Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. If you close your eyes and sniff real hard, (as if you were Al Pacino in “Scarface”), you’ll smell the scent of fresh ice in the air. That’s right, hockey is almost back, as the NHL continues to prepare for the start of the 2021-2022 season.
As was evident by the NYPD vs FDNY charity game that was played at MSG on Thursday night (spoiler alert: the result of the game appears at the end of tonight’s blog), the ice at M$G is ready to go. Also ready to go is Ticketmaster, as they continue to slice up your wallet (and with a bloody precision), just like a meat butcher out of the 1920’s. Both of these topics will be discussed tonight too.
All across the northeast, people are closing their pools, putting their bathing suits into storage and looking for beverages that are pumpkin-flavored. For hockey fans, we are taking our Ranger jerseys out of our closets as it’s almost time for hockey again. And as we saw on Thursday – the Rangers and the NHL will be back sooner than we know it.
While the Rangers won’t be going to the Traverse City Tournament this year, by the time you read these words, the Rangers rookies and prospects will have convened under one roof, as these young men look to start the biggest journey of their lives – a path into the NHL. I’ll have more on this below.
Our main event for tonight’s blog is the media call that Rangers general manager and team president Chris Drury held with the media on Thursday morning. While nothing truly ground-breaking came out of the call, news is news and Drury did comment on some of the topics that Ranger fans wanted to hear about. It should also be mentioned here that this is the first time Drury held this “State of the Union” type of call, ever since making all of his “Eichel-less” moves from this off-season.
Before getting started, a quick reminder that my new book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden”, is now on sale. For ordering information, click the link below:
As mentioned last blog, all pre-orders for signed copies will ship next week. And speaking of my last blog, what a perfect transition to the PLUGS segment of tonight’s blog. After the PLUGS segment, I’ll have all the latest in Rangerstown, USA for you.
Here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:
BCBS For 9/8: Ranger Fans & The Family and Friends of Rod Gilbert Say Goodbye to a Legend; Recap of Rod Gilbert’s Public Memorial/Tribute Service, “New York Rangers Rink of Honor & The Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Update; Excerpt on Tex Rickard, Libor Hajek, Fan Expectations, All Eyes on Chris Drury & More
BCBS For 9/1: “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Now Available, Gerard Gallant’s Telling Interview with Larry Brooks, Lundqvist Selling NY Home; Lundqvist/Gilbert, Two Rangers Add Rings, Condolences For Greschner, Eichel & Why The Rangers Will Make The Playoffs
BCBS For 8/26: Rod Gilbert Service Information; RIP Jimmy Hayes, NYR Completes Coaching Staff; Thoughts on Gallant, Jeff Gorton’s Near Tell-All Interview; Gorton Comments on His Firing, Panarin, Tony DeAngelo, Drury, Toughness and Other Topics, Brassard Joins 9th Franchise & More
During the last eight years, there are many names that I have repeatedly written about on both this website and on social media. In fact, many of those names also appear in “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” too. One of those names is Stan Fischler, who as mentioned about 78678686786896 times in the past, was not only an inspiration for my passion of all things New York Rangers history – but for my book too. After all, if it weren’t for Fischler’s books, I would’ve never gotten a true grasp of who Frank Boucher was, nor would’ve known that Frank Boucher once wrote an autobiography too – an autobiography that I truly feel is a “bible” of the first thirty years of Rangers’ history.
For whatever reason, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto has never inducted Stan Fischler into their prestigious Hall of Fame. Fischler, who is now 89 years old and still travels to this very day (he’s currently living in Israel with his family), has dedicated his entire life to hockey. While I don’t want to turn this into a “this guy deserves this more than this guy” type of thing, the fact remains – based on the other journalists/reporters that have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Stan Fischler has been quite overlooked and for some time at that. After all, Stan Fischler has given nearly 70 years of his life to professional hockey. What more does the guy have to do?
I know I’ve written this stuff before, but my opinions and feelings on Fischler remain unchanged – it’s a travesty that Stan Fischler hasn’t been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. And without sounding morbid, as I’m trying to be realistic here – I always champion people being honored for their accomplishments while they are alive, rather than posthumously. For a clear-cut example of this, read anything that I’ve ever written about Emile Francis and the Rangers refusal to hang a banner for “The Cat” in the rafters of MSG.
While Toronto continues to ignore Fischler, on Thursday September 9th, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame announced that they’d be inducting Fischler into their distinguished Hall of Fame.
If you visit https://www.ushockeyhalloffame.com/news_article/show/1182538 , you can read the press release regarding Fischler’s upcoming induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Here is a snippet of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame’s press release:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Stan Fischler, Paul Holmgren, and Peter McNab will be enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2021, it was announced today by USA Hockey.
Stan, Paul and Peter have all had an enormously positive impact on American hockey over the course of many decades,” said Mike Trimboli, president of USA Hockey. “Their extraordinary contributions to our sport continue today and will be felt for generations to come. Our warmest congratulations to each of them on their well-deserved selection and we look forward to the formal enshrinement ceremonies later this year.”
NOTES: The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2021 will be enshrined together with the Class of 2020 at a formal Induction Celebration in December of 2021 … U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are chosen on the basis of extraordinary contribution to the sport of hockey in the United States … The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was incorporated in 1969 and inducted its first class in 1973 … The Class of 2021 will be the 49th installed to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. To date, there are 190 enshrined members. For information on the members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, visit USHockeyHallofFame.com … The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum, located in Eveleth, Minnesota, is open daily. For hours of operation and admission prices, visit USHockeyHallMuseum.com or call 800-443-7825.
In addition, the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame has interviews with their Hall of Fame Class of 2021. You can watch a 53 minute stream of Fischler, Holmgren and McNab here:
And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a zillion times on this site – it’s a shame that the Rangers and M$G Networks never put a camera in front of Fischler and said the word “go”, where Fischler then could’ve spoke about Rangers history. While Fischler has a lot of his stories recorded throughout his various writings, there are thousands more that aren’t public, and I say that from both a first-hand and second-hand perspective.
On Thursday 9/9, the Rangers put on-sale their tickets to all of their home games for the upcoming 2021-2022 season. Of course, and as it’s been for some time, Ticketmaster was the exclusive outlet for online ticket ordering – at least for fans who wanted tickets at face value.
I know I moan and groan about this every year and I know some of you do too – but I’ll never get why we have to pay these insane “convenience fees” whenever buying Ranger tickets or something else off of Ticketmaster. Who is this convenient for anyway? It’s certainly not convenient for me or you.
Despite a world-wide pandemic, where many people had their finances crippled and jobs taken away; Ticketmaster is still right here for you, with what feels like a 25% “convenience” charge on the price of any ticket that you may purchase off of them. (News outlets have reported that the average convenience fee is actually 27%.)
Put it this way. I bought a pair of tickets (bridge seats with the fancy TV monitors and computer chair seats) for Rangers opening night, which at face-value, were $197 each. And needless to say, $200 for just a hockey game is a lot of money, especially when you factor in everything else – cost to travel/train ticket, food, beer and whatever else you may get involved with during your stay at the World’s Most Expensive Arena.
When I went to check out, instead of paying $394, I was hit with a tab of $455. In other words, I had to pay $61 for the “convenience” of Ticketmaster selling me these tickets. The sick thing is that we all do it!
Yeah, we can all complain about how expensive these tickets are, but we all know this going in. Attending Ranger games is a privilege and not a right, and no one is forcing us to buy these tickets. That said, the only way these ticket prices will ever drop is if every fan collectively refuses to go to games. We know that’s not going to happen. In fact, despite a pandemic, these ticket prices have actually INCREASED.
And before diving deeper into the pandemic in relation to the cost of hockey tickets at M$G – yes, this is all about supply and demand. As long as people keep paying these high costs and continue to sell out Ranger games at M$G, you’ll never see a price decrease. The ideal “Family of Four” ticket package will one day cost you the same price as a tuition at Harvard and that day is pretty much here.
If you want to see NHL level hockey at a much more affordable price, you’ll have to close your nose, put on your bullet-proof vest and travel to the swamp known as Newark, NJ, where there, you can then watch the Devils play their horrible brand of hockey. In addition, even Islander tickets won’t be cheap anymore either, at least not during these next few seasons inside of the latest arena for the nomadic orange and blue traveling team that only 3 or 4 people truly care about. (Have I ever mentioned on this site that I hate the Islanders?)
(Of note here: I usually get the bulk of my Ranger tickets from a season ticket holder. With the Rangers raising their ticket prices and after something like twenty years, my buddy decided to give up his tickets. And my friend isn’t the only one to give up his tickets this season, as many have relayed to me similar stories. Simply stated and as mentioned numerous times in the past – the Rangers continue to price out the hardcore fan. For the Rangers, sushi and kale smoothies bring in more more money than the sales of beers and pretzels.)
While I’m not surprised about a Rangers ticket increase, I am surprised how well tickets sold on the first day of the pre-sale.
(Of note: more tickets will be offered on Friday and over the weekend, as Thursday’s tickets could only be purchased with a Chase credit card. Want to know something sick about me? I never had a credit card in my life until recently, and I only got a Chase credit card for the Ranger perks! Come on, what other Rangers blogger/podcaster/reporter/whoever will provide you with such revealing information? Ha!)
I talked about this topic earlier this off-season, so I don’t want to rehash everything again here. All I want to say here for the purpose of this blog is that if you want to attend a hockey game at MSG this year (and in many other NHL arenas around North America), you will need to be vaccinated. That’s the rule, no matter what your opinion is on this.
While I do respect everyone’s opinion on the topic of vaccination and that I do believe that everyone should be able to choose what they feel is best for them; at the end of day, MSG is just like any other place of commerce. If you want to shop, or in this case, attend a game a MSG, you have to abide by the store policy. If you don’t, then you don’t have to shop at this store and you can watch these games on television.
And at the risk of alienating some of you and perhaps putting my foot too deep into these waters; as someone who is vaccinated, I don’t care what anyone else does. I feel that I am safe. In addition, over the summer, I have attended and been at many huge public gatherings, whether at Atlantic City or at Saratoga. I feel safe and I am not worried about anything. That’s just me, and that might not be you. Just know, I respect everyone’s decision on this topic, because no one knows everything about one’s personal life. After all, I’m not a preacher – I’m just a beer-bellied blogger! Who am I to tell anyone what to do? I can only do what suits me the best. You do you!
That said and as I’ve talked about in-depth in the past, I do find it odd that by attending a hockey game, you’re announcing your vaccination status to the entire world. Personally, I don’t care too much about this, but I can see why this would be an issue for others. As I said a few weeks back, by telling you that I’m going to a Rangers game you then knew that I was vaccinated. That’s why I’m talking about this openly here right now. That is all.
That all said, no matter what your opinion is on the vaccination, this much is 100% true – by enforcing fans to be vaccinated in order to attend games, you’re limiting your customer base. That’s the black-and-white facts, without any opinion interjected here.
Furthermore, with the economy being what it is, many fans having moved away from New York City and people having their incomes drastically impacted during the pandemic – it’s amazing that the Rangers and MSG are selling these high-priced tickets at a rapid pace. Of course, once again, the concept of “supply and demand” applies here.
Bottom line – despite limiting the customer base and despite financial situations, Ticketmaster is still here to pillage fan’s wallets harder than ever before, with Ticketmaster installing an average 27% “convenience fee” on all tickets sold. No joke, for all the cancel culture crap that’s out there, where some people will now try to cancel people for saying the word “poo-poo”, even if they said “poo-poo” forty years ago; wouldn’t it be nice if everyone collectively tried to cancel Ticketmaster and their dictatorship practice of forcing fans to pay this “tax” – a tax that should be illegal.
In the past, there have been petitions and some legal action taken against Ticketmaster for their disgusting practice of installing these crazy “convenience fees”. As you can tell, none of that has gained any traction or gone anywhere, as Ticketmaster is hungrier than ever before. And while Ticketmaster is looking to recoup lost profits due to the pandemic, it’s not like they were ever going to waive these fees anyway. If anything, just like Ranger ticket prices, I think these fees will continue to increase, as all of these big entities look to recoup the millions and millions of dollars lost in 2020.
In another thing that I’ve repeatedly said to the point of ad-nauseum on these blogs, it’s this – hockey is the greatest sport to watch live. While it’s fun on television too, the NHL television experience can never match the NHL live experience, which is not something you can say about the other major sports in North America. In fact, in most cases, including the NFL, UFC and MLB – I think those sports are actually better to watch on TV rather than attending those events live. And if they weren’t, television ratings and television right fees wouldn’t be as high as they are.
In America (but certainly not in Canada), hockey will always be a niche sport. Despite the NHL being around for over 100 years, newer sport leagues, including leagues like the UFC and WWE, blow away the NHL’s television numbers, both in television ratings and in television right fees.
Just think about this for a moment – WWE, you know, professional wrestling, has a weekly “Smackdown” show that airs on a national (free) television network (Fox Network). The NHL rarely received national network TV time under their old NBC deal and will no longer receive national network TV time under their new current cable TV deals with both ESPN and TNT. Pro wrestling!
The NHL’s biggest draw and money maker will always be at the gate and with the live experience. However, the NHL doesn’t make these games affordable, or at least not at MSG. In a way, to be a Rangers season ticket holder is a status symbol of the most elite. While not exactly the same thing as being a Los Angeles Lakers court-side season ticket holder – you get my point here.
It should also be mentioned, that of course, ticket scalping is a thing, and that many people buy these tickets for the purpose of re-sale. That’s why I’m interested to see what the houses will be like at M$G this year as the season goes along. While I expect the home-opener to be sold out, in a game played in front of a hockey-thirsty and rabid crowd; it will be interesting to see what the crowds will be like as the season moseys along, especially when the Rangers play Tuesday night games against the likes of Ottawa, Arizona, Buffalo, etc.
Finally, as I get to the end of this topic, two things have become clearer here. One, you can understand the frustration of Rangers owner Jim Dolan a little bit more. He knows that he’s limiting the pool of fans that can attend games right now. That’s why it’s imperative the team be a playoff contender this season, because a sell-out crowd in April is just as important as a sell-out in October. (And I haven’t even brought up that many of the suits, suits that usually litter the lower bowl of MSG, are working from home and won’t be attending games after work either.)
Secondly, when it comes to the topic of what day the Rangers will host Henrik Lundqvist’s #30 jersey retirement ceremony, I am 100% convinced that the Rangers are waiting to see what their ticket sales look like in a week from now, and then will coordinate a date with Lundqvist. I would be absolutely shocked to see this ceremony take place on Opening Night, against the Islanders or on a Saturday night – as all of these games are usually sold out. I fully expect this ceremony to take place on a weeknight against a Western Conference team, which would be a game, at least historically, that usually draws the lightest crowd/gate of the season. By doing the Lundqvist ceremony on one of these nights, it’s a guaranteed sell-out on what would’ve been a low gate for Dolan and company.
Of note here: I see people campaigning the Rangers to host this ceremony on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022 because one, it checks the box of being a weekday game and two, it’s Lundqvist’s 40th birthday. While I wouldn’t rule this out, I’d also be surprised if this was the date. After all, while for us as fans, going to a Rangers game on our birthday is a great night out, for Henrik Lundqvist, celebrating a milestone birthday – do you really think he wants to be at MSG? I think he’d rather be with his family and friends. As they say, we’ll see!
And before moving along here, one last thing, I promise – Father Fink Ticketmaster!
Real quick here, before getting into the “real” Rangers news of tonight’s manifesto, an update on the 2022 Stanley Cup Future odds.
Not even two weeks ago, the Rangers were a +2800 underdog to win the Stanley Cup in 2022. Today, the Rangers are now at +2500. You can say that this is a vote of confidence for the Rangers future. You can also say that perhaps some teams didn’t have the off-seasons that the experts predicted either. After all, the Stanley Cup Finalist Montreal Canadiens are now sitting at +4000, which is a direct result of Montreal returning to a tough Atlantic division and losing Jesperi Kotkaniemi to the Canes via an offer-sheet.
If there’s anything that has made me laugh over the last three seasons in regards to Stanley Cup futures, it’s this – the Colorado Avalanche always being the favorite. The Avalanche have continued to choke-and-choke in the playoffs, but once again, they are the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup again.
If you were going to bet $100 here, I much rather put my $100 on the Tampa Bay Lightning than on the Colorado Avalanche. Even better, with Tampa Bay being +700 as opposed to Colorado being +600 – it’s a better payout too.
And really, outside of Tampa vs Colorado, I think these odds are all baffling to begin with, especially when you really look at these numbers and compare all of the teams. I mean, the Bruins are falling apart and they have the fourth-best odds. The Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 and they have the fifth-best odds. And really, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins as the top two teams of the division? I don’t think so!
Let’s now get into the Rangers news.
This past Tuesday night, the Rangers announced their rookie and prospect camp invites. In case you can’t make out the graphic above, here’s a list of the players attending:
Forwards: Morgan Barron, Will Cuylle, Jayden Grubbe, Karl Henriksson, Patrick Khodorenko, Ryder Korczak, Brody Lamb, Michael O’ Leary, Brennan Othmann, Lauri Pajuniemi, Matt Rempe, Justin Richards, Austin Rueschoff, James Sanchez, Evan Vierling and Alex Whelan.
Defensemen: Zach Berzolla, Zach Giuttari, Zac Jones, Nils Lundkvist, Tarmo Reunanen, Matthew Robertson, Braden Schneider and Hunter Skinner.
Goalies: Talyn Boyko, Dylan Garand and Tyler Wall.
Couple of things here, and things from someone who isn’t a prospect guy at all (I never lie or “fake it” to you here and will always admit that prospects/NHL Entry Drafts isn’t my area of expertise):
— The Rangers rookies/prospects will play the Philadelphia Flyers rookies/prospects on 9/18 and 9/19. As of this writing, it hasn’t been announced if these games will be televised or not. You’d think the Rangers would have to air these games, but this is also the same team that used an AOL dial-up modem and scramble-vision cameras to air their Traverse City games from two years ago.
— Vitali Kravtsov is not part of this. Drury addressed this topic on Thursday morning. (More on this below.)
— Nils Lundkvist is part of this, and as he should be. Drury also addressed this topic on Thursday. (More on this below.)
As you know, history is my thing and not prospects. After all, it’s easier to write about facts rather than trying to predict the future. If you don’t believe me, just look at the new extension on the house of my bookie! (I kid, I kid, it was only a new in-ground pool!)
When it comes to who to have your eye on, obviously, it’s Nils Lundkvist, as he’s being pegged and projected to be part of the Rangers opening night line-up. As far as anyone else, or at least for me personally, I’m also interested in seeing this year’s first-round pick in Brennan Othmann. Ditto Braden Schneider, who the Rangers are also very high on.
I just hope the Rangers put these games on television, or at the very least stream them, so as fans, we can then get a feel for these players – especially since I’m an “eye-test” guy and not a charts and maps guy. I fully admit to being a 39 year old “boomer”, a label I wear proudly!
In our last piece of Rangers news, Rangers general manager and team president Chris Drury met with the media on Thursday, where as mentioned, Drury talked about both Kravtsov and Lundkvist, among other topics.
As it’s been done throughout the pandemic, whenever a member of the Rangers front office holds a media call, that call is then usually uploaded to YouTube. For whatever reason, as I write these words over twelve hours after the fact, Drury’s media call from Thursday morning hasn’t been uploaded yet. Perhaps it will be uploaded by the time you read these words. As you read these words, you can check https://www.youtube.com/c/nyrangers/videos to see if the call has been uploaded.
And really, when it comes to any of these press conferences, as fans, I think we need to rely on what we see, rather than what someone else tells us. Sometimes you just need to hear the inflection and tone of one’s voice to make an opinion.
I hate to do this, as whenever I recap or talk about one of these front office calls, I like to see it for myself. I rather rely on my eyes and ears than someone else’s. However, since the call hasn’t been made available to the public yet, I’m at the mercy of the Rangers beat writers.
The following information comes from reports out of Larry Brooks (NYP), Mollie Walker (NYP) and Colin Stephenson (Newsday):
— On the acquisition of Ryan Reaves, Chris Drury confirmed reports from the past, mentioning that the Rangers have had their eye on Reaves for a while, where Drury even said that the Rangers tried to acquire the tough winger three years ago. Drury thinks that Reaves will be a good fit for the team, which is why he gave Reaves an extension.
On the extension itself, Drury was quoted as saying, “we just wanted him for another year. It’s pretty simple. We think he’s going to be good in our room and a valuable piece to what we’re doing.”
— When it comes to the topic of team captain, a topic that’s been very debated about among Ranger fans; Drury said it was an important thing to address and it will take some time, as Gerard Gallant gets accustomed to his new roster. Again, while I didn’t see/hear Drury speak for myself, the impression I get here is that if the Rangers do name a captain this season, it won’t happen during the pre-season. I believe if an announcement is made, it will be made right before opening night. And as talked about repeatedly on this site, Adam Fox is my choice for this distinguished honor.
And oh – based on the quotes and reports that are out there, one way or the other, I do think the Rangers will have a captain for the 2021-2022 season.
For what it’s worth here, Drury also said, “one way or another, I think it’s [the team’s captaincy issue] going to get figured out.”
— The name of Jack Eichel wasn’t brought up, despite reports earlier in the day from SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman, a Friedman who said Buffalo is reassessing the situation and open to talking to suitors again. It should be noted here that Drury has made it clear from day one that he won’t talk about contracts or his conversations with other GM’s. In other words, if an Eichel deal ever happens, Drury will only speak about it after such a trade happens.
I bring up Eichel here, because a name that was also brought up during this media call was Filip Chytil. Drury spoke highly of Chytil, where Chytil’s poor performance at the circle was alluded to. Drury seems fine with the current state of his centermen, which also include Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome and Kevin Rooney. (Barclay Goodrow could also play center, or at the very least, take draws if Chytil continues to struggle in this department.)
— Speaking of centers and the line-up, where the name of Morgan Barron was also mentioned, Drury said the line-up is all up to Gerard Gallant. As talked about previously, Gallant has free reign to do whatever he wants with the line-up. (And as he should. After all, that’s why he was hired!)
Interesting note here – one name that seems to be lost in the mix is the name of Julien Gauthier. You don’t hear the media talking about him at all and it’s going to be interesting to see where Gauthier slots on the Rangers depth chart, if at all. (Hartford?)
— Drury raved repeatedly about Nils Lundkvist, where without saying so outright, he expects Lundkvist to be with the team on opening night, rather than being in Hartford. Drury was quoted as saying, “it wouldn’t surprise me if at the end of it, he’s [Lundkvist] standing there on our team.”
Larry Brooks, in his own report of the media call, said that Drury was praising Lundkvist so much, that it came off like Lundkvist was the second-coming of Brad Park. We’ll see what happens, and obviously I hope it all works out, but already, there seems to be a lot of pressure on a kid that’s never played one NHL game or a game in North America before. All the best to Mr. Lundkvist.
— Drury talked about and praised all the “tough guy” signings/acquisitions, including Ryan Reaves, Barclay Goodrow, Sammy Blais and Jarred Tinordi. Drury, backing up what Jeff Gorton recently said on a podcast, confirmed that this was part of the plan for some time now.
If you recall, during the “Cam and Strick” podcast (which was recapped on this site, check the archives), ex-NYR GM Jeff Gorton said that the organization wanted to see the young kids handle adversity and tough situations first, then flesh out the roster with veterans and tough guys. From what was reported, Drury pretty much echoed what Gorton had previously said.
— On Vitali Kravtsov, Drury was quoted as saying, “we were excited with big parts of his game last year.” Drury continued to praise Kravtsov, as an explanation of why Kravtsov will train/practice with the regulars, rather than working with the rookies/prospects.
I know I’ve previously said this on this site, both during last season and during this off-season, but one decision that will have to be made is Kravtsov vs Kakko in the top six. While I guess you could include both in the top six, it has been said, even by David Quinn himself, that Artemi Panarin asked to play away from Kaapo Kakko last season. Who gets more ice-time between Kakko and Kravtsov will be a story-line to watch come this 2021-2022 season.
Furthermore here, while not truly a “make-or-break” season for Kaapo Kakko, Kakko, now in Year Three, will really have to take a step-up. If Kravtsov out-performs Kakko, I don’t know how you can give Kakko more minutes than Kravtsov. Again, this will be a development to watch all-season long.
All in all, and without seeing this media call for myself, I think Drury pretty much said what you’d expect him to say here. As we’ve seen in Drury’s limited appearances, while he’s not as sullen as Glen Sather was – Drury also doesn’t light up a room like John Davidson does either. To each their own. Everyone has their own style and approach.
Based on the reports out of this media call, there was nothing really shocking said here. I mean, just look at the quick bullet points:
— Drury is a fan of having a team captain. Good, we all do.
— Drury is a high on Lundkvist, Chytil, Kravtsov, his tough guys and basically everyone else. Good, we hope the roster hits his and our expectations.
— Drury is putting full control of the roster into Gallant’s hands. What else was supposed to happen here?
If there was anything else here, and as talked about previously, it seems like the Rangers roster as of 9/10/21 is what they’ll go into this season with. In other words, and I know there are some fans crossing their fingers out there – there’s nothing doing with Eichel, where if a trade is made, it would shake up this roster considerably (Chytil?/Georgiev?/Strome?/Miller?/Lundkvist?) and the future too (Zibanejad).
If there’s anything I truly got out of this, it was this – hockey’s almost back. DROP THE PUCK!
Before going home here and to follow-up on something I said last blog when talking about some Ranger fans making Chris Drury out to be “Public Enemy Number One” – can you imagine if the 2022 Stanley Cup Final came down to the St. Louis Blues vs the Carolina Hurricanes? What would rile up the chart loving millennial fans more – Pavel Buchnevich winning the Cup or Tony DeAngelo winning the Cup? (For a fun discussion on this topic, check out the “2 Guys, 1 Cup Podcast”, as co-hosts Shawn and Roc talked about this two episodes ago.)
Of course, I’m rooting for the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup. However, if that can’t happen, I’d rather see Tampa Bay (Ryan McDonagh) vs Minnesota (Cam Talbot and Mats Zuccarello.) The plight of the hockey fan!
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Up next: awaiting the arrival of my author copies from Amazon, so I can ship these books out to everyone who has pre-ordered. For more on this, check out my last blog.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank all the heroes who have worked and who presently work for both the NYPD and the FDNY. These men and women work unenviable jobs and I can’t believe that 9/11 is now twenty years old. While 9/11/01 will always be a horrific date in American history, at the same time, following that date, I can’t remember the country ever being so united. I hope to see those days once again, and of course, without a tragic event sparking that unity. Thank you to all of these people who protect New York City.
From a hockey perspective, and as we saw tonight during the FDNY vs NYPD charity game, the ice at MSG is ready to go. We’re less than 35 days away from the start of the regular season and only 17 days away from the start of the pre-season. See ya summer!
Until next time…
Stay FABULOUS my friends.
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
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