Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Are you not entertained?
But there’s this – with Lateralette now officially installed as the new head coach of the Rangers, as a result – he joins the likes of Lester Patrick, Frank Boucher, Lynn Patrick, Neil Colville, Bill Cook, Muzz Patrick, Phil Watson, Alfie Pike, Doug Harvey, Red Sullivan, Emile Francis, Bernie Geoffrion, Larry Popein, Ron Stewart, Fred Shero and Glen Sather to have both played for and coached the Blueshirts!
And while I hope to be wrong about this – I envision Lateralette’s tenure will replicate Glen Sather’s – and to not go down the path of the coach of the 1940 Stanley Cup champion, Frank Boucher.
Of course, by setting the bar so low (and nothing is lower than Slimy Sather) – then you can’t be disappointed – and that’s how I’m going to find my “glass half-full” of optimism this season!
However, Tuesday’s press conference and the way it was handled?
There wasn’t much optimism to write about there – “THE RANGERS’ WAY!”
The Rangers, fortunate to both play and reside in New York City (which means that they don’t have to do much of anything to drum up ticket sales unlike their competitors, including the two other local teams of the area), introduced Peter Laviolette, or as I call him, “Lateralette,” as the 37th head coach of franchise history on June 20th, 2023.
As the most profitable team in the league, and where the franchise just prints money on a daily basis and treats their hardcore fans as their own personal ATM’s in the process – the Blueshirts can make as many mistakes as they want – and without ever having to learn from them.
The Rangers are also in a unique position when compared to the other big market and Original Six cities of the league, including Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Boston and Detroit, as hockey isn’t as popular in NYC as it is in the other five major media markets.
If you’re not aware, and if you only follow the Rangers; then you probably don’t know how things are done elsewhere in the league, whether it be big market, medium market or small market.
No matter if it’s Seattle, Las Vegas, Toronto, Montreal and literally anywhere else besides perhaps Arizona; all of these cities and franchises treat every major team event as if it were a New Years Eve party.
The Rangers? They just let the ball drop.
What I’m getting at here, is when you look at the other 31-teams in the league – if they have a major press conference or statement to make – then they promote it and hope to attract as many eyeballs as possible.
The Rangers, the most profitable franchise in the NHL, but one that can also fly under the radar in their own market because the other three sports in town (basketball, baseball and football) are more popular than hockey?
Similar to the hyena, the jackal who works for the New York Post, Ms. Mollie Walker – “they don’t give a shit!”
Put it this way: While the Rangers eventually aired Lateralette’s press conference on their own MSG Network – they didn’t advertise it either. Not one press release. Not one tweet. Not one email. Nada, nada, nada!
And for the fans who don’t have access to the M$GN?
The Rangers, with their YouTube page that features 40,000 subscribers, a Twitter account with over 1,000,000 followers and a Facebook page with over 2,000,000 “friends” – and three social media channels that all support live video – decided not to air this press conference on either of these mediums.
For a comparison, at the same time that the Lateralette deal was going down; the Detroit Red Wings were airing a Steve Yzerman press conference on all of their available live-streaming channels, where their general manager was hosting a “Pre-NHL Draft Media Availability.”
While the Wings are financially secure; they do need their season ticket subscribers too – season ticket subscribers that the Blueshirts always take for granted.
(Of note: The last time the Rangers held an open-forum for their season ticket subscribers? During the John Davidson era.)
After all, and as older fans drop off like flies, especially with the never-ending astronomical cost for season ducats; there’s always a new generation to gobble up these expensive tickets like suckers – and with Wall Street coming back after the events of the pandemic – those M$G $uites are now returning to full capacity too.
To recap this long-winded rant – I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that the Rangers didn’t promote this press conference at all.
Furthermore, the whole thing felt as well-rehearsed and acted as a wooden Broadway play. All that was missing was a Playbill program featuring this maligned cast of characters.
One more time, especially for new readers – I’m rooting for Peter Laviolette. I really am. No one wants to see the Rangers win a Stanley Cup more than me, with perhaps the lone exception being the team’s owner, James Dolan.
(For Dolan’s Doubters, if you don’t think that he wants to win, then you’re out of your mind. More info here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/61423/)
However, to say that Tuesday’s press conference pumped up anyone or inspired fans to walk through walls – then I think that’s a lie – and no matter whatever the birdbrain and useless beat reporters are putting out there.
(And more on this worst crop of beat reporters in all of franchise history in just a bit – as it felt like they were “in on the act,” and playing their role in this production too.)
Maybe because I’m older and certainly more knowledgeable about the Rangers than everyone on the beat sans Larry Brooks (and even he has lost his sharp and blazing fastball in recent months); but when Tuesday’s 23-minute press conference reached its conclusion, I was left feeling like this:
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) June 20, 2023
In other words – I felt like I’ve seen this all before.
In addition, with it being reported (by Jeff Marek – a Canadian reporter that of course, had the scoop over these worthless New York “reporters”) that former Islander Michael Peca will serve as an assistant coach on Lateralette’s staff (and this wasn’t brought up once by this moronic beat – a collection of scribes who are the equivalent of monkeys with typewriters); I must ask of you, “WHAT’S NEXT?”
Would it surprise anyone, if Lateralette, now the first man to have coached both the Islanders and the Rangers, made these following changes and hires:
— Eric Fichaud in, Benoit Allaire out.
— Alexei Yashin in, Kris Knoblauch out.
— Kenny Jonsson in, every other assistant out.
The one change you won’t see?
The Ghost from Banff, Senile Glen Sather out, the Ghost of Al Arbour in.
I know this is largely fan-talk (but I am wired to hate all things Islanders) and admittedly, perhaps a tad ridiculous too – but yeah – keep on loading the Rangers with these past Islander failures.
After all, it worked out so well for the franchise when they last did it with Bryan Trottier!
And heck, I heard that Trottier, now 66-years-old, is available too!
What’s next? Jim Dolan and Chris Drury freeing John Spano from the pokey?
Before recapping the 23-minutes of nothingness, just a few general and blanket statements:
— I don’t blame Lateralette at all. He said what he was supposed to say. It’s not his fault that the Rangers’ beat reporters suck and won’t challenge/press him.
— Once again, the beat had a chance to ask Drury some tough questions, but as usual – they refrained from that – and continued to perfect their role as state media reporters, rather than being real reporters. Should their current gig not work out, they’ll always have a reporting job available for them in Kim Jung Un’s North Korea.
— I don’t know if it was just me, but some of Lateralette’s answers, while predictable, also felt like he was taking shots at former head coach, Gerard Gallant. But to be fair, he was probably reiterating what he said to Drury during his many job interviews, words that he knew would give his new employer a major stromboli in his pizza pants.
— While I don’t believe that Lateralette is inept, clueless or bad at his job, as if he were a Rangers’ beat reporter; but it just felt like everything that he said was basic, elementary and nothing of substance.
— However, I’m also aware of his track record, and as explained during my last blog on this site.
— Last but not least – every introductory press conference is supposed to be positive and rah-rah.
Unless you’ve lost the plot, then your first interview to a new fan base is supposed to be full of cliches and buzzwords, such as “accountability, “working hard,” “excitement,” etc.
But I should give credit where credit is due – Lateralette didn’t shy away from saying the two words that every fan wants to hear associated with the Rangers, “Stanley Cup.”
Instead, he repeatedly mentioned the Stanley Cup – and how he planned on winning it.
Of course, I’ve also heard every other coach since the departure of Mike Keenan say the same thing.
Ditto Senile Sather, who has now been saying it for 23-years.
At 11:00 AM, the M$GN went to the studio, where we were greeted by John Gianonne and Sieve Vagistat. So much for having a summer free of the Valley Girl!
Thankfully, since the M$GN was in such a rush to go back to airing a Knicks game from only god knows when – the network only had Giannone and Vagistat on their airwaves for about two-minutes in total.
While I’m not complaining about less face-time for Vagistat; it does make you wonder why the network even brought these two in and paid them for this. This all felt like an ESPN pregame show!
As far as these two go, Giannone said nothing of substance, while the nauseating Vagistat championed Drury’s hire, and no less than three times, reminded us that he once played for Lateralette.
In other words, and since I’m to assume that the seven-footer with the horrible suits and even worse CVS hair-dye doused on his head will be brought back next season – expect Vagistat, from this point on, to mention during every Rangers’ game broadcast how he once played for Lateralette – and where he will draw from his ONE GAME from playing under him – and as he did during the 1999-00 season with the Providence Bruins (AHL).
But of course, the feckless Vagistat fits right in these days with these collection of former Islanders, having been one himself.
Ugh, ugh and did I say ugh?
Chris Drury, who has the male version of “resting bitch face” on his mug whenever you see him, opened the press conference by talking for twenty-seconds. All Drury said was that the hiring process was very detailed and thorough – even if he ignored candidates such as Patrick Roy, Joel Quenneville, the assistants from Florida and Vegas, etc.
Drury, who looked like he had just walked out of a prostate exam conducted by Dr. Sausage Fingers, closed with, “It’s my honor and privilege to welcome, honor and introduce New York Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette.”
Lateralette, like his new general manager, didn’t say much during his opening statement either.
The new bench boss of the Blueshirts just said that he was excited, told us how his wife wanted him to smile, thanked his family, thanked the Rangers for flying in his family for this meaningless exercise of jaw-jacking, and then brought up his twelve-games played with the Rangers – which took place during the 1988-89 season – the only twelve NHL games of his career.
Laviolette, who came off as jovial and cheery, then joked about how he tried to find one of his old Ranger jerseys on eBay; but alas, had no such luck.
As a reward, Drury presented Laviolette with a #39 Rangers’ jersey, the number he once wore during those twelve games.
Fortunately, Fanatics didn’t botch the spelling of his name on the $200 piece of fabric.
Following Laviolette’s two-minutes of talk, the floor was opened for questions – and boy, oh boy – did these fools posing as reporters blow it.
Let me get this out of the way before continuing.
Here are six, out of probably six million, questions that should’ve been asked, but were never asked at all:
1) “Chris, is there any update on why you fired Jim Ramsay?”
2) “Pete, what makes you different from Gerard Gallant?”
3) “Pete, what happened in Washington? You never made it out of the first-round there and missed the playoffs last season. What will change here?”
4) “Pete and Chris, how do you expect to get through to Artemi Panarin, the highest-paid winger in the league? Did you tell him to shave his head, or is “The Breadman” auditioning for “Artemi History X?”
5) “Chris, is there a reason why you ignored the many candidates that were available during your interview process? And heck, why did you fire Gallant anyway? Was there any truth to the blow-up that you two had, the story that Elliotte Friedman broke, from 1,000 miles away in Canada, and in turn, flat-out embarrassed us?
6) “Pete, how come you don’t last long in any one city?”
A bonus question?
“Chris, are you awake?”
No joke, at one point, I think you could’ve had 976786789678967896 mosquitos land on the Pizza Man’s face – and Drury wouldn’t have batted an eye.
The first question asked to Laviolette was about the whole hiring process. He responded with the following:
“This is a big job and big opportunity and it should be thorough. The players that are here in place and the team that we have is really exciting and I kind of said it when I first opened up here, to be able to come back to the city of New York and a team like this is really exciting. It’s a good team and good players and to get that opportunity I’m really excited about it. It was a thorough interview process and it should be to be the coach of the New York Rangers.”
Was the Gallant hiring process not thorough?
It should also be mentioned, that before, during and after every question, Mollie Walker, as if she were Toby from “Seinfeld,” was laughing hysterically. Someone needs to give her a muzzle, as her non-stop shrieks are distracting, bush-league and unprofessional.
And let me be clear – it’s okay to laugh every now-and-again, especially when someone makes a joke, but I’m not exaggerating – someone would ask Laviolette a question, such as, “what do you want to accomplish here,” and before the coach could even get an answer out, Walker would go into hahahahahahahahhahaha mode, as if she was watching a Rodney Dangerfield stand-up set.
Then again, perhaps Rodney Dangerfield is a bad reference here.
After all, like both Mark Messier and Ron Greschner – I doubt that Walker even knows who Dangerfield is.
A better reference?
“Walker would go into hahahahhahahahaha mode, as if she was scrolling around on Tik-Tok – or cashing her paycheck.”
Drury, as mentioned, was only asked two questions – and very basic ones at that – which was expected from this basic beat.
On why Lateralette, the Little League World champion said:
“He’s someone that I wanted to talk to right away when the job opened up – and as I said – I wanted a detailed, thorough process. As Peter said, it’s a big job and an important job and as I went through the process it became clear to me that all his attributes as a coach and person made sense for our team.”
Were those attributes not getting out of the first-round in Washington, much like the 2022-23 Rangers?
On the relationship that he expects from a general manager and head coach, Drury brought up “nepotism”/having a previous working relationship:
“It’s a partnership and working together and picking his brain on different things already and he’s going to do the same with me on players and different thoughts. I think you’ve got to be on the same page in a lot of different ways.
“He’s only been officially hired for a week, but it feels like a long time. I was fortunate to play for Peter a long time ago in an Olympics and World Championships and so we have a little bit of history, but it feels like we are in lockstep already in what we want to accomplish and how we want to accomplish it.”
If you really want to dig, and perhaps play “conspiracy theorist” too; then this was the only time where Drury somewhat alluded to Gallant – you know – whose firing was never asked about.
On how the profession of coaching has changed, Lateralette said:
“Definitely it’s changed. I spoke with Benoit Allaire yesterday and he was telling me about Jacques Lapierriere. Jacques and I worked together back in Boston under Pat Burns. We were assistant coaches and Jacques was an unbelievable coach. He didn’t want to do a lot with the computer, but he would tell you and show you what you needed to do and how you needed to do it. He was a great communicator, the type of guy that can run practice for hours and never need a drill from anybody. He just had it up in his head and had so much experience.
“The game has changed and the staffs have gotten bigger and technology has gotten so much better. The game continually changes and you have to continue to change with all of that and be up to speed with all of that and so there has been a lot of change in 25-years in regard to coaching itself – but the game has changed, coaches have changed, staffs have changed. I think that has been significant.”
The only thing gathered from this word salad?
Benoit Allaire isn’t going anywhere.
On trying to win while balancing the disappointing young players and perhaps a veteran crew that isn’t too hot either; Lateralette brought up his previous stops and immediately began talking about that fluke 2005-06 season, when he and his Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup.
Lateralette also brought up his time with the Islanders, the Flyers and the Predators too, while nary saying a word about his time in Washington.
Also worth mentioning?
Larry Brooks was the only reporter that Lateralette mentioned by name.
On his style and how he hopes to accomplish it, this is when Lateralette perhaps took a shot at his predecessor:
“It’s about pressuring, it’s about puck pursuit, it’s battling, it’s grinding that makes teams great. It has to be taught now, in the preseason, the entire season – it’s not something you ask to flip a switch once the playoffs start.
“When you watch the playoff games right now, the Final 4, the Final 2, it’s the compete in those teams that makes them great. It’s not something you can ask for. It has to be practiced daily.
“My message is let’s go to work. Let’s get working. I think we have good pieces in place. To me, it’s about the work ethic that drives teams. The messaging from me to the players is that it starts in the training camp and then we’ll make the playoff push.”
In addition, Lateralette, throughout his chit-chat, kept on stressing how important it was to hold his players accountable from day one at training camp, throughout the regular season and then hopefully, into the playoffs.
While he didn’t say it verbatim; it felt like Lateralette was critiquing Gallant and how flat the Rangers looked following Game 2 of the first-round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
And again, all of this sounded like stuff that he probably said to Drury, when selling himself for the gig.
Lateralette, and again, unlike Gallant, also made sure to mention on several occasions that he would be talking to every Ranger player and every member on the Blueshirts’ staff too during the summer.
Verbatim, the new head coach said:
“I started to make phone calls [to his new players]. I didn’t do that until I got the job. I established lines of communication now. There’s conversations and you chat, but you can’t coach them yet. You develop relationships now and they build. By the end of the month, I hope to reach out to everyone, players and staff.”
For a coach that used the words “balance” and “accountability” a lot; Lateralette will have to do the same.
After all, this crybaby group cried when David Quinn tried to get too personal with them. They then cried about Gallant when he did the opposite.
Sometimes, you just can’t win.
Following another laughing spree; Ms. Walker, and predictably at that, brought up “THE KIDS, OH MY GOD, THE HUMANITY, THE KIDS,” but I guess to her credit, she didn’t soil herself when asking about Zac Jones, her favorite player (reporters aren’t supposed to have biases but she does).
While Jones wasn’t addressed (and imagine asking people to pay to read a column about the much discussed hot-stove debate of ZAC JONES v. BEN HARPUR – and as birdbrain Walker did on Tuesday); both Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere, the top two lottery picks that thus far, have been the equivalent of hitting $5 on a scratch-off, were asked about.
“I do think these young players need an opportunity to grow. Not given, but you want to count on them more. Everyone wants to feel that responsibility and value. You want to see them get more minutes, more power-play time. These conversations will take place. Those opportunities will be there for them.”
This was the final question asked to Lateralette, as questions concerning Panarin, Mika and his knack for going ghost during the playoffs, and even someone who runs hot-and-cold as K’Andre Miller were ignored.
And while I wouldn’t lump him in with the others, Lateralette wasn’t asked if he had talked to the team captain, Jacob Trouba, yet. (He did mention that he ran into Adam Fox while in New York – but didn’t say what they talked about, nor did the media ask him to elaborate either.)
Following the press conference, we then went to a prerecorded interview that Dave Maloney conducted with Lateralette – where the head coach said everything to the former captain as he said during his press conference.
After Sieve Vagistat reminded us that he once shook hands with Lateralette, the broadcast concluded.
And I’m not making up the following:
Right after the broadcast ended, do you know what M$GN aired next?
One of those short five-minute segments, one entitled “GALLANT’S COACHING CORNER!”
Again, ON BRAND!
ON BRAND I say!
In my eyes, Tuesday’s walk-in-the-park was nothing but fluff – where I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the Rangers’ beat fluffed Laviolette’s pillows and then massaged his feet afterwards.
Again, and I know this is tough for fans who only watch the Rangers to understand; but please – go look at the rest of the league.
Put it this way: The last two press conferences that Brendan Shanahan, a former Ranger himself and now the team president in Toronto, just gave?
Talk about night-and-day and a complete 180 from whatever this was on Tuesday.
When the whole thing finally reached its end, all I was left thinking was the following:
Did Lateralette pen a ninety-page handwritten note to Drury too?
(And yes, for the uneducated, like Mollie Walker and her peers – that’s a Bryan Trottier reference!)
Good luck to Lateralette. He’s going to need it with this bunch. I’m rooting for his success.
UPDATE: As I was putting this blog to bed, the Rangers, three-hours after the fact, uploaded Lateralette’s press conference.
I haven’t watched the YouTube version, but even though the organization usually edits and sanitizes these things – there wasn’t really anything said that would warrant such treatment.
In other words, I expect this to be the same thing that aired on the M$GN.
If you haven’t seen it yet, then here you go:
I talked about this in-depth last week (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/61223/ ), but as a reminder, the Hockey Hall of Fame will announce their Class of 2023 on Wednesday, June 21st.
I may return tomorrow with some quick thoughts, especially if there are a few surprises; but I don’t think I have to give you a whole spiel on why Lundqvist received his nod.
It’s the rest of the class that has me the most interested; as those names are not as easy to predict.
As far as anything else?
I’m now at the 95% mark of getting my new book, “The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” to the finish line.
Spoiler: The book will probably hit the 500-page mark – but will only be one volume – as opposed to the two four-volume set of books that I wrote last year!
Originally, and because I know that reading long books has gone the way of the dodo bird, I planned to keep the book to 300 pages. However, when you’re covering 100 different players and events, it’s tough to limit each subject to just three pages or less.
And of course, there are omissions too, because it was impossible to fit everyone. I’ll save the rest for a sequel!
For those who haven’t seen it already, here’s the updated cover art for the book, featuring the back cover, the spine and the front cover:
Until next time (and again, maybe tomorrow after the HOF announcement), I’m back to working on this book.
And yes – I know that my once brimming with optimism attitude has evaporated in recent weeks – but what do you expect?
Should I be doing cartwheels over the current state of this team right now?
I will say, the one positive thing about being pessimistic?
In other words, should the Rangers have a good season – then I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
If they don’t, then I won’t be letdown either!
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
My first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”
As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:
For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
Peter Lateralette Hired as 37th Head Coach of Rangers’ History – But Does It Matter? The Press Release That NYR Doesn’t Want You To Read Revealed, Lavy’s Past & Present To Determine Drury’s Future; Dolan Against the Clock, Artemi History X Panarin, Vegas Golden Knights Win Their Silver Armor; A Rare Success Story for Gary Bettman, Patrick Kane & More
Rangers’ COACH WATCH ’23 Update: Joel Quenneville Currently in New York City; Facts vs Speculation, Henrik Lundqvist Less Than Ten Days Away from Hockey Hall of Fame Announcement; Potential Class of 2023 & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my recently released four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”
If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com
For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Thanks for reading.
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine