Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. It’s been a week since I did an update on the site, so in case you need a refresher, here are my most recent blogs:
BCBS For 4/10: The Rangers Rebuild Speeds Up; Land Historic Second Overall Draft Pick, Hughes vs Kakko, The Tanktards Lose/Ranger Fans Win, Pressure on Hughes, Devils Under The Microscope & Much More From a Glorious Day in Rangerstown, USA
The 2018-2019 New York Rangers Final Report Card: Grading Every Ranger and Coach on the Roster, Who Makes the Grade & More. Plus: The Jeff Gorton Press Release & The Draft Lotto
NYR/PITT 4/6 Season Finale Monster Blog Review: Alexandar Georgiev & The Rangers End The Season on a High Note; Rile Up the Tanktards, Georgiev Becomes First NYR Goalie To Beat Matt Murray, The Hypocritical Panarin/Tank Fans, Rehauling & Retooling the NHL Draft Lottery System, Rebuild MSGN, Looking Ahead & Much More on NYR
NYR/CBJ 4/5 Review: Bobrovsky Edges Georgiev In a Goaltender’s Duel; Rangers Lose Via The Shoot-Out, Big-Time Buchnevich, M$G Closed Until September, Rangers Shoving Gambling Down The Throats of Fans, Senile Sather Update & More
Nearly 50 years ago, in 1970, the Congress of the United States realized the health hazards of smoking. Congress also knew that by allowing tobacco companies to advertise their wares on television and radio, these tobacco companies would be trying to hook new customers for life. That is why Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which banned the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio, which became effective on January 2, 1971.
Just think about that for a second. 1971 was 48 years ago. While television sets were becoming more and more common in American homes, television hadn’t replaced the radio just yet. However, Congress knew, even back then, the hazards of smoking and how big tobacco were trying to lure young Americans into buying their products. By eliminating radio and TV cigarette advertisements, Congress was trying to preserve the health of future generations.
In 2019, a new epidemic is rising in America. While it’s not as lethal as the opioid epidemic, GAMBLING can also lead to disastrous results. Life savings are lost. Relationships are shattered. Lives are ruined. However, despite the risks that comes along with gambling, the NHL, along with every other major professional sporting league, has got into bed with every gambling outfit possible. Whether it’s sportsbooks, casinos or fantasy gambling, the NHL is so cozy with gambling, that they ask Draft Kings to tell them a story before bed and then has Fanduel tuck them in at night.
During this Rangers season, I have shared with you my over-under predictions. In other words, I’m no prude to gambling. However, I do realize the risks and dangers that comes with gambling. I’ve seen it ruin people. To me personally, gambling is a form of entertainment, like going to a movie, going to a sporting event or going to a theme park. You’re spending money. Gambling is for people with disposable income, not for people looking for a major life altering change. I don’t care what anyone tells you – NO INDIVIDUAL WINS BY GAMBLING. Sure, you have your hits, but there are way more misses. Only the casinos and bookies win.
Throughout this site’s history, during my many Ranger road-trips, I’ve shared stories about my trips to casinos, crazy betting lines and other gambling stories. As you read the following words, I’m not trying to come off preachy, like a born-again Christian or that raving drunk you knew from college that’s now a counselor at Alcoholics Anonymous. What I’m trying to accomplish with this blog, is predicting a total shift and change in the way we watch and consume sports. I’m also interested in hearing the feedback to this topic.
For people who are above the age of 25 in 2019, you can remember a world where you could watch sports without being pummeled with gambling ads. However, as time goes along, I fear that GAMBLING and not the art of the sport, will be the main feature on sport broadcasts. Shit, you can argue that’s happening already.
I don’t think I need to explain the appeal of gambling. Gambling, for some, is a “get rich quick” scheme. After all, isn’t the American dream to make a lot of money, while doing as little as possible? Wouldn’t we all love to hit a 7 or 8 digit parlay and then just enjoy life without the stress of working? However, despite what these gambling outfits sell you in these ads, the chance of ever winning life-changing money is a pipe-dream, a bigger pipe-dream than Henrik Lundqvist ever winning a Stanley Cup.
Obviously, the target demo of all these gambling advertisers are young males. However, young males aren’t the only ones gambling. The rise and continued ascension of fantasy football, has turned gamblers out of females, work offices, older people and any other demographic you can think of. Make no bones about it – fantasy football/gambling is what keeps the NFL bullet-proof, despite the league promoting murderers, rapists, child abusers, animal killers, drug dealers and more criminals that even a member of MS13 would be sickened by.
While to me, the “F” in the NFL stands for “felony”, to the majority of fans, it stands for “fantasy.” When it comes to all the metrics, the NFL is king.
For the purpose of this blog, I’m going to stick to the NHL. However, you can’t talk sports gambling and fantasy gambling without mentioning the NFL, as nothing comes close in sports to the amount of money wagered on NFL games. That said, you’re seeing gambling trickling into hockey, especially when it comes to my beloved Rangers.
And let’s face it – it’s only going to get worse. James Dolan would sell his mother for a nickel if it meant “BILLY BOB’S REDNECK ROULETTE” would advertise on his propaganda-filled network.
Again, I’m not adverse to gambling. What I do worry about, is the next generation of fans, who are being taught that if you’re not gambling, you’re not watching the game right.
On the 4/5/19 Rangers broadcast, you had two paid spots for two different casinos. (Empire & Resorts.) You also had commercials for Betfair and William Hill. Then, you had a paid spot for DraftKings and another paid spot for Fanduel. That’s 6 different gambling outfits being talked about during a 30 minute pregame show. As if all the advertising wasn’t enough already at MSG as is. Everything is Delta this or Pepsi that. You also have Coors Light this and Kia that. The whole entire MSG broadcast is dedicated to advertising, with hockey content taking a backseat.
Currently, there are five states that have legalized sports gambling, with many more to come. When you look at America, there are two major battles being fought – the right to legalize sports wagering and the right to legalize recreational marijuana. In fact, it’s not too hard to fathom, that within ten years, the whole MSG broadcast will be dedicated to getting high and placing bets.
We are living in different times now, and quite frankly, these are times I don’t like. We live in a snowflake society, where people quiver at the sight of a statue of Christopher Columbus. I see these hockey fans even whining about fighting. How did these people get into hockey anyway? If you’re so offended by the physical and trash talking aspects in hockey, perhaps transgender shuttlecock is more your speed.
Away from the society changes in America, where everything is offensive and racist these days, gambling will soon be considered the norm. It’s only a matter of time where there will be more fans of gambling on the games, than watching the games for the sport of it themselves. It’s already happened in the NFL.
While sports gambling isn’t legal in New York yet, it’s only a matter of time before it will be. With NYC already a shithole under Mayor Deblasio, can you imagine what NYC will be like once all forms of gambling are legal? Both Empire Casino (Yonkers) and Resorts Casino (Queens) are gearing up for the future. I know this first hand. I work in construction and recently, I worked on the new Resorts hotel. Current construction plans call for table games, a hotel and yes, a sportsbook.
Now you may say I’m a hypocrite, because I gamble myself. Again, I’m not trying to damn all heathens to hell here, I’m just pointing out facts and opining here. If you want to know what gambling can do to a society, just take a look at Atlantic City. While the skyline and beaches are nice, just walk 10 steps away from the casinos, and you will enter a world of slums, crime, pawn stores and poverty. That’s something you don’t see in these advertisements.
I’ve talked about this before on these blogs – with the prices of NHL tickets going up and with the alternative of staying in being much cheaper and easier, the NHL (and other leagues too) will have a tough time creating a new generation of fans. When it comes to the Rangers, season ticket sales are declining. Away from the NHL, a recent ESPN Sunday Night MLB game, between the Mets and the Braves, had tickets going for as low as $4:
As time goes on, it’s becoming easier and easier to stay away from the arenas and stadiums. Who wants to pay crazy prices on food, parking and everything else, plus stand in 30 minute bathroom lines, just to sit high up, which is a worse experience than staying in? The family of four is pretty much priced out from attending games. In this era of HDTV’s, 4K TV’s, curve TV’s, streaming any game anywhere and everything else, it’s so much easier to stay in your own home.
Years ago, I thought I was hot shit when I had this set-up in my house:
Now, if you only have one TV in your living room or man cave, you’re considered a dinosaur. Everyone has two or more screens going in their room of choice. With the advancements to television, why deal with the hassle? It’s so much easier to stay home, especially as you get older.
With a young generation of fans being priced out of most games, these fans are now watching every game at home. At home, they are being bombarded with gambling ads and the frequency of ads, as time goes on, will only increase. It was only three years ago, where every NFL broadcast had a gambling ad during every other commercial.
For us New Yorkers, once sports gambling becomes legal, pardon the expression here – all bets are off.
It’s only a matter of time before we have a dedicated NHL gambling channel. It’s only a matter of time before you can do live in-wagering on a hockey game. You will soon be able to place all types of prop bets on any game, such as who scores first, over-under on saves made, over-under on faceoffs won and anything else imaginable. Even worse, the talking heads in the studio, men and women that fans are supposed to trust, will be pushing this shit down the throats of their viewers.
I mean, how long before Ranger fans see this exchange:
Bill Pidto: “Hey Vally, are you watching the game on the MSG GO app?”
Steve Valiquette: “Pidto, how about the live in-game wagering?”
Bill Pidto:”That’s great Steve, but how about the game?”
Steve Valiquette: “Bill, how about the live in-game wagering?”
This will then be followed with a narrator talking like the Micro Machine man, explaining all the risks. The commercial then ends with Valiquette buying a life sized mural of Henrik Lundqvist for his bedroom.
I feel bad for the new fans of today and the future generation of fans following them. We are living in a time where it doesn’t matter how your team does, as long as they cover the spread or if an individual player does well for a fantasy team. The art of collecting cards and comparing stats are long gone, especially in this NHL, a league where the salary cap hit is the most important stat. Perhaps with all the money generated from gambling, maybe the NHLPA, the weakest sports union in America, can fight to get a wage increase for their members?
In today’s world, the art of conversation is a lost art. Friendly bar debates are going the way of the dodo bird. Instead of arguing Rangers vs Islanders or Yankees vs Mets, we are nearing a society where the topic of discussion is all gambling related. Who cares if you team won or lost? As long as you bet on the game, that’s all that matters.
Like cigarette advertising, I think Congress should take a look at gambling advertising. I understand capitalism and free enterprise, but we are building a new generation that is being told that gambling is natural and ordinary as puberty. For some, it’s a rite of passage.
As a kid growing up, the Yankees and Rangers were all I cared about. We all have dreams. If I could’ve lived my dream, I would be playing first base for the Yankees and playing for the Rangers:
While I never had the talent to become a professional athlete, I had the dream of being one. I was a diehard fan of my teams. I grew up loving guys like Don Mattingly and Mike Richter. I have memories of many Yankee and Ranger moments. (Giants too, although admittedly, I was a bigger fan of hockey and baseball than football growing up.)
Growing up in the 1990’s (I was born in 1982) many people of my generation wanted to be “LIKE MIKE”, as in Michael Jordan. Every fan has memories of their favorite athletes and teams.
Moving forward, I think the younger generation won’t have these memories. These memories will be replaced by “I remember that game, I had $100 on the Rangers puck line and another $100 on the over-under of 6 goals.” Gambling will replace the memories of these teams and athletes.
Gambling can be fun in moderation and with disposable income. However, kids being exposed to gambling have no clue what moderation is, nor have much of a disposable income. Inheritances will be blown on gambling. Birthday money will be blown on gambling. Money from shoveling snow, if kids still do that, will be blown on gambling. Shit, even tooth fairy money will be blown on gambling.
With the leagues and networks getting jerked off under the covers by gambling outfits, the future generation of fans will suffer. I haven’t even touched upon the suicide rate, as financial burden is a leading factor in suicides. With fans being taught how to gamble and having easy access to gambling, especially through mobile devices, we will be building a generation of fans who will most likely be broke and destitute by the time they are 30 years old.
“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” is a lyric from a Simon & Garfunkel song that will soon be replaced by “Why haven’t you covered in the game against the Canucks?” by future Ranger fans.
Gambling is taking over the nation and with the leagues salivating at the extra revenue, there is no stopping this juggernaut. We can only hope that Congress takes a deep look at the effects of sports gambling before a whole generation of Americans have their lives ruined.
I’m a fan of placing bets just as anyone else, but I close this rant with the following – “Gambling is stealing the innocence and purity from sports.”
As I write these words, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in a 0-3 hole to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Game 4 is tonight.
When thinking about Tampa’s failure and eventual ouster, (I don’t see them winning four straight) has there ever been such a dominant regular season team to choke in the first round of the playoffs? I posed this question on my Facebook account and the only two scenarios that were somewhat comparable were the 1994 Seattle Supersonics, a team knocked off in the first round by an 8th seed Denver Nuggets and the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who were knocked off by the New York Yankees in the ALCS.
However, when you look at the two teams from Seattle and their series losses, both those teams won games in the first round. The Mariners even advanced. Plus, look who the Mariners eventually lost to – the three time defending World Series Champions, in the New York Yankees.
I ask of you – name me one team that DOMINATED and set records all season long, only to be bounced out in the first round. Even scarier – Tampa can be swept!
By now, you know the deal with Tampa and the Rangers. Tampa has a lot of ex-Ranger favorites and if Tampa wins the Cup, the Rangers get the 31st overall pick in the draft. In other words, there are plenty of incentives for Ranger fans for desiring Tampa to win the Cup. Even for Ranger fans who hate the Bolts, at least these Ranger fans know why it’s good for the Rangers if the Bolts win the Cup.
I’ve said this all season long – if the Bolts don’t win the Cup this season, this core will never win it. The Bolts season hangs on by a thread and if you’re reading this blog a day late, the Bolts may have already been eliminated. I have no answer as to why. Yes, Columbus has talent and a great coach, but once again, Steve “Nashkos” is nowhere to be found. Even with Stamkos struggling, the Bolts are so loaded that they should’ve found a way to win this series.
If the Bolts lose this series, as it’s looking, they will become one of the biggest goats in sports history. Even better, for fans who love the unpredictable, it also opens up the entire field for the other teams in the tournament. Sadly for Ranger fans, it also opens up the field for this team:
Listen – I loathe the Islanders as much as the next Rangers fan, but one can’t deny their success. They are about to knock the Penguins out of the playoffs. Even if the Penguins are no longer the Penguins we know, this is still a major feat for the Islanders.
The Islanders are picture proof that “tanking” and “losing for draft picks” is a bunch of bullshit. The Islanders have no business being where they are. They lost their franchise player for nothing and had some questionable signings during the off-season. Now they are one game away from going to the second round. Unbelievable. It’s amazing what happens when a Swedish goalie can actually play the position well, something Ranger fans haven’t seen in years.
I hate the Islanders, but give credit to where credit is due. Tampa’s failure will get the bulk of the headlines for now, but the Islanders have a good of a shot as any of winning the Stanley Cup. Just writing that sentence flares up my hemorrhoids.
When it comes to what’s best for the Rangers, a Jets first round exit would be ideal, as the Rangers have their first round draft pick, a pick that loses its value as the Jets advance. The Blues are currently winning that series 2-1, all on the back of rookie goaltender, Jordan Binnington. As I said in a prior blog, I think Binnington has the potential to become the 2012 Jonathan Quick of these playoffs. Time will tell.
What’s also best for the Rangers is the advancement of the Dallas Stars, who trail in their series to Nashville, as the Preds lead the series 2-1. The Rangers will get a first round pick if the Stars can make the WCF. No easy task, especially if Bishop has a bad game, as he did in Game 3.
With all the series heading into their fourth game, we could be heading into a field of upsets. It really is anyone’s tournament. All I ask is this – someone please eliminate the Islanders!
In somewhat Ranger-related news, on Monday, 4/15, the Flyers announced that Alain Vigneault is their new head coach. Of course, snarky Ranger fans had all their goodies lined up, such as “IT’S A PROCESS”, “WE HAD GOOD LOOKS” and of course, “GIVE ME GUM.”
Four years ago, I said the Rangers should’ve moved on from Henrik Lundqvist. Everyone cried foul at me and cursed me out, except for a select few. Four years later, I am still right – the Rangers haven’t won a Cup with Lundqvist and Lundqvist has no trade value today.
These same fans, fans that are card carrying members of the Cult of Lundqvist, are also fans that despise AV and blame AV for the Rangers failure to win a Cup. Of course, ignored is Lundqvist blowing every two goal lead in the 2014 SCF, Lundqvist giving up back-to-back touchdowns in the 2015 ECF, being embarrassed by Pittsburgh in the 2016 playoffs and of course, becoming the personal property of Jean Pageau in the 2017 playoffs.
Some Ranger fans just despise AV, despite AV being in a class of Top 5 All-Time Coaches for the Rangers. (I would rank Lester Patrick, Frank Boucher, and Emile Francis above AV. You can make a single-season argument for Mike Keenan, even if I wouldn’t argue that way. You could also argue for Fred Shero and/or John Tortorella too. However, I think that’s just arguing to argue, which is why I would put AV, at the very least, in the fifth spot.)
When AV first came to the Rangers, I hated it, because I was such a Torts fan. Even with Tampa choking right now, as much as it hurts the Rangers and the players on Tampa that I like, if Tampa has to lose to anyone, at least it’s to Torts.
When AV left the Rangers, I felt he was fired unjustly. I explained why at the time, so check the archives of this site for my long-winded explanation. In short – AV was fired after a season of bad signings by Jeff Gorton, injuries and the team deciding to blow it up.
I hate the Flyers, but I wish AV well. I’m glad he’s back in the league. He deserves it and he is a future Hall of Famer. For Ranger fans to want AV unemployed, it’s silly. Then again, you have to look at where it’s coming from, as these are the same fans that think Lundswiss can still win a Cup. Speaking of…
Rick Carpiniello broke the news that the Rangers “signed” Shestyorkin and Kravtsov on Monday. I put “signed” in quotes, because the Rangers did not sign either. They legally can’t, as both of these players have KHL deals that expire on May 1st. However, it’s only a formality, as both players will most likely sign, once the KHL deals expire.
The easy thing here is Kravtsov. Bring him over and see what he can do.
Shestyorkin, who replaced Halverson a long time ago as the heir to Hank’s throne, will finally enter the United States. Of course, the monkey wrench in all of this is Alexandar Georgiev, who played so well in the NHL this season, that not only was he better than Lundqvist, Georgiev should also get consideration for Russia’s IIHF World’s roster too.
Before moving along on this topic, Larry Brooks wrote the following today:
The big thing here -if Shestyorkin gets sick of Hartford, should he wind up there, he can leave at any time. With Lundqvist being selfish and a piece of shit, that means Georgiev will be the odd-man out, despite Georgiev being the better goalie of the two. Don’t get it twisted here. Lundqvist only cares about what’s best for him, not what’s best for the team.
It just amazes me that for every fan talking about the rebuild, wanting Panarin, happy about the 2nd overall pick, proposing their lines for next season and doing everything else giddy, that these same fans are happy with an $8.5M broken down cap hit goalie on this team. In no way, shape or form does Lundqvist on this team benefit the franchise. Even if you put Hank sucking to the side, can someone please explain to me how it helps the Rangers when Hank blames the team for every loss?
Hank and his contract have got to go for the Rangers to move on. The problem is, even if Hank waived his NMC and the Rangers assumed half his money, what team would be in the market for a $4.25M back-up goalie, whose best days were long ago?
Even worse, Georgiev draws the short straw here, which means that after Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta, the Rangers will be passing on their third goalie, who had the potential to be the starter here.
I mean, were these insane Lundswiss fans also campaigning for old-man Kevin Weekes and young under-study, Steve Valiquette, to be the goalies during the 2006-2007 season? Was Hank’s 2005-2006 a fluke season like Georgiev’s 2018-2019 season? Of course not.
Keeping Lundqvist on this team, while demoting either Shestyorkin or Georgiev, is akin to the Rangers luring Rick Nash out of retirement, giving him his $7.8M salary and bumping Kravtsov to Hartford. It just doesn’t make any sense.
As long as Rangers management has a love affair with a Swedish Cupless loser, this team will go nowhere. And before you say it’s a rebuild – fuck that, look at the Islanders. Furthermore, with a strong tandem of Georgiev/Shestyorkin, Hughes or Kakko, Kravtsov, a few strong signings in free agency and the young core the Rangres are building, are you telling me this team can’t make the playoffs next season? Again, look at the Islanders. Look at Tampa’s failure. All you gotta do is just get into the tournament and anything can happen.
What I can tell you is this – this team will NEVER win a Cup as long as King Nothing is here. I’ve been saying it for years and I will never go back on that.
Just like Lundqvist, for some reason, Chris Drury has the hearts of Ranger upper-management. You can argue that Chris Drury was the worst captain in the history of the Rangers. However, despite the Wolfpack sucking this season, his job was saved. The same doesn’t go for others, as the Rangers announced the following on Monday:
I just don’t get it. What has Chris Drury shown as GM? The guy has been a failure as a player and now as a GM of the Wolfpack. I rather the Rangers dig up the grave of “The Chief” Robert Comas, and let him run Hartford. Fuck, maybe the Rangers can talk Lundqvist into retiring and give him $8.5M to run Hartford. It’s not like the team could get any worse!
Well that will about do it for today’s manifesto. Moving ahead, Rangers-wise, it’s all about the NHL draft, where the Rangers will have their easiest first selection in the history of the franchise. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but there will be a lot more light if the Rangers can move an $8.5M albatross.
I got a lot on my plate at work right now, but I hope to do some book reviews, playoff talk and other blogs in the future.
As always, thanks for reading and…
“LET’S GO RANGERS!”
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter
PS: If it won’t be Tampa, Let’s Go Golden Knights. I love everything about that franchise and fanbase.