Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Firings Just Keep On Coming!...And Say A Lot About the Status of the NHL

I guess firing six coaches this year wasn't enough for the NHL GM's. Surely enough, Guy Carbonneau, the now former coach of the recently struggling Habs, was given the heave ho just this Monday. The seventh firing of a head honcho this year, and a nice parting gift for the Canadien's 100th anniversary as a club. Interestingly, the Canadien's GM Bob Gainey took over for the playoff contending squad on Tuesday, as Montreal faced off against Edmonton.

This firing is simply another example of franchises looking for help from their back door instead of the front door. Carbonneau, like Tom Renney, was fired at a time when his team remained a vital force for playoff contention. And don't forget people, the GM's are the easily identified culprits of this stupidity. The Rangers have had to suffer with the Sather policies of player overvaluing and inadequate leadership for far too long, and now, it looks as if some other teams will have to endure similar hardships. Just a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Gainey, with his great understanding of "what's best for the team" told Habs star winger Alexei Kovalev to "sit out" during a road trip. No reasoning, no injuries behind the move, nada. In other sports, such as baseball, the GM's role is based on the acquisitions he can add to his credit, but all else is settled by the owner and coach.

Yet, in the NHL, it seems that teams have deposited their hopes in the laps of a distant, careless bunch who seek pleasure in confusing us with odd transactions and moves. The sport that was well received by a select group for its consistency is now befuddling us with a lack thereof. No team, striving or struggling, is exempt from this plague; there have even been rumors regarding the Phoenix Coyotes changing location. The Islanders are in need of a an architectural renaissance, as the Nassua Colisseum is barely hanging on. Everywhere you look, the NHL is in disarray. Now, there are bright spots, but they are being overshadowed right now by the troubling economy, which has led to ailing franchises all across the hockey universe, not to mention the entire sporting world.

Now, back to stupidity, if the Rangers don't make the playoffs, then.......a Tortorella firing? The only sure solution for a transitionary period? I think not. The move in Montreal poses the same question. I just wonder how much longer fans can tolerate BS. I'll hold out for a while, but I'm not happy about it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rangers Fans.......Here's Your New Coach

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Well, as promised on our latest episode of NHL 2K9, here is the newest member of the struggling Blueshirts. And this time, it's a new coach. Check out this clip, and you'll find out really quick why Glen Sather saw Johnny "Torts" Tortorella as his go to guy at the helm. This is Tortorella's response to his then Tampa Bay Lightning falling to the New Jersey Devils during the playoffs. What a guy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why Glen Why?

Ah, what a year does.




10-2-1 to start out. Do I see the shiny glow of the Lord's Cup in the offing? Oh wait, I forgot! Of course not, at least, when Glen Sather and his band of miscreants are at the helm.

Now, don't get me wrong, good old Glenny is the GM of GMs. Because of course, who would overvalue and overpay Scottie Gomez and Chris Drury to come play at the Garden? Only Sather could have foreseen that Wade Redden would be a perfect scoring edition to the lineup.

Disregarding the minor jest and open satire of Mr. Sather, let's now examine the cold hard facts. Under Tom Renney, the Rangers had three straight (that's right, count 'em) playoff appearances, the only Eastern conference team in the post 2004 lockout period to have done so. Under Tom Renney, Brandon Dubinskiy received the best tutelage from a professor of the game. Under Tom Renney, the Rangers were focused and had their "team eye" on the prize. Well, at least for the first half of the season.

The record of 2-7-3 that led to the Renney dismissal and the Tortorella hiring speaks clearly to..........well, what actually? Because when you break down the demise of the first half-season powerhouse Blueshirts, you won't find the reason in one place. But if you take a look at the uniform with a "C" and, oh, that other guy who was supposed to be a big scorer, along with the partial dissolution of the netminders, you'll be on your way to finding your answer.

Question? Why fire a coach when your team is currently in the playoff hunt and remains a strong defensive minded squad. (thanks to Tom Renney, of course) And why demote and thereby render powerless your bench coach Mike Pelino? And why keep players on your roster who care about their now former and uniquely talented coach like dirt? Good old Glen's answer to all the above: "Because I can, and I like putting the city of New York through a scarlet fever it will never get out of."

But yes, there is still a possibility with the new guy at the helm. And although the first two games under John Tortorella were low scoring, there is still hope. (Tonight's annihilation and season high goal scoring route of Colorado points to that) Because when all is said and done this year, the Rangers will probably make the playoffs with a catchy Gomez smile and an amazing save from King Hendrik. Blueshirts fans will be joyous and ecstatic, and Mike Pelino might just be allowed to sit his ass on the bench once more. And Tom Renney will be sitting in his living room, knowing it was his dirtywork for four and a half seasons that brought the Rangers to their newfound jubilation. It's just too bad that Glen Sather will be sitting in his luxury booth, rejoicing and caring little about the man who would, dare I say, be a better GM than him?

You haven't heard the last of Tom Renney.......and hopefully, neither has the Rangers organization.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tom’s Jerry: What Tom Renney and the Rangers Need to Chase

Nope, Tom, the Cup isn’t up in the stars




“Get him out, get him out!” Well, what a surprise, New York fans are calling for another coach to be fired. Except this time…………..it’s a hockey coach! Even I didn’t see this day coming.


Following Michel Therrien’s firing last Sunday, it was obvious that another NHL team this year was heading down the road of change. And then, the unexpected occurred, speculation about the security of Tom Renney’s job with the Rangers was all over the place.


Newsday blogger Steve Zipay argued that Renney should be booted if the Rangers fall to the Blues. Well, they did, in a tight 2-1 showing, and Renney still donned the suit on Wednesday, when the Rangers got a much needed victory in the Garden against the somewhat revitalized Islanders. But the Renney bashing goes back before the Blues game. Prior to the Therrien firing, Renney was criticized by Larry Brooks of the Sunday Post for a number of mismatches, including the placement of defenseman Wade Redden on the power play line.


However, Newsday’s Mark Kermann probably sums up the Renney situation most accurately, saying that, “the current group is just not very flammable. It is a low-key bunch that wouldn’t have the bite of terriers if John Tortorella, Mike Keenan or the Wizard of Oz were coaching.”


Unlike, Michel Therrien, Tom Renney is admired and extremely respected by his players. Why they are “tuning him” out at the moment is beyond me, but I do know that Chris Drury’s lack of leadership, Scottie Gomez’s own zone turnovers, and Wade Redden’s lack of scoring activity are problems that Renney cannot handle. My NHL 2K9/BTR Network colleague summed it up perfectly when he said, “If their (the team’s) strategy worked once before, for the first half of the season, then it is bound to work again, it’s not Renney's fault and the only people that could be blamed are really the players. They need to work around this.” But how exactly can the Blueshirts work around this?


I firmly believe that the most important thing to do in this situation is to go back to the fundamentals, as cliché as that sounds. Look, when Islanders coach Scott Gordon was asked during the early Isles’ debacle whether he would change his coaching approach, he answered with a stern “no.” Tom Renney should follow the same approach, and, just like our troublesome economy, the team will eventually come out of this slide. Maybe it’ll get worse before it gets better, but in that case, Rangers’ fans will have to quit complaining and pointing the finger at one man, and start examining the sorry six on the ice. And if naïve Rangers’ fans think that constant firings work for an organization, they should take a close look at the early decade before Renney’s tenure. Maybe then they’ll get off the Kool-Aid they’ve been drinking for far too long.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Whipping In The Lone Star State

Welcome to Hell!



Boy did we get it wrong when we said that Steven Valiquette was the hothand netminder for the Blueshirts!

The New York Rangers, coming off a few tough losses, fell victim to the Dallas Stars last night. Score: 10-2. Yeah, baseball season’s come early this year.

In what has been a horrible past four games for the Rags, who have gone 0-3-1 in those contests, the strong chemistry that was once present has disappeared faster than Sam Rosen’s hair. Okay, disregard the Rosen joke. But, there can be no question that the situation in New York is no joking matter.

With own zone turnovers from Scottie Gomez (who was benched by Tom Renney in the third period), nonsense unruly penalties from Colton Orr and Brandon Dubinsky, and a lackadaisical defensive effort, it’s no question that the Rangers have hit their rock bottom for the season. However, can they bounce back and possibly make a run for the Atlantic Division?

First things first, the Rangers need new life. Scott Gomez has not been the “go to guy” as expected, and Captain Chris Drury has lost his X factor. Steven Valiquette, or “Vali,” as his teammates like to call him, does not deserve full blame for the Dallas debacle, but needs to step it up if he wants to get the nod from Coach Renney. Our silver lining, Nikolai Zherdev, scored the only two goals for his team, now desperate for a win. But one player can’t bail out an entire squad.

Bottom line: If the Rangers want the division, they’re going to have to earn it the hard way. With the division leading Devils playing solid behind Clemenson and Weekes, the fighting Flyers, and those nasty Pens, the Rangers are in line for demise if they don’t take order soon. Tom Renney, who responded to the loss by saying "You can't be more disappointed than what happened tonight," is a top notch coach, and will definitely make some harsh adjustment in terms of his approach in the games to come.

When asked if the Rangers had hit rock-bottom, New York's Scott Gomez said, "No one's giving up and no one's saying it's rock bottom. Embarrassed is a strong word but that's where we are." Oh yeah, Mr. Gomez, you better be embarrassed, almost single handedly giving the Rangers their worst loss since 1993. So, what has the Rangers world learned from this bad horror film? Humiliation is unacceptable; don’t assume that your beloved team is exempt from near annihilation. No excuses, just get back to the drawing board and see if we can’t right this ship!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Solid As A Rock: Reeling In the Years With Renney


Ok, so he hasn’t brought us the cup just yet. But Tom Renney has certainly become a top notch coach with the New York Rangers in a matter of four and a half seasons of no bull, no losers, and without a doubt, no mercy. So just how has the Blueshirts’ head honcho been relatively successful in the hellhole of NYC sports? We break it down with the three C’s.


  1. Consistency

It’s pretty obvious that in order to establish yourself as a no-nonsense NHL head coach, you’ve got to be in the business for more than one faceoff. Yet, it seems that in a sport of inconsistencies, changes, and trades, it’s become tough not to fold ‘em every now and then. However, this is not the case with the Rangers organization. Unlike many struggling NHL teams, the Rags have a stable franchise all across the board. Having the chemistry on and off the ice, whether it’s between front office people or individual players, has helped Tom Renney remain a mainstay at the Garden, and, more importantly, one who isn’t planning to go home just yet.

  1. Confidence

As an NHL coach, you have to stand behind your convictions and your gut, and not take any BS from anybody. And, so far, the Renney tenure has shown us just that. The NY media can be (well, they choose to be) a bothersome bunch. So, what’s the solution? Tom Renney’s got the perfect answer to that question: Don’t give in. Watching a Renney post game press conference, you can find out pretty quickly who’s in charge. The coach of the playoff contending Rangers is exceptional at giving concise, clear answers, and looking in his eyes puts to bed any concerns about his judgment. Case in point: Petr Prucha. Without question, Petr the Great is a formidable talent, and Rangers fans should expect some picture perfect moments out of him in the near future. But, earlier in the season, Tom Renney had to address doubts with his not playing Prucha that often. As usual, the rock solid Renney responded with gusto, letting everybody know that Nigel Dawes was the hot hand at the moment.

  1. Control

Finally, regardless of the situation, opponent, or issue, Tom Renney has everything in the palm of his hands. He is the ideal harmony of a coach: aggressive but respectful, passionate but calm. Yes, we all know that he’s had his fits of rage. (The Blackhawks incident when Renney mouthed off at the refs who were making abysmal calls, among a few others) But no matter what’s driving the Blueshirts coach batty at the moment, he is always the authoritative man who backs up his players and the organization that he so nobly represents.


So maybe he won’t be holding up the coveted chalice this year. Who cares? At the end of the day, Rangers fans should value a stand up guy not as the victor of the trophy on the table, but for the trophy the man brings to the table,

Not Hockey Related

Personally, I find these to be some of the best commercials during the Super Bowl. I will make sure to have a post up soon that is about hockey.



Saturday, January 31, 2009

Now this fight should have ended early!

Some players...should never fight....

Goalie Fights You Have To See

Who ever said goalies can't fight?

Are You Kiddin' Me?

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In a rare fit of rage, Rangers head coach Tom Renney lashes out at the refs. And who can blame him?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Under Consideration

I have heard from some people that the Game Recap posts on this blog are pointless. Now I am aware that if you want this information, you can get it easily but in addition to it, I will now be posting my analysis of the game. I hope that this sparks some debate and that people will comment. There is always room for improvement on this site and your feedback would be much appreciated. Tell me what you like, what you don't like by sending me an email to: ale1556@aim.com

Thank You,
Alex

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Follower Widget

If you happen to come across this blog, don't be shy. There is a pretty good widget on our sidebar that allows you to track our blog and be alerted about new posts. If you like our blog, become a follower of the blog by clicking on the Follower widget in our sidebar. I hope you enjoyed reading our blog as much as we enjoy writing it. Don't forget about us, and thank you for visiting!

Sincerely,
Alex
Adam

Game Recap: Rangers Vs. Ducks 1/20/2009

Last night, the New York Rangers and the Anaheim Ducks played. This was a pretty even game. The Ducks came out into the first playing a very physical game. The first goal of the game was scored by Markus Naslund (91) at 12:46 and was on a power play. The Ducks came back to tie it thanks to Bobby Ryan (54) who scored at 13:45 also on a power play. The first period ended in a tie. Frederick Sjostrom (20) scored short-handed in the 2nd period at 3:22. The Ducks came back to tie it once again thanks to Correy Perry (10) who scored at 18:23. This was the last goal of the second period. The two teams were evenly matched for the second period but the Rangers played a consistent game and took the hits from the Ducks, more aggresive, players. In the third, a power play goal was scored by Scott Gomez (19) of the NYR at 12:39 and for the third and final time, the Rangers led the game. The Ducks pulled their goalie at the final moments of the game allowing for 6 skaters on the ice while the Rangers were short handed making a 6 on 4 power play. Blair Betts (15) scored short-handed on the empty net at 19:26. The Rangers had 30 shots on goal and Lundqvist had 32 saves. The Rangers were 2 for 9 on the power play and killed 6.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hockey's Wrongs: Twofold

This week, the NHL has had to endure two major issues that are at the forefront of hockey's woes: the fighting controversy and player mobility.

Recently, in the OHL, Whitby Dunlops' defenseman Don Sanderson died from head trauma which was incurred during a fight with an opposing player. Immediately, the national media, which rarely covers hockey related stories, pounced on this one and reported it as the prime example of hockey's cruelty. In fact the OHL has announced harsher regulations for fighting, specifically the removal of chinstraps during a brawl. "It's just the evolution of the game and our league," OHL commissioner David Branch said last night. "It's a great message to send to other players and leagues below us." Now, to those devoted fans of the game on ice, we should be outraged at such a reactionary response to one isolated incident. The fact that fighting is central to the progression of a game points to the sport's tradition. Every sport has a trademark and hockey's is fighting. Any measure to diminish physical play will just make the game softer and less enjoyable to the fans, the ones who actually keep the sport close to heart. The more regulations added to the sport from those in management will "de-naturalize" the essence of the game. I know from my personal sense of it, the next time I go to a Ranger game, I ain't leaving until Colton Orr knocks someone out.

Another problem with hockey, and, quite possibly, a barrier to its uprising in the world of sportsmania, is player mobility. Far too many players aren't able to settle in with their team, largely because they move from coast to coast faster than a migrating whale. Take former New York Islanders goalie Wade Dubielewicz. The man who helped lead the now struggling Isles to the playoffs in the '06-'07 season returned to the Island a few days ago, as he was called back from a short stint in the KHL. While skating with coach Scott Gordon on Saturday, Dooby found out that he had been claimed off waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and before you could say,"Potvin Sucks!" the 29 year old netminder was on a plane to Vancouver, where CBJ was playing that night. When interviewed by an Islanders staffer, Dooby sounded bitter about the sudden move, and reminisced about his great time in New York. Unfortunately for Dubielwicz, the shift may be short lived, as Blue Jackets backup Pascal Leclaire is heading back to the team shortly. Now, I ask you, how would you feel flying back from Russia only to find out that you're on your way out to Vancouver? Personally, I know that if I returned to a team that I was an integral part of only to discover that I've been let go, I'd be outraged. Moving a player constantly places a burden on his family, and in this case, the player should have more of a say. In a world where the player is rendered powerless, sports slavery ensues, and that ain't good for hockey as a whole. If he's up on waivers again, Dubielwicz better be picked up by the Isles. Lord knows they could use his netminding this year.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Game Recap: Rangers Vs. Penguins 1/18/2009

Today, the Rangers and Penguins played at Melon Arena. This game did not end well for the Rangers at all. The Penguins dominated throughout most of the game. This led to them scoring 3 goals on King Henrik. This loss led to an end to the Rangers 3 game winning streak. Chris Minard (14), Tyler Kennedy (48) and Petr Sykora (17) scored the game goals. The Rangers had 33 shots on goal but couldn't get anything passed Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins scored their third and final goal of the game on a power play. They are 1 for 6 on the power play. The Rangers had 3 power play opportunities.

The Rangers had many opportunities to make up the difference. Unfortunately, the Rangers had a breakdown in offense and could not do much to get into the other zone. They became desperate and started taking any shot they could. This idea has the potential to score points but nothing beats a good quality shot. Hopefully, the Rangers will do better against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rangers Vs. Black Hawks 1/16/2009

So, as many hockey fans know, the New York Rangers and the Chicago Black Hawks played last night in Chicago. This was probably one of the most annoying games in the season. The game was interrupted constantly. The referees kept making calls for hooking, slashing, fighting, misconduct and many more. Most of these calls, upon review of the take, were not noticeable even. The Rangers played with a penalty for a total of about 32 minutes. That means, the Black Hawks had more than half the game as at least a power play. The Black Hawks racked up about 21 minutes of penalties. It is unbelievable that the Rangers pulled off a win.
Drury (23) and Dubinsky (17) scored the goals of the game for the rangers. Jonathan Toews (19) scored the first goal of the game for Chicago. Kris Versteeg (32) and Brian Campbell (51) got the assist on that goal. It was a tip in. This put the rangers down one for the rest of the period and some of the second. Drury scored on a power play at 06:24 in the 2nd period and tied up the game. Michal Roszival (3) and Scott Gomez (19) got the assists on that goal. In the 3rd period, Brandon Dubinsky scored an amazing goal thanks to Lauri Korpikoski (29) and Nikolai Zherdev (13) at 07:58. This goal was truly unbelievable, Korpikoski is heading down the right side of Nikolai Khabibulin (39) and ends up falling while faking the shot so that he passes it latterally to Dubinsky who takes the shot on the empty space scoring the goal. Chicago tied it up after a power play goal by Brent Seabrook (7) assisted by Cam Barker (25) and Johnathan Toews. There were no other goals in regulation. The tied game went into overtime and led to a power play goal by non other than Chris Drury. At 02:23 in to OT, Drury scored on a power play assisted by Wade Redden and Michal Roszival. This ended the game.
Another good thing about the game, besides the win for the New York Rangers, was that the stadium recorded 22,624 people in attendance. That is the highest number in attendance at a Black Hawks game for a long time. It is great to see that a great sport like hockey could still attract so many fans. Lately, these numbers have been falling, but seeing this just brings hope to fans that hockey still has a chance.