Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. WOW! THEY DID IT!
On Sunday, January 15th, the team from New York handled business for sixty minutes and knocked off the Minnesota Vikings, as the Giants’ superstar 1-2 punch, Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, wrote the first chapter of their playoff legacy, during Big Blue’s 34-31 victory!
Oh wait, I’m talking about the other team in blue and their fellow chrome-dome head coach that actually did what many expected on Sunday – win.
Ugh, back to the Rangers – where as a follow-up from Thursday’s blog – I did not see “Scratchy” on Sunday.
Furthermore, while many expected the Giants to advance in their playoff journey – they were also listed as three-point dogs to the Vikings. In comparison, the Rangers were -400 favorites on Sunday.
One more time – ugh!
In case you missed it, I covered all of the Rangers’ off-day news from Saturday here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/11423/
I bring up what I wrote last night, because despite all of the reverse curses and jinxes – and a tad of diarrhea too – the Rangers’ 2-1 loss to the Canadiens was completely inexcusable.
I don’t care if an asteroid had hit M$G, nor if Tonya Harding clipped the knee of every Ranger either – there’s just no way to positively spin this most recent Rangers’ loss – and to another cellar-dweller of the league.
As stated in this space just 24 hours ago – heading into this game – the Rangers had every advantage possible – even if Chris Kreider remained out of the line-up.
While the Rangers had the past two days off; their opposition, the Canadiens, entered this game on the second half of a back-to-back – and were also playing their third game in four nights.
Rather than taking advantage of what should’ve been a tired team; instead, the Rangers looked gassed themselves.
And as opposed to Thursday night -there was no miracle on Sunday – or at least not in New York. However, there was one in Minnesota though!
The only Ranger exempt from any criticism tonight is one of the usual suspects, CZAR IGOR. The 2022 Vezina Trophy winner finished with 29 saves on 31 shots faced – where I’d reckon that half of these stops were flat-out robberies.
Some of the stuff that has plagued the team all-season, and in recent weeks too, remained.
Once again, the Rangers’ powerless play couldn’t produce one goal, as they finished 0-2 tonight and are now scoreless in their last eleven attempts.
Despite facing a Montreal power-play that is ranked 30th overall in the league; for good measure, the Rangers’ penalty kill was beat by the Habs’ man-advantage unit too.
And while I truly don’t want to go overboard following one loss (and if you’re looking for a silver lining or something positive to say, then you can say that the Rangers should have never beat Dallas, thus this loss balances everything out – but as I talk out both sides of my mouth here – I don’t necessarily agree with that either); I just don’t understand how Gallant’s Gang continues to piss away point-after-point to all of these horrendous teams of the league.
I understand that this is “ANY GIVEN SUNDAY” league; but even so – all of these bad losses, where the “FAT CATS,” nor the kids either, don’t show up – all of these disastrous defeats have piled-up.
Put it this way – if the Rangers had handled business in just 50% of these losses to the dregs of the NHL – then they’d be in first-place right now.
Do you know how bad tonight’s loss was? I was forced to agree with Sieve Vagistat during his post-game remarks.
While I didn’t listen to much of the audio during this game (I was focused on the Giants); I did want to see the post-game show – just to see what Gallant would have to say – before the Rangers’ edited/censored his comments off of their YouTube channel – and as they frequently do.
Prior to “The Turk” discussing this wretched affair; Vagistat said what I was going to say here, the following:
Against a really bad team, and with Kreider out (thus opening up more ice time for the players labeled as “The Kids,” despite you know – all of these players being of the legal drinking age and all having played 200 games or more); the Rangers’ “kids” were shown up by the “youts” wearing the Montreal jerseys.
Lafreniere finished tonight’s game with a ton of turnovers and no shots on goal.
Kravtsov finished with one shot on goal against the great Sam Montembeault.
Chytil, who I don’t consider a kid, although everyone else does (he’s in his sixth NHL season for Pete’s sake!); did manage to put two shots on goal, while sending a dozen or so other tries high or wide.
Kakko, the best of the lot, and as he’s been all season, was decent enough – but still – where are the goals?
And it wasn’t just the younger players – even though it was this quartet that the resident M$GN ANALyst exclusively focused/piled on.
The “FAT CATS” also deserve some of the blame, and really, the majority of it.
After all, they are the ones paid the most money to deliver – and against another garbage team – they were practically ghosts.
Mika Zibanejad, who M$G built a shrine to all broadcast, as he was their featured “spotlight player of the game,” couldn’t score against an AHL goalie – including on two separate power-plays – where the bulk of his shots stained the boards behind the mountain known as Montembeault.
Artemi Panarin, who did score a 6 x 5 goal during a delayed penalty attack, and despite his team-high seven shots on goal – couldn’t find much success against a third-stringer either.
Jacob Trouba, the $8M man, continued his streak of hitting everything but the net, as it feels like only .00001% of his daily shots from a distance of five feet or more out ever reach the goaltender. The rest of these blasts are either deflected, blocked or shot high-and-wide.
One more time, and say it with me: “When Jimmy Vesey is one of your more effective forwards, while that’s good for him – that’s not good for the Rangers themselves.”
Since this game was absolutely infuriating, and because I really don’t want to kill my “Giants’ high” either; let’s blow through this blog as fast as possible – or at least for me – as we all know how long these manifestos tend to be!
Of note: Following the GAME REVIEW segment, I will share with you my latest for Stan Fischler.
Let’s first get into the pregame news and notes from Sunday, and then discuss tonight’s game itself.
Just four hours prior to tonight’s puck drop; the Rangers announced that Julien Gauthier wasn’t “day-to-day” as Dr. Gallant had originally diagnosed. Instead, he will miss a handful of games, as he’s currently on the injured reserve.
While no one knows for sure when Gauthier will return; I’d imagine that he won’t be back until following the All-Star break.
Despite already carrying 23-players, the Rangers called up Ryan Carpenter, and for two reasons:
1- Insurance. As mentioned last night, on Saturday, both Panarin and Kravtsov had a touch of the green apple splatters. In the event that neither could’ve played tonight, then Carpenter would’ve suited-up.
2 – Monday. Following this disgusting loss, the Rangers boarded a flight to Columbus, where they will play tomorrow night. Had something happened in this game, then Carpenter would be with the team and available to play.
Here was Gallant’s pregame “TURK TALK” from Sunday:
The head coach didn’t really say much – outside of rolling his eyes and basically saying that he’s sick-and-tired of all of the daily questions related to Lafreniere.
However, “The Turk” knew all of these questions would be coming, because not only is Lafreniere the focus of the birdbrain millennial Ranger beat reporters (and this game will only give them more fodder); but with Montreal as the opponent – Double G also knew that all of the Canadien/Canadian reporters would want to know about their “favorite son.”
Here was Sunday’s late matinee line-up:
FIRST LINE: Lafreniere/Mika/Kakko
SECOND LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Kravtsov
THIRD LINE: Vesey/Chytil/Goodrow
FOURTH LINE: Blais/Leschyshyn/Brodzinski
FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox
SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba
THIRD PAIR: Harpur/Schneider
STARTING GOALIE: CZAR IGOR
BACK-UP: THE HALAKNESS MONSTER
OF NOTE: Libor Hajek remained a healthy scratch for the fourteenth consecutive game, and where he was joined by Ryan Carpenter in the press box.
BOX SCORE time.
The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:
At 4:30PM, I tuned into the M$GN, just to see if Lundqvist was there. He wasn’t, so I immediately muted my big TV, watched the end of the Bills/Dolphins game and then waited for the Giants/Vikings game to begin on my smaller TV.
Come 5PM, I unmuted my bigger TV, where it was mentioned by everyone on the M$GN that today’s game was dedicated to Zibanejad.
The M$GN have done this five times now (Panarin, Fox, Trouba and Kreider were the others), and where following each of these games – the highlighted/spotlighted player did oo-gatz for sixty minutes.
That was our first jinx.
Our second jinx was the fact that the Rangers were wearing those horrid Liberty jerseys – you know, the terrible threads that the Rangers rarely win games whenever wearing them, and where all-time – I think the Blueshirts have a record of seven wins and seven hundred losses. I may be exaggerating, but you get my point!
Our hat-trick of jinxes was completed by Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, who to open the broadcast, mentioned that Sam Montembeault (SM for the rest of this blog – unless I just call him Dikembe Mutombo) had a 2-0 life-time record against the Rangers.
Following his 38 saves on 39 shots faced performance; that record now reads as 3-0.
And none of this is a case of 20/20 hindsight either.
Just check my Twitter feed to see what I was saying in real-time, including this pregame tweet that I fired off:
MSG is dedicating this broadcast to Mika Zibanejad. These spotlight broadcasts are usually jinxes. #NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 15, 2023
Ugh, time for the GAME REVIEW, where as previously mentioned – I want to race through this.
We can blow through this period with ease.
Here’s how it went:
— Sans the goaltenders, no one else on the ice played defense. This entire period was twenty minutes of non-stop breakaways and odd-man rushes – where on all of them – the goalies denied all of these excellent opportunities.
— I don’t know if the Rangers’ recent battle with stomach bugs was a major factor tonight (for what it’s worth – Gallant blew off such talk during his post-game interview); but much like their stool, in the form of diarrhea – the Rangers’ defense was extremely loose – and it stunk too.
— By the end of the game – the offense was equally smelly.
— And defensively, it wasn’t just Trouba, as many have anointed as their new whipping boy. It was everyone. Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren included.
— In our lone Lafreniere “highlight” of the game; Sam and Joe mentioned that Lafreniere’s parents were watching the game – but not on the M$GN. Instead, they were watching the French-Canadian feed in Montreal. Wise decision, as I’m sure the Canadien broadcast was much better than listening to an hour of Sam and Joe – even if they were rooting for the Habs all game.
— Seriously, and as he always does; all Sam did tonight was talk about every Montreal negative streak imaginable – who hadn’t scored since the Nixon administration, how disastrous their special teams were, and you get the rest.
— Here’s something Rosen should say next game: “Oh Joe, Lafreniere hasn’t scored since December 7th.” Maybe if he says that, then Lafreniere will finish the season with 100 goals!
— Not even five minutes in, and as a result of this piss-poor defense, CZAR IGOR had made four saves – where three of them were of the robbery variety.
— Back to Lafreniere, as it’s hard to avoid talking about him even if I really don’t want to kick the guy when he’s down – two of these game-changing saves were made on Juraj Slafkovsky – the first-overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft. Needless to say, the 2022 first-overall selection was much more noticeable and better than the same pick that had preceded him from two years ago.
— It gets worse. Following a Zibanejad and Kakko give-and-go try, where Montembeault, starring in the role of Patrick Roy on this night (and this is always the case with these no-name fringe goalies at M$G); Lindgren deflected a puck off of the post. The rubber bounced directly to the blade of Lafreniere. With Montembeault out of net, and from less than a foot away with nothing but twine in front of him – Lafreniere missed this open net – the fourth time he has done so this season.
— As they say, “when you’re hot, you’re hot; when you’re not, you’re not.” As you may have deduced, Lafreniere is not hot at all.
— Seriously, and really, it does pain me to say this – if he wasn’t a first-overall pick, then he would’ve been waived, benched or traded a long time ago. However, and like many of you – I’m still hoping for the comeback. Until then, this much is true – he’s giving every single one of his growing detractors more ammo with each game played.
— And let me try to get all of this Lafreniere stuff out of the way here: Again, Kreider’s out and Lafreniere is slotting in for him on both the first line and the first power-play unit – two positions/roles that he dearly desires. In turn, he’s done absolutely nothing with this new-found opportunity.
— In addition, it’s not like the Rangers were hosting the Bruins here, as they will on Thursday – they were playing the crappy Canadiens – and yet – another “Casper” of a game for #13. Sad.
— Nearing the ten-minute mark; Fox set-up Leschyshyn for a great scoring chance, but to his credit, Mutombo said “NO-NO,” waved the finger, and then made the save. This then led to another odd-man rush the other way, where CZAR IGOR prevented every Ranger on the ice from receiving a minus:
NHL All-Star Igor Shesterkin doing his thing in the first pic.twitter.com/g98cs4xbF0
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) January 15, 2023
— Two minutes later, and after a failed mini-Mika breakway; CZAR IGOR came up with another robbery save, following another Rangers’ turnover, when he stopped a camped-out Dadanov, who had the puck at the top, and dead-center, of the goaltender’s paint with 8:05 to go.
— As Rosen was making mistakes left-and-right, even getting the age of Slafkovsky wrong; with 4:32 to go, Trocheck showed off the hands, split two Hab defenders, and just as he was about to shoot – was slashed by Joel Armia.
— This was a good penalty for Armia to take. After all – have you seen this Rangers’ power-play?
— Following two minutes of nothingness, where like cheating on a high school test, the Canadiens were grinning as they stopped every predictable Zibanejad one-timer, shots that rarely reached their destination; the Rangers’ power-play was now 0-1 and 0-10 during their last three plus games played.
— Now entering crunch time; Mutombo stopped a one-handed shot from Leschyshyn, while Sammy Blais was being thrown around and hit all over the place.
— With 43.7 seconds to go, Suzuki left Lindgren in the dust, which forced #55 to hook the Hab before CZAR IGOR had to face another breakaway.
— As the period was set to expire, Mika and Miller had a short-handed two-vs-one odd-man rush. Rather than the team’s leading goal scorer shooting the puck; instead, Mika pulled a Panarin, forced a pass to Miller through two Canadiens and no SOG was to be found.
Nil-nil after twenty minutes, where if you’re looking for something nice to say – at least this game wasn’t boring – as these two teams had played a snoozer between each other just ten days ago.
Of course, I’d settle for a boring two-points in the standings, rather than witnessing whatever this was tonight.
Here’s what I said at the time:
Scoreless after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— Well you can’t say this game is boring like last time. No defense sans from the goalies.
— ’22 first overall pick > ’20 first overall pick.
— Rangers’ PP issues are alarming.
— Blueshirts were a -400 favorite at puck drop.
— LGR #NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 15, 2023
— The Rangers killed off the final 1:17 of the Lindgren penalty – so at least something was accomplished.
— Down to 16:52 remaining, a wide-open Chytil sent a puck wide. It felt like he did this a dozen or so times tonight, and this was the first time this happened.
— As the period progressed, and with no sign of an offense on the ice (maybe the Rangers should sign DANNY DIMES and SAQUON BARKLEY?); I said the following:
Igor with another glove save, this time on “Jackai,” 16:20 to go, #NYR continue to play with fire against another bottom feeder.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 15, 2023
— I may have “Rosen’d” the Rangers with that above tweet, because just seconds later, and with 15:47 remaining; Fox was boxed for holding Holden Caufield.
— 43 seconds after that; Caufield, along with Dvorak, assisted on Kirby Dach’s wide-open power-play goal.
— 1-0, bad guys.
— Prior to the goal; Trouba and Kakko had a two-vs-one odd-man rush, where in a rarity – the captain hit the net. Of course, Mutombo then kicked the shot wide and this set-up this 3 x 2 Habs’ PPG.
— All over Rangers’ social media, fans were blaming Trouba for this goal allowed. You just can’t win. After all, during the end of the first period, these same people were also complaining about Zibanejad NOT SHOOTING during the same exact situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t; where in this case – this worked out for Montreal.
— Five seconds following the goal allowed, CZAR IGOR made one stop, and right after that, had to stop Dadanov too.
— As the period progressed, and as we neared the half-way mark of the game/period; it was just amazing how much life Montreal had in their legs. You would have thought that it were the Rangers playing their third game in four nights – and not their opponent.
— With 9:11 remaining, Chytil finally put a SOG. And with that time-stamp, the Rangers should have just called 911, as their power-play is in a state of emergency.
— As the two goalies traded saves; down to 7:12 to go; Gallant started shuffling his lines, as for whatever reason, Vesey and Kravtsov flip-flopped. I am not criticizing Gallant at all, because more times than not, these in-game changes usually work out; but I didn’t see why Kravtsov was singled-out here – and need I remind you – I’m not in the “KULT OF KRAVSTOV” either!
— If any player deserved a demotion, it was Lafreniere – and not the mercurial Russian crybaby.
— And in a way, this change did work out – as on his first shift with Panarin and Trocheck – Vesey drew Slafkovsky for holding.
— Of course, the Rangers did nothing with this power-play and where this much is obvious – Mika doesn’t have the same success as Alex Ovechkin does from the place now forever known as “The Great Eight’s Office.” Once again, M$G will need their painters to white-up all of the black rubber marks on the boards.
— Ironically, and during a moment that had everyone a fan of all things blue celebrating with elation; Danny Dimes threw a touchdown for the Giants! Two seconds later, and with 3:57 remaining – Panarin scored during a 6×5 delayed penalty attack:
Panarin gets the puck, finds his lane, takes his shot, and we’re tied. pic.twitter.com/fOJYrCo5l8
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) January 15, 2023
1-1 – and an assist for Miller too, as he extended his career-best consecutive point streak to six games.
— This baked goal from “The Breadman” snapped Patrick Roy’s shut-out, as prior to the goal, the Canadiens’ legend in net was up to 25 saves.
— Despite the Rangers’ scoring and tying the game; Rosen then talked about Slafkovsky’s upcoming birthday again – where I wouldn’t be shocked in the future to hear that a nude Sammy jumped out of Slafkovsky’s 19th birthday cake.
— “OH JOE! DID YOU SEE MY SCHMECKEL JOE?”
— Since the Rangers are the Rangers; with just twenty ticks remaining, CZAR IGOR had to come up with two more game-changing denials, as twice, he prevented Drouin from scoring a late go-ahead heart-breaker goal.
1-all after forty minutes.
Here’s what I said at the time:
1-1 after 40. 2P Thoughts:
— #NYR aren’t at their best, and I’m sure the stomach bug is a factor, but at least they have a chance to win – due to Igor.
— Nice to see Panarin on the board – would like to see the PP get on too.
— SOG 28-22, Hits 15-11, FOs 19-11, NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 15, 2023
— Despite the game being tied; the Rangers just checked out. While they finished this period with eleven shots on goal – the bulk of them didn’t take place until the FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE mark had hit.
— In a game that was good for Chris Kreider, as he was sorely missed; the Rangers didn’t do much. It took nearly four minutes for the team to muster up a shot – an easy save for Patrick Roy on a soft Chytil backhander.
— A few seconds later, CZAR IGOR missed Trouba on a pass, and then bailed himself out by making a stop on Armia.
— At the 5:30 mark, Schneider came up with the best scoring chance yet; but again, an in-his-prime Patrick Roy was seemingly in net for the Habs.
— Down to 12:50 left on the clock; Trouba, from four feet away, took a Chytil rebound and pulverized the boards.
— Come 11:11 remaining – I thought Miller was going to do it again – but from the slot – he fumbled and lost the puck.
— Seven seconds later, the puck wound up in the back of Igor’s net, as Holden Caufield “caught” both Trouba and Miller behind Shestyorkin’s net and scored an easy goal from two feet away.
2-1, bad guys.
— This was a disastrous shift from #79 here – but nobody is perfect. And after what took place on Thursday, and considering that nobody looked particularly great tonight sans #31 – I’m not going to get on him.
— Furthermore – the Rangers only scored one goal against a third-string goalie playing his second game in less than a time-span of 24 hours. That’s on the forwards – not on the defensemen.
— From this point on, many Ranger fans, and later, Sieve Vagistat too, during his post-game ramble; were all saying the same thing – “THIS WAS A TRAP GAME!” Far from it.
— After all – how could this be a trap game when the bottom-feeding Blue Jackets are up next? It’s not like the Rangers had their eyes on one of the two teams they are chasing in the division, the Hurricanes or the Devils!
— So no, this wasn’t a TRAP GAME – it was a CRAP GAME – and that can’t be debated.
— To speed to the end – with five minutes or so remaining, Gallant made a pair of switches – Panarin for Lafreniere on the top line and Miller for Lindgren on the top pair – as the head coach was trying to put his best offensive weaponry on the ice. They shot blanks.
— In summary, none of this worked out and as triple zeroes flashed on the scoreboard – the down-and-out Habs embarrassed the Rangers on M$G ice by a final score of 2-1.
Here’s Gallant following the game, where he said what this game was – a poor effort:
To Gallant’s credit, and just like he always does – he remained cool, calm and collected following an inexcusable loss.
Rather than going all “scorched-earth;” instead, Gallant pointed out that his team had been playing well as of late and when asked about the stomach bug/diarrhea trouble around the team, replied:
“The energy level didn’t look great, whether it’s that or not I don’t know. I’m not going to yell at them, scream at them. Today we were hoping to have some good jump and it wasn’t there. Look at Montreal, it’s a pretty even game over there, they got one bounce at the end and beat us 2-1. It wasn’t awful, but we expect better from our group.”
Unfortunately, that response doesn’t help the fans that shelled out over $200 to attend this game, as that was the “get-in” cost tonight – which was pretty remarkable – as I thought that the Giants game would tank the secondary market.
I guess since I have to work on Monday, I forgot that tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day – a day off for many people – including the kids who attend school.
While obviously, the tone of this blog has largely been negative, as really, who could be “rah-rah” about this game; big picture, the Rangers are fine.
However, “fine” won’t be good enough for the playoffs.
And for these Blueshirts, who have an uncanny knack for losing all of these games to bad teams – it may cost them home ice come the post-season – and where if you remember the first-round from the 2022 playoffs – the Rangers handled business on M$G ice during their “MUST WIN” Game 7 against the Penguins.
Then again – at least the Rangers won’t see the bad teams of the league this Spring.
For whatever reason, for as bad as they play against the worst teams of the league – at the same time – they also play well against the league’s best.
Ironically, the Rangers will see if this pattern continues this week, as tomorrow, they take on the bottom-of-the-division Blue Jackets. After that, it’s a Thursday night tilt with the best team of the NHL, the Boston Bruins.
Let’s go home with my latest article for Stan Fischler – an article that I think will appear on “The Hockey News” this Friday – where of course – it will be edited/chopped up due to space constraints – such restrictions that I don’t have to abide by here!
Funny note before sharing this article, this following conversation:
Is there such a thing as a “hometown announcer” anymore?
While that question is meant to be facetious, there’s some seriousness included in this ask of you too – and as regular readers of my BlueCollarBlueShirts.com website are all too familiar with.
John Davidson, the former Rangers’ goaltender/announcer/Team President, and perhaps the last true “color analyst” of the Blueshirts’ owned and controlled MSG Network too; the man most famously known for his initials was once propositioned by “The Maven” himself, where JD sharply remarked, “it should be 60-40, in favor of the home team.”
These days, whenever listening to JD’s former Hall of Fame partner, Sam Rosen, and JD’s replacement on the MSG Network too, Joe Micheletti; it feels like 90-10 – and in favor of whoever the Rangers are playing that night!
Between Rosen’s never-ending “reverse curses” (where he will repeatedly say something like “Player X hasn’t scored during his last 25 games Joe,” only to excitedly shriek ten seconds later, “and it’s a power-play goal for Player X Joe!”), and Micheletti relentlessly rattling off the pregame news submitted to him of every Ranger foe, where more times than not, he recites these texts with sheer glee; it’s been tough listening for the red ears of Blueshirt backers.
While I would have no problem with a “60-40” Rangers’ hometown broadcast; at this rate, I’d settle for a 50-50 one!
And let me be clear – I totally understand that Rosen and Micheletti want to do their best in informing their listeners of what’s going on away from Rangerstown, USA. I truly do. However, when they praise the opposing team more than the team that they are paid to cover – then needless to say – it does get aggravating – especially whenever they sound cheery whenever the enemy flashes a red light on Garden ice!
In addition, Ranger fans are smarter than your average lot – and don’t need minute-by-minute reminders about how good Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and every other star in the league, truly are. We already know!
As a faithful viewer and customer of the MSG Network for nearly forty years now; the way the two other teams of the James Dolan owned broadcasting bonanza cover their teams, the Islanders and the Devils (you know, the two biggest arch-rivals of the Rangers) – it’s night-and-day in comparison.
The two respective legends of the franchises they once played for, and perhaps two men who belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto too, Ken Daneyko (NJD) and Butch Goring (NYI); both men personify the word “homer” whenever sitting next to their play-by-play partners.
In general, I don’t think that Micheletti is bad at what he does (especially since these days, he’s doing two jobs for one payday – as he’s always covering up/rectifying the frequent mistakes made by a long past his prime Rosen – and that pains me to say that); but even so – “the fabulous” Joe was a Blue – and not a Blueshirt.
For a network and franchise estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of over two billion dollars – it would be nice of the Rangers if they ever hired one of their own legends in their broadcast booth on 33rd and 7th – and as both the Islanders and Devils currently employ. (And that’s a teaser for what’s to come!)
Ironically enough, while the Rangers’ television network employs two men who seem to care more about the other team than their own; conversely, over Blueshirt airwaves – no one is better than Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney – a dynamic duo that should be on the screens in our homes – and not in the radios in our cars.
The former Rangers’ captain fits the mold of both Daneyko and Goring, as Maloney bleeds blue – and no one can ever question where his loyalties lie.
Kenny, son of Marv, and as everyone knows – followed his father’s footsteps into a successful broadcasting career himself – as dad called Ranger games for over thirty years on both television and radio – prior to becoming more famously known as the voice of the NBA.
It is my opinion that no one calls a better hockey game than Kenny Albert – whether it be for the Rangers or elsewhere.
Equally as impressive – Albert is a “jack-of-all-sports,” as he never misses a beat whenever calling an NBA or NFL game either. Heck, I’m sure that he could master a corn-hole broadcast on ESPN OCHO too!
There’s a reason why Marv’s son is now the national voice of the NHL on the TNT Network – and where the word “nepotism” doesn’t apply. Far from it.
In fact, the complete opposite is the case – as the younger Albert has earned his praise on strictly merit.
Furthermore, and with no disrespect intended for the great Mike “Doc” Emrick either – Kenny Albert has been the best play-by-play man in the game – and for many years now.
A hometown broadcaster, whether it be a play-by-play person or a color analyst, is supposed to be fair – but is expected to wave the pom-poms too. There should never be a time where you wonder who signs his or her checks.
As a New Yorker living in the EST – let me be both fair and transparent with you here – I’ve obviously heard more of the east coast broadcasters – rather than their peers on both the left coast and in Canada.
With that caveat clearly stated, here are my Top Five commentary tandems (television exclusive) among the 32 NHL clubs:
5. Edmonton Oilers (Jack Michaels and Louie DeBrusk): Maybe I’m biased here – because I love the “old school” takes, especially from Gene Principe, who handles all of the Albertan intermission segments. Another reason for my bias? DeBrusk was once part of a trade that brought Mark Messier to New York!
4. New York Islanders (Brendan Burke and Butch Goring): It may sound odd for a Ranger fan to celebrate what “little brother” is doing, but I have to be truthful – Burke does a masterful job of handling the play-by-play, while Goring’s enthusiasm, including his frequent “toy department” references, really shines through.
3. Vegas Golden Knights (Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy): Perhaps it’s the atmosphere that Sin City provides; but in any event, these two liven up an already colorful environment. It also helps that the team has been strong – as they have plenty of positive material to work with.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (Dave Randorf and Brian Engblom): the recent two-time Cup champs have a championship broadcasting team too. What I really like about these two, is that for as serious as a contender as the Lightning are – this pairing always remains loose and fun. That said – Tampa’s radio man, team founder Phil Esposito, is the real MVP – but I have already mentioned my fondness for “old school takes.”
1. Seattle Kraken (J.T. Brown, John Forslund and Eddie Olcyzk): Maybe it’s Seattle’s winning ways, which helps pump this trio up in my eyes (or is it ears?), but whatever the case – team #32 has the best home broadcast in the league – or so I say! I’m sure my colleague and friend, Glenn Dreyfuss, will agree!
Let’s shower praise upon the national broadcasters too.
Here are my Top Five national broadcasters, which includes the people who work for ESPN, TSN, SportsNet and TNT:
5. Kevin Weekes: Known more for his social media postings and for his role as an “insider;” when the former goaltender calls games, he’s always informative. I always pick up something new whenever listening to his sage words of wisdom. His humorous personality is also a bonus.
4. Brendan Burke: The Isles’ regular play-by-play man is sixteen years younger than Albert, and if Kenny ever becomes the full-time successor to Sam Rosen (as he should), and decides to spend more time at home – then perhaps Burke will become the lead voice at TNT – a job that he would have earned. Of course, it’s tough to see Albert walking away from a national gig during his prime years.
3. Keith Jones: Maybe it’s due to his longevity, or his role with the much detested around-the-league Flyers; but whatever the event – many fans have soured on “Jonesy” in recent years. Not me. I still find him entertaining, and more important than that – knowledgeable.
2. Eddie Olyczyk: Yes, both my Ranger fandom and love of the ponies may be a reason for this high-ranking, but there’s also a reason why “Edzo” has been a successful color analyst ever since his retiring as a player in 2000.
1. Kenny Albert: No one does it better. Perhaps his most impressive feat from his future Hall of Fame career? Calling three games in one day, and all by his lonesome, during the pandemic 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs for NBC.
One final thought on the future of hockey broadcasting? The following:
If Henrik Lundqvist, who throughout his playing days, earned over $100M, ever decides to leave his part-time job in-studio (where he’s currently employed by both the MSG and TNT Networks), for a seat at the top of most NHL rinks; then “The King,” who never won a Stanley Cup, may win a few Emmy Awards instead.
Lundqvist, now in his second season as a part-time studio analyst, has been an absolute natural – both as a hometown and national talking head.
Perhaps most impressive above all else? English isn’t his first language – Swedish is.
Put it this way – can you master a second language – as Lundqvist does on a daily basis – and in front of a nerve-wracking red camera light to boot?
A job that Lundqvist wouldn’t be good for? Radio.
After all, with a face perfect for a GQ cover – the occasional model is meant for television!
And as a Rangers’ fan – I couldn’t think of a more perfect replacement for Micheletti than #30 himself!
Back at it tomorrow, with a review of Rangers vs. Blue Jackets.
My first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”
As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:
For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
Toilet-Bowl Ridden Rangers Prepare for the Crappy Canadiens; Injury & Illness Updates, Leschyshyn Set For Blueshirts’ Debut, “TURK TALK,” Mika Selke & More
NYR/DAL 1/12 Review: Blueshirts “Star” In Most Dramatic Win of the Season Yet! Miller’s Buzzer-Beater Earns Rangers One Point; Fox’s OT Game Winner Gets The Second, Finding Ways To Win, “Scratchy,” Gallant, Jake Leschyshyn’s Arrival Creates Doubt for Fringe Futures, Lundqvist, M$GN & More
NYR/MIN 1/10 Review: FOXY-CUTED! Rangers Win a “Wild” One (Har-Har-Har); D-Men Carry CZAR IGOR; Miller Time, No Reaves’ Revenge Game; Lundqvist Avenged, “Censored” Turk Presses Right Buttons; Kravtsov Shines But Lafreniere Pines, Tro-Ding-Check, NYR Lose Two to Injury, Powerless Play, M$GN & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my new four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”
If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com
For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Thanks for reading.
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine