Chris Kreider Stars At The NHL’s Weekend Spectacular; Move the All Star Game to Vegas Permanently, NHL Skills, Lundqvist’s Chances of Selling Out M$G Again, Schneider, Igor vs Georgiev, Giroux vs Miller vs Pavelski (Team Joe!), Duguay, Villemure & More

Despite the New York Rangers out of action until February 15th; there is still plenty of news swirling around the streets of Rangerstown, USA. There was also a big hockey event in Las Vegas too!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I really enjoyed the NHL All Star Weekend in Las Vegas. Even better, not only did we learn that Chris Kreider is a faster skater than Connor McDavid – we also saw the man who should be captain of the New York Rangers score a goal too!

Aside from Chris Kreider, and the NHL’s All Star weekend too (which I’ll get into soon enough); I also have other topics and news items to opine on tonight. To make things easier, I’m going to run through everything in chronological order. Sound good? Great! Let’s roll!

Up first, Rangers news.


I thought it was very telling when Braden Schneider wasn’t sent down to Hartford this week. Photo Credit: NYR

This past Wednesday, on February 2nd, the Rangers announced that Morgan Barron, Johnny Brodzinski, Adam Huska and Nils Lundkvist were all assigned to the Hartford Wolfpack. A day later, the Rangers announced the following:

 

Photo Credit: NYR

As you may suspect, all of these moves/roster transactions were made in order to get these players some ice-time/games in during the two-week break; especially since the Hartford Wolfpack have five games on their schedule during the Rangers vacation. I wouldn’t look further into any of these moves beyond that.

However, two things should be noted here:

— We still don’t know what the official status of taxi-squads will be after the All-Star break, despite Gary Bettman talking to the hockey media on Friday, February 4th.

As mentioned before, the NHL’s original plans were to go back to normal rosters after the All-Star break. Whether that happens or not is still to be determined. However, if I were to guess, it looks like taxi-squads will be around for a little bit longer, especially due to the issues in Canada – issues that Bettman directly addressed on Friday.

(While he didn’t say the following verbatim; Bettman pretty much said that if Canada doesn’t get their shit together, he’ll move the 2022 NHL Entry Draft elsewhere. Currently, the draft is scheduled to take place on July 7th, and in Montreal, Quebec. As you’d imagine, Bettman, nor his owners, are happy with the lack of Canadian revenue right now.)

— Braden Schneider was NOT sent down to Hartford like the others. This tells me that the Rangers want him to rest up and get ready for the final 35 games of the regular season, and more importantly than that – the playoffs too. (The time off should also help him in finding a more suitable living arrangement as well.)

That pretty much wraps up the Rangers team news for the time being. The team will reconvene on February 11th, where they are scheduled to have their first of four practices.

Moving on!


If you’re a hardcore Blueshirts fan, then you already know that Rangers alumni Henrik Lundqvist is pretty slick with a guitar. In the past, he’s even strummed the strings on an episode of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Photo Credit: NBC

On Friday, February 4th, Henrik Lundqvist shared a short clip on his Instagram page, where he played a few bars of “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters and “Alive” by Pearl Jam. If you haven’t seen/heard Lundqvist travel back to 1990s Seattle, take a gander for yourself:


In what I found to be funny, ironic and timely, and all at the same moment; was just last week, when Kevin Weekes was talking about Henrik Lundqvist, during #30’s jersey retirement ceremony, where Wally Pipp Weekes specifically stated that “Lundqvist is a blue collar guy.”

At the time, I joked and said that I always knew that Lundqvist was a fan of this site!

However, now seriously speaking for a moment, and as I also said at the time – how blue collar can one be, when you’re receiving a custom made Louis Vuitton trunk to lug all of your bottles of high-priced wine in?

Just six days after receiving gifts straight out of an episode of Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” here’s Lundqvist, using one of these gifts, the custom air-brushed guitar (which was presented to him by tennis legend John McEnroe), and showing off his grunge rock skills. Color me as shocked. Color me as impressed too.

When I look at Henrik Lundqvist, and when I see him riffing songs straight out of a 1990s 92.3 K-Rock playlist; it reminds me that he’s just three months older than me, as we both share the same birth year of 1982. Surprisingly, we also share the same taste in music.

Maybe because it’s all of the shampoo commercials over the years, hawking expensive brand name watches, and the five-figure custom made suits, as if he were a 1980s Ric Flair; but whatever the case – I just never pictured Lundqvist in ripped jeans and rocking out to Nirvana.

(And if he could ever play “Rotten Apple” by Alice In Chains, maybe I’ll call him “The King” too!)

Of course, another big guitar player among the Rangers elite? None other than the owner of the New York Rangers himself, James Dolan.

If James Dolan ever wanted to have a sold-out crowd for one of his “JD & The Straight Shot” band shows, maybe he should have “Lundqvist & The Follicles” open up for him. And after hearing both “JD & The Straight Shot” and Lundqvist play the guitar – maybe Dolan should be opening up for Lundqvist!

All jokes aside – Lundqvist playing a solo set, or even if he was featured on a twin-bill with Dolan – either way, I’m sure such a concert would at least sell out the Hulu Theater, if not Madison $quare Garden itself.

Hell, I much rather hear Lundqvist play Sonic Youth songs during Ranger intermissions, rather than being subjected to one of these no-name DJ’s playing around with their laptops ever again!


Despite his name being in the mainstream news over the last week; Ron Duguay did not discuss his relationship with Sarah Palin on the latest episode of “Up in the Blue Seats.” Photo Credit: Freedom TV News

For those who are new here, I should mention that ever since Ron Duguay first launched his New York Post sponsored podcast, entitled “Up in the Blue Seats,” I have always plugged every episode on this site. Heck, during the pandemic, I used to recap them too, just to provide content!

This is my way of telling you that I’m not just using Duguay’s latest episode as a story – as I’ve been a day-one listener of the program and have promoted each episode on this site.

As talked about last week in this space; Ron Duguay is currently a topic among the mainstream media, due to his new relationship with former U.S. Vice President candidate Sarah Palin. And also as mentioned a few blogs back – recently, Duguay, on a past episode of “Up in the Blue Seats,” talked about how he had a lady friend in Alaska, a mystery woman who he visited around Christmastime.

Once the news broke to Ranger fans that Palin was the woman that Duguay was talking about, while the mainstream media finally (and eventually) figured out that Duguay was Palin’s post-divorce squeeze too; the New York Post, which has covered Duguay’s off-ice exploits ever since he first arrived to Broadway during the late 1970s, asked him for a comment about his current relationship with Palin. Duguay politely refused to comment.

Going into Thursday’s episode of “Up in the Blue Seats,” I kind of expected Duguay to talk about all of the never-ending stories surrounding himself and Palin. While I listen to every episode anyway, I must admit that I had an extra incentive to listen to Thursday’s episode, which you can also listen to by clicking the link below:


While Duguay didn’t talk about his personal life (somewhat a rarity) on Thursday; instead, Duguay and co-host Mollie Walker talked about the perceived bad blood between the two current Ranger goaltenders, Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shestyorkin. Photo Credit: NYR

As mentioned in the past on this site, Duguay has talked about his previous relationships with both Cher and Farrah Fawcett on “Up in the Blue Seats.”

It should also be noted that he did so during the early stages of the show, as a way to promote the new program to a perspective audience. (Plus, these two celebrity relationships took place while Duguay was playing for the Rangers, as opposed to his present status as a member of the alumni today. In other words, he was telling stories from over forty years ago.)

I guess what should also be noted is that Duguay rarely talks about his current romantic relationships on the program. (Also worth mentioning: he has stated that he gets along with his ex-wife, but on a platonic level.)

In addition, Sarah Palin is/was a government official, and who also ran for the second-highest office in all of the land. Cher and Fawcett, two huge celebrities in their own right, both come from the entertainment field, as opposed to being from the political realm.

(Plus, Fawcett sadly passed away in 2009 after a battle with cancer; while Cher is currently 75 years old today, and hasn’t had a major hit record since “Believe” in 1998.)

Duguay didn’t bring up the name of Sarah Palin at all during Thursday’s episode, nor refuted any of the negative spin-job stories that were being put out there by the mainstream media.

(For what it’s worth, personally, I never put stock into any short clip of a celebrity, police officer, or anyone else; especially when the sole intent of the clip is to paint a person in a bad light – whether it be for clicks or for some other sort of monetary, political and/or personal gain.

In most of these cases, these clips only show you the aftermath of an event, and not what led to an incident itself.

I don’t want to go much further than that, but just think about what you see, and then think about what you don’t see. There’s a reason why footage is omitted in all of these short clips. These clips are the equivalent of the “cancel culture” cretins, derelicts who try to find old social media postings, in an attempt to ruin one’s job, career, and/or image, where in a lot of those cases, those postings are taken out of context too.

Moral of the story: take in all of the information that you can get. Then do your own research following it.)


I can understand Duguay’s reasons for not talking about Palin on Thursday, reasons which I think are self-explanatory, including that many people in relationships don’t want their partners speaking about them in public, especially people in new relationships.

Plus, in most cases, it’s better to ignore negative press rather than speaking out against it. The people putting out negative stories and/or slants already have their minds made up already. You can’t change their line of thinking, even if their line of thinking is way off. If you feed them content, they’ll just spin your words anyway, in order to suit their own narrative.

That said, if I were an advertiser, or even the New York Post themselves, I wouldn’t have minded such talk about Palin, and for one reason only – it’s good for ratings/downloads!

The biggest topic of the show (sans from the usual Larry Brooks segment, which is usually the most informative and best segment of the podcast), was the fan-driven narrative of “ALEXANDAR GEORGIEV HATES IGOR SHESTYORKIN!”

Both Walker and Duguay pretty much dismissed such talk. As my book editor Diane Eck had so eloquently stated – “what do you want Georgiev to do, fellate Igor at center ice?”

Not mentioned in any of the Igor vs Georgiev feud talking points? The fact that the two go to Knick games together and how Igor celebrates Georgiev victories.

I will admit, while at times, Georgiev’s post-game celebrations can come off as bizarre – I don’t really put much into it. Who knows what’s said amongst the two in the locker room and whenever they practice together?

Of course, most Ranger fans love a good drama story, and this just happens to be the latest – even if I do think that most of it is fictional. And to these people, and to be fair – Georgiev hasn’t done much, at least not publicly, to dispute such a narrative.

(And let’s not forget, that these same people who are currently bashing Georgiev today, are the same people who put him on a mantle just over a year ago, during the DeAngelo/Georgiev scuffle. Funny how that works.)

Speaking of Rangers alumni, how about a positive story?


On Saturday morning, February 5th, former Rangers goaltender and Vezina winner Gilles Villemure made a public appearance at “Lucky’s,” a sports memorabilia store in East Meadow, New York. Photo Credit: Lucky’s

Over the last 12-24 months, I have given you health updates (directly from the family themselves) on Gilles Villemure, who hands-down, is the greatest full-time back-up goaltender in all of New York Rangers history. He’s also featured in my “New York Rangers Rink of Honor” book as well.

(I use the word “full-time” here, because at different stages of their careers, both Mike Richter and Henrik Lundqvist were technically back-ups too.)

In recent years, Gilles Villemure had battled brain cancer. He was also put into hospice care, where his future at the time didn’t look so good.

Fast-forward to today, and Villemure, who will turn 82 years old on May 30th of this year, is now making public appearances. What a remarkable turnaround!

Villemure signed autographs and posed for pictures for 90 minutes on Saturday morning, where according to all accounts, everyone had a good time. One person who attended the event also told me that Villemure was extremely friendly and was as sharp as a tack.

For those wondering, Lucky’s in East Meadow is a short 5-10 minute drive from where Villemure currently lives.

Whether he can ever return to Madison Square Garden or not is unknown. While I’m not championing that Villemure’s name should be in the rafters or anything like that; it would be nice to see him celebrated, even if it’s just a camera shot of him at a game, where the announcers talk about his regal standing among the Rangers alumni.

Prior to his health issues, Villemure was an active member of the Rangers alumni, where he made a ton of appearances at Madison Square Garden and at Ranger charity events.

In the current day, he and Pete Stemkowski, two cogs of the 1970s Emile Francis era of Ranger teams, still meet up regularly for meals.

In any event, I’m happy to see that Villemure is doing much better today and I wish him and his family all of the best.

NHL All Star Weekend time!


Chris Kreider scored one goal in the Metropolitan Division’s All Star Game $1,000,000 victory. Photo Credit: NHL

I know I’ve talked about this before on this site, but whether it’s music, sports, movies, or whatever else; usually, we find ourselves clamoring for the days of our youth. The NHL All Star Game, and the NHL Skills Competition that precedes it, is no exception.

With that being said, I can understand why many fans, including fans from my own age group, and fans who are older than me, didn’t enjoy the 2022 NHL All Star weekend. These blogs are just my opinions. I also subscribe to the idea of “everyone’s entitled to their own opinions.”

If there was anything that I truly didn’t like, it were the musical acts featured on the two broadcasts, where again, most of us usually tend to like the music from our own generation the best. That’s why instead of Machine Gun Kelly, Pistol Pete, Rifle Rob, Shotgun Sammy, or whoever else – I’d much rather see Henrik Lundqvist belt out 1990s grunge rock songs at center ice instead.

However, I’m also aware that these events, and this weekend as a whole, is designed to grow the sport and to hook younger viewers. After all, I turn 40 years old this year. I’m no longer part of that much desired and key 18-36 year old male demographic – the demographic that advertisers cream their pants the most over.

(And don’t even get me started on all of the gambling commercials, a topic that I’ve ripped to shreds numerous times on this site in the past. That said, imagine if you bet on Trevor Zegras and/or Jack Hughes to win the “Breakaway Challenge,” only to be screwed by actor Jon Hamm’s judging, where he was able to give Alex Pietrangelo a score of 19, thus giving the Vegas Golden Knight the hometown victory? Let’s see if JB Smoove and Julius Caeser will give you a refund on that bet! Fat chance!)

From what I’ve read, heard, and after talking to some of you guys; people around my age and older mostly hated the weekend. Conversely, younger fans enjoyed the event.

One person, who is older than me, and who attended the events; told me that while he didn’t enjoy it; his kids most certainly did. And really, that’s what it’s all about. After all, none of these results matter in the grand scheme of things. For the NHL, it’s about making money and appealing to a larger audience. I think they succeeded.

Furthermore, if you’re reading these words – the NHL has already hooked you. A crappy All-Star Weekend isn’t going to deter you from following the league. For the league, it’s all about finding new eyeballs and customers. Once again, I think they succeeded.


Also enjoying the weekend’s events? The players themselves, including Rangers All-Star Chris Kreider. Photo Credit: NHL

If you want the quick 411, and all of the winners from the skill competition, check out the NHL’s official report over at: https://www.nhl.com/news/2022-nhl-all-star-skills-live-blog-news-notes/c-330518260

At this time, here are my own observations.

First off, and really, my biggest point/takeaway is this – the NHL should hold the All Star weekend in Las Vegas every year.

Trust me – both the players and the media would co-sign this idea too.

While of course this will never happen, as Bettman and company want every NHL market to receive a cash influx and attention; at the same time, I think it would be a great idea for the NHL to have a yearly destination date on their calendar. There’s something to be said for familiarity and similarity.

Unlike the NBA and their players, who had a nightmarish All-Star weekend in Vegas several years back, which led to arrests, public intoxication and other police activity – there’s not one negative report about any NHLer or anyone else involved with the NHL either. Everyone in hockey handled “Sin City” perfectly.

In fact “the biggest” complaint about the weekend, were from some Dudley-Do-Rights, who all were whining on social media about underage players drinking during the downtime. If that’s your biggest complaint, you need to get a life. Plus, all of these twenty year old kids all play in Canada too, where the legal drinking age is 18.

(Seriously, the “holier-than-thou” image that some people portray on social media is mind-boggling. Are you telling me that all of these people were teetotalers and refrained from alcohol until their 21st birthday? As Joe Biden says, “C’MON MAN!”)

What I really enjoyed about the weekend (and the two television broadcasts too), was how the NHL really went overboard in embracing the city known as an adult’s playground. You had players shooting pucks into the Bellagio Fountain. You also had All-Stars playing “hockey blackjack,” in a new twist on an old event.

Let’s face it – while the NHL always tries to embrace whatever city they are in, there is no city like Las Vegas.

What, the NHL is going to go Seattle next, and have players shoot pucks at homeless tent encampments? Or maybe they can go to Canada, and have no fans in-attendance too! What a joy!

While this weekend will always be a weekend that younger fans will enjoy the most; at the same time, it are the adults who can afford the prices to attend these games and competitions.

Unless you’re totally against a good time – what’s a better way to accommodate adult fans than with a yearly destination trip to Vegas? (Okay – maybe Nashville!)

Hell, if the NHL would ever think this way – they should strike up a deal with Vegas, where the city would then pay the NHL to have these events exclusive to them, just as all the casinos do with their entertainment residencies. In addition, we all know how the NHL loves the green!

I’m a Rangers fan. While the 1994 All-Star Game was a good time, I could care less if this weekend ever returns to the area again. I much rather have a weekend in Vegas. I’m sure fans from other markets would agree – as it’s not just about what goes on inside of the arena – it’s everything else too.

Similar to how the NFL Pro Bowl was once exclusive to Honolulu, and how Detroit and Dallas will always host Thanksgiving Day games; I’d champion this idea of having the NHL All-Star weekend exclusive to Vegas as well.

I mean really, is anyone clamoring for an All Star weekend in Winnipeg?


I wasn’t there, but I enjoyed all of the pictures and videos from the fans who were there. Photo Credit: @RangersReport

When it comes to Friday night’s skills competition, Chris Kreider, the oldest player in the “fastest skater” competition, finished third overall with a time of 13.664 seconds. Winner Jordan Kyrou, of the St. Louis Blues, finished with a time of 13.550 seconds. Not too shabby for “the old man!”

Even better? Kreider beat two former winners of this competition, in Connor McDavid (13.690 seconds) and Dylan Larkin (14.116 seconds). Kudos to Kreider!

Perhaps just as good? Kreider’s performance during the goalie competition, where he pulled a “Kucherov” on Vasilevskiy with his highlight reel goal.

And heck, perhaps the best? Kreider praising the name of Barclay Goodrow to Steven Stamkos, where CK20 was quoted as saying, “everyone could use five of that guy.” It was Kreider’s night, but here he was raving about a teammate. That’s captain material.

Another event that I enjoyed, my all-time favorite, was the “hardest shot” competition. While these guys weren’t Al Iafrate or Al MacInnis, I did enjoy a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Victor Hedman (103.2 MPH), making a member of the Islanders, Adam Pelech (102.2 MPH), finish in second-place again.

I also enjoyed the concept of the “Fountain Faceoff” event, where players lined-up at the Bellagio Fountain and shot pucks into a net and cylinders, where very often, these pucks landed into the water.

If this was pro wrestling, someone would’ve tossed a rival, or perhaps Bettman himself, right into the fountain. However, this wasn’t pro wrestling, nor were any of the men involved in this competition entertaining either. There was just no showmanship here at all – something that’s needed for an event like this.

(Someone like a Ryan Reaves, who lives in Vegas, and who also just drips personality, would’ve been perfect for this.)

Nothing against winner Zach Werenski and his peers; but I think this event would’ve resonated better with larger-than-life personalities. Maybe next time, let these guys drink a bit and loosen up.

Regardless, I enjoyed the creativity and uniqueness of this competition. The execution was perfect, but these guys didn’t really open up much.

Perhaps my favorite event was the “21 in ’22” competition, where winner Joe Pavelski defeated Steven Stamkos, Nazem Kadri, Auston Matthews and Brady Tkachuk in the NHL’s version of blackjack. These guys not only brought the personality, but they brought their skills too.

And I’ll have more on this in a minute, and while I’m somewhat half-joking, but not really joking either – after seeing Joe Pavelski and his performance from this weekend – I wouldn’t mind him as a rental on the New York Rangers.

In an event that always screams nostalgia to me, due to Mark Messier’s 4-4 performance in 1996; was the accuracy competition, which Sebastion Aho (or as “Roc” of “2 Guys 1 Cup” calls him – Sebastion Asshole), won with a 4-4 performance, as the Cane hit all four targets in just 10.937 seconds.

All in all, while I’m skipping over all of the results and details, I did enjoy the broadcast. It was fun. I understand the derision from an older crowd, but after this pandemic and all of the other negative crap in the world – I just wanted to enjoy it. And I did. To each their own.

That being said, I think it’s time for the NHL to revisit their All-Star Game format.


Kreider really seemed to be having a blast on Saturday afternoon. Photo Credit: NY Rangers

I know some may call me a “BOOMER” for this opinion, but keep in mind – I just praised the Skills Competition from Friday!

It’s my opinion, that the three gimmick games of 3 vs 3 hockey has run its course. When it first began, it was entertaining. Now it’s tiresome. Plus, what NHL general manager or head coach wants to see their goalie get lit up?

(Plus, after the John Scott MVP ASG, the NHL will never top that year with this same format. There’s just no drama or backstory to it, as there was with John Scott.)

Just as the NHL has done in the past, it’s time to shake up the current format. I’m not saying you have to go all the way back to the days of when an All Star team played the previous season’s Stanley Cup champions, or anything as drastic as that; but a change is needed to a now outdated format.

Of course, going back to a traditional game featuring the Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference may seem like a regression, or at the very least, somewhat backwards too. And you may even feel the same about a North American vs Europe/Russian game too. However, what I do know is this – anything else would be better than these trio of threes’ games.


I don’t proclaim to have all of the answers. I’m sure other people have better ideas of what to do than I have. I’m open to listening to all of them. For me, I’m just sick and over the three vs three stuff. In addition, I don’t like any scenario, where as a Rangers fan, I’m “supposed” to root for a Flyer, a Devil, an Islander, a Penguin, and you get the rest, too.

Seriously, if you’re in-attendance at this game, are you supposed to high-five an Islander fan after a Metropolitan Division goal? Ugh, perish the thought! It’s blasphemy I tell you, pure blasphemy!

There’s also no juice or any sort of true level of competitiveness at these games either. While I understand that you can’t have guys hitting each other and risking injury; you see more passion out of the “Little Rangers” during an intermission break at M$G.

I don’t know what format the NHL should use, but anything would be better than this.

I’d rather see the NHL take all of their All-Stars and create two random teams, where they’d make sure players of intense rivalries wouldn’t be on the same side (or at least do their best in trying to make this happen), and then throw in some sort of incentive to get these guys to at least play at half-speed. The $50,000 for each winner, and a car that the MVP will never drive – well it just isn’t cutting it.

For what it’s worth, Chris Kreider and the Metropolitan Division won the gimmick tournament. Flyer Claude Giroux, MVP of the day, scored three goals and also picked up an assist in the two Metro wins. (The Metro beat the Pacific in the first game 6-4, and then beat the Central 5-3 in the final game.)

Let’s now talk about Giroux for a bit here, as I think I’ve said everything that needs to be said about the boring and tired All Star Game format.


While I understand the line of questioning, I thought it was a bit tacky when reporters asked Giroux about his future, rather than asking him what it was like to win the MVP of the meaningless All Star Game(s). Photo Credit: NHL.com

As discussed previously on this site (immediately after the Alain Vigneault firing, and long before the idea popped into the Clairsol soaked brain of Steve Vagistat) – the Rangers need some reinforcements, preferably battle-tested veterans, for a playoff run.

(You know what I’ve been saying since the off-season – this Rangers team will make the playoffs and will make some noise in them too. However, I’ll give you the full “WHY THE RANGERS SHOULD GO ALL-IN” blog next week.)

Whether the Rangers trade Filip Chytil, Nils Lundkvist, Zac Jones and/or Vitali Kravtsov (and who after the KHL’s announcement on Saturday, where they are nixing the rest of their regular season and going straight to their playoffs following the Olympics, which in turn, means Kravtsov, in theory, could return to the USA sooner-than-expected, should it be the crybaby’s desire), it doesn’t matter to me. The Rangers need a playoff veteran on this roster. And as they say, “there’s no time like the present.”

(Also, if you’re new here, it’s my opinion that Rangers general manager Chris Drury will not only make one trade, but will make multiple deals prior to the NHL Trade Deadline – where I also suspect that the Rangers first round pick of the 2022 NHL Draft will be dealt away too.)

As you all know by now, there are three areas that could use some shoring up. The Rangers could use a left defenseman, a right winger and a center. All of these needs can be filled, should the price be right. (Hello Bob Barker!)

In my eyes, the Rangers biggest hole is at the center position. After Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome, it’s a list of question marks.

Sure, Barclay Goodrow could fill one center spot, since he’s Gerard Gallant’s swiss-army knife; but after that, you’re left with the disappointing Filip Chytil and Greg McKegg – where to be fair, McKegg has been serviceable this season. However, let’s not also forget that the original plans were for “The Kegger” to be in the AHL this season too.

In addition, while the team has been better in this department as of late – they could use some faceoff help.

There are three names out there, that have been the most suggested and talked about to fill this need.

Former Ranger JT Miller is one, and as first brought up by Shawn Stein on “2 Guys 1 Cup,” and long before anyone else mentioned Miller’s name. (If you’re new here, I always try to credit anyone and everyone who had an idea before me.)

However, of the names available, Miller would be the toughest to land, just because he carries a cap hit of $5.25M for the 2022-23 season.

In order for Drury to land him, there would need to be some sort of cap retention, either on Vancouver’s end, and/or with a third team.

Based on all reports (mainly SportsNet), at the time, Vancouver doesn’t seem willing in eating Miller’s cap hit – unless they truly get a blow-away offer, which would defeat the purpose in the Rangers acquiring him anyway.

And while Miller could be a good option, it would mess with Ryan Strome’s next contract, should he and Drury come to terms. In addition, should the Rangers sign Miller and then move on from Strome; it leaves the Rangers in the exact same position next season – two bonafide centers and two question marks.

The two other names talked about are Claude Giroux and Joe Pavelski.

As talked about before on this site (and long before Vally talked about it on-air on the M$GN), Giroux would be a perfect fit, since he’s a pure rental and on an expiring contract. However, I just don’t see the Flyers helping out the Rangers here at all. More likely than the Rangers? Giroux winds up in Colorado.

(Plus, I can’t imagine the Rangers taking a gamble on Giroux, only to see whatever they’d deal to Philly coming back to bite them in the ass either.)

Enter Joe Pavelski.


I admit – I am somewhat living in the moment, especially after seeing Pavelski’s amazing performance at the NHL All Star Weekend. Photo Credit: NHL.com

Joe Pavelski would be a “kill two birds with one stone” type of a player for the Rangers, as he can play both the right wing and center positions. Even better, he’s on the final year of a $7M deal, where if acquired, the cap hit would be much less than that, and more important than that – a hit that the Rangers could easily afford too.

The biggest obstacle in acquiring him, should that be Drury’s desire; is that the long-time San Jose Shark, now in his third season with Dallas, is that the Stars are currently four points out of a wild card berth. Should Dallas trade him – it would be an admission of defeat on their 2021-22 season.

That stated, the NHL trade deadline is still six weeks away, as it takes place on March 21st. By then, Dallas could be out of it. Conversely, they could remain in the thick of things, and be looking for rentals themselves, here in this topsy-turvy world of the NHL.

I know I’ve said this a lot during the last year, especially during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it remains true – the more NHL veterans with playoff experience on your roster, the better. Pavelski currently has 161 playoff games under his belt, including two Stanley Cup Final appearances.

Yes, “Little Joe” is now 37 years old and towards the end of the career. However, as was evident during All Star Weekend, he’s still playing great hockey, where in 43 games this season, he has 19 goals and 29 assists for a grand total of 48 points.

For comparison (and should Pavelski wind up in New York), with these numbers, Pavelski’s 19 goals would be second-best on the Rangers, only second to league-leader Chris Kreider and his 33 goals. Pavelski’s 29 assists would also have him second-best among all Ranger forwards, only second-best to Artemi Panarin and his 39 assists. Pavelski’s 48 points would also be third-best on the Rangers, only behind Panarin (52) and Zibanejad (49).

If you could get Pavelski for some sort of package with Chytil, Kravtsov and a first-round pick involved, don’t you think you have to do it?

I know many people are on the trains and bandwagons of Carolina, Colorado, Florida and Tampa; but why not the Rangers? It’s not that often that we see Presidents’ Trophy winners go all the way either. THERE ARE ALWAYS UPSETS in the playoffs!

Think about it. Do you want to bet against the team with the league-leader in goals, the reigning Norris winner and the most likely ’22 Vezina winner? I wouldn’t.

So with all of the names that could potentially be Rangers right now, whether it’s Giroux, Miller, Jakob Chycrun, Tomas Hertl or whoever else you want to come up with here; I’m going on record – I’M TEAM PAVELSKI ALL THE WAY!

(And if Drury doesn’t go for Pavelski? I go back to a motto I first coined in May of ’21 – “In Drury We Trust!”)


PLUGS time!

On Thursday evening, one of my good friends of over twenty years, Ricky Otazu, released the first episode of his new podcast entitled “Burgers, Brews & Brawls.” To listen to the one-hour episode, click this link: https://t.co/vd51DNVpT4


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

The first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my new 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 2 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


Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:

NYR/FLA 2/1 Review: STATEMENT VICTORY! Gallant’s Gang Take Turk’s Message To Heart; Battle to Best Win of the Season, Team-Wide Effort, Kreider’s Dominance, CZAR IGOR Does It Again, Leader Ryan Strome, They Never Give Up/Well-Earned Vacation, ESPN+, & More


NYR/SEA 1/30 Review: Sleepless Against Seattle! CZAR IGOR’s 40-Ouncer & Miller Time Goal Lift Rangers to Victory, Gallant Publicly Rips Team For The First Time (And Why It’s a Good Thing), Schedule, Hungover M$GN, CK20, Fox, “Streaka” Zibanejad & More


NYR/CBJ 1/27 Review: “Bruce” Jenner & His Blue Jackets Cannon-Ball the Rangers; Comeback Falls Short, Lundqvist Night Preparation, Ron Duguay’s Relationship with Sarah Palin, Fox Injury, Goodrow, Schneider > Lundkvist, M$GN & More


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


Book update: I’m now into “THE FLY LINE” years. While the team was bad, I was excited about this trio at the time. Photo Credit: NYR

Up next: I’m still hammering away on “The Best and Worst Trades in New York Rangers History (And Everything In-Between)” (working title). Fingers-crossed, this massive project, which has already doubled the size of my first book, will be 100% complete this summer.

Enjoy the rest of the break. It’s cup-check time once the Rangers return and then play their final 35 games of the season.

Barring any major breaking news (such as a trade for Pavelski!), I’ll return sometime next week.

And one parting question before signing off (feel free to sound off in the comments or by emailing me, as I’ll use your responses during a future blog) –

Outside of the DQ interest, do you care about these 2022 Olympic Hockey games at all? I’m rooting for Quinn and USA, but it’s not appointment television for me either. I’m wondering if you guys and gals feel the same.

As always here, thanks for reading and…

LET’S GO RANGERS!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter

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4 thoughts on “Chris Kreider Stars At The NHL’s Weekend Spectacular; Move the All Star Game to Vegas Permanently, NHL Skills, Lundqvist’s Chances of Selling Out M$G Again, Schneider, Igor vs Georgiev, Giroux vs Miller vs Pavelski (Team Joe!), Duguay, Villemure & More

  1. Agree 100% with your assessment of Pavelski but what you’re offering is equivalent to 3 first rounders. While you’re probably correct to assume that price tag, I wouldn’t be willing to go that high for a rental. I’d much rather spend my assets on JT Miller. Fact is JTM is a better player now than he was when we traded him. His cap hit at 5.75 is manageable and he makes us stronger down the middle which is Playoff Run 101. Gives us 4 solid centers (moving BG to 4C, depending on what other moves are made at the deadline) or plays in the top 6 on the line with Strome and Bread (doesn’t upset the RS/AP chemistry.) Plenty of flexibility there. As for the future, I would definitely resign JT and (probably) have to let Strome walk. I like Strome but I like JT better. He’s stronger on the puck, stronger on the walls and fits the new Ranger profile of being hard to play against.

    1. Seems you have a fan in Larry Brooks, who echoed your comments in his newest article.

      Of course, our difference in opinion here is in regards to Strome. I want them to keep him. Not against landing JTM, but rather him with Strome, and for that to happen there will have to be some cap retention somewhere. Fantasy land, maybe they can get both JTM and a rental out of Pavelski. They have the assets to get 2-3 players if they want.

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