Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Any news?
This will be just a short (or should I say “Quick?”) hitter tonight – and in effort to lighten my “workload” tomorrow night following Rangers vs. Lightning.
Let’s get right into it.
Back on January 16th, I covered the sexual assault allegations made against James Dolan.
For the full story, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/11624/
Due to the fact that Dolan is in serious hot water these days (and as said then – he’s innocent until proven guilty – and in an update – he has yet to comment about this story although his lawyers have unequivocally denied all of the allegations made against their client), I was somewhat flabbergasted on Tuesday afternoon when this clip hit my proverbial work desk:
Darren Dreger saying on TSN Insider James Dolan wants to protect the 2024 1st Round pick so that the Rangers can be part of the spotlight at The Sphere that he owns part of. We also made an offer on Elias Lindholm #NYR pic.twitter.com/tXJKQxmRoJ
— David 🏒 (@DaveyUpper) February 6, 2024
While it’s true that most Rangers’ news is broken in Canada rather than in America – and much less than in New York too; Dreger, who works for TSN, and who is very good at his job too – does have a somewhat spotty track record when it comes to the Rangers.
After all, he was the one that fueled all of the J.T. Miller return rumors in both 2021 and 2022.
What happened next?
Miller, now already long established in Vancouver following his brief stay in Tampa, then re-signed with the Canucks on September 5th, 2022 – and where he also agreed to a long-term seven-year deal worth $56M overall.
But it’s not just Miller, as over the years, Dreger has been at the forefront of the “Rangers’ Rumor Mill” – and where more times than not, as in 99% of the time – many of his grandiose reports never see reality – nor reach the light of day either.
And while things change all the time, and I’m not suggesting that Dreger is making things up either – I do wonder if what he puts out there is double-sourced at all – and it’s also part of his job to sell interest and big stories too.
I also question if Dreger even has a source in New York to begin with, as most likely, his Ranger sources are the Canadian agents and front office executives of the league – and where I doubt that he’s ever had a one-on-one conversation with James Dolan either.
Furthermore, I also question the validity of these sources, because as mentioned about ten-million times before on this site – Chris Drury is one of the most tight-lipped general managers (and executives) in all of the NHL today.
The only person in hockey who may have tighter lips than Drury is the other guy in New York, the Islanders’ Lou Lamoriello.
In other words, I can’t see an NHL GM or front office type telling Dreger anything, as most likely, it’s an agent – and where I feel 100% confident when opining/stating that Drury isn’t leaking anything to Dreger – much less to anyone else – except for Larry Brooks – and that only happens when Drury, like one of his predecessors, Glen Sather, wants something out there.
(And yep – whenever the Rangers’ leak something to the New York Post, then more times than not, it’s during a player’s contract negotiations.)
I don’t need to give you all of my previous opinions and remarks about Dolan, as I have done all of this before – and both in my books and on this site.
But for the newbies finding these words, all that you really need to know that during Dolan’s soon-to-be thirty-year tenure as team owner, he’s only “interfered” with the Rangers once – back in May of 2021.
And not for nothing – while a lot of Ranger fans disagreed with Dolan’s decision to can the entire front office of the time, and where most of that “Dolan Disdain” was only because the beloved John Davidson was one of his victims in the beheading (while still employing the useless Glen Sather for 24-years and running) – was Dolan wrong in his decision?
One-year after cleaning house, Dolan’s Rangers then fell two-games shy of reaching the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.
Not only did Dolan get what he desired (many sold-out playoff gates) – but Blueshirt fans got what they wanted too, as that 2021-22 club most certainly overachieved and were extremely exciting to watch.
But aside from Dolan’s D-Day from May of ’21 – he’s always taken a laissez-faire approach with his hockey club – which is what pisses me off about him the most – as he’s allowed Sather to stay here for over 24-years without a Stanley Cup to show for it.
That said, and as I have noted many times before on this site; Dolan, soon-to-be 69-years-old this year, has never seen a championship won under him from either his Knicks or his Rangers – and that encompasses a combined sixty seasons and counting.
At some point, and most certainly for a person like Dolan, you do worry about both your legacy and how you’ll be remembered after you die – and unlike George Steinbrenner (I don’t think that I have to give you his resume), who like Dolan, once had a hate-hate relationship with Yankee fans – Dolan has never hit “grandfatherly” status with either Knicks or Ranger supporters.
Of course, and as the adage goes – “WINNING CHANGES EVERYTHING!”
Had the Yankees not won four World Series in a time-span of five-seasons (1996, 1998-2000) and then one more in Steinbrenner’s final season (2009) as team owner prior to his 2010 passing – then he wouldn’t be remembered as fondly as he is today.
(And since that 2009 championship is the Yankees’ most recent World Series win – Steinbrenner is even more respected, loved and remembered these days.)
Put it this way: Without those five championships attained at the end of his life, then you’d hear more about “The Bronx Is Burning” era of Yankees (late 1970s) and the Dave Winfield stuff from the (1980s), rather than hearing all about the “Core Four.”
(And damn it – Bernie Williams deserves his flowers too!)
In other words, the World Series’ victories helped to erase some of the black marks on Steinbrenner’s career and how he’s ultimately remembered, and while no one forgets previous eras, nor Billy Martin either – whenever the name GEORGE STEINBRENNER enters a conversation – then the first thing people talk about are the late 1990s and the turn of the century championships.
They then talk about Larry David playing “THE BIG STEIN” on Seinfeld!
It is my gut belief, and where obviously, I’ve never spoken to Dolan one-on-one (and if I did, then he’d probably ask me to look away from him – as all of those stories about him not wanting eye-to-eye contact with anyone who is not a celebrity or bolsters his pockets are true), that he wants a Stanley Cup and NBA championship above all else.
And that’s why I find it so hard to believe that he’s more concerned about a first-round draft pick rather than winning hockey’s holy chalice.
As Dolan personally looks to clear his name, while both professionally and personally also desiring a Stanley Cup under his watch – I just can’t see the owner telling his general manager to hold onto a first-round draft pick because of an NHL Entry Draft being held at a venue that he owns.
Riddle me this Batman:
Would you rather puff your chest out about a non-lottery pick (the Rangers, and despite their recent slide, aren’t missing the playoffs – and where yes – the rest of the division being weak does help a lot) – or would you rather be handing out “NEW YORK RANGERS, 2024 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS” shirts at the $phere in June instead?
Plus, and as recently talked about when discussing the Kaapo Kakko trade rumors (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/2124/ ) – it’s not like the Rangers hit grandslam homeruns during their drafts anyway – and where no draft was more painful and then created more misery for the Blueshirts than the 1977 incarnation.
(Do I have to say it? Ugh – Mike Bossy.)
Heck, even when the Rangers are gifted first- and second-overall picks – they get them in down-years/weak classes.
After all, can you imagine if the Rangers were ever able to draft a generational franchise superstar with a lotto pick, and as other teams have done during the past dozen years or so, including Nathan MacKinnon (2013), Connor McDavid (2015), Auston Matthews (2016), Jack Hughes (2019), or even Connor Bedard (2023?)
Instead, the Rangers win the draft lottery in 2020 – the COVID-19 year (which was a great year if you had stock in ZOOM) – and where who knows if Alexis Lafreniere would have still been the consensus first-overall pick had hockey, and the world too, not been shut down?
And of course – that first-overall pick ping-pong ball didn’t come up with a Rangers’ logo on it in 2019 either.
But alas, I digress.
I will say, had Glen Sather (who still is a front office executive and who also holds a title of “Advisor to the Owner”) still had been the Rangers’ general manager and team president (the two titles that Drury currently maintains) – then I don’t think that Dreger would be pumping out such talk.
Whatever you think about Dolan, there are two things that you can’t say about him:
One – He isn’t cheap – and will spend every penny he has in order to win.
Two – He isn’t a dummy – even if he’s been reckless in his personal life as a silver spooned son.
I just can’t see Dolan laying down an edict on his general manager/team president – and all because of what – a draft pick in the mid-twenties?
From day one of this new regime, the “WIN NOW” mentality has been stressed and promoted, and where even the new head coach, Peter Laviolette, said verbatim during his introductory press conference, “THE GOAL IS TO WIN THE STANLEY CUP!”
You’re telling me that Dolan is going to deter away from and muddle-up this goal – and where first-round picks have usually been the Rangers’ trade currency of choice?
Plus, are you telling me that Dolan would rather see promising prospects (Brennan Othmann comes to mind) get dealt for help, rather than an unknown pick?
Furthermore, first-round picks have been flying around a lot lately, and all you have to do is look at the two most recent trades in the league (made right before the All Star Game) for all of the evidence (Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan).
If a first-round pick is required to land someone who can help this team attain their goal, then are you telling me that Dolan is worried about the Rangers not having a seat at the draft table?
And let’s face it.
Once pick #10 is read out, these drafts, at least on television, lose steam.
The most exciting thing about NHL Entry Drafts for a lot of fans?
The trades that are made during them – where admittedly- hasn’t happened nearly as frequently as they used to ever since COVID-19.
As far as Dreger’s second-half of his report, where he said that the Rangers were trying to land Lindholm – I don’t even know if I buy that either – or at the very least – I think that once they heard what Calgary was asking (and what Vancouver later paid), then that was that.
Heck, you can say that the Rangers are interested in McDavid too, if you get what I mean.
And yep, Kakko, due to a myriad of things, including lack of performance, not reaching his potential, non-stop injuries, his status a second-overall pick who may flourish elsewhere away from the scrutiny that NYC provides, and the fact that he will become a restricted free-agent this summer, is still being rumored as the biggest bait that Drury is casting.
But of course – none of this information is being leaked from the big chair at 33rd and 7th – and of course, it’s that time of the year where everyone has a major source and scoop (and for clicks too)!
Let’s now talk about a story with concrete facts – and not conjecture and speculation – Nick Bonino’s departure.
I previously covered the Rangers waiving Nick Bonino back on January 25th.
You can find that blog here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/12524/
A day later, and following Filip Chytil’s scare during his now failed comeback, I wrote this: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/12624/
When the Rangers first waived Bonino, I was sad to hear the news – but I understood it.
However, once Chytil was shutdown for the season, I thought that Bonino had an outside shot of returning – and even if it was in a depth/every other game type of a role.
Well you can throw water on that fire, as the Rangers made it official on Tuesday – they are granting Bonino an outright release.
As first reported by Chris Johnson of TSN (funny how no member of the Blueshirts’ beat broke this story – but then again – no one is surprised about that), the Rangers (Drury) placed Bonino on unconditional waivers for the purpose of contract termination.
As first stated when Drury waived Bonino right before the All-Star break/bye week, the general manager wanted to do right by the player.
When Bonino went unclaimed following being placed on waivers, the Rangers, on paper, assigned him to Hartford – but also allowed Bones to think about it – as rather than forcing him to report to the Wolfpack – instead, Blueshirts’ management allowed Bonino to go on his previously planned vacation during the bye week.
Bonino thought about it and then gave Drury his verdict – he doesn’t want to toil around at the AHL level at this stage of his career.
Contract-wise, Drury could’ve made a stink about this and this could’ve gotten ugly, but as a former player himself, Drury understood Bonino’s predicament.
While it would’ve been nice to have Bonino around as a playoff Black Ace, or as a “break glass in case of emergency” type; Drury has agreed to do what’s best for a human being, a player – rather than doing what’s best for his own team.
I’m sure that Bonino will wind up somewhere, as I’m certain that a rebuilding team wouldn’t mind having his veteran experience in their locker room on the cheap.
However, my prediction?
Welcome to the New Jersey Devils Nick Bonino!
After all, I heard that the Devils are down a center these days (Mike McLeod).
But the stuff with McLeod aside, Bonino, and much like he was for the Rangers, could help a core who entered this season with big expectations – and where unlike in New York – perhaps New Jersey doesn’t feature him in an everyday role.
As they say, we’ll see.
Good luck to Bonino in any event – as not once could you ever question his dedication to the Blueshirts.
Up next, our final story for tonight.
Following their 2-1 overtime victory against the Avalanche on Monday night; come Tuesday morning, the Rangers reconvened at their practice facility in Tarrytown, NY.
Once there, it was revealed that Connor Mackey, who couldn’t have done anything more in his one-and-done game with the varsity club in Ottawa, was re-assigned back to Hartford, as team captain Jacob Trouba is back following his two-game suspension.
For whatever reason, Jake Leschyshyn remains.
The line-up at practice was the same from Monday night, sans the obvious trickle-down effect – Trouba returning to his spot with Miller, Schneider returning to his spot with Gustafsson and Zac Jones back to telling UMass war stories with birdbrain Mollie in the press box.
However, the biggest development weren’t the skaters – and where this is probably obvious too – it were the goalies.
During Tuesday’s practice, Jonathan Quick, and not CZAR IGOR, was the first goalie off.
Usually, as in 99.9% of the time, the first goalie off is the goalie who starts the next game.
While I wrote everything that I needed to say about CZAR IGOR vs. Jonathan Quick last night (you can find all of it here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/2524/ ); should Quick start against Tampa (and where it should be mentioned that CZAR IGOR has insane regular season numbers against the Lightning, including a 6-0-1 record, a 1.40 GAA and a .956 save percentage), then it will mark the first time in CZAR IGOR’s career (when healthy) where he will be shelved for two consecutive games.
What goalie controversy?
We’ll see what happens tomorrow night (and don’t forget – the game will be broadcasted on TNT – which means that Henrik Lundqvist will actually get a chance to speak and not have to worry about Sieve Vagistat cutting him off at every opportunity), but let’s face it – Quick has more than earned this start.
And while if it’s Quick, a decision that I do support – I do wonder how CZAR IGOR, who can be very temperamental, will take it?
Best case scenario?
Quick keeps rolling – while CZAR IGOR becomes absolutely irate – and then uses that rage to record his first shutout of the season on Friday night in Chicago.
If CZAR IGOR is “punishable” (for lack of a better word), then when does Laviolette apply this same treatment to Mika “One Goal Scored in ’24” Zibanejad?
I guess first things first.
Here’s Tuesday’s post-practice edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE,” and where Laviolette wouldn’t give a concrete answer on who his starter would be – but he did pretty much say that all plans are subject to change – which you have to think was a hint in favor of Quick vs. Tampa:
As repeated for the past three-weeks on this site (and come next week, I’m done talking about this until it changes) – I’m now working from 3PM-11:30PM.
In other words, I won’t be “live tweeting” this game as I normally do (and have been doing for the past 11-years or so) – but if you’re a West Coast reader – then follow some of my “live” game thoughts three-hours after the fact on the Tweet-Tweet machine over @NYCTHEMIC.
And expect the Rangers vs. Bolts GAME REVIEW blog to be posted sometime at 4AM Thursday morning.
Do you want to support such dedication?
What a perfect question and transition to…
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
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/
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:
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/COL 2/5 Review: Jonathan Quick Puts The Rangers On His Back; All Previous Problems Remain the Same, Blueshirts Blessed by Backstops; A Historical Retrospective, Gilles Villemure, Kakko/Ducks Trade Rumors Heating Up; One-Line Blueshirts Need Help ASAP, Bless Sam Rosen’s Heart; Micheletti Massacres Mika, Lundqvist v. Vagistat, M$GN+ & More
Chris Drury Continues to Play Tom Petty’s “Waiting is the Hardest Part;” Chytil’s LTIR Cap Space Still Not Addressed, The “Rangers’ Refresher,” NHL All-Star Weekend Thoughts; Maybe a Blueshirt Should Date Bieber, Upcoming NYR/PHI Watch Party, “LAVY’S LOUNGE” From Tarrytown, First-Place On The Line; Upcoming Schedule & More
New Kakko On The Blockko – But Does The Finn Have “The Right Stuff?” Rebuilding Flames Get a Haul From “Win-Now” Canucks in Elias Lindholm Trade, Should Chris Drury “Overpay” or “Stay?” James Dolan, Jeff Gorton, Larry Brooks, Trouba v. Johnson; Get Well Fischler, The Ridiculous Stadium Series Cash Grab & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
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!
@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine