The Seattle Road-Trip Experience: “The Unkrakable” CZAR IGOR Dominates; Americans Not Shabby Either, Reviewing Seattle as an NHL City (The Worst) & Why To Stay Away, Adam Fox Re-Signs; Drury Continues To Excel, Kreider Bailing Out Fat Cats, Kravtsov Loan & More

I didn’t exactly see the best Rangers game in Seattle, but I did see an amazing goaltender’s duel, which are the games I like best.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. It’s great to be back home. This blog will be a long one, as I recap my trip to Seattle, the game from Sunday night and all the big news coming out of Rangerstown, USA, including the new extension signed by Adam Fox.

In other words, sit back, get out your favorite beverage and enjoy this unique look at Seattle and the Rangers.

As you have probably noticed already, I have posted two photo gallery blogs on this site during the past few days, recapping all of my travels in Seattle. (I’ll plug both of these blogs at the end of this manifesto.) Obviously, Sunday night was the main event of my trip, where the Rangers defeated the Seattle Kraken by a final score of 3-1. Who knows how long this will last, but for right now, we can say that the Rangers are undefeated in the cesspool known as Seattle!

That’s right I’m using the word “cesspool” when talking about Frasier Crane’s hometown.

Regular readers of this site know that these road-trip blogs are different than the norm, where I try to share information with you guys about these cities, especially in the event that you ever get a chance to visit any one of these cities. Once getting through the ins-and-outs of Seattle, I’ll talk more about Sunday’s game itself, where really, outside of praising CZAR IGOR and two Americans (Chris Kreider and Adam Fox) – there isn’t much else to say.

However, before getting into the game, let me rewind a bit and get back to this absolute dump known as Seattle, where their heroin-laced streets make Penn Station (in its current state) feel as warm and vibrant as the sunny beaches of Miami, Florida.

These homeless tent communities, and even just random single tents all over the city, pollute Seattle, despite the city’s attempt of wanting to be “green”.

If you’re new here, to give you some background information, I have attended professional hockey games in the following NHL cities: New York, Uniondale, Brooklyn, Hartford, Newark, Philadelphia, Boston, Sunrise, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Raleigh, St. Louis, Nashville, Colorado, Chicago, Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton, Las Vegas and now Seattle.

Outside of Hartford, the former home of the Whalers, I’ve seen the Rangers play in all of these cities. (I saw the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack, in their home city.) I tell you this, just so you understand that I’m a bit well-traveled. I’ve seen things. I’ve experienced things. I’ve crossed off a lot of items on my bucket list. And most importantly, I’ve see a lot of sights when traveling to see my favorite hockey team.

In addition (and before I “CHOP” down Seattle here), if there is a “best” city, a “favorite” city or a “top city”; that also means there has to be a “worst” city, a “disliked” city and a “bottom” city too.

As noted on previous blogs on this site, the cities of Montreal, Las Vegas and Nashville are the top three cities in all of the NHL today – at least in my opinion. And without question, and after experiencing it first-hand (and I don’t say this lightly) – Seattle is the absolute WORST city in the entire NHL.

(And as noted in my NYR/CBJ 10/29 game review blog, and to take my foot off of Seattle’s neck here – I’ve never been to Winnipeg, where Manitoba’s biggest city is considered the worst city in all of the NHL by the players themselves.)

The view from my hotel in Seattle, where you can see that I was just steps away from the heartbeat of the city.

Let me make this first point clear, before I slam Seattle in the same way that most of its “residents” slam anyone within ear-shot, in their never-ending requests for drugs and money. For the most part, the people who I met, people who I talked to for three minutes or more, were nice people. Nothing I’m about to say here is an indictment on them. I enjoyed my conversations with these people.

As noted last blog, I watched Friday’s game at “The Angry Beaver” – Seattle’s oldest and best hockey bar. There, I met a Seattle transplant, Glenn Dreyfuss, of Stan Fischler’s “Java Jive”. While at the bar, I also found both bartenders (their names are escaping me as I write this, but I know their names are on the bar’s social media pages) extremely personable and likable.

Similar to “The Angry Beaver”, at “T.S. McHugh’s”, the watering hole where I pre-gamed at prior to puck drop; I found everyone there, both staff and the clientele, to be friendly as well.

And if you notice the trend here, I found the Seattle Kraken fans (more on them in a bit) that were sitting next to me at the game to be pleasurable too.

(And if you haven’t noticed the trend, it’s that the people who were interested in hockey, like me, were easy to talk to and to get along with. It’s everything else in Seattle that was a complete horror show – pure irony, considering the Rangers debut in this city, a city where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were once “sleepless” in, took place on Halloween.

At least I saw the Rangers win while in Seattle!

I don’t even know where to start. I think the best way to describe to Seattle to you, is to take everything you’ve seen in the news during the last year and times it by 100. That’s Seattle.

In the effort of full disclosure here, I am only talking about my experiences. However, while I didn’t cover much mileage in Seattle (and after seeing what I saw – I had no interest in taking another unnecessary step in Seattle, whose national treasure must be an overflowed porto-potty), I did stay downtown, mere steps away from the Space Needle, which is the black heart of this city. It’s not like I was staying in some suburb or way off the beaten path.

And to be even more open with you, keep in mind that just last week, I was in Nashville, Tennessee, one of my favorite cities of the entire league. Perhaps having another great time in Nashville dampened me on Seattle.

So in a word, why does Seattle “suck”? Let me describe the ways, where after this trip, and as a fan of the 1990s era of grunge music – I can understand why these musicians like Kurt Cobain called it a day.

During our first night in Seattle, and after stepping over multiple passed-out junkies and dodging the upright junkies needing a fix and begging for money, where I felt like I was playing a warped version of the game Frogger; we went for a meal and a drink at “Five Points”, which many locals (and the staff at our hotel) described as the best dive bar in town. And if you know me – dive bars are right in my wheelhouse.

Of note: there must be a sale on purple hair dye in Seattle, as the bar was full of people with retina-wrecking hair. And listen, I’m not one to judge either. I’m all covered up in tattoos and that’s not everyone’s stein of beer or cup of tea. However, when I see grown men in their 50’s and 60’s playing with hair dye, as if they were a teenage girl rebelling against their parents – it does look strange.

Picture this, especially after being in Nashville just a week ago – my friends and I, the three of us, enter the bar looking to have a good time. After being harassed about wearing these masks, masks that in my construction business (prior to the pandemic) were once known as “shit-breathers”; we were then allowed to take our masks off .02 seconds later, after physically getting to the bar.

As a disclaimer, I don’t like to get into political commentary on this website, because anytime you do, you’re always going to alienate half of your audience. That said, since I keep this site ad-free, I don’t have to answer to anyone either!

It boggles the mind, how in any other event, normal and sane people are okay if you don’t wear a mask next to them if you’re drinking or eating, but if you don’t have that mask on once finishing, you become the enemy.

All I want to say here (especially since Seattle is full of the mask police, where 99.9% of these people come off like that stereotypical nerdy hall monitor from high school), is that these masks for the vaccinated are ridiculous.

I’ve talked about this before on this site, but as a reminder, the second I announced that I was attending hockey games at M$G again (as I did for the home-opener), then you automatically knew that I was vaccinated.

Any person who attends a game at M$G (and many other arenas across the league too) are vaccinated. For some people, they might not want people knowing about their health and medical decisions, especially the non-vaccinated season ticket holders, who are now forced to sell their seats for less money on the secondary market – or risk losing “loyalty years of service”.

Personally (especially since I’m always open on this site and even more-so when doing a road-trip blog like this), I don’t care if people know that I’m vaccinated. How one views my vaccination status doesn’t effect my life. I just know that others don’t share my opinion on this, nor are as forthcoming, and nor should they be.

Back to the masks.

Anywhere we went in Seattle, the mask gestapo was out in full-force, where you would think these jackals were earning a salary by telling people to wear a mask, scolding people about pulling their mask up over their nose or suggesting wearing a second mask for more “protection”. These are the same types that also drive in their own hybrid cars, with no passengers, while wearing a mask, visor and a hazmat suit. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that these beta-males also wear a condom when they urinate for protection too.

I haven’t watched “Saturday Night Liberals” in years, but if there was ever a sketch to parody America today, it’s how after showing a bar or restaurant proof that you’re vaccinated, how you then have to wear a mask for a few seconds, where you then sit down and then, and only then, can you take your mask off for the rest of your stay.

(Of note: I don’t agree with the law, but I don’t mind abiding by it – I just think this law hurts local businesses and shames the non-vaccinated, where I guess these masked-crazy liberals have thrown the phrase “pro-choice” into the Seattle toilet – just as liberals usually do whenever something doesn’t suit them.)

It’s just silliness to me, whenever I have to show my vaccination card, then have to put a mask on to walk three feet, where I then take it off again once getting to a bar or table.

Seriously, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, can we agree this whole process is just one big bag of “optics” and serves no other purpose besides optics?

As someone who is vaxxed, how does wearing a mask for mere seconds “save lives”? Does COVID-19 know that I’m eating and drinking, and in turn, takes a time-out? Does COVID-19 only attack in those precious seconds after showing your vaccination card, while walking to the bar and/or table?

At least the airlines haven’t been ball-breakers, as during my last four flights, all I had to do was put a drink on my tray and I was able to go the whole flight without one of these 99 cent optical illusions.

I don’t know, and maybe it’s me, but once I got my shots, the whole mask thing became extremely silly to me. I understood the mask thing at the beginning of the pandemic, but now, with the jabs – it’s overkill. We all want to return to normalcy, and this mask thing is lunacy. It’s not progress, it’s regress.

Anyway, anywhere you go in Seattle, you have these mask hall monitors hawking you all over the place. If it’s not someone who can effect your food or is in a position of power over you (a hotel clerk, TSA, etc), it’s easy to tell these people to “Father Fink off” – but is it worth that confrontation, especially when in a foreign city?

Our first encounter with Seattle’s Face Diaper Militia started at “Five’s Point”. And again, keep in mind, I don’t mind abiding by the law and I do understand these establishments didn’t create these laws. I just like to point out how the whole thing is ludicrous and detrimental.

After masking up for nanoseconds, we sat down at the bar, where a “F— TRUMP”, “TRUMP IS A C—“, and “KILL TRUMP” bumper stickers adorned the classy establishment. Again, I don’t want to navigate the political waters on this site, but just like I said before, anytime you talk politics – you alienate half your audience. Here, I am just a silly blogger looking to entertain and inform. For “Five Points”, they are a business who will turn off PAYING CUSTOMERS with this stuff all over the place- after being shut down for a while by their favorite politicians.

If the bumper stickers weren’t enough, NOFX’s “KILL THE WHITE MAN” blasted over the juke box – as played by a white twenty-something male wearing skinny jeans. Of course, and as you’d imagine, this BRAVE SOUL, an inspiration to us all and willing to fight the good fight (as long as he had a $15 IPA in his hand), also had a man hair-bun.

And did I mention that outside the bar, where there is a seating/sleeping area for all of your favorite junkies, you had people smoking drugs all over the place?

I’m not making this up – it felt like anywhere you went in this city, you couldn’t go five feet without smelling drugs, having some bum harass you for money or tripping on one of the many leftover (often occupied) tents from CHOP/CHAZ.

After having a quick meal (to be honest, the food wasn’t bad), instead of staying longer and having a few drinks, we got out of there, where presumably everyone in this bar then cried about Trump and then hung a life-sized doll of Ronald Reagan. (Of course, everyone in the bar would be wearing their masks when doing this!)

And let me remind you again, I was just in Nashville a week ago – a city that’s a complete 180 of shithole Seattle. In Nashville, every bar, of the hundreds that pay high real-estate/rent costs to be there, makes all of their customers and patrons feel welcome. Bonus? You don’t have to wear a mask either!

I’ve never been stronger on an opinion before – Nashville blows away Seattle!

During my photo gallery blogs, and in the 10/29 game recap blog, I talked a little bit about my expeditions around this dump of a city. Let me just expand a bit more here.

I am not kidding you. The homeless and junkies litter these streets like white on rice. Then, if you’re not tripping or being swarmed by these cretins, you then have to watch your step due to the many scooters that are thrown around all over the place, which made me understand a recent “South Park” episode about this “scooter epidemic”.

I won’t rehash my previous comments on the homeless, especially the ones in NYC – but yeah, some of them have mental issues. Their situations can’t be avoided. They didn’t ask to have mental health issues. However, in Seattle, I didn’t see the mentally ill – I saw straight-up junkies, a product of a liberal city that gives out free pills to addicts.

But wait K-Mart shoppers (please have your masks on while shopping), there’s more!

There were so many stupid little things that I saw and experienced while in Seattle. Plastic bags are outlawed, where a once everyday item is now considered to be worse than a pedophile, where in Seattle, the mantra is: “pedophiles have a disease, can be cured and we shouldn’t judge them.” I’m surprised pedophiles don’t have their own assigned bathrooms either, to join the 86876786969 made-up genders that these people try to force-feed to America’s youth – just like a Jared Fogle or a Brad Aldrich.

Instead of plastic bags, a product conjured up by Satan himself, Seattle offers paper bags. Fine, whatever. However, there is a catch!

A paper bag with handles will run you 35 cents. A paper bag without handles will run you 5 cents.

And if you even dare to use a plastic straw in Seattle, off to the gulag you go!

Do you know what’s even crazier (and keep in mind, I can only talk about what I saw during my limited “sample size”) in Seattle? These junkie tents, just as common as houses or apartment buildings, seem to have communities that all abide by these same rules too. Even the junkies not dare touch a plastic bag!

For instance, I saw a junkie using a reusable “GREEN” spoon, rather than using a plastic spoon. He was helping the environment by shooting up this way. And kudos to the junkie in the ratted out Seattle Supersonics t-shirt, who wouldn’t dare snort meth with a plastic straw. Paper straws all the way and all day!

I promise you, I’ll eventually get into the Rangers on this blog!

I know I have probably gone on too long about this already, where maybe I have turned you off as I was turned off at “Five Points” – but I just didn’t think it would be fair to say “Seattle sucks” and just leave it at that.

The city is filthy, full of graffiti, plagued by a huge junkie/drug epidemic, has homeless tents all over and the place reeks of pot. Liberal or conservative it doesn’t matter – Seattle is so liberal that it will even turn off your moderate liberals, like a Bill Maher.

If you’re into extreme rules and having drugs fly around you left-and-right, Seattle is the town for you.

And oh, did I mention that it rains 90% of the time too? That’s how bad Seattle is – I didn’t even bring up the weather until the very end of this.

Yes, I’ll eventually get into the game itself, but let’s face it – you know what happened already, this game can be summed up in two words again (“CZAR IGOR”) and no other hockey blogger/writer is going to give you something like this!

At this time, I want to talk about Seattle, Kraken fans, and the way hockey has been received thus far in the city.

I found it bizarre that the Climate Pledge Arena, and its surroundings, has no Kraken logos to be seen anywhere. You will only realize that this is a hockey arena once you get inside.

Since I’m opening up a lot during this blog, here’s something only a few people know. During this past off-season, and in preparation for the Kraken, I was offered a job to cover the team by a new media outlet. (Think Bar Stool, but not as over-the-top.) There were many reasons why I haven’t brought this up before and didn’t take the position, such as:

— Having to live in Seattle.
— Having to be professional.
— Earning a fraction of the salary I’m earning now.
— All of my family lives in NY.
— It would take away time from following and writing about the Rangers – where keep in mind, above all else, I’m just a fan, nothing more, nothing less – even if I was an “Amazon Best-Selling Author” there for a few days!

That said, I can see why a new media outlet offered a paid position (for as little as the pay was) to an unprofessional boisterous beer-bellied blogger like me – this city needs people to promote, teach and help new fans understand hockey. And while I’m sure there are good people who cover the team – the Kraken media isn’t exactly a “who’s who” of names.

Outside of the people from “The Angry Beaver” (which is the exception to the rule here, because people who go there are already hardcore hockey fans, with most of these fans being transplants, including the owner himself) – of the dozens and dozens of people I talked to in Seattle, both inside and outside the “Climate Pledge Arena” (you won’t find a douchier name for an arena in all of sports than this one) – I’d say 90% of them didn’t know about hockey, the rules of hockey, and pretty much anything else hockey-related.

I swear, one last political comment for the rest of the blog, and hopefully on this site in general, but I must get the following out of my system. Plus, these manifestos are my way of purging anyway:

Several of you readers showed me tweets, comments and messages, from liberal Rangers fans, fans who also attended this game.

In these communications, these tolerant people, you know, the ones who tweet out the anti-bullying #BellLetsTalk hashtag and then will bury Tony DeAngelo on social media all day, and the same people who will also tweet out #HOCKEYISFOREVERYONE (UNLESS I DON’T LIKE YOU, AND THEN I CAN WISH YOUR CARCASS TO BE FIRED TO THE SUN), were going off on Kraken fans. And I’m not talking about the obvious-and-already-dated “Krakheads” or “Krakhouse” jokes.

Instead of making “Krak-puns”, as I poorly did with today’s headline, these fans were trashing Seattle residents and Kraken fans for knowing nothing about hockey. So much for that previously aforementioned #HOCKEYISFOREVERYONE campaign. To me, this felt like anything else on social media, where I don’t understand how the way one fan roots effects someone else.

For me, I subscribe to the “more the merrier” philosophy. Who cares if Kraken fans aren’t educated yet? They are there to support their team. None of us knew everything about hockey when we first started watching (and we still don’t either). We should be happy about the sport growing and about new fans hopping on the train, or in Seattle’s case – the monorail.

To blister new and impressionable fans, giving hockey a try, what’s the point in that? We should be happy about the league expanding and creating new fans – it only makes hockey bigger and better.

I wonder if this will be a common occurrence in Seattle – fans rooting for both teams, due to previous NHL allegiances. Over time, stuff like this will fade away.

I only speak the truth here. Since I was all decked out in Rangers garb, where many Kraken fans/Seattle residents were just shocked that someone would fly out 3,000 miles for a hockey game, my buddies and I received a ton of questions from these people, such was:

— What’s icing?

— What’s offside?

— What are the Original Six and why are the Rangers one of them?

— In a grueling question to address, “if the Rangers have been around for nearly 100 years, how come they’ve only won four times? Our WNBA team has four championships in less time.”

— And my favorite, “are too many men on the ice a common penalty in hockey?” (Only the Rangers!)


I have limited experience in NHL expansion. In fact, prior to seeing the Rangers Seattle debut on Sunday, the only other time I saw the Rangers play for the first time in a city was a few years back, when the Rangers traveled to Las Vegas to play the Golden Knights. That said, to compare, just as the cities themselves – Golden Knight fans and Kraken fans couldn’t be anymore “knight-and-day”.

When I went to Vegas and ventured to the T-Mobile Arena on the strip, there were lively parties everywhere, similar to the ones in Tampa, Raleigh or anywhere else that gives you a tail-gate type of experience. More importantly, you know the T-Mobile Arena was built for hockey. There was VGK stuff all over the place, from the signage, the music, the showgirls in team colors, the bars, the video screens, the staging and everything else.

In Seattle, the “Climate Pledge Arena” is this huge glass building, that sort of resembles a library. There’s not one Kraken logo to be found anywhere. And I’m not making this up. The video screens and text scroll message posts were all talking about masks and shots – and not goalie masks and slapshots. The word “GREEN” appears a lot around the arena, which is ironic, because the whole organization, right down to marketing, looks pretty “green” if I say so myself.

Unlike Vegas, who Seattle will be compared to a lot, and unlike many arenas around the league, if you were to drive or walk by the “Krakhouse” (couldn’t resist), you wouldn’t even know a professional hockey team plays there. And if the arena isn’t going to promote the Kraken, how will they create life-long fans?

Sure, the team may have sold a bunch of season tickets now, but unlike Vegas, which is a city made-up of sport fans – I could see the novelty of hockey wearing off in Seattle, especially since the Kraken won’t make a run to a Stanley Cup Final in their first year as the Golden Knights did.

If I were running the Kraken, and as someone who now has “boots-to-ground” experience, I think not only do you need to focus on youth community outreach programs, where if you can hook the kids, you can hook their parents; but there needs to be more meet-and-greets, signings, store openings featuring players and promotional stuff like that jazz. I felt like any of the “Krakheads” I talked to could take-or-leave the team. For right now, it’s a night out. It’s new. The Kraken need to create strong bonds with their customers – especially if repeat business is the goal.

While there are a few hardcores (not many, but some), these fans won’t be able to support a team all on their own. With the Kraken already looking for an arm-and-a-leg with their ticket prices, and with many fans not understanding the game as is – the Kraken may be profitable in Year One, but they may not be profitable in the years to come. Need evidence? Look at the Coyotes or Panthers.

“The Twins” aka the Kraken scoreboards.

As far as inside the arena goes, while it was nice, I didn’t see the big deal. I thought the barn in Vegas was better.

For all the talk about “climate this” and “climate that”, I have no clue what any of this means. Yea, there were places to recycle your beer cans, and you couldn’t use cash to buy stuff, but most arenas have been doing this for a few years now anyway, including M$G.

There is a “living wall” in the arena with greenery, but really, who gives a rat’s ass? If you want to look at some shrubbery, go to Wrigley Field.

Like most venues, sports, music or other; the lower bowl of the building was extremely spacious. Go up one level and you’ll see the size of the concourse shrink, while lines for food/drink, bathroom and merchandise seem to be a mile long.

For as novice as the Kraken are, they didn’t miss this memo – treat all fans based on what they paid for a seat.


“Let’s Get Kraken”, har-har-har

With all of that said, how about the game itself?

My normal style of reviewing/recapping games will return on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, following the Rangers/Canucks game in Vancouver. Plus, with this game “dated” as I write these words, you already know what went down already.

As mentioned earlier, this game can be summed up by just saying “CZAR IGOR” and moving on. However, I do have a few more thoughts and let’s get into them now.

For starters, this was another game that CZAR IGOR flat-out stole, similar to the win against Toronto. Arguably, you can say Igor has stolen wins during all of his starts this season, where really, only the win over Columbus (and to a lesser extent, Nashville) was a complete team effort.

A lot of what has been going down all season took place in this game, where all of the trends were magnified. As mentioned, Igor was on fire, even making a bevy of game-saving stops without his stick during a hectic second period.

I was sitting behind the net where the Rangers shot twice, and it was in this second period, where CZAR IGOR did the bulk of his magic. And while I love watching the Rangers – I didn’t need to see twenty minutes of them in their own defensive zone.

Chris Kreider, the team’s leading scorer, with all of his goals coming via the power-play, scored his first even-strength goal of the season, releasing a rocket of a wrister, where initially I didn’t even realize that the puck went in. In fact, I was expecting him to dish the puck to Mika on the two vs one play. After that first goal, putting the Rangers up 1-0, Kreider almost had a second goal, but was denied by Grubauer while on a breakaway.

I don’t have the exact time in front of me, but starting with about 5-6 minutes remaining in the first period and throughout the rest of the game, the Rangers, who did start out this game hot, only mustered up 10 more shots for a grand total of 18.

Was it the time zone difference, the traveling, the schedule or what, I do not know; but whatever it was, the Rangers just chased the Kraken for the final forty minutes of the game.

In more stuff that’s becoming trendy, once again, the Rangers won another game despite losing the battle at the dot. Oddly enough, this is becoming the new norm.

What’s not odd, but what has been the norm for a while now, is Adam Fox, who picked up the game winning goal, when he beautifully beat Grubauer after a rare Rangers shot, with just under eight minutes to go in the game. This gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead, and with CZAR IGOR in net, this was all that was needed. (More on Fox and his new contract below.) (Goodrow would later score an empty netter, as he did in Nashville, to give the Rangers the 3-1 win.)

After nine games played (which is over 10% of this 2021-22 season), Mika and Panarin have one goal each – where the Rangers 1-2 punch scored in the same game. (Win over Toronto.) Photo Credit: Getty Images

As Ranger fans, we all have high hopes for Panarin and Mika. This is all stuff I’ve said before, so there’s no reason to go too deep into this again. However, when do you start worrying? Sure, the two are picking up assists, where admittedly some of these assists are secondary (Panarin has seven assists and Mika has six assists, with Mika’s assist in this game coming off of Goodrow’s empty-netter), but where are the goals?

Just to think – Chris Kreider, who is having the best start of his career, is known for slow starts. If Kreider had another slow start to this season, where would the Rangers be? Of all the “Fat Cats”, it’s been all Chris Kreider, with Panarin and Mika playing the passenger role.

At some point, you have to think that Mika and Panarin will get rolling, but if this continues, and as the Rangers surpass ten games and then fifteen games, then there will be some cause for concern. Thankfully, the American Rangers are doing the heavy lifting right now, with Chris Kreider and Adam Fox standing tall among all Ranger skaters.

And while I know the Igor praise may become redundant on this site (if it isn’t already), but man oh man, is he helping the cause of every single Ranger’s plus/minus stat, should you put any stock into those stats – and yes, that includes Panarin, who has become a defensive liability thus far this season.

Ryan Reaves, still on the IR, is trying to practice and be ready for when he’s able to come off the IR. However, Reaves may be pushing it, as during the last two days, he’s attempted to practice, only to have his ice time cut short, due to his injury flaring up. Photo Credit: NYR

For the Rangers, 6-2-1 and in third place in the toughest division in hockey (first-place Carolina is 8-0, while Washington is without a regulation loss at 5-0-3), they are moving up nicely in the standings, although if not many of their wins are pretty or poignant.

We all know that during the regular season, you have to win ugly sometimes. Not every win is a Picasso. However, the Rangers are doing a lot of finger-painting in their wins, only for CZAR IGOR to look like Henrik Lundqvist and Mike Richter in their primes, and bailing out the team.

I keep going back to what I’ve said on this site repeatedly, ever since Gerard Gallant was hired – it’s going to take time, the team needs to gel, and the team needs to learn new systems. The fact that the Rangers are winning the majority of these sloppy and poorly played affairs is a miracle.

At the same time, you never see the Rangers “give up” in these games, where the Rangers currently look like piece of fruit on the vine, waiting to get ripe and ready. And yes, in this scenario, Mika and Panarin would be such said fruit.

As far as anything else from this “get the hell out of Seattle and move on” win, I want to mention that I really liked what Gallant said after the game.

As talked about on this site all season, I love the way Gallant controls the media and dictates the tone.

When Gallant was asked about the team’s poor performance in the final forty minutes of this game, the head coach admitted that the team had a bad game and how Igor lifted the team. However, when Gallant was pressed, and asked if he will “bag skate” or really work the team out during Monday’s off-day, Gallant blew that stupid question off, responding with why would he want to burn out his team prior to Tuesday’s game?

As an ex-player, unlike previous Ranger coaches, Gallant understands when and when not to press buttons. You can see it in all of his press conferences.

At the end of the day, be happy about the two points. Let’s now see if Gallant’s Rangers can become the first Ranger team, since the 2014-15 squad, to sweep Western Canada on the road. If that happens, that would be back-to-back four game road-trip sweeps for Gallant’s gang.

Let’s go back to Adam Fox.


 

Fox has already won one Norris Trophy with the Rangers – how many more will he win during the next eight seasons? Photo Credit: Ryan Strome

On the afternoon of November 1st, the Rangers and Chris Drury announced that they once again took care of business early, where this time, they locked up Adam Fox to a seven-year contract extension, worth $66.5M overall, and a contract that carries a salary cap hit of $9.5M a season.

Here’s how the Rangers covered the news, courtesy of: https://www.nhl.com/rangers/news/rangers-agree-to-terms-with-adam-fox/c-327469862?icmp=int_web_nyr_news_rightrail

New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has agreed to terms with Adam Fox on a seven-year contract extension.

“We are thrilled that we have agreed to terms with Adam on a contract extension and that he will continue to play for the team he grew up cheering for,” Drury said. “In just over two seasons, Adam has consistently shown why he is a cornerstone for our organization and one of the best players in the NHL. It has been a privilege for us, and our fans, to watch Adam showcase his ability on a nightly basis, and we are glad to have that opportunity for seven more years.”

Fox, 23, has skated in 134 career NHL games over parts of three seasons (2019-20 – 2021-22), all with the Rangers, registering 15 goals and 83 assists for 98 points, along with a plus-46 rating and 48 penalty minutes. He won the Norris Trophy in 2020-21 as the “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”; he skated in 55 games with the Rangers last season, registering five goals and 42 assists for 47 points, along with a plus-19 rating and 14 penalty minutes. Fox became the fourth Ranger to win the Norris Trophy since it was first presented in 1953-54, joining Doug Harvey (1961-62), Harry Howell (1966-67), and Brian Leetch (1991-92 and 1996-97). In addition, Fox became only the second defenseman in NHL history to win the Norris Trophy in one of his first two seasons in the league, joining Bobby Orr (Orr won the award in his second NHL season in 1967-68). He led NHL defensemen in assists, ranked second in points and power play assists (21), tied for second in power play points (23), ranked third in takeaways (38), and ranked 11th in average ice time (24:42) in 2020-21.

The 5-11, 183-pounder was named the Rangers’ Most Valuable Player and was selected as the winner of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award last season. He became the fourth defenseman in franchise history to average at least 0.75 assists per game in a season (min. 10 games played), joining Brian Leetch (four times), Brad Park, and Sergei Zubov, and he became the first Rangers defenseman to do so since Leetch in 1995-96. Fox also became the eighth defenseman in franchise history to average at least 0.85 points per game in a season (min. 10 games played), joining Leetch (nine times), Park (four times), Ron Greschner (four times), Zubov (twice), Reijo Ruotsalainen (twice), James Patrick (twice), and Barry Beck, and he became the first Rangers defenseman to do so since Leetch in 2000-01. On March 25, 2021 at Philadelphia, Fox tied a single-game franchise record by tallying five assists, and his five assists and five points also tied the single-game franchise record for assists and points by a defenseman.

Since entering the NHL in 2019-20, Fox is the only defenseman in the league who has tallied at least 90 points and has posted a plus-45 rating or better; only three other NHL players have registered 90 or more points and a plus-45 rating or better over the span (Artemi Panarin, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand). Fox has skated in nine games with the Rangers thus far in 2021-22, recording two goals and seven assists for nine points, along with a plus-five rating and two penalty minutes. He is tied for second among NHL defensemen in points and is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in assists this season. In addition, he is the only NHL player averaging at least 17:00 of even strength ice time, 4:00 of power play ice time, and 2:00 of shorthanded ice time per game thus far in 2021-22. Fox’s 11 takeaways thus far this season are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL.

The Jericho, New York native was acquired by the Rangers from Carolina on April 30, 2019. Fox was originally selected by Calgary in the third round, 66th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

In addition, Fox talked to the media on Monday, following news of his extension. You can watch his press conference below:

 


Adam Fox making it official, and where this contract will take him into his early 30’s. Photo Credit: NYR

While I didn’t know when it would happen, like you reading this – we all knew Fox re-signing with the Rangers would eventually happen – it was just a matter of when. Just refer to my previous blogs for more on this, but as stated numerous times already – Fox did everything he could to get to his hometown New York Rangers, and unless Chris Drury overdosed on stupid pills – Fox was always going to re-sign here.

Similar to Mika Zibanejad, Fox is now locked up with the Rangers for a considerable time, as this duo, along with Panarin, Trouba, Kreider and Shestyorkin, will now be here for the considerable future. With this Fox signing, the Rangers have a new core firmly in tact, and that doesn’t include future deals for players such as Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere.

For the first time in a long time, the Rangers have given out a huge money deal to a home-grown product (yes, I know about the Flames and Hurricanes, but Fox forced his way into New York before ever lacing up his skates for those teams), a home-grown product who arguably hasn’t even hit his prime yet – even with his Norris Trophy win from last season.

I know I said this on social media, but it’s worth repeating. Isn’t it funny how things play out? If Tony DeAngelo never slammed a penalty box door, Fox doesn’t become the quarterback of the first power-play unit last season, and where Fox most likely doesn’t win the Norris either, since DeAngelo would’ve ate up Fox’s scoring chances and ice time.

Ever since the DeAngelo dismissal, Fox, who would’ve grown into a star either way (DeAngelo’s exile just sped up the process), has become the face of the Rangers. With this contract now signed, it does feel like it’s only a matter of time before Fox wears the “C” on his jersey too, especially considering the unorthodox practice of the Rangers fielding a whopping six alternate captains – where Fox isn’t one of them.

If there are two players I’ve been raving about during the last two seasons, it’s definitely Fox and Shestyorkin. There’s really not much to add about Fox here, outside of this is a WIN for everyone – the fans, Drury, Gallant, Fox and Fox’s agent – an agent who could’ve asked for more years and money, especially when you look at the contract that Trouba has.

$9.5M a season for a Norris Trophy defenseman, who again, probably hasn’t even hit his prime yet, is a steal for the Rangers. In the later years of the deal, the salary cap will increase exponentially, meaning that Fox’s salary cap percentage on the roster will decrease at the same rate.

This is a rare case for the Rangers, who from the start of their existence and even up to today (I wrote about this in my book too), have been notorious for handing out big contracts to players who had the biggest years of their career elsewhere, and/or were past their prime by the time the Rangers handed these players their fat deals.

Then again, Fox is a one-of-a-kind player, who has already drawn comparisons to the greatest Rangers defenseman of all-time, Brian Leetch – so perhaps Fox getting this deal now shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s been that special in such a short amount of time.

Congratulations Adam Fox and congratulations Chris Drury, a general manager who seemingly has all his ducks in a row, and in my opinion, has done a great job, even if some people are still crying about our last and final topic of tonight’s tome.


I wondered about this a few blogs ago, and now my questions have been answered – Vitali Kravtsov is now on loan to his Russian KHL team – Traktor.

In an update to the Kravtsov story (a story that’s already as exhausting as the Jack Eichel saga), it was reported over in Russia on Monday, hours before the Fox deal became official, that Kravtsov will be loaned to the Traktor Chelyabinsk.

While I do feel this is a case of Kravtsov getting what he wants, Drury was pretty much forced into allowing this, because in order to get the best value back for Kravtsov, the mercurial Russian will need to play and be showcased.

By allowing Kravtsov to play for his home team, in theory, this should up Kravtsov’s value – barring a return to “Siberia” of hockey – the VHL. It also allows both parties to drag this broken marriage down the road further, as now there is no rush to trade Kravtsov ASAP.

In fact, while Kravtsov could be traded away (anything can happen), it’s more likely that Kravtsov finishes out the KHL season and then is traded. Heck, Drury could also wait until the NHL Entry Draft to trade Kravtsov, as his predecessor once did with another crybaby in Lias Andersson.

Either way – while I think the faster this situation is resolved the better; this move was the right move.


You still here? Good! PLUGS TIME!

The hardcover version of my book.

The first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my new book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden”. And let me say this – thank you to everyone who has bought one, as my Amazon sales have exceeded all expectations, where for a limited time (that damn Mark Messier who just released a book!), my book was number one on the Amazon hockey book sales charts.

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:

https://www.amazon.com/Rangers-Rafters-Madison-Square-Garden-ebook/dp/B09CM5N2WD

For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have 8 copies left for sale for $25 (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today


Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:

NYR vs Seattle Kraken 10/31 Photo Gallery: Inside Look at the Climate Pledge Arena, The Rangers, Good Eats & More


Seattle Photo Gallery Part One: “The Angry Beaver”, Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, Seafood, Steakhouses & More


NYR/CBJ 10/29 Review: CZAR IGOR Picks Up First Shut-Out; Rangers Play Their Best Game of the Season, Kreider Continues To Roll; Fox = PP Soul, Messier, Panarin Bakes 3 Assists; Mika Still Scoreless, “Laffing” at #13 Doubters, Kakko Return, Seattle & More


Chicago Black Marks: Hawks Controversy Exposes League; Kyle Beach Tells All After Sexual Assault, Bettman’s Tough Decisions, A Look at the Rest of the NHL; Surprise Teams, Needless Alexis Lafreniere/Rangers Drama, Messier & More


Book review coming soon!

Winding down here, as I try to catch up on everything and get back to reality after returning from Seattle; sometime this week, I’ll have a review of Mark Messier’s new autobiography.

Of course, tomorrow night/early Wednesday morning, I’ll have a game recap of the Canucks/Rangers game. I also want to do something on some of the Rangers alumni currently in the league, but that is on the back burner until I get caught up on everything else.

Lastly before closing out, on Monday 11/1, “The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned. To watch their show, and their most recent shows, check out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY7uJZRhIkM1iLKEdo6gmag/videos


If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:


I did like the homage that the Kraken paid to the Metropolitans. Too bad footage of those Metro games doesn’t exist.

I’m up to word 10,000 here, where I still feel like I have a lot left to say. I’ll try to do that later this week.

Back at it late tomorrow night.

Until next time…

Stay FABULOUS my friends.

As always here, thanks for reading and…

LET’S GO RANGERS!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter

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8 thoughts on “The Seattle Road-Trip Experience: “The Unkrakable” CZAR IGOR Dominates; Americans Not Shabby Either, Reviewing Seattle as an NHL City (The Worst) & Why To Stay Away, Adam Fox Re-Signs; Drury Continues To Excel, Kreider Bailing Out Fat Cats, Kravtsov Loan & More

  1. It’s sad to see Seattle become so gross. They are dragging the rest of our state down.

    By the way, there are ZERO mask LAWS in Washington. Mandates are not laws. Jay Inslee is a horrible little tyrant in a state full of little tyrants. We have been in a “state of emergency” for over 600 days and Jay won’t let the legislature do it’s job. He has issued hundreds and hundreds of executive orders. It’s insane.

    Thanks for sharing about the insanity. I appreciate your talking about places driving away customers by being political. I wish more would care about that.

    1. You’re right, laws aren’t mandates, my bad.

      I hate writing about politics on this site, but there was no way to avoid doing so when talking about Seattle. I was hoping for a better city, just couldn’t believe how rundown it was.

  2. Awesome write up as usual Sean. I am asking my Seattle buddy (by way of the Bronx) to fact check the state of his adopted city but based on SF and Portland I suspect you’re dead on.

    Just one counterpoint – I’d ease up on the Drury praise a bit. The Rangers have been outplayed in almost every game this season, against middling competition for the most part. It’s mostly been the Igor, Fox and Kreider show, iwth not much else. Drury hasn’t proven a thing yet with his moves and to get credit for signing Fox is the lowest of the low hanging fruit, for the reasons you give.

    1. Thanks Orland.

      I didn’t really want to take pictures of junkies and drug stuff and post them on this site. I thought the tent one would be enough. But yeah, I’m sure your friend will back me up 1000000%.

      I understand your hesitation on Drury. I guess his biggest move thus far is the Buchnevich/Blais deal, which has worked out.

      Based on my own conversations with ex-players and reading stuff what current players say, they all like to have contract stuff taken care of before the summer/whenever their deal expires. It’s one less thing to worry about and they can focus. But yeah, you’re right about Drury/Fox, that was a no-brainer, I was just happy with the deal being done now.

  3. Hey Sean, I wrote this yesterday in response to your scenic tour of Seedy Seattle:

    Sean,, I’ll prolly post this again when your entry on the Kraken game itself is posted ….. but I thought it was hilarious last night on the postgame show when Hank twisted himself into a knot trying to avoid crediting Igor for an amazing steal of two points. He had the Rangers playing a great game defensively, said their structure was tremendous, was blind to the repeated ‘Grade A’ scoring chances Seattle was getting throughout the second and third periods. Anyhow, I think he’s a natural on TV, and I would love to see him jettison Vally off the telecast. But he’s gotta get more comfortable with Shesterkin perhaps turning into the very sort of incredible goalie he was when at his peak back in the day.

    1. Just catching up on everything now and responded to your original comment. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this, since I didn’t see the post-game show at the bar.

  4. Yeah not happy with the way Seattle dictated play but thrilled with the two points. The fact that the team hung in and then made the big play (Fox!) has to make Igor feel rewarded. When your goaltender stands on his head like Igor did you need to come away with points; you can’t waste that effort. Last year we lost too many one goal games, many that we should have won. Even worse was that in most of those games we couldn’t bank the loser point. Stick taps to Fox and Igor and move on!

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