So, anything going on?
NOTE: This is a huge double blog manifesto, with all the big trades recapped in one place. As you know, I don’t worry about web traffic, nor have the time or energy to break this up into separate pages. This may take a few seconds to load, as there’s a lot to get into. At least you have until 10PM Wednesday to read it! I can’t wait to hear what you guys think on these trades too. LGR.
What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. This is going to be a long-ass manifesto, as there is so much to get into. I hope you stay for the ride. I will also be including official press releases, player videos and statements, just in case you missed them in these last 72 hours. So if you’ve read up on everything already, there will be some “scrollable” material in here.
When I left you on Friday night, the Rangers lost their sixth game in a row, this time to the Minnesota Wild. In case you missed that blog, or need to catch up on any of the recent blogs, you can check them out here:
NYR/MINN 2/23 Review: John Giannone’s Prepared Interview with Jeff Gorton Leads to Lundqvist Trade Speculation, Rangers Losing Streak Reaches An All-Time AV Era High of 6, Alexandar The Great Gets Back-to-Back Work, The Return of Kreider-Man, Eric Staal Strikes Again, Brassard Trade, Eddie Giacomin, M$G Network Personalities & More
NYR/MTL 2/22 Review: Alexandar The Great Sets a NYR Rookie Record in Another Loss in Montreal, Rangers Make a Deal with the Devil; Trade Michael Grabner, Rick Nash Leaving Town But Why He Should be Captain of NYR Next Season, How to Enjoy The Final 21 Games of the Season, Embrace the Youth & Much More, with Exclusive Pictures from the Poutine Palace
New York Rangers News & Opinions During The 72 Hour Break: The Nick Holden Trade, Patrick Roy for NYR HC, O’Gara & O’Tazu Bury Lundqvist, NYR Doing Jean Ratelle Night Perfectly, Alexandar The Great, Casino Night, The Olympics, Time To Lose The Shootout, Hockey Podcasts, A Fan Email Parodying Me, Trade Rumors, McBackUp & Much More
NYR/PHI 2/18 Review: The Superbowl May Be Over, But Philly Is Still Scoring Touchdowns; The Lyon King & The Flyers Embarrass Lundqvist in the Worst Loss of the Season, AV vs Hank Heats Up, The Blame Game, The Failure of James Dolan, Senile Sather and Jeff Gorton, The Morgue On 33rd & 7th, Lundqvist Fans/Trump Voters, Upcoming Changes & Much Much More
NYR/OTT 2/17 Review: The Cold War Between Vigneault and Lundqvist Intensifies; Lundqvist Bails On The Rangers in a Brutal 6-3 Loss, Lettieri Becomes an Innocent Victim, The Future of NYR, Oz, Trade Rumors, Goalie Talk, Day Drinking, Inept Refs, NYR Reporters Drop The Ball Like the Team, Fan Comments & Much More w/Pics & Video
NYR/NYI 2/15 Review: King Halak’s 50 Save Shutout Performance Derails the Playoff Hopes of the Rangers, Rangers Pull a Terry Schiavo on Ice, Questionable Vigneault Decision Making, Get McLeod Out of Here, Predicting a Likely Outcome, McBackup, The “See Ya” NYR Train & Tons More About “The Singing the Blues” Blueshirts
Since my last blog, there’s been a lot going on. I feel like I need to take a sick day at work just to recap it all! As it is, I’m running on no sleep. I’m back on the 7 days-a-week work schedule, so my days are long and my eyes are baggy. I attended Sunday night’s game, which as you know, was Jean Ratelle Night. Immediately after work, I headed over to the Molly Wee and enjoyed a few pints. Between the Ratelle ceremony and the game, I didn’t get home until after midnight. Then it was back to the 4:30am alarm clock. The life of a silly blogger!
My original plan for today was to come home after work, take a nap, then work on this manifesto. When I laid down, I flipped on the NHL Network, because like ocean noises or an episode of Bob Ross, what’s more soothing to fall asleep to? At 3PM, based on social media, it looked like the Rangers (who dealt Rick Nash the day before, more on that to come) were staying put. In other words, like The Undertaker, I could rest in peace.
With no Ranger news on the horizon, my eyes started to get heavier than the guilt of Penn State. As I was about to drift off, it was announced that the Rangers & the Tampa Bay Lightning made, and I quote, “A MASSIVE DEAL.” Like cocaine flowing through the nose of Artie Lange, I immediately woke up. I was more alert than a college student with a fistful of adderall.
When you hear the word “MASSIVE”, of course, I was hoping that word was referring to Lundqvist and that contract. I knew better, so in reality, when the NHL Network said it was multiple players involved, I immediately assumed McDonagh and Zuccarello. When it was all said and done, it was in fact Ryan McDonagh, but it will be JT Miller, and not Zucc, who will also “Ride The Lightning”.
However, before we get to the major deal of today, there’s so much more to get into. Let’s go in chronological order here!
We all knew that Rick Nash was going. In fact, when the Rangers started making news about blowing it up and rebuilding, Rick Nash was the first player asked to submit his trade list. As we now know, the Boston Bruins were one of those teams.
Let’s go to the official press release, then my thoughts & comments.
From the Rangers:
New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has acquired a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Rick Nash.
Lindgren, 20, has skated in 33 collegiate games with the University of Minnesota this season, registering two goals and five assists for seven points, along with 49 penalty minutes. A sophomore in college, Lindgren has played in 65 career collegiate games, registering three goals and 11 assists for 14 points, along with a plus-seven rating and 114 penalty minutes. He was selected to the Big Ten’s All-Rookie Team and was an Honorable Mention for the Big Ten All-Star Team during his freshman year in 2016-17, as he helped the University of Minnesota win the Big Ten Regular Season Championship. Lindgren is also serving as one of the University of Minnesota’s alternate captains this season.
The 6-0, 202-pounder has represented the United States in several tournaments. Lindgren helped the United States earn a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, and he won a gold medal while representing the United States at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. He also served as the captain for the United States at the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championship, recording five points (two goals, three assists) and a plus-five rating in seven games to help the United States earn a bronze medal.
The Burnsville, Minnesota, native was originally selected by Boston in the second round, 49th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Spooner, 26, has skated in 39 games with Boston this season, registering nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points, along with a plus-10 rating and two penalty minutes. Spooner is one of two NHL players who have registered 25 or more points and two or fewer penalty minutes this season (along with Ryan O’Reilly). He is tied for fourth on the Bruins in game-winning goals this season (three). He has posted a plus/minus rating of even or better in 32 of the 39 games he has played in 2017-18. Spooner registered at least one point in 19 games over a stretch of 28 games in which he played from Nov. 24 vs. Pittsburgh to Feb. 11 at New Jersey, recording 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) and a plus-13 rating over the span. In addition, Spooner’s plus-10 rating this season is on pace to be his career-high.
The 5-10, 187-pounder has skated in 253 career NHL games over parts of six seasons (2012-13 – 2017-18), all with Boston, registering 41 goals and 101 assists for 142 points, along with 59 penalty minutes. Spooner established career-highs in games played (80), goals (13), assists (36), and points (49) during the 2015-16 season. Thus far in his NHL career, 11 of Spooner’s 41 goals have been game-winning goals. Spooner registered 35 power play points over the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons (nine power play goals and 26 power play assists) and established career-highs in power play assists (15) and power play points (18) in 2016-17. In addition, he was selected to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2012-13, as he led all AHL rookies in assists (40) and points (57) with the Providence Bruins.
The Ottawa, Ontario, native was originally selected by Boston in the second round, 45th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Beleskey, 29, has skated in 472 career NHL games over parts of 10 seasons (2008-09 – 2017-18) with Anaheim and Boston, registering 75 goals and 82 assists for 157 points, along with 433 penalty minutes. He established a career-high with 22 goals during the 2014-15 season with the Ducks, and he established career-highs in assists (22) and points (37) with Boston in 2015-16.
By acquiring a first-round pick, the Rangers now have nine picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, including six picks in the first three rounds and four picks in the first two rounds (their own first-round pick, Boston’s first-round pick, their own second-round pick, New Jersey’s second-round pick, their own third-round pick, Boston’s third-round pick, their own fourth-round pick, their own fifth-round pick, and their own sixth-round pick). The Rangers have two picks in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft for the second consecutive year, as the Blueshirts selected Lias Andersson (seventh overall) and Filip Chytil (21st overall) in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. In addition, by acquiring a seventh-round pick, the Rangers now have eight picks in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft (each of their own picks in all seven rounds and Boston’s seventh-round pick).
Nash skated in 375 games with the Rangers for parts of six seasons (2012-13 – 2017-18), registering 145 goals and 107 assists for 252 points.
Just for the alternate perspective, because I find it laughable how the Rangers start their press release by saying “The Rangers have ACQUIRED…”, instead of saying “We sold Rick Nash for…”, here’s the Bruins take on the trade:
BOSTON – Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, February 25, that the team has acquired forward Rick Nash from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Ryan Spooner , forward Matt Beleskey , defenseman Ryan Lindgren, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick. The Rangers will retain half of Nash’s remaining salary, while the Bruins will retain half of Beleskey’s remaining salary.
Nash, who is in his 15th NHL season in 2017-18, has appeared in 60 games with New York, tallying 18 goals and 10 assists for 28 points. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound forward has spent the last six seasons with the Rangers and enjoyed his best season with the club in 2014-15, when he notched a career-high 42 goals and 27 assists for 69 points with a career-best plus-29 rating. Nash came to New York via trade in the summer of 2012 after spending his first nine seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Nash is expected to join the team in Buffalo and will be eligible for tonight’s game.
Don Sweeney will be available to media prior to tonight’s game in Buffalo at KeyBank Center. Exact time and location to be confirmed later today.
Nash is the Blue Jackets’ all-time leader in games played (674), goals (289), assists (258) and points (547). The 33-year-old winger earned the Maurice Richard Trophy in 2003-04 after scoring an NHL-best 41 goals. He is a six-time All-Star (2003-04, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15) and a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team Canada (2010, 2014).
Nash has skated in 1,049 career NHL games with New York and Columbus, totaling 434 goals (fifth among active players) and 365 assists for 799 points. He has also appeared in 77 career postseason games, recording 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points.
The Brampton, Ontario native was originally selected by Columbus in the first round (1st overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Spooner, 26, has nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points in 39 games with Boston this season. The 5-foot-10, 184-pound forward has appeared in 253 career NHL games, all with Boston, and has recorded 41 goals and 101 assists for 142 points.
Beleskey, 29, has appeared in 14 games with Boston this season, and has also produced four goals and two assists for six points in 21 AHL games with Providence. The 6-foot, 203-pound forward has compiled 75 goals and 82 assists for 157 points in 472 career NHL games with Boston and Anaheim.
Lindgren, 20, has two goals and five assists for seven points in 33 games with the University of Minnesota this season. The 6-foot, 198-pound defenseman was selected by Boston in the second round (49th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Rick Nash actually played for the Bruins on Sunday, in their 4-1 loss to the Sabres. Here’s Nash’s interview, where he talks a little about the Rangers:
Rick Nash can still produce in this league. You can debate if he’s an automatic first liner or if he’s just a Top 6 forward. Either way, he still plays at a high level, plays both ends of the ice and is a valuable asset for any team.
Nash has made his money. He’s set for life. His kids are set for life. Their kids are set for life, barring they don’t get into any Madoff investments or turn into Scientologists. Rick Nash is a family man, so he has a lot to think about, once his playoff run with the Bruins is over.
Let’s play a fun new game, called “INSIDE THE MIND OF RICK NASH”, with yours truly, playing the role of 61. Here are the questions I’d have racing in my head, come July 1st:
— Do I want to make the most money possible, even if that means playing in a dead market like Arizona, Florida or in Brooklyn? (Like how I got that in there? Fuck the Islanders!)
— Do I want to set roots in a city for my family/kids and ask for a No Move Clause where ever I go? (By getting a full NMC, Nash would lose several suitors.)
— Do I want to play in the biggest city in the world, where I’ve lived for six years, have a home and go back to the life I was accustomed to?
— Do I, a Canadian, want to raise my kids as snot-nosed entitled American millennials, or do I wish to raise them as proud mother canuckers?
— Do I, as someone whose best days are behind me, want the Stanley Cup at the risk of a huge paycut? Do I join the Penguins or Lightning on the cheap?
— Do I worry about the coach of the team or is the market and/or ability to win more important?
This has been “INSIDE THE MIND OF RICK NASH”, starring yours truly. Stay tuned next week, where we go INSIDE THE MIND OF ALAIN VIGNEAULT, as he ponders his decisions at an All-You-Can-Chew Gum Buffet!
When it comes to Rick Nash, he definitely was a good Ranger. A great Ranger? Eh, that’s debatable. The biggest problem when discussing Rick Nash, is the same problem for so many of these players – the contract. As I’ve always said, blame Gary Bettman for creating a league where fans and the media are forced to talk about salaries when judging a player. The hard cap leaves no wiggle room. You can’t pay your way out of mistakes scot-free. Bad contracts can cripple teams.
The other problem with Rick Nash, was his severe case of A-Roid disease. Nash was a ghost in the playoffs. While he got better in the playoffs as time went along, it can’t be forgotten, that in the most important stretch of his career, the 2014 and 2015 playoffs, he barely made the box score.
We all know what Nash brought to the ice. He was a great two-way, 200 foot player. He did it all. He was on the PP, he killed penalties, he drove to the net and he was a great teammate. However, when he went through his concussion issues, you could argue that he lost a step in his game.
When people dissect the NYR career of Rick Nash, there will be a lot of flowery things to say about him, and many of them are deserved, but the $7.8M number will always be attached to him.
Think of it this way – if he was making Zuccarello money, he would be as beloved as Zuccarello. However, he’s getting paid Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin, etc money, and could never produce the hardware, nor stats, that his peers did.
For Rick Nash, I wish him the best. With Ryan McDonagh being traded right at the deadline cut-off, I truly believe deep down, that Rick Nash will be the next captain of the New York Rangers. It’s a win-win move for every party. I know many in the fan base think Zucc should be the guy, but I just don’t see it. Rick Nash, $3M-$4M, give him the C and let him work with the kids – I’m for it.
Plus – think of this. Vegas is the second best team in the NHL and has a shot at the President’s Trophy. Look who was in the playoffs last year and where some of these teams are now, like the Rangers, like the Canadiens, like the Senators, like the Oilers, etc. Now look at the shitty teams of last year, and where they are now, like the Devils, like the Flyers, etc.
In other words – this is a league of parity and the rebuild process doesn’t have to take long. Right now, the Rangers are stockpiling picks, akin to the way someone waiting for the apocalypse racks up canned goods. For as bad as they are this year, the Rangers could be a powerhouse next year. You never know in this league.
In closing on Nash, thanks for the good times. I’d wish you luck in your quest for the Cup, but sorry pal, as you’ll soon find out, this is the all-new BLUECOLLARBOLTSHIRT blog!
On the other side of things, how about what the Rangers got back for Nash? For starters, the biggest piece is a first round pick in this upcoming draft. Then, they also ACQUIRED defenseman Ryan Lindgen, a work in progress. The Rangers also got an NHL caliber product in Ryan Spooner, and an NHL bust in Beleskey. The cherry on top is a 2019 7th round pick.
This is what gets me about some of these Lundswiss bots/Hankholes/Culties of Lundqvist – I saw many of them BURYING this trade, like someone kicked their dog and raped their dead grandmother. I saw on one Ranger Facebook Group, where one Lundqvist fan actually said this – “WHOO CAIRS ABOUT A SEVEN ROUND PIK?”
My faithful reading audience, that right there, are the Lundswiss bots in a nutshell!
And for the record, when someone pointed out to this kool-aid drinker on how the Rangers ACQUIRED Lundqvist, he promptly deleted his comment. You gotta love it!
As far as the trade itself, I like it. The Rangers aren’t going anywhere and Nash is a rental for Boston. The pick is huge, Lindgen might work out one day, Spooner is decent and who knows, maybe you take a goalie in the 7th round. Then by the time that 2018 draft pick goalie develops, maybe the Rangers will finally embrace moving on from Lundqvist. Then again, I could see the Rangers rolling him to the net, in his shit-stained Depends, at the ripe old age of 90, because after all, “WE MUST WIN A CUP FOR HANK!”
All in all, good trade for the Rangers. This may be the best deal they made all season. It’s very straight forward. Boston is giving up a bunch for a shot. It’s not a trade that will be wait & see, like the McDonagh one is. We’ll get to that in a bit. Before getting there, we got a few more things to talk about, like Ratelle Night and the Rangers/Wings game.
Heading into this season, I had several games circled on the calendar as “MUST ATTEND” games. February 25th was one of those games, as I wanted to see the Rangers honor Jean Ratelle. By now, you know my push to get Frank Boucher’s #7 in the MSG rafters. I mean, if fucking Phish can get a banner, shouldn’t the only person with three Ranger Stanley Cup victories under his belt, get one too?
In case you’re not familiar with my case and saga, of getting Frank Boucher his due, check out this link:
And while on Boucher, how do you like these custom jerseys, courtesy of Gerry Cosby’s:
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) February 25, 2018
I know Sunday night was all about Jean Ratelle, or at least it was supposed to be. I’ll save you another long-winded Frank Boucher soliloquy here. That said, compared to the Patrik Elias ceremony, which occurred 5 miles away and 24 hours before Ratelle’s, this was a sad state of affairs.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) February 25, 2018
I know I’ve said it before, but for the sake of prosperity, this night should’ve happened 30+ years ago. However, the Rangers are terrible at honoring their legends, and if it wasn’t for Ratelle being named as one of the Top 100 players in the NHL, by the NHL, during the NHL 100 ceremony, than Ratelle may have never gotten his night from the Rangers.
The Elias and Ratelle ceremonies are both available on the MSG Networks/MSG Go app. If you haven’t seen them, check them out. It was truly night and day. Unfortunately, as Ranger fans, the Devils did a much better job.
Granted, Elias won multiple Stanley Cups. When Sam Rosen said something to the effect of, “Ratelle almost won a Cup”, it made this whole night seem like one long participation trophy.
The biggest problem, for Ratelle, as you know, was timing. The Elias ceremony was presented in front of a sold out crowd, all going nuts. Every fan had a relationship and bond with Elias. THEY SEEN ELIAS PLAY. They went through the good and bad with him. They have a special connection.
With Ratelle, a paltry number of fans decided to show up. The rest stayed in the bars, and then filled their seats two hours later, for puck drop. I mean, take a look:
While Ratelle’s ceremony was the right thing to do, it was held in front of “crowd”, if you can use the word crowd here, where 95% of the people didn’t even see him play. There’s no bond. There’s no connection. It was nice that the Rangers gave Ratelle a golf cart, because it went hand-in-hand with the golf claps he got from the fans.
Even more puzzling, there was no big build-up. Instead of talking about Ratelle, then bringing him out last, Ratelle came out. Following Ratelle, were the likes of Stemkowski, Irvine, Hadfield and others. In fact, the last person to come out was Emile “The Cat” Francis, who almost got a 1994 Rangers pop from the crowd.
Speaking of Emile, at nearly 92 years old, he looked as sharp as a tack. Talk about someone else who deserves a night in the Garden. Let’s hope it happens one day and let’s hope it happens when he’s alive. In other words, get it fucking done now.
Another problem with Ratelle night is that nearly everyone brought to the ice got a huger reaction than Ratelle. I expected the 1994 Rangers, just because those are the players most of these fans have seen (myself included) to get the biggest reaction. They did. The response for the Core Four of 94, dwarfed the reaction for Ratelle, the honoree of this ceremony.
What is sad and weird is that the Rangers all of a sudden remembered the GAG line. All of a sudden, they are the greatest line in Rangers history and the best thing to ever happen. For starters, it’s not even true, as the Bread Line (Bill & Bun Cook with Frank Boucher centering) were better and won two Cups. Furthermore, all three men on the Bread Line are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Vic Hadfield, the next Ranger honoree, is not in the HOF, nor meant as much to the Rangers as the Cooks or Boucher. Yet, here he is, having a night next season, because the Rangers are deciding to play revisionist history and acting like the GAG line were this unstoppable force behind multiple Cups.
Listen, I’m not trying to take anything away from the GAG line. They were great. They did produce. They were indeed one of the best lines in NHL history. However, Vic Hadfield as the next number to be retired by the Rangers? You could also make the argument that with two Hall of Famers at his side, any capable athlete could’ve produced. I just think Hadfield going up in the rafters is a farce and unnecessary.
I know how it’s coming off hypocritical or perhaps ironic, that I’m sitting here and whining about Boucher and the Cooks. If it was dead for Ratelle night, what will a potential Bread Line night be like? At least M$G is a morgue these days, so it would be the appropriate venue!
I’m not saying you need to have a big ass ceremony. Just something for the families to come to, educate your fans about the past, and wrap it up in a half hour. You don’t need to fly out the alumni. Just do the right thing. I don’t care if I walk into M$G next season and the Bread Line jerseys are retired. It doesn’t have to be a public spectacle, it just has to get done.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) February 26, 2018
As you can see above, the NHL even brought out some of Ratelle’s hardware. Not too shabby. Of course, Boucher won 7 of those Lady Byngs, and was given the trophy outright, plus the 3 Stanley Cups thing, but alas, I digress!
The high spot of Ratelle night was the announcement that Hadfield goes in next year. Maybe more than 200 fans will show up for it.
All in all, while I’m glad it was done, this was depressing and came off as Mickey Mouse, when compared to Elias night. This is no fault of Ratelle, this lays squarely on the shoulders of the New York Rangers organization.
And just for shits and kicks, IN MY OPINION, here’s who deserves recognition in the rafters before Hadfield:
Frank Boucher, Bill Cook, Bun Cook, Ching Johnson, Lester Patrick, Emile Francis and Ron Greschner.
With 24 hours removed from the Rangers latest loss, a 3-2 OT loss to the Redwings, there’s no point in recapping the game itself, especially since this blog is super long as it is!
Five things stood out to me in this game. They are, in no particular order:
— Henrik Lundqvist gave up two goals with less than 7 seconds remaining in a period. That’s a new low, even for him. We all know he gives up the most amount of goals in the beginning of a period, but to be beat twice, with under 10 seconds in a period, you can’t blame your defense. Make a stop.
— Zuccarello’s crushing hit on Ouellet:
This was a fun hit pic.twitter.com/gQlLDruaxI
— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) February 26, 2018
—Pavel Buchnevich refusing to shoot the puck, even while on a breakaway. What are you waiting for?
— The video reviews, which seem as random as lottery numbers.
— The place was sold out. I really thought this would be a dead crowd, especially with so many empty seats during the Ratelle ceremony.
Give credit to John Giannone from the Projects in Boonton. After my last blog, he was the only reporter to ask Lundqvist about potentially being traded. In fact, while we all know it’s sacrilege to mention anything that could be perceived negative about the man with the hair gel, Giannone interviewed Lundqvist. Here’s the interview in it’s entirety, with full credit to Giannone and the MSG Networks:
So Lundqvist wants to stay and his fans want to throw a parade because of it. Not even going to waste my breath here. This isn’t the NBA. You have to do what’s best for the team, not for one player.
When someone gives me a good argument about why a goalie, who will be 37 years old by the time the playoffs roll around next year and at a 12% cap hit, on a rebuilding team, is a good HOCKEY (not selling tickets) decision, it will be the first time I would’ve heard that argument.
As far as the Wings loss, as I said in my last blog, you’re just watching these games now to watch the development of the young players. That’s all this season is now.
5500 words, you still with me? Come on, after all, there’s no game until Wednesday night! You got plenty of time to get through all of this!
As talked about at the top of this blog, as I was trying to get some sleep, the Rangers traded Ryan McDonagh. Going to Tampa, with McDonagh, is JT Miller. Miller is kind of an after thought in all of this, and I get it. To me, I will miss screaming MILLER TIME. On the bright side, Miller Lite is huge in Tampa and maybe he can get some endorsement money there.
There’s a lot of shit to get into, so let’s break this down piece-by-piece.
For starters, before the McDonagh trade, McDonagh deleted his twitter account and wasn’t at Ratelle night on Sunday. On Monday, before the trade, he didn’t board the team plane to Vancouver, as the Rangers departed for their Western Canada trip.
In response, Jeff Gorton, on Sunday night, said this:
On what’s up with McDonagh, “I don’t know how you want me to answer that, Stan. He’s a player on our team right now and we are trying to get him back healthy.”
On trading McDonagh, “I’ll say this, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do to say about an individual player whether we are trying to trade him or not. We have enough things going on in that room right now that besides naming the guys and who could go where. We keep that between us and if something happens, we will let you know.”
Later, it was reported that Ryan McDonagh was sick of this whole process and just wanted to move on.
With McDonagh MIA from Ratelle night, and with rumors swirling that four teams were interested in him, it seemed like a matter of time. A little after 3PM, it was announced to the world. The Rangers traded McDonagh and Miller. For Tampa, they now possess the last two Ranger captains, and 1/2 of the 2014 NYR defense. This also reunites Dan Girardi with McDonagh, and you’d have to think, based on their chemistry, that they’d get some time together.
Let’s hit the press releases. First, the Rangers:
New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has acquired Vladislav Namestnikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller.
Namestnikov, 25, has skated in 62 games with Tampa Bay this season, registering 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points, along with a plus-11 rating and 35 penalty minutes. He has established career-highs in goals, assists, points, average ice time (17:30), power play goals (eight), and shots on goal (127) this season. Entering today, Namestnikov ranked second on Tampa Bay in power play goals, ranked fifth in goals, and tied for fifth in points thus far in 2017-18.
The 5-11, 180-pounder has skated in 263 career NHL games over parts of five seasons (2013-14 – 2017-18), all with Tampa Bay, registering 53 goals and 70 assists for 123 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 128 penalty minutes. Namestnikov established a career-high in plus/minus rating in 2015-16 (plus-17). He has also skated in 29 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, as he helped the Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014-15 and to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2015-16.
Namestnikov has earned several awards and honors throughout his career at the junior level, professional level, and in international competition. He helped Russia earn a bronze medal at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, as he registered six points (three goals, three assists) and a plus-seven rating in 10 games. He participated in the AHL All-Star Game in 2014-15, as he registered 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 34 AHL games during the season. In addition, Namestnikov helped the London Knights win the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Championship during his final season of junior hockey in 2011-12, and he recorded 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 19 playoff games that season.
The Zhukovskiy, Russia, native was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 27th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Hajek, 20, has split the 2017-18 season between the Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL), registering 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points, along with 28 penalty minutes in 52 games. He has established WHL career-highs in goals, assists, and points this season. In addition, Hajek is tied for 13th among WHL defensemen in goals this season. The 6-2, 210-pounder has skated in 186 career WHL games over parts of three seasons (2015-16 – 2017-18), registering 18 goals and 69 assists for 87 points, along with 185 penalty minutes. Hajek has tallied at least 26 points in each of his three seasons in the WHL. In addition, Hajek participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game during the 2015-16 season.
Internationally, the Smrcek, Czech Republic, native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Hajek registered eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven games at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named one of the Top Three players on his team, as he led all defensemen in the tournament in assists and tied for first among all defensemen in the tournament in points.
Hajek was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the second round, 37th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Howden, 19, has skated in 38 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, registering 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points, along with a plus-25 rating and 36 penalty minutes. He ranks ninth in the WHL in points per game in 2017-18 (1.53). In addition, Howden is serving as Moose Jaw’s captain for the second consecutive season.
The 6-3, 200-pounder has skated in 237 career WHL games over parts of five seasons (2013-14 – 2017-18), all with Moose Jaw, registering 107 goals and 143 assists for 250 points, along with 196 penalty minutes. Howden established WHL career-highs in goals (38), assists (43), and points (81) in 2016-17. He participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game in 2015-16.
Internationally, the Calgary, Alberta, native has represented Canada in several tournaments. Howden helped Canada earn a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, registering seven points (three goals, four assists) and a plus-nine rating in seven games during the tournament. He was also named one of the Top Three Players on his team during the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championship, as he recorded eight points (five goals, three assists) in six games.
Howden was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 27th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
By acquiring a first-round pick, the Rangers now have 10 picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, including three picks in the first round, five picks in the first two rounds, and seven picks in the first three rounds (their own first-round pick, Boston’s first-round pick, Tampa Bay’s first round pick, their own second-round pick, New Jersey’s second-round pick, their own third-round pick, Boston’s third-round pick, their own fourth-round pick, their own fifth-round pick, and their own sixth-round pick). In addition, the Rangers could potentially select three players in the first round of the NHL Amateur/Entry Draft in the same year for the first time in franchise history (since the Draft began in 1963).
McDonagh has skated in 516 games over parts of eight seasons with the Rangers (2010-11 – 2017-18), registering 51 goals and 187 assists for 238 points, along with 221 penalty minutes.
Miller skated in 341 games over parts of six seasons with the Rangers (2012-13 – 2017-18), registering 72 goals and 100 assists for 172 points, along with 144 penalty minutes.
Here’s Tampa’s take:
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers in exchange for forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Brett Howden, defenseman Libor Hajek, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2019 second-round draft pick, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
McDonagh, 28, has skated in 49 games with the Rangers this season, posting two goals and 26 points to go along with 20 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound defenseman leads the team for average time on ice (23:55) and became team captain of the Rangers after Ryan Callahan was traded to Tampa Bay. McDonagh paces all Rangers defensemen for assists (24) and points. The St. Paul, Minnesota native has appeared in 516 career NHL games, all with New York over the past eight seasons, recording 51 goals and 238 points.
McDonagh was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the first-round, 12th overall, at the 2007 NHL Draft.
Miller, 24, has played in 63 games with the Rangers this season, collecting 13 goals and 40 points to go along with 28 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound forward ranks second on New York for assists (27) and points. Six of Miller’s 13 goals have come on the man-advantage which ranks second on the Rangers in that category. The East Palestine, Ohio native paces the Rangers with four game-winning goals. Miller has appeared in 341 career NHL games, all with New York over the last six seasons, notching 72 goals and 172 points.
Miller was originally drafted by the Rangers in the first-round, 15th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.
But wait, there’s even more. Here’s what Jeff Gorton said on the trade:
On the McDonagh/Miller deal, “It hit on a lot of things that we wanted to accomplish, acquiring some picks, some high picks, getting some young players that we have really liked for a while. The ability to get Howden and Hajak and Namestnikov is a player that we have liked for a while. It hit on a lot of things that we wanted to do as we move forward is probably the best answer.”
On Namestnikov at C/W, “We like him at center, I like the fact that he can do both. Spooner has that too. The versatility is appealing but based upon where we are right now, looking at him at center is something we would look to do.”
On trading McDonagh, “it’s a very difficult thing to do, it’s a player that we view as a really special Ranger, captain of our team, here for a lot of good times, played a lot of good hockey for us. A special person off the ice, involved with charity and great family, a player we traded for and, if you think back, it was a time when things started to change in the right direction for us. He represents a lot of that, at the same time it’s exciting for us. We are doing something, going young, getting a lot of assets and there is a lot of opportunity for players as we move forward. Difficult. JT has been a good player for us too so I don’t want to undercut him, in particular we made a big trade for him years ago, turned out to be a really terrific trade for us. Very good player, very good person and very emotional to see him go.”
On finally making the moves, “it feels different as far as, we have had a lot of players leave in a short period of time. When we sat down with our plan and went through what we wanted to do and started talking to teams about where we were headed and what we wanted to accomplish, you start to get a feeling that this is going to happen. This deal, today, it was right before the deadline when it really happened. You don’t know if these things are going to go through, where it’s gonna go. We were happy going to the summer with Ryan if that was what was going to happen. Just trying to take it all in now, we have a lot of new players, a lot of new faces and like I said, we are looking forward to the opportunity as we go forward.”
Is there more work to be done, “yes. 100%. There is a lot of work here, that is pretty obvious. We are trying to build a team, we are adding these assets and doing all of these things but there is a lot of work to be done, a lot of players we need to go out and watch, find out what is going on in the draft, free agency. There is a lot of opportunity to grow as a team and make our team better. That is our goal, that is our mission and what we are going to do and I feel that we are just starting.”
On building at center, “I think so, if you look at successful teams, building up the middle and back end is important.. We are reasonably confident about our future in goal, we have some nice young players there. Comfortable there with how it’s going. To improve our defense and improve at center and get some young guys in here, it was important at those positions.”
How long have you been working on a McDonagh trade, “I would say for a couple of weeks we have been talking to teams about Ryan, we asked him for his teams and then a number of teams got involved and we did the work and went through these teams and assets and players and picks and tried to find the best case scenario was for us and that is how it played out.”
How close are Hajek and Howden you picked up, “that was an appealing part of those two players, they played in World Juniors, a year further out of their draft. That was appealing in this deal. I don’t really know what our team is going to look like but there is opportunity for them to come in and show well and stay, if that is the case. We are not going to rush players just because we have new players doesn’t mean we are going to rush them in. We don’t feel that pressure. We will see where they are, it’s a long way before we see them here.”
On three first round picks this year, “we have to look at both scenarios. We are trying to get a certain age level and guys that fit in with what we are doing. We will look at different positions and see what is available, I’m sure that when you have three first round picks and you are on the draft floor there is opportunity. We found that last year as we made that deal, having those picks, there was a lot more chatter at our table than there had been without the picks. There will be a lot of opportunities for the Rangers to do either or, having three picks is really exciting for everybody.”
Lastly, here’s Mac on the deal:
“Dan Girardi texted me and was pretty excited, and I couldn’t be more excited myself to get down [to Tampa] and be part of all their success.”
“Yzerman said he feels that I’m a good character guy and that I can add a lot to the backend… I want to do whatever I can to help win. There’s some big expectations there that I’d love to help be a part of.”
“Looking forward to reuniting with a lot of familiar faces in Tampa.” Said having that will make the transition to a new team easier.
“It definitely sweetened everything.”
While it seemed McDonagh knew this was coming and happy to land in Tampa, poor JT Miller was on a plane to Vancouver. Senile Sather, you know, the guy who walked away so Jeff Gorton could run the show, told Miller he was traded, while in the air. Cue the silly “I ONEDER IF HE PARRASHUTED OUT THE PLAIN!” jokes.
Just imagine, he has to fly all the way from NY to Vancouver, then go from northwest Canada to southeast America. That’s gotta be what, 16 hours or so in the air? Poor bastard. On the bright side, he has a shot at the Cup.
Let me say, as a huge fan of McDonagh and someone impartial to Miller, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
The band is back together. Ryan McDonagh. Ryan Callahan. Dan Girardi. Even Anton Stralman, all together again!
With Nash in Boston, Grabner in NJ and to a lesser extent, since he is a year removed already, Brassard in Pittsburgh, I don’t want to see any of those teams win the Stanley Cup. With this trade, I’m all about Tampa. LET’S GO BOLTS!
Here’s the best thing about this trade – as a Ranger fan, it’s in your best interest to root for Tampa to win the Cup. Why? Part of the trade is that if Tampa wins the Cup this season or next season, then the Rangers get another first round pick from Tampa. I don’t know about you, but I’m rooting for the Rangers to win the Cup next season. It might not happen, and I’ll explore my options on who else I’d like to see win it then. However, for right now, the Rangers are done and Tampa is in. RIDE THE LIGHTNING!
Even better, I love the city of Tampa. I’ve talked about it ten-fold on this blog. My closest friends live in Tampa. I went to another Bolts/NYR game this season, 16 years after my first one there. The arena and the fanbase is incredible. Hattricks, Mons Venus, Hooters, Fergs, Guavoween, Gasparilla… no matter where you go, Tampa is rockin’. In other words, “WOOOO, tell ’em ARN!”
Do you know what’s great about this? Tampa is now a huge favorite to win the Cup now. How great would it be to see Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, more than anyone else, win the Stanley Cup?
As a fan going into these playoffs without a team to root for, I’m ready for a McDonagh Bolts jersey! Shit, Tampa always embarrasses Lundqvist and gave us MSL, who gave me one of the most memorable seasons in Rangers history! I got no hatred for Tampa!
Here’s my dream summer – Tampa wins the Cup with the ex-Rangers and Igor Shestyorkin eliminates that diva bitch, Henrik Lundswiss, from the IIHF Worlds. Oh, hockey gods, we pray to you!
For all the people say, WE NEED HANK TO WIN, HE CARRIES US, I can’t wait to see these Tampa Rangers win the Cup. You know why Tampa will win? Because their goalie is PLAYING like a Vezina goalie. He isn’t paid like one, unlike the egomaniac in the 30 jersey.
After a shitty year of my teams in blue, the Giants and the Rangers, at least I got a new team in blue to root for, even if it’s temporary. I also find it funny that Tampa is pulling a 1994 Rangers, but instead of ex-Oilers, they are going ex-Rangers!
As far as the Ranger side of things, I like the trade. The Rangers are going nuts with picking up defensemen and picks. The Rangers also made another minor trade after the McDonagh deal, when they traded Ryan Graves to Colorado for Chris Bigras. In that trade, it’s just a move for two guys stuck in the AHL. This is really just a chance to break out in a different environment/system.
With the blow-up temporarily complete (I’m sure the off-season will feature many more roster moves) here’s what the Rangers did, courtesy of Joe Cutroni (@Jcutroni) of Blueshirt Underground Radio:
If there is anything to take out of this, the Rangers are going to be the most watched team at the draft. With all these picks and prospects, if they don’t land the number 1 overall, do they dare package a trade for the number 1? You can also see the team is going Detroit 1990’s on us, and going Russian. Bust out the vodka!
Another bonus about this trade – it hurts Pittsburgh’s chances at a Cup. I mean, this is win-win all around!
On Ryan McDonagh, I’m sad to see him go, but this is a new day for the Rangers. However, this shouldn’t be it. You know what I’m going to say next…
FOR THIS BLOW-UP/REBUILD TO BE COMPLETE, HENRIK LUNDQVIST AND MARC STAAL MUST GO. No ifs, ands or buts. These contracts and age of these players is not conducive for a team trying to build a new core. It’s not personal, it’s business.
I just feel bad for my good friend Tommy Muscles – he just bought a JT Miller jersey. At least I got a few years out of my McDonagh jersey!
Of course, unlike the Nash deal, which was a straight up rental, people/fans are already speculating on who won this trade. To me, you can never tell who wins a deal like this until time passes. However I think it’s win-win for both franchises. The only way Tampa looks bad is if Tampa doesn’t win the cup now or next year.
Tampa is not the first team to go big by landing a defenseman by the deadline. While it didn’t work for Washington last year (Shattenkirk) or NYR a few seasons ago (Yandle), I think Tampa is in a much stronger position than those teams. Just think, McDonagh might not even be on the top 2 pair in Tampa. That’s how deep they are.
In conclusion on this trade, while this era comes to a close (It won’t be closed 100% until Staal and Lundqvist are gone) I’m more excited about the Rangers now, then I was when they were a fringe wild card team. We’ve been let down before, but this is the first time where they are starting over. Gorton may go down as one of the best GM’s in Rangers history, or he could put this team into the dark ages. Like trying to determine the winner of all these trades, only time will tell.
As we approach the end of this blog and of this era, let’s take a look at the Rangers we’ve lost since the Cup run:
— Brian Boyle – currently with the Devils, after a run with Tampa. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He was an All-Star this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Derrick Brassard – currently with the Penguins, after a run with Ottawa. He was part of the Ottawa team that bounced the Rangers out of the playoffs last season. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Daniel Carcillo – retired, but not after having his name engraved on the Stanley Cup in 2015. He did better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Raphael Diaz- currently playing with Switzerland. Never amounted to much after the Rangers moved on from him.
— Derek Dorsett – a guy the Rangers missed, he went to Vancouver. He was forced to retire after a life-threatening injury. He made more money and got more fame when he left the Rangers and Lundqvist.
— Dan Girardi – currently with Tampa, where he’s become quickly beloved. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Carl Hagelin – currently with Pittsburgh, where he’s won 2 Stanley Cups and an eyeing a third this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Kevin Klein – playing in Switzerland. Rangers moved on from him after he broke down from years of hard work.
— Ryan McDonagh – currently with Tampa. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— JT Miller – currently with Tampa. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Dominic Moore – currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in the same role he’s been in for most of his career, as a fourth line center. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— John Moore – currently with the Devils, with ex-Ranger Michael Grabner. Both of them are doing better without the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist.
— Rick Nash – currently with the Bruins. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Benoit Pouliot – got paid like a motherfucker from Edmonton and now with Buffalo. Financially, he’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Brad Richards – got bought out and won a Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks. He retired thereafter. He did better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Martin St. Louis – at the tail end of his career when he came here, he was a huge factor in the Cup run. Got slow a bit in the 2015 playoffs and retired. Career wise, he won a Cup and did better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
— Derek Stepan- mouthed off to Lundqvist and was traded to Arizona. He’s considered to have a bad contract, but an $8.5M goalie makes sense. His team is failing this season, but there’s been no bigger hole on the Rangers this season than the center position.
— Anton Stralman – currently with Tampa. He has a shot at the Cup this season. He’s doing better without the Rangers and without Lundqvist.
Damn! For all this talk I hear about Lundqvist carrying the Rangers, his ex-teammates all sure look to be doing better without him! But hey, let’s keep building around him. That’s the key to the Cup!
You’ve made it to the end!
In closing, I just want to say I had a blast running into a bunch of blog readers over the weekend. Always cool to see that people enjoy these manifestos.
From here on out, I think the news will slow down until the season is over. Zuccarello gets a pass from now, but come the summer, you’ll start hearing about his name in trade talks.
As far as this blog, with my work schedule, there’s no fucking way I’m reviewing a 10PM EST game against the Canucks. I’ll take my nap and live tweet it with anyone that’s staying awake.
If I have off this weekend, I’ll try to do something after the Calgary and Edmonton games.
Until the Vancouver game, I’m looking at flights to Tampa next week!
As always, thanks for reading and don’t forget…
“LET’S GO LIGHTNING!”
Oh, and of course…
“LET’S GO RANGERS!”
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter