Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Just like last blog, I’ll try to keep this blog politics-free! Fortunately this week, there’s enough NHL & New York Rangers news & notes to distract us from politics, even if the recent shutdown of the Nassau Coliseum had a thunderstorm of politics around it. And true to this site’s slogan, this blog will be “10,000 words, one click, no ads!” This will help you kill time if you’re stuck inside the house right now, or if you had a gnarly meal at Taco Bell!
In tonight’s manifesto, we’ll be looking at the aforementioned closing of the Nassau Coliseum, the shake-up in Buffalo, the soon return of the NHL, a David Quinn interview, several NYR related podcast recaps and other NHL & NYR news items.
However, as usual here, let’s start this blog off by doing the same old hat – with the PLUGS segment of the blog.
As usual, in case you missed them or need a refresher, here are my most recent blogs:
BCBS For 6/13: CZAR IGOR’s Florida Location Revealed; Practicing with Alex Ovechkin (Video Included), Tony DeAngelo’s “Watch Your Tone” Podcast In-Depth Recap, Kakko, NHL Announces “Fan Choice Awards”; Slights Lundqvist Big Time, Top 16 Playoff Goalies, AV & Torts Lead Jack Adams’ Race & More
BCBS For 6/11: The Rangers & The NHL Get Back on the Ice, The Statement vs No Statement Saga Continues, Dolan Might Be an Idiot But He Isn’t a Racist, DeAngelo vs Adam Hermtrans, Ovi vs Hacknett of WFAN, Lundqvist Up For an Award, Duguay Talks “Thin Ice” with Ratso, BSU, Kato Kaelin & More
BCBS For 6/6: Political Issues Taking Over the Sports World, NHL Teams To Return to the Ice, Max Kellerman Isn’t Wrong & Why the NHL Is Its Own Worst Enemy, NHL TV Deal Expiring, Lias Andersson, Marc Staal, Tony DeAngelo, NYR Podcast Scene, Drew Brees, Jackie Robinson, Grant Napear, The Word “Racist”, George Floyd & Is Steve McDonald’s Legacy The Next Liberal Target?
BCBS For 6/2: 2020 Blows, The George Floyd Murder & Its Impact on Hockey, Statements vs No Statements, NYR Stands Tall with NYPD & Steve McDonald’s Legacy; Supporting NYPD & James Dolan, Lundqvist Continues To Flap His Gums, K’Andre Miller Supports BLM (And Why That’s Okay), DeAngelo Podcast, See Ya Sean Day, BTTF IV Screenplay & More
BCBS For 5/31: It’s Time For Ron Greschner To Get His Number Retired; Full Greschner Profile, Tony DeAngelo vs The Hypocrites, New Podcast & TDA’s Reputation, JD Speaks Out On DQ & Kakko, CZAR IGOR’s Chance To Make His NHL Playoff Debut, Fan Mask Rant, NHL Announces Return Date, Larry Brooks, Cam Talbot Wins Again & More
On Monday, June 15th, ESPN interviewed several commissioners of the various professional sports leagues in America today. While the interview with MLB head honcho Rob Manfred garnered the most amount of attention, and understandably so, Gary Bettman was also featured on the broadcast.
I watched Bettman’s whole interview. If you’ve been following the state of the NHL ever since “the pause”, you didn’t really learn anything new here. That said, I found Bettman to be well-spoken and I thought he came off very well.
In addition, after each interview conducted by Mike Greenberg, of ESPN, Greenberg then interviewed a player from each commissioner’s league. Patrick Kane, who despite having a murky off-ice track record, was chosen as the NHL player representative. However you feel about Kane personally, I don’t think his interview could be argued – he came off looking very good. In fact, this segment on the NHL, between the Bettman interview and the Kane interview that followed, both men came off great in their appearance & represented the NHL excellently. I don’t know how anyone could see it any other way.
Bettman and Kane pretty much exemplified what I’ve been saying all along on this blog, ever since this corona virus BS started – the NHL, the NHLPA, Gary Bettman, the team owners and the players themselves, have all shown a united front. What the NHL has done here, is the complete opposite of the situation going on in Major League Baseball.
This is all common sense. This corona virus nonsense has sucked and it is unprecedented. There’s no bad guy here, except for a crazy Chinese man eating a bat. Instead of arguing over money, contracts and other tedious items, every party involved in the NHL has come together and has made chicken salad out of chicken shit. Everyone involved here has turned a major negative into a positive. And really, that’s all you can ask for as a fan, and everyone involved should be commended. (And one last time, as I’ve said this before – while maybe everything isn’t perfect, you couldn’t have found a better resolution to a never-before-heard of problem. Kudos to Bettman and everyone else involved.)
After the appearances/interviews from Bettman & Kane on ESPN, NHL.com ran a story covering everything. You can find the story here: https://www.nhl.com/news/commissioner-gary-bettman-says-nhl-to-be-very-strict-with-virus-protocols/c-317181028
For those too lazy to click the link above, here’s the story, in full:
The NHL plans “very strict” health and safety protocols for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the 24-team tournament will honor the integrity of the game, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday.
“This will be a full competition which will bring out the best in our teams and our players, and the Stanley Cup champion will be deserving of that crown and the most storied trophy in all of sports,” Commissioner Bettman said on “The Return of Sports” on ESPN.
The NHL paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
Teams were allowed to begin voluntary, limited small-group workouts at their facilities June 8.
“It seems like they’re kind of ahead of the curve and taking all the precautions that are necessary to keep us safe and healthy,” Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane told ESPN. “Just being at the rink right now, whether it’s getting tested a couple times a week for [COVID-19] or the precautions they’re taking while we’re at the rink, they’re definitely doing everything they can, so that’s [appreciated].”
Provided medical and safety conditions allow and the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association reach an agreement on resuming play, teams will open training camps July 10, and play will resume with the qualifiers.
The top four teams in each conference will play a three-game round-robin for seeding, and the others will play best-of-5 series to qualify for the playoffs. The dates and locations of two hub cities — one for the 12 Western Conference teams, one for the 12 Eastern teams — are to be announced.
Commissioner Bettman said players and support staff will be tested each day. If someone tests positive, that person will be isolated, and anyone who was in close proximity to the person will be monitored.
“Obviously for any sport, if you have a major outbreak, it’s going to change everything, but we’re being told that an isolated case, or a couple of isolated cases, shouldn’t interfere with the plans, and we should be able to move forward,” the Commissioner said.
Commissioner Bettman said the idea is to create a bubble, and with testing during voluntary workouts and training camps, by the time the NHL resumes play “we should have a pretty good sense of what our population is and how well they’ve been tested and monitored.”
The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association created the Return to Play Plan with the Return to Play Committee. Commissioner Bettman said the players “felt as strongly about the integrity of the competition” as the League did.
With 189 regular-season games remaining at the pause, the NHL and the NHLPA decided it was necessary to have a play-in round for teams that had a legitimate chance of making the playoffs. The result will be 16 teams playing best-of-5 series to qualify for the playoffs, with the top eight teams (four from each conference) receiving byes for the play-in round.
Commissioner Bettman said based on the combination of that and 16 teams playing four rounds of best-of-7 series in the playoffs as usual, “everybody can feel good” about the integrity of the competition.
Kane said it will be different to play without fans in the stands, but the players want to put on a show for fans watching on television.
“I don’t think anyone will really worry about [how it would be viewed] if someone won a championship or an asterisk, if you’d like to say, because it’s unprecedented times,” Kane said. “Us as players, I think any time you get a chance to compete for a Stanley Cup, you’re doing that and taking advantage fully of it.”
Again, while a hardcore NHL fan didn’t learn anything new in these interviews, for casual or non-fans, this piece of prime-time real estate on national television, definitely served the NHL well. Both Bettman and Kane had the right answers for every question asked.
Moving along here, on my last blog, I reported how it was 99.9% official, that Las Vegas will be one of the host hub cities of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since then, it’s been reported that the Rangers will play their games in Vegas too.
Who knows what will happen in six weeks time, but wouldn’t it be amazing if these games could somehow be opened to the public? Just imagine, a nice five game series in Vegas, where you can drink for free, gamble like a madman, smoke cigars and watch hockey all day and night. Sounds like a wet dream! Even if the common fan can’t attend these games, watching (and betting) these games, in a Vegas sportsbook, sounds like a tremendous time too!
As previously speculated and predicted on this blog, I said that I thought that Canada would eventually come around and make an exception to the NHL, in regards to their current two-week quarantine policy for non-Canadian residents. On Tuesday, June 16th, Canada made the NHL exception official. As a result, three Canadian cities are now all in the running to be the second host city of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
You can read the NHL’s take on this news here: https://www.nhl.com/news/canada-clears-three-cities-to-be-nhl-hub-in-return-to-play-plan/c-317188672
Once again, for those too lazy to click the link above, here’s the article from its original source:
Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver each will be eligible to be a hub city as part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.
“We have indicated that we are comfortable with moving forward on an NHL hub in one of three Canadian cities that are asking for it,” Trudeau said. “Obviously, the decision needs to be made by the NHL and the cities and the provinces in the jurisdiction. Canada is open to it as long as it is OK by the local health authorities.”
The NHL had said a Canadian city would not be chosen if players were required to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine currently in effect for people entering Canada. Trudeau said the border with the United States will remain closed to nonessential travel through at least July 21, Reuters reported, but that the closure does not affect NHL players, some of whom have already been traveling to rejoin their teams.
The NHL, which paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, announced 10 cities are in the running to be one of two hub cities — one for the 12 participating Eastern Conference teams and one for the 12 Western Conference teams.
Under the 24-team Return to Play Plan, the Stanley Cup Qualifiers will have the top four teams in each conference, based on regular-season points percentage, play a round-robin to determine seeding. The other eight teams in each conference will play four best-of-5 series, with the winners playing the four round-robin teams in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“The National Hockey League appreciates the significant effort that the government of Canada put into reviewing this matter and satisfying itself that the League’s protocol and processes for Return to Play were thorough, well thought out and, most importantly, focused on the health and safety of all concerned,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement to the Toronto Star. “The League will continue to work with the respective provincial governments and health authorities in the coming days as we consider our hub cities decision.”
In addition to Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto, the NHL is considering seven United States cities — Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Pittsburgh — to be hubs.
Phase 3 of the Return to Play Plan, which is the start of training camp, will begin July 10 provided medical and safety conditions allow and the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association reach an agreement on resuming play. The NHL has not announced when the qualifiers will begin.
As talked about on past blogs, to me, Toronto has to be the other hub/host city. Toronto as the other host city makes sense for about a million different reasons, with the biggest reasons being the following:
— With Vegas as the other host city, it wouldn’t be ideal to have every single playoff game played outside of the Eastern Standard Time Zone. You want to space these games out, and you can’t have all these games being played all at the same time. That’s not good for the television business.
— Toronto is the capital of the NHL. It’s where the majority of reporters live. By playing in Toronto, an EST city, it would make things a lot easier for the NHL too.
— Toronto, as a hockey-happy metropolitan city, not only has all the hotels/accommodations to host everyone involved; they also have a multiple practice rinks throughout the city.
I also have to mention here, I saw Ranger fans cry that all the playoff games won’t start until 10PM EST. It’s amazing how some of these fans go 0-100 MPH, in 1.4 seconds. As it stands right now, NOTHING has been announced yet, in regards to dates, the schedule or time of these games. However, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out, that if these games are being played in front of no fans, that the NHL can accommodate every fan base, and host these games during traditional times.
I mean really, do you think the NHL is going to put the Rangers on at 10PM at night? NY is one of their biggest markets. Instead, I’m predicting that the Rangers and Carolina will play at 4PM PST, so fans in NY can watch these games at 7PM EST. Of course, I can see time changes for Saturday & Sunday games, where sometimes, games are played in the afternoon.
In any event, I don’t envision any scenario, where the Rangers & Carolina are playing their games at 10PM EST. And really, this theory/principle works both ways. I can see the Western Conference teams, who will be playing in Toronto (my assumption, not 100% official, at least not yet) starting their games much later at night, perhaps even as late as midnight, to accommodate fans in the PST. After all, if MMA cage fighters can start their fights very late at night, sometimes not until 12:30AM EST, I’m sure these NHL players can adjust their bodies and get ready to play, no matter what time the puck is dropped.
Either way, I’m just happy to see that the Rangers will be back soon!
Doing a 180 here, while talking about the Rangers coming back, let’s take a look at the Rangers WINTER CLASSIC RIVALS, in another NY team, a NY hockey team that won’t be in Vegas or Canada this summer, in the Buffalo Sabres.
Just real quick, on the Winter Classic Game of 2018, between the Rangers and the Sabres here. Once again, as you probably know by now and as recapped at the time, the Rangers were the “away” team for this game, due to the tax exemption MSG gets, as long as the Rangers play every home game at MSG. Why does that matter now? Easy. As of this writing, I haven’t heard anything about the tax exemption with everything going on right now. With the Rangers going to Vegas, I wonder, if for tax exemption purposes only, if every Ranger play-in, and hopefully playoff game, will list the Rangers as the away team, or more accurately, as a neutral team?
The tax exemption that the Rangers receive from the state of NY, going back to the early 1980’s, mandates that every Rangers home game be played at M$G. While I would think that the state of NY would allow the Rangers to be a “home team”, even if it’s in Vegas, during these current times, with assholes and morons running the state & the city right now, in Governor Cuomo and Bill “Who let my daughter out?” Deblasio, I wouldn’t bet on the state allowing the tax exemption to continue.
I’m 100% sure, that James Dolan, and his people, are talking to the powers-to-be in NY, and will have to get something in writing, stipulating that the team won’t lose their tax exemption status, should the Rangers have “home-team” status, while in Vegas. And if the state and city won’t sign such a waiver, I’d expect the NHL to lose the away/home team stuff, and just refer to each team as “neutral.”
Just something to think about folks!
What a tangent to go on, as I get into the next segment of this blog.
In case you haven’t heard the news already, the Buffalo Sabres fired GM Jason Botterill and replaced him with Kevyn Adams. Here’s the full story from NHL.com, courtesy of https://www.nhl.com/news/jason-botterill-fired-as-buffalo-gm-replaced-by-kevyn-adams/c-317180770
Jason Botterill was fired as general manager of the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday and replaced by Kevyn Adams.
“When we were in detailed discussions with Jason and how we felt we needed to move forward effectively, efficiently, and economically running this franchise, we felt there were too many differences in opinion going into the future,” Sabres co-owner Terry Pegula said. “We just thought, since we had more time, it would be best for us to make this change.
“We believe in acting and not reacting to certain situations. We as owners had a vision on where we need to go in these uncertain times. We don’t know if we’re going to have fans next year and whatnot as far as competitive sports go. Looking ahead, we need to make some adjustments in the business side of our operations that we provide that foresight to the organization. We felt like we weren’t being heard. I’m not going to sit here and dish on Jason Botterill, but we have a vision and we want to see our vision succeed.”
The Sabres announced May 26 that Botterill would return for his fourth season as GM after they finished 30-31-8, tied for 13th in the Eastern Conference with the New Jersey Devils (.493 points percentage). Buffalo had a losing record in all three seasons under Botterill and is 88-115-30 since he was hired May 11, 2017. The Sabres will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season after not making the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, extending the longest active drought in the NHL to nine seasons.
“Certainly, that was our intent that Jason was going to continue,” co-owner Kim Pegula said. “If you recall at that time we had just found out that the regular season had ended. And then the next three weeks … especially with the announcement of the draft being really pushed back to sometime this fall. You know, it gave us a little bit more time to really start digging in and say, ‘OK, what does the future look like? Let’s start looking at planning for the future.’ And I think that’s what changed in those three weeks.”
The Sabres have the seventh-best odds (6.5 percent) to win the NHL Draft Lottery and the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The First Phase of the draft lottery will be held June 26.
Buffalo started 8-1-1 and was 16-11-6, second in the Atlantic Division, following a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators on Dec. 12, but went 1-6-1 in its next eight games and was 1-6-0 in its final seven games before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
“We’re going to keep trying,” Kim Pegula said. “The Sabres have been a love of ours for a long time, Terry even more so. This is something that we’re very passionate about and we are not going to sit there and keep saying, ‘Well, you know what? We tried it this way and it didn’t work, so let’s not try anymore.’ We feel like Kevyn is the right person and we felt like at the time that we made those other decisions whether it was leadership, whether it was coaches or GMs, we felt at that time that they were the right person for the organization. That doesn’t always pan out the way it’s supposed to, but I will tell you guys and in the community that we’re going to continue to try and get us to where we need to be. We just felt that Kevyn was better equipped to get us down those roads.”
Center Jack Eichel, who led the Sabres with 78 points and was eighth in the NHL with 36 goals, has played in 354 NHL games for Buffalo since it selected him No. 2 in the 2015 NHL Draft but has not played in a playoff game in his five NHL seasons.
“Listen, I’m fed up with [it],” the Sabres captain said May 29. “I’m fed up and I’m frustrated … I’d be lying if I said I’m not getting frustrated with the way things are going. It’s definitely not an easy pill to swallow right now. It’s been a tough couple of months, it’s been a tough five years with where things have went.
“I’m a competitor. I want to win every time I step on the ice. I want to win the Stanley Cup every time I start a season. I’ve already started to prepare for next season. I’m already back on the ice, I’ve already started training to try to better myself for next season, whenever that is.”
The Sabres named Adams senior vice president of business administration Sept. 23. He joined the organization in 2009 as player development coach and was an assistant from 2011-13. A center chosen by the Boston Bruins with the No. 25 pick in the 1993 NHL Draft, Adams played 11 NHL seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, and won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006.
“Many of you know that I grew up in western New York and I wore No. 11 when I started playing hockey because of watching (former Sabres forward) Gilbert Perreault,” Adams said. “This is very special day for me and my family. I am so excited to start this job, learn from (coach) Ralph Krueger and his staff, work side by side on a daily basis. And as many of you know, I believe that winning is doing it together. We’re going to move forward, we’re going to be positive. And I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Krueger, who will enter his second season as Sabres coach, is on board with the new direction.
“I signed on here as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and I’m very proud to continue,” he said. “There’s a lot of emotions attached with decisions that were made today. But all that matters now is the actions that we take moving forward. My actions will continue to be as the head coach. It’s going to be a team effort going forward from Kim, Terry, from Kevyn and myself. We feel a common philosophy here, we feel common ground and we’re excited about the opportunities that we have moving forward.
“My role in this club is very clearly from the first day to be the very best head coach I can be. I’m still not there. I have to improve myself first, but I look forward to attacking all these different levels of sports challenges together with Kevyn when it comes to the management side in the future. I will have enough responsibility when the gates open for us again. We all know it will come hard and fast and we will be ready.”
The Sabres on Tuesday also fired GM Randy Sexton, coach Chris Taylor and assistants Gord Dineen and Toby Petersen from their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester.
How does this news in Buffalo effect the Rangers? Truth be told, it probably doesn’t. That said, and as recapped on past blogs here, Sabres captain Jack Eichel, the other prize of the 2015 NHL Draft (Connor McDavid being the biggest prize) has been unhappy in his situation in Buffalo for some time now. We all know the stories and the rumors about Eichel being a “coach killer.” (In his short five-year career, Eichel has now seen three different bench bosses in Buffalo.) And as previously recapped, and as mentioned in the NHL.com article above, Eichel recently expressed his frustration with Buffalo’s losing ways, as Buffalo hasn’t sniffed the playoffs for nearly a decade now.
Of course, like anything else, this all led to Ranger fans wondering how the Rangers could land Eichel. All of these ideas were pretty much ludicrous, such as the silly stuff as “MARK STAHL & BRENDEN SMITH FOUR JACK EYEKEL!” You also had the Trump hating fans, suggesting “THE HITLER OF THE RANGERS TONY DEANGELO & THE STALIN OF THE RANGERS BRENDAN LEMIEUX FOR EICHEL!” And in the effort of full disclosure, you had some fans try to make some reasonable trade suggestions too.
Lost in all of this – why in the world would the Sabres trade their young franchise player, a franchise player that generates season ticket sales, TV ratings, merchandise money and other source of revenue streams? Face it – the Sabres stunk long before Eichel got to town, so this isn’t truly an Eichel problem in Buffalo either. After all, the only reason the Sabres even got Eichel, was because of how much they stunk prior to even drafting him!
Fans of the Sabres deserve a good team. As mentioned repeatedly on these blogs, year in & year out, the Buffalo market has produced the highest NHL television ratings, in all of America, during the playoffs. Of course, part of that has to do with Buffalo’s close proximity to the Canadian border. In fact, Buffalo is so close to the border, that prior to Sabre home games, they play both the American & Canadian National Anthems. And every player stands for both of them! (I’ll stop it here, as I’m trying to avoid another rant on politics and the world today. These people are even going after maple syrup now! SAD!)
At the end of the day, while Eichel may have frustrations right now, I don’t see a parting of the ways between Eichel and the Sabres, at least not any time soon. While Ranger fans may dream of a scenario where Eichel comes to NY (he also has a positive past with NYR HC David Quinn) that’s all it is to me – a dream.
Let’s move on to the next topic, a topic that is kind of ironic when you think about the situation in Buffalo. Buffalo has the fan base and a building, but they don’t have a playoff team. When it comes to another NY hockey team, in the NY Islanders, they have a playoff team, but they don’t have much of a fan base and their home arenas is stuff of nomadic legend.
In the biggest story of the week, at least for us NY sports fans, especially people living on Long Island like myself, it looks like the Nassau Coliseum is no more – once again.
On Tuesday, June 16th, several media outlets reported about the shuttering of the Nassau Coliseum. Here’s Bloomberg.com’s take, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-16/billionaire-prokhorov-to-shutter-long-island-s-nassau-coliseum :
The Nassau Coliseum, the Long Island arena that hosted professional hockey games and rock concerts, is turning off the lights.
Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment, which operates the arena under a lease from Nassau County, is planning to shutter the venue indefinitely while it seeks investors to take over operations and pick up the remaining debt on the building, according to people familiar with the matter.
Onexim has told potential investors that it would turn over the lease in return for assuming roughly $100 million in loans on the property, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private. The firm, which is laying off arena employees, could also surrender the lease to its lenders, the person said.
The arena has been dark since the pandemic hit New York and shut down much of the U.S. economy. The coronavirus also slowed progress on a redevelopment project known as the Nassau Hub, which calls for the construction of offices, housing and retail space on roughly 70 acres of parking lots surrounding the arena the Coliseum.
“The unforeseeable and unprecedented Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating effect on the operations of the Coliseum and its finances,” Onexim said in a statement. “While we still believe in the enormous long term economic value of the Coliseum and the development of the surrounding land, we recognize that such value will be best realized by other parties.”
It was home to the Islanders for more than forty years, including the franchise’s four consecutive Stanley Cup title runs in the 1980s. The singer-songwriter Billy Joel performed there so frequently that the Coliseum’s operators printed his name on a banner and hung it from the rafters.
The arena closed in 2015 for a $180 million renovation and the Islanders moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, sharing the venue with the National Basketball Association franchise owned by Prokhorov at the time. The Coliseum reopened in 2017 and has hosted roughly 200 events a year, including concerts, minor-league basketball and professional lacrosse.
Prokhorov is worth $11.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Coliseum would host all of the Islanders home games during the 2020-2021 season. But the Covid-19 pandemic upset those plans, casting doubt on when sports leagues would resume and whether they would allow fans to attend games.
The Islanders are building a new arena at Belmont Park, which would create a competitor for the Coliseum’s events business if it reopens.
Potential investors in the Coliseum may be more focused on the opportunity to build on the surrounding area.
Scott Rechler, chief executive officer of RXR Realty, which partnered with Onexim on the redevelopment plan, said he was “confident that the people who step into their shoes will want to maximize the value of the property by having the most dynamic development possible on the site.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran also expressed optimism that the project would move forward despite Onexim’s looming exit.
The county “is encouraged that Onexim is speaking to their lenders and other potential investors and we remain focused on development plans,” Curran said in a statement. “Transforming the Hub site, important before the pandemic, is now even more critical to Nassau’s economic comeback.”
I don’t want to go down memory lane here, or rehash all my previous writings on the Nassau Coliseum that I’ve done before, which is why I included the link above. Story in short, for as bad as the Nassau Coliseum is and was, I’ve always liked the intimate setting and the sight lines of the arena. I have a lot of good memories from the Nassau Coliseum in my 38 years, whether it was getting autographs from NHLer’s in the late 1990’s, to classic WWE matches, to concerts, to boxing fights (Ugh, that Eddie S. monster fart that night, I can still smell it!) and to Ranger/Islander games, which I’ve probably attended 30+ of in my lifetime. Plus, the arena is 15 minutes away from where I live.
Whether the Nassau Coliseum is a big pile of steamy shit or not, that is not the topic of debate here. We know it sucks. We know that when they recently put that new tin facade over the place, it was the ultimate example of polishing a turd. I mean, even when I attended a Rangers vs Islanders game at the Coliseum in January of this year, the place still had porto potties as the preferred method of urinary waste. Like the Rexall Arena that once sat in Edmonton, which has since been replaced by a new arena in downtown Edmonton, the Nassau Coliseum is behind the times.
As you’re probably aware of, a while ago, in the not so far past, Charles Wang, who has since passed away, owned the Islanders and had his Lighthouse project idea vehemently rejected; an idea that would’ve generated a ton of jobs and boosted the Long Island economy. Due to red-tape politics, a monorail that would’ve never been approved and pressure from local shopping malls, the idea never came to fruition. Instead, the Isles ultimately abandoned the Nassau Coliseum, and moved in to the brand new Barclays in Brooklyn, an arena that was never built or designed to host hockey games. As we all know now, the Isles experiment at Barclays has been the epitome of the word failure.
When the Islanders first announced the new arena at Belmont, my first reaction, and my reaction to this day, was “The Isles don’t even sell-out now. They have the worst attendance in the league. If that’s not bad enough, how is this new arena going to make money the other 320 nights of the year?”
Well the first domino fell on Tuesday, with the Nassau Coliseum closing its doors. While it sounds like the Coliseum is going to get a tombstone soon, it should be said that we have heard these stories about the Coliseum before.
I’ve talked about this before too – how many arenas does this area need? M$G will obviously always be safe. The Rock in Newark, while the area is terrible, provides a great experience while indoors. In its short tenure, Barclays has done well with the Nets, boxing and rap concerts. For the Coliseum and this new Belmont arena, I don’t see how it’s financially viable or how it can work economically. Sure they may land a UFC event or a second-rate concert, but that can’t be enough money to sustain the joint.
In addition, now, with the corona-virus, what happens in the future is all unknown. Of course, some people are busting to get out the door and do something, but there’s also people out there who are more than happy to stay home, and not put themselves at any sort of risk. To just expand a bit on this – while the younger generation may go out, it’s the older generation who has the disposable income to go out. With a virus targeting senior citizens for death and with all this rioting and looting going on, in what will soon be a defunded police state, who wants to bother going out?
While it’s fun to make the “I heard Quebec is lovely this time of year” jokes (I’ve made that joke several times, so I’m guilty of it too) it’s a shame that the Isles and Nassau County couldn’t keep the Coliseum going. The arena has been mismanaged so badly, that perhaps this is the final point of no return, especially with a new arena several miles away in Belmont.
I know it’s not liked for a Rangers fan to sympathize with the Islanders, but for the hardcore Islander fans, I do feel for them a bit, especially as a guy who loves history. Losing the Coliseum, after a quick flirtation back in the arena, has to be painful. For Long Islanders, many memories will always be associated with that old dump, but like anything, time marches on.
Let’s get into the Rangers and the podcast news. First up, David Quinn’s interview on the MSG Networks from Sunday.
On Sunday, June 14th, David Quinn returned to the M$G Networks, as with DQ now fully entrenched in the organization, he is now being treated like AV once was here. It’s only a matter of time before DQ has his own “Coach’s Corner” type of show on the network, as AV once had.
In his interview with the M$G Networks, DQ really didn’t say much. After all, what can you say? Plus, it’s not like anything truly controversial is going on.
When it comes to the topic of the upcoming training camp, DQ told M$GN that, “my idea right now is to scrimmage a lot. The more we get guys going in game situations under these circumstances, the more prepared we are going to be for those games that get started for the playoffs.”
Let’s face it – this isn’t really ground-breaking stuff here.
DQ then talked about how he wants to focus on one-on-one battles during his upcoming practices and how he wants to work on the cross-ice game. Again, not much riveting stuff here, but it’s something!
Of course, the elephant in the room was ignored, as the topic of the starting goaltender wasn’t discussed and how win or lose, what’s best for the organization right now is to give Igor Shestyorkin playoff experience. While CZAR IGOR is probably who DQ goes with, DQ hasn’t said anything to that effect, at least not yet.
Moving along now, let’s go to the podcast recap section of this manifesto and there’s a lot of stuff to get into!
On Wednesday morning, June 17th, Tony DeAngelo released his second episode of his “Watch Your Tone” podcast. You can listen to the show by clicking the link below:
The new TDA “Watch Your Tone” episode, starts off with Tony introducing his co-hosts and immediately going to the Albert interview.
In the interview, TDA & Albert have high praise for each other, with Albert saying, that in all of his years covering hockey, when it comes to two NHL players that he knew could host a sports-talk show, those players were Wayne Gretzky and Tony DeAngelo. That’s not bad company for TDA! (Of note, NFL-wise, Albert thought that both Brett Farve & Peyton Manning would excel as sports-talk hosts.)
Kenny brings up the world today, as far as technology goes. TDA brings up all the prep work announcers have to do these days. Kenny says he gets most of his work done on planes and can watch/read stuff all over the internet, while flying from city to city. (Something you couldn’t do, just 10-15 years ago.)
As far as his favorite NHL player ever, Albert says it was Gretzky, and once again brings up the differences in technology from Gretzky’s prime to the world today. Back then, and as mentioned on this site 66756767567856785 times in the past, when it came to the iconic Oiler teams of the 1980’s, for fans here in NY, and really, for everyone living on the east coast in America, you could only see them once a year. Albert brings up the Oilers/Islanders rivalry, and how it was fun to watch those games.
Kenny Albert then brings up Gretzky’s last game, which he didn’t call, as FOX had the NHL rights at the time, and assigned Albert to Philly for a Flyers/Bruins game that day. However, Albert was able to attend the post-game party, due to the close proximity between Philadelphia and New York.
Kenny, who is a hockey guy first, even though he’s the only announcer to call all four major sports nationally in America, brings up the 1994 Stanley Cup Final and the 2014 Stanley Cup run of the Rangers, as his two favorite moments of his hockey announcing career.
If there is anything truly amazing about Kenny Albert, and I’ve seen this on display multiple times, it’s his quick recall and how he’s able to remember anything from his career so quickly and so vividly. He’s a huge fan, and brought up how he listens to hockey podcasts all the time, such as the debut episode of “Watch Your Tone”. Albert also mentioned that he was even watching the 1994 games again, during this quarantine. The man is a sports junkie and a sports lifer.
After closing the Albert interview, Tony DeAngelo read an ad off for his first sponsor – Manscape.com, which sells razors for pubic hair. In what I found hilarious, TDA was talking about nutsack hair, while plugging his new sponsor. TDA then finished the ad-read off with “CLEAN THOSE BALLS UP.” Right after, TDA says “Thanks Kenny….”. Kenny Albert and ball hair, what goes together better than those two?
After the Albert interview, Tony & the crew then recap their “toughest sports” poll. TDA kept hammering the point that this poll was about “the toughest sport to play for the average person.” Of course, hockey won, since this is a hockey podcast.
To me, I don’t know what sport is tougher than MMA, which was an option on the poll. Going man-to-man, with a killer, with limbs as registered weapons, who is trying to knock your lights out and break your limbs, well I don’t know how it gets tougher than that! I rather look like a fool trying to play hockey, (and ask my Dad, as he loves recounting my crappy hockey career!) than get in the cage with Daniel Cormier!
Lou Fredo (check my blog from last week, as I use the “Fredo” last name as a joke here) said golf was the toughest sport, in his opinion. I’m not a golfer, but I don’t know how drunk driving around a golf course is tougher than trying to protect yourself from being hospitalized in a cage.
After the poll topic was discussed, TDA & his panel answered fan questions. DeAngelo, of note, said his legs feel fine and how he’s been skating. He did mention that it may take some time to get into game shape, but he feels it will all come during the training camp. Also of note here, TDA says his favorite charity is the Wounded Warriors Project and how he likes to help out children hospitals.
Of course, because TDA donates to veterans and to sick kids, just because he supports the POTUS (a topic which I’ve talked about to death on these blogs) TDA is still a victim of never-ending mean tweets, mean tweets that TDA read on the air. TDA talked about how during this last week alone, he was called a disgrace to Italians, how he is a crusty ass, how he sucks at hockey, how he has linguini for brains and other silly shit. The only thing that offended TDA here – the fact that someone said his podcast sucked!
TDA & the crew then talked about the status of MLB and teased an NHL player interview for episode three. I’d set Brendan Lemieux or Ryan Strome as the favorite here!
While it wasn’t mentioned on the show, someone from the “Watch Your Tone” podcast answered my question directly from two blogs ago. The show won’t have a set schedule, as the show will revolve around TDA’s playing schedule. In other words, TDA isn’t putting episodes in the can, in case his playing schedule gets too hectic. I’d imagine that we’ll probably get a break from the podcast once the Rangers are up and running again, as I’m sure practicing and getting ready for playoff games is more important than shooting the shit on the podcast.
Speaking of DeAngelo, of course he was in the news again this week. I hate talking about this stuff, and it really feels redundant, but it is news. Once again, Tony DeAngelo was defending himself, and now his family, from these deranged lunatics on social media.
In the latest from the, “As the World Turns” with Tony DeAngelo, you now have sickos going through the social media history of everyone from TDA’s family. Whether it’s a sister, a second cousin, a fourth in-law twice removed; it doesn’t matter – these loony liberal parasites are now trying to social media shame any member of the DeAngelo family. However, TDA has given all of these scumbags a proverbial middle finger, as despite all of the efforts from these basement bozos, TDA hasn’t been hindered. TDA is still on social media. He’s still doing his podcast and no matter what these freaks say, TDA hasn’t been derailed. Kudos to him. A lesser athlete, a thin-skinned athlete, would’ve packed it in a while ago, especially an athlete in a contract year.
It really is a waste of time, to go through all of the crazy shit these DeAngelo detractors, or people with “DDS” (DeAngelo Derangement Syndrome) have to say, so I’m not going to go through it all here. After all, I’ve spent countless hours recapping previous episodes from these toilet water breath mooks. Why toilet water? Because all they do is talk shit – all because a player doesn’t have the same political beliefs that is theirs. SAD!
Moving along, “The Up in the Blue Seats” podcast, with host Ron Duguay, returned on Wednesday too, with special guest Jay Wells.
To listen to the new episode of “Up in the Blue Seats”, check out the link below:
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) June 17, 2020
I’ve given Duguay’s podcast high praise on this site, as his podcast has been awesome since its inception. I will say, despite the Wells interview, this podcast didn’t pack the same punch as the previous episodes with Stan Fischler and Larry “Ratso” Sloman did, at least in my opinion. It may be a matter of taste, (everyone knowing about my penchant for history) a lack of news going on and the fact that I feel the topic of 1994 has been done to death (as I’ll soon get into) but I enjoyed other episodes more than this one. That’s just me though.
Ron Duguay started off the show with NY Post reporter Mollie Walker, who pretty much said the same stuff I said on this blog in regards to Vegas and Canada opening up. Duguay then switches gears, by having NY Post reporter Kirsten Fleming on the show for the first time. Fleming recently did a puff-piece/human interest story about Jacob Trouba and cooking. As someone whose culinary skills consist of opening up cans of tuna fish, heating up Ellio’s Pizza and putting peanut butter & jelly on Ritz crackers, I could care less about what Trouba cooks. I just hope he is a key ingredient in a Rangers playoff run!
Fleming, who really only covers the off-ice/off-field exploits of athletes, then talked about Trouba’s upcoming marriage and how his wedding date was effected by the corona virus. (If you recall, Trouba came to NY because his wife had career inspirations here, in the medical field.)
On the topic of food, Duguay brings up his friendship with celebrity chef Todd English and his affinity for chili. Duguay brings up because how he is friends with English at a personal level, he never wants to bother him about food or cooking, which is English’s job. I totally get that.
“Sopranos” actor, Joe Gannascoli, is a friend of mine, who lives in my town. We’ve hung out a few times at a local bar, shot the shit and run into each other in town from time-to-time. In the five or six years I’ve known him, I’ve never bothered him about “Gay Vito” or “Johnny Cakes” once. We only talk about the Giants, Yankees, Rangers, Mike Francesa and the town we live in. And on Gannascoli, he’s done a lot for the town of East Rockaway, NY, as he’s constantly involved in charity drives and was getting masks & food to people during this corona virus.
After the segments with Walker & Fleming, Duguay then brought Larry Brooks on the show. Brooks then talked about the greatness of Marty Brodeur, which is pretty funny, because in recent articles & tweets from Brooks, Brooks was trying to compare Lundqvist to Brodeur, which is like comparing your local softball hero to Babe Ruth.
Due to this being 1994 week, as this is the 26th anniversary of the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup victory (more on this below) Duguay & Brooks started talking about the 1994 Rangers again, starting with the Rangers Eastern Conference Final win over the NJ Devils. About the series, Brooks says coaches are sometimes a product of their players and staff in front of them. Guess that same theory didn’t apply to John Tortorella, huh Larry?
After talking that series with the Devils, Duguay and Brooks then welcomed 1994 Stanley Cup Champion Jay “The Hammer” Wells to the program. Of note, Duguay & Wells played together in LA, in the late 1980’s.
In the interview, Wells says he didn’t talk much with Neil Smith, about coming to NY. He just knew the team needed a stay at home defenseman. Wells said he hated NY, prior to coming to the Rangers. This sounded a lot like Phil Esposito here! Wells even contemplated retiring at the time, when he was traded to the Rangers! I never knew that.
The interview then turns into Wells’ early days with the Rangers, before approaching the topic of the 1993-1994 Stanley Cup season. Wells and Duguay talk about how big it was to play with guys like Messier and Graves.
On the topic of all the roster moves from that season, including the arrival of Mike Keenan, Wells felt the team wasn’t ready the two previous seasons. Wells felt, that while he liked head coach Roger Neilson, he felt that his defensive style wasn’t working in that era. Wells then talked about the limited tenure Ron Smith had at the helm, before Keenan took the reins.
When it comes to the feud between Keenan vs Rangers GM Neil Smith, Wells said the players were aware of their beef, but it really didn’t effect the locker room. Wells thought that Keenan & Smith did a good job of hiding their feud, even if everyone knew about it.
As far as an unsung hero on the 1994 team, Wells mentions Kevin Lowe, who truth be told, is somewhat forgotten in Rangers lure. Everyone talks the “Core 4 of 1994”, Beukeboom, Zubov, the Matteau goal, and to a lesser extent, Craig MacTavish, but it’s true, Lowe doesn’t get much talk. Wells then also mentions Steve Larmer, a Keenan favorite.
Duguay then wrapped up the podcast up from here.
And lastly on podcasts/Ranger shows, BSU returned on Wednesday night. You can listen/watch their latest episode here:
If you take a look at the two pictures above, ClassicAuctions.net, recently ran several auctions, featuring rare pieces of Rangers memorabilia. Aside from the two autographed photos shown above, also auctioned off were other signed photos and a rare Rangers sweater from the early 1930’s. I would’ve loved to have won the Frank Boucher auction, but $450+ for a signed 8×10? Well that was too rich for my blood. However, do you know who could’ve afforded it? This guy:
I don’t want to do another rant here on Lundqvist, but what’s with all the dents on that car? Perhaps like Lundqvist in a big playoff game of late, the car can’t stop anything either!
I’m telling you folks, it’s only a matter of time before the self-proclaimed “King” is beheaded and a new CZAR rightfully takes his throne:
Speaking of bad photoshops, there is a new app going around, where you can use the app to picture yourself (or anyone else, as you’ll soon see here) as a member of the opposite sex. I’m sure the liberals are crying about this app. After all, how dare anyone assume there are only two genders! Anyway, here’s one of the photos created on the app, by @letsdoththockey :
Not for nothing, as a diehard fan of the TV show “CHEERS”, I immediately thought Panarin looked like Diane Chambers. Can you see the resemblance?
And finally, one last thing before finally going home here.
I don’t know about you guys, but everywhere you go, at least when it comes to the official social media accounts of the NY Rangers, all you see is stuff about the 26th anniversary of the NY Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup win. To me, and call me a pessimist, but I’m sick of it already. It’s been done to death.
While I’m not trying to come off like a fuddy-duddy here, or whatever other adjective you’d like to use, but how many times must we see the 1994 stuff? It’s all over the MSG Networks right now. This is starting to get as pathetic as the Mets celebrating 1986. It’s one thing to go nuts about the ten year anniversary, back in 2004, especially when you needed something positive during a dark time in Rangers and NHL history, but we’re now 26 years into this.
In addition, it was just last year, when the Rangers did the red carpet treatment for the 1994 team, while celebrating the 25th anniversary. And let’s face it, in society, we tend to celebrate round (not as even and odd, but as in multiples of 5’s) numbers as milestones. 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, etc, year anniversaries are the norm. Not a random number like 26.
I just think the 1994 stuff has been beaten like a dead horse. By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard all the stories. You know about Matteau. You know about Keenan vs Smith. You know about the Leetch benching. You know about the Richter save on Bure. You know about Messier and his heroics. Unless Jay Wells is going to come out on the Duguay podcast, and say the team was doing cocaine like the ’86 Mets, there’s really no stone left unturned here. And again, this follows all the stuff from last year, with the ceremony, with all the footage on MSG and with all the interviews done. There’s just nothing left to say that hasn’t been said before.
Again, and I know I’m in repeats here, but instead of endless 1994 marathons, I’d like to see footage of lesser known games, whether it’s something weird like LaFleur posting a hat trick as a Ranger. Of course, I’d love to see full footage of the Giacomin return game too. To be fair, maybe this stuff is new for newer fans, but then again, as I said, the Rangers just did all of this stuff last season.
I don’t want to sully or besmirch the 1994 Rangers – far be it. I’m just saying that I think this is a topic that has been as repeatable and as often found as a “Law & Order SVU” rerun.
Oh, and of course, go figure – during the 25th anniversary of 1994, the Rangers had one of their rare home losses to the Carolina Hurricanes. You can’t make this up!
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As always, thanks for reading and…
“WHY NOT THE RANGERS?!?!”
LET’S GO RANGERS!
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