Brad Richards

Funny About Blue

For a sports nut who likes to write about being one, I haven’t had much to say about the Rangers lately.  I’ve been doing most of my writing about the Jets and football, which to me is my weakness because I haven’t found my true “football voice” yet (unless you can count angry neurotic and pissed-off Jets fan…which yes, then I have it down pat).  The Mets have been quiet this offseason, therefore, I’m very pleased that I don’t have to focus 100% of my efforts on writing about them.

But the Rangers.  It’s a funny thing, my story with the Broadway Blues.  I guess they’re not pissing me off yet this year.  I guess that’s a good thing too.  But I mean, give ’em time, they’re the Rangers for crying out loud.

I’ve often said that baseball is not for the feint of heart.  It takes an incredible commitment to be a fan, and not a short attention span.  Football is for those who like to devote themselves to sports once a week.  It’s for commitment-phobes, really, ADD ridden (with shades of hyperactivity), and they’re pretty much in and out by winter time.  Then there’s hockey, which falls somewhere in between. It’s an 82-game schedule,  there aren’t games seven days a week for your team.  And you’re only forced to watch multiple games if you choose.

I’ve been following the Rangers since I was 13 years old, but our relationship is a little weird right now.  My next game is December 8th, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I attend more games.  Since MSG was still under construction earlier (and still is, I think it’s scheduled to be “done” sometime in December), the Rangers haven’t had a tremendous amount of home games.  At least, none that I’ve been invited to which is a rarity.  But then, I have a feeling come the winter time, it will pick up.

I don’t necessarily like watching hockey on TV, but I made a conscious effort to try to do it more often.  I suppose it’s easier that my husband is not a big hockey fan.  When the Mets are playing, as an example, we have to rush home or be near a radio or find out where we can watch the game if we are not close to home.  Not to mention, we’re season ticket holders, go on road trips and manage to see the Mets all the time.  So I do become a bit complacent watching or lack thereof during the hockey season.  My husband doesn’t rush me home or make me watch or listen to it.  Couple that with my not-liking-to-watch-hockey-on-TV thing, and I am fine following reactions on Twitter or following on my GameCast.

I’ve watched the last two games.  What I think is funny is at the beginning of the season, I was all concerned that even with the big shit signing of Brad Richards, that they would not get their act together.  Even better, they have and seem to be clicking.  When they went on a 5-2 tear in their last seven games, I wasn’t actually all that concerned with their losses.  I know, it was only two…but I’m a Ranger fan.  We flip out about everything.  But I found myself enjoying the games on television too.  Funny, huh.   I remember when I was in grade school and high school, my mother would be working late, and me, the quintessential “latchkey” kid, would sit and watch my sports on TV (I lived in the suburbs…there was no “walking around” unless someone’s mom came to pick me up to go to the mall).

Though I’ve seen this team win a championship in my lifetime, I always have to sit and wonder…is this our year?  At current, if the playoffs were to be decided today, they’d be scraping for a position, but they’d be in it.  Tonight, the Rangers face the number one team in the conference, the Penguins and the hates Cindy Crosby, erm, SIDNEY.

And the funny thing is when I watch them these days, I don’t think they can lose.  I don’t know if that’s a fan’s hopeful optimism or just that I might see a different team this year.  Sure, I still see the dancing skating Smurfs on ice, but I see less of a dependence on Henrik Lundqvist, which is never the worst thing in the world, but it’s good that every win is not just on him every night.

They seem to be coming together, much like the rug in The Big Lebowski, sans pee stains of course.

If Grandma Had Balls…

I famously turned down a business trip because of baseball season.  I got married to as big of a baseball (and Mets) fan as I am (he’s probably a bigger one though).  It’s probably an understatement to say that I am a big sports fan.

One of the big tests of a fan is each pre-season of any sport they follow.  For me, it happens three times per year — in the late summer (football), in the early fall (hockey) and of course the late winter/early spring (baseball).  And a tried and true fan goes through the hopefulness, reality and high hopes each of those times, and that’s prediction time.

On my podcast, the Kult of Mets Personalities, we went through the motions of doing predictions for the Mets.  Most of us said they would be a .500 team (they are below, right now, with nine games to finish), one of my other co-podcasters kept saying “NINETY WINS!”  Yeah, right.  But it goes to show what our feelings were, where reality crept in and somewhere in between.

So now, the predictions are filtering in for hockey teams, including mine, the New York Rangers.

To be honest, I have no idea where to lump this team.  In 2010-11, there’s a reason why Henrik Lundqvist was the league leader in shutouts…he couldn’t afford to give up any goals per game.  Because they didn’t have a “sniper,” as my dad would call that missing link to the Rangers being a more successful team.

The Rangers also have 7th & 8th Avenues littered with bad contracts and players who came to the team only to never quite live to their potential.  Wade Redden?  Eric Lindros? (On that note: ugh).  This year, we are expecting a lot from two players: Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.  Gaborik was brought in to be “that guy” and had a clear drop-off recently.  As for Richards, I am not sure what to expect from him specifically.  He has BUST written all over him given my history of rooting for this team, but I decided he’s the player I am giving the benefit of the doubt to in 2011-12.  My dad even said to me that he’s a nice addition – big ass guy standing at goal crease.

And I wonder where I get it from.

Hey, all I’m looking for is for them not to figure skate when they need to start shooting.  “Smurfs on Ice” is this phenomenon which I’ve coined with my husband, when the Rangers tend to dance around and look pretty and not looking to spare Henrik from having to stand on his head to make plays.

As for predictions…well, I was inspired by a preview over at Ranger Nation, a very definitive Rangers site.  They profile TSN’s 30 teams in 30 days predictions and sum it up with “If the Rangers fire on all cylinders, they could dominate in the East and even win the Atlantic Division.”

Isn’t that akin to saying, “If Grandma had balls, she’d be Grandpa?”

I hate to sound so cynical.  Each year, I have a high expectation level for this team, and it never truly comes to fruition or they fall short.  I had the misfortune of going to the playoffs last year, which they promptly were out in first round.  I wasn’t expecting Stanley Cup of course…but I certainly would have liked to see more fight.  So this year, I’m supposed to think it’s all different.

Look, I’m gonna be as hopeful as I can.  But I think predictions are funny.

New York Manscapers

Henrik Lundqvist didn’t just have me at “I am from Sveeden, ya?” but when he mentioned in Time Out New York this week that he wore suits four-five days a week.

*SWOON*

Much of it is an occupational thing — after all, he plays hockey that much per week, and wears suits as he travels with the team. Plus, I had the opportunity to get some photos of him at the Manhattan Center for a Rangers subscriber event and I think it was either Brandon Prust or Brian Boyle who said, “The invite said ‘business casual’ and Henrik looks like he’s going to the Prom!”

Sean Avery is clearly a goon on the ice, but he’s well-known in fashion circles, and even interned at Vogue for a time.  I’m one of the few Rangers fans who actually loves Avery.  I also like that he’s been outspoken against bullying and for marriage equality.  Sports guys are supposed to be seen as “tough guys,” and though there’s no question about Avery being one, I admire that he’s so passionate about these things, stuff no sports guys ever were to talk about.

Oh and Brad Richards, our new guy?  Made an appearance at Fashion Week

More eye candy for the ladies came in the form of Mark Sanchez’s spread in GQ.  Damn, he looks good in green, doesn’t he???  The cover story said “Thank God It’s Football Season.”  All I could think is…let’s thank her for Mark Sanchez!!

Make no mistake: I am a sports chick, and I love attending games and watching them on TV…Hell, my husband and I might get divorced this weekend because I am pulling rank to watch the Jets game over the Mets game (on at the same time, thanks for the TV geniuses who didn’t consult with MY schedule).

That doesn’t mean, I can’t appreciate a good looking man, especially one in uniform.

“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!