Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I just put a check mark next to one of my bucket list items – writing and completing a book! Up next, creating my own brewery entitled “The Blueshirt Bluewery”!
After talking about writing a book for nearly two years on this site, I’m happy to report that on September 6th, 2021, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” book will be available for purchase. In fact, you can pre-order the e-Book/Kindle version today.
For those of you not interested in the book, (and shame on you if that’s the case!) I do have some Rangers news to talk about during tonight’s blog. However, I want to give you everything about the book first and then jump into all of the latest in Rangerstown, USA. In other words, if you’re here for the blog and not for the book; feel free to scroll down past the plugs section, where you’ll then find all the current Rangers news, notes and opinions.
Back to the book!
I’ve been talking about this project for some time on this site, where now, especially for you regular readers of this site, you know all about the book already. For new readers of this site, here is the description of the book from Amazon.com:
The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden is dedicated to honoring the biggest fan favorites and most influential figures in all of franchise history. Not only are players such as Wayne Gretzky, Jaromir Jagr, Martin St. Louis, and others profiled, but men such as John Amirante, Steven McDonald, Christopher Reeve, and others are also mentioned.
The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden features 92 names for a proposed “Rink of Honor” inside Madison Square Garden. Names such as Ron Duguay, Nick Fotiu, Alex Shibicky, Mats Zuccarello, and others are all nominated for this distinction.
The second half of the book argues for eight men, including Bun Cook, Emile Francis, and Lester Patrick, to have their names adorned from the rafters of Madison Square Garden.
The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden takes you on a journey throughout every era of New York Rangers’ hockey, including eras such as “The Original Rangers,” “The 1940 Stanley Cup Champions,” “The World War II,” “Post World War II,” “The Emile Francis,” “The Dark Ages,” “The Henrik Lundqvist,” and other key eras of New York Rangers’ history.
The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden is full of historical facts, ironies, testimonies from players, and anecdotes. The book also profiles 101 legends of the New York Rangers.
The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden is your one-stop book for everything regarding the great (and sometimes not-so-great) history of the New York Rangers.
As you may know by just reading this site and the way this site is laid out – writing comes easy to me. It’s everything else that’s a pain in the ass for me, especially since I’m writing on a computer that was around during the heyday of the Rangers original “Bread Line”, in Hall of Fame legends Bill Cook, Frank Boucher and Bun Cook! Writing is easy, it’s the webmaster stuff that I detest.
We all know how much this pandemic has sucked. For some people, their lives were ruined and/or suffered a major setback. I was a bit more fortunate than those people and I’m thankful for that.
During the height of the pandemic, I decided to make the most of my time while locked up inside of my house. After all, how many times can you watch “Tiger King”?
After being told many times, “hey, you should write a book one day”, I decided to do just that during the bulk of 2020. I wrote about 85% of the book from July-December of 2020 and when the 2021 NHL season started, I took a break. Once the Rangers 2021 season ended, I ramped it up and finished the project/manuscript.
As any author can tell you, (I can call myself an author now – what an ego!) writing a book from start-to-finish isn’t easy. However, for me, I had a blast doing it. There was a ton of research involved, including getting interviews and quotes, but the process of just sitting down and hammering out a book came natural to me. I can’t stress enough how much fun and enjoyment I took in writing the book and I think that will be apparent when you read it.
Of course, writing a manuscript is time-consuming and hard work. That part was fine. It was everything else to get this project complete that took up huge chunks of time!
There were so many little, yet big things, that went into this. Of course, finding an editor I could trust was a major decision. I wanted an editor that knew about hockey, so they could provide me with feedback and understand what the book was about. Fortunately, one of this site’s readers, in Diane E., works as an editor in “real-life”. Without her, the book wouldn’t have come out as great (at least in my opinion!) as it did.
Put it this way, and I’ll get more into this in a bit – for a book that’s being published in a format of 6″x9″, the book clocks in at 522 pages. Diane had to read, re-read and re-read several times over, just to make sure there were no errors in the book. Not only did Diane have to eliminate all of my typos and grammatical errors, (I’ve since been accused of being a “comma whore”, a label which is true!) but Diane also had to fact-check everything too. With the book being full of facts and history, that was no easy task. And did I mention that this book is 522 pages? (374 pages in a 8.5″x11″ format.)
And as a reminder, as human beings, we are our own worst editors. When writing anything serious, you always need a different pair of eyes to go over what you’re writing, because when you read, you read in your own voice and at your own pace.
After finding an editor, up next was finding a graphic artist to create the cover. Needless to say, my MS Paint jobs wouldn’t suffice! Rob S. happened to find out that I was writing a book and offered his services. It was money well spent in my opinion. Not only did Rob S. create the cover art, he also helped me with the tedious stuff, such as book publishing specifications.
No joke, once the final file of the book was complete (if you can believe this, I typed this whole book up in the archaic program known as “Notepad” and then transferred it over into Google Docs to make all the format edits, such as page breaks, bolding, italics, etc) I had to figure out how to set appropriate margins, pagination, copyrights, and all of that other tedious nonsense, nonsense that I didn’t want to be bothered with but had to get done in order to get this book complete.
Fortunately, not only is Rob S. a graphic artist, but he’s also a computer whiz. After I wasted hours trying to figure out this stuff by myself, Rob S. pretty much had it all done for me in thirty minutes!
And a Public Service Announcement here: Google docs needs to allow users to insert page numbers wherever they want, as the section break stuff is very faulty and isn’t user-friendly. It’s an even bigger pain in the ass when working on a large file, since Google Docs loads slow, no matter what type of computer you have!
Thankfully, all of the non-writing stuff/issues have been addressed and all tasks are now completed. As it stands right now, I have ordered “proof copies” for myself, Diane and some proof-readers, just to ensure that everything is 100% perfect. Once the proof-read process is over (it will only take a week tops) I can then publish the book. More importantly, I have now set a publish/on-sale date of 9/6/21. (The purpose of the proof copy process is to double-check for any sort of errors, whether these errors are formatting, content, grammar or anything else. I’m asking for your money here, and I don’t want to put out anything that isn’t my best. It’s worth waiting until 9/6!)
At this time, I’m hoping you’re saying – “okay, okay, okay – enough already! You have me sold! How do I buy the damn thing?” Funny you should ask, as that’s what I’m about to talk about next!
You can buy this book in three different ways and in two different formats.
The pre-order link for the e-Book version (Amazon Kindle) is now live on Amazon.com. You can pre-order and purchase the book in this format for $9.99. For you e-Book readers, here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CM5N2WD?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420
On September 6th, you will also be able to buy the paperback copy of the book for $19.94 off of Amazon.com. (You can also find the link for this by searching my name or the book title on Amazon on this date. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow pre-orders on paperbacks.)
Come next week, I will put up a page on this site for the book, with PayPal and Venmo buttons on it, for you readers who are interested in signed copies. As of right now, I’m up to nearly 500 requests for signed copies, (thanks for the support) so to be safe, I’m going to order 600 copies of the book which I get for the price of cost.
For you readers, the price for a signed paperback copy of the book will be the same as the Amazon paperback version – $19.94. There’s no way I’d ever charge any of you guys or gals extra money for a signed copy.
However that being said, unlike Amazon which provides free shipping for Amazon Prime members; I do have to pay for shipping, so the final price for a signed copy will be $25.00 flat. For readers who want multiple copies, (there are several of you out there) please contact me next week directly, in order to save on shipping. There’s no reason for you guys to pay multiple shipping fees.
In addition, for people who don’t live in America, please contact me directly for a shipping quote and I’ll sell you the book for the cheapest price possible. (I believe media mail is the way to go here and I don’t think the rate to Canada is that much of a difference.)
And as mentioned previously, I was surprised I got so many requests for signed copies, since after all, I’m just a fan like you. Nothing more, nothing less. That said, if you’re going to buy a paperback copy, I hope you do buy the signed version through me, because after all, I make more money off of each book sale this way, money that will just go my Ranger road-trips and to my nieces! In other words, if you like my road-trip blogs and want to put smiles on children’s faces – buy the signed copy! After all, “Paw Patrol” and “PJ Masks” toys are expensive!
Next week, when I create a dedicated page for the book on this site, I’ll put up the Paypal and Venmo links. This way, if you want to pre-order through me, I can start filling out bubble mailers with addresses on them and then just pack the book when it’s ready. And if you rather pay by cash or check, email me and I’ll give you my P.O. Box address.
I also want to add this – this book was written with the intent of becoming a paperback. The e-Book is much cheaper and if that’s the way you like to read books, I understand that. However, I think you will get a better experience with the paperback format, as it’s easier to find the players you want to read about specifically. Plus, last I checked, the e-Book, due to its smaller size, means a lot of clicking for you e-readers! For some that may be easy, for others, that may be a pain in the ass! And as you know by now, I’m old school, which is why I had a paperback format in mind the entire time.
A couple of more things before wrapping up on all of this, as I want to give you loyal readers every piece of information and detail that went into this project. After all, you guys are the reason why I wrote this book, so I want to share as much as possible with you.
When it comes to the price tag of $19.94 for the paperback version, I originally was going to go with a price tag of $19.26 – which pays tribute to the year when the Rangers were founded. However, due to costs going up after the whole margin debacle, which put the book up to a whopping 522 pages – the extra 68 cents here actually off-set my original cost price, where at least I’ll be able to buy a beer or two after each sale.
And I know, 522 pages is a lot. Many people have told me I should’ve broken this up into two separate books, but I’m not doing this for several reasons:
— I already put so much time and energy into this and I didn’t feel like breaking any of this up.
— Breaking up the book would come off as “scummy” and as a “cash-grab” to me. This has always been a bucket list thing rather than a “get-rich” thing, so I’m fine with what I have and whatever royalties I may make.
— As a first time author, I wanted to put out the most definitive book about the New York Rangers on the market. While it’s my plan to write another book or several more some day, who knows if that will ever happen? After all, it took a pandemic and a lock-down to find the time to do this. In addition, I know the old expression is “less is more”, but for this book, there are so many interesting stories and lives to discuss, that I didn’t want to cut for the sake of cutting.
— And heck, at 522 pages and 101 men profiled, I could’ve easily covered 100 more players. I’ll save that for a volume 2! (There is an omission section in the book, where I list names of players that didn’t make the cut.)
— I know my readership/audience. While, yes, I’m hoping to find new readers by listing the book on Amazon, my bread and butter demographic is the 40 years old plus crowd, both males and females alike. That demographic, like myself, come from a generation where we actually read books, newspapers and didn’t just “headline” read or scroll around on social media for two sentence articles. And heck, if you guys get through these daily 10,000 word manifestos, the book should be a piece of cake for you!
— Yes, breaking the book up into three separate books, with each book going for 175 pages or so, would’ve been more profitable and more attractive to younger readers. However, I didn’t want to sell out to you guys or to myself either. I want you to get more than $20 bucks of value out of this and I 100% believe that you will.
At the end of the day, I’m asking for nearly $20 bucks for what I think is the most comprehensive and most detailed book out there on Rangers history. However, that’s my opinion and my editor’s opinion. It will be up to you guys to tell me how the book is and I’m looking forward to your reviews and feedback.
Start the timer, we’re under a month away here. Now comes the next stage of the book process – promoting! I think I rather play with Google docs again than spam everyone with promotional materials and interviews! However, pushing this book is a necessary evil too – especially if I want to see the Rangers ever honor my requests that are talked about in the book.
If you have any questions or comments about the book, feel free to email me or drop a line in the comment section of this blog.
Lastly, before moving into everything else tonight, if you want to read the Bill Cook sample chapter of the book, in order to get a feel of what the book is like, click this link and scroll to the bottom: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/7621/
Let’s now get into all the latest in Rangerstown, USA!
However, before getting into everything and anything, as usual – the PLUGS segment.
Say it with me – here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:
BCBS For 8/10: The Rangers and CZAR IGOR Agree To the Ultimate Compromise Contract; Both Parties Come Out as Winners, Igor’s Cap Hit vs Real Money, The Never-Ending Jack Eichel Saga Continues; Vally’s Tweets Ignites Rangerstown, Media Standards, Skjei Gets Married; Many NYR Alumni & Rangers Attend, The Saratoga Road-Trip Experience & Review, NYR ROH and MSG Book Update & More
BCBS For 8/4: Chris Drury Continues To Flesh Out His Cabinet; Hires John Lilley, NHL & NYC Forcing Fans To Reveal Their Vaccination Status; NYR Season Ticket Sales Low, A Wrinkle Regarding CZAR IGOR’s Status & New Contract, Nada on Eichel, The Carolina Rangercanes Salaries; Canes Receive Major Discount, Book Update & More
BCBS For 8/1: Friedman’s Eye-Opening Interview with a Member of Jack Eichel’s Medical Team; Eichel’s Agents Lash Out, Kakko For Eichel Trade Idea Gaining Traction; Why & How This Trade Would Work For the WIN-NOW NYR, “Damaged Goods”, Rangercanes Add Stepan; Carolina Up to Six Ex-NYR, Evander Kane’s Wife’s Serious Allegations; Kane to be Investigated & More
The Rangers #16th overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft is now signed.
Up first, the Rangers press release, courtesy of: https://www.nhl.com/rangers/news/rangers-agree-to-terms-with-forward-brennan-othmann/c-325953188?icmp=int_web_nyr_news_subnav
New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Brennan Othmann on an entry-level contract.
Othmann, 18, skated in 34 games with EHC Olten in the Swiss League this past season, registering seven goals and nine assists for 16 points, along with 64 penalty minutes. He was one of only 12 players (skaters and goaltenders included) in their U18 season or younger who played in the Swiss League in 2020-21, and he led all of those players in assists and points during the season. Othmann also recorded two points (one goal, one assist) in four playoff games with EHC Olten this past season.
The 6-0, 175-pounder played with the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) during the 2019-20 season, and he recorded 33 points (17 goals, 16 assists) and a plus-three rating in 55 contests during the season. Othmann was named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team in 2019-20. He was selected by Flint in the first round, second overall, of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.
Internationally, the Scarborough, Ontario native has represented Canada in several tournaments. Most recently, Othmann helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship, as he registered six points (three goals, three assists) and a plus-six rating in seven games in the tournament. He also recorded six points (three goals, three assists) in five games while playing with Canada-Black at the 2019 World U17 Hockey Challenge.
Othmann was selected by the Rangers in the first round, 16th overall, of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Brennan Othmann, who said after being drafted that he models his game after Matt Tkachuk; there is no word on where Othmann will be playing next season. Othmann could return back to the OHL, where prior to the pandemic, he played for the Flint Firebirds. At the same time, Othmann could also wind up with the Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL) or the Hartford Wolfpack (AHL). As they say – we’ll see.
As far as Othmann’s contract and salary cap hit information, the following was reported by PuckPedia:
The #NYR signed 18 y/o F Brennan Othmann to 3 year Entry Level Deal (#16 ’21). All 3 years:
NHL Base 832.5K
Signing Bonus 92.5K
Potential “A” Performance Bonuses 450K
Cap Hit 925K, AAV $1.375Mhttps://t.co/HOSKknVGx6
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) August 12, 2021
To me, this is a good signing. The Rangers could’ve waited a year or two, but what’s the point, especially since Othmann has a sliding ELC. Better to fast track Othmann now, rather than to procrastinate. In fact, while I guess the OHL could be an option, I’d throw him right into the minors, whether it’s in Jacksonville or Hartford.
As talked about repeatedly on this site, I was hoping that the Rangers would make a trade for Calgary’s Matt Tkachuk during this off-season. As it stands right now, that’s not happening. If Othmann plays like Tkachuk as Othmann says he does – the Rangers will then have their own tough guy, a tough guy who can score too.
Like the majority of young players selected during an NHL draft – time, experience and repetition are your three key factors here. Based on all accounts, especially with the Rangers in “WIN NOW” mode, I don’t think we’ll see Othmann in a blue sweater with the varsity club this season. At best, perhaps Othmann makes it to Madison Square Garden during the 2022-2023 season. More likely and best case scenario – Othmann spends two or three seasons at lesser levels and then gets the chance to play at MSG.
All the best to Othmann and his family during these exciting times for them.
On Friday The 13th, Larry Brooks of the New York Post broke more news as usual. As first reported by Brooks and then confirmed by the reporters out of Detroit; Chris Drury and the Rangers have hired Ryan Martin, now formerly of the Detroit Red Wings, to become the next assistant GM of the Rangers and to become the new GM of the Hartford Wolfpack. As you may have heard, Chris Drury previously held both of these titles.
As of this writing, the Rangers haven’t confirmed this news with a press release yet.
I can’t profess to tell you that I know everything about Ryan Martin, but I can tell you from reading reports out of Detroit, that Martin is very well liked and respected. Perhaps more importantly, Martin is a Connecticut native like Drury himself, and if we’ve learned anything this off-season, Drury is loading up his cabinet with fellow New Englanders.
Prior to joining the Rangers, Martin spent the last fourteen years with the Red Wings, where during the last nine years, Martin served the Wings as the team’s assistant general manager. In addition, Martin also served the Wings as the general manager of the Wings AHL affiliate, in the Grand Rapids Griffins. In other words, this is pretty much a lateral hire here, as Martin will perform the same functions in New York as he did in Detroit.
When it comes to success, Martin’s Griffins won the Calder Cup in both 2013 and 2017.
As mentioned, Martin is a Connecticut boy, but he’s also a Connecticut boy who has a relationship with Drury, as both men have worked for Team USA during recent IIHF World Junior Championship tournaments. Ironically, or perhaps not ironically, new Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was the head coach for Team Canada’s gold medal win during this past tournament.
For the Rangers, the hiring of Martin fills a major hole, as Hartford is now all set. Up next, the Rangers need to hire one more assistant coach to join Gallant’s staff, a staff which already has Gord Murphy and Mike Kelly on it.
On Thursday August 12, Dominic Moore held his latest “SMASHFEST” charity event, where for the first time, the event was held in Stamford, Connecticut. This also marked the first time that the event was held outside of Toronto, Ontario.
From all accounts, the event was, and pardon the pun here, a “SMASHING” success, where everyone, both players and fans alike, had a good time.
As far as any Rangers news coming out of the event, Adam Fox was asked about potentially becoming the next captain of the Rangers. As I’ve been saying until the point of being blue in the face, this is the route I’d go down if I were the Rangers. (Long story short – if Mika Zibanejad or Chris Kreider were captain material, they would’ve got the “C” on their sweater last season. By giving Fox this honor, especially a Fox who is going to get major cash and years soon, you would be anointing Fox as the new face of the franchise. With Fox as the face of this new core, who better?)
Fox played all of this as cool, calm and collected, responding with “we’ll have to wait and see.” I hope to see it!
In other news out of Smashfest, Chris Kreider, fresh off of attending Brady Skjei’s wedding last weekend, did a ton of media. In fact, you can watch Kreider’s 18 minute interview with the press here:
As far as the interview itself, I saw some Ranger fans tear apart what Kreider said, mentioning how Kreider never said the two words of “Stanley Cup”, when asked about the team’s goals for next season. I also saw fans harp on Kreider waxing poetically about Pavel Buchnevich, mentioning that Kreider, indirectly and as a result of his own contract, being the number one reason on why Buchnevich was shipped out of town.
To me, to get too deep into anything that Kreider said seems like a fool’s errand. After all, this was an interview conducted at a charity event. To go nuts about this just seems silly in my eyes, especially since Kreider didn’t have to talk to the media about the Rangers and the 2021-2022 season in the first place. Of course, with Ranger fans thirsty for news, anything will be over-analyzed these days.
I’d advise you watch the video above and take it for what it is.
And oh yeah, another reason why Ranger fans are thirsty for news these days? Simple, we’re still without news on Jack Eichel’s future.
As talked about last blog, for whatever reason, Vally keeps on talking about the Rangers trading for Jack Eichel. As I said on Monday, whether this is Vally trying to be funny or not, I don’t know, but either way, I don’t think it’s a good look for his brand, especially with some idiots taking Vally’s words as gospel.
While Vally has toned down his Eichel stuff a bit this week, Vally is still talking about Eichel. Then again, you really can’t blame him either, since there’s been no indication on where Eichel will be come October of 2021. In other words, no new news to report back to you here. That said, I still don’t see the benefit in Vally trolling Ranger fans while as an employee of the M$G Networks.
I will say this – if the Rangers don’t get Jack Eichel, a Rangers team that has something like $8M in cap space right now; I think Drury and the Rangers will still make another move. Whether that move is major or not, I don’t know, but I don’t think the Rangers are done yet regardless – Eichel or no Eichel. If the Rangers were through with wheelin’ and dealin’, I think we would’ve got a press conference out of Chris Drury by now.
While it would be silly to spend up to the cap ceiling, because by doing so you’d limit yourself at the trade deadline a bit; the Rangers do have enough wiggle room to add more depth players. Of course, a trade for Eichel would change things too.
When you look at this current Rangers roster, it does look pretty much set, but as they say – “there’s always room for improvement.”
As we wind down here, on Friday August 13th, the Rangers and the NHL announced the game times of every game of the 2021-2022 season. To see the Rangers start times, visit this link: https://www.nhl.com/rangers/schedule/2021-10-01/ET?icmp=int_web_nyr_schedule_lp_topnav
Of note, the Rangers open up their season in prime-time on Wednesday October 13th, in Washington and with a puck drop of 7:30. 24 hours later, the Rangers will host their home opener at 7PM against Dallas. And I’m really going to laugh if Tom Wilson doesn’t play in that Wednesday night game, especially with these never-ending bad and wrong takes that say “DUH RANGIZ UZED THIS OFF SZN TO PREPAIR AGAINST TOM WILLSON!” As I’ve said numerous times already, the Rangers were soft long before Tom Wilson came around. Just look at those three games against the Islanders at the end of the 2021 season for more.
A few plugs before closing out here.
On Thursday August 12, “2 Guys 1 Cup” returned with a new episode. To check out their latest and informative episode, click the link below:
— 2 Guys 1 Cup (@2G1CRangers) August 12, 2021
In addition, also on Thursday, Brian Attard (you may notice his face from his man-cave commercial that always runs on the M$G Networks) returned with episode 9 of his “BlueTruth” Rangers-themed podcast. To watch his new show, click the play button below:
Of note here, if you want your Rangers endeavor plugged in this space, feel free to contact me. As I always say, anyone can click, read, watch or listen to anything they want. I don’t have an issue with plugging anyone else’s stuff, as long as it’s quality and not full of analytical talk!
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
After finishing the book and doing this blog, I need a break! Enjoy the weekend!
Stay FABULOUS my friends.
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
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