the lunch pail crew valuable in the last games of the season. Shelley rejected the offer of 825k...Shelley found out what Shanahan and others have. Hard work doesn't go unrewarded in NY. It gets you a free ticket out of town. As much as i still had a bone to pick with the guy from the richard scott incident so many years ago, I hope someone noticed his efforts at the end of the season and he can land a spot with a team that can use his skills.

P.A. Parenteau, RW, 27, $500,000 - Last I heard, P.A. was tired of commuting and was looking to be somewhere with more consistent playing time available. His shootout proficiency could be a bonus for a team looking to nab those extra points.

Anders Eriksson, D, 35, $600,000

Corey Potter, D, 26, $550,000 - Haven't hear anything about him, though I can imagine the status of Redden, Rozi palms, and the other d-men positions would have a lot to do with his situation. With Sanguinetti dealt to the Canes, things may not be looking Good considering Sauer is still around and McDonagh rise expected. The door swings both ways I suppose and the question is was Bobby Sangs dealt instead of guys like Sauer and Potter because he wasn't as good or because the other two would bring nothing in return?


Marc Staal, D, 23, $765,000 - In talks, his Agent(B. Orr) is breaking balls for more money and the 2 are said to be far apart. See what Dubinsky started with his holdout crap last season. Every kid with an ounce of talent will be bending this team over a barrel when it comes to contracts. They know the predicament our expensive seniors put us in and they know we suck just enough to grasp at anything we have left to hold on to.

Dan Girardi, D, 26, $1.6 million - Hes probably not going anywhere despite the fact I have had enough of this kid already. He can't consistently play a physical game. Aside from his wristers toward the net, his biggest attribute has been his skills in pointing at a defensive hole he'd identified while on the back check... just in time for his defensive partner to go "huh?" right before we get scored on.

Erik Christensen, C, 26, $750,000 - No QO Tendered, then Rejected 2 yrs @ 750k. The story goes that if he was tendered an offer, he would have been qualified to go through arbitration and make our biggest fears come true. Now its hard to pick a side in this. The kid think he deserves more after centering the first line for a good part of the year, despite not being able to stick with any team before he got here. The team really didn't see his value translate into a team overhaul which is a lot to expect. We picked him up. WE put this kid in his position on the first line, We tried to skirt the issue of wether this kid deserves more money. I think a modest raise would have been enough to get this kid to come to the table,but we knew he'd be awarded more. Is he good enough to deserve a bundle of cash, no? Is he good enough to deserve some kind of recognition for the way he played over many of his high priced counterparts on this team.. I think so. UPDATE: Christensen has been resigned for 2 years at 925K per.

Brandon Prust, LW, 26, $525,000 - Recieved a QO, In talks now. Keep Him! Another part of the lunchpail crew that hustle work and seek to not be defined by their 4th line minutes. WE need a solid middleweight anyway. UPDATE: Prust resigned for 2yrs. averaging 800K per.

Enver Lisin, RW, 24, $790,000 - Gone. No offer tendered.Lets hope AA doesn't moap because his buddy is here to pal around with him.

Dane Byers, LW, 24, $500,000 - Rumored to have resigned. I hope this true. I've always liked Byers. While he isn't wiping the floors with guys, the intent is there.He sticks up for his teammates, he chips at the loose pucks and scores a dirty goal now and then and finds ways to be productive. In short, the guy knows the drill.

Ilkka Heikkinen, D, 25, $875,000 - Took a Heik to the KHL, I think. Another young dman who feels he is ready to go, no matter what the team says. Maybe he's right or maybe he's one of 6 guys sitting in a rowboat with a hole in it. Its sink or swim time for a lot of these D-men. If Redden starts the season in Hartford, as expected, there will be a dogpile on a spot on the 3rd pair. Heikkinen will probably read about it in one of the Russian papers.

If you have any word on any of these guys (a source too if you have one) feel free to shoot us a comment.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wade Redden On The Rocks?

Joe Fortunato over at the stellar Blueshirt Banter dug up some potentially uplifting Blueshirt news:
Arthur Staple wrote this article, talking about whether or not Glen Sather will finally retire his itchy trigger finger. But towards the end of the article Staple writes this
There is more room on defense, where Wade Redden is almost certain to be waived and sent to Hartford when training camp ends. "He's been discussed," Sather said. 
This is from a guy who writes for Newsday, remember, which is owned by the Dolan's and Cablevision. Like Staple or hate him, this is information he would be able to obtain; and he certainly wouldn't just spew that little quote out there for no reason at all. Especially since the Redden signing is an embarrassment to this team, and making a statement like this could make Newsday look very, very bad. So this holds some weight with me, even though I'm not believing in miracles just yet.
 Now this would be huge news, as camp will weed and filter out those that shouldn't be on the starting roster -- so there is hope Rangers fans, there is hope.  

I have a feeling there is much news ahead for us this week.  My comrades in DARK, Graying Mantis and J_Undisputed will be covering July 1 - free agency day with ongoing commentary - so be sure to check in often as The Dark Ranger will be updated throughout the day, this Thursday!!!

Let's Go Rangers! and maybe Wade Redden will be reunited with his old comrade Donald Brashear up in Connecticut.  Here's hoping...


Monday, June 28, 2010

Marc Staal Sheds Tears of Blood

When I opened the NY Post this morning and read about NYR GM Glen Sather not signing 'getting to know you' fan favorite Jody Shelley, I got a little perturbed, frankly.  When Brandon Prust, another free agent, will hit the free market this coming July 1 (Thursday) and command just about anywhere else more money than what Slats is willing to pay, we will see another potential asset flushed down the toilet.  UPDATE: as of 6:17pm, Steve Zipay is tweeting that the NYR Rangers are offering Prust a qualifying offer, and not to Christensen.

And now Sather is going to battle with Bobby Orr -- the now manager of many hockey players including our very home-grown Marc Staal.  Brooks did a piece on this last week.  As a restricted agent, other teams have the option to submit an offer to Staal, giving the home team the first right to match.  But it seems to me that as our most valuable asset on the blueline should absolutely deserve half of what you believed in contracts awarded to Chris Drury or Wade Redden.

The future of Staal on the Rangers' blueline is unquestionable from a performance aspect and he wants to be suiting up in Blue every game --- unless he's not making enough.  Gone are the days of Slats and the 'buddy system' between General Managers when they historically let their restricted players deal with the home team first, and come in to make an alternate deals when things become hopeless -- Brian Burke has made this abundantly clear in his days at Anaheim. this 'business is business' trend in general managers continues to this day.   But it seems to me a Marc Staal request for a 3-year contract for 3.5 - 4 million a year is reasonable; it is essentially a non-cap-issue now that the maximum cap has been raised significantly, and instead of Slats using disparaging phrases like 'there is a chasm between where both parties are at' doesn't help the situation, you might reassure them that you'd like to get this done, speak to the press favorably on how important Marc Staal is to the Rangers organization and negotiate like humans beings that talk to each other (and not through the press you dingbat).  Try it.  It might be the better way to go?

Slats is living in a dream world.  One where he answers to no one.  One where no one is looking in.  We may not have a consistent roster, but one thing is for certain.  Glen Sather is constant.  

It is one thing for the fans to be told to wait for the new season to open and let the experts do their negotiating and picking.  It is another thing as a fan to sit here paying for your hedge bet and watching you create mediocrity year after fucking year.  There is less than half the roster signed for this upcoming season and with free agency approaching this Thursday (noon EST), it will be surprising if there are any significant trades.  The NY Rangers are better to not make rash decisions (i.e. Gomez, Drury, Redden) and awarding bad contracts to mediocre or over-valued players, but Marc Staal is part of our Blueshirt future and once you start fucking with the psychology of a player's head -- they don't want to play for you anymore, even if you actually do come to terms with them (i.e  Brandon Dubinsky).

The leverage of playing for New York City is huge, unless you are a Hermit introvert that sits with the fat-cats and never listens to the people and you happen to run a hockey organization at MSG.  Plus your management upstairs is putting all their eggs in the LeBron James basket on the same day (NBA free agency - noon).  It pissed me off to see Mark Messier inviting LeBron to come to New York and joining in on that mess.  Speaking of Mess, why isn't he recruiting Kovalchuk to cross the river?  Why isn't he calling me the season-ticket holder with four-God-damn-seats thanking me for losing money every year?

You're all pissing me off, MSG.   Sign Marc Staal.  Sign Jody Shelley.  Sign Prust.  Get this shit over with, sign what is important to the team and hope for a fruitful free agency day.

..and talk to the press once in a while Fatty Slats.  I demand more for my money.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Hello Rangers? (peep)

Something is in the air.

Only a week away from the moment when everything will be different, the NHL draft followed by free-agency day (July 1), the Blue-sies are washing away for a better feeling, something we always feel this time of year....CHANGE.  No, and not another presidential election.

Cross your fingers fans -- because The Dark Ranger suspects we will see some packaged trade dumping of either Rozzy (Redden) with a Brandon Dubinsky and a Bobby Sanguinetti to free up cap space and thrill & anger the entire fanbase simultaneously.   Absent in the mainstream, the Blueshirts have not appeared in Spector's hockey, Fox rumors, or the hundreds of rumor sites that blanket the airwaves at this time of year.  In other words, 'we gotta nothin''.  This is so 'un-like' Glen Sather!  So the very fact that there is little buzz and speak, leads me to believe something real could be happening.  What do you think of this change conspiracy?

What hasn't changed is the way I feel when the Pre-Season games are announced, because it is the beginning of my having to pay full-price tickets for amateur, minor-league hazing roster hockey at MSG, a time when Hartford shines in the Big Apple, with the occasional veteran making their season debut.  So on that high note, may I present to you.....

The pre-season:

(All times Eastern Standard Time)
Day Date Opponent Site Time
Thursday Sept. 23 New Jersey Madison Square Garden 7 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 25 New Jersey Prudential Center 7 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 26 Detroit Joe Louis Arena 5 p.m.
Wednesday Sept. 29 Detroit Madison Square Garden 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 1 Ottawa Madison Square Garden 7 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 2 Ottawa Scotiabank Place 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who Is Our Next Big Thing? A 2010 NHL Mock Draft...

Taylor Hall takes the number one selection after defeating Tyler Seguin in the playoffs.  With Jordan Eberle already on board in Edmonton, the Oilers will reunite the tandem which almost singlehandedly won the gold medal in this year’s WJHC.

Cam Fowler will bring a franchise defenseman to Boston after Hall leaves the map.  With Zdeno Chara now 33-years-old they need a blue liner to take over in a few years and can be patient with second Windsor Spitfire to go in the draft.

Erik Gudbranson will bring another solid young defenseman to the Panther blue line.  Even though this team continues to struggle in the scoring department, they still need to build a team from the blue line out and will add to a solid core of Jason Garrison, Keith Ballard and Dmitry Kulikov.

Blue Jackets
Tyler Seguin looked like he could take the number one spot but falls in the Blue Jacket’s lap due to organizational needs.  Although a natural center, he likely will flank Rick Nash on the opposite wing for years to come and solidify the top 6 forward corps of their struggling offense.

Nino Niederreiter would look great on a team with another great Swiss player in Mark Streit.  The talented left wing could be the best offensive player to come out of Switzerland and would give the Islanders another identity.

Brandon Gormley makes the perfect compliment to Victor Hedman.  With the Tampa Bay blue line looking increasingly porous, this mobile defenseman out of the QMJHL will fit in well with other alums of the Quebec league and solidify a young defensive core.

Mikael Granlund looks to be the top pick out of Finland this season so the Hurricanes should select him based on their recent success fitting into their system.  The young left wing would fit in well with Tuomo Ruutu, Joni Pitkanen and Jussi Jokinen in their core.

Vladimir Tarasenko will be the first Russian selected in the draft.  Which better team to mold a Russian superstar than the one which just traded away Ilya Kovalchuk.

Derek Forbort grew up in Duluth, Minnesota making him the logical pick of the Wild.  Last year they took Nick Leddy, another local boy but traded him to Chicago in the deal which landed Cam Barker.  Taking another local kid seems like their MO.

Alex Burmistrov fits the mold of the past Rangers selection as he certainly possesses the highest upside of the players left on board.  With Artem Anisimov already playing a full season and Evgeny Grachev waiting in the wings, this playmaking center will fit right in when he comes to the Big Apple.

Ryan Johanson comes out of the WHL, where the Stars have found success drafting young forwards.  With most of their blue line young, they search for more help in the scoring department.  Johanson plays that role and can replace either Brad Richards of Mike Ribeiro down the road.

Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks alternate taking a forward and a defenseman every season, so this season they are due to draft a defenseman.  At this point Mark Pysyk seems like the logical selection.  He comes out of the WHL, where the team selected Ryan Getzlaf, Joffrey Lupul and Brendan Mikkelson from in the past.

Brett Connolly falls to the Coyotes after spending the majority of the season injured.  The talented left wing fits the same profile of current captain Shane Doan so he should fit right under the veteran’s wing.  He may be the steal of the draft at this point and makes the Olli Jokinen trade look that much better.

Jack Campbell will be the first goaltender selected in the draft and to no better team.  Chris Mason and Ty Conklin will not stay for too much longer making the Blues need even that greater.  Campbell will make a great addition other US born players like David Backes and TJ Oshie.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Cup Is All About Jeremy!

Kane and Able

So the streak of twenty-something Captains winning the Cup continues as the Chicago Blackhawks doubled the number of wins over the Philadelphia Flyers to take the 2010 Lord Stanley Cup last night.   Congratulations to Chicago for earning it, over the course of the entire season and for not allowing thugs to bully take-the-Cup from your grasp!

Official recap here.

Blackhawk's Captain Patrick Kane scored what will be a historic 'under-the-radar' overtime 'goal winning goal', literally under the radar of the goal light, the goal referee - through Flyer goalie Leighton's five-hole undetected by anyone wearing orange & black, while Kane skated theatrically pumping his fists and stick in the air, embracing the hesitating Hawk bench, defying what the officials or the Philly bench deemed "upon further review."  He knew.  There was nothing to review.  It was over for Philly.

NY Rangers fans across the globe felt elated at that very moment toward those responsible for ending our season prematurely - they would not drink champagne from the cup, they would not stand taller in the Atlantic Division, and they would no longer remind us that it could have been us.  We lost to Philadelphia in a skills competition and it ended our season, but toward the end of regulation we were on a winning streak, the team started to come together, not all that different than a path the Flyers took which brought them to the finals.   We were jealous during the playoffs, we felt down on our Blueshirts - but not now.

Losing the Cup when it's standing before you, in front of the fans that have continued to show up over two horrendous seasons, unable to close the dream and make your home city proud is worse than not making the playoffs.  As a fan, you have to live with that 'empty' for the entire off-season.  Go home Flyers and enjoy your vacation.   Nice job.  Now you have more to prove next season because second best doesn't cut it.

We know it hurts.  We visualize Lundqvist missing that shootout game to a fifth-stringer goalie named Boucher in the final-deciding-playoff game.  But you all probably feel much worse than we do, so have a couple of Yuenglings and cheesesteaks on us.  As the City of Brotherly Love, Hartnell and Carter can go back to hugging each other's wives, 'bully-camp' or whatever it is thugs do with time in your hands. 

We'll see you at the Garden in October ready to pick it back up where we left things....

Happy Off-Season Hockey Fans and Players.  It's been quite the ride and we'll see how things go with the approaching draft and July 1 free-agent day.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

'Hockey Terrorist' Glen Sather Finally Agrees With Fans

Since the NY Post's Larry Brooks interviewed Glen Sather last week, many are now speculating that GM Glen Sather is finally on thin-ice this season, talking points including 'keeping the squad young" and "moving forward in building the organziation", and more poignant "not over-paying for free agents" (A.K.A. "We don't have any money left because of the over-inflated contract deals I've made over the last three years...")  These talking points are that of the fans --- building an organization one piece at a time.

NYRBlogger from Blueshirt Banter did a great job summarizing this topic.  (The full article is here) or here is an excerpt:
An entire decade and all Sather can brag about as far as his career in New York goes is two measly playoff series wins. There is not much else to his name in the Big Apple. He traded away a legend in Brian Leetch, he tried going in multiple directions with this team and just repeatedly failed, and now he has run out of options and is taking whatever leftover scraps from other teams that he can find. And not only has he done that, but he has handed those players all-star salaries to do, well, close to nothing.

Just take players like
Wade Redden, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Donald Brashear and Ales Kotalik. Granted he got himself out of two of those contracts, but two of them still remain and are coming back to bite him down the road. Don't forget Michal Rozsival, who was re-signed at $5 million when he was probably worth around three million, if that. At least in the "Dark Years" as they are termed by the Ranger faithful, Glen was reeling in marquee names such as Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure. Although they were washed up by then, there was still some sense of direction as far as what he was trying to do. Following that, it was the European era with Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka and Michael Nylander leading the offense. Now, what is his aim? What direction is he moving in? We have seen so many attempted rebuilds fail so what should make us believe that the one they are currently in the middle of is going to be any better?
It will be interesting to see what tricks the part-time Jedi-master has up his sleeves this off-season.

Moreso this season than in years past, the Rangers organization is no longer affiliated and relying upon CABLEVISION to subsidize their acquiring of big-names and big-contracts, as Cablevision is no longer attached to Madison Square Garden.  Currently, the Garden, Radio City Music Hall and The Beacon theaters, plus the two sports franchises (Rangers & Knicks - both didn't make the playoffs this year) are the sole sources of income for this new spin-off organization.  It may not be public knowledge that the MSG's touring shows (RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, BANANA-SCHPEEL and WINTUK) have not been as profitable lately in a bad economy around North America and in NYC, plus unknowing season-ticket renewal returns this coming season are still a big-question-mark!!!

So with all this change, MSG has to corporately put the heat on Glen Sather for delivering a first-rate product. With the NY Rangers still maintaining the "2nd most profitable hockey team in the NHL" (Toronto being the first), accountability and good management is thrown out the door when folks don't have the money for bad product.   The Rangers will lose paying customers (all of us in the 200's, 300's, & 400's) if we get the "Rags" over the "Rangers" this coming season.  Our pockets are getting empty, the economy is tanking, there will soon be no edible seafood on the planet in a couple of years --- this shit is stinking and we want 'good' hockey to pick up our spirits --- THAT's why we keep coming.  When all else is failing around him, there is no one else to blame but the guy who is ultimately responsible for it.

Maybe there should be a rally?  Oh shit....right!


This Feels Right more to go, Chicago!    tdr

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kaberle Trade Worth a First-round Pick?

Hello dear readers of DARK --- on the verge of The Hawks sweeping the Philadephia Flyers (crossing fingers here), let us not forget we are only weeks away from the NHL draft and trade-day July 1 (aka as Hockey New Years Day) when GM's across the land revamp rosters and create new promises for the fans --- 'this is the year we take the Cup' and reinvigorate the off-season with promises of 'remember when (cue Messier holding up the Cup) and how much The Hobbit will bring to the table this season (cue him not making it through Camp).

Something of NY Ranger interest that grabbed my attention is Maple Leafs GM-du jour Brian Burke looking to regain a first-round pick (having traded their coveted 1st-round pick in the draft to Boston -- which turned out to be the 2nd pick -- for an over-valued Phil Kessel last season) by shopping Tomas Kaberle this early in the game --- and being public about it. Perhaps the 'NY Rangers sometimes-Jedi Master Sather' can pull off another' Gomez-like trade' by using our first-rounder, plus dumping a Rozzy or Redden and a couple of 'over-hyped Wolfpack members' to take on a solid D-man (Kaberle) without severely altering the salary cap. It's possible and given the relationship between Slats and Burkie, it's entirely probable.  The elephant-in-the-room would be "who the f*ck wants Redden or Rozzy?

The official Kaberle window-shopping announcement below:
TORONTO STAR/TSN.CA: reported Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke admitted two NHL teams have made inquiries into the trade status of veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle although he said so far those inquiries were "more than nibbles". Kaberle has a two-month window in his contract from now until August 1st where the Leafs could trade him to any team without his permission. Burke said he's "not committed" to trading Kaberle but said it was his job to consider offers pitched to him. 
Once we are through the hateful thought that the Flyers could win the Cup, and as the Hawks hopefully celebrate their first cup since the 60's (I think 1961?) --- it's fun time in hockey, folks. The Dark Ranger will be there in Toronto over the July 1 hockey orgy reporting as usual and crossing fingers, rubbing elbows and cross-checking Leaf fans the entire time.

Maybe this coming season is The Year!!! (he he he heee.....I sadly dribbled spit saying those words)

Happy summer and what's to come, dear patrons of DARK.

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