NYR/NJD 10/1 Preaseason Game 3 Thoughts: Thanks For Coming Out Hellberg, Taylor Hall, MSG Network and My Thoughts on Their Entire Staff & More From A Sloppy 5-4 Game at the Rock

Don’t expect to see Magnus Hellberg dressed like this from October 2016-June 2017. Photo credit: Zimbio.com

What’s up everyone and welcome to what will be a shorter-than-usual blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I was going to skip writing about this game, but since I definitely won’t be recapping Monday night’s game, due to the New York football Giants game & since I have plans for Tuesday night, I figure I’d squeeze in a quick recap here.

It’s tough finding a new “angle”, so to speak, when recapping these preseason games. (Tonight will be the MSG Networks, more below.) In fact, I’ve done 8 blogs this week and what more can I say that I haven’t said before? Of course, since I mentioned those 8 blogs, I’d be remiss if I didn’t plug them. You can check them all out here:

NYR/NJD 9/29 Preseason Game 2 Thoughts: Vesey Makes MSG Debut, Bringing a Hooker to MSG, Who Makes The Team, Exclusive Notes From Behind the Bench, PP Delivers, Pirri Making A Case To Make The Team, Goalies On Point, MSG Needs To Step Up Their Beer Game & More

NYR/NYI Preseason Game 1 Thoughts: NYR’s First Line Shines, The Skap is Back, Clendening Making a Case, Greedy MSG, TY NYPD/FDNY & Much More From MSG

The New York Rangers 2016-2017 Preview: Where I Have Been, Thoughts on the Off-Season, What To Look For, Being Realistic About the Club in Year 90, Can Lundqvist Get His Cup, My Approach To Covering Hank This Year & Tons of Opinions About NYR

World Cup of Hockey Tournament Thoughts: Team Europe vs Canada Caps Off a Disappointing Tournament, USA Hockey, Why the WCH Failed in Front of Nearly Empty Arenas, Favorite NY Rangers, IIHF vs WCH & Much More From a Degenerate Who Saw Every Game

NHL 2016-2017 Predictions: Analyzing All 30 NHL Teams, Who Will Win The Cup, Who Makes The Playoffs & More

The Greedy New York Rangers Tell The Families To Go Broke, Think About The Kids, The Stubhub Trick, How The Devils Can Increase Their Fanbase & My Utter Disgust for James Dolan & NYR Ticket Prices

Why I’m Excited About The NY Ranger’s Preseason in Two Names: Jimmy Vesey & Pavel Buchnevich

UPDATED- Don’t Let History Be Forgotten! Time for The Rangers to Finally Honor The Greatest Ranger Ever, Frank Boucher

After watching tonight’s game, I’m posting this picture of myself with Eddie Giacomin so I can be reminded of what goaltending is!

The Rangers, after defeating the Devils 3-1 on Thursday night in MSG, lost tonight 5-4, to these Devils of New Jersey at the Rock.

Let me give you the quick ESPN.com box score, before giving you my thoughts and opinions:

1st Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR NJ
Jesper Fast (1)
Assists: Brady Skjei, Adam Clendening
1 0
Beau Bennett (1) (Power Play)
Assists: Kyle Palmieri, Yohann Auvitu
1 1
Beau Bennett (2)
Assists: Taylor Hall, Yohann Auvitu
1 2
Time Team Penalty Detail
Maxim Lapierre: 2 Minutes for Hooking
Ben Lovejoy: 2 Minutes for Holding
Ben Lovejoy: 2 Minutes for High-sticking
Travis Zajac: 2 Minutes for High-sticking
Adam Clendening: 2 Minutes for Tripping

2nd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR NJ
John Gilmour (2)
Assists: Ryan Gropp, Philip McRae
2 2
Taylor Hall (1) (Power Play)
Assists: Pavel Zacha, Yohann Auvitu
2 3
Pavel Zacha (1)
Assist: Michael Cammalleri
2 4
John Moore (1)
Assists: Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac
2 5
Time Team Penalty Detail
Brady Skjei: 2 Minutes for Interference
Philip McRae: 2 Minutes for Interference

3rd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR NJ
Michael Grabner (1)
Assists: Michael Paliotta, Mika Zibanejad
3 5
Mika Zibanejad (2) (Power Play)
Assists: J.T. Miller, Adam Clendening
4 5
Time Team Penalty Detail
Reid Boucher: 2 Minutes for Elbowing
Ben Lovejoy: Penalty Shot Awarded for Hooking on Breakaway
Maxim Lapierre: 2 Minutes for Hooking
Devante Smith-Pelly: 2 Minutes for Tripping
Ben Lovejoy: 2 Minutes for Holding
Vesey had a solid game, but no goals.

So the Rangers lost 5-4. From reading my social media accounts, it seemed many of you guys took the night off and got drunk. Perhaps I should’ve done the same. In fact, it looks like that’s what the Rangers did in the second period.

As I’ve been saying all preseason, you can’t go nuts about a win or a loss. Every team is trying out new things, mix & matching guys, checking out their guys from developmental, etc. The only thing I think you can somewhat get a handle on, is the goaltending. These goalies aren’t just gonna let guys score on them, even if they aren’t playing the other team’s best guys.

If there is anything you can take out of tonight’s game, I think it’s that MacKenzie Skapski is or should be, the #3 goaltender in the organization. We’ve heard about Halverson for years, but for some reason, he never gets work in the preseason. Obviously Lundqvist is number 1 and Raanta is number two. However, it’s Skapski & Hellberg battling for the starter job in Hartford. Skapski has been great in his two appearances, while Hellberg was ok in his first start and just terrible tonight.

If you’re looking for positives in tonight’s game, the Rangers PP continued to score goals. Zibanejad had arguably the nicest looking goal of the game. You want to see him produce early, especially after losing fan-favorite Derrick Brassard for him.

Jimmy Vesey, the player I’m really pulling for the most, played well again, but didn’t score goals like he was doing in Traverse. He showed off his speed at times, but was burnt on a PK. He also set up another penalty shot attempt for his team, this time feeding Kreider. For some reason, Kreider looked like he was in la-la land during the penalty shot attempt.

Watching this game, the Rangers really didn’t have many starters out there. You had Kreider, Vesey, Zibanejad, Girardi, Fast, Miller & Skjei out there, who I think all will be starting  come October 13th. The Devils looked like they were looking at their starters more in this game than the Rangers, as the Rangers were more concerned about trying out new pieces & talent.

The Devils originally were going to start their starting goalie, Cory Schneider, for the whole game. However, Schneider was pulled from the game, an hour before puck drop. Devils coach John Hynes pulled Schneider, because as he said, “Schneider had soreness.” Instead, Anders Lindback started and played the whole game.

Taylor Hall. Photo Credit: NHL.com

The best player on the ice tonight was NJ Devil Taylor Hall. I know I’ve bitched about it a thousand times since it happened so what’s one more time, but I still don’t get why the Oilers traded Hall for practically next to nothing. This trade has been ranked the worst during the entire off-season for the Oilers and has been ranked the best during the entire off-season for the Devils. What was Edmonton thinking?

As a Rangers fan who also roots for the Oilers (In Cam We Trust), this trade just drives me insane. If the Oilers were going to trade Hall, all I gotta ask is where the fuck was Jeff Gorton? Hand-feeding Glen Sather tapioca pudding? I mean the Rangers & Oilers have a rich history when it comes to trading. As I’ve told you before, when I went to Edmonton, the fans there consider 1994 to be their sixth Cup! The Rangers gift-wrapped Talbot to the Oilers when there were better hauls to be had on the trade market. (And you know me, I gotta say this, the Rangers should’ve kept Talbot, dealt Lundqvist & his horrible bloated contract, and used the money to spend on offense. Perhaps the Sedins?)

The Devils pillaged Edmonton for Hall. If the Oilers were just going to give Hall up, are you telling me that Gorton couldn’t talk Edmonton into a better deal than Adam Fucking Larsson? The Rangers couldn’t have dealt Girardi and a pick? Staal and a pick? A pick and a pick? I mean the Rangers could’ve easily came up with something better than Larsson, as could any other GM in the league. I just don’t get what Edmonton was thinking and where the Rangers were to capitalize. The Rangers missed out on a chance to add a top 6 forward that can score to their corps.

Ken Daneyko has traded the red & black NJ Devils jersey for a black suit and red tie. Photo Credit: MSG Networks.

If you read my blog on the greed of MSG & my thoughts on how the Devils could capitalize on it, (and if you haven’t, you can check it out here: The Greedy New York Rangers Tell The Families To Go Broke, Think About The Kids, The Stubhub Trick, How The Devils Can Increase Their Fanbase & My Utter Disgust for James Dolan & NYR Ticket Prices ) you know that I don’t really hate the Devils.

Listen, as a Ranger fan, of course I’m always rooting against the Devils. However, I don’t have the same hatred for them as I do the Islanders or Flyers. I can face the facts and be unbiased when it matters. The Devils are a classy organization. They do things right. They know how to win. As a diehard Mike Richter guy, I hate to admit it, but the Devils had either the best or second best goalie of all time, in Marty Brodeur. (I think Roy was two. I give the nod to Brodeur because he was so good, that he actually changed the game when the NHL created the trapezoid.)

Where the Flyers & Islanders haven’t won anything in over 30 years (I know, tough talk, 4 cups in 90 years in MSG), the Devils have just been humming along consistently, winning Cups and being a perennial playoff team until recent years. However, if you read my NHL prediction blog, linked at the top of this blog, you can see I’m picking the Devils to finish better than the Rangers & make the playoffs.

The Devils just always have good hockey people running the organization. The Rangers have James Dolan, who is not only the worst owner in hockey, but one of the worst owners in all of sports. If he could figure out a way to hire Isiah Thomas to run the Rangers, he would.

Having the NHL package, I usually use it to watch west coast games. Most of the time I’m watching the Oiler game & watching Talbot/McDavid. If the Rangers aren’t on, I use the NHL package to see east coast teams of players that I like, such as Jagr or Ovechkin. Very rarely do I tune into a Devils or Islanders game, unless that game has playoff implications or affects the Rangers in some way.

Living in Long Island, and having been known as stepping into a Long Island watering hole or two or two thousand in my life, I’ve seen many more Islander games on TV than Devil games. I’m not trying to be sexist here, but I don’t find Shannon Hogan, who plays the Bill Pidto/Al Trautwig role for the Islanders, to be of much use. I’m not saying a woman can’t do the job, I just don’t think Hogan is the person for it. I know her MSG network peers have to say she’s great, because that’s the PC & right thing to do, but deep down, I think they roll their eyes at her when she confuses players names and doesn’t know the rules of the game.

I mean who could forget this:

Listen, I know people make mistakes, but in my opinion, Shannon Hogan is the weakest link in the MSG Networks chain of personnel.

As far as the rest of the Islander staff, Mike Bossy is ok, but just dry. He was a great player, but doesn’t translate on TV like a Michael Strahan or like a Peyton Manning would. Butch Goring is the best of the whole lot, because he’s like Duguay – never minces words.

I’ve praised the Rangers MSG network crew before on this blog. Ron Duguay always tells it like it is. I love his bluntless. He will tell you when things are good and he’ll tell you when things are bad. He’s a good analyst that explains things & catches things that you may have not seen on first glance. That’s what you get from a star player as opposed to someone like me, sitting on their coach and pounding Labatt Blue Lights!

I’m a fan of Stephen Valiquette. He came on to the scene recently, and after saying “how did he get a job?” I started to appreciate his takes more. “Vally’s View”, a way he breaks down the goaltenders is a segment I enjoy. While we all know Cam Talbot was always the best goalie to back-up Lundqvist, I think we can all agree that Vally does a great job in-studio for MSG.

Bill Pidto and his fastest 150 seconds in the National….Hockey….League is always enjoyable. He has a good light-hearted sense of humor.

Sam Rosen is just the best hockey announcer around today. Yes I know who Emerick is, but Sam is my guy. I wish I could get one more game of JD & Sam.

John Giannone has always been nice to me when I met him. I enjoy his work. He’s also underrated as a play-by-play guy, but unless he’s waiting Rosen out, he’ll never get his shot here. Maybe down the line. It will be big shoes to fill, but John is more than capable.

Joe Micheletti seems like a nice guy. Never met him, but you can see he cares about his job and tries. He gives good takes on the Mike Francesa show when Mike introduces him as “Joe Mickle Eddy”.

If you’re a NY sports fan, Al Trautwig has the best job in the whole world, covering both the Rangers & the Knicks. However, he seems like a dick in real life. I’ve seen him around a few times, as I have seen everyone I’m writing about, and he seems to be the least personable of the whole lot. Maybe he’s just in the zone and so serious. Or maybe he’s just a dick. Check this story out: http://deadspin.com/if-you-insult-al-trautwig-on-twitter-hell-call-your-m-1464105302

So basically, Trautwig got mad at some guy for pointing out that Marty Biron isn’t spelt as Marty Boron. He called the mother of the guy, despite the guy moving out of his parents house 20+ years ago. Kinda fucking strange if you ask me. And before Al Trautwig calls my mom, I haven’t lived with my mother in 9 years, so please don’t wake her up. You can email me for my number if you want to vent.

More recently, Al Trautwig got himself in more trouble with this:


According to Al Trautwig, the whole adoption process is a bunch of bullshit and adopted parents aren’t real.

I don’t know what to make of the guy.

Let me put it this way, I have met Ron Duguay, Vally, countless ex-Rangers and other hockey players. All have been friendly. I have also watched Duguay, Vally and countless ex-Rangers meet kids and other people. In my interactions and watching these guys interact with other people, they’ve always been friendly, made small talk, and been a good representative of the NYR organization.

I have met Al Trautwig, but I never got a picture or got anything signed, because after all, it’s Al Trautwig. However, I’ve seen little kids ask for his autograph and he blew them off. To be fair, this was in the Delta Club at MSG and Al was on line waiting to get food. Maybe he was on a schedule. Either way, he kinda seems like a dick. Maybe you got to know him to understand him type of thing.

John MacLean in his Ranger years. Photo credit: 3rd String Goalie

You wanna talk about a nice guy, let me talk about John MacLean. When I was a teenager, me and my friends used to go to MSG and the Coliseum all the time to get autographs and take pictures with our disposable cameras with players. Does anyone remember the disposable camera?

Anyway, John MacLean was very Adam Gravesish with everyone. What I mean by that, is that he stopped and signed and took pics with everyone. I’m going back nearly 20 years now, but I still remember this. MacLean couldn’t pick me out of a line-up, but stuff like this I remember picture perfect to this day.

It’s amazing the tangents and digressions I go on these blogs, but I told you, this is a preseason game and I needed to find an angle to talk about here!

My point that I’m trying to get to is that I don’t watch many Devil games on the MSG network. Tonight’s game was 90% a Devils production, with Joe Michelleti making a cameo to give the Rangers perspective.

On another aside, I wouldn’t mind this in the future for Ranger/Islander or Ranger/Devil games. Take the best person out of each squad and let them call the game. So for Ranger/Devil games, it would be Rosen/Daneyko and for Islander games, it would be Rosen/Goring. Play up the rivalry in the booth and in the studio. Let Duguay and MacLean throw friendly verbal shots at each other. Let Bill Pidto give Shannon Hogan a wedgie. Let Al Trautwig call Steve Cangialosi’s mother on him!

I know some Ranger fans only care about the Blueshirts, but I enjoyed the Devils broadcast tonight. I enjoy Kenny Daneyko. I think he brings a breath of fresh air to a hockey broadcast. His funny stories and just the way he sees things are entertaining for a viewer. Oh and is it me, but does Daneyko’s voice sound a lot like Jesse Ventura’s?

John MacLean and Stan Fischler were good in their roles in between periods. I really hate when people talk shit about Fischler on twitter. I think Fischler should be featured during Ranger games. This guy is a walking legend and I hate to be morbid, but time isn’t on Fischler’s side. MSG should be featuring him more. Give him his own MSG wrap-up show or something. Fischler is one of the last few links to the golden years of the Rangers. This guy has interviewed every great Ranger there’s been. In fact, it was through a Fischler book where I first learned about the great Frank Boucher, a guy I always think the Rangers have dropped the ball or puck on. RETIRE HIS NUMBER ALREADY!!!!

I mostly see Fischler these days partnered with Shannon Hogan. He seems to enjoy it, but MSG is wasting his talents. The only thing I didn’t agree with Fischler on tonight was Rick Nash. Fischler said Nash will have a great season because he’s coming back from injury. Not for nothing, Nash’s whole Rangers career has been coming back from an injury or concussion. We’ve seen glimpses of Nash’s greatness but if you consider his contract, Nash has been another bust, in a long line of Rangers overpaid busts. It’s not to say that Nash can be great, but as of this writing, Nash will be remembered as another Ranger with a bad contract and not as fan favorite.

So in closing on this topic, I just wanted to share that I really enjoyed the work of the MSG crew across the Hudson River. With Hall wearing the red & black now, I’ll tune into more games. A great crew really enhances the product and the Devils have that. There’s been countless games I’ve watched on the NHL package where the announcers/crew bored me to tears, such as the Wild, Panthers and Coyotes.  The Devils, just like the Rangers, do a great job.

Zibanejad needs to get off to a hot start this season. Photo credit: BlueShirtsUnited.com

As far as the game on ice tonight, I was impressed with Hall and Zibanejad. There’s really not much to say as the Rangers were trying different things out. I don’t think the Devils get 5 goals if Lundqvist, Raanta or Skapski played a full 60 minutes. Hellberg was just bad.

What I liked and this probably only happened because guys are playing for jobs, is that the Rangers kept shooting the puck.  None of the fancy boy looking for goals shit. It was bombs away.

Girardi and Brodie were scary at times out there. Girardi may have peaked as a player as he has tons of wear and tear on him. The Rangers need me to be wrong on this. There is a lot of money and time invested in Girardi.

As far as other Ranger news, JT Miller returned and looked alright. Lundqvist is back and practicing. No word on Zuccarello, but I’m not worried about him. He will be fine. In fact, I think the Rangers should sew the “A” on his sweater this season. He has more time on the team than half the roster now, has become a league-wide star and he plays his heart out every game.

The most underrated winner ever in NY Sports History. Photo credit: IGN.com

As stated at the top of this rundown, no blog after Monday night’s game due to the MNF Giants game. I still can’t believe they choked to the Deadskins. I don’t care what anyone says – Eli Manning is the best athlete in NY today. He’s got the hardware to prove it. You can’t spell ELIte without Eli!

9 more periods of preseason hockey and it’s off to the races on 10/13 against the Islanders. That’s when shit gets real, especially when you realize that the Halakness Monster, Jaroslav Halak is 9-0 against King No Cup. As it is for any team, it’s important for the Rangers to get off to a hot start. Many people, myself included, think that the window is shut on a Cup run. For the Rangers to make a deep go of it, Hank needs to revert to his 2012 days, the powerplay must deliver, the rookies must be better than expected and Zibanejad better make Ranger fans say “Brassard who?”

See ya after the Philly game.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter machine

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