Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. So much for a night off!
Obviously, and as you’re probably already aware of by now, right-winger Brennan Othmann, the Rangers’ first-round pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft (16th-overall), is slated to make his NHL debut on Thursday night.
And as you also have probably surmised – this huge news is the genesis for tonight’s quick-hitter.
But before getting into everything Othmann; at this time, let’s first cover the light news from Tuesday that preceded this big-time Blueshirts’ bombshell.
Following the Rangers getting shellacked on Tuesday night by the Carolina Hurricanes, come Wednesday morning, the Blueshirts’ team owner, James Dolan, had to spend six million dollars for one-hundred-inch water pumps in order to rid the streets of Rangerstown, USA of massive flooding – a never-ending deluge which was created by the tears from the “GLOOM AND DOOM” and “SKY IS FALLING” crowd.
Seriously, a first-place team, yet based on 90% of what I read on social media on Wednesday – and if you didn’t know any better – then you would’ve thought that the Rangers were lottery-pick bound.
But of course, those two words, “lottery-pick,” would come into play later in the day.
In a sign of the times, and in a move that must’ve had Herb Brooks, Phil Watson, Conn Smythe and other former deceased Ranger head coaches spinning in their graves – “LAVY’S LOT” didn’t take to the ice on Wednesday.
Similar to both the dodo bird and dinosaurs – it seems like the practice of “bag skating” is also extinct – and where perhaps “mental health,” a phrase that wasn’t even a thing during bygone eras – is part of it.
Rather than putting his team through the trials and tribulations of a hard-working practice after an embarrassing loss; instead, Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette opted for a full day of video/classroom work.
But when you’re first-place in the division, and just a stone’s throw from first-place in all of the league too – then you can approach things differently – and oh yeah – call-up your prized first-round pick to boot!
Since the team didn’t take to the ice on Wednesday, as a result, we didn’t know that Tyler Pitlick, and as we’d later find out following “LAVY’S LOUNGE,” was going to miss some time.
Speaking of “LAVY’S LOUNGE,” here’s the head coach combating the mooks that compromise the birdbrain Blueshirts’ beat for over ten-minutes on Wednesday:
No joke – you could see Laviolette’s hair thinning in real-time as he endured all of this moronic line of questioning.
Similar to some fans, these reporters treated the Rangers as if they were middling in mediocrity – and all because of one lousy loss, following a drinking holiday no less, during an 82-game schedule.
To open the interview, Newsday’s Colin Stephenson asked Laviolette about Connor Bedard – and not the team that Laviolette coaches.
I only bring this up, because just twelve-hours prior, John Tortorella snapped at reporter Mark Spector for asking him about the other Connor, the one in Edmonton:
Tortorella wants nothing to do with Mark Spector’s question pic.twitter.com/Jji8mtjQJR
— Captain Jack 🏴☠️ (@OilersJack) January 3, 2024
Man, oh man, do I miss Torts!
And as said about 406786789696 times before – can you imagine Torts dealing with the likes of Wince and Mollie every day?
(If Torts thought that Larry Brooks was beat-up at bus stops, then I can only imagine what he’d say about these two buffoons!)
You know it: Such post-game interviews would be more entertaining than some of the games themselves!
And this too, and as repeated many times before – Laviolette is too nice and patient with this folk – as he’s still in a “honeymoon period” with these ignorami.
After Colin’s pertinent and burning question (“IS CONNOR BEDARD GOOD?”), the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, who I think is getting dumbed down every day due to his association with Ms. Don’t Give a Shit, grilled the head coach for nearly five-minutes.
Seriously, Brooks remains the defacto ace on the beat and arguably – is one of the best reporters that’s ever covered this team – bar none.
But this season?
I just don’t get it.
Whenever the Rangers win, then Brooks is championing them as Stanley Cup winners. But when they lose, then you’d think that the Rangers were dead-last in the league.
I understand that newspapermen have to sell the drama, but Brooks is better than this – and he most certainly knows better too.
After all, who is going to remember any regular season win, or loss for that matter, come the first puck drop of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Following Brooks’ police-like interrogation of Laviolette, LoHud’s (what the hell is a LoHud anyway?), Wince Mercogliano then read every stat that he found off of the nerd sites, like NaturalStatTrick.com, while pestering Peter.
For Pete’s Sake – literally!
Once this ten-minute harassment session concluded – Laviolette had all of my empathy – and sympathy too.
Kudos to him, as he really restrains himself from blasting these bozos – and often – also teaches them the game in the process.
Of note: When it comes to the beat, keep in mind that Stan Fischler and Jonny Lazarus weren’t there – and two reporters/writers that have all of my respect.
More on these two, two reporters from completely different backgrounds, and who I feel cover hockey the best, in just a bit.
Once Lavy wrapped-up, and with the beat having no clue what was coming next (funny how often this happens!) – and as every reporter, fan and anyone else who cares about this team thought that the Rangers were done answering questions – Blueshirts’ general manager, Chris Drury, and like Roddy Piper – changed the questions.
At 5PM (a new salary-cap day in the league), the Rangers went to Twitter/X to announce the following:
UPDATE: Brennan Othmann has been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack.
— NY Rangers PR (@NYR_PR) January 3, 2024
As mentioned during my Rangers/Canes review from Tuesday night, both Nick Bonino and Tyler Pitlick went to the locker room during the third period. While the former returned, the latter never did.
Once the Rangers broke their own news about Othmann, it was then reported that Tyler Pitlick was “week-to-week” (credit: Arthur Staple of “The Athletic” – and a Staple who does a good job but isn’t full-time and is more of an Islander guy anyway) with an unspecified injury – as the NHL loves their cloak-and-dagger style of reporting injuries.
To follow-up on the Othmann call-up, the Hartford Wolf Pack also posted a statement, courtesy of https://www.hartfordwolfpack.com/news/detail/rangers-recall-forward-brennan-othmann-from-wolf-pack:
HARTFORD, CT – New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the club has recalled forward Brennan Othmann from the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack.
Othmann, 20, has scored 23 points (9 g, 14 a) in 28 games with the Wolf Pack this season, his rookie professional campaign in North America. His 23 points rank him tied for third on the Wolf Pack this season and tied for sixth in the AHL among rookies.
Additionally, Othmann’s nine goals have him tied for seventh in the AHL among rookies and his 14 assists are tied for eighth among rookies league-wide.
Before joining the Wolf Pack this season, Othmann played the 2020-21 season professionally for EHC Olten in the Swiss National League, scoring 16 points (7 g, 9 a). The native of Scarborough, ON, played his junior hockey in the OHL, appearing in 177 games and notching 197 points (96 g, 101 a) for the Flint Firebirds and Peterborough Petes.
Othmann led the Petes to an OHL Championship in 2023, scoring 25 points (8 g, 17 a) in 23 playoff games. He is also a two-time IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medal winner with Team Canada (2022 & 2023).
Othmann was selected in the first round, 16th overall, of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers. He has yet to make his NHL debut.
Alright, let’s dive into this like a dog on a bone – or like Wince & Mollie at a M$G buffet.
For starters, let me preface the following with this:
I BARE NO ILL-WILL FOR OTHMANN. I HAVE NO NEGATIVE NARRATIVE TO SELL. I’M HAPPY FOR HIM!
(This disclaimer is specifically for you Nick L. – and I’m laughing, like you probably are too, as I write this!)
That said, I wouldn’t have called up Othmann – but then again – that’s why I’m a beer-bellied bullshit blogger – and not the general manager!
In my eyes, and with Pitlick now out for several games (if not longer than that, as we don’t know the extent of his injury just yet), I would’ve just recalled Adam Edstrom.
Why? (Part I)
Easy. (Part I)
Edstrom most certainly deserves a second look, following his excellent NHL debut from December 15th, when he was part of a Rangers’ 5-1 victory against the Ducks.
While blowing the Ducks out of water, Edstrom, seemingly ten-feet tall on skates, also scored his first NHL goal.
Furthermore, and if you’re solely looking at this from both a team chemistry and role perspective – then Edstrom is a better fit than Othmann.
Unlike Othmann, you can plug Edstrom into your bottom-six, or in this case – for Pitlick on the fourth-line – and not much harm will be done.
(There’s also no expectations for Edstrom – or at least – not the same expectations that have already been bestowed upon Othmann.)
My promotion of Edstrom aside – really – I would have preferred anyone else besides Othmann – and whether it be Matt Rempe, Alex Belzile, Anton Blidh, or hell – Artem Anisimov himself!
Why? (Part II)
Easy. (Part II)
It just goes back to what I said all last summer and into this 2023-24 campaign too:
I’m very leery of Ranger lottery-picks – especially from the most recent crop.
As I write these words late night, and into the wee hours of January 3rd – Will Cuylle has supported everything that I’ve previously said when it comes to my theory/opinion on this:
LET THESE LOTTERY PICKS GET A SEASON IN THE AHL – AND THEN GIVE THEM A CRACK AT IT.
I don’t need to rehash everything again about “Crybaby” Lias Andersson, nor Vitali “I Want My Mommy” Kravtsov, either.
You already know the deal.
For the respective lottery-picks of the 2017 and 2018 NHL Entry Drafts – we can now safely use the “bust” word when describing both of them.
When it comes to the lottery-picks that succeeded them, Kaapo Kakko (2019) and Alexis Lafreniere (2020) – neither have reached their potential – and perhaps both of them would’ve benefited by howlin’ with the Wolf Pack.
But of course what’s done is done – and you can’t change history – but you can learn from it.
(And to be fair: Due to COVID-19, Lafreniere never had the AHL option in his rookie season.)
It was my thought that Drury had learned from history too – and look no further to Cuylle as the prime example.
After a full-season in the AHL, Cuylle, now in his NHL rookie season, looks like a seasoned veteran himself.
This much is true:
Cuylle has become an integral part of the Blueshirts’ fabric – and is just as important in his role as any other player.
There’s never been one time this season when you watched Cuylle and thought, “eh, it was just a rookie mistake.”
He’s been that good in his role – and let’s face it – he’s sacrificing his scoring while embracing his physicality in order to maintain his spot with the Rangers.
In other words?
Over time, and in the years to come, I’d expect “CUYLLE HAND LUKE” to become a bonafide scorer – and perhaps not only match those Tom Wilson comparisons – but shatter them.
But of course, there’s a flip-side to every coin, and since what’s done is done, let’s now get into Othmann – as I’m done talking about everyone else!
My own opinions on this topic be damned – at the end of the day – I’m fine with Othmann being recalled.
I truly am.
(Heck, as I’m proof-reading this blog for your consumption – I think I sold myself on Othmann too!)
The Rangers are in a good position and have a healthy lead as the top team in the Metro.
Then again, had the Blueshirts been at the bottom of the barrel – then I guess that recalling Othmann wouldn’t have been a bad thing either. In fact, it would have been warranted.
The point I’m trying to get at?
Recalling your top prize from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, your best prospect, works when you’re either in first- or in last-place.
Had the Rangers been in the middle of the pack and scratching-and-clawing for a playoff spot, then I don’t think that you throw Othmann into the fire.
But since Drury’s club has plenty of leeway, injuries aplenty and with a trade deadline coming up – then why not?
As of this writing, we have no clue if the Czech center, Filip Chytil, is done for the season – if not retirement-bound at that.
When it comes to the horrendous (and on an expiring deal) Kakko, he’s expected to return.
Since Othmann is projected to be a scorer, then why not see what he can do?
And when it comes to the Ghosts of Lottery Pick’s Past – and as I have stated many times before on this site – every player is independent of another.
(Plus, as a Canadian who grew up watching the NHL, I think the hungry Othmann has a leg-up when compared to the Momma Boys, Andersson and Kravtsov.)
One thing is for certain – Drury is going to do something at the trade deadline – and where the eventual depth-defenseman acquisition is the equivalent of buying a pack of gum at check-out.
By giving Othmann a few games, then this should give the general manager more insight on what position he should target come the trade deadline.
If Othmann doesn’t pan out, then no big deal – there are many right-wing pending unrestricted free agents out there, and whether it be the former Blueshirts like Anthony Duclair, Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, or somebody else.
But if Othmann works out?
Then you can focus on a center as your top priority – and perhaps trade the disappointing Kakko too when going for the gusto.
So yeah – I guess that I am speaking out both sides of my mouth – because I do understand the logic in recalling Othmann – even if it wouldn’t have been my first idea!
(And that’s why I blog about the Blueshirts – and not manage them!)
But as I write this?
I’m becoming a “Brennan Believer.”
(I do love my alliteration!)
For Othmann, who has been chomping at the bit for this opportunity – it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The twenty-year-old turns the legal drinking age (21) on January 5th.
In other words, Drury is giving BIRTHDAY BOY BRENNAN his gift one day early.
Better than that – and this is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT:
Drury is also giving Othmann’s parents (and family) some time to get down to New York and watch their son make his NHL debut.
Had this been an emergency game-day recall, and with no chance of Othmann’s family being able to attend, then Thursday night’s game would have lost some luster.
As you should all know by now – hockey parents SACRIFICE. Weekends are lost, tons of money is spent and all with the hopes of helping their sons realize and reach their dreams.
So yeah – Othmann’s parents DESERVE to be inside of M$G when Othmann makes his NHL/Rangers debut!
So this begs us our next question:
Where does Othmann figure into LAVY’S LINE-UP?
We’ll see how it all plays out, but in my eyes – I’m going balls to the wall, and like a poker player with a hot hand – ALL IN.
This is my way of saying that I’d throw Othmann right into the fire – and play on the BFF line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.
While I understand the “easing in” process – what’s better for Othmann – skating around with the likes of Jonny Brodzinski and Nick Bonino – or getting a real shot to succeed with the two longest-tenured Rangers – and where let’s face it – two men who could use an uptick in their five-vs-five scoring?
By Thursday morning, during the Rangers’ sponsored “RISE & SHINE SKATE,” we’ll know what line that Othmann will play on.
But since this blog is being published before that morning practice – I’m going on record – give me a 20/93/78 line – as I truly feel this suits Othmann best.
While you could make an argument that Blake Wheeler has been improving with the BFF and that perhaps Cuylle deserves a crack with the second line too – but Othmann is currently your crown jewel prospect.
Let him shine!
Do you know what I love the most about this Othmann recall?
The fact that the M$GN announcers, who always root for the opposing team, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, won’t be able to salivate and slobber all over Connor Bedard on Thursday night.
Instead, this dynamic duo will be forced to sing the praises of a Ranger for once – Brennan Othmann!
Sign me up!
For those aware of Othmann’s name, but not what he’s been doing in Hartford this season, the soon-to-be 21-year-old, in 28 games played this season, has nine goals, fourteen assists (23-points) and a plus/minus rating of -6.
If there is anything that makes the timing of this call-up questionable, then it’s the fact that Othmann has been without a goal scored during his past seven games played.
But really, that means nothing – as it’s a whole new ball game for B.O. – and someone who is hoping to emit some pleasant aromas against the ‘Hawks – while also hoping for Chicago to stink out the joint!
Closing thoughts on Othmann.
Please, and for the life of me (even if I know that this will be unavoidable by a certain sect of fans), don’t overreact by whatever Othmann does on Thursday night.
I can see it now:
Othmann turns over the puck and it goes right past Jonathan Quick (who I assume is starting – he needs to get his tenth win after two losses – and the Hawks are a perfect “get-right” opponent). As a result, Ranger fans then cry bloody murder.
Conversely, I can also see Othmann scoring on his first shift and Ranger fans wanting every other right-winger traded!
Give him time – and let it all play out!
While I wouldn’t say that I feel “bad” for Othmann or anything as severe as that, but I do understand the pressure that he’s under – and where I think that many have a lot of unrealistic expectations for a guy who can’t even legally crack open a beer after his first NHL game.
Parting words on this topic?
GOOD LUCK BRENNAN OTHMANN!
And should he work out – WATCH OUT – as I thought that Cuylle would be the YOUT on this team, a young-blood type that every Cup contender needs, this season.
Imagine having a 1-2 pair of BABY BLUESHIRTS dominating?
And I’ll stop you before you say it – the less said about Kakko and Lafreniere – the better!
Some quick hits before going home.
In some Rangers’ beat reporter news, there was an interesting development on Wednesday.
The Hockey News, still trying to make an imprint on a beat that they used to dominate, made a change when they re-hired their oldest employee, dating all the way back to the mid-1950s, Stan Fischler, while also letting go of their youngest employee, who just started in the Spring of ’23, Jonny Lazarus.
Here’s what each man had to say about the change:
“When I say that #NYR job made my life, I didn’t mean maybe.”
— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) January 3, 2024
I really enjoyed my time there, but I’m very excited for what’s next. I’ll still be covering the team, but it will have a different feel to it.
I’ll now be contributing more for the @DailyFaceoff and I’m fired up!
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) January 3, 2024
As you may have guessed – I’m ecstatic that Fischler has come back to the GOOD SIDE – and is now covering the Rangers again.
But don’t get it twisted – he’ll always love the Islanders – and it’s easy to understand why – as they have treated him like gold for decades – where they even renamed their press box after him.
However, and deep-down?
Fischler bleeds blue!
While I’m elated about Fischler writing about the Rangers again, that doesn’t mean that I’m happy about Lazarus being let go either.
As noted many times before on this site – I thought that Lazarus was the best reporter on the beat today – even if he was only part-time.
I have no clue why THN made the change, nor is it my business to pry and find out, but in a perfect world, I’d rather see a Fischler-Lazzy tandem – instead of one or the other.
For whatever reason, Lazzy was never made full-time by THN – despite having the best insight, the most experience in the game and while doing a bang-up job.
Fischler’s resume speaks for itself – and as I can personally attest to and as everyone else saw on the recent ESPN2 segment on “The Maven” – he’s still kicking ass and can cover every game from his home in Israel.
I’m telling you (and for the millionth time too) – I have no clue why Fischler isn’t in the HOF today (I expect it’s an anti-American/pro-Canadian bias) – and he’s a freakin’ modern marvel.
Put it this way: My parents, twenty-years younger than him, and heck some of my friends too who are fifty-years younger than him, have problems trying to get Netflix to work.
As I saw last October in Fischler’s hotel room during one of our “RANGER HISTORIAN POW WOWS” – by the time that I arrived, he already had his laptop computer hooked up the hotel’s WiFi and was firing off emails with the speed and precision of an Artemi Panarin wrist shot.
(Speaking of Panarin: The NHL will be naming their first 32 All-Stars on Thursday, one for each team – where yep – Panarin will be the Rangers’ All-Star. After that, there will be fan voting for the other vacant spots, where in my opinion, both Jacob Trouba and Vincent Trocheck should make the cut.)
I’m sure that Lazzy will wind up on his feet (and he already has something like 97678676986 other endeavors to begin with – where sadly – he’s also part of the gambling nonsense) – but while it may not be best for him (most reporters don’t want to be on the beat – they want to be on television/digital) – I hope to see him return to the Rangers’ beat one day – and full-time at that.
But for Fischler?
No one besides me is happier to see him back where he belongs – covering the New York Rangers!
And for the love of the hockey gods, I beg of you, as I can’t record them all – the M$GN needs to sit down Fischler and just have him talk and talk and talk about Rangers’ history until his lips can no longer flap (and that’s tough for him!) – as once he goes (NOT ANYTIME SOON!) – then a whole ton of stories and history will go with him.
WELCOME BACK MAVEN!
Wednesday was a big day for Ranger podcasts, where perhaps no bigger (I haven’t listened to it yet – but I will – and if anything newsworthy was said, then I’ll report back to you on this site) was Lundqvist’s “Club 30” podcast.
Lundqvist’s guest was a fellow Rangers’ legend, Mark Messier.
You can listen to the show here:
For Mark Messier, MSG will always be a special place.
— club30pod (@club30pod) January 3, 2024
On Wednesday, January 3rd, our pals over at “The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned with a new episode. To check it out, click the play button below:
Also on 1/3, our other buddies, the guys over at “2 Guys, 1 Cup,” returned with a new episode. To check it out, click this link: https://www.facebook.com/100003992272173/videos/347901628176708/
Up Next: Othmann vs Bedard – I mean Rangers vs Blackhawks!
See ya tomorrow night with a GAME REVIEW!
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
My fourth title and tenth book is now available!
“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/CAR 1/2 Review: New Year’s Hangover Creates Blueshirt Headaches; Rangers Flat as Cheap Champagne – But Not a Loss To Worry About Either, Special Teams Swing Games; “Lavy’s Lot” Swung Around A Lot, The Return of Artem Anisimov For Walking Wounded Wolf Pack; Return of Negative Trends Too, M$GN Presents “The Brent Burns Bonanza” & More
NYR/TBL 12/30 Review: Happy New Year! BEST IN THE WORLD BLUESHIRTS Close 2023 with a Five-Goal Bang; Panarin Bakes a Hat Trick for CZAR IGOR’s Birthday, Rangers’ Roster Review/Referendum, Refs Ruin Shutout, Nonna Trocheck’s Bambino Four-Point Night; GAG Line 2.0?, Trouba Goes BEAST Mode, Sam Rosen Drinking Game, Historic Streaks & More
NYR/FLA 12/29 Review: Jonathan Quick’s Heroics in Net Not Enough in (The-Still-In-First-Place) Rangers’ Uncharacteristic One-Goal Loss; Alexis “Zack Morris” Lafreniere Murphy’s Law Night, Bad News for Chytil; Going Back Home to Czechia, Pitlick Benched, The NHL’s Banned “C-Word,” Rangers Recall Edstrom, “LAVY LOUNGES,” A Disgraceful & Sickening M$GN Broadcast; Vagistat Debunked & 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