Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. How’s your golf swing?
Since I last left you, over a week ago (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/5823/ ) – not much has gone down in the streets of Rangerstown, USA.
While speculation over who the next head coach will be, and what the roster will look like for the 2023-24 season runs rampant; as of right now – everything remains status-quo – including the uncertain future of the now former Rangers’ head coach, Gerard Gallant.
As of this writing, “The Turk” hasn’t hit the podcast circuit just yet; nor have the other teams, who are in the same situation as the Blueshirts (Anaheim, Calgary, Columbus, Washington, and perhaps soon enough, Toronto too), made their decisions on their bench boss vacancies either.
As discussed over a week ago, there had been talk about Gallant landing in Columbus, but that’s all it is for now – talk.
Roster-wise, there’s no news to report here either, as every free agent, restricted or otherwise, remains unsigned.
Outside of rumor-mongering, speculation and opinions (and where Larry Brooks of the New York Post is having a field day when listing every possible coaching candidate known to man – more on this to come); perhaps the biggest factual story in regards to the Rangers is Kaapo Kakko – who is currently participating in the IIHF Worlds Tournament.
Much like Kakko’s entire tenure in New York, and his performance from the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs too – he has been both disappointing and underwhelming during the secondary/consolation prize tournament.
But don’t fret – and as his fans will tell you – “he skated really well for five seconds in one game!”
Yep, that’s what it has come down to – watching the second-overall pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft “skate well for five seconds!”
That’s pretty sad, considering that the majority of the players participating in the IIHF Worlds are either non-NHLers or young players.
But Kakko skated well for five seconds in one game!
That’ll show the rest of the league!
Stanley Cup here we come!
As you may have noticed, I haven’t written anything on this site in over ten-days – the longest break I have taken since August of 2018!
However, I have been putting my recently, but unfortunately found, free-time to good use.
In other words, I’m at around the 33% mark of getting my latest book to the finish line, “The New York Rangers Top 100 Most Hated Villains.” (Working title!)
It’s my plan to release the book as soon as August, but perhaps as late as October.
And in a way, especially following the events of the Rangers’ 2022-23 season – it’s been therapeutic.
In what will be mentioned during the introduction chapter of my fourth title (but tenth book – as I have written two separate four-volume sets) – “laughter is the best medicine.”
Simply stated: When you look at the entire history of the New York Rangers, and where I don’t think I have to remind you of the fact that this franchise has only won four Stanley Cups in their near one-hundred years of existence – if you can’t laugh about it, then you’re destined to live in a perpetual state of misery!
Once the book is nearly complete, then I’ll share some sample chapters with you, post a full press release and go into full promotion mode.
This is just my way of telling you that the blogs on this site won’t come as fast and as often as usual – but I will continue to cover the news whenever the Rangers make it!
That all said, I did want to cover some of the top stories from around the league this week – and then close with some quick thoughts on the Blueshirts.
Let’s cover everything in a chronological fashion.
Up first, the second-round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Predicting what’s going to happen during the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a fool’s errand – yet we all do it anyway!
The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs has lived to such billing – as it has been completely unpredictable!
After all, no one, and I mean NO ONE, foretold a prophecy where this year’s final four would all emerge from southern cities – you know, traditional hockey cities such as Las Vegas, Raleigh, Sunrise (Miami) and Dallas – and where for the latter – one puck bounce the other way – and who knows – it could’ve been Team #32, now in their second season, the Seattle Kraken, representing the Western Conference in a Team #31 vs Team #32 showdown.
(Holy dashes Batman!)
While I don’t have all of the stats in front of me, nor wish to undertake such a task; what’s been so bonkers about these 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs are all of the blowouts that we’ve seen. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall a playoffs where the games themselves have been so one-way/lop-sided.
No joke, each of the sixteen-teams that have competed during this 2023 postseason have at least won one game via a blowout – and where more times than not – and seemingly during every night – there’s a final score featuring a win by three or more goals.
And while I’m sure it’s happened before – we haven’t had one sweep during these playoffs either.
Part of the reason for all of this is the salary-cap, as the hard-cap system promotes parity – for better or for worse.
But even so, the salary-cap only explains the lack of sweeps – and not these huge final score differences.
If there’s anything that we can deduce, then it’s the fact that all of these teams have been inconsistent – and to advance to the next round – you just have to one more blowout win than your opponent.
As both a warning and as a disclaimer, when it comes to playoff predictions – don’t go by what I say!
After all, I finished with a 2-6 record in the first-round – and when compared to other all-world seers – my poorly produced predictions weren’t that bad. That’s how crazy it’s been!
Just as nutty, nearly every Stanley Cup Final permutation that was predicted by “league experts” have been shot to shit.
At this rate, you have a better chance of successfully predicting every game from an NCAA March Madness tournament!
For Ranger fans, most of us had our favorite team at least reaching the NHL’s Final Four.
Idiots, including yours truly, had them going beyond.
Around the league, most prognosticators had Toronto, Edmonton, Colorado and Boston contending for the Stanley Cup.
Much like the Rangers – these four teams had their hopes dashed too.
For the sake of posterity, my second-round picks did better than my first-round picks, as I went 3-1.
Carolina’s win over New Jersey was my lone loss. However, of the four second-round pairings – I was most confident about a Devils’ triumph – so go figure. (But I was happy about being wrong!)
Going into these 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and as previously noted on this site – I thought that whoever would win the Rangers/Devils series would then go on to the Eastern Conference Final.
I should’ve relied on my knowledge of Rangers’ history – because of course – the “same old script” happened!
Following the Blueshirts turning Akira Schmid into some sort of goalie “TRANSFORMER” – perhaps genetically put together by hockey scientists in a “Super Lab,” by using the DNA of Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek, Terry Sawchuk, and you get the rest – the 23-year-old rookie goaltender immediately wilted during the second-round – and without the Rangers around.
Schmid was torched all series, pulled twice and also watched Vitek Vanecek get a start in net.
The Hurricanes, despite missing one-third of their top-six (Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen), and the always-injured Max Pacioretty too, made short-work of the Devils.
I wonder if Lindy Ruff should now be fired?
After all, and as the Blueshirt echo-chamber fans will tell you, “RUFF DIDN’T MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS! HE HAS NO SYSTEMS!”
But to be serious – I do believe that Ruff will be fine – even if his assistant, Andrew Brunette, perhaps being groomed to one day become Ruff’s successor, seeks employment elsewhere – as a head coach.
While I didn’t think this going in, but now I do; I don’t think there is a team in the league that embodies their coach, and have become an extension of him too, like the Hurricanes do with Rod Brind’Amour – who for whatever silly reason – also had his future questioned at the end of last season.
Much has been written about Toronto’s annual collapse – although this year – they finally made it out of the first-round for the first time in nearly twenty-years.
After doing so, they quickly fell into an 0-3 hole, got a lucky break in the fourth game of the series, and were then sent to the litter box, where they belong, in the Panthers’ five-game series victory.
As a result, the hockey world is somewhat awaiting to see what Toronto does next – as whatever the Leafs do could create a domino effect.
But as previously mentioned on this site, and despite Larry Brooks trying to will this scenario into existence – in no way, shape or form, do I see Toronto firing both general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe, only to see the pair then wind up in Pittsburgh, which would then open the door for the Rangers to nab Penguins’ head coach, Mike Sullivan.
One more time – why would the Penguins help the Rangers?
Plus, Sullivan’s extension in the Steel City hasn’t even kicked in yet – yet some people believe that the black-and-yellow are going to pay him to help one of their most-hated divisional rivals?
What’s next? The Rangers hiring Bryan Trottier?
All jokes aside, while I can see both Dubas and Keefe being shown the door – I just don’t see Sullivan coming to New York.
And for what it’s worth – I don’t see the big deal in Sullivan anyway.
He hasn’t made it out of the first-round during the past five-years – and that’s the guy who many desire?
I just don’t get it.
Then again, Ranger fans sure love the “same old script!”
Over in the Western Conference, the Vegas Golden Knights, who like everyone else, were on the wrong-end of some lopsided games, emerged victorious in their second-round series.
Ironically enough, heading into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the sports books in Sin City pegged the Edmonton Oilers as the team to win the West.
Instead, it was their home team, the Knights, that booted Connor McDavid and company from the playoffs.
As someone who makes a lot of predictions and shares many of them on this site – I do feel good about the one that I made at the top of the playoffs – I feel like McDavid is destined to become Alex Ovechkin – and not Sidney Crosby.
In other words, while I do think that #97 will one day hoist the silver above his head – it won’t be anytime soon.
For the Golden Knights, they lost their starting goalie Robin Lehner prior to the commencement of the regular season – then saw rookie Logan Thompson lift them – only for Thompson to receive an injury himself.
Up next? Adin Hill, who previous to Vegas, had spent the majority of his career in non-destination AHL cities, the San Jose Sharks and the Arizona Coyotes.
In turn, Hill looked like a backstop playing against the Rangers – a third-string goalie who was then able to dethrone the perceived-to-be almighty Oilers’ offense.
And did I mention that Jonathan Quick, the former LA King and two-time Stanley Cup champion, was traded to The Strip prior to the NHL Trade Deadline?
Yet it’s Hill who has been a boulder in the net – but of course, that’s an exaggeration too.
The Oilers, who haven’t had a real starting goalie ever Cam Talbot’s amazing 2016-17 season; had another season go up-in-smoke because of shaky goaltending.
As mentioned last summer, I thought that both Jack Campbell and Darcy Kuemper were extremely fortunate that there wasn’t that much competition on the goaltender free agent market.
Neither were very good this season.
Kuemper, who benefited from playing with one of the best post-season teams of all-time in front of him, last year’s Avalanche – he didn’t do much with the Capitals. They also didn’t come close to sniffing the playoffs this year either.
Campbell, the overpaid netminder, was a soup can; and in turn, and very quickly at that, was soon replaced by Stuart Skinner.
Skinner had a tremendous rookie season – but just found the wrong time to have the worst games of his campaign.
As a result, it’s another wasted year of the McDavid/Draisaitl tandem – a pair that’s now one-year closer to thirty-years of age – and free agency too.
Go figure – instead of the Oilers’ super-duo competing for the right to go to the Stanley Cup; instead, it’s former Ranger, Brett Howden!
The Knights, and not the Oilers, will play the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final.
The Stars, who have been close before and seem to have the right mix of youth and veteran players, almost blew it – but were able to survive a seven-game series with the upstart Kraken.
The Big D is led by Jake Oettinger in net – where it’s thought by many that he’s the best remaining starting goalie of these playoffs.
I’m not so sure about that, as Oettinger had his struggles against the Kraken.
Plus, Sergei Bobrovsky, the former two-time Vezina Trophy winner, and largely maligned ever since leaving Columbus for Florida, is currently on a heater.
Bob sure found the perfect time to play the best hockey of his Panthers’ career.
Let’s now take a quick look at the Conference Finals.
As a blanket statement, and to follow-up on what I’ve already said – I have no clue what happens during the next two weeks – nor do I know what will take place during the Stanley Cup Final either!
Of the final four teams remaining, I can see all four of them being blown out – and I can see all four of them doing the huffing-and-puffing too!
I can also see close games and overtime finals.
The one thing that I don’t expect to see?
As an east-coaster, a Rangers fan, someone who wrote a million words on why the Blueshirts should’ve traded Kakko for Tkachuk two-years ago, and as a big supporter of the former one-time Blueshirt warrior, Marc Staal; I’m rooting for the Panthers to continue their Cinderella journey, one akin to the 2012 LA Kings, and to vanquish the Carolina Hurricanes.
But I will say – of the seven divisional opponents that the Rangers have – the Hurricanes don’t bother me that much.
As you’d suspect, with storied rivalries against the likes of the Islanders, the Flyers, the Devils, the Penguins and the Capitals – the Hurricanes don’t rank as high – even in spite of the recent games played between the Rangers and the team who took over the Lightning’s mantra of “Rangers’ South.”
(And let’s not forget – until 2020 – “The Henrik Lundqvist Era” of Rangers outright dominated the formerly known “Candy Canes.” In turn, there wasn’t much of a rivalry to really speak of. There were better wars against the team that preceded the Canes – the Hartford Whalers.)
Should the Canes, the favorite of this series, find the ninth life of the Cats – then like Staal – I wouldn’t mind seeing another former hard-working Blueshirt, Derek Stepan, get his just due.
However, I don’t feel the same way about the other two members of the alumni in Raleigh, Jesper Fast and Brady Skjei.
And isn’t it amazing Suzyn (yet extremely sad), that when Fast scored the series-clinching goal against the Devils, a large sect of Ranger fans immediately went to social media and proclaimed, “THE RANGERS SHOULD HAVE NEVER LET JESPER FAST GO! ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES EVER! OMG!!!!”
Lost in that revisionist history, where even the clueless beat reporter, Wince Mercogliano got in on the action, is the fact that when the Blueshirts moved on from Fast, following the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff bubble (and where the Rangers’ loss to the Canes led to the Blueshirts receiving the first-overall pick of that year’s draft – and where sadly – this event didn’t take place a year prior when Jack Hughes was available); was that both Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov were once thought to be reliable NHL players.
The two high-end first-round picks, both right-wingers like Fast, needed playing time. It became a numbers game – and in a somewhat similar scenario to what we’re seeing today in the case of Alexis Lafreniere. (For more, check out my blog from last week.)
Fast, for as popular, liked and respected as he was, was soon to turn thirty-years-old.
Kakko and Kravtsov weren’t even old enough to legally drink in America at the time – and with the Rangers in a state of rebuild – it made sense to part ways with Fast – just as the franchise also did at the time with both Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal.
But you know how it went.
Kravtsov became one of the biggest busts of franchise history, near Pavel Brendl levels; while Kakko has shown flashes of brilliance from time-to-time, but in no way, and in no how, has he played like a second-overall pick.
“The Rangers’ Way!” (That trademark is still pending!)
So while Fast has become a better player in Carolina than he was in New York; unless you’re just going to flat-out ignore the circumstances at the time – moving on from the perennial “Players’ Player” award winner was just and fair.
And all of this also ignores the real issue – the GHOST TOAST in the #10 jersey.
As far as Florida vs Carolina goes – I think, or at least hoping, that this will be a good seven-game series – and that the Panthers reach their first Stanley Cup Final since 1996.
The Pick: Cats in 7.
I’ll be honest – Vegas vs Dallas doesn’t really intrigue me – but I will watch every game!
For whatever reason, the Stars are just one of those teams that I irrationally hate and have no interest in.
Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of the New York Giants and have been conditioned to despise everything from Dallas!
While I do like the origin story of the Golden Knights, their usage of social media (which has since been copy-catted by every other team) and above all else – their passionate fan base; I’m just not a fan of everything since their magical first season.
Whether it’s firing coaches left-and-right, exposing the salary cap loopholes (which every GM should do, but for whatever reason, only a select few do), and turning over their roster at the drop of a hat (what they did do Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t sit well with me); I’m not as enamored with this franchise as I once was.
(And I guess this is part of it too – the way the franchise, and their fans, rebounded following the shooting/tragedy prior to even their first game played, was an excellent human-interest story – and as a result – all of us were rooting for them.)
In net, the Stars will have the advantage.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess.
Both teams have strong head coaches, as former Knights’ bench boss, Peter DeBoer, will look to extract revenge against the franchise that wrongly fired him just one year ago. (The Knights were ravaged by injuries and COVID-19, and for whatever reason, DeBoer became the fall guy for things that weren’t in his control.)
Bruce Cassidy, dumped last year himself (Boston), has done wonders in Vegas. It’s also my opinion that he was robbed of a Jack Adams Award this year.
I can’t explain this one – despite his team finishing first in the West – Cassidy was omitted as one of the final three nominees to win the award.
While the person who replaced him in Beantown (Jim Montgomery) had to be one of the finalists; I just don’t see how the other two finalists, Ruff (Devils) and Dave Hakstol (Kraken) did a better job than Cassidy this season.
These two teams are also similar on defense and with their forward groups, as each club has a big gun that can go off at any time, including Jack Eichel (he’s thrived during his first postseason showing) and the soon-to-be 39-year-old Joe Pavelski – who has been an all-out stud ever since returning from a concussion.
In a way, and despite all of the love and high hopes for both Colorado and Edmonton; it’s been Dallas and Vegas as the best of the West.
The Pick: Knights in 7, as the second-most recent expansion team accomplishes what they did in their first-season – a run to the Final.
Speaking of the Western Conference, let’s now turn our attention over to one of the worst franchises to have ever played in it, the Arizona Coyotes.
We’ve talked about the lowly state of the Arizona Coyotes before.
Heck, everyone in the league has talked about Bettman’s favorite project!
For whatever reason, the NHL head-honcho just can not let go of this franchise.
The legacy of Bettman has already been written – he’ll always be remembered for three different work-stoppages/lockouts – and as the only commissioner to lose an entire season under his watch (2004-05).
While his ineptness to keep his league active will always be the headline; elsewhere, he’ll also be known for lifting up the profile of the league.
Whether it’s expansion, TV rights deals, at the forefront of streaming, increasing profits for the people who employ him (the owners); Bettman has accomplished some things – but for all of his feats – admittedly – they could’ve been better.
You also have to wonder had somebody else been in charge, then would it have taken the league so long to get where Bettman has brought it today?
Once the book on Bettman is complete, one chapter will have to cover his undying love for the Coyotes – who despite Bettman’s best – never took.
For over 25-years, the Coyotes have played in front of empty houses, have been the least profitable team in the league (and this crushes the NHL salary cap figure – and pisses off other owners too), never reached a Stanley Cup Final, took every bad deal known to man (as Arizona is the burial ground for the excess waste known as guaranteed contracts), never seemed really interested in competing, went bankrupt & without an owner for stretches of time, temporarily tarnished the legacy of Wayne Gretzky – and now today – play in front of 5,000 fans on a college rink surface.
None of this stuff that I have mentioned (and I’m omitting about 1,000 other things) seems to bother Bettman, as he continues to pound this square peg into a round hole.
For a league, a commissioner and a franchise that have all said that their number one interest is “growing the game;” instead, all of these parties have made a mockery of it.
Put it this way – You don’t see anything like the Arizona Coyotes in the other three major leagues, the NBA, NFL and MLB.
Bettman’s top dream of seeing the Coyotes become a viable commodity became a nightmare on Tuesday night.
The Coyotes, who were booted out of their old digs last year, were interested in moving to the Tempe area, as previous stops in both Phoenix and Glendale had failed.
The franchise proposed a $2.3B entertainment district (casinos included), where the Coyotes would be the “draw!”
That’s when you knew this plan was never going to work out! The Arizona Coyotes as the top selling point?
You’d have more success with a My Shiney Hiney museum.
What’s been lost in this story, as everyone throws around the $2.3B figure that the Coyotes would assume a large chunk of; was the fact that $700M would be required from the tax-payers – Arizona residents, who for the most part, never gave a damn about the hockey cub in the first place. (Not to be confused with “first-place” – a position that the Coyotes rarely ever found themselves in!)
On Tuesday, May 16th, there were three Prop votes on the referendum – and where the voters spoke loudly – NO NEW BUILDING.
Or as George Bush would say, “Read my lips – no new taxes!”
Here were the results:
Here are the current voting results from Arizona, with the prospective Coyotes rink proposals being defeated pic.twitter.com/2edSmQxBzO
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 17, 2023
Following the Coyotes’ latest failure, both the franchise and the league released statements.
Here’s what the Coyotes said, courtesy of https://www.nhl.com/coyotes/news/arizona-coyotes-president-and-ceo-xavier-a-gutierrez-issued-the-following-statement-in-response-to-the-results-of-the-special-election-in-tempe/c-344345094 :
(Tempe, Ariz) Arizona Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez issued the following statement in response to the results of the special election in Tempe:
“We are very disappointed Tempe voters did not approve Propositions 301, 302, and 303. As Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said, it was the best sports deal in Arizona history. The Coyotes wish to thank everyone who supported our efforts and voted yes. So many community leaders stepped up and became our advocates and for that we are truly grateful. We also wish to thank the countless volunteers who worked so hard to try and make the Tempe Entertainment District a reality and the Tempe City Council for their support as well. While we wanted a different outcome, we remain grateful to all those who volunteered their time and talent. What is next for the franchise will be evaluated by our owners and the National Hockey League over the coming weeks.”
Here’s what the NHL said:
As of this writing, especially with this news being extremely fresh – what happens next is anyone’s guess.
We only know one thing – the Coyotes can’t play at a college campus forever.
In a way, and while this will suck for the 5-6 passionate fans of the ‘Yotes; this could’ve been the best thing to have ever happened for the NHL.
The Coyotes have already played in two different Arizona cities – yet could never draw or garner much interest.
A third city, and a $2.3B venue/entertainment district was going to change all of that?
At best, the buzz would’ve been there early, but after time – it would’ve worn off and the franchise would have been right back to what they do best – miss the playoffs, go golfing and then assume every bad contract in the league.
Of course, the top story in this aftermath is the “r-word,” as in “relocation.”
The idea of moving the Coyotes to Houston has been around for over three-years now – and it makes all of the sense in the world.
For starters, the Texan city is the fourth-biggest market in America. The city also has a rich history with hockey, dating back to the days of the World Hockey Association (Aeros).
Such a move would also create an instant rivalry with the Dallas Stars – and wouldn’t force the NHL to consider another divisional realignment either.
There’s also a building available, but with one major caveat – the Houston Rockets own it – and aren’t going to share their profits with the Coyotes.
But if ownership in Arizona was willing to invest money in a new rink in Tempe, then why not in Houston?
Other possible relocation cities are the same ones that you always hear about – Quebec, Kansas City and Atlanta.
By now, you know the points against these cities:
— Quebec would need a super-rich French-Canadian willing to lose a ton of money to start – and with that potential owner only holding to hopes of turning profit too.
— Kansas City didn’t have much success with their former club, the Scouts – but of course – that was nearly fifty-years ago. The market today is largely untested, but the city has been clamoring for an NHL franchise for some time now.
— Atlanta already has had two teams flame out – and where in the case of the former, the Flames, literally. The Thrashers also relocated to Canada following twelve seasons, as they became the Winnipeg Jets 2.0 at the start of the 2011-12 season. A lot has changed in the twelve years since, but would you bet billions on a third time being charm?
In my eyes, one city that I have never seen mentioned anytime a relocation or expansion story pops up is New Orleans.
But if I were running the league, or if I was an eccentric billionaire owner, then I’d have my eyes set on NOLA.
I mean, just look at the final four teams of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs – all southern teams.
And while admittedly, the Florida Panthers are in the same boat as the Coyotes when it comes to drawing fans; they still are profitable.
The other three southern clubs, who all call home to non-traditional markets? Dallas, Carolina and Vegas are monstrous successes.
When I look at the scope of everything, the NHL has hit homeruns in the two biggest party cities in all of America, Nashville and Las Vegas. Who’s to say the same wouldn’t ring true in Nawlins?
Furthermore, not only do the Predators and Golden Knights draw hometown folk, but they are also destination cities for road-tripper fans – which only boosts the local economy – and a valid reason why New Orleans should be vetted as a potential NHL market.
As we know, the French Quarter currently supports an NFL franchise (Saints) and an NBA team too (Pelicans).
I’m sure they can support one more – and where the old guard belief that hockey doesn’t work in the south is long dead-and-buried.
However, hockey just doesn’t work in Arizona.
We have a 26-year sample size of such evidence.
And I’m sure wherever the Coyotes roam to next, then, and only then – once happy inside of their new shed – they’ll win the Stanley Cup – while the Rangers and Maple Leafs continue their streaks of futility!
“It’s the Rangers’ Way!” (That trademark is still pending, I swear!)
Speaking of, some quick Ranger thoughts before going home.
As mentioned ten-days ago on this site and at the top of this blog too – there’s no real news about the Rangers’ quest for coach #37 of franchise history.
But since there is nothing for the Rangers’ beat reporters to talk about – it’s been a never-ending cycle of suggestions, where Brooks, because he’s the only with a clue and sources, is churning most of the conversation.
While I 100% respect Brooks, and believe that he’s the best at what he does on the beat; ever since the firing of Gallant, the Hall of Fame scribe has suggested, and made cases for, about thirty different names.
Based on what Brooks is putting out there – he’d have you believe that the Rangers will have more men standing behind their bench than sitting on it next season!
But yes, the search has been slow, no job interviews have been reported yet, and in turn, it’s just non-stop speculation.
It’s also pretty comical – as no one knows that Chris Drury is thinking.
Whether he goes with an unknown, a retread, a big name, an NHL assistant or whatever other background you can conjure up, remains up-in-the-air.
While the coach search remains at a stand-still; the other top story is another I’ve previously covered – what does Drury do with K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere?
(I covered this story last blog, but since that time, and as it will be until an announcement is made – the future of these two young players will continue to generate headlines and op-ed pieces.)
While I previously said that I could see Montreal making a play for Lafreniere; currently, there are rumors about the 2020 first-overall pick being linked to Vancouver, as his former agent, Emilie Castonguay, serves as the team’s assistant general manager.
But of course, and as it always is at this time of year – you can take all of these rumors with a grain of salt – much like the silly Artemi Panarin & Kakko Kakko for Toronto’s Mitch Marner trade “idea” (I didn’t see anyone of prominence “rumor” this swap).
While I 100% understand all of the concern, fandom, debates, rumors and passion; I go back to what I said at the end of the Rangers’ playoff run:
It doesn’t matter who the head coach is.
It doesn’t matter who the bottom-six is.
It doesn’t matter who the second LD is.
And as we also saw – it doesn’t matter if you have both a Vezina Trophy winner (CZAR IGOR) and a Norris Trophy winner (Adam Fox) in your line-up either.
If your top-two forwards, over 25% of your salary cap dollars, Aturnover Panarin and DJ MIA, continue to disappear during the playoffs, then it’s all for naught.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over-and-over again and expecting different results.
The Blueshirts, sans four, maybe five or six years, have defined insanity for nearly one-hundred years.
It’s “The Rangers’ Way!”
I’ll return next once some real news is broken.
Until then, back to the book for me!
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
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:
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:
Scorched Earth Continues: Why Mark Messier as Head Coach of the Rangers Wouldn’t Be The Worst Thing In The World (But We All Know It Won’t Happen); The Real Candidates & Thoughts, Knoblauch’s Emergence, Et Tu Drury: A Montreal Offer Sheet to Alexis Lafreniere is a Real Possibility, Gallant + JD = CBJ & More
Rangers Fire Gerard Gallant; Full Press Release & “Turk Thoughts,” Chris Drury’s First Strike with Dolan, Panarin = Coach Killer, Let the Joel Quenneville Introductory Press Conference Commence; Four Coaches in Five Years & More
RIP 2022-23 New York Rangers: Complete Exit Interviews Coverage; Player Quotes, Playoff Report Card, “Move ‘Em or Keep ‘Em,” Gallant Incensed About Rumors; Potential New HC Looming, Drury’s Decisions; Censored Turk, “Same Old Script;” What Lies Beyond, NYR Beat & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my recently released 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