Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. As predicted at the start of the summer – it flies by – and we’re now closer to Labor Day than removed from the Fourth of July.
I gotta admit – ever since starting this website in 2014 – I can’t think of a slower Rangers’ off-season than the one that we are presently experiencing.
While yes, pushing my new book, “The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is a large reason why this site has been dormant during the past two weeks; at the same time – there’s really not that much going on.
As I write these words in real-time into the wee hours of Sunday, August 13th – there’s only one true Rangers’ roster story still left unanswered – the status of the “Lone Ranger,” the only restricted free agent yet to come to terms with the club, the first-overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Alexis Lafreniere.
As far as whatever happens next for Lafreniere, I’m not really that concerned that he hasn’t re-signed just yet – but I do admit that there is a level of a concern – and for no matter how mild (just like his career has been thus far) it may be.
As previously mentioned on this site, it’s not out of the norm for a team’s contract negotiations with their own restricted free agents to go deep into the summer; but at the same time – you just have to wonder what the hold-up is – because on paper (and we all know how that goes), this seems like both an elementary and a “no-doubt-about-it” deal.
And with not much else going on – the longer this story drags out, then the more-and-more you will hear those two pesky words of “offer sheet” – and where most have the Vancouver Canucks pegged as a potential (and the most likeliest) suitor.
Also worth mentioning?
Should the Rangers re-sign Lafreniere as the consensus expects (the same consensus that pegged Lafreniere as a first-overall pick), and should he struggle once again at the start of the season – then you can bet your bottom dollar that his present off-season will be fully examined under the microscope.
As noted before on this site, while you truly can’t judge anyone by their social media postings, it’s now being speculated (and don’t you love that word, “speculated”?) that Lafreniere has spent more time during these hot months with twelve-ounce bottles rather than on the ice.
(For what it’s worth – I’ve done the same this summer – although I do keep my beer on ice, so there’s that!)
In other words, if he has a strong start to the 2023-24 season, then you won’t hear a word about these present rumblings. But should things play out differently – then this chatter, gossip and “speculation” will become headline stories come October and beyond.
Either way, only time will tell.
Another thing about Lafreniere?
I’ve seen a lot of fans and pundits “speculate” (and sometimes definitively state at the same time too), that new Rangers’ bench boss, Peter Lateralette, “HAS TO PLAY” Lafreniere – and where these suggestions are usually followed by the sentence, “much more than Gerard Gallant ever did.”
In what world do you think that Lateralette, who along with his own boss, Rangers’ GM Chris Drury, is here to develop anyone? Lateralette is not here to be a David Quinn 2.0.
In addition, and at this point in time – “The Letter” from 2018 may as well have been written during the days when the dinosaurs roamed this planet.
Both men, and repeatedly at that, have stressed the mantra of “WIN NOW,” while also using those three words that seemingly feel deathly allergic to the Rangers, as if they were Macaulay Culkin with bumble bees in “My Girl,” “The Stanley Cup.”
Make no bones about it, as following the firings of both David Quinn and Gerard Gallant, two coaches that “The Pizza Man,” aka Mr. ZOOM ZOOM himself canned – there is more pressure on the GM, as well as his new head coach, to win than ever before.
While I believe that Lafreniere will of course get a chance, I also don’t seem him bumping his fellow left-wingers, Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider, from the Rangers’ top two lines.
How this all plays out is anyone’s guess, but in my estimation, Lafreniere, and with the assumption that he re-signs with the club, will remain on the Blueshirts’ third line.
At the end of the day, you just don’t pay Panarin and Kreider all of this boffo money and then take their ice time away from them – especially for both Lateralette and Drury – the top two employees who need a big season for their owner, the man who just went two billion dollars over budget with his new M$G $phere eye$ore in Las Vegas, James Dolan.
Plus, and despite the moldy bread that we’ve now been accustomed to during playoff time – you also can’t say that Lafreniere has done anything of merit to bump either Panarin or Kreider (and with the latter scoring the most goals for the club during the past two years) from their present (and assumed for the 2023-24 season) spots in the line-up.
But again – only time will tell.
After posting reviews of my new book by Stan Fischler and George Grimm on this site; on Wednesday, August 9th, the guys over at “The Blueshirt Underground Show” reviewed “The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History.”
As a bonus, I also appeared on the show as a guest – and for the first time – despite listening to their show for nearly a decade!
(The reason why I’ve never appeared on the program before despite the numerous invites offered? BSU is the one Ranger entity, medium and/or whatever word that you want to use to describe it, where I can just sit back and enjoy it. If it makes sense, I rather be a “fan” than be a part of the show – especially since my opinions usually align with the show’s hosts, where as a result, I feel whatever I’d have to say would be redundant. Plus, their live YouTube chat is fairly entertaining and who wants to miss out on that?)
In case you missed it, and in the event that you want to give the show a listen (I appear at around the 45-minute mark), then click the play button below:
I know that the following is a daily, and perhaps now boring, gripe on this website – but hey – what’s another time?
Have you seen the prices that the Rangers are charging for their tickets next season?
Despite their complete and utter all-out failure of a performance in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs; Dolan, who again, needs to recoup some of that $2B that he overspent with his $phere in $in City, has raised the cost of ducats across the board – and where some season ticket holders have told me that they have suffered and/or incurred a 12% increase when compared to last year.
Again, I know that I’ve beaten this horse to death, as this topic always personally riles me up (this site isn’t called BlueCollarBlueShirts for nothing); but hockey, the greatest sport to witness live, is really squeezing their hardcore fans dry – and where you also have to wonder where the next generation of fans are going to come from – assuming that the “youts” of today don’t have a super-rich tooth-fairy hanging about their pillows.
As previously mentioned when the Rangers first released their schedule, it is no coincidence that the Blueshirts’ home opener features the lowly Arizona Coyotes as their opponent.
(And no, the reason isn’t because in theory, the Rangers should start the season 1-0, as the Coyotes, like a high school football homecoming game foe, will make the home team look superb.)
More times than not, the Rangers usually host the Desert Dogs on a weeknight in either December or January – and where also more times than not – this game, one of forty-one home matches, is the cheapest ticket of the season.
By opening up the 2023-24 campaign against the team without a home (and how ironic, when you consider all of the homelessness that plagues the streets outside of M$G worse than COVID-19 ever did) – Dolan and company get an artificial boost at the gate.
For a comparison, and sans the COVID-19 impacted seasons, the average get in price for a Rangers/Coyotes game over the past ten-years was $65. (This figure includes the sales on game day on the secondary market, where a majority of sellers and scalpers unload their tickets at a loss.) The cheapest ticket in the lower bowl (the 100 sections) ran $125.
Here’s how the home opener is currently shaping up – and where this game isn’t sold out – yet:
While I don’t want to bog you down with too many numbers; last week, and with the thought of writing this blog on my mind, I opened my Ticketmaster and StubHub apps and then checked out the prices for every single one of the Rangers’ 82-games for this upcoming season.
And yep, and as mentioned many times before – I am fully aware of how “supply and demand” works, and how if people are going to pony up the bucks, then both M$G and the Rangers will continue to treat their fans as their own personal ATMs.
My findings, and as you perhaps would suspect, were appalling.
There’s not one cheap game on the schedule, and where if you also factor in the costs of travel, parking, eating, drinking and whatever else you blow your bucks on whenever attending a game at M$G – then you’re looking at a $250 night out – but only if you buy the most inexpensive ticket possible.
But hey, how about those FAMILY FUN PACKS, where the Blueshirts will laugh their way to the bank as the average family of four coughs up a grand or more!
It just makes you wonder, especially whenever the league’s head-honcho, Gary Bettman (and for that matter, his minions too), talks about all of the amazing deals and capital that the NHL has recently garnered, including, but not limited to, gambling advertisements, TV rights revenue, Fanatics, corporate sponsors, etc.
Where’s all of this money going?
These “savings” surely aren’t passed on to the fans – nor the players either – and as is obvious by the NHL’s Mickey Mouse hard salary-cap system – and another example of why the NHLPA is the weakest union in all of North America today.
And while you can’t feel “bad” for a professional hockey player when it comes to their earnings; but at the same time, I do wonder what these NHL players think whenever they are scratching-and-clawing to crack a seven-figure salary, while the 12th man on an NBA team signs a $100M deal, and while the pathetic NY Mets pay over $100M for MLB players to play away from Citifield.
Put it this way, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll never read this headline:
“Projected fourth line center Ryan Carpenter agrees to a three-year deal worth $120M on a super-max contract with the Rangers.”
Then again, this would’ve been a possibility, if not a truth, during the days when Glen Sather was the franchise’s GM!
As someone who makes decent money (I’m not rich, but I am able to comfortably live) – I just don’t see how anyone in my boat, or in a vessel smaller than mine, can afford to go to these games on a regular basis – especially since the M$G experience is one of the worst in the league.
Simply put – you’re just not getting your monies worth.
And hey – maybe that’s a book idea too (reviewing, ranking and writing about every NHL barn), as I’m only four NHL arenas away from attending all 32.
While I’ve yet to see the houses in Winnipeg, Dallas, San Jose and Columbus (and I’ll see the Nationwide Arena in Ohio this season); throughout the course of my life, M$G provides the least value for what they charge – and outside of the folklore of the arena being “iconic” due to its location – Dolan’s home is one of the unfriendliest in all of the league.
Between the limited amount of bathrooms, high prices, poor sight lines, no beer vendors in the stands, obstructed seats – you name it and it’s all there – M$G doesn’t only not fare well against the other arenas in the league – it also pales in comparison to the two other barns in near proximity, the Rock in Hockeytown, USA, aka Newark, NJ and the IBS Arena at Belmont.
However, since M$G has the advantage of drawing tourists (which the Devils and Islanders do not); the Rangers and Dolan can do whatever they want without ever suffering any financial consequences, because like “Gremlins” – both fans and tourists are always multiplying.
Whenever one Ranger fan has had enough and is left with nothing but lint in their pockets, there’s always ten as many people willing to say, “take my money.”
In other words, when it comes to the Rangers, loyalty is a one-way street and more times than not, Blueshirt backers are living on a dead end.
This all becomes woefully apparent whenever watching the Rangers play on the road, as every other franchise bends over backwards for their fans – especially for their season ticket holders – their most prized customers.
Blueshirt season subscribers?
They are lucky if they get a free yearbook with their five-to-six figure yearly investment – and where for that investment – they also have the “privilege” of having their ticket prices jacked up even more so in the event that the Rangers qualify for the playoffs.
(And don’t forget how the Rangers charge their season ticket holders full price for three meaningless preseason exhibitions too.)
While there is nothing that we can do to combat the skyrocketing costs of tickets, as there will never be a time where M$G will ever be empty, nor would a “boycott” ever work either; I also wonder if the advances in television broadcasting will one day relieve the monetary pain.
I know that I sound like I’m taking a talking point from the 1950s (live entertainment entities and mediums, including the NHL, newspapers and radio feared television when it debuted), but hey – what’s old is new again!
If I’ve said it once, then I’ve said it a million times (and I also said it earlier tonight), but hockey is the best sport to watch live.
However, I’m not so sure how true that statement/opinion is anymore – and not because of the other sports in America – but instead, because of the advances in modern-day television.
Depending on what kind of television that you have, today, you can now see the pimples on Kaapo Kakko’s face and/or the boogers hanging out of Filip Chytil’s nose. And whenever K’Andre Miller spits on someone, then you can also see the shape, velocity and impact of his DNA when it reaches its target.
I’ve had many readers say the following to me and I am inclined to agree – and even as someone who once averaged attending 35+ games a season – I’d rather watch the Rangers at home than at M$G.
While I will still continue to attend at least one or two games at M$G per-season, instead of going to a bunch of them as I used to; I rather plop my ass on my couch instead – and unlike the popular BSU caller, Costa “The Crazy Greek” – it’s not “all about the money.”
I can only speak for myself, while solely relating this to the Rangers too; but between what an all-out shithole that NYC has become, $20 beers, that “Walking Dead” zombie 200s rotunda during intermissions, the 30-minute lines to pass water at a piss-stained urinal and everything else that’s equally infuriating – I am now enjoying Ranger home games more at my own home, rather than at theirs.
Even if the tickets were free, I still think that I’d rather stay at home these days, as I feel it’s the better experience – that is, unless I have great seats. (And that’s why I am spending 95% of my Rangers’ budget on away games this season – as you get more bang for your buck that way. Plus, I like traveling and seeing different things too.)
And while this really only applies to just me, as no one writes more about the Blueshirts than yours truly – it’s also easier to hammer home a blog from my own home, rather than dealing with a jam-packed LIRR train – a form of transportation that usually infects your nose with body odor and your feet with nothing but a movie-theatre floor level of stickiness.
Prediction: While I don’t envision Ranger ticket prices ever decreasing, I can see attendance figures dropping off, between the quality of the team, cost, the M$G experience/ha$$le and the biggest factor, the advancements in television broadcasting.
At this time, let’s switch gears, and talk about a topic/idea that I teased last blog – what I’d do if I was James Dolan (perish the thought of actually being him) and owned the New York Rangers.
Admittedly, what you’re about to read next is pure SUMMER FILLER and a way to fill up white monitor space!
That said, I was recently at my local watering hole enjoying a few pops and belts with friends (all Ranger fans) and where like me, my amigos also feel that this franchise, under Dolan’s leadership, shoots themselves in the feet more on a daily basis than former New York Giants wide-receiver, Plaxico Burress, ever did.
Rather than berating and scrutinizing Dolan, here are my Top Ten suggestions for the silver spoon lad – and what I’d do in a time-span of 24-hours if I was in his position – a position that will never happen unless I win the next ten Powerball lotteries!
(Of note: I’m lucky if I ever hit $5 on a “WIN FOR LIFE” scratch-off ticket, so don’t hold your breath on yours truly ever winning the Powerball, much less several of them!)
TOP TEN SUGGESTIONS FOR JAMES DOLAN (In an order of no importance)
1) Fire Glen Sather.
I don’t care how Dolan does it, but this maddening and nonsensical relationship, one that’s now over 23-years old, needs to go six-feet under, as the Buffoon from Banff has nothing to show for the Blueshirts during his era/error.
2) Bring my first book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden”, to life.
While who knows if Dolan and company are waiting three more years for the 100th anniversary to finally honor the legendary men who won multiple Stanley Cups for the franchise (including my favorite, Frank Boucher, the three-time Stanley Cup champ – or in other words, 75% of the team’s silver) – but it’s time for the club to pay their respects to their all-time greats.
(My prediction? The Rangers celebrate their 100th anniversary by running another 1994 night.)
How to go about rectifying the team’s past head-in-the-sand mistakes is all covered in my first book, so I won’t rewrite everything here; but I will say that having one night to fix all of the wrongs wouldn’t be unprecedented, as the Toronto Maple Leafs did the very same thing back in 2016.
In addition to retiring more numbers and adding new banners, I’d also bring my other two ideas from my first book to the table too – building a Rangers’ museum in M$G and erecting (heh-heh Beavis, you said “erect”) the first statue outside of the venue too – and where I can’t think of anyone better than Adam Graves for such a bronzing treatment.
(But I do believe that if the Rangers ever come to their senses and join the other Original Six teams, and for that matter, “Today’s 32” too, and finally put a statue in tribute to a player outside of M$G, then it will be Rod Gilbert who will get first honors.)
(I’d also take down the Phish banner that litters the rafters at M$G too!)
3) Get mean with the media.
While it’s in Dolan and his team’s best interest to have the current dingbats and birdbrains that currently pollute the Rangers’ beat reporting scene doing their nonsense – wouldn’t it be entertaining if the owner, GM and the head coach held the feet of every scribe to the fire too?
It’s just a shame, as after all, the Larry Brooks vs John Tortorella feud wasn’t that long ago when you really think about it – but in no less than ten-years time removed from those days; today, anything remotely dubbed as “controversial” is now a major no-no – and as Gerard Gallant was once told in his first season after verbally spanking the New York Post’s resident airhead, Mollie “Who’s Mark Messier?” Walker.
Yes, this is more of a fan thing more than an owner thing, but if I was Dolan, then I’d revoke the press passes of the unworthy in an attempt to force the media outlets to hire better and more accomplished reporters.
This is New York City after all and even the legendary Howard Stern, a New York native, had to make his name elsewhere before working in the country’s number one media market.
It’s my belief that if there was a more challenging hockey media in NYC, then the team would get more prominent positions on the back covers and on the air waves too – where for the Rangers, they always play second-, third- and fourth-fiddle to the other sports in town.
4) Revamp the M$G Network.
The current Rangers’ M$GN panel and production has become too slick (there’s nothing organic, natural or entertaining about it), and while Dolan’s propaganda machine personally suits him – there is more money to be made by giving the pregame show and broadcasts an overhaul.
Rather than a half-hour pregame show, I’d extend the show to one hour – as repeat episodes of JB Smoove’s latest failed venture aren’t necessary, nor brings the advertising dollars that live television does.
As mentioned repeatedly, no one does it better than TNT, and since it’s a copycat league – I’d go with what works.
And wouldn’t you know it, Henrik Lundqvist, a part-time M$GN employee, is also one of the key stars on the TNT show.
And yep, you know it – see ya Steve Vagistat – and hello Ryan Callahan or any other prominent member of the Rangers’ alumni – as long as they aren’t a goalie – as Lundqvist has that area covered. (Although I guess I’d make one exemption/exception here – Kevin Weekes.)
While Sam Rosen is an institution, let’s face it – Kenny Albert, also of TNT, and who calls games on the radio with Dave Maloney, is much better – and where it’s time for the Albert & Maloney duo to go from the radio box to television.
Furthermore, I’d bring back the M$G Vault show and do first-run programming covering Rangers’ history too.
I’d also try to find out whatever happened to Al Trautwig, as who knows – he may have been buried alive somewhere in the basement of M$G.
5) Get the Wolfpack out of Hartford.
While it’s nice that the Rangers’ AHL affiliate city in Connecticut has become as rundown and dumpy as NYC; the venue is dated, doesn’t draw well, nor is it profitable.
Currently, there are rumblings about building a casino on the land where the Nassau Coliseum presently sits on – but I’ve also heard about huge construction projects taking place in Uniondale before that eventually never saw the light of day.
Don’t believe me? Then just ask the ghost of former Isles’ owner, Chuck Wang.
Since the Rangers are a business, while also knowing that ticket prices will only increase and never decrease – why not move the ‘Pack to the refurbished Coliseum?
Not only would local hockey (and Ranger) fans find affordable hockey in the area – it would also be a nice F-U to the Islanders – and isn’t that something that every Blueshirt backer would find joy in?
6) Go the extra mile for season ticket subscribers.
As covered earlier, the Rangers put the least amount of effort and appreciation towards their season ticket holders. That has to change – even though the Blueshirts don’t have to do this, as there will always be a new sucker born every day.
Outside of giving away cheaply made and produced free swag/Chinese-made merchandise; there should be more of a focus on interactions between the fans and the players.
For example, the team’s most recent legend, Henrik Lundqvist, on the payroll as the franchise’s official ambassador, is never made available for meet-and-greet sessions.
Furthermore, you also don’t see him floating around all over M$G like his predecessor once did, “Mr. Ranger,” Rod Gilbert. (In Lundqvist’s defense, he has television commitments on most nights – Gilbert never did.)
Something as simple as a meet-and-greet with Lundqvist and the team’s current roster would go a long way. I don’t think that I’ll find much of an argument here.
I know this is fan-driven and most owners don’t think like this, but I’d do everything in my power to keep my most loyal customers as happy and as satisfied as possible.
7) Get Chris Drury a boss.
The Rangers, who define the textbook definition of the word “insanity,” currently have “The Pizza Man” in a dual-role of Team President/General Manager.
Who was the last person to hold both of these titles and then win a Stanley Cup?
Off the top of my head, and without Googling it, I believe it’s Lou Lamoriello (with the Devils in 2003).
In other words, not one team in the salary-cap era has accomplished this feat – and do you really think that the Rangers will be the first to buck this tradition?
The NHL, and really, the sport of hockey as a whole, grows and grows by the day. It’s nearly impossible for one person to wear both caps and win the whole shebang – especially when you’re running a pizza parlor on the side.
And yes, you guessed it – GLEN SATHER CAN’T BE DRURY’S BOSS, nor have any association with this franchise anymore either!
8) Get rid of all of the gambling advertisements.
Of course, this would never happen, but even with my own and personal gambling activities – I’d still try to get rid of all of these ads.
I know that I’m not the only one who finds it creepy whenever Lundqvist and company are telling us that “We’re All Caesers.”
Heck, I rather hawk “MY SHINEY HINEY” products than sell gambling to my fans.
My opinion? If you want to gamble, then you know where to go and how to do it.
You just don’t need 9876789678679687968 commercials, crawlers and spokespeople to tell you how and where to go.
Similar to smoking cigarettes (and where their ads are banned), I just feel that pushing gambling on impressionable young eyes is all wrong – and where I fully expect the suicide rate to increase ten-fold over the years. (One of the leading factors in people committing suicide? Financial issues.)
9) Revamp M$G
I know that a lot of money was spent ten-years ago when Dolan did this the last time – but I’d love to know whoever Jimbo’s architect was – just so I know who not to use – and just like Al Trautwig’s dentist!
If you were alive for it, then you don’t need me to tell you – the old M$G was much better than the suite-filled venue of today.
I mean, how do you spend a billion bucks and only have one bathroom in the 400s level?
Furthermore, the old rotundas in M$G IV allowed fans to never miss a moment of action – and I don’t remember the phrase “obstructed seats” back then either.
One thing that I see at a lot of arenas, including the IBS Arena at Belmont, are open-air sections, where fans can smoke (cigarettes, cigars or the pot), get fresh air and dine. It also opens the space up/creates a free-flowing environment – and where fans don’t have to feel like sardines in a can either.
Again, this is NYC and we should have the best arena in the league. Instead, it’s the arena where the fumes of pungent horse shit permeates the air outside of it that has the best deal for fans in town – on Long Island – and when have the Rangers ever wanted to be second-rate when compared to L.I.?
10) More support for youth programs in the arena.
Admittedly, both Dolan and the Rangers do a ton of charity work, including for charities that they have nothing to do with, and as opposed to their own charity, “The Garden of Dreams.”
However, if you go to any other arena in the league, then you’ll see youth hockey programs being promoted all over the place. (You also see 50/50 raffles too – but I think it’s a NYC law that prevents the Rangers from holding their own raffles, as today, they’ll need a gambling operators license in order to do so.)
I’m big on growing the next generation, and by promoting every youth program in the area, rather than just a select few (via private donations, like “Hockey in Harlem” and “The Little Rangers”), it will help grow hockey – and also grow new life-long customers.
At this time, a few quick shots as we near the go-home part of tonight’s manifesto.
When I appeared on “BSU” this past Wednesday, it was brought up that I omitted someone that every Ranger fan hates/hated, Craig Stanley – a long-time Isles’ fan that was arrested in 2013 for forcing himself on a woman thirty-years his junior. (You don’t see him at Isles’ games anymore, and for more on this story, check out: https://patch.com/new-york/eastmeadow/forcible-touching-arrest-after-islanders-game )
My response? The same one that I give whenever anyone brings up an omission to me – read the introduction chapter in the book and how I have plenty of material to work with for a future sequel! (Business 101!)
Another topic discussed, and this one got me some heat and feedback – how I have no faith in the Rangers’ chances to win the Stanley Cup next season – and for the reasons as previously described on this site.
(Seriously – I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers miss the playoff cut-line next season. I’m not saying that’s going to to happen, I’m just saying that such an event wouldn’t shock me.)
I know how it looks – I have pulled a 180 – as my former approach and outlook, a glass half-full of optimism, is now full blown pessimism – but hey, can you blame me?
However, there is a silver lining by having no expectations for this 2023-24 team (and perhaps an “out clause” too) – I can’t be let down by the Rangers next season. I can only be pleasantly surprised!
(And knowing my Blueshirts’ history – I expect the team to surprise me in the regular season, only to later have the rug pulled from under me during the playoffs – aka, “The Rangers’ Way!”)
I also know that I’ve said the following many times this summer and here’s another instance – I don’t care if the Rangers go 82-0 next season. It doesn’t matter. This team, this coach and this general manager will only be judged by whatever they do in the playoffs – and where a Presidents’ Trophy or a second wild-card seed means nothing to me.
This is a WIN NOW team and anything less than that is a failure.
This is also why I won’t mind missing out on attending games at M$G this season – as for the first time in a long time – this 2023-24 season (at least for me) is just a boring and pandering exercise.
Maybe I’ll be more juiced and jazzed once the puck finally drops in October (as mentioned, I’m attending the second game of the season in Columbus – and with both airfare and hotel included – for far less than the cost of a game at the World’s Most Expensive Arena); but right now – and I think the lack of social media activity in Rangerstown, USA confirms/supports my opinion – I just don’t see any enthusiasm or excitement for this team anywhere.
All I see all over the mean streets of Rangerstown, USA is everyone harping about the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs – and where I’m no different than anyone else. Hell, my new book was somewhat inspired by that miserable showing – as I needed both a therapeutic and comical way (laughter is the best medicine) to handle it!
But still, and even after the puck drops, I believe that come that time, I’ll feel as I currently do.
I just don’t care about “Thanksgiving Tent Poles,” “New Year’s records” or any of the other usual talking points during an NHL season.
For the Rangers, the biggest point of the regular season for them will be at the trade deadline. After that, it’s a full boar to the playoffs.
But as you know – win or lose (and we all know it will be the latter) – the costs of 2024-25 tickets will increase anyway.
During this slow time of the year, it’s Elon Musk’s “X” app that has been providing the bulk of the Rangers’ content.
On August 7th, the Chicago Mission broke the story that their employee, Christian Hmura, was hired by the Blueshirts. Hmura replaces Mark Ciaccio as the club’s performance and development coach, as Chris Drury continues to boot out the old guard in favor of his own hires.
And yep – there still hasn’t been one peep by the NYR beat about the firing of Jim Ramsay – but Miss Walker “doesn’t give a shit!”
Here’s what the Mission had to say:
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) August 7, 2023
As far as this hire goes, and to paraphrase Walker, “who gives a shit?”
At the end of the day, this team will only go as far as their stars take them – and to blame trainers and specialty coaches for goose eggs across the board is both lazy and erroneous.
Speaking of goose eggs, Panarin, who shaved his head this off-season in order to eliminate the bad ju-ju, is now allowing his hair to grow back in:
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) August 5, 2023
And yep, when Panarin’s follicles is a story, then you know it’s a slow off-season.
As far as anything else in the wide-world of Rangers; the previously discussed on this site trade of Erik Karlsson was finally made official last Sunday.
By now, as I’m a week late to the dance, I am to assume that you know all of the particulars. If you don’t, then NHL.com has you covered here: https://www.nhl.com/news/erik-karlsson-traded-to-pittsburgh-in-3-team-trade/c-345528364
What really jumps at me, and my biggest takeaway at that, is that the Penguins will assume $10M per-season ($40M in total) of the Not My Norris Trophy winner’s salary. (The Sharks are only on the books for $1.5M of EK65’s salary per-season.)
When I look at this trade, it obviously makes the Penguins better for the 2023-24 season. After that? Then I think that both the contract and Karlsson will become an epic mistake for the new Team President & General Manager (and read what I said earlier about Drury in this role) in the drab Steel City, the former GM of the Leafs, Kyle Dubas.
However, and in my last “as previously said on this site” disclaimer/reminder for tonight – this is a copy-cat league.
We all saw what the Vegas Golden Knights did this season, as after their magical and Cinderella run in 2018, where they became the first sports franchise of the modern era to reach a championship round – the franchise has been going “all-in” during the past five seasons. The end result? A Stanley Cup banner in their sixth-year of existence.
I believe that we’ll now see more teams take “all-in” chances and that’s what I feel the black-and-yellow are doing here. And really, it makes all the sense in the world for them.
After all, the big three in Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, aren’t getting any younger. Furthermore, for Dubas, now in his new job – what a way to instill faith, good-will and all-out positive vibes with not only the Penguins’ fan base, but with the team’s top players too.
But don’t worry. I’m sure that both Larry Brooks and Mollie Walker of the NYP are still writing articles about how Penguins’ bench boss, Mike Sullivan, wants to leave the club for the Rangers!
(And you thought my pipe-dream of owning the Rangers was bad!)
For a Blueshirts’ club and brain-trust that has repeatedly hammered home the “WIN NOW” mantra, a Rangers’ squad that prior to this trade in Pittsburgh, were projected to finish third-overall in the division (behind Carolina and New Jersey) – this only bolsters the Ice Birds – and where aside from last season – the Penguins usually start off slow and then heat-up whenever the calendar flips to a New Year.
Another aspect to think about?
Come the trade deadline, when playoff rosters first start to get finalized; should the Penguins improve this season (and as many expect), then it just opens up another contender in a bidding war/free agency arms race.
One last thing to ponder?
This trade gives something for Patrick Kane, who will bide his time and assess the lay of the land once he’s 100% and ready to play, to think about too.
And you know it would be “The Rangers’ Way” (trademark still pending) for Kane to make his grand NHL return to Pittsburgh, enjoy a resurgence and then win the fourth Stanley Cup of his career – while eliminating the Rangers in one of the playoff rounds, en route to his 2024 Conn Smythe Trophy victory.
UGH – but again, you can’t blame me for having such thoughts!
This is one of the bad things about being a Rangers’ historian – as history always repeats itself!
During a time where there isn’t much going on, I still managed to pump out 10,000 words tonight! (Holy Barry Horowitz self-pat on the back Batman!)
Presently, we’re less than a month away from Rangers’ rookie camp commencing and the two games with the Flyers.
After that, the real fun begins – and should the Blueshirts get off to a slow start – then prepare for the never-ending GLOOM & DOOM headlines throughout the land.
See ya next time, where I expect to be writing about Lafreniere’s new contract – whether it’s in New York or elsewhere.
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for preorder.
For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/
My second plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”
As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:
For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
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:
Stan Fischler Reviews “The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History;” Future NYR Books, Custom Blueshirt Paintings On Sale, Rangers’ Alum on the Move: “The Elite” Tony DeAngelo Returns to Carolina; Vladimir Tarasenko Spurns Them For Ottawa, Lafreniere Still Unsigned, “Good Starts” & More
A Summer Day Trip in NYC: The Stan Fischler SoHo Table Hockey Tournament at “The Canuck,” 99 Whisky, The New NHL Store; Reviews, Madison Stink Garden, Photo Gallery, The Tony DeAngelo Autobiography Gets a New Chapter & More
“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History” Book Scheduled For 8/1 Release; How To Preorder Your Copy Today, Free Jonathan Quick & Mike Milbury Sample Chapters, Your Questions Answered & More
“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History” Set for Release, Blueshirts Bring the Cincinnati Cyclones Into the Mix, NYR Alumni Update, Tarasenko Teetering & 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