Rangers vs. Senators Postgame Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, The Excuses! Patrick Kane, Tough Test Ahead Prior to Four-Day Break; Wacky Scheduling, Chris Drury Makes Two Minor Trades, Coyotes Ruining the League; Player Safety No Better & More

There’s a lot to get into tonight, as I catch up from last night, and then talk about the Rangers’ news from Friday, as they gear up for Saturday’s showdown in Beantown.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Perhaps unpopular to contrary belief – the New York Rangers are fine!

Their issues with the salary cap, and how it pertains to emergency recalls? Okay – that’s not fine – but we’ll get into that soon enough.

As mentioned last night (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/3223pix/ ), I attended Thursday night’s game between the Rangers and the Senators. Due to the late night that I had, and a busy Friday that followed; rather than doing my normal style of a “GAME REVIEW,” instead, I’m just going to post some thoughts and opinions from the match.

Once finished with that, I’ll then take a brief look at the Rangers final deals from the trade deadline – where admittedly, and as you’d expect – not much took place.

To close tonight’s manifesto, I’ll then take a look at Rangers vs Bruins – the Blueshirts’ first game of a four-game road-trip – and the wacky schedule that the NHL has provided for the tenants of M$G.

There’s a lot to discuss as I write these words late Friday night, and with a 1PM puck drop scheduled in Beantown tomorrow between the two Original Six teams – let’s get right into it – by talking all about Patrick Kane’s Rangers’ debut – and the loss itself.

This is not a photoshop – I repeat – this is not a photoshop! This picture is authentic, as Patrick Kane is not only a New York Ranger – but he’s now completed his first game as a Blueshirt too. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Off puck drop, let’s not get it twisted – of course, and similar to Vladimir Tarasenko’s Rangers’ debut from a few weeks back – everyone would have loved had Patrick Kane scored a goal on his first shift too – and more important than that – following such an event – the Rangers then went on to impeach the Senators from “The World’s Most Expensive Arena.”

However, it wasn’t meant to be – and let’s face it – not every game played during a team’s 82-game schedule features “DISNEY MOMENTS” – even if it does feel like the Rangers have had a ton of them this season.

Prior to Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Senators; Kane met with the Ranger beat reporters for the first time, where aside from what #88 said, one thing was most certainly noticeable – Larry Brooks, the only reporter who has a clue, wasn’t going to mess around.

Listen for yourself, and you’ll hear the Hall of Fame scribe shut down and talk over the bird-brain posers – thus ensuring that all of the right questions were asked:

I thought Kane’s first interview as a Ranger went as expected, and in case you don’t have the full ten minutes to watch it, you can get Adam Rotter’s transcript here: https://nyrangersnews.com/2023/03/02/what-patrick-kane-said-on-thursday/#more-197490

Kane pretty much said what I wrote on this site during the past week – there’s going to be a transition period, leaving Chicago is going to be tough, reuniting with Panarin was something that he was looking forward to, and the most important thing – how he wanted to win his fourth Stanley Cup – which would be the Rangers’ fifth chalice – should the hockey gods ever decide to smile upon the Blueshirts.

Here are a few key snippets from the interview, courtesy of Rotter:

What is your relationship with Panarin, “I think just, today is the first day I’ve seen him in a long time and just being able to be around him and hang out with him, he’s a fun guy to be around and definitely missed that over the past 5-6-7 years, whatever it’s been. I think just today picked up where we left off, hopefully it’s the same on the ice, it may not go as smooth as everyone thinks it’s going to go, I’m sure there’ll be some bumps in the road. Hopefully in due time we can figure it out.”

Was Panarin one of the reasons you wanted to come here, “Yea, for sure. I think the success we had was obviously short-lived, for only two years, definitely excited to play with him again, but you know, it’s not just him, there are a lot of great players here. I think you play with any of these forwards, excited to be out there with any of those guys, there’s so many good players I think the roster is so deep as far as having four lines and the d corps and in net as well. It doesn’t matter who you play with here, but for sure excited to play with him again.”

What would it mean to bring the Rangers their first Stanley Cup since 1994, “It would be amazing. Obviously I’m here for the experience and to play with good players and for the organization, but really, when it comes down to it you are here to win, that is what it’s all about.”

Do you see an opportunity to stay here behind this season, “To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. Just take it one step at a time here, excited to be here now.”

What was it like grappling with your decision to pick the Rangers, “It was just a team that was on my radar for a long time and I think sometimes comments get overblown a little bit. It wasn’t like I was extremely mad about the situation when they made the move for Tarasenko, it just didn’t seem like it was in the cards to still be an option for me. Now I’m obviously very happy they made that move and both of us are here. I’m excited to play with Vladdy, I think he’s an amazing player and I’m happy we’re both on the same side.”

What Kane said on Thursday morning took place that night – the chemistry between him and Panarin was there, but there were “some bumps in the road” too. Photo Credit: Getty Images

As one of the 18,006 people who attended Kane’s debut game as a Ranger, I’m sure the other 18,005 customers from that night will agree with me – you could just feel the electricity, the buzz, the vibe, whatever you want to call it, permeating throughout the air at M$G.

In another case of “what you read on Twitter isn’t reality;” as the same people who complain about everything are now complaining about Kane’s past (and if you can believe it – they are also now trying to cancel the administrator who runs the team’s official Twitter account – but that story is too stupid to even cover on this site – and that says something!) – until Tim Stutzle scored his 29th goal of the season, an empty netter, with just 2:42 remaining – Ranger fans were head-over-heels for their newest star.

Despite eleven-minutes of power-play time, including a five-minute major penalty assessed on Ottawa’s resident piece of shit, Austin Watson (more on this assault below), where the Rangers’ lethal power-play (at least on paper), couldn’t muster up one goal; the Garden Faithful continued to pledge their undying support for their favorite club – and Kane too.

No joke – while Kane received huge cheers whenever the puck was on his blade – he also received thunderous roars whenever fans anticipated a puck coming towards his direction.

As mentioned on this site all-week – the playoffs will ultimately determine how Kane will be remembered as a Ranger.

But for one night – I can’t remember a debut being as eagerly anticipated as this one, nor as loud – sans Mark Messier – and that says a lot – considering all of the shiny new toys the Rangers have opened up over the years.

While on this quick tangent, this is also easily explained, especially when you look at some recent trade examples:

— Martin St. Louis was one of the rare big names to join the Rangers while the team was good/in playoff contention. However, he was traded away for a very popular Ranger, then team captain, Ryan Callahan. In comparison, the Rangers gave up nothing for Patrick Kane – so no loss was felt.

— When it comes to players like Jaromir Jagr, Pavel Bure, and the last Ranger to wear #88 prior to Kane, Eric Lindros (and every other big fish netted via a trade from these years, “The Dark Ages”) – the Rangers weren’t any good.

One more time, not only did the Rangers not part with any players for Kane – but unlike those Sather years – Drury’s Rangers are in Cup contention.

(Of note: in regards to Jagr, Bure and Lindros, only Jagr would reach the playoffs with the Rangers – but that happened two years after he was first acquired – but I have already explained all of this in depth, during “Tricks of the Trade.” )

There was a lot taking place on Thursday night, and from both ends of the ice, where as often is the case – former Rangers had good showings.

As mentioned up top, rather than doing my normal style of a “GAME REVIEW;” instead, I’m going to give this game “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – and The Valid Excuses” treatment.

Let’s roll.


— The Rangers are still without their top two left defensemen, K’Andre Miller and Ryan Lindgren.

It’s funny, during my daily talks with “The Maven,” Stan Fischler; whenever I bring up NHL teams being short-handed solely because of the salary cap, my buddy will remind me that teams used to play with four defensemen and nine forwards all of the time.

What Fischler fails to bring up during these debates, and the point that I argue to him – is that the game is a lot different now than it was many years ago.

Sure, while you can’t deny how tough and hard-working players (“OH JOE, HARD-WORKING JOE!”), were from a bygone era; at the same time, today’s NHLers are bigger, faster and stronger than ever before – and that will only continue as time goes on.

In other words, the players we are seeing today won’t be as big, as fast and as strong as players will be fifty years from now.

And just like everything else from today’s brand of hockey – the game continues to evolve and makes drastic changes era-by-era.

So while yes – NHL squads from years ago fielded a lesser amount of players than the ones from today (and let’s not forget about the one-goalie system either) – that was then, this is now.

Simply put, playing with four or five defensemen all week, and as the Rangers have done, will eventually pay its toll – especially with all of these back-to-backs and three games in four nights.

I thought we saw a lot of that during these past two games, the win over Philadelphia from Wednesday and the loss to the Senators just 24-hours later.

The schedule, as brought up, doesn’t help – especially when asking defensemen, who rarely play 16-18 minutes-per-game to begin with – are now tasked to play for 21-24 minutes a night.

And while I know that Miller had been struggling prior to “SPIT GATE;” at the same time, he’s used to eating a ton of minutes on a game-by-game basis.

Ben Harpur and Niko Mikkola, the latter with a new team and like Tarasenko & Kane, trying to learn a new system too – are not used to the heavy workload – a workload that will continue into Saturday.

— Patrick Kane

To just jump ahead a bit, here’s what both Kane and Gerard Gallant said after the game:

Both Kane, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and a future Hall of Famer, and “The TURK,” a hockey-lifer, said exactly what I felt – the Rangers were too cute, especially on the power-play, and as a result, it did them no favors.

But I didn’t think this was all a bad thing either – and as I’ll explain in “THE GOOD” segment.

However, the Rangers commitment to feeding the puck to Kane was apparent all night (HOW APPARENT WAS IT?) – that even someone like a Sam Rosen could see it.

Had Kane not been in the line-up – who knows – maybe the Rangers win a game where they had nine minutes of power-play time, including a five-minute man-advantage, prior to the Senators’ comeback third period, where they scored three goals in total.

Instead, we saw some “growing pains,” perhaps better described as a “getting your feet wet process.”

As I said last night – the one loss, in the moment, sucks – but you have to think of the big picture.

This team will only be judged by what they do in the playoffs, and like the old expression goes, “you have to break a few eggs before making an omelet.”

As Ranger fans broke the bank to attend this game – perhaps some hearts were broken too – as the overall eleven minutes of power-play futility was tough to endure – but I don’t think that will be the case once these games really matter – playoff time.

— CZAR IGOR didn’t start. Instead, Jaroslav Halak, who has been good this year, did.

While I wouldn’t pin all four of the goals allowed by “THE HALAKNESS MONSTER” solely on him; at the same time – this was not his best effort either.

And the giving up two goals within a time-span of thirty seconds, and blowing two-goal leads too, needs to cease to exist! Duh.

Long story short – with CZAR IGOR in net, he may have said “NYET NYET” to a Senators’ victory.

— Gallant pulled Halak too early.

While I understand the argument; at the end of the day – I had no problem with “THE TURK” pulling Halak with just less than three minutes remaining in regulation.

After all, Gallant is batting something like .900 with his in-game coaching moves this season – and this was just one of the rare times where it didn’t work.

No one bats 1.000.

If there’s any criticism I had, then it was that I thought that “THE TURK” should’ve waited for his team to get possession of the puck before pulling Halak – and I felt this way at the time.

However, I do understand Gallant’s line of thinking too – with an extra skater in the Sens’ zone for an o-zone faceoff – the head coach was hoping that had his team lost the draw – the extra man would have prevented a clear – and in turn, kept the puck in the zone.

That’s not what happened – and where no one should forget that the team didn’t do anything on their power-plays either – so to blame this one play as the sole reason for this loss is the act of a fool.

Perhaps Gallant, after being peppered with non-stop gambling advertisements, took a gamble himself here.

However, he wasn’t a “CAESAR” on this night – despite Lundqvist’s daily proclamations!

While this game was certainly overpriced; the euphoria you felt as you awaited the first puck to be dropped was something that couldn’t be matched. I’m glad I had the chance to experience it.


— The Rangers did everything they could for Patrick Kane.

As mentioned above, while Kane didn’t score, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Kane’s new teammates played an unselfish game, too unselfish, as rather than capitalizing on scoring chances themselves – they tried to feed Kane. In turn, Kane tried to reciprocate the multiple favors.

For Kane, an American, this felt like a display of “CANADIAN MANNERS ON ICE.”

Kane and his teammates were very polite, too polite, as it felt like they were saying “thank you, excuse me, please, etc” all game – rather than having a killer instinct.

That killer instinct, the need to finish off opposing goaltenders, will come, as again, this was all a feeling-out process – but it was nice to see both Kane and the Rangers do whatever they could to create positive vibes and chemistry.

For one game, it didn’t help them on the scoreboard, but again, in my eyes, this game will hopefully one day be looked as the first step, a building block, rather than the norm.

— The Penalty Kill

The Rangers’ penalty kill, somewhat a weakness as of late, went a perfect 3-3 – and scored a short-handed goal too!

One of these days, both special team units, the power-play and the penalty kill, will be in sync at the same time. And if that ever happens – watch out!

Chris Kreider kicked off the scoring with his fourth short-handed goal of the season, now tied for the league-high in this department.

Prior to Gerard Gallant’s arrival – Kreider rarely played with the man-down groups.

It’s also why it was somewhat surprising that the Rangers’ power-play didn’t score – just because Kreider was able to beat his “OLD FRIEND” Cam Talbot on a picture-perfect short-handed breakaway. (And Kreider & Talbot were really friends – rather than Sam Rosen just belting these two words out as he always does!)

— Vladimir Tarasenko

Hey, remember Tarasenko, the Rangers’ first true rental of the season?

Following his best game yet as a Ranger, his three-point performance in Philly; VT91 scored not only another true goal scorers’ type of a goal – but a highlight reel goal to boot, when he pulled off the “Forsberg” (tuck) and beat Talbot to put the Rangers up 3-1 on the scoreboard at the time.

Suffice to say, Tarasenko, following his three-week acclimation/adaption process, looks to be feeling like his old self again.

— Mika Zibanejad

During a game where not many Rangers finished on the positive side of the “almighty” plus/minus stat; Zibanejad, who played 21:57 (highest amongst all Ranger forwards), finished with a plus/minus stat of +1.

Zibanejad picked up a Rangers’ game-high two assists too – where to be fair – both goals that he assisted on had more to do with the scorers themselves – and not Mika’s assists (Kreider and Tarasenko).

What should also be mentioned is that the Swedish DJ, after being pulverized at the circles during many games this season, is now on the winning side at the battle of the dots, as once again, he finished the match winning more draws than he lost, with his 12 of 21 performance (57.1%).

With the “silver linings” out of the way, let’s briefly blow through the negativity!


— The Power-Play

Despite everything I just said about the man-advantage units; the Rangers finished 0-4 on the power-play, where during their eleven minutes of a man-advantage, former Blueshirt backstop, Cam Talbot, averaged one short-handed save per minute.

And yes, while the Rangers did try to force it to Kane – the second power-play unit, without Kane, fared no better.

— The Third Line’s “Bad Luck”

Once again, the first-round draft pick line, Lafreniere, Chytil and Kakko, all had numerous chances to score – but as has been the case during the past week or so – had trouble putting pucks into the net.

If one thing is apparent right now, then it’s that Chytil, who was on a major heater just two weeks ago, has cooled off considerably since that time.

While Chytil continues to get “GRADE A” chances; for whatever reason, he’s not burying these shots as he was just 2-3 weeks ago.

However, no one stays hot all of the time, so all you can do is hope that he regains his scoring touch – and sooner-than-later.

— Niko Mikkola Can Not Stay Out of the Penalty Box

While I understand that Mikkola is getting used to his new surroundings; that’s also not an excuse for averaging over one penalty in every game played.

To be fair, and especially during his first game played as a Ranger against the Kraken from a few weeks back – some of these calls assessed against him are “iffy,” but at the same time – he’s now garnering a reputation for being a penalty machine.

In other words, if there is an “iffy” situation, than more likely than not – the officials are going to bag Mikkola for it.

It should also be mentioned that Mikkola is now playing more minutes than originally expected. In turn, he’s getting gassed as these games progress – and that’s when you’re seeing some of these penalties, some lazy, taking place.

At the same time – Ben Harpur, who took Libor Hajek’s old seat in the press box following the arrival of Mikkola – has looked much better than the player who has replaced him.

— The Curse of the Ex-Rangers Tormenting the Blueshirts Continued

Similar to the way the Tampa Bay Lightning once loaded up on former Rangers, and the Carolina Hurricanes after them – the Senators now boast a bevy of Blueshirt alumni themselves.

While Nick Holden and Julien Gauthier didn’t come back to bite the Rangers in the ass on Thursday night (and where the latter received a “Welcome Back” video – one that was met with a positive reaction); both Cam Talbot and Derick Brassard, major contributors from the Presidents’ Trophy club from 2015, took a large chunk out of the Blueshirts’ behind.

Brassard, who played in his 1,000th NHL game on Thursday night, and seemingly for his 31st team too, scored two goals – his tenth and eleventh tallies of the season – and his first multi-goal game of this 2022-23 campaign to boot.

And similar to Gauthier, Brassard, who had been back many times before, also received a video for his 1,000th game – a video where Ranger fans responded with a well-deserved standing ovation. Of course, no one was cheering for BIG GAME BRASS following his two goals either.

Cam Talbot, who was subjected to trade rumors prior to this game (he wasn’t traded on Friday, as the Senators, now threatening for a playoff berth, are using their former All-Star goalie for “rental purposes” themselves); had another strong performance on M$G ice – and another solid game as a visitor too. (Ranger fans will recall that Talbot was the winning goalie on record during “Henrik Lundqvist Night” from last season.)

Talbot’s best work in net took place during the Senator penalty kills, where as mentioned earlier, he went 11-11.

“THE GOALBUSTER,” one of my favorites, finished with 29 saves on 32 shots faced, and where the three Ranger goals scored were hard to pin on him.

Both Kreider and Tarasenko scored on breakaways. Jacob Trouba scored a back-handed goal while in the paint, where it looked like the puck also deflected off of a stick of a Sens’ defender.

KING TALBOT, now on the final year of a three-year deal that he once signed in Minnesota, will now look to jump his team over the Islanders – and reach the playoffs – and if the stars should align – then perhaps sign the final seven-figure contract of his career.

Talbot, who will turn 36-years-old over the summer, has now earned nearly $30,000,000 during his career.

Not too shabby for a goalie who I thought should’ve been named as the successor to Lundqvist – but I’m sure you’re tired of reading about my never-ending praise for #33!

But this much is true – he’s the most successful goaltender to ever spend time at the University of Huntsville-Alabama!

Tyler Motte is serviceable in his role when he’s healthy – but being healthy has been an issue for him – and during both of his brief stints spent in The Big Apple. Photo Credit: NYR


— Tyler Motte was injured again.

To be fair, I think that Motte just has the worst luck in the world, and as if Sam Rosen, the Rangers’ resident Black Magic Voodoo Witch Doctor, has personally spent all of his free time by putting pins into his Motte doll.

That said, the facts are the facts – and Motte continues to battle just in order to stay on the ice.

But of course, how can you blame him for going to the tunnel after this:

To the credit of the on-ice officials – they called this assault correctly – Watson received a five-minute major and was booted from the game with a match penalty.

To the absolute discredit of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety – not only did they not suspend Watson following the game – they didn’t even him fine him!

I know that Ranger fans are screaming afoul over this, while bringing up Miller’s loogie too – but as mentioned the other night – there is a code – where spitting is just considered as the least classiest form of betrayal on the ice – and unbefitting of any NHLer as well.

However – an unprotected elbow to the head? How is this not a suspension – especially for a repeat offender?

For the league’s Department of Player Safety to bury their own heads into the sand about this assault – and that’s what it is – an assault (if we did what Watson did on the street, then we’d be arrested and charged with assault) – it’s the NHL’s equivalent of catching a pedophile on his second offense – and then allowing him to live right next door to an elementary school.

Miller or no Miller (and again – I don’t think you can compare these two offenses, as they are “apples and oranges” to me) – what Watson did should’ve earned him not only a hefty fine – but a lengthy suspension too.

But somewhere, I’m sure that ESPN’s P.K. Slewban was fine with this.

Speaking of broadcasters, that bring us to our final “UGLY.”

— Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti were dreadful

I’m a glutton for punishment, so once returned home from my night spent at M$G, I turned on the M$GN and caught the replay of the game.

I should mention, I caught the “Rangers in 60” replay (I don’t think that’s what they call it anymore, but that’s what it was), where omitted from the replay – the Rangers’ five minute power-play – and what led to it.

I can’t imagine how much worse it was in real-time, but for sixty minutes, all I heard about was how Shane Pinto was from Long Island, “OH JOE, OLD FRIEND DERICK BRASSARD JOE,” and of course, non-stop rave-reviews not only about Tim Stutzle, but other players drafted from his 2020 class.

Not mentioned when talking about that 2020 draft class? You know, the first pick from it, Alexis Lafreniere. Instead, Tim Stutzle was treated as the second coming of Wayne Gretzky.

While I know that I spend more time on the M$GN than anyone else from this fan base; I will admit, listening to these two jackals either during or after a Rangers’ loss gets me more infuriated than usual.

Adding to the anger? Listening to Sam Rosen’s voice hit new octave levels, as he enthuisasitcally shouts out opposing goals.

And as opposed to the way that he blows at least 50% of Ranger strikes; he never fails whenever calling a goal for the other team!

You know what’s both funny and sad?

During the game, following Pinto’s goal, I remarked to my dad, who attended the contest with me, “THE SENATORS HAVEN’T SCORED DURING THEIR LAST 789678786 GAMES JOE! OH JOE, SHANE PINTO JOE, THE KID FROM FRANKLIN SQUARE LONG ISLAND JOE, A GOAL FOR PINTO JOE!”

And that’s a good recap of what Sam actually said on-air – albeit somewhat exaggerated!

I never questioned the Rangers’ compete level, but I do wonder if they lost some energy. It didn’t help that Adam Fox played nearly thirty minutes (after hitting nearly that amount the night before) – and without Ryan Lindgren by his side – Fox finished with a game-low -3 – a stat that doesn’t accurately depict the game that he played.

What’s done is done – the Rangers lost – and we move on.

And one more time, thanks to both Marc and Martine, of the family “G,” for hooking me up with tickets.

As far as the Rangers themselves; following their back-to-back set, they had the day off on Friday – but did board their plane to Boston in preparation for Saturday’s tilt.

Let’s now take a look at the final moves made by Chris Drury at this year’s trade deadline.

The two newest members of the organization, Anton Blidh, formerly of Colorado, and Wyatt Kalynuk, now formerly of Vancouver. Photo Credit: NHL.com

At 3:56PM Friday, 56 minutes following the 3:00PM cut-off of the NHL’s 2023 Trade Deadline, the Rangers announced the following, courtesy of https://www.nhl.com/rangers/news/rangers-acquire-anton-blidh-from-colorado-and-wyatt-kalynuk-from-vancouver/c-341791978?icmp=int_web_nyr_news_rightrail  :

New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has acquired forward Anton Blidh from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Gustav Rydahl and has also acquired defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for future considerations.

Blidh, 27, has played in 14 games with the Avalanche this season, recording nine shots and averaging 6:35 of ice time. With the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League (AHL), Blidh has tallied six goals and six assists for 12 points in 36 games.

The Molnlycke, Sweden native has skated in 84 career NHL games split between the Avalanche and Boston Bruins, notching four goals and eight assists for 12 points. In 2021-22, he played a career-high 32 games for the Bruins, recording career bests in goals (2), assists (7) and points (9).

The 6-1, 197-pound forward has registered 100 points (52G-48A) in 314 career AHL games across parts of seven seasons between the Eagles and Providence Bruins. He has also added five points (4G-1A) in 25 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Blidh was originally selected by the Bruins in the sixth round, 180th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Kalynuk, 25, has spent his 2022-23 season with the Abbotsford Canucks of the AHL, tallying four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 46 games and a plus-5 rating.

The Brandon, Manitoba native has played in 26 career NHL games, all with the Chicago Blackhawks, tallying four goals and five assists for nine points. With the Blackhawks’ AHL club, Rockford, he recorded 37 points (9G-28A) in 60 games across two seasons.

Prior to going pro, Kalynuk played three seasons at the University of Wisconsin, where he was team captain his junior season and was a first team All-Big Ten honoree.

Kalynuk was originally selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the seventh round, 196th overall, of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Gustav Rydahl signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Rangers on May 16, 2022 – but the Swede never made it to Broadway. Photo Credit: NYR

Rydahl, a center from the SHL, and who will turn 29-years-old on September 11th; the Swedish native crossed the Atlantic for the first time in his career this past summer – but could never reach the NHL varsity ranks.

While there were times where the Rangers could’ve taken a look at Rydahl; it was never in the cards, and for multiple reasons, including the team’s battle with the salary cap, Vitali Kravtsov not being able to go down to Hartford where he belonged, Gallant’s comfort level with Ryan Carpenter and Drury’s acquisition of a reclamation project, Jake Leschyshyn.

In forty games spent with the Wolfpack, Rydahl scored seven goals and picked up eight assists.

Rydahl won’t be missed, and at the end of the day, he was just one of the many players signed by a team during the off-season for the AHL club – and who didn’t break through to the other side.

I can’t admit to knowing much about Wyatt Kalynuk, who the Rangers received in exchange for the almighty “FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS,” but I’m to assume that the d-man will be assigned to Hartford. Ditto new forward, Anton Blidh, who Drury received in return for Rydahl – and a player who I have heard of before!

And if we see Blidh and/or Kalynuk suit up as a Ranger this season – then something bad had happened.

Then again – should the Rangers clinch their playoff berth early – and lock down whatever seed they become – maybe Gallant, and as he did last year, will rest his regulars and give some AHLers a chance – a chance that Gallant, nor the Rangers, were afforded on Thursday – and won’t be afforded on Saturday either.

Brad Marchand, “The Rat,” a player who is now aware of who Ryan Lindgren is; following his recent injury, will return to the Bruins on Saturday. Whether Lindgren returns to the Rangers or not remains to be seen.

As you all know by now – the Rangers have been in salary cap hell all season – and this became league-wide news once the decision to go for Patrick Kane was made.

While I’ve given you all of my thoughts about the salary cap before – and how much I hate it – it just pisses me off that a team like the Arizona Coyotes, a team that the other 31 NHL teams have to carry (financially), are allowed to stash nearly $30M in retired player contracts on their books, just so they can reach the salary cap floor.

At this point, the Desert Dogs are the NHL’s version of a money launderer – or even worse than that – a bank with no interest rates!

How the Coyotes can continue to peddle their shit, not only to the league, but to their fans, is beyond me.

In what world does this franchise deserve a new arena – or at the very least – in Arizona?

The mistake in the desert hasn’t worked – and are you telling me that a relocation to Quebec, where many believe the finances won’t work, would be worse than this?

And if Quebec City isn’t the answer – then I’m sure that Houston, a sports-happy city with one of the biggest populations in America, would be happy to have an NHL franchise in town.

For what seems a decade now, the Coyotes just take bad and/or dead contracts, in exchange for “DRAFT CAPITAL,” draft picks that either go nowhere – or if they should (see Chychrun, Jakob) – get the hell out of Arizona at the first sight of opportunity.

And really – Chychrun, the Yotes’ sixteenth overall draft pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft – spent half of his career as a Coyote on the trade block.

Connor Bedard better get on his hands-and-knees right now – and beg, beg, beg, that the Coyotes don’t wind up with the first overall pick this season.

And if they do? No one would bat an eye if he pulls an Eric Lindros and refuses to play there.

Outside of Shane Doan, who spent his entire twenty-one year career with the organization (he began his days with the old Winnipeg Jets, but made the move to Phoenix with the club in 1996) – NO ONE STAYS. And heck, Doan, even in retirement, and who took a job as the team’s ambassador once retired – has left – as he too has had enough.

At this rate, would my joke tweet from Friday surprise you if it ever became a reality:

Why bring up these whipping boys of the league once again on this site?


As the Mickey Mouse Coyotes continue to embarrass both themselves and the league – every other NHL team – especially competitive clubs from the big markets (which the Rangers are) are punished.

With the Desert Dogs continuing to pad their books with the contracts of retired players – JUST SO THEY CAN REACH THE CAP FLOOR – teams like the Rangers, TRYING TO WIN AND IN TURN, MAKING THE LEAGUE MORE EXCITING, are forced to go with line-ups featuring less man-power than your orthodox twenty-man line-up.

Ah, the almighty dollar – where the salary cap continues to KO player safety – but then again – after watching Watson go unpunished – what does the department of player safety do these days anyway?

And yep – here I am again – talking about the topic that I hate the most – the SALARY CAP!

As the Coyotes make a mockery of the league, the Rangers weren’t allowed to recall a player for emergency purposes on Thursday, as the league ruled that they had created their own cap-hell in their pursuit of Kane.

While we can all lament about the Rangers’ present situation, one must ask – why wasn’t Lindgren just put on the LTIR?

After all, he hasn’t played since being hit by TJ Oshie last Saturday, and with a four-day break following Saturday’s matinee in Boston – it’s very likely he won’t play during that game either.

As mentioned, last night, the Rangers went with five defensemen – and then lost a forward once Motte was assaulted.

Come Saturday in Beantown, the Rangers will most likely have to skate a line-up of 11F/5D.

Per the NHL’s awful salary cap rules, Saturday’s game will count as the Rangers’ first emergency contest – and they won’t be allowed to recall anyone for the match.

Should Motte and Lindgren continue to be unavailable come Thursday night in Montreal, then-and-only-then, can the Rangers recall players from Hartford for emergency help.

And one more time – we’re talking about players making less than six figures, where these AHL cap hits on an NHL roster amounts to just four-figures, sometimes in the low five-figures, per day.

The top league in the land, and we’re fighting over money that’s equivalent to a $5,000 fine whenever a player maliciously assaults a foe on the ice. GAME ON!

As playoff contenders try to field the best teams possible, and try to exploit every cap loophole known to man – the Coyotes are able to kick back, apply the sunblock and will now look to add the contract of the ghost of Gordie Howe to their books over the summer.

Maybe Howe, a former Houston Aero, can one day have that contract paid out in Houston.

While Chara is retired and no longer a Bruin either – maybe the Coyotes can sign him and have him not play for them too! Photo Credit: Getty Images

As we get to the end here – it’s a shame – Saturday’s matinee between the Rangers and the Bruins won’t be a true litmus test for our favorite team – all due to the bullshit with the salary cap.

And should the Rangers pull off the win – it would be a huge feather in their cap.

Currently, the Bruins, the fastest team on record to ever reach 100 points (of course, this new era, with the loser’s point added, and no ties to be had, helps them out – but that doesn’t take away from what they are doing either); are experiencing a historic season.

The team from Boston (101 points) will easily win the Presidents’ Trophy this year, as they currently have fifteen more points than the second-best team in the league, the Hurricanes – and the B’s aren’t slowing down either.

More impressively, through 61 games played, and with only 21 remaining, the Bruins have only lost eight games in regulation. No other NHL squad in the league remains in the single-digits category with losses.

Scarier than all of that – the Bruins are still adding fire-power – and as they should – due to the arms race in the East.

Not only did the Bruins add Dmitri Orlov and Garnet Hathaway earlier this week – they also added Tyler Bertuzzi on Thursday too.

And of course, due to the league’s new-now-in-need-of-a-makeover playoff seeding system – while inferior teams from the West move on, teams like the Bruins, the Rangers, the Devils, the Hurricanes, the Lightning and the Maple Leafs, will all face the risk of first-round exits – where at least two of these power-houses will hit the links prior to the second-round commencing.

While Saturday’s game for the Rangers isn’t “MUST WIN,” nor even close to that – when you look at the rest of the division – would it be the worst thing should the Devils jump the Hurricanes in the standings?

Heck, the Rangers slipping to the first-wild card, should the Hurricanes remain in first-place, might not be the worst thing in the world either!

Of course, you can’t think that way. You have to think about winning and trying to determine your fate is a fool’s errand. Plus, should you take your foot off the pedal before the playoffs – you then run the risk of being Mack Trucked too.

Long story short – Rangers vs Bruins tomorrow – where I’m not too concerned about whatever the final result will be. All I’m rooting for, sans a win, is NO MORE INJURIES.

Following that game, the crazy Rangers’ schedule continues, where they’ll have another lengthy break, this time four-days off, before embarking on their third three games to be played in four nights in a row.

One more time – for a league that pretends that they care about player safety – what’s with all of the time off – only to then be followed by multiple times where a team plays three games in four nights?

And if you enjoy the spirit of competition – and when you consider how much it costs to go to games too – the NHL is putting an inferior product on the ice whenever these teams get to their third game in four nights.

Gary Bettman!

I’ll return tomorrow with a Rangers/Bruins GAME REVIEW – and back in our traditional format too!

Of note: I am going to the games in Buffalo and Pittsburgh next weekend (the final two games of the next three in four), so like this game with Ottawa – I’ll post all of my pictures first – then chime in some thoughts afterwards.



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

My first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:


For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

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/

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

NYR/OTT 3/2 Photo Gallery & Quick Thoughts from M$G

NYR/PHI 3/1 Review: “Find-a-Way” (and Short-Handed) Rangers Do It Again, Punch Out Rocky’s Team in Overtime; Tarasenko’s “Blueshirt Blueballs” Drop, All Eyes on Patrick Kane, “TURK TALKS,” M$GN v TNT & More

FINALLY! Rangers Officially Trade For Patrick Kane; Why This Historic Trade Can Potentially Become The Biggest & Best of Franchise History, “Panarin’s Pals,” KANEOMANIA Runnin’ Wild; Drury Gives Up Nothing, Usual Suspects Question Kane’s Past, Miller Suspended, Schneider Recalled, A Happy “TURK TALK” & More

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

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my new four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com

For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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