Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. After doing a 10,000 word manifesto just 48 hours ago, I thought I had everything covered. However, as I said on that blog and as I’ll say again here, despite 99% of the sports world being shut down right now, there’s always something in the news!
After recapping everything and anything Rangers related last blog, which was posted this past Thursday morning, on Thursday afternoon, on June 18th, Rangers Team President John Davidson gave an hour long interview to John Giannone of the M$G Networks.
In JD’s interview with Giannone, there wasn’t much ground-breaking news, aside from the Lias Andersson stuff that I’ll soon get into on this blog. If you’ve been following this site or just the Rangers in general, JD treated this interview as any other interview that he’s done in the past – as JD was straight to the point, complimentary of his co-workers and employees, and as usual, was full of common sense.
In tonight’s blog, I’ll take a look at this JD interview and the Lias Andersson story. In stories that effect the Rangers, while not 100% being Rangers related, I’ll recap the latest second wave of the corona virus & how it’s effecting the sports scene.
However, as usual, before getting into everything, here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:
BCBS For 6/18: NHL’s Return; Bettman Stands Tall, NYR Podcast In-Depth Recaps w/DeAngelo & Duguay, M$G’s Tax Exemption, 1994 NYR, Islanders Are a Mess; See Ya Nassau Coliseum, Sabres Make a Change; Eichel Isn’t Going Anywhere, Lundqvist Flexes on the Unemployed, Artemi Panarin/Diane Chambers, DQ, Rare NYR Memorabilia & More
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
Off of puck drop here, let me say something that I’ve said during my past three blogs, whenever the topic of Lias Anderssson has made the news – I’ve had it. I hate talking about him. I’ve forgotten about him. Let him rot in Sweden. After this blog, I hope that the next time I write about Lias Andersson, it’s about some trade where the Rangers dealt him somewhere for a 7th round pick, a Fresca and a 25% off “Bed, Bath & Beyond” coupon.
In fact, when it comes to Lias Andersson, you can check the archives of this blog or click this link here, to refer to my past writings on Andersson. I don’t have the energy to rehash everything once again. I’m truly that sick of this millennial crybaby. Just think, ever since leaving America, Andersson has blamed the Rangers for a pain-pill addiction, mental anguish, bad doctors, bullying and every other excuse that he can come up with from his Swedish “Excuse Rolodex.” (I wonder if fellow countryman Henrik Lundqvist gifted Andersson an “Excuse Rolodex”, as they seem to be common in Sweden!)
On Thursday, June 18th, NY Post reporter Larry Brooks broke the news that Lias Andersson was offered a spot at the upcoming Rangers mini-training camp in July, but declined the offer. Brooks, who broke the news on Twitter, then followed up his tweets with a featured story, on Andersson, in the NY Post. Quite frankly, the reporting from Brooks here was kind of all over the place, as I’ll soon get into. That said, at the end of the day, Brooks got the story right – Andersson was offered a spot to rejoin the franchise, but opted to stay in Sweden.
Again, I don’t want to rewrite stuff I’ve already said in the past, but in case you’re new here, here’s a quick refresher:
I do not want Andersson back with the Rangers, and I certainly do not think he’s worthy or deserving of returning to the Rangers in July. HOWEVER, I 100% understand why the Rangers would try to get back into the good graces of Lias Andersson & invite him to mini-camp. After all, as I always say on these blogs, in this salary cap era of the NHL, these players are basically stocks. That’s always been my argument in all of my stuff on Henrik Lundqvist, his contract and the Rangers goaltending staff. You must get the best bang for your buck under a hard salary cap.
As it stands right now, Lias Andersson holds little-to-no value. His stock is as good as Enron stock. For the Rangers to even get something half-way decent back in a potential trade of Andersson, Andersson must get more ice-time. Right now, here on June 20th of 2020, the Rangers would be lucky to get a bag of used pucks for Andersson.
Just like anything else in business, NHL teams are businesses too. While personally, I want nothing to do with Lias Andersson any more, it makes sense for John Davidson & Jeff Gorton to placate Andersson & to try to make something happen between the two parties. It’s what’s best for business.
On Thursday afternoon, Larry Brooks tweeted out the following:
“Post has learned that Lias Andersson has decided to remain in Sweden. Rangers had talked to him about joining team for 2020 training camp, but seventh-overall from 2017 opted against accepting invite…So it ends until there’s a trade…
Andersson would play in Sweden next season if not traded, and perhaps even if he is dealt, depending on timing. But he won’t be back with Rangers.”
Brooks followed up those tweets with this story: https://nypost.com/2020/06/18/lias-andersson-wont-join-rangers-camp-when-nhl-returns/
However, in JD’s interview with John Giannone, JD, who to be fair here, was trying to baby-face everything and not put oil on a gas fire, said that Andersson told him he wants to be a Ranger. JD did confirm Brooks’ report, of Andersson declining an invite to mini-camp. However, Brooks also said that Andersson “won’t be back with the Rangers”, despite JD saying that the team respects Andersson’s decision and will discuss what’s best for Andersson next season.
When you look at what JD said and what Brooks is reporting, the story is pretty much the same – Andersson won’t be back this year. However, while Brooks has Andersson written off as a Ranger forever, JD did say the door is still open. That said, Brooks may be talking reality & prognosticating here, while JD is trying to protect an asset, as JD should.
At the end of the day, I’m just glad that however we got here, that Andersson won’t be back. He shouldn’t be taking a job away from anyone. His invite to this training camp feels like something straight out of this “participation trophy” era we’re living in. I rather see anyone from Hartford, who WANTS to be here and broke their hole all season long, get an opportunity, than some grumpy headcase with an attitude problem.
I thought I wrote the obituary on Andersson’s Rangers career on past blogs, but while he still has one hand out of the grave here, as if he was “The Undertaker”, for all intents & purposes, it looks like his Rangers career is now firmly entombed.
Finally on Andersson, we all know he’s a bust. You just have to accept that fact. And if you know your Rangers history, a first round Rangers draft pick not working out isn’t really news. I’ve recapped all of that on past blogs here. At the end of the day, when it comes to draft day, the Rangers have had more swings and a miss than hits.
If there is any solace about Lias Andersson and how the Rangers made him the seventh overall draft pick of the 2017 draft, remind yourselves that on that day, the Rangers also landed Filip Chytil and Tony DeAngelo. That fact will allow you to make it easier to move on from Andersson!
In addition, when you look at Andersson, take time out to appreciate the players that really want to be here, guys such as the aforementioned Tony DeAngelo & Filip Chytil. Then take a look at guys who also love being here, such as Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Brendan Lemieux, Adam Fox, Ryan Strome, Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, Jesper Fast and everyone else, including John Davidson himself.
I don’t know if Lias Andersson will ever play in the NHL again. No one can predict the future. I know a trade to Edmonton, for Jesse Puljujarvi, makes the most sense for every party involved. That said, even if an Andersson/Puljujarvi straight swap ever went down, who is to say that Andersson makes it in Edmonton? He may be past the point of damaged goods already. Hell, who knows if Andersson even has any interest in ever leaving Sweden again?
In any event, as I’ve said on past blogs about Andersson – goodbye and good riddance.
On Thursday, Giannone conducted his interview with JD, as mentioned earlier on this blog. You can watch the hour long interview on YouTube, or by clicking the video below:
No joke, when I went to watch this interview, I thought this video would’ve been viewed by 100,000+ fans. For whatever the reason, this video only has 800 views, as of this writing. Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be shocked. After all, whenever Giannone and Dave Maloney do their live-stream shows before games, there’s usually only something like 30-50 people watching. I just don’t get it.
As fans, here in 2020, we have so much access to information, but a large majority of fans don’t take advantage of this. Even sicker, Tony DeAngelo can tweet “I like dogs, hope to cure cancer and hope for every child to live a full & healthy life”, and that tweet will get 7896786789678967896789 times the response (with 99% of the response being negative) than these inside look videos that the Rangers officially put out.
And lastly on this topic of lack of viewership, I really think it all boils down to this ADD generation. If you’re a regular reader here, you have an attention span. I know my demographic – the bulk of my readership is 40 years old and over. This newer generation lives in a 140 character world, headline reads and can’t sit through anything longer than a 10 second TikTok video. An hour interview with JD? PERISH THE THOUGHT! ONE HOUR! TOO LONG!
Knowing that a large portion of fans don’t have long attention spans, the YouTube user “John Doe”, broke up the interview into many different timestamps, where fans can jump around and listen to the topics they want to hear about. For those who don’t have the time to sit for an hour, here are the timestamps, in case you don’t want to listen to the whole interview:
1:10 on contemplating the moment in culture/hockey in Harlem/helping young people/
11:48 Covid precautions and protocol
13:39 on concerns with players having time off
15:28 expanded rosters
17:00 on Hank/Shest/Georgie and short series
18:44 on playing in the 1979 best of 3 series vs Kings
20:35 Chris Kreider
23:19 Kaapo Kakko and his availability during covid
26:15 Lias Andersson
35:06 Adam Fox 1
38:08 Artemi Panarin
42:00 On naming a Captain
44:27 Adam Fox 2
46:44 On areas of improvement for the rebuild.
48:46 Nils Lundqvist and K’Andre Miller
49:52 Vitali Kravtsov
51:45 on what he learned while in St Louis and Columbus; Can’t cut corners/have to pay/patience is essential/importance of culture.
56:04 on pressure to win in NY and watching young players grow.
57:45 on what he’s most looking forward to when hockey resumes and Mr. Dolan’s support.
As mentioned at the top of this blog, the only news story of note from this interview, was the stuff on Lias Andersson. That said, JD did confirm several of the stories I talked about on past blogs on this site and pretty much shared the same opinions as yours truly. The biggest thing JD said here, in my eyes, was that he found this upcoming tournament to be a win-win for the Rangers. JD said, and I quote, that it’s great that “these young players are getting playoff experience.”
Playing off that above quote and shared sentiment, I did find something contradicting in this interview, but really, it’s minor & not serious at all. However, let me share it anyway, even if it’s just for a quick laugh.
In the interview, JD confirmed my previous report & opinions – Kaapo Kakko, as long as he’s healthy, will be at mini-camp in July. JD also said, as I thought, and as you probably think too, that if there is any chance that Kakko’s health can be compromised, then the Rangers won’t play him. The Rangers will only dress/play Kakko, as long as it is 100% safe to do so. They will NOT take any chances, and as a Rangers fan, and as a human being in general, that’s what you want to hear.
During the topic of Kakko, JD said, “if Kakko can play, he will play.” Why is that significant? I’ll tell you why! Just six minutes prior about JD talking everything Kaapo Kakko, when Giannone brought up the topic of the three-headed dragon of Ranger goaltenders and who would get the nod to start against Carolina, JD said, “that is something for David Quinn. I have nothing to do with that.”
I know people love to twist my words around, so let me make it clear here – I’m 100% being tongue-in-cheek here. I know what JD means and I’m not making an issue of this. I’m just being funny here.
However, the truth of the matter is that JD did guarantee Kakko a roster spot on the team and said he would play, providing that Kakko is healthy. And as mentioned, JD hammered home the point of how it’s great that this young team is getting some playoff experience. In fact, JD said his biggest goal of this upcoming tournament, was to see the Rangers defeat Carolina and see where it goes from there. As we all know, and as JD knows, the more playoff games under this new core’s belt, even under these unprecedented conditions, the better. Again, all win-win stuff here for the Rangers.
Of course, whenever the elephant in the room comes up, in Henrik Lundqvist, all the talk about getting young guys playing experience, building a new team from the bottom up and all that other rah-rah, that talk is all swept under the rug. That’s just funny to me.
And really, as I’ve said in the past, I 100% believe, providing everyone is 100% healthy, that David Quinn will go with CZAR IGOR anyway. As mentioned on past blogs, it’s the only move that makes sense. CZAR IGOR needs to grow with this core, just like anyone else on this new-look roster.
Lastly on the goaltending topic, this is about the 6th or 7th different example, of JD backing away from the Lundqvist topic and putting the ball in David Quinn’s court. As I’ve said on past blogs, David Quinn was set up to be the fall guy, even if that wasn’t the intention. However, DQ, who made the right choice in making Lundqvist his third string goalie, has seen that decision pay off for him.
As you’d expect, JD was very complimentary of his players, naming guys like Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin by name. JD also confirmed that Chris Kreider is 100% healthy and already practicing.
One player not brought up in the interview, despite a great season and seemingly always in the news, was Tony DeAngelo. I would’ve liked to heard JD’s thoughts on the new “WATCH YOUR TONE” podcast! Also not brought up – the upcoming suspension that Brendan Lemieux will have to serve.
Oh, and one more thing not brought up, despite me asking this question 9763478 Father Finkin’ times – “WHEN WILL THE RANGERS RETIRE FRANK BOUCHER’S #7?”
In two other minor newsworthy items from the interview, JD said there was no rush in finding a team captain, recapped his past history on this topic and said it’s all about finding the right guy. As I’ve said, I would have no problem with Kreider or Zibanejad getting the “C” next season. You can make a strong case for either player, and I don’t think there is a wrong answer here, when it comes to those two candidates.
JD closed his interview, by bringing up James Dolan, and saying how Dolan has been great to him and to the team. This is all stuff I’ve talked about in the past – say what you want about “Big Shot Jimmy”, but the man spares no expense on his teams. His teams will always have an advantage by having the best amenities, the best doctors, the best travel accommodations and everything else you can think of.
All in all, as usual, I thought Giannone shined in his role as an interviewer, because he is a fan. It comes out in these pieces. JD is just golden and as Ranger fans, we’re lucky to have him. And in one more “as I’ve said in the past” bits, keep this in mind – when JD was with Columbus, he had an out-clause with that franchise, specifically stating that if he could become Team President of the Rangers, he would be able to break his contract with Columbus, with no penalties, in a “no harm, no foul” type of deal. That shows you how much JD has been clamoring to have this job and how much he loves this city and this team. Those facts always come to the surface in these interviews.
And now, let’s get to a topic that effects everyone – the corona virus.
When it comes the corona virus, like all of you, I’m over it. I’ve had enough. While I would never say it’s a hoax or anything like that, I thought these recent riots and looting signaled the end of the corona virus. After all, if you got 78678667896 people in the streets stealing sneakers and TV’s, how dangerous is the corona virus? As we found out this week, we’re far from out of the woods yet.
Personally, I thought we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel here, in regards to the corona virus. I know the numbers in NY dropped down drastically. After not being able to see my nieces for three months, I was finally able to see them recently. I even went out to a bar (outdoor seating) in my area too. It just felt we were approaching the stage of getting away from all of this.
However, things took a turn for the worse this week, when corona virus numbers spiked in Florida, Arizona and in Texas. Maybe not so ironically, Florida was the first state to re-open and was the first state to allow sports to resume. That decision may have backfired.
On Monday night, the WWE, which has been filming events live in front of no fans in their Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, had a wrestler test positive for the corona virus. In turn, TV tapings were delayed and the WWE was forced to do strict testing. Previously, the WWE was only taking temperatures, which is kind of mind-blowing when you think of it, especially since the UFC, which held an event in Florida (and several in Vegas after) have gone balls-to-the-wall with their testing. Perhaps since the WWE is more entertainment than sport, they were able to fly under the radar a bit.
After the news with the WWE, it was reported that there was an uptick in people with the corona virus, working at the Orlando airport, which is the airport that non-Florida WWE wrestlers have been flying in and out of. Double whammy. Then after this news, the city of Tampa, Florida, issued a city-wide mandate about 100% mask compliance. You can read that story here: https://www.tampabay.com/news/tampa/2020/06/19/tampas-mask-order-goes-into-effect-today-heres-what-you-need-to-know/
I’m not trying to give a lecture here or come off as a corona virus expert. Far be it. Stay with me here though!
With Florida perhaps testing the waters recklessly, in regards to re-opening, and with sport teams currently practicing in Florida, several teams have had their return plans put in a state of pause.
On Friday afternoon, June 19th, the Tampa Bay Lightning tweeted out the following:
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 19, 2020
This is now a slippery slope for the NHL. With Tampa being forced to cease operations right now, even if it’s temporary, you can argue that the other 30 teams that are allowed to practice, are now getting a leg-up on their competition. What does Bettman and the NHL do? Do you shut down everyone until Tampa can return? While I don’t think that will happen, you can understand the frustration on the Lightning’s end.
And it’s not just the Lightning that were effected, as you can tell from this NPR article: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/06/19/881034420/floridas-surging-coronavirus-numbers-hobble-several-pro-sports-teams
As the article says, both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays, were forced to shut down their spring training operations. Both teams play in Tampa suburbs, approximately an hour or so drive from Tampa.
But wait, there’s more!
Earlier this week, it was reported that 23 athletes from Clemson, which is in South Carolina, all tested positive for the corona virus. This followed the news about 13 NFL & NCAA players from Texas, including Cowboy’s running back Ezekiel Elliott, all testing positive for the virus.
It should also be mentioned here, that with Arizona, Florida and Texas all having high corona virus rates right now, that many NHLers live in these states, either for the weather or for tax related purposes.
But wait, there’s EVEN more!
It’s now being reported that Auston Matthews has tested positive for the corona virus. You can read one of the many stories on this topic here: https://nhl.nbcsports.com/2020/06/19/report-auston-matthews-tests-positive-for-covid-19-toronto-maple-leafs-nhl/
Matthews, who has lived in Arizona his whole life, has been staying in Arizona during this quarantine/shutdown. Now, he’s unable to practice or get near his teammates. Just another monkey wrench tossed into this whole mess.
This is what’s really going to make this upcoming 2020 Stanley Cup Tournament interesting – what stars, and what players, are going to be excluded from playing, due to having this virus? To expand on this, this is why I feel all these early Stanley Cup Prediction blogs/articles/podcasts, are all for naught – you don’t know the full personnel that will be available to each team.
It should be said here, in case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know this already, when it comes to the death rate and the corona virus, in 99% of cases, it are the elderly that are most effected by COVID-19. Not one active athlete has died yet from the virus. After all, most athletes are in the prime of their lives and have much superior condition and health than the average Joe. That said, in no way, shape or form, will any league allow anyone testing positive, to compete and rightfully so.
While we can’t predict the future here, I think eventually, Matthews and other athletes will eventually get over this corona virus. I don’t think their health/life span will be effected here.
As you know, I want the NHL to return. For the NHL and for Bettman’s legacy, he needs the NHL to return too. However, if there was anything truly morbid coming out of all this news this week, it was when Michele Roberts, the NBA Players Association Executive Director, told the Boston Globe, that in regards to the NBA’s return to Orlando, “it isn’t a matter of if a player will test positive in the bubble, but when.”
In other words, the NHL must plan, that upon resuming play, that a player or several players, will most likely test positive. That said, I do 100% believe and trust in the NHL to have a game-plan and to do the right thing. All the NHL has to do is look at the UFC, and how the UFC has handled their athletes & coaches testing positive.
I must say this – I’ve been rah-rah and all jazzed up about the NHL’s return. This news today did damper my spirits a bit, but I do think that the NHL will stick to their plan of returning. For the NHL, it’s all about preventing a spread in their hub bubbles and I think the NHL will be ready for that.
And oh, when it comes to other corona virus news in the wide-world of sports, I’ll save you my rant on Dr. Fauci. I’ll just say this – it seems that every day, he has a new opinion and flip-flops on the state of sports and the spread of the corona virus. I can’t keep up with his never-ending changing opinions. And to be fair, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt – the corona virus is unprecedented in these times, so I’m sure new information and facts come out as time passes. That said, sometimes it feels like fear-mongering and his opinions change as often as a newborn’s diaper.
I’m gonna tap out early here. And early for me is 6000 words, instead of 10,000 words! If you haven’t already, and looking for a monster read, check out my last blog, which is linked at the top of this blog.
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As always, thanks for reading and…
“WHY NOT THE RANGERS?!?!”
LET’S GO RANGERS!
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