Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Let’s Go Giants!
Of course, and most important above else – Let’s Go Rangers!
And this as well – this will be a short blog tonight – a rarity on this site!
After all, I got people coming over for the Giants’ game tonight – and despite my wishes – my toilet & bathroom won’t clean themselves! Those bastards!
Following the Blueshirts’ tough 3-1 loss to Boston, Gallant’s sharp-tongued comments regarding his second line and the team’s off day on Friday; on Saturday, the team reconvened for practice – but not at their usual digs in Tarrytown, NY. Instead, the team practiced at “The World’s Most Expensive Arena.”
This was the first Rangers’ open practice in nearly three years and their first since the pandemic.
Prior to Saturday’s free-to-watch skate; the team had previously held an open practice at Lasker Rink in Central Park on November 9th, 2019. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.
Previous to the open practice from the “DQ Era,” the team hadn’t held an open practice in front of their fans in nearly a decade.
It’s my opinion that these open practices creates good will between the franchise and their customers. It’s a unique experience that allows fans to enjoy an intimate time with their favorite team – and even better – without decimation to their wallets.
However, I think that once you’ve seen one of these things – then you’ve seen them all.
In other words, to me, attending a Rangers’ practice is a bucket list item – but at least you won’t have urine on your shoes following it, unlike another NYC bucket list item – attending the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
In any event, how exciting is it to see the team do drills, skate around in circles and then take a knee in these circles themselves? It’s fun once, maybe enjoyable a second time, but after that – it does become mundane.
That said, and according to all in-attendance – everyone had a good time and enjoyed themselves.
(I didn’t go and for several reasons, including I’ve seen it before, I have no interest traveling to NYC on my off-day from my “real job,” a job which requires me to go to NYC five days a week; and because at the age of forty years old – I didn’t want to be “burnt out” prior to tonight’s Giants’ playoff game! Us “old” people need our naps!)
To be honest, not much took place at the practice – aside from the Rangers increasing morale with their fan base.
While some players stopped and greeted fans near the tunnel; there wasn’t much else interaction, as this was a practice – and not a day-long meet-and-greet session.
However, some members of the alumni were there, including “OLD FRIEND” Brian Boyle – which had to warm the heart of friend of the site, one of the co-hosts of “The Blueshirt Underground Show,” Jim Schmeideberg! I’m sure the cockles of my good pal, the frequently mentioned YOFFREY, were also toasty!
Other members of the Rangers’ alumni were there too, including Adam Graves and Brian Mullen, as “The Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger” fraternity will play the Islanders’ alumni this Sunday on Long Island, in a charity game to raise money for sick children. (More on this below.)
If there was any news at the practice itself, then it was “The Turk’s” latest lines.
Here’s what the head coach went with on Saturday:
FIRST LINE: Panarin/Mika/Kreider
SECOND LINE: Vesey/Trocheck/Goodrow
THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko (Brodzinski also skated with this trio – more on him in a bit.)
FOURTH LINE: Kravtsov/Leschyshyn/Blais (Gauthier also skated with this trio – and yes – an update on him in a bit.)
Defensively, everything stayed the same:
FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox
SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba
THIRD PAIR: Harpur/Schneider
STARTING GOALIE: CZAR IGOR
BACK-UP: THE HALAKNESS MONSTER
PRESS BOX: Hajek (Okay, he wasn’t really sitting there but you get my point!)
If you’re a regular reader of this site, then you know this much is true – no one pounds the “IN TURK WE TRUST” drum louder than I do.
In other words – I never criticize or get caught up with Gallant’s lines.
After all, lines change in-game all the time, so to get bent out of shape about these four triads is a fool’s errand.
That said, while my faith in “THE TURKMASTER GENERAL” hasn’t wavered; I can’t say that I was fan of his moves from Saturday – moves solely forced because the Rangers’ most expensive player, the $11.6M Artemi Panarin, can’t get his teammates going.
Instead, the head coach needs to put talent around a player who should be bettering his team – and we haven’t even brought up the anemic powerless play either!
When you look at these lines, Gallant is going back to the line that he usually uses whenever down by one and chasing a goal during the latter stages of a game, the 10/93/20 line.
While it’s abundantly apparent that Panarin has no chemistry to speak of whatsoever with Vincent Trocheck; previously this season, when teamed up with Zibanejad for a short stint – these two had even less success.
And while perhaps Zibanejad is not producing (offensively) in the way that he should; at least his non-Bread linemates have.
Furthermore, between the two highest-paid forwards on the team – no one is questioning Zibanejad’s defensive abilities/skills. The same does not apply to Panarin.
I think the worst part about this, is that due to Panarin’s struggles (again, I think most of his points are of the “compiler” variety – just look at his secondary assist totals), is that Kaapo Kakko becomes the odd-man out.
Long story short – the Panarin “Monkey Wrench” is real.
Rather than playing with the two best forwards on the team; Kakko, arguably the team’s best right-winger, is now saddled on the third line with the all-out mess known as Alexis Lafreniere, and a center who can’t win a face-off, Filip Chytil, aka “THE KIDS LINE PART 19;” as the head coach goes back to this young line.
Talk about age discrimination!
After all, Kakko, while not producing the points, is playing well defensively and does complement the BFF of Zibanejad & Kreider. Instead, due to Panarin – Kakko will now play with the two players he had success with prior to the summer – and two players he hasn’t had much success with since.
The new Rangers’ second line perhaps should be their third line, as the Vesey/Trocheck/Goodrow line feels like a true check line. Then again, these three are producing more than most on this club – so it does make sense to give them more ice time too.
Furthermore, while Trocheck has had his issues, mainly due to Panarin (just like everyone else #10 plays with this season); Vesey and Goodrow have been reliable, consistent and have improved the players around them all season.
And following Gallant’s post-game comments from Thursday – it’s very easy to see why he wants three reliable players, where defense is their specialty, on that line.
The fourth line feels like a random collection of players, as if drawn out of a hat – where come Monday – it feels like the Rangers will be skating their 789678666th different and new fourth-line combination of the season.
At the very least (and without exaggeration), this will be the Rangers’ fourth different fourth line in as many games played.
Before getting into Saturday’s “TURK TALK,” some video from the open practice:
— The Glove Drop (@TaraSheaFitz) January 21, 2023
— #NoQuitInNY (@drrob212) January 21, 2023
Here is what Gallant had to say after the practice:
In the event you don’t have eight minutes to watch Saturday’s “TURK TALK,” then you can read Adam Rotter’s transcript of it here: https://nyrangersnews.com/2023/01/21/updates-from-the-rangers-on-saturday-14/#more-196524
Here were the items that drew the most attention, or at least in my eyes:
— Gallant stated the he enjoyed the open practice and brought up his time as the bench boss of the Vegas Golden Knights, where open practices were the norm. (Vegas did this to increase their profile to their new fans, and still carry on this tradition today.)
— Gallant also said that while he had a blast on Saturday; he does prefer the closed practices – and was looking forward to Sunday’s practice, back in Tarrytown.
— Gallant said that Julien Gauthier was most likely to play on Monday. More on him – and as promised earlier!
— While Gallant didn’t use the phrase “FAT CAT” verbatim; he did say that among his top guys, he’s only been happy with the way that Kreider has played. (Gallant meant from a shooting perspective, as he was critiquing everyone else’s routine over-passing issues.)
— Gallant said that he’s extremely aware of how bad the power-play has been as of late, but at the same time, thought they were “just in a funk and we’ll get out of it.”
— As mentioned no less than 1,000 times this season – while Gallant will shake-up his lines day-by-day, hour-by-hour – he is adamant about not tinkering around with his power-play units.
— On the loss to Boston, Gallant replied, “we have to move forward.”
— This then led to a follow-up regarding his scathing (but warranted) remarks from Thursday, where Gallant polished up what he meant and said:
“The defensive stuff? It wasn’t just Panarin. It’s the entire [second] line. I talked about the line giving up too many chances. It’s not Bread or Trocheck or Kravy or whoever is there – it’s the line – and we have addressed it. That is what part of coaching is. We talk about those things, show them video and, again, we split the line up not because of one game; but because we think we can add a little bit more depth. We think it’s a little better this way. We’ll see how it works out.”
— Gallant, and as he has done several times before, then buried analytics (no wonder why I’m such a big fan of his!), where he once again stated that his numbers, the numbers that his staff provides for him, are more accurate than anything you’ll see publicly posted elsewhere. In other words – Sieve Vagistat is a dummy and full of fake news!
One player Gallant wasn’t asked about? Jonny Brodzinski.
Despite skating with the team on Saturday; Jonny Brodzinski, as he was heading home from M$G, was waived.
As opined on this site when it happened; once the Rangers claimed Jake Leschyshyn – that didn’t bode well for Brodzinski – who as also noted – is still currently the captain of the Hartford Wolfpack.
While it remains to be seen if Brodzinksi will be claimed; if not, he will return to his role with the ‘Pack.
For the Rangers, waiving Brodzinski confirmed that Julien Gauthier would be 100% for Monday.
Furthermore, this move was all “a-word” related, the word we’ve used all season – “accrue.”
With JONNY HOCKEY no longer with the Rangers, this brings the team down to 22-players.
Presently, it also puts the team on pace to have over $7,000,000 to play around with come March 3rd – the date of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.
In the case of Brodzinski, I thought he played okay, but not well enough. His recent bouts with bad penalties, largely of the offensive zone variety, seemingly did him in.
The addition of Leschyshyn was the final nail in the coffin for #76’s latest stint on Broadway.
As mentioned, the team will practice on Sunday, prior to their Monday night match at M$G with the Florida Panthers.
Also on Sunday, the annual Rangers vs Islanders alumni game, where wouldn’t you know it – the game is completely sold out – except for one ticket:
I know some people who are attending this alumni game, so either I’ll post something here late Sunday night about it or save it for Monday.
Speaking of future stories, I’ll let you guys and gals decide what I’ll do on Friday night – the Rangers’ final game before their near two-week break, due to both their annual weekly bye and the All-Star Game.
As you may know, come Friday night, when the Rangers host the Golden Knights; the Blueshirts will also be holding their annual “PRIDE NIGHT.”
And as you’re also aware of, I covered the latest NHL PRIDE NIGHT controversy here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/pride/
I really don’t like mixing political stories with sports, nor do I even like talking about anything political at all on this site; but as we all know, all of these leagues, the NHL and the three other major ones in America, force all of this stuff on us.
In other words, I’m asking for your feedback on what to do on Friday.
As mentioned on Wednesday night on this site; I have adult readers of all ages, and readers who all have different sexual preferences. In addition, I received a ton of feedback on Thursday morning, where I found three readers (and friends) to have interesting stories to share.
These three stories that I think are worthy of presenting to you, as long as you guys don’t mind non-Rangers/sports stuff, are the following:
— A lesbian Rangers’ fan, who believes many fans remain close-minded about her daily way of life.
— A transgender (man-to-woman) Rangers’ fan, who thinks the NHL does a good job with “PRIDE NIGHT;” but would like her story and thoughts shared to a wider audience.
— A straight male Rangers’ fan, whose straight daughter is currently being ostracized at the highest level of professional women’s hockey – a league that many lesbians play in – and want to keep it that way.
As you can tell, this is a wide-range of different stories, all from people of different backgrounds.
To me, I find all of it interesting, especially since I can’t relate to either of these three people, as I’m not in their situations.
My end goal, especially since I crave knowledge? Just to share all of these stories from all ends of the spectrum with you – just as information – no more, no less- and then let you decide what to do with it.
You tell me, and you can, by sounding off in the comments or however else you normally contact me!
One more time –
LET’S GO GIANTS!
LET’S GO RANGERS!
See ya either late Sunday night or on Monday, following the Rangers vs Panthers game.
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/BOS 1/19 Review: Rangers Flunk Litmus Test; Gallant Calls Out Panarin, Drury Gets a Deep Look at Contender vs Pretender, Powerless Play Problems; Only Defensemen Can Score These Days, The Worst M$GN/NESN Broadcast of the Season, Fox = All Star, Provorov/Pride Update & More
The NHL’s Latest PRIDE NIGHT “Controversy” – Now Starring Ivan Provorov! ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski Leads The “YOU MUST WEAR THE RIBBON” Mob, Green = Only Color of ROYGBIV That Matters, The Real Issue That’s Plaguing The League & Their Fans (As Presented by Caesars), NYR Updates and Trade Rumors & More
NYR/CBJ 1/16 Review: Barclay “Rodney Dangerfield” Goodrow Makes Elvis Leave The Building; Blueshirts Bounce Back, Miller Extends Historic Scoring Streak; Lafreniere Extends His Epic Schneid; Panarin Can’t Hit The Net; Kravtsov Not Done Yet, Halakness Monster Sighting, Turk’s Moves Work Again, 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