Troubled Times: NHL Teams Saving NY, Knicks, Giants, Jets, Oscar Taveras & More

Bridge Seat View, during warm-ups, from the Rangers 5-0 win over the Pens on 11/11

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It’s been a rough road for New York sport fans these past few years. The Yankee dynasty teams are a thing of the past. The Mets haven’t been relevant since Carlos Beltran left his bat on his shoulders. The Giants & Jets seasons were already over before Halloween. The Knicks are a complete disgrace, full of megalomaniacs. The only thing worth watching these days are the NHL clubs, as the Rangers are fresh off a Stanley Cup run and the Islanders are playing their best hockey in a long time.

Here’s the latest look at the latest in NY sports, and a sad note on another lost career due to drinking and driving:


The Knicks lost another heartbreaker this past Wednesday night (11/12) to the Orlando Magic. Fresh off losing a home/home series with the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks lost another game and look like they are running a trapezoid rather than a triangle offense.

I did a column about Carmelo Anthony already here on, that you can find in the October archives. The Knicks will never truly run a triangle offense with Carmelo Anthony in the line-up because he doesn’t embrace team ball.  While he considers himself a contemporary of Dwayne Wade & Lebron James, unlike those two men, he will never win a ring with his selfish brand of basketball.

There is only one Michael Jordan. Others may emulate him, like Kobe Bryant, but at the end of the day, only Michael Jordan could ever be 100% trusted, with the ball, during the last possession of a game. 

It was a different script than recent games, as the Knicks hung with the Magic for the majority of the game. It came down to the last play. Down by two, the Knicks had time on the clock and called a timeout. Of course the ball was going to Melo. Unlike James or Wade, who sometimes play the decoy to set up a wide open teammate, Melo will never have that.

When the ball was inbounded to JR Smith, you knew a shit shot was gonna be flying to the net from 35 feet away. Melo, who may have worse body language than Eli Manning, threw one of his classic hissy fits and had his angriest little pouty face on. How is a fan, an opponent, management, or anyone else watching not supposed to think that Melo is a spoiled little baby?

Sure JR Smith chucked a god-awful shot that had no chance of going in, but perhaps if Melo didn’t miss 15 shots a game, the Knicks wouldn’t have games that came to the last second. The biggest story to me wasn’t the fact that the Knicks lost, but how Carmelo Anthony has no leadership ability. 

The Knicks can salary dump everyone and try to rebuild next year around Melo, but no matter who his supporting cast is, they will never win if Melo can not embrace change and team play. The last 5 NBA Championship teams, the Spurs, Heat and Mavericks all embraced being an individual team, and not a team of individuals. Perhaps Melo will realize that ISO, ISO, ISO = no rings. 

The only tenant worth watching in MSG this year will be the New York Rangers, which brings me to…
Perhaps “Baba O’Riley” really does pump him up!

Rick Nash, who leads the Rangers in goals, does not wear a “C” or “A” on his chest. Nash, who came to the Rangers with much ballyhoo and hype, has been somewhat a bust, in the eyes of some fans, due to “A-Rodesque” performances in the playoffs. What fans forget is that Nash was dealing with injuries and post-concussion symptoms. For the first time since wearing a blue sweater, Nash is 100% healthy and the Rangers are reaping the rewards.

Nash, who looks even better with the return of center Derek Stepan, is teamed up with perhaps the best passer in the league, Martin St. Louis. The way MSL feeds Nash the puck is a thing of beauty and has led to more flashing red lights than in Ferguson, MO. As of this writing, Nash leads the NHL in goals. Ranger fans will expect this play come the playoffs.

I would also like to mention here, that as a diehard Ranger fanatic, who attends about 85% of home games and several away games a season, fans are too quick with the mouth. After leaving Tuesday’s game against the Penguins, where the Rangers played their best game of the season, all I heard on the train ride home was how the Rangers are winning the cup this year. It’s great to be excited after a huge win, but let’s have some perspective here! On Sunday night, the sky was falling; on Tuesday, Lord Stanley’s Cup was on a one-way flight to MSG!

The same Ranger fans with their chests puffed out after Tuesday’s win, are the same fans that say the regular season doesn’t matter, in regards to the Islander’s recent success. If you know hockey, more than half the teams get into the playoffs. Hockey is all about the playoffs. All you need is a seed in the playoffs and anything can grow out of it. Yes, you have to win games in the regular season to qualify for the playoffs, but before we are talking Stanley Cup, let’s win a playoff series first.

The real hockey season starts in April. October-March is just an exercise and warm-up until then.

Also, on an aside, after the Rangers game on Tuesday, I went to a local bar where some guy was wearing a Fishstick Islander logo shirt. He told me he paid $60 for it! Are you fucking nuts? That was the darkest time in Islander history (Spano year & a horrible team) and that logo was panned by everyone. Whose bright idea was that to bring it back? And where does Mitchell & Ness get off charging $60 for that shit? They couldn’t give those things away as toilet paper in the mid-90’s. It’s amazing what’s considered “vintage”, instead of “old shit” these days.

Another athlete who made a bad decision, this time a fatal one

Oscar Taveras, a  highly touted rookie from the St. Louis Cardinals, died on 10/26/14. He was only 22 years old.  Taveras, and his 18 year old girlfriend died after Taveras crashed his car in the Domincan Republic. This news follows the death of NFL kicker, Rob Bironas, who died in a car crash on 9/20/14.

While being an elite and dedicated athlete, was something that both men had in common, the other thing they shared was that they both died after drinking and driving. The blood alcohol content (BAC) of Bironas was reported to be three times the legal limit. In the case of 22 year old Taveras, his BAC was reported to be five times the legal limit.

Taveras had potential to be a perennial MLB All-Star. He homered in the only game the Cardinals won during this year’s NLCS against the Giants. He threw it all away drinking and driving.

Rob Bironas, the son-in-law of NFL HOFer Terry Bradshaw, had his glory and was looking for another shot with an NFL team. He didn’t even get to celebrate his three month wedding anniversary and leaves a young widow behind.

Athletes are always committing dumb and sometimes, serious crimes. These two fall in the latter. It is infuriating to me personally, because as someone who enjoys tipping back the drinks and probably has been 3-5 times over the legal limit, on more than one occasion, I spend a ton of money on cabs and trains. I would rather spend $20 on a train or $30 on a cab, than get a $15,000 DWI, or even worse, killing someone or myself.  These athletes have way more money than I do and could afford a personal driver or a cab just like anyone else. Plus, who likes driving anyway?

I’ll save my sympathy for someone like Jim Kelly who is fighting cancer, or Pat Tillman, who died defending our country.  I feel bad for the families of Bironas and Taveras, but this was self-inflicted idiocy, that unfortunately was fatal. Hopefully their deaths prevent the deaths of others.
NY fans still have 6 weeks of worthless football

Speaking of car wrecks, the Giants & the Jets have given NY fans more agina and heartburn than a White Castle “Crave Case”. It is disgusting that another year will go by, with neither team even being close to sniffing the playoffs.

I recapped the Giants & Jets woes already here, on, and you can check out the archives for my thoughts on each teams season. It is just unfortunate that I now spend more time and energy on my fantasy team than the NY Giants. There is more on the line. It is disgusting that I care more about what the back-up running back on the Cleveland Browns is doing than my beloved GMEN.

There are rumblings from the media that Tom Coughlin has to go. I disagree. Perry Fewell is out of fuel and he has to go. Coughlin got you two rings. There are not many coaches that can say that. Coughlin has carte blanche in my eyes, unless he pulls a Jerry Sandusky type of scandal. He should go out on his own terms.

Give Coughlin a real defensive coordinator, an O-line, and his offense at full health and let’s see what happens. I wouldn’t count TC out yet. I want him to be on the sidelines when Cruz & Beckham are healthy together. 

I would like to take time here to thank everyone that made my Tiki Barber vs Michael Strahan the most read article yet on thus far. Please continue to spread the word if you like what you see here. I’m doing the writing because I like doing it. I hate shilling my own columns because it comes off cheap, but for now, this is a grass roots thing.

I’d also like to welcome Scott McCarthy who will be covering soccer for I like playing FIFA and I like what I read in Scott’s first piece. Maybe I’ll give NYC FC a try one day. It can’t be anything worse than the Giants or Jets!

I’m off to get ready for tonight’s Ranger game against Patrick Roy & the Colorado Avalanche. If you want to buy me a beer (I’m taking a train home!) I’ll be in section 213. Let’s Go Rangers!

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Sean McCaffrey
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