Henrik Lundqvist’s “Open Heart” Documentary Review; Complete Details, New Info Unearthed, What’s Omitted & A Deep Dive into “The King’s” Surgeries That Ended a HOF Career, Rangers Prepare for the Panthers; Notes from Practice, NYR/FLA Series Preview, Game 1 Line-Up & More

“Open Heart,” a documentary chronicling the heart surgeries that led to Henrik Lundqvist’s retirement, is now streaming on Netflix – and you should go out of your way to see it if you haven’t watched it yet.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Yep, two blogs in two nights!

Wednesday night’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final is rapidly approaching – and after this relaxing weekend – I’m ready for all of the nerves, angina and explosive diarrhea to return.

And praise the hockey gods for “Dude Wipes” too!

Ditto “Depends!”

For those of you who took a break from hockey this weekend with the Rangers idle, and in case you missed it, then I posted my Blueshirts vs Panthers ECF series blog preview late Saturday night/early Sunday morning – and you can find it by clicking the link below:

Neuter the Cats!

The Rangers, after earning their Eastern Conference Final berth on Thursday night, took off on Friday and Saturday – and two well-deserved off-days if I say so myself!

Come Sunday, and most of the team returned to Tarrytown, NY for an optional practice.

However, I’ll recap what went down during the skate at the end of tonight’s manifesto, as up first, I want to share with you my review of “Open Heart” – and where for any Ranger fan – you have to check out this 2023 documentary that’s now streaming on Netflix.

Let’s get right into it – and especially since there’s a lot to unpack here.

“Open Heart,” a documentary about Henrik Lundqvist’s heart ailments that forced him into retirement, originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in June of 2023. Just under a year later, and the documentary is now available on Netflix. Photo Credit: Netflix/Open Heart

Over the weekend, and with no New York Rangers hockey to watch, I accidentally stumbled upon “Open Heart,” a documentary directed by Jonathan Hock, a director familiar with sports, as Hock had previously been part of ESPN’s “30 For 30” series.

(I also noticed a Netflix documentary on “Ashley Madison” too – but I’ll watch that after publishing this blog at this late-night hour!)

And how ironic that Hock had been part of “30 For 30,” especially considering that Henrik Lundqvist’s #30 now hangs from the rafters of Madison $quare Garden – and a jersey retirement ceremony that’s covered in the documentary too.

While I was aware that “Open Heart” premiered last year, I also didn’t realize that Netflix had bought the rights to it, nor that they were going to debut it on their service on Friday, May 17th.

(But I’m happy that this was case!)

And talk about good timing – especially with millions of Rangers’ fans needing something to fill their Blueshirt void with the 2023-24 team idle over the weekend.

The documentary, while covering Lundqvist’s entire career, and as you’d suspect by its title, isn’t really any sort of a career retrospective on the Hall of Fame goaltender. Instead, it’s about the final years of Lundqvist’s career – and obviously – what led/forced him into retirement.

That said, there is enough material included in the doc to satisfy fans who want to see some of Lundqvist’s highlights, and where his former teammates, and Rangers’ alumni too, all speak about the Swedish netminder, including Mike Richter, Carl Hagelin, Kevin Weekes, Dan Girardi, Mark Messier and Dominic Moore.

Somewhat inconspicuous by his absence was Lundqvist’s good buddy, Mats Zuccarello, but since Zuc was in Minnesota while this documentary was being put together, then I guess that explains his omission as one of the featured talking heads.

It should also be reminded to you that this documentary was filmed and produced during the pandemic (and man, oh man – does that feel so long ago now too – and where a lot of the shots/footage from this documentary constantly reminds you of it as well) – so that could’ve been another reason why Zucc wasn’t included.

And thankfully, Sieve Vagistat, who pretends that he’s Lundqvist’s BFF, is nowhere to be seen either!

Ten out of ten!

Most of the documentary plays out by showing us moments from the end of Lundqvist’s career, including his life-or-death heart surgery, followed by #30 talking about what he felt at the time. Photo Credit: Netflix/Open Heart

Obviously, with a 74-minute runtime and “Open Heart” pretty much stuck to its subject matter – and where for some – this documentary will be an all-out tear-jerker.

I know that some people may take the following the wrong way, but at the risk of that, and it’s not my intention to be dismissive or cruel here either – while a moving documentary – it was also hard to feel “sad” for Lundqvist – and especially if you already knew going in that he came out on the other side better for it – as he’s now one of the best analysts in the league today – and being paid handsomely in his second act to boot.

After all, and this is meant to be complimentary – the man, who could’ve been a model if he wasn’t a hockey player – lives a perfect and charmed life – and in every which way.

And even when Lundqvist was going through the biggest threat in his life, and maybe it’s because you already know that he comes out better for it – then you still feel envious of the guy!

Not only does he have over a hundred of millions of dollars in the bank, but more importantly and invaluably than money – he also has a tremendous family support system – including his immediate family (wife Terese and two daughters, Charlise and Juli), his parents, Peter and Eva, and his siblings too, twin brother Joel and older sister Gabriella – and where all of his family members are included/featured in “Open Heart.”

And again, and I hope that this doesn’t come out wrong – as he’s embarking on the biggest battle of his life – and there are many clips of Lundqvist flying around in private jets, driving six-figure cars and enjoying a soul-searching trip at a mega million dollar mansion in upstate New York.

I guess what I’m getting at is that this isn’t a story of someone without any options taking on the world and all of its comers – but due to his charm and personality – which does drip off of your screen throughout the doc – then you do connect with Lundqvist’s plight – even if he’s still much more better off than you!

And there aren’t that many people who could undergo open heart surgery and still look like a million bucks afterwards – but as we see in “Open Heart” – it did take some time, seven-weeks to be exact, for Lundqvist to get there.

While I’ll save my overall/final thoughts once first covering the material that I found most interesting from the documentary – obviously for any Ranger or Lundqvist fan – and this is a must-watch.

And as a “Blueshirts’ Historian” myself – there was a lot of stuff throughout these 74-minutes that I didn’t know – and where many times, and as I’ll explain better below, where I was hoping for a follow-up question.

At this time, some thoughts and opinions, and what’s included in the documentary too.

There are many things to take away from “Open Heart,” and where one of them is Lundqvist’s strong devotion to his own family. Photo Credit: Balkan Press

As “Open Heart” begins, we see Lundqvist’s new scar on his chest – but since I, and like many of you, have seen these clips/pictures before – then I was already aware about this.

However, and what I didn’t know, is how tatted up Lundqvist is – as once again, the biggest critic of his final Rangers’ contract, yours truly, and outside of our shared and mutual fandom of “THE EYE TEST,” also share another interest.

Go figure!

(And say what you want about my previous criticisms about Lundqvist’s contract – but I was proven correct in the end – as the Rangers, and as I said they would, did eventually buy him out of it – and because of CZAR IGOR.)

(I should also remind you that while I wasn’t a fan of his final contract – I also understood why he received it – and without a shadow of a doubt – he’s one of the greatest Rangers of all-time.)

Throughout the film and you’ll see Lundqvist sporting ink on his arms, chest and back. I don’t know how many other people will care about this, but I just found it interesting – especially since most GQ models don’t blemish their skin with needles.

Then again, and as we’re really learning a lot about his human side ever since his retirement – for all of his money, fancy watches, expensive cologne, lascivious luxuries, fame and fortune – and now – his Hall of Fame status too – and deep-down – he’s just one of the guys.

This opening shot of Lundqvist’s scar, followed by teases of his jersey retirement ceremony (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/12822/ ), book-ended the documentary – and more about the end of these 74-minutes once we get there.

As medical equipment beeped and with x-rays being shown as well, Lundqvist talked about how he was risking death had he not had his surgery – and if he continued to play too.

From here, the documentary goes into the early days of Lundqvist, where as noted earlier, his career is quickly glossed over – but there’s enough there to slightly satisfy your hockey thirst.

Again, and to speak to Lundqvist’s luxurious lifestyle, I have to admit that I did it find it funny that one of the first things that Lundqvist says on film is, and in a somber tone to boot, “growing up in Sweden is tough, it’s always a dark environment and it affects people.”

As he was saying that, Lundqvist was then shown driving a six-figure sports car – so while this documentary does have its sad moments – it’s not like they were going for sympathy either.

After all, if that was the case, then they would’ve shown Lundqvist driving a Pinto or Gremlin – like me – and as someone, a plebeian, who also shares a 1982 birthday with “The King!”

Lundqvist said from an early age, winning was always important to him, and how he always was “seeking performance and seeking life.”

His brother Joel, and mother Eva, confirmed Henrik’s beginnings. (And Father Peter was the only Lundqvist family member not to speak in “Open Heart.”)

After quickly, and I mean in no less than 30-seconds, talking about his rise in Sweden (and where his 2000 NHL Entry Draft was never brought up either), we jumped to October 13th, 2005, where at the age of 23-years-old, Lundqvist made his NHL debut with the Rangers.

Omitted during this segment was how Lundqvist “Wally Pipp’d” Kevin Weekes – and where I thought that this fact should’ve been brought up – but only because Weekes, one of Henrik’s closest friends, is featured throughout the documentary.

Lundqvist said when he first heard the “HEN-RIK” chants belted out by the Garden Faithful, it really to got to him – and as someone who prioritized winning – it told him that the fans believed in him.

As the documentary blows through Lundqvist’s NHL ascension, I did get nostalgic whenever the old M$G, the one before renovations, was shown.

Ditto hearing Sam Rosen and John Davidson together.

Mike Richter, like Weekes, also has significant face-time in this doc, but like Weekes too – Richter’s status and relationship with Lundqvist is never talked about.

In other words, non-hockey fans won’t understand the impact of having all of these former Rangers included in this doc.

Richter, who obviously has a strong relationship with his eventual successor, said that Lundqvist loved New York from day one – and where I got a chuckle whenever #35 referred to #30 as “a kid.”

After showing us clips of Lundqvist’s 2006 Olympic gold medal game, Richter, aligned with Lundqvist, said that the rush from winning is incredible – and how that gold medal put Lundqvist on the map.

Weekes, again, whose place in this story is never explained, said that Lundqvist turned the franchise around, following the “Dark Age Era” (my words, not his) of Rangers’ history (1997-2005).

Weekes said that Lundqvist was big box office for M$G and then the documentary goes into Lundqvist’s affinity for fashion.

And as Weekes knew then, and as we’re finding out now, Weekes, the Wally Pipp to Lundqvist’s Lou Gehrig, said that Lundqvist was just like any other guy – but also fit into NYC like any other A-list celebrity.

As a video montage of Lundqvist’s prime years were shared, Lundqvist brought up how Larry Brooks gave him “The King” nickname – and where he thought it would be a short-term thing – but how the nickname stuck and that it never went away.

(It should also be noted that Lundqvist’s previous close friendship with Sean Avery, where the two even owned restaurants together, which was part of “The King’s” rising NYC celebrity, was never brought up either – and when explaining Lundqvist’s off-ice popularity – then I thought that stuff like this, and his other endorsements, should have been brought up.)

An image so “iconic,” that even fans of the L.A. Kings got it tattooed onto themselves. Ugh. Photo Credit: Sorry, but this La-La Land fan’s name is escaping me. Let’s just assume his name was Jack Ass.

Brace yourself Ranger fans, as the documentary does get into the 2014 Stanley Cup Final – and where I forgot that Doc Emrick and Kenny Albert called it.

Dom Moore, the other hero of the 2014 Game 6 Eastern Conference Final, said that Lundqvist was out of his mind in that series-clincher over Montreal, where Lundqvist replied, “every save matters.”

When entering the 2014 SCF, Lundqvist said that he felt confident that it was our (the Rangers) time.

Of course, that’s not what happened.

The image that will forever be etched into your brain, Alec Martinez’s Game 5 winner, is shown.

On the series-winning goal, Lundqvist said, “I knew we were in trouble. When you see that play develop, your body goes cold and freezes.”

Lundqvist then added, “I wanted to win, we were close and part of me will always hurt [that we didn’t],” and also said, “we had a window where we right there and it just didn’t happen. I hate it.”

Joel, just like his twin bro, said, “when you win, it’s the greatest feeling ever, but when you lose, you feel like shit.”

This quote then led into stories about Lundqvist’s infamous temper – and where no locker room soap dispenser or toilet bowl was safe.

(And I’m glad that Lundqvist is talking about his former fits of rage now – as when I first reported on this site ten-years ago that this was going on – and 99.9% of the fan base said that I was making up these stories!)

Carl Hagelin, who Lundqvist was close to, and still remains close to today, is featured throughout this doc – and where really – you could make a documentary on Hagelin’s career, and how it ended, too.

And Hagelin, like everyone else, confirmed Lundqvist’s post-loss tantrums to boot – and where he added, “when they were happening, then all you can think to yourself was don’t laugh!”

The two Swedes have always been close, ever since first playing for their home country and then later with the Rangers. It’s also revealed in “Open Heart” that Hagelin helped recruit Lundqvist to Washington following his buyout from the Rangers. Photo Credit: Balkin Media

Following the Rangers’ window being closed in the Lundqvist Era, it was then brought up how Lundqvist never wanted to leave New York – but outside of enjoying where he lives – it’s never discussed in the film about the potential trade offers that were on the table, chasing a Cup elsewhere, or anything else of that nature.

Again, this is a movie about Lundqvist’s retirement and heart condition – but with the topic of winning also prevalent throughout – then I thought that this should have been brought up.

The documentary then lightly touches upon “The Letter” from 2018 – and all of the losing that followed thereafter.

What’s never brought up, not once, and despite all of the footage of Lundqvist wearing a mask (a face one, not a goaltenders’ bucket), was the pandemic.

The 2020 Stanley Cup Bubble Playoffs is never talked about – nor for that matter – how Lundqvist fell to third on the goaltender’s depth chart during the 2019-20 season, as Alexandar Georgiev played the most games in net for the Rangers that season, and once CZAR IGOR was called-up in January of 2020 – and that was pretty much it – that is – until the playoffs, which took place five months following the NHL’s pause from play.

Once skipping over the 2020 Covid Cup, Lundqvist said, “the writing was on the wall. It was time. I wanted to stay and come through to the other side, but it wasn’t in the plans.”

Again, I also took issue with how quickly Lundqvist’s buyout was covered in “Open Heart” – and as I’m now at the point of redundancy – because as both a hardcore fan and as an “esteemed historian” – then I wanted to know if there was any prearranged deal prior to his buyout.

In other interviews that John Davidson, then team president, has given since, he’s always said that they (the Rangers) handled this buyout with an utmost amount of care – and while not confirming a job for Lundqvist post-retirement – that’s what he alluded to in a roundabout way – and what eventually happened too.

But in “Open Heart,” the details, conversations and particulars surrounding Lundqvist’s buyout were never discussed – outside of the fact that he was bought out.

Lundqvist was really excited to play for the Capitals, but it was never meant to be – and in a way – it’s somewhat fortunate that he never pulled a Marty Brodeur (St. Louis) – and as a result – he’ll always be forever known as a career Ranger. Photo Credit: Henrik Lundqvist

It’s revealed in “Open Heart” that Lundqvist has a life coach, a Swedish feller named Jimmy Tjarnlund.

It was tough to truly ascertain if their relationship was strictly professional, or if this patient-doctor relationship was personal too – but I’d assume that they are friends away from the office based on what the documentary showed us – including during the final scene, as both men were pondering life in the filthy streets of Manhattan.

After being bought out, Lundqvist said that he thought about retirement, but since winning was always important to him, he wanted to continue to challenge for the Cup. (Again – which is why I thought not asking him about staying after “The Letter” was a major omission.)

And one more time, and I feel like I have to stress this – the pandemic, and all of the havoc and chaos it created, was never discussed.

Following his buyout, we’re shown all of the clips, video, pictures and press releases that were covered on this site at the time (check the archives) of Lundqvist signing, and then practicing with, the Capitals.

Moore said that the Capitals were a perfect fit for Lundqvist, as they were still a contender (Alex Ovechkin’s name is never brought up, ditto Peter Laviolette for that matter) and how they needed a bedrock goalie.

The Hagelin relationship is brought up again during this, as Lundqvist and his family stayed at Hagelin’s house when he was looking for a place around D.C. to live. Another Swedish Capital, Nicklas Backstrom, was featured here too, as he said, “everyone was pumped up for the king.”

Lundqvist, upon arriving in Washington, said, “I wanted to prove that I could still do it.”

This then brings us to the meat of the matter – Lundqvist’s life-or-death heart condition.

While this was a story at the time, and one that I never bought into either, and for the first time ever – Lundqvist confirmed that both he and the Rangers knew about his heart condition previous to finding out about it again in Washington.

As noted, at the time, and many thought that the Blueshirts’ medical staff never knew about this.

Officially, Lundqvist said, “I always knew that I had an issue, but I never had symptoms. Then one day I’d get tired walking up a flight of stairs.”

Hagelin, who was hosting Lundqvist at his home at the time, said, “you knew something was up and that it was wrong.”

After meeting with the doctors, Lundqvist was told that he had a leak in his heart – and how Lundqvist’s overused aorta (the stress from playing hockey) could lead to death.

The surgery, performed by the best in the world in Cleveland, Ohio of all places, was successful.

The rare time in Lundqvist’s life where he was imperfect – but he still had his hair game going! And yes – I’m only making such a remark because we know that he’s fully healthy and still successful today. Photo Credit: Henrik Lundqvist

After having a successful surgery performed by Dr. Eric Roselli of the Cleveland Clinic, both Roselli and his staff thought a comeback wasn’t in the cards for Lundqvist.

Lundqvist was crushed, as he was inspired and motivated to play for the Capitals.

After seeing clips of his recovery, and where I can’t put over enough how much his family was there for him (and how much he loves his family too), Lundqvist was still thinking about debuting for the Caps.

Roselli, who is featured in the documentary, said that Lundqvist, who was 38-years-old at the time, while young, still flirted with the risk of death.

After Roselli told us that Lundqvist’s heart valve wasn’t opening, we went back to clips of the surgery, and in where your own heart was hit – we saw Lundqvist prone, defenseless and unconscious.

But once he woke up, and with his devoted wife there, Lundqvist felt much better physically, mentally and emotionally.

Once returned home, his mother said that her son was great at first, but then started hurting, and where he couldn’t eat, was in bed all day and up all night.

His brother, and as you’d expect, added, “it was rough seeing him like that.”

The impact of Lundqvist’s children on his life was fully on display during this too – another heart-melting moment.

And I found this interesting too – Lundqvist is kind of like a millennial – as we were then shown footage of him being active on social media, taking a boatload of selfies, and where if you didn’t know any better – then you would’ve thought that he fills out Facebook questionnaires too!

After showing us his gnarly chest scar, Lundqvist said that cried a lot, but still wanted to make a comeback. However, Dr. Roselli told him, “come back as a human – and not as hockey player.”

That said, Roselli did insert several plates in front of his heart – just in case.

Terese Lundqvist, his wife, also didn’t want her husband to play – as she felt that it wasn’t worth the risk.

But just seven-weeks removed from the surgery – and Lundqvist was back at the rink – and prepping for an NHL return.

As were shown clips and footage of Lundqvist at various practice rinks, Weekes called him “Superman.”

Lundqvist, somewhat now defying orders from both his doctor and his missus, thought that he was finally ready to make his return to hockey.

As he returned to Cleveland for one final check-up prior to a potential return – and the doctors found inflammation around his heart.

As a result, both Lundqvist’s practices and Capitals’ comeback were shut down, as he was told that he’d have to be idle and relax for the next three months – or run the risk of death – again.

Now essentially being told “rest or die” – Lundqvist acted in the right way – and rested.

But at the same time, he was angry and disappointed that his preconceived plans weren’t going to happen anytime soon.

I was surprised that none of Lundqvist’s charity work was brought up in “Open Heart.” Photo Credit: NYPD

Lundqvist, now being threatened with “rest or else,” said that he needed a reset – and just like any one of us – then spent a weekend at a mega mansion in upstate New York.

And as noted earlier, despite everything that he has going on in life, and unlike others in his financial position – you actually felt bad and sad for this multi-millionaire many times over.

And really – when it comes to the super-rich – you wouldn’t feel the same about them in a similar scenario as you do/did with Lundqvist.

During his solo retreat of rest, Lundqvist said that he always analyzed his play – but never took a deep look at himself, as we got a piece of “Holistic Hank” here.

After going back-and-forth about it, Lundqvist admitted the inevitable – he tried to comeback (or debut with the Capitals) twice – and both times, his heart said no.

As a result, on August 17th, 2021, Lundqvist came to grips and officially announced his retirement.

Lundqvist’s retirement statement from 8/17/21. Photo Credit: Henrik Lundqvist

As Lundqvist announced his retirement, “Open Heart” then gave us a career montage package.

Now as a retired athlete, we saw Lundqvist back in Sweden, with his close friend Erik Wallmark, as the two went boating together, and where Hank’s buddy said, “the summer in Sweden doesn’t start until Henke gets back.”

His friend added, “Henrik’s body gave him a career, but he needed a break, switch his focus,” and how all of this was new for him.

This then returned us to how we opened the documentary – Lundqvist’s retirement ceremony at M$G.

I felt that the pandemic took away from Lundqvist Night, and where I wished that we got a dais of his peers too. Photo Credit: NYR

Prior to his big night at M$G, Lundqvist’s daughters were chanting “HEN-RIK” in the green room. I got a kick out of that. We were also shown Lundqvist talking to another New York icon, Mark Messier, as “The Messiah” gave “The King” tips about post-retirement life.

On his speech itself, Lundqvist said that he wanted to be as open as possible – while his knees felt weak (from anxiety) too.

And as “Open Heart” shared footage from this jersey retirement ceremony – I had forgotten about all of the cat-calling that was done during it – as you heard some Ranger fans interrupting Lundqvist throughout his speech.

Once seeing his jersey going up to the rafters, Lundqvist said, “I felt whole.”

Another omission from this documentary?

How John Tortorella, who Lundqvist once forced out of town (2013), was there, and in full support of his former goaltender.

But one last time – this documentary was more about Lundqvist’s surgeries/health condition – and not about his career.

That said, for a movie that really pushed a full circle message – something like this could’ve been included – and it would’ve only taken a minute or so to do so.

Nothing about Lundqvist’s second act in the media, and as an ambassador of  both the Rangers & M$G, was ever brought up in “Open Heart” – not even in a postscript.

The documentary concludes with Lundqvist talking to his life coach about his 40th birthday plans – and that was that.

While I can understand some of the omissions from his playing days – I just didn’t understand why we had this flat ending.

For a guy who overcame a life threatening condition, and viewers of this documentary aren’t even told how well Lundqvist came through on the other side.

And with one of the documentary’s biggest themes being about “what’s life after hockey?” (such a quote is even in the movie’s poster) – and we aren’t told what Lundqvist is doing today.

While us Ranger and hockey fans know what’s up – non-hockey viewers finding this movie don’t.

For a documentary that’s kinda short, it would’ve been no thing to add another five-minutes recapping what Lundqvist is up to today – especially since being bought out by the Rangers was a major story in “Open Heart.”

For what’s supposed to be a feel-good story come the end of it; we’re not told how Lundqvist became the official ambassador of both the team and M$G (succeeding Mr. Ranger himself, Rod Gilbert), and how he’s been absolutely outstanding on both the national TNT and regional M$GN either.

I think that people who are just watching this documentary for the human element will love it, but for Ranger fans – I must admit – it left me wanting more – and it felt incomplete too.

It should be mentioned that this documentary was released six months prior to Lundqvist’s November of 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame induction – and yes – this puck is part of my disgustingly large Rangers’ memorabilia collection!

All in all, I enjoyed “Open Heart” – as I did get a lot out of it – and you do connect with both Lundqvist and the subject matter too – but it also felt rushed.

But for a guy who has had a HOF career – then it was impossible to cover everything in just 74-minutes – but that doesn’t excuse some of the omissions as noted above.

And once the credits started rolling, I said to myself, “that’s it?” – not exactly the best reaction.

On a ten-point scale, I give “Open Heart” an 8.5/10 – and how ironic – as there’s that 8.5 figure again!

And now, onto the Rangers of today, a Lavy’s Lot that’s halfway there to finishing their story.

In a “David versus Goliath” market series – the big market Rangers are looking to avenge Goliath – and perhaps should play their own Goliath, Matt Rempe, too. Full details: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/51924/

The Rangers, following 48-hours of rest, and where it probably took some time to come down from their epic Game 6 win in Carolina too, returned to their training facility in Tarrytown, NY on Sunday.

While an optional practice, everyone was in-attendance sans Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller.

While the Rangers won’t admit it (at least not until the end of the season), I think that it’s pretty obvious that Fox is playing through some sort of an injury right now.

Previously, Fox missed the two practices prior to the second-round series.

In the case of Miller, I don’t know what could possibly be ailing him – and really – I’d have to go back and re-watch Game 6 and just hope that the cameras picked something up.

But as it always goes – I’d expect both of them in Lavy’s Line-Up come Game 1 against Florida.

If there was any true news from the practice, then it was the fact that both Blake Wheeler and Filip Chytil participated, and where following the optional skate, the Concussed Czech pleaded his case for another return, when he told the beat reporters, “I want to play games. That’s why we practice. What are we practicing for? We’re not practicing to stay on the practice. Playing the game is the best thing and that’s where I want to be.”

At this point, and as noted before on this site – I’m not criticizing whatever Laviolette decides upon – but I do have my opinions!

If he wants to play Chytil, then fine. But I just hope it’s not at the expense of Rempe.

In other words, and as outlined before, I rather see Chytil sub in for Alex Wennberg – and should that be the case – then Chytil better keep his head up.

And you can ask Brad Marchand all about Sam Bennett too.

Since this was an optional practice, then we didn’t see Lavy tip his hand on what Game 1’s starting line up will be.


As a beer-bellied blogger – and not a future HOF bound coach like Laviolette – this is what I’d go with and why:

FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere

(Duh – you don’t break up the best line that you have.)

SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Roslovic

(While Roslovic has been hot-and-cold – I think his game-winning assist buys him another start. But if things don’t work out, then I see no problems with giving Wheeler a chance in Game 2.)

THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Chytil/Kakko

(While I’m not high on Kakko at all, at least he’s better offensively than Wennberg – which doesn’t really say much either. Furthermore, Chytil and Kakko have had success, albeit at an inconsistent rate, in the past.)

FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Rempe

(Rempe must play – and especially with the hard-hitting mamma-jammas in Florida.)

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox


SECOND PAIR: Miller/Schneider

(Nothing against Trouba – but you have to go with what works best – and at this point in time – Miller/Schneider > Miller/Trouba.)

THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Trouba

(Even as a third-pair RD, Trouba can still play crunch time minutes – and as he has done previously throughout these playoffs.)


(Part I: No Shit)

BACK-UP: Quick

(Part II: No Shit)

“Black Aces”: Brodzinski, Domingue, Edstrom, Ruhwedel, Wennberg and Wheeler

Sunday’s “LAVY’S LOUNGE” ran for nearly fourteen minutes – a season-high – and yes – I keep track of these things!

Here’s Laviolette following the optional skate:

Despite talking for a lengthy amount of time, and while also combating the hyena, Mollie Walker,  and her endless and non-stop unnecessary laughter – not much was learnt here – a good thing.

After all, no news is good news these days.

As he always does, the head coach praised as many players as he could on an individual basis while also pumping up his team as a whole.

Following the skate, Will Cuylle, Artemi Panarin, Kaapo Kakko, Ryan Lindgren, Alexis Lafreniere and Jack Roslovic attended the Knicks Game 7 at M$G – a 130-109 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

I know that some people will hate me for this – but I’m glad that the Knicks are now kaput.

For starters, I’m not even a Knicks fan – and if you see my email address which is located at the end of this blog, an email address that I’ve had ever since 1993 when I was eleven-years-old, then you’ll know that I was front-running Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls fan!

(And for those who weren’t alive or don’t remember – then every kid wanted to be “LIKE MIKE” in the 1990s!)

But I will say – and just like how I watched every Rangers’ game back then – I was also able to watch every Bulls’ game too – as their home network, WGN, was part of my cable package growing up. Furthermore, the Bulls always played on NBC. (Usually Sundays – and who can forget about Ahmad Rashad and Summer Sanders either!)

And while I can’t name many basketball players of today (I checked out once fundamentals were removed from the game and when the NBA turned into a five-vs-five three-point contest too – and furthermore – would players like Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal have a role in today’s gimmick-happy NBA?) – then I just don’t care about the Knicks and the NBA.

But I do care about the Rangers.

With the Knicks out, this means that the Blueshirts will have the best ice conditions possible from this point moving forward – and for a team deep with skill – they’ll need it when trying to win eight more games.

Sorry (but not sorry) Knicks’ fans – but I’m tunnel-visioned on the Rangers – and all I care about are the Blueshirts!

Better than all of that?

The spotlight is now singularly focused on the Rangers – and as talked about last night – I’m happy to see another 1994 comparison get buried.

As said last night – I want nothing but praise for what this 2023-24 team is doing – and it’s not like people were comparing the 1994 Rangers to the 1940 Rangers at the time either!

Long story short?

Give these 2023-24 Rangers their flowers – and the best ice conditions possible too!

With the Knicks out, the Rangers are no longer a secondary story in town – and just the way I like it!


A rite of passage – one era to another. Photo Credit: NYR

To close tonight, and when trying to intertwine everything together too, I wanted to answer a social media debate that I was involved in – and where yes, this too – many people are putting the cart ahead of the horse.

Should these 2023-24 Rangers finish their story, thus ending a 30-year Cup drought too – then yes – Henrik Lundqvist could possibly have his name etched into hockey’s holy grail.

While most athletes don’t want a “Token Cup;” but since Lundqvist is currently both a Rangers and M$G ambassador – then he could be one of the extra names that the Blueshirts decide to include – and again – should they make the wettest of wet dreams a reality.

But I doubt that he’s thinking like that – nor wants it this way either.

But maybe one day as a coach (head, goaltending or otherwise) – and where should that day ever happen – then I think it will be many years down the line – and only after his kids are grown up – and just like his former teammate, Martin St. Louis.

After all, if we learnt anything in “Open Heart,” then it’s Lundqvist’s dedication to his family.

Plus, he’s one hell of a broadcaster/analyst too, one of the best in the game today – and for a man with a heart condition – why give up a cozy gig for nothing but stress?

It’s that time for me, bed-time, which for you, now means…

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

My fourth title and tenth book is now available!

“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!

For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/

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

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

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


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

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/

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

Now on sale!

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

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

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

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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