Marc Staal

The FUN In DysFUNctional

There’s this great saying, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

There’s also another great saying.  That the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.

And there you can interchange “Glen Sather” with “insanity.”

Yes, this is in response to the firing of John Tortorella as head coach of the New York Rangers.  I guess like many, it came as a surprise but it was not exactly shocking.  One cannot fire a whole team, so you fire the coaches.  And unfortunately, with Torts, the buck stopped with him many time.

Most notably, now, with the recent ousting of the Rangers in the Eastern semis to the Boston Bruins.

Well here is a novel thought, Slats…GET BETTER PLAYERS YOU FUCKING MORON!

I haven’t yet finished my Rangers season wrap-up (and it’s coming, don’t you worry), yet, I’m already getting agita from this bullshit going on into 2013-14.

Yes, this was a shortened season.  Yes, I wasn’t crazy about the prospect of the whole “half a cup” thing. But goddammit, if I didn’t get excited about the playoffs this year.

Yet, I don’t think it’s Torts who failed his team.  Rather, the team failed Torts.

Give the guy some credit.  In a big media market, Torts took the pressure off his team and put it on himself.  Never a media darling, the fans loved him because he could separate the emotional from the professional.  Or at least the fans who liked him.

The fact is, whatever gave him his relationship with the players was his folly this year.

Dan Rosen of wrote about the Seven Reasons Why the Rangers Fired Tortorella, and one of the reasons was that his top guys underperformed in the playoffs.

Yeah, no SHIT.  But here’s a swell idea: How about we actually BLAME the players?

What a novel fucking idea.  Instead of playing to win, they figure skated their way through round one, only to realize they can’t do that when the stakes are higher.  Right?

What’s more, is Torts had every right to scratch Brad Richards during the playoffs.  This is the same guy who underperformed ALL season…and he actually has a GOOD relationship with Tortorella! This is also the same guy who dormant during the lockout.

Sure, he may have kept in shape elsewhere.  But the reality is, he underperformed the entire season.

Not to fucking mention, there was a BIG spot missed without Marc Staal healthy.  Add that to the rising shit, and the Rangers were fucking lucky they made it TO the playoffs, let alone make it out of the first fucking round.

Yet, I have to ask, besides Sather basically solidifying future Stanley Cup runs in Columbus, what has he done that has made him so untouchable?  James Dolan has been in rehab: clearly, there must be some kind of damning evidence that Sather has on him that warrants him to be the GM forever and ever.

Could it have been a fluke that the guys he got in the Marian Gaborik trade were hurt? And where the hell was Rick Nash?  Did he NOT realize that yes, your goals count just as much in the playoffs as they do in regular season?

At the end of the day, Torts wasn’t out there NOT scoring on the power play.  Torts didn’t tell Brad Richards – hey, put your job AND mine in jeopardy by forgetting how to play.

To get canned after a half season when it seemed like the team ran on its moxie and mojo from the year prior is an insult.


I’ve only been a Ranger fan since 1989. I’m one of the lucky ones, that I only had to wait five years to see my team win a championship.  Like my dad and Kranepool Society, many other fans have been through some dysfunctional times.  To see the team get so far and to fall short.

I’m not sure if Sather, like many people, expected John Tortorella to turn water into wine, or turn the shit that Sather throws to the wall and see if it sticks.

I can only hope that next season the Rangers make it TO the playoffs.  Because Tortorella’s tenure brought back a legitimacy that hasn’t been seen since 1993-94 season.  And remember how Mike Keenan left, and subsequently, cursed the team.

As long as Glen Sather is in charge, we’ll have fun watching these teams, but we’ll be watching a shitload of dysfunction too.


Last week, after the triple overtime Iliad-like quality to the Rangers-Capitals game, someone on Twitter said (before the winning goal was scored), this was the type of game that whoever wins has the most momentum and takes the series.

I believe it was a Caps fans.  I disagreed with it then, and I was mostly shown right when the Caps really didn’t care and won game four, forcing this to at the very least a six game series.

Last night, that game…

Was a changer.

I’m a Mets fan.  And baseball and hockey are different in so many ways, but there’s one thing in sports that’s a constant is momentum.  When the Mets looked like they were about to lose game six in 1986 World Series against the Red Sox, and subsequently the series, they mounted an amazing comeback that is still considered one of the greatest in sports history, let alone baseball.

Leading me to last night’s victory.  Leave it to Brad Richards for his last seconds goal scoring dramatics.  For those who discount the goals because the Capitals took a “stupid penalty,” you must not have watched how atrocious the Rangers’ power play has been all season.  For them to score not one but TWO power play goals in a succession of seconds, is nothing short of miraculous, in my opinion.

Leave it to Marc Staal to put any reservations we had about his post-concussion syndrome to rest by scoring the winning goal, which was a beauty.

Game Six of 1986, the Red Sox walked onto the field in the 10th inning as confident as roosters roaming the range.  They walked off, heads low and looking like they wanted to crawl into bed.  Forget they had a three run lead in game seven.  As one fan said in the documentary Simply Amazin‘, “I don’t care who you are, the ’27 Yankees aren’t coming back from that one!”

Is it bold for me to say that?  Yes, but I truly believe in this team.  They’re not blinders; it’s honesty and realness.  Last night, the Caps were overly confident, and they may have taken a stupid penalty that doomed them but know what?  Lots of stupid penalties worked AGAINST the Rangers too, and does that discount this?

Hell to the no.

Sometimes, it takes a momentum shift to change the dynamic of a series.  The 3OT thriller?  Not a devastating loss for the Caps.  Last night?  A devastating mind-blowing win, that as people were reporting led to some dancing in the street by the Garden.

I’m still in shock from what I watched last night and let me tell you…I’ve been watching this for a long time.

It was epic.

Missing Marc

Ryan Callahan is the heart of the Rangers organization, or so some people think. I wouldn’t entirely disagree with them.  Yet, I think the Captain “C” on his jersey is for being a leader and one of the most respected guys on the team.  There’s no shame in that.

Then there’s the Sean Avery-Connecticut Whale situation.  I make no secret that I am an Avery fan.  Yet, if you go on Twitter or follow the Blue Seat Hooligan Brigade (hey, I’m a part of it too when I go to games), you’d think Avery was the rug that tied the room together.  I’m not saying he wouldn’t help but…to think that losing a game on a shootout like they did on Saturday and Avery would have somehow avoided that is missing the larger picture.  For one, and I didn’t see the game, but I do notice that as great at King Henrik is, he tends to get complacent with a big lead.  Again, I don’t know how flukey the goals were that scored but I do know that I’ve seen it up close and personal (at the playoffs last year, where I sat through horrific overtime and witnessed a fist fight between TWO Ranger fans who were like 50 years old), so I wouldn’t just absolve Henrik of his responsibility.  Even though, he had been doing his best to carry the team on his back.

John Tortorella might be the bane of existence for certain fans, but not this one.  When I miss Tom Renney, that’s totally my problem (and something that I don’t think any human should admit), but for the most part, I don’t think that firing the coach is going to do much, plus it’s kind of cutting off one’s nose to spite their face.

Sean Avery was placed on re-entry waivers today, but that doesn’t mean he will be picked up. He’s got a lot of heart and soul, and I love his gutsy play, but he’s far from the best player on the team, or someone who is a difference-maker.

You know who has been missing?  Marc Staal.

Staal has been out of commission since after a hit sustained by his brother in a game from February last year.  I’ve detailed that here at this site, how strongly I feel about concussive disorders, especially in sports.  No matter what, they seemed to be handled all wrong.  But with good reason.  I mean, we’re talking about a BRAIN INJURY folks.  They can’t be handled too lightly, in my opinion.

What concerns me though, is how quickly he’s recovering.  Eric Lindros is a perfect example of someone who had a brain of mush figuratively when it came to hits on the ice.  It took him an incredible amount of time to recover.  Same with Pat LaFontaine who had to retire after sustaining too many concussions.  I totally agreed with how the Rangers handled his symptoms by not having him go with the team to Europe, which was essentially the beginning of a long road trip and spending a lot of time in the air.  But I have to ask the question: is he coming back this year?  I know concussions are really tricky, but it suggests to me that perhaps he rushed back last season, or maybe was handled differently.

I know in baseball, players don’t want to be DL’d and some guys would want to play with limbs hanging from their bodies, but at what expense? To hurt the team overall when they play hurt because they are not 100%?  Is that what happened in Staal’s case?  Or did he feel fine, then didn’t after returning? It just boggles me.

Perhaps it’s his durability, since he’s rarely missed a game in these last few seasons, that is missed.  Perhaps it’s that he’s a 6’4″ 208 lb muscle man who can protect his goalie to the extent that Henrik doesn’t have to do it all on his own.  Perhaps it’s the lack of set-up passes to the centers and wingers who can shoot the puck.  Perhaps it’s his leadership, the je ne sais quoi that maybe Cally doesn’t have?  Nothing to knock my boy Ryan, but I’m just grasping here.  Staal is 24 years old, and it would be very tragic if his career had to end suddenly because of a fluke hit by his own brother nine months ago.

At the end of the day, one of the reasons why Rangers fans were so excited about the prospect of having Brad Richards on the team was that perhaps he could pick up Marian Gaborik, who had a noticeable drop off in goal scoring in 2010-11, over a 30 goal differential.  The Rangers no doubt need that goal scoring potential; then again, they didn’t make the playoffs when Gabby was shooting-and-scoring, and they did when he did not.

Perhaps it is Marc Staal who is the missing link, who needs to be back to tie the room together much like the rug in the Big Lebowski.  All I know is whatever it is the Rangers are missing, Sean Avery nor firing the coach nor benching Henke will help.  Staal has been the missing link this entire season.  Yet I have to wonder if he’s going to return this season.

Proceed With Caution

The Rangers are proceeding “with caution” in regards to Marc Staal’s concussion symptoms.  What surprises me is that post-concussion syndrome stuff is being addressed from a hit he took on the ice in February (by his brother, ironically), and he sat all summer with this.  I mean, nothing against Staal, I hope he takes care of himself and is back on the ice before we know it.  My problem, though, is with the treatment, not just of hockey players but of players who are prone to concussions, specifically due to big hits and subsequent brain injuries.

I know I discussed this the other day in my post on hockey’s dark side.  But it’s not just hockey, football players get concussions as a matter of course almost and now even baseball players (notably, Jason Bay in 2010 ran into a wall and missed the entire season, and it took him a good half-season to get back into things, and even Ryan Church who was on the Mets in 2008 flew cross-country with a brain injury before experiencing post-concussion symptoms) are joining in on the non-fun.

I guess because of Eric Lindros, and two of my favorite players of all-time Pat LaFontaine and ’94 Ranger great Mike Richter had to retire prematurely due to post-concussion syndrome, I am a little gunshy about hearing things like “proceeding with caution” (which is a good thing) to “flying with the team to Stockholm” (bad thing), which is what they are talking about doing with Staal.  Look, I know Staal’s health is critical to the team’s health.  But if they are truly to proceed with caution, wouldn’t flying to Stockholm be in effect a bad idea? I would hate, you know, to see the Rangers put money over the health of one of their best players.

Maybe I’m just being overly cautious myself or feeling that way anyway, since a blogger-with-shitty-opinions’ opinions don’t weigh much on the organizational health of my favorite hockey team.  I guess in a summer where several hockey players died tragically indirectly or perhaps more directly to head injuries sustained on the ice, and former NFL player Dave Duerson took his own life with a suicide note attached saying to donate his brain to the NFL Bank…causing other NFL alums and writers to speak out on behalf of players who become depressed because of diminished capacity after suffering long-term concussion effects, and causing non-pro levels to listen with care about potential backlash due to concussive symptoms…I mean, these are “tough guys” who are supposed to take it “like a man” and not complain, but the truth is, these guys are hurting.  It’s in their nature to not speak up, or therefore look like a pansy.  The fact of the matter is, it is a problem, and someone needs to think about it.

Perhaps it is I,though, who is thinking overly cautious, or putting a value on the effects of this stuff.  I guess when I’ve seen so much of this in all the sports I watch, and then cringe each time Jason Bay has to get too close to a wall, or Mike Richter has to retire before his time…I guess I can think that flying Staal across the ocean to play in two games when he’s been sitting on this injury for SEVEN MONTHS is a bit excessive and he can sit out the first few games of the season.

“C” is for “Cally…”

That’s good enough for me!!

"C" isn't just for "Cookie," it's for "Callahan is Captain!"

Ranger fans received some great news that a) the team isn’t as clueless as we thought they were and b) someone who is the heart and soul of the team was rewarded, finally!

Ryan Callahan was named the 26th Captain in franchise history today, along with Brad Richards and Marc Staal being named the Alternates.

Even Glen Sather had to agree that “Ryan Callahan embodies all the leadership qualities we seek from our captain.”  Amen.  Not sure if he’ll be “Messier-like,” but he does inspire his teammates to play better, and to me that suggests he’ll be a great leader.

I will argue that the reason the Rangers did not go far into the playoffs last season was because of the devastating loss of Callahan at the end of the season.  So heartbreaking, but hopefully with the addition of Richards, and a break out season from Marian Gaborik (please?), Henrik Lundqvist won’t be the only guy worth a damn going into 2012.

Oh and on a side note, I attended a Rangers Subscribers event last January at Hammerstein Ballroom/Manhattan Center.  I got lots of “eye candy” photos for the ladies of Cally and Handsome Hank (to the guys…your man crushes I suppose).  Enjoy!