TDR is a working professional in entertainment and is obsessed with the game of hockey. More four years ago, this site emerged as a means (or an outlet) to tell some truth'isms about the game post-lockout, rather than the crud fed to us through knuckleheads like Jimmy Dolan and his lemmings universe. Today, there are a hundred Rangers sites and is thankful and grateful to all those that have come after him, but honorable thanks go to his fellow Dark-writers, Graying Mantis and J_Undisputed. And "Let's Go Rangers!"
Bio of Graying Mantis
Graying Mantis is in fact a graying legal practitioner by day (and sometimes, alas, by night). In the cobwebs of his memory, he recalls starting to follow the Blueshirts in 1970 and remembers watching pivotal playoff games against the Blackhawks on a snow-covered Hartford t.v. channel in their 1972 march to the Finals. Giacomin, Gilbert, Ratelle, and Hadfield seen skating on a small B&W TV screens always will be among his first Ranger memories. He is grateful beyond words for the opportunity to work with his colleagues here in their never ending battle to inform and entertain. Most of all, he appreciates the chance to engage with fellow hockey fans.
Bio of J_Undisputed
"J_Undisputed is an Information Tech Professional; a student, and on and off in his dreams, Mike Richter. He caught his first glimpse of Rangers Hockey when an overtime preempted his favorite pro wrestling broadcast on WWOR-9 one late saturday night when he was 5 and he's been hooked ever since. He's been watching the Rangers for 30 years despite family attempts to make him an Islander Fan (Rest easy...they're out of the will). What started as a minor annoyance has become a life long passion (and at times, a frustration...But he wouldn't trade it for anything). Lets Go Rangers!"
Bio of General Ganz
General Ganz is a cynical yet well-informed student of the human spirit. He's a professional of sorts, with a post-graduate education, some experience working in real companies, and some limited athletic ability. The total small package. He got picked on a fair bit as a kid, and he experienced his first human-non-relation kiss in his teens. He also grew up on the other side of the tracks, thereby helping to cultivate a healthy contempt for dreamers and optimists whose rosy upbringing gave them something to smile about, even when "life produced lemons." Like it or not, his only mission is to point out the potholes you're lucky enough to miss on your drive to work. To find the blemish on your daughter's carefully-stitched (and not-yet-paid-for) wedding dress. To take that little smidgen of hope that your favorite hockey teams fill you with, and pour orange paint on it. Oh, and he is a Blueshirts fan, and takes most of his fashion direction from Ron Duguay (whose name he dropped as a way to close the deal on that first kiss).
Aside from the sloppy and uncoordinated play during last night's first pre-season game at MSG, the half-rookie/half-veteran Rangers scored a win against the almost-fully-loaded NJ Devils of Newark in overtime, NYR 4, NJ Devils 3 OT. Nothing feels better than the hockey season opening and a handful of rookies taking it to Fatty Brodeur. Marty Biron was in goal for the Blueshirts, and later replaced by Chad Johnson.
It was a fine game. It was a crappy game. Its pre-season!! So there isn't much to criticize, but some thoughts on the game in general:
With sniper Marian Gaborik scoring two goals last night, including the overtime game winning goal -- it was a pleasure seeing Frolov on the same line feeding both to Gabs, with Derek Stepan stepping up during the second period with confidence and belonging -- he opened the night hesitant and conservative, but that all changed once he realized there were hardly any fans throughout MSG to 'boo' him if he didn't deliver. It all changed from that point forward -- if last night was any indication, we could have a natural first line that scores goals often. (It's been a long time since we had 3 who could deliver on the same line, I dare to say pre-lockout? )
Fighting to make the team as a rookie, Derek Stepan didn't make Erik Christensen look good, as both are fighting for the top line center between Frolov and Gaborik. As a buddy of mine said of Stepan's debut, "this guy could be our #1 Center!!", and though it's hard to know this early in the game, between what coach Tortorella has been saying about the kid throughout camp, what scouts and beat reporters have reported, and last night's taste of what he brings to the ice -- he could fill the vacancy. This is a positive result of the Rangers organization vesting in the youth and the prospects for years now -- one of the best ways to legally circumvent the salary cap restrictions, 'get em while they're young and don't go broke during free agency.'
Both Dan Girardi, and especially, Marc Staal did their best impressions of the Tin Man -- as you could see the rust falling off them. Ryan McDonagh has arrived as promised, delivering a solid, conservative performance that will certainly make the Rangers-Brass think about not using another defender's $6.5 million toward the cap this coming season. Who could that be?
Everything else about the game felt pedestrian and 'as-would-be-expected' for a pre-season opener. The game could have gone either way -- but some of these highlights made it worth showing up.
Unrelated to last night's game, I am reminded that New York Rangers fans are the best in the world --- when we are playing our hardest, we know it. That's why we show up. To support and criticize the team we love. But we also know that pre-season games are an extension of camp, where coaches introduce new players and the wins/losses are secondary in the big picture. We are a civilized bunch. On the other hand, across the land of Canada -- freak-like Toronto Maple Leaf fans and even scary-French-Canadien Hab-fans treat their hockey a little differently, holding their beloved teams to the highest degree even during these pre-season games. See here for the Leafs. See here for the Habs. Although any clinical pyschologist might consider this fan reaction of 'having to win' a form of addiction (or maybe alcoholism?), you should probably take the casual advice of Damien Cox of The Star and Carey Price and......CHILL (THE F*CK) OUT!
So, see you at The Rock on Saturday night as we face Farty Brodeur a second time this week. If you happen to pass a large carcass of rotting meat in the Prudential Center prior to the game, just let it be as Marty will later engulf his prize; if any of you are new to the NJ Devils, it is widely known that goaltender Marty Brodeur eats large amounts of meat when he loses. It's a fact. ;) Some teams throw octopus on the ice, some throw Grade B loin scraps. That's Marty for ya.
It's great to be back in Ranger Land, folks and we look forward to your commentary and continued readership.
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