Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I am back from Atlantic City, where no, I didn’t place a futures bet on the New York Rangers. Maybe I’ll drop a legal $100 bill on the Rangers to win the 2022 Stanley Cup Final once sports gambling becomes legalized in New York. That feels like a FABULOUS way to celebrate the legalization of sports gambling in my home state!
And for what it’s worth, the Rangers are a 28:1 shot right now, to win the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. If you love the action, this is a pretty solid bet, although in the present, we have no clue what the roster will be come Opening Night. In other words – I’ll take my time in approaching the ticket counter!
Speaking of the present, I would consider this current time period, which started with the completion of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final and ending on the date of July 17th, (the date when teams have to submit their protected lists for the 2021 Seattle Expansion Draft) as a “Calm Before The Storm” period.
While yes, some shocking things have gone down around the league during the last week; (Minnesota buy-outs, Keith trade, Weber injury, etc) on the Rangers end of things, the champagne bottle is in the room but the cork hasn’t been popped just yet. That said, that cork will pop off soon enough – as like many, I expect Rangers general manager Chris Drury to make a bevy of moves within the next few weeks. You’d have to have your head in the sand to think Drury’s mission here is to keep the status quo.
And isn’t it amazing Suzyn, that you could also say that this “Calm Before The Storm” period could also be dubbed as a “Calm After the Storm” period too? Yes – that’s a reference to the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup and all of the parties that the Lightning have had over the last week. And not for nothing, Nikita Kucherov may have surpassed Alex Ovechkin for the “best celebration with the Stanley Cup” award.
There are a few Rangers news and notes to get into tonight, as Chris Drury and company gear up for two separate drafts and free agency. Of course, should it behoove Mr. Drury, Drury could also make a trade or two between now and the Seattle expansion draft. However, as of right now, mum is the word on that front.
With a flurry of major events heading our way, I wanted to catch up on all the latest in Rangerstown, USA. Fingers crossed, by the next time I do an update on this site, my “New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” book will be complete and off to the editor. I have about 50 pages or so left to read on my third and final proof-read. However, I’ve also hit a positive “snag”, if you can use the word snag in this fashion – after posting the Bill Cook chapter of the book on this site, I had family members of deceased Rangers alumni reach out, where they were interested in the project. In other words, if these people want to send in personal stories about these ex-Rangers, and if these stories can help illuminate who these guys were off the ice, then I’ll add them into the book.
I’m telling you, after talking about this book for nearly two years on this site, this book will be a reality very soon. Hopefully by the time the 2021-2022 season starts! And speaking of the 2021-2022 season, let’s get into that on the other side of the PLUGS segment.
Here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:
BCBS For 7/8: Lightning Strikes Twice; Tampa Bay Wins Back-to-Back Stanley Cup Finals, The Homegrown Bolts Dynasty (Yes, Dynasty!), Andrei Vasilevskiy’s Meteoric Rise, Dominance & HOF Career, Ryan McDonagh Still Smiling, Cinderella Canadiens & Their Blueprint, Upcoming Key Dates for the New York Rangers, Seattle Kraken & the NHL, See Ya NBC & More
BCBS For 7/6: The Stanley Cup Final Moves to a Game 5; Ryan McDonagh & Company Look to Close Out at Home, A Massive “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Update; Free Sample Chapter on the Legendary Rangers Hall of Famer Bill Cook, Adam Fox, RIP Matiss Kivlenieks & More
BCBS For 6/30: The Fox Says NORRIS TROPHY WINNER! Adam Fox Makes Rangers & NHL History; Wins Norris Trophy In Second Season, Fox Moving Forward (Give Him the $ & “C”!), Brian Leetch = Best Spoiler Ever, NHL Year-End Awards, K’Andre Miller Beats Out Igor & Lafreniere, NYR’s New ECHL Affiliate, The Never-Ending Jack Eichel Rumors, Dan Girardi, Kakko Loses His Ruutu; Big Year 3 Ahead, Tony DeAngelo Update & Impact on the Norris, Successfully Riling Up & Infuriating Islander Fans, The Fascinating Place Known as Twitter & More
This past Friday, on July 9th, the Rangers re-signed Brett Howden to a one-year deal worth $885,000. Immediately after this news broke, the “on-the-ledge-of-the-bridge” fans of the Rangers went batty. For whatever reason, the “Howden Hate Club” talks about Brett Howden as if Howden came to the Rangers with expectations similar to the expectations of former Ranger Rick Nash. Heck, with some of the belly-aching you see about Howden, you’d think that Brett Howden was getting paid like Rick Nash too!
I know the root of all Howden derision is all because of the Ryan McDonagh/JT Miller trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, it’s just time for Ranger fans to accept that the Rangers lost this trade. The Rangers have lost trades before and they’ll lose trades again. It’s part of the business. And as talked about multiple times on this site, McDonagh was a perfect fit for Tampa. Could’ve the Rangers received more for both McDonagh and Miller? Probably, but what’s done is done. That said, to waste your waking hours fretting over a fourth liner making under a million bucks seems frivolous to me. There are bigger fish to fry.
For Rangers fans who play chess instead of checkers, this re-signing of Howden should’ve made all the sense in the world to you. By re-signing Howden PRIOR to the Seattle expansion draft, the Rangers can expose Howden to Seattle and protect someone else. While we don’t know officially who the Rangers will protect, we can pretty much predict that Howden will be one of the forwards exposed to Seattle. That’s all this deal is about. If Seattle doesn’t take Howden, and if Howden is still with the Rangers organization after this summer, it’s not the end of the world either. At $885K, the Rangers could always place Howden in Hartford. We’re not talking a Wade Redden deal here!
When it comes to the Seattle expansion draft and as noted previously; it’s most likely that Keith Kinkaid will be the Rangers goaltender exposed to the Kraken. Of course, if the Rangers want to fiddle with their salary cap a bit, the Rangers could expose Alexandar Georgiev. In the event that happened and assuming that Seattle would select Georgiev, the Rangers could have Kinkaid back-up Igor Shestyorkin next season. The Rangers could also look outside for a cheap veteran goaltender, a veteran goaltender making less money than the $2,425,000 Georgiev will earn next season. (And should the Rangers go down this route, Kinkaid could always go back down to Hartford.)
I talked about these scenarios in-depth a few months ago, where I even suggested that Henrik Lundqvist (at the veteran’s minimum) could be an idea. Of course, Lundqvist would have to be healthy for any of this to play out, but a Lundqvist reunion would be a perfect scenario for everyone. Just think about this, and again, with the assumption that Lundqvist would be able to play:
— The Rangers would get a veteran goaltender who knows the ropes on the cheap.
— Lundqvist sounds like a changed man after his recent health scare. What I mean here is that I think Lundqvist will just be happy to play, rather than doing the finger-pointing stuff and shaming his teammates in the media as he once did. Lundqvist has a new lease on life and I think without the pressure of having to be the man, he would thrive in this new role. As a back-up who only has to play 10-15 games, Lundqvist would somewhat be the “goaltender emeritus”.
— The Rangers and Madison Square Garden get a proven draw, a draw that will help bring fans back to MSG with the pandemic now over. Plus, with Lundqvist at the end of the line, Lundqvist can get a proper send-off and the Rangers can make big greenbacks while promoting it. And as we all know, the Rangers and MSG will never stop squeezing the wallets of their fans.
— Igor won’t have to worry about splitting time with Georgiev or being benched if his back-up goaltender gets hot. Igor would get a sounding board in Lundqvist, a Lundqvist who has done it before and a Lundqvist, despite his competitive spirit, not looking to take minutes away from Igor.
— Lundqvist still has a home in NYC and his kids go to school in NYC. With enough money for 67567567 lifetimes, Lundqvist could take the paltry veteran’s minimum salary and still see his family regularly.
— For Chris Drury, bringing back his ex-teammate would create good vibes and good will. As it stands right now, Drury himself is replacing a huge fan favorite in John Davidson. Bringing back Lundqvist would help Drury’s relationship (or at least the way Drury is perceived) with a bulk of the fan base.
Of course, this idea is akin to fan fiction, but I could see this becoming a reality. And if Lundqvist has a medical issue mid-season, you’d always have Kinkaid as a back-up plan.
However, if Lundqvist can’t get cleared and the Rangers do want to send Georgiev’s contract to Seattle, there will be plenty of veteran goaltenders out there on the cheap. Again, this is just an idea and not reality. For all we know, come Friday, Georgiev’s name will be protected and Kinkaid will be exposed as expected.
I know everyone is sick and tired about talking Tony DeAngelo, but for those who want DeAngelo out of town – the end is near.
For whatever reason, and most of this stuff comes from the same people who make Brett Howden out to be the second coming of Jeffrey Epstein; there was talk about the Rangers buying out DeAngelo immediately after the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. As talked about previously on this site, that never made any sense to me, because while I don’t think Seattle will draft DeAngelo; at the very least, the Rangers can expose DeAngelo and protect someone else. (Libor Hajek or Anthony Bitetto.)
I do want to throw in this new wrinkle here. If you’re Chris Drury, and if the game-plan is to move on from DeAngelo – it would be stupid to do what Drury’s predecessors did and completely devalue an asset. While Jeff Gorton and John Davidson pretty much made Tony DeAngelo untouchable/untradeable last season; Drury can at least hold on to DeAngelo for a bit longer, like a poker player holding onto their last chip for dear life.
Again, while I don’t think Seattle would take DeAngelo, we also don’t know who is on the protected lists around the league yet. Tony DeAngelo is a $4.8M cap hit next season and only has one year left on his deal. Maybe Seattle takes on DeAngelo, in an attempt to get to the salary cap floor. Whether DeAngelo plays there or not is another thing, but for salary cap purposes, maybe Seattle takes a look at the soon-to-be former ex-Ranger.
More likely? Like a kid drinking a “Slurpee” from 7-11, Drury gets one last drop out of DeAngelo, where Drury exposes DeAngelo, protects someone else, Seattle doesn’t take the bait and then Drury buys out DeAngelo.
With DeAngelo exposed from the cabinet of Rangers defensemen; the Rangers are also likely to expose either Bitetto or Hajek, where due to age, I think the Rangers would expose Bitetto, a Bitetto that I don’t think Seattle will be seeking.
When you look at the Rangers forwards who could be exposed, most likely, we’ll see Colin Blackwell and Kevin Rooney joining Brett Howden. The Rangers could also opt to double-down (another gambling reference, as I’m coming off playing something like 40 hours of blackjack this weekend!) on Colin Blackwell, and instead of exposing Blackwell, the Rangers could expose Gauthier.
Colin Blackwell had a great season, his best yet during the 2021 season, but I have to ask this – do you see Blackwell replicating the season he just had? Obviously, due to the age difference between Gauthier and Blackwell, Gauthier has the brighter upside. I think it makes more sense to protect Gauthier, which the Rangers can now do, with the re-signing of Howden.
Last but not least, when it comes to Kevin Rooney, I think just like Howden, Rooney is a lock to be exposed. Rooney was solid for the Rangers last season, but really, if Rooney goes elsewhere, it’s not like the Rangers will miss him.
While not officially announced by the Rangers as of this writing; on Monday July 12th, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the Rangers have added assistant coaches to Gallant’s staff. As expected, Mike Kelly is one of these coaches. As talked about previously, Mike Kelly is one of Gallant’s loyal lieutenants and has been with Gallant during multiple stops of Gallant’s career, including in Vegas. Brooks is reporting that Kelly will be a video coach and will also serve the team in an “eye-in-the-sky” role, where Kelly will watch games from upstairs for the first two periods and then join the Rangers bench for the third period.
In a move that definitely is more Drury influenced than Gallant influenced; the Rangers have promoted Gord Murphy from Hartford to New York. However, Gallant does have a connection with Murphy, as Murphy was one of Gallant’s assistant coaches in Columbus, last working with Gallant during the 2006-2007 season. It’s expected that Murphy will work with the Rangers defensemen and penalty kill.
As far as these moves go, I have no issues. Everyone knew Kelly would be one of Gallant’s assistants. Murphy has NHL experience and the Rangers are promoting from within. I’m fine with that.
The Rangers still have to make a few more coaching hires, as there is one more spot to fill on Gallant’s bench, where we can assume that whoever that hire is, that person will be tasked to work with the Rangers forwards and the power-play. While I guess Murphy could do this, I think Murphy will be in charge of the Rangers defense. Why do I mention this again? Easy – I think this kills the Dan Girardi rumors, as Girardi would not be brought in to work with the Rangers forwards and power-play.
Just like how Drury needs to find his own replacement in Hartford, by finding a general manager for the Wolfpack; Drury also needs to find a new assistant coach for Hartford as a result of the Murphy promotion. I’m sure this will all settle itself and with ease.
As they say, times are changin’ – including in other areas of the organization as well.
In news that Rangers fan Mike Silvers first discovered, John Rosasco, who has been with the organization for over thirty years, is no longer with the team. However, it seems that Rosasco wasn’t fired, as Rosasco has taken a better job within the Madison Square Garden corporate ranks.
Previously, Rosasco served the Rangers in many different roles, where Rosasco was the head of the Rangers Public Relations Department for nearly three decades. Ironically, Rosasco didn’t exactly have the best relationship with fans of the Rangers, despite Rosasco’s title. Then again, Glen Sather hasn’t won shit in 21 years with the Rangers, yet James Dolan continues to regularly pay the cigar chomper from Banff to this very day.
Anyway congratulations to Rosasco on a job that was just done.
As far as any other current Rangers news, there isn’t anything else, outside of the fact that Vladimir Tarasenko has requested a trade out of St. Louis. Tarasenko, who has a limited NMC, has listed the Rangers as one of the teams he’d be interested in.
When it comes to Tarasenko, he’s been injury prone for years. In his prime, he was great and often had Ranger fans crying and thinking “what if?”, especially when you go back to the 2010 NHL Draft. During that draft, the Rangers decided to draft “The Undertaker” Dylan McIlrath, thus passing over on names such as Cam Fowler, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Faulk, Kevin Hayes and Vladimir Tarasenko himself.
In an era before the institution of the NHL hard salary cap, the Rangers probably would’ve been all-in on Tarasenko. However, today, with Tarasenko commanding a price tag of $7.5M per season for the next two seasons; it’s probably not in the Rangers best interest to make a play for the often-injured Tarasenko. In addition, Tarasenko is a right-winger and the Rangers have enough of those already, including the much talked about Pavel Buchnevich.
While on the topic of Pavel Buchnevich, Buchnevich is currently a restricted free agent. There have been rumblings that Buchnevich may be on the trade-block. That said, if you look at recent Rangers history and their restricted free agents, there’s always talk about the Rangers trading these guys, with most of that talk coming out of the New York Post – the preferred spin-job artist of the New York Rangers. As it’s been done ever since Glen Sather got to New York, Rangers management always use the New York Post in an attempt to drive player salaries down, especially whenever an arbitration date is approaching.
Need recent examples of this? Look no further than last season, when the big four of Rangers RFA’s were Ryan Strome, Alexandar Georgiev, Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux. All four were rumored to be on the trading block and wouldn’t you know it, all four would re-sign with the Rangers.
Who knows what Buchnevich is looking for next season? He was paid $3,250,000 last season and is definitely due for a raise. Of Buchnevich and Tarasenko, I’d rather pay Buchnevich $5M a season than absorb Tarasenko’s full cap hit.
Here’s a BlueCollarBlueShirts.com exclusive for ya – Sean Avery, now back living in California, recently guest-starred on the new “Kevin Can F- Himself” series on AMC. Here’s a better picture of Avery’s appearance:
In talk that has nothing to do with the Rangers of today; Sean Avery played himself on “Kevin Can F- Himself”, where Avery and the titular character Kevin McRoberts had a steak eating contest – a contest that Avery lost. More importantly, Avery’s hockey career was the genesis of his feud with the fictional Kevin McRoberts, a McRoberts who is a fan of all things Boston sports.
And on a quick aside here, if you were a fan of “Schitt’s Creek”, the show which ended its run before it became popular in America because of “Netflix”; Annie Murphy, who played “Alexis” on “Schitt’s Creek”, now plays the role of “Allison” on “Kevin Can F- Himself.” Murphy is great in this new role and series, but I do question how this series can go beyond one or two seasons, as the premise of the show is Allison wanting to kill off her husband Kevin. The show parodies television shows from the last twenty years, where you have some fat idiotic male schlub making moronic decisions left and right, only for the wife to put up with all of it. (Think of all of the characters that Kevin James has ever played on television, as this show is a direct response to “Kevin Can Wait”.)
Anyway, I have found this new series to be entertaining and interesting, but I do fear that it will drag out as it goes on, because how many times can Allison fail to knock off her brain-dead husband?
While speaking of media, how about some plugs for other Rangers themed endeavors? (What a transition!)
First up, the “2 Guys 1 Cup” podcast returned on July 13th, where co-hosts Shawn and Roc interviewed “The Draft Analyst” Steve Kournianos. As you know by now, I’m a history guy and not a prospects guy. In turn, I took a lot out of this interview, as Kournianos, who actually spends a bulk of his life watching prospects play hockey all over the world, spoke for nearly two hours. In a sentence here, I could never give you a detailed look at prospects and Steve is one of the best at what he does.
What I like about Kournianos (I’ve been following his work for years) is that he is able to keep his fandom out of his analysis. I mention this, because I’ve seen other fans try to dabble into the world of prospects and NHL drafts and these fans can’t take their biases out of what they write and say. After all, the people who are now telling you how Nils Lundkvist will become Bobby Orr 2.0; these were also the same people telling you how Lias Andersson was going to be a future Hall of Famer. Just because you take a picture with a young player doesn’t mean that player will pan out. (And I’m not suggesting Lundkvist will be a bust like Andersson, but I do think you need to be realistic and patient too.)
And let me be clear here – I’m not knocking people for including their biases and posting their pictures with prospects. Anyone can do what they want. However, for me personally, when I want to learn something about a draft and/or prospects, I rather hear it from someone shooting straight rather than from someone who is attached to a specific player/prospect.
Even better, this interview with Kournianos is free and with a guy who has ACTUALLY seen these prospects play. Imagine paying money to read a “MOCK DRAFT” from someone who has not seen any of these players play? These reporters, who ask their fans for money to read articles on topics they have no knowledge about, are pathetic in my eyes. Then again, some of these reporters are messenger pigeons anyway, and couldn’t tell you what jersey number Mike Richter wore, unless these reporters looked at the rafters of Madison Square Garden.
And no joke Part I: I saw two prominent Rangers
messenger pigeons reporters beg people to pay them and read their “MOCK DRAFTS”. Do any of these NYR beat reporters break news anymore outside of Larry Brooks? Again, imagine paying someone real money to read their simulation results on players they’ve never seen play before? Even Rick Carpiniello, only second to Brooks in seniority on the NYR beat, has been reduced to teasing rumors rather than reporting any real news. Insanity!
And no joke Part II: it’s not just some of the beat reporters who don’t know anything, as the Rangers, both organizationally and officially, have had no problems promoting their ignorance either. After all, remember when the Rangers fired the extremely knowledgeable and connected Jim Cerny for Amanda Borges, an Amanda Borges who knew nothing about hockey? To this date, no one has replaced Amanda Borges as a reporter for the Rangers website/media pages. As talked about repeatedly on this site, solid reporting, knowledge and journalistic standards have gone the way of the dodo bird. When you’re forced to rave about Larry Brooks all the time, you know there’s a problem! (I kid, I kid, or am I?)
Anyway, here’s the tremendous interview with Kournianos:
Episode 6 is out now! We are joined by the one and only @TheDraftAnalyst Steve Kournianos! Talking Rangers prospects, draft prospects, Drury, and how will our roster be shaped moving forward. Download and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!https://t.co/e7Zb3FVZII
— 2 Guys 1 Cup (@2G1CRangers) July 14, 2021
Whereas “2 Guys 1 Cup” had a serious tone this week, the latest episode of “The Blueshirt Underground Show” was anything but!
On Wednesday July 14, “The BSU Show” returned, where co-hosts Jim and Eddie put together an amazing comedy bit regarding the abundance of Ranger themed podcasts that are out there. To watch the show, click the play button below:
As a reminder, here are the upcoming key dates pertaining to all things NHL:
July 17: Deadline for teams to submit their protected lists for the 2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft.
July 21: The 2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, which is scheduled to take place at 8PM. Of note, this will air on ESPN2, so already, the NHL is being kicked to another second channel of a major network. I don’t care to look this up right now, as it’s late – but really, what is ESPN airing at 8PM on 7/21? The Cornhole Championship?
July 23: The first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
July 24: The second through seventh rounds of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
July 28: NHL Free Agency period begins, starting at 12PM noon.
Back to working on the book!
Stay FABULOUS my friends.
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
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