The 2023-24 (Same Old) New York Rangers Finale: Recaps and Thoughts From Every Interview Conducted at Blueshirts’ Break-Up Day, Why Chris Drury Is The Biggest Scapegoat For This Latest Failure; Lavy’s Admissions, Baffling Jacob Trouba Non-Decision; Rangers Ignore His Interview Too, Mopey Mika Makes More Excuses, Kakko = Goner, Lafreniere & Rempe Inspire Hope; Chytil is a Dope, Make Tro”C”heck Captain, Future NYR Reading & More

On Tuesday, June 4th, and the 2023-24 New York Rangers reconvened at their training facility in Tarrytown, NY for the last time – and where a lot of what was said all felt hollow, depressing, and yep, you guessed it – “SAME OLD RANGERS” too.

“This is the end, beautiful friendThis is the end, my only friendThe end of our elaborate plansThe end of everything that stands

The endNo safety or surpriseThe endI’ll never look into your eyes again.”

– Jim Morrison, The Doors, “The End.”


Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I still can’t believe it’s over.

And just like that, and for the thirtieth consecutive summer, another off-season without a parade is here – and where following it – we’ll then go through the same old-and-tired exercise of another 82-game regular season come this October.

What could’ve been.

Scratch that.

What SHOULD’VE been.

And if you’re like me, who didn’t care about whatever happened during the 2023-24 regular season in the first place (and how can anyone forget about my daily disclaimer that I ran on this site all-season either?), then today – I can care even less about whatever happens in the 2024-25 regular season too – and especially more so than ever following the events of June 4th, 2024 – now known as a day of infamy – Rangers’ break-up day.

Before getting into everything from Tuesday in Tarrytown, I want to share my past two blogs in case you missed them, as I’ll be referencing some of what was said in them tonight.

(Plus, I don’t want to repeat myself either!)

In case you missed them, then here they are:



Inconspicuous by his absence on Tuesday was Rangers’ general manager Chris Drury – and while I’m not sure if everyone will agree with me that he was the biggest scapegoat for what’s now a failed season (and as Blueshirts’ bench boss, Peter Laviolette, put it during his final interview of the season) – we can all concur – and without debate – that Drury is also not without fault either.

While I will share with you all of what was said on Tuesday – and from everyone involved in just a bit; what’s funny to me (and extremely sad as well), and as I write these very words at this moment, is the caption above – and specifically when trying to find an answer to this question:

“Who was the biggest scapegoat for the Rangers’ failed season?”

As I deeply think about it right now – and while we all have our different ideas – then my answer is none other than Chris Drury.

Furthermore, and as the question implies – it’s not a good thing when there are so many options – and where in addition – perhaps there are no wrong answers either.

When assessing any season, then I guess that you have to start at the top – and since owner James Dolan doesn’t do interviews, nor will he be doing any public speaking until his sexual assault lawsuit is settled, then the person that we must start off with is none other than the man with two titles – Team President and General Manager Christopher Drury – and a pizza man who couldn’t be bothered to address his public on Tuesday – much less crawl out from underneath the rock that he’s presently taking shelter from.

And of course, and in his Team President position – then Drury couldn’t be bothered to share any of these interviews live – despite you know, the franchise having their own cable channels, YouTube account, multiple social media platforms – and hell their own Pony Express carrier too.

(And for those don’t know – then every other team in the league shares this information with their paying fan base, their diehard customers, live. Only the Rangers fail to do so.

And to answer another question that you may have, why is this so important?

Easy, because the Blueshirts have edited both player and management interviews in the past, not only for length – but for content reasons too.

Furthermore, all of this will later come into play once we get into Trouba’s interview – and one that the team omitted to share.)

(Holy parentheses Batman!)


A lot of what was said on Tuesday from both Laviolette and his players confirmed everything that I’ve been saying on this site for some time now – and as most recent following the events of the Eastern Conference Final.

(Check the link above for all of it.)

To keep this strictly on Drury for now, then here’s what I mean:

— Captain Jacob Trouba admitted that he played hurt throughout the playoffs – and also stated that when he missed time following the NHL Trade Deadline, that he broke his ankle, and where verbatim, he added, “they said a kidney bean sized chunk of my ankle came off, but it wasn’t a weight-bearing bone.”

(And yes, more on Trouba below too – and where yes as well – I’d love to see a picture of this – as I can’t even imagine what missing a piece of your ankle must look like – much less try to skate on it.)

— Laviolette said that he wasn’t expecting Filip Chytil to return, but when he did, then he wanted to get him going. (I’ve talked about this before – in-depth to boot – and I’ll add my final thoughts about this story below too.)

— Both the accountable Laviolette and Kaapo Kakko admitted that they failed each other, as the coach said it was his job to unleash the Finn but that he never could; while the player said that he had many chances, including a spot on the BFF line, but that he never could succeed in his role.

— Blake Wheeler, who teased retirement in his interview, said that he didn’t think that he’d ever be able to get back, but that he was glad that he was eventually able to.


I know that many of you grew sick of my non-stop Patrick Kane pom-pomming – as I felt that #88 should’ve been returned to the team this season – but even if it wasn’t Kane – then Drury, and as you all know by now, could’ve got another right-winger with scoring talent for the job, names such as Vladimir Tarasenko, Frank Vatrano, Anthony Duclair and Jake Guentzel. Photo Credit: NYR

When you look at these items above, then you can temporarily shelf the Chytil and Wheeler stuff – and for one reason only – the Rangers did put both of these players on long-term injured reserve (LTIR).

But what absolutely kills me the most right now is what Trouba said about his broken ankle – and where if you recall – then he only returned at the end of the regular season for “playoff prep” – and while the team was playing their best hockey of the season without him, as fellow defenseman, Zac Jones, substituted in without issue.

And don’t get this twisted either – I’m not bashing and/or burying Trouba at all right now – as I do believe that he provides a great value (just not $8M in value) – but at the same time – a major opportunity was lost for a “Cup or Bust” team – and where such ideology was both reinstated and reinforced throughout Tuesday’s talks.

Furthermore, Trouba’s broken ankle wasn’t even the root of the problem either.

Instead, it all starts-and-ends with Drury – who went into this season without a true right-winger – and where let’s admit this fact too – Alexis Lafreniere, while eventually breaking out, entered the 2023-24 season with a lot of question marks bestowed upon him – but questions that he later answered – and he answered all of them loudly and proudly.

To think that both Kaapo Kakko and Blake Wheeler were going to be the magical missing puzzle pieces for the BFF line was ludicrous – but again – and to be fair – for an $8.5M center like Mika Zibanejad – then the onus falls on him to produce and get his teammates going – and not vice-versa.

But even so, the Rangers entered this season without a scorer on the BFF line – even more painful in retrospect because of how excellent and historic the GAG LINE 2.0 was – Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck and Lafreniere – and where had Kreider and Zibanejad had a true threat alongside them – then you’re looking at the best top-six in the league – and perhaps one that would be playing in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final right now.

However, and if you recall, then going into this season, I must’ve said some version of the following about 24379837498739873498739798 times:

“The 2024 NHL Trade Deadline will determine the Rangers’ fate.”

(And if you don’t believe that I repeated this statement many times over – then just check the archives of this site – as it’s all there.)

The Rangers received a gift when the useless Czech, Filip Chytil, went down for the season.

After all, not only was #72 the worst center in all of the league last season – in his ten games played this season – not only did he rarely win a face-off – but he didn’t score one goal either.

(And if you remain devout to Chytil, then you must admit this – his concussion was the best thing to ever happen to the Presidents’ Trophy winning team this season – as it forced Laviolette to put the GAG LINE 2.0 together.)

When Chytil was placed on LTIR, then it opened up $4,437,500 in cap-space at the deadline – and where Drury used it to add a bunch of spare parts found at an NHL junkyard – rather than doing some high shopping at Fifth Avenue.

While center Alexander Wennberg would’ve been fine had the Rangers had another true top-six right-winger on the roster; defenseman Chad Ruhwedel was never used, while right-winger Jack Roslovic was so bad (HOW BAD WAS HE?) – that even the man that Drury stabbed in the back three-years ago, John Davidson, had no problems dealing Roslovic to the Rangers for basically the equivalent of a 25-cent dime-store stale gumball.

But, and to go back to Trouba – Drury had another winning lotto ticket fall into his lap – as with his team having a playoff spot long sewn up – and now he could’ve had another $8M to fool around with at the all important trade deadline.

I’ve brought up this point many times before, and for that matter, so have many of you – but if you’re not cheating, then you’re not trying.

In this instance, I’m referring to the minimal loopholes in the NHL salary cap – and specifically how the league allows you to shelf a high-priced player from the deadline on – and where come the playoffs – then you can be $5M, $10M, $50M, hell INFINITE MILLION, over the salary cap.

And I do want to say this – and I fully explain this in “Tricks of the Trade Volume IV: Glen Sather” too – despite all of Sather’s many follies – the one thing that he always did, and did better than no other too, was expose whatever salary cap loophole that was available to him.

The best example of “Shrewd Sather?”

The fact that the “Wade Redden Rule,” where you can now no longer bury a bad varsity contract onto your AHL affiliate, was installed because of Slats.

Drury, one of Sather’s disciples, never learned this lesson.


By now, you already long know about Patrick Kane (Chicago), Mark Stone (Vegas – twice at that) and the most infamous LTIR success story in NHL history thus far, Nikita Kucherov (Tampa) – and where as you can see here – he was even mocking the league after magically returning at full health just in time for the playoffs – where come the end of it – he was a Stanley Cup champion – again. Photo Credit: Nikita Kucherov

One more time (but not the last time either!):

“CUP OR BUST!”

Drury, with the full knowledge of Trouba’s gnarly and sawed-off ankle, didn’t take advantage of this opportunity.

Rather than giving Trouba the rest of the season off – instead, the captain was returned with just ten-games remaining in the regular season.

Not only did Drury fail to capitalize on what could’ve been an extra $8M to play around with at the deadline – but all these ten-games did was further aggravate Trouba’s ankle – thus giving him no chance to enter the playoffs at 100%.

And again – Jones admirably filled-in for Trouba – so it’s not like the captain was missed for what essentially was ten worthless games to finish out the string with – and before the real games began.

A “CUP or BUST” team and Drury played his hand more conservative than Mike Pence would have.

Rather than pushing all of his chips in; instead, Drury essentially accepted a cheap free buffet coupon and called it a day.

Knowing that Trouba would eventually return for the playoffs – and a defenseman wasn’t necessarily needed.

However, if the GM did want insurance at the blue line, then Drury could’ve manufactured a Rangers’ return of Ryan McDonagh (was in Nashville at the time, and is now back in Tampa), the biggest d-man prize of the deadline, Noah Hanifin (Calgary to Vegas), Joel Edmundson (who had familiarity with Laviolette, having played under him in Washington before being dealt to Toronto), Matt Dumba (Arizona to Tampa) or even Erik Johnson (Buffalo to Philadelphia).

Instead, Drury decided on Chad Ruhwedel (formerly of Pittsburgh) – and a d-man that played all of one game for the Rangers.

But of course, a right-winger, and as it’s been the case ever since Drury orchestrated the exits of John Davidson, Jeff Gorton and David Quinn in May of 2021, was the team’s biggest need.

Heck, and with how bad Zibanejad was playing, then if Drury would have put Trouba on LTIR, then he could’ve even gone after the likes of centers such as Tomas Hertl (San Jose to Vegas – and wouldn’t the Sharks rather trade one of their best stars to an Eastern Conference team – and rather than to a rival in their own division?), Sean Monahan (Montreal to Winnipeg) or even Adam Henrique (Anaheim to Edmonton).

But of course – it was always about filling that hole at right-wing – which Drury failed to do so.

For an extra $8M, and outside of the previous right-wing names mentioned such as Kane, Vatrano, Guentzel and Duclair, then other right-wingers were available, such as Anthony Mantha (Washington to Vegas) and Tyler Toffoli (New Jersey to Winnipeg – but admittedly – this would’ve been a hard trade to pull off, considering the rivalry).

The Rangers, who were actually eyeing the always-injured Max Pacioretty at the time (he refused to waive his NMC in D.C. – which perhaps tells you that he didn’t want to play for Laviolette again) – then decided on Roslovic at the last-hour in order to fill this all-important hole.

And now they are buried in that hole because of Drury’s ineffectiveness.

When it comes to Guentzel, who was the best RW available, then perhaps Pittsburgh wouldn’t have been so willing to deal him to the Rangers – but even so – they did trade him within the division to Carolina.

And while I know that it’s easy to say that the Rangers beat the Hurricanes, thus proving their superiority and backing Drury’s stance not to go all-in for the former Cup champ – winning a second-round series against a divisional rival was never the final goal either.

Guentzel was an absolute stud for the Canes – and now – we’re only left to imagine had he been in Lavy’s Line-Up against the Panthers.

And as a result, this is another what if question, of about 9876786876796879679679679 trillion of them, in franchise history.

Again – let me stress this:

The Rangers, and even without Trouba’s $8M that they could’ve exploited, not only traded for both a center and a defenseman before addressing their biggest need – but they settled on freakin’ Jack Roslovic as their signature acquisition.

And that’s why, and despite a ton of other finger-pointing to go around, and where names such as Laviolette, Panarin, Fox, Mika, Trouba, et al., aren’t off of the hook either – is why I’m settling on the general manager as the biggest scapegoat of this failure.


For as amazing as he was in the regular season, and he was quite that, and then into the first six games of the playoffs too – Lavy found the worst time of the season to unravel – and as he did once he decided to fix what wasn’t broken – by adding Chytil to his line-up. To his credit, the coach held himself accountable on Tuesday – and didn’t shy away from the “F-Word” either – as in “Failure.”

At this time, let’s take a look at what was said during the final interviews of the season – and for all of them – then check out the Rangers’ YouTube page over at: https://www.youtube.com/@nyrangers/videos

Of note: I’m only going to recap the stuff that you need to know – while also recapping these interviews in a chronological order in which they were conducted.

Also of note?

What I told you what would happen – the players saying that this was a learning experience, they will be better next season, and other such empty blah-blah-blah, transpired.

And another one of my predictions hit too – this one:


Ugh!


As talked about in my ECF recap – and personally – I am absolutely sick of seeing Mika Zibanejad these days – and after Tuesday – I’m sick of hearing from him too. All talk, no walk.

K’Andre Miller kicked off the “festivities” and said, That standard has been what it is since I’ve been here. The leaders and the older guys in the room have done a great job of getting us to this spot. We still have a very young team — now with this experience it’s just added motivation. I can’t wait to get back here in a couple of months and start back up again.”

Such remarks made me want to puke – and take away his first NHL goal puck from him too!

For starters, this team isn’t very young anymore – and why did Miller & Co. need extra motivation?

Being in the Conference Final for the second time in three-years, plus the President’s Trophy, wasn’t enough for them?

Ugh.


Blake Wheeler contemplated retirement in his interview, where he mentioned that he wanted to spend more time with his family and see his young kids grow up. And like most athletes – when they are thinking about retirement – then that’s where their heads are at – and the decision they eventually arrive at too.

While another year of Wheeler on the cheap wouldn’t make-or-break the team (you could always cut him or punt him to Hartford if he doesn’t work out), but it sounds like he’s putting a bow on what’s been one hell of a career.


Chris Kreider, who didn’t sound as sad and as depressed as he’s been in the past during these year-end interviews, and perhaps because he’s so used to it by now, said that he felt that “the window hasn’t been closed yet,” and how he thinks that the team can go all the way next season.

No reporter followed-up with, “on X-Box or on Playstation?”

I can’t stress enough how weird this interview was, as Kreider, the team’s eldest statesmen, is usually much more emotional during these things – but on Tuesday – he just sounded numb and defeated.

I guess he’s also aware of the adage, “Same Old Rangers.”


If anyone deserved a punch in the face after their interview, then it was none other than Stinka Zibanebad, government name, Mika Zibanejad.

Between laughing with the diseased hyena Mollie Walker and making excuses left-and-right, then I’m convinced more so than ever – Drury has to ask Mika about waiving his NMC – and while the reporters asked other players about their contract situations (CZAR IGOR, Kakko, Gustafsson, Lindgren, Wheeler, Wennberg, among others) – such a scenario was never presented to the man who is now happy to go back to spinning his records in Europe.

Mika was also asked about who his ideal right-winger would be – and as if his lack of production was never an issue.

Adding to insult was Zibanejad giving his opinions on what the team needs to do in order to improve – and never mentioned himself, nor his no-show season, once whatsoever.

Want more?

Then Mika also spoke about this being a “learning experience” and actually had the audacity to say that both he and the team weren’t out-played against Florida.

And this guy is supposed to be an alternate captain, a leader?

Rip that “A” off his jersey and give it to Vincent Trocheck – that is – assuming that Trocheck doesn’t replace Trouba as captain.

The rotten cherry on top?

Mika’s final words – and as if returning to another ECF was guaranteed:

“Luckily there’s next year!”

Loser.


A hero all season and Trocheck continued his strong performance into the postseason – and where like Lafreniere, CZAR IGOR and Barclay Goodrow – he was one of the rare Rangers to show up in the ECF. Photo Credit: NYR

After I said it earlier last week, and now, many people are saying it:

A letter needs to be affixed to Trocheck’s jersey, PRONTO.

Here’s what the team’s first line center, and a true leader too, said:


It should also be noted that amongst all players, then Trocheck, who spoke for nearly six-minutes, spoke for the longest amount of time – and that includes every Ranger who presently wears a letter on their jersey.

Trocheck, who also spoke to how this team was a family, and to his new-found chemistry with his GAG LINE 2.0 linemates too, also revealed what he said to CZAR IGOR after the series, “I just told him he was our best player and he deserved better.”

Keep in mind, following the loss to Florida, and in the immediate aftermath – then only Trocheck was there to console the team’s MVP.

Leader.

Speaking of CZAR IGOR, the goalie was asked about his upcoming contract negotiations, where he replied, “Sorry, I don’t speak English!”

It should also be noted that CZAR IGOR conducted his interview, and in front of cameras, in his second-language.

His fellow comrade, Artemi Panarin, couldn’t be bothered, as “The Breadman” only spoke to select media members with the condition of not being filmed.

According to reports, and Panarin, a complete ghost in the ECF, said, “I wish that I scored fifteen goals but I didn’t.”

I would’ve settled for more than the one that he actually scored, an A-Rod goal to boot, and as he did during the final seconds of the do-or-die Game 6.

While Panarin, the MVP of the regular season, but once again a no-show during the biggest games of the season, made excuses; CZAR IGOR, the MVP of the playoffs, put some of the blame (and he doesn’t deserve any of it) on himself:

“I just know that I could make another save and we could probably score after that,” said #31. “I just want to say thank you so much. It was really amazing to play at MSG and on the road trips. Best fans in the league and I can’t wait to get back next season.”

Let’s just hope that when he returns for the 2025-26 season – and he isn’t the highest-paid goalie in hockey – as we all know that it’s virtually impossible for any top-five paid goalie to win the Stanley Cup in the salary cap era. (Only Andrei Vasilevskiy, abetted by Kucherov’s $9.5M LTIR ploy, has won one – and as he did in 2021.)

Jonathan Quick, a revelation in the regular season but who obviously didn’t play in the postseason, spoke to CZAR IGOR’s greatness and about how happy he was to be in New York.


Two Swedes, Erik Gustafsson and Alex Wennberg, both talked about being accepted by their new team – and about how much that they’d love to be back for next season.

As noted in my ECF wrap-up, and similar to what I said about Wheeler – and returning “The Gus Bus” is a fine depth decision.

Wennberg, and his contract, can not be back.


Returning Chytil to the line-up was irresponsible on the Rangers’ end and completely conceited on the Concussed Czech’s end. Photo Credit: NYR

Here is the future vegetable, Filip Chytil – and where after listening to this – then I hope that the Blueshirts can find a way to move him too:


As it usually is for the entitled and egotistical Czech, and Chytil must’ve used the word “I” no less than a million times – as it’s all about what he’s doing – and not what the team is doing.

Perhaps the CTE was kicking in too, as Chytil talked about the ECF as being the biggest hockey that one can play in.

Apparently, he’s not aware of that whole Stanley Cup Final round.

Why the Rangers decided to give this guy a huge contract when he can’t win a faceoff is beyond me – and Lavy’s praise for his work as a center was even more mind-boggling.

Chytil, and his me-me-me attitude, were both scapegoats in this failure.

Another scapegoat? The Feckless Finn.


The man who was considered as “untouchable” by Drury at this year’s deadline, Kaapo Kakko, seems like he’s on his way out – and he knows it too.

Here’s Kaapo Kakko – who was accountable for all of his shortcomings – but at this stage of the game – this admission comes a little too late:


Let’s face it: If Jimmy Vesey didn’t separate his shoulder in Game 2 – and as the Pride of the Crimson Tide admitted in his interview (he said that he tried to come back for Game 6 – but the same trainers who cleared Trouba’s broken ankle, Fox’s banged-up knee and Chytil’s concussion advised against it) – then Kakko would have never had even more “last chances” to save his Rangers’ career during Games 3-6.

Two-years ago, Kakko, in a similar position as he is in today – a restricted free agent – screamed from the rooftops that he wanted to be back.

He didn’t say the same on Tuesday – only to say that he’d like to be back and thinks that the Rangers could win it all next season.

And when you watch Laviolette’s interview – then even at times – the head coach sounded like he was talking about Kakko in a past – and not a present – nor future either – tense.

Conversely, and Ryan Lindgren, in the same position as Kakko (RFA), flat-out stated that he wanted to be back and how wants to spend his whole career here.

(Verbatim, double-nickel said, “I love being here and this is definitely where I want to be.”)

(Also of note? Lindgren said that he cracked his rib during Game 6 against Carolina. Of course he did. And of course he continued to play too!)

And wouldn’t you know it?

The biggest copy-and-paster in the land, Larry Brooks, of the New York Post, is now publishing articles about how the Rangers must trade Kakko out of town.

Gee, I wonder who said this first – and many times over too?

And yep – my prediction about Kakko becoming the next Rico Fata has now come to be – and rather than “Praise Be.”

BUST!


The interviews from the right-side of the Rangers’ defense got the most play on Tuesday. Photo Credit: NYR

Both Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba admitted what we all knew – both of them played while hurt.

Here’s Fox talking about his knee-injury being re-aggravated (by Nick Jensen in the Washington series) – but where he also said that he was able to continue – and that he wouldn’t use his injury as an excuse:


And here’s the Trouba interview that I brushed upon earlier:

OH WAIT – THE RANGERS DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO UPLOAD THIS INTERVIEW TO THEIR YOUTUBE PAGE!

Hell, the Rangers even uploaded Quick’s interview – a player who didn’t play one-second in the series!

This all goes back to one of my points from earlier – it’s amazing how this franchise hides information from their fans – and how they refuse to air any of these events live on their numerous mediums.

I still don’t know why I invest so much of my time in this franchise that doesn’t give one shit about their fans – and a franchise that continually takes their fortunate circumstances (playing in the league’s most populated city) for granted.

And just think – a failure of a season like this one would destroy lesser franchises, franchises playing in smaller cities.

The Rangers?

Not only can they run off every season-ticket holder imaginable (there’s a new sucker born every minute – and a sucker who will pay through the nose for tickets too) – but they also know that a thirty-year Cup drought won’t effect the bottom line at all either.

But as reported by everyone there, Trouba admitted to his broken ankle, losing a piece of it, and how he was healthy come the playoffs (so he says) – where as a result – he’s admitting that he had a horrible playoffs without the excuse of injury.

Again, and as fully outlined in my ECF wrap-up – you can’t pay a third-pair d-man $8M.

I’m still just shaking my head, and even if it’s on brand, that the Rangers wouldn’t share what the captain had to say to their fans.


Younger players such as Will Cullye and Braden Schneider spoke to how amazing the experience was – and I can’t get on these two for such hollow thoughts – as they exceeded expectations this season.

Plus, they aren’t making millions-upon-millions of dollars like the FAT CATS are.

Two uplifting interviews were given by Alexis Lafreniere and Matt Rempe – and where as usual – it was the latter that was the biggest highlight:


Lafreniere spoke to the experience gained (it’s okay – he’s not a FAT CAT), but also brought up how sad the whole situation was.

He also said that he wasn’t happy about the end of the season – but did mention that the team played hard.

And when questioned about his under-performing teammates – Lafreniere wouldn’t bite.

The infectious Rempe began his interview by talking about his own infection – the one in his right eye:


For these two young Canadians, both living on the either side of the country (Lafreniere in Quebec, Rempe in Alberta), and I found it ironic how Rempe, when speaking about his new-found fame, brought up how his friends thought it would gain him some free beers once returned to Calgary – and where of note – #73 said that he’d be taking a 37-hour drive back home – rather than using a first-class airline ticket for his hero’s welcome.

Lafreniere?

And in a complete 180 from what I said at this time last year – then he can play all of the beer league softball that he wants!

Heck, play some double-headers too!

For as down as I am on the likes of Zibanejad, Kakko, Chytil, and to a lesser extent, Panarin’s playoff no-show too – I am equally just as high on these two – and where it’s both Lafreniere and Rempe, among others, that will help me to stick around next season.

No joke – following the ECF loss, and while I’d never turn in my fan card – I was thinking about pulling back on this site – as after all – going through another regular season (and all the time spent when running this site) wasn’t something that I wanted to do.

For me, and this will be the case regardless – I just want to get back to the playoffs – and where maybe I’ll still scale back some in the regular season – as it’s just an 82-game exercise for the franchise in its present state – and an exercise as exciting as walking around with some shake weights in your hands.

While I’m excited to see how these players develop; unless Drury makes some drastic changes – then I still feel like we’ll be at this same point next year – as there’s nothing to suggest that outside of Kreider – that any of the FAT CATS can show up when it matters most.

And you can’t bank on sixteen shutouts for CZAR IGOR either.

Last, but not least, the final LAVY’S LOUNGE of the season:


As much as some of you guys and gals hate it (and as all explained in my ECF/moving forward blog) – but it’s true – “LATERALETTE!” Let’s just hope that Lavy isn’t fired at this time next year – following a first-round loss.

Here’s how Laviolette opened up his press conference – and while he didn’t say the word “failure” verbatim – he did admit that’s what ultimately took place:

“There’s a goal at the beginning of ever year – to win the Stanley Cup. We worked hard to get into a position to reach that goal. By that standard, this season wasn’t successful. It fell short of where we wanted it to be.

“There was a belief during the course of the season [by everyone, fans included] that we’d get this done. We truly believed that we’d win the Stanley Cup. You have to have that mindset. With that, comes a lot of disappointment, hurt, feelings in the pit of your stomach.

“We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to accomplish. A lot of good things took place this season, but it’s frustrating for everyone – the fans, the organization, the players, everyone.

“The way the guys attacked this season, the success we had in the regular season and in the first two-rounds of the playoffs, and we thought that we were going to win. We don’t change our belief for next year. We will come to training camp next year and make as much noise as we can in the [2025] playoffs.

“It now feels different to me. I wish we could go back to work tomorrow. I don’t know if it’s being looked like that way. With everything we went through going into this and I think the guys are disappointed, angry and frustrated. It’s not us in the Finals. We didn’t win enough games. The guys want to get back to work. We’re going to come into camp and get after it and attack the season.”


I thought Lavy accurately summarized the end of the season.

He also summed up yours truly – as I did 100% believe that this team would bring home the Cup.

And as he always does, Laviolette took accountability – while never bashing any of his players (or the 1-15 power-play for that matter either).

Instead, Lavy looked for silver linings and praised many players by name – and where Lafreniere, Trocheck and CZAR IGOR got the received the biggest of flowers.

And while Drury was the biggest scapegoat to me – Lavy was no better – as he did force Chytil back into the line-up – and at the expense of everyone else.

However, I don’t blame Lavy when he took blame for not getting Kakko going.

After all, Kakko just sucks – and where Lavy should give himself credit for completely turning around Lafreniere’s career too – and as he did from day one of the season when he was routinely spotted coaching up #13.

While some will say that Lafreniere exclusively benefited from playing with Panarin – it was Lafreniere – and not the player paid nearly six-times as much as him – who was a one-man highlight reel when the bread got moldy – and as it usually does at this time of year.

And of course – the media didn’t ask Laviolette about his coaching decisions either (Chytil, Wennberg first line right wing, no Zac Jones, etc) – as instead – all of them, and as led by Brooks, said that Lavy was one of the best coaches in all of franchise history.

While he still has a lot to accomplish in order to catch Lester Patrick and Frank Boucher – hopefully one day it will happen for Lavy (and for us too!) – and starting in 2025.


Up next for me? Getting back to my book on another player and coach of franchise history – “Fiery” Phil Watson. Photo Credit: NYR

And that will do it for me on these here 2023-24 New York Rangers, who finished with one of the best regular seasons of all-time, but with one of the most disappointing finishes in franchise history too – and where no – I won’t be doing my usual playoff report card either.

After all, what’s the point, as one, we all have the same grades by now, two, why relive the misery and three, with everything that I’ve written over the past 96-hours – then it would all just be redundant anyway.

As far as the 2024 Stanley Cup Final goes, it would be so on brand, “So Rangers,” for Kris Knoblauch, who began this season in Hartford, only to later be summoned by Connor McDavid in Edmonton, to win hockey’s holy chalice.

While I can’t profess to being one of the many who wanted Knoblauch to succeed Gallant (hell – I never wanted “The Turk” to get his walking papers to begin with – and where once this came to be – then I was championing for Joel Quenneville) – many residents of Rangerstown, USA wanted this to become the case.

And today, these people have every right to pump out their chests.

Deep-down, and while Drury was never asked about this (the beat reporters are just as worthless as Kakko) – then it’s just my opinion that Knoblauch was never in the running to begin with – as I just thought, and still think, that the GM, now looking for his third coach, wanted an accomplished and proven veteran instead of an unknown rookie.

This is my way of saying that I can’t slam Drury about going with Laviolette over Knoblauch.

After all, and as the “Lateralette” moniker implies – then I don’t think that any head coach can win with this core under its current construction – and why I also believe that big changes (even if they most likely aren’t coming) are required.

As far as my Stanley Cup pick, while I want Edmonton to win it all (I do have many friends there – back from my “Talbot Days” – and my good pal, Mike The Esquire, is an Oil-Head too), I’m going with Florida – and really for one reason only – goaltending.

Stuart Skinner, who’s only the starter in Edmonton because of how horrible Jack Campbell was (and gee – who would’ve predicted that – oh yeah – me!), usually has one stinker per series.

And as we saw with the Rangers – you can’t have stinkers against these Cats.

I think there’s also something to be said about experience too – and the Panthers have it.

Furthermore, after losing Matt Tkachuk due to injury last year – and the Panthers, hungrier than ever, will have him for this go-around.

One last reason why I’m going Panthers over the Oil?

Despite their all-world wizardry – and we’ve seen both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl get shut down before in these playoffs.

The Panthers have shut down every top star during their journey to the Final.

Don’t believe me?

Then just ask Zibanejad, Kreider, Fox and Panarin.

The Prediction?

Panthers in Six – but I hope to be wrong about this!


Like you – and I’m getting sick of these yearly “Thank You” messages from the franchise too. Photo Credit: NYR

As we reach the end here – thanks for checking in on this site all-season – and where I’m aware that I won’t see many of you during the summer – if ever again – as I’m getting a lot of the “I’m done with this team” messages.

Of course, time heals all wounds – and by now – Ranger fans are used to this feeling at the start of every summer – which is my way of saying that I think that the people who are claiming to be done with the team now will be back once the 2024-25 season revs up.

I’ll keep providing regular updates on this site during the off-season, as we do have a draft to discuss (where trades can be made – hint-hint – Kakko) and then the free agency period that begins on July 1st too.

Some have asked me to bring back The Delorean Blogs, formerly a staple of this site during the non-Ranger months of the year – and something that I got away from during the past three-years, as I have used my summers to work on – and then publish – my books – and the only time that I ever ask you for money on this site that’s devoid of all advertising!

I’ll see what I can do, but I’ve already written thirteen flashback game reviews – and since there isn’t much footage pre-1960 – then I think that I’ve pretty much covered everything – that is – except that game from June 14th, 1994.

But of course, many of you, and like yours truly, are sick of 1994 too.

As noted throughout the season, I have about 6786786786786786 book ideas in my head, including one covering every draft, one on every general manager, “Rangers FIGHT CLUB,” etc – and of course – that Tex Rickard (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tex/ ) screenplay too – as a movie/show on the life of the founder of the Rangers must be produced!

But alas, time is precious – and that pesky little job of mine gets in the way too.

For now, I have settled on a new series, “RANGER ICONS” – and where Phil Watson will be my first player/coach submitted to you.

I know that such a book appeals to a very small audience and that it won’t be as successful as my other ones (from a sales perspective) – but it’s a subject that I’m passionate about – and he does have one hell of a story too – and a story that I hope to have in publication by September!

(Another book idea that I have rattling around while working on Watson? The 1940 Rangers. After all, everyone can repeat the 1994 story with their eyes closed – but what about the championship team that proceeded them? I just think it’s important to put such books out there for future Blueshirt historians – and as a present Rangers’ historian – I feel that such material needs to be published too – as I love keeping the memories alive.)

(A book idea that’s now shelved? “TEAM OF DESTINY: The 2024 Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers.” Ugh!)

Enjoy your summer if you can.

And again, thanks for reading.

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)


On Monday, June 4th, our good friends over at The Blueshirt Underground Show held their funeral service for the 2023-24 Rangers.

To attend mass, and to sit shiva too, even if it’s belated, then check out:


My fourth title and tenth book is now available!

“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!

For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/


The hardcover version of my first book, available now at Amazon.com

My second 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:

https://www.amazon.com/Rangers-Rafters-Madison-Square-Garden-ebook/dp/B09CM5N2WD

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:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today


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/


If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:


Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my 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!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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9 thoughts on “The 2023-24 (Same Old) New York Rangers Finale: Recaps and Thoughts From Every Interview Conducted at Blueshirts’ Break-Up Day, Why Chris Drury Is The Biggest Scapegoat For This Latest Failure; Lavy’s Admissions, Baffling Jacob Trouba Non-Decision; Rangers Ignore His Interview Too, Mopey Mika Makes More Excuses, Kakko = Goner, Lafreniere & Rempe Inspire Hope; Chytil is a Dope, Make Tro”C”heck Captain, Future NYR Reading & More

  1. Loved your blog, you had some different perspectives than others I have read, but definitely agree with alot of the reasons why we lost, sadly and frustrating and anger even to some of their end of season comments were pathetic, oh well, next year, what kind of crap is that. Anyway, always love reading your blog, and have a good summer and we will be back, hopefully with changes. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Barbara for all of you support through the years – hopefully such support will be reciprocated to us by the Rangers with a Cup win – while we are alive!

  2. Yes Sean another frustrating season comes to an end. 6 wins short again! I run the gamut of emotions when they end like this. I found out that getting mad at the tv doesn’t help, only raises my blood pressure. The coach can’t hear me anyway. I agree with you on wasting the assets we have by not using them in the playoffs. Jones in particular was not used. Should have been. I thought he could have helped by giving some rest to injured defensemen. I didn’t understand my Lavy refused to break up PP1. You watch other teams make adjustments to their and we continued to through the spit-wad at the wall hoping it would stick. I thought when Gus was on point when Fox was hurt that it clicked good. Seams like the same old song and dance crept back in by looking for the perfect shot. I’m going to have a tough time watching the regular season next year unless we get some changes to the roster.
    Finally, I would like to add, your site is a fantastic read every time. Don’t hang it up. If you do anything just cut back on the frequency of it. Enjoy the summer. I’m retired and I know I will. Hockey will be far from my mind. Have mixed feelings about watching the finals though.
    Thanks again!
    Dave

    1. I wish hockey could remain far from my mind!

      I won’t hang it up, but maybe shorter entries – as who cares about the regular season for this core anymore?

      Bring on the 2025 playoffs – ugh!

      Enjoy the summer.

      Sean

  3. I live in a country outside the USA. I was on a (very expensive) holiday in 2012, and managed to see an NHL game between the Rangers and Panthers, ironically enough. (Feb 3, 2015, Rangers won 6-3).

    I’ll never forget that feeling of the fandom, the feeling of history, in that building, and decided I’d become a Rangers fan. Grabbed a Rick Nash jersey and that was that. (Also, because its unclear watching through a TV, being very confused if people were booing before realising they were chanting “Zuuuuuuc”).

    Being a newer, older, and non-local viewer of the sport, I could pick any franchise I wanted. The Blackhawks were very popular back home, but I enjoy teams with history. My brother is a Red Wings fan (“oh!” He laments, “we haven’t won in sooo long, another rebuild year I guess”). Perhaps I should’ve researched more the ‘curse’ that follows the team around!

    But it’s my choice to be a fan, not due to geography, or some storied rivalry, but because I enjoy what a team like the Rangers represented. It’s likely I’ll never come back to the USA in my lifetime, let alone get to see a Stanley Play-off game in person. But I’ll be a fan regardless.

    Perhaps time and distance give me a different perspective. Ultimately, I have no stake in the results. No city around me in mourning or celebration, no compatriots or friends based around NHL fandom, let alone Rangers specifically. Even my brother is a far more casual fan than I am, much more invested in NFL. Should the Rangers ever win the Cup, I’m the only person into my entire sphere of influence who would remotely care.

    My point is that I come here to engage with fandom. To see the raw emotions of a true fan, unbiased by making money, pushing a narrative, or simply uneducated. And so, I’ll remain here, reading and commiserating. Because this place is where I’ll enjoy the Rangers, just by myself, and rant and cheer alongside you. I’ll be back, because, simply put, there’s nowhere else I’d rather go.

    It’s been a hell of a season, and I can only hope that the Rangers finally push themselves above their limitations and fears in 2025. Thank you for all you do Sean.

    1. Thanks Chris – a comment like this really makes it worth it for me – and I had no clue how far this site reached. What country do you live in?

      1. Australia! I’m personally a massive fan of field hockey, but figured if I was going to holiday in America it might be worth checking out how “the other side” plays the sport of hockey. That’s when I discovered the NHL and the Rangers.

        I’d had a passing interest in the sport previously, but due to a complete lack of air-time (unless you paid of course) I could only listen to the radio for the games. Slowly my interest and appreciation of the sport grew, until I found your site and got what I would consider a “proper” introduction to the team, sport, and fandom. No other site I’ve found comes remotely close to your level of passion or detail. That was a few years ago, been here ever since.

        Both sports are incredibly small here, so any fandom of a team is celebrated by very small communities, if it’s even acknowledged. Although Australia wins a heap of tournaments in field hockey, so I’ve at least got that to sustain me (uhh, no offence).

        So a site like yours is incredibly valuable to a fan like me, with zero local sources to touch on, no friends to discuss it with, and the other sites requiring a subscription, or cancerous with their ads. (Fun fact, one site I did previously read got so overrun with ads that it was literally impossible to close them all on my phone, and thus impossible to read.)

        Whether you continue with shorter game summaries, or even slow down to 1 a week posts, I’ll be here! Appreciate your work!

    1. An embarrassment that the Rangers didn’t share this call at all with their customers. Not one tough question asked either.

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