NHL 2011-12 season


Yes, I know there are other teams in the hockey playoffs…but it’s round one, we just finished the regular season, and I need some New York Ranger fix pronto!  If you don’t like it…join the chat room to heckle me and my guests.

I’ll be joined by Nick Montemagno from Ranger Tribune and Kevin DeLury from the NYR Blogs, two of the best Ranger blogs out there.

We’ll be going live at 7 pm ET tonight, join me at the Gal For All Seasons podcast on NDB Media at BlogTalkRadio!!

Topics include: regular season finish, John Tortorella, rivalries, predictions for Rangers and first round.

Nash Bridges

Is Rick Nash the bridge to get the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup? (See what I did there?)

I’ll come right out and say it….NO.

Do I think he’ll be a Ranger?  Yeah, probably.

Here’s what I think.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this Ranger team is very special.  I think they have a pretty good shot of going very far in the playoffs without him.  I also think they have a pretty good shot of going very far in the playoffs with him.

The Rangers are not one guy away from being world beaters.  THEY ALREADY FUCKING ARE!  Take a look: number one in the Eastern Conference by a lot.  Dominating rivals like the Flyers and winning critical games they should be winning against the Bruins.  There are games like the other night where they just looked severely overmatched, against the Penguins.  Take a look though: they’re the Penguins, not a bad team, with one of the league’s top scorers in Evgeni Malkin scoring a goal against Henke.  SHIT HAPPENS.

My point is this: the Rangers have been beating the teams they’re supposed to beat this whole season, there have been some shitty games they should have won but did not, but that’s cool.  That happens to teams who do well.  The team has formed some chemistry and seem to really enjoy playing together and feeding off each others energy.

I can’t say that Nash will change the dynamic either way.  They’ll stay pretty much the same.  My philosophy is that if the Rangers don’t have to give up much to get him, I say, why not?  The deal though is more of a “let’s keep him away from Philadelphia” than “we need him to win the Cup.”

We’re doing just fine with Gabby, Henke, Cally and the rest of the gang.  Nash will just be ornamental.  But either way, it will be fine.

How Swede It Is

How did the Rangers get so many delicious Swedes on their team?

Besides our King Henrik, one of the unsung heroes of this year’s team has been the young Carl Hagelin from Sveeden, ya?  Hagelin has been getting his due, being named to the NHL All-Star Rookie Roster, and narrowly edging out Colin Greening on the Ottawa Senators (in his hometown for the All-Star Game!) in the fastest skater competition last night. He won’t let this go to his head, these titles are more for the bragging rights of fans anyway (which is why I’m writing about it).

Described as a “precocious rookie” by the Daily News, Hagelin joins his countryman Lundqvist along with Marian Gaborik and Dan Girardi in Ottawa to represent the Rangers in the All-Star Game.  In the short-time I’ve seen him though, I’ve walked away very impressed with Hagelin’s skills on his skates and how he can surprise the competition by coming out of nowhere.

Hagelin seemed to click right away with the Rangers’ senior offensive players, like Gaborik (who, in all fairness, has been clicking with everyone this year).  The New York Times provided some good insight into how Hagelin has come into his own in the NHL, given his background and gritty work ethic from his days at University of Michigan.  I’d say 16 points in 29 games, that’s pretty impressive for a young dude.   The law of averages will give us a better idea of what he can do later on.  You can look at it from both sides of the equation, though.  Does he have great support around him?  Yes, of course.  He also seems to be a victim of being young, but in a good way.  It seems like whenever I watch him, I don’t doubt he’s going to do something daring, and when he does it usually benefits the team.

I’m really liking this team right now that the New York Rangers got going on for them.  I love the tough “I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit” attitude from John Tortorella.  I love the hard-work, blue-collar ethic that these guys show by example, like Captain Cally, Gabby, Henrik, Del Zotto and Girardi.  Just this nose-to-the-grindstone stuff that fans can really get behind.  Hagelin fits right into that ethic.  His teammates at Michigan and coaches all agree that he’s a tough player and went above and beyond.

I’m excited to see how Hagelin pans out.  I love watching rookies as they want to pay their dues, and do so by good old fashioned hard work.  Go Hagelin.  And Go Sweden.  Perhaps we can share in some Swedish meatballs and lingonberries some day soon.

STFU Dolan

About seven (and change) years ago, my dad sent my uncle and me an email.  The Mets were doing well (as can be expected, with Art Howe at the helm), and he wanted to get excited about something.  Meanwhile my beloved Uncle Gene made the cardinal sin of writing in blue and orange caps in a very large font “LET’S GO METS!”

A few days later, “Black Friday” occurred and the Mets went on a losing streak, and that season was never to be.  Of course, my dad spent a majority of the time blaming Uncle Gene about his email.  To which Gene-oh replied, “Well, if you had written, I’d have blamed you too.”

Something else about the superstitious nature of fans.  When the reality is, it doesn’t matter if we wear a certain shirt, or hat, or as my friend Rob during the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup run, forbid his bartender to clean out the ashtray where he was putting out his butts.  But I guess if we’re rooting for a certain outcome, and we’re a part of something larger than ourselves, I guess we need to shoulder some of the blame, or at least feel like it anyway.

The Rangers lost last night to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  It wouldn’t so entirely bad if it wasn’t two games after losing to the Canadiens.  By the same score.  4-1.  And almost the same situation occurred: Rangers fall 1-0 early in the game, come back to tie, then the opposition scores three in the last period.  If they hadn’t won the game before, maybe it would be a downer.  But it’s funny because everyone is talking about the “slump” that the Rangers are supposedly in.  Yes, they’ve lost three out of the last five games.  But they’ve still had a successful month, somewhat.

Yet, I go back to my dad’s “Black Friday” email, Rob’s cigarette refuse and our quirks that make us fans.  Some of us are dopes, that’s no doubt.  But the biggest dope of them all, our fearless owner James Dolan basically made sure that the Rangers wouldn’t get to the Stanley Cup Finals by referring to a pact that Glen Sather made with him a while back.  In this pact, there was an item exchange, and Dolan replied that Sather wouldn’t be able to return this item until the next time the Rangers won the Cup.

Bold statement, being at the time, the Rangers hadn’t made the playoffs in seven years.  But then he sweetens this piece of information by saying, “I think we’re pretty close to getting that thing back.”

I’d like to say that’s the first time an owner of one of my team’s has said something stupid.  After all, Fred Wilpon has had many of those moments, that keep getting repeated to this day.  Such as “skill sets” or “meaningful games in September.”  But, meh, whatever, Dolan made a bold statement, and possibly the media got out of hand by taking what he said out of context.  He didn’t say, “We’re a lock for the cup this year.”  He just said he expected to get that item back very soon.  “Very soon” could indeed be in the course of a few more seasons.  We don’t know.  This was a pact made years ago, and perhaps soon is just relative, right?

Oh, who am I kidding?  This is the type of drivel that Rangers fans are a) dying to pounce on and b) beat the crap out of Dolan for even THINKING it, not to mention saying it out loud.  Look, I’ve said that I love watching this team, because I feel like they can’t lose.  I go into every game as a fan thinking they have a shot to win.  This is a game, and we take the wins, we take the losses.  And it seems like Glen Sather finally took an opposite drink of whatever he was doing in previous years and actually built a good hard-working team that wants to win and wants to earn something.  I think that’s great.

Just don’t fuckin’ SAY it, Dolan.  Okay?  I mean, if they were on their way on the playoffs, I’d say it was fair game, even then ill-advised.  Since this is a guy who never opens his mouth except to put a bottle of alcohol in it.  Bold, yes.  Ill-advised, hell yes.  Just don’t say it.  They’ve lost two games by the same amount and everyone is freaking out.

We all do and say stupid shit as fans, that’s nothing new.  But when your owner says it, it’s easy to point and say, “It’s HIS fault this is happening!”  I would be lying to tell you I wasn’t thinking of the Cup this year, with the way this team has been playing.  Then there are games like the last few that make them seem like a real inconsistency.  Then again, you don’t win every game.  But next time, Jim, just shut your mouth.  No one wants to hear what you’re saying, especially a neurotic fan base.  Kthxbye.

A Time WARner

I have to admit, when in December I saw people standing around Time Warner Center (at Columbus Circle here in NYC) with signs protesting a future “break” of Time Warner with MSG, I didn’t think much of it.  Although I am a Time Warner customer, I thought for sure they wouldn’t or couldn’t be that stupid…that a midnight deal would be at hand certainly.

Of course, I was wrong.  On January 1, 2012, MSG went dark on Time Warner.  Not to fret, the channel wasn’t totally dead, but they introduced an NBA channel.  I guess that was a double-whammy for me: I don’t like basketball all that much, and they screwed me with my hockey.

I wasn’t totally hopeless.  For the most part, Time Warner did what it was supposed to do, and I figured they wouldn’t be gone long.  We’re more than half-way into the month, and still nada. I haven’t been able to find much headway into how the negotiations are, but at the end of the day, I haven’t felt more screwed as a customer.  I pay you, goddammit.  You should bring me what I need.  If you think about it, look at what these asses are arguing about: MONEY.  Like sports/entertainment/media channels or owners are hurting for that.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…and taking away her hockey games to boot.  I took matters into my own hands, and in a few hours, I will be a new RCN customer.  This has SNY, MSG and MLB and everything a gal for all seasons could possibly want.  With their three-year locked in prices, I wonder what took me so damn long to switch over.

Well, Time Warner, it was nice knowing ya.  You really didn’t give me though what I need or anything over the top that no one else can provide.  So take your little WAR with MSG and stick it.  You lost a customer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Now if only our owner would stop making claims about Stanley Cups.  After all, it’s something of a tease when a majority of your fanbase cannot watch the games on TV because you and other cable owners are too much of an asshole to get stuff done.


Can you hear that bitchezzz?  That’s the puck dropping on the ice for the first time.  YEAH!

As a baseball chick, nothing takes the place for me as the “most wonderful time of the year” as baseball’s Opening Day.  A close second, though, would be the start of hockey season.  I’ve always felt that hockey was a better place holder for me to keep me occupied from the start and end of baseball season. Since the seasons typically overlap, if the Mets piss me off, I can have the Rangers to get my blood pressure even or at very least the same level.  When the Mets aren’t playing in October, I can look forward to having more games during the week and a better redemption factor than football once a week (and let’s not get me started on redemption factors with Jets, okay?).  Hmm. As a matter of fact, maybe I shouldn’t be watching sports, if all they do is make me miserable.

I came to football later in life.  I always dabbled in my fandom, always for the Jets, but didn’t start to truly “get into it” till around 2002.  That was also the year I started going to live games.  I saw no coincidence that the year I started going to live hockey games was also the year I consider myself becoming a true fan, which was in 1988.

I was a contemporary of John Vanbiesbrouck, Brian Leetch and Tony Granato.  I remember the Ogrodnick-Kisio-Mullen line.  My heart was broken when Granato was later traded for Bernie Nicholls (what the what?).

I was across the street from the Garden when Mark Messier hoisted the Cup for the Garden Faithful.  I partied in the streets of New York City after that moment.

I gave up on hockey, after their strike year.  I was done with it.  I was tired of putting energy into a product that wasn’t caring enough for its fans.  My dad warned me though, “You’ll be back…That kid Lundqvist…his jersey will be hanging from the rafters after he’s done.”  Before I knew it, I was back, as fate would have it, after the Mets broke my heart in 2007. (And have I mentioned how much I LOOOOOVE Henrik Lundqvist now???)

The joys of being a Mets, Jets and Rangers fan: I have three chances a year to get my heart broken.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some people don’t understand being a hockey fan.  I can tell you this: go to a live game.  Find a rooting interest.  Just do it.  I can’t watch hockey on TV since I’m an old lady with slowing reflexes but I can tell you that watching on TV takes away from the game, and watching live is an experience in and of itself.  Just do it.  Then make the decision if you are a hockey fan or not.

The Rangers won’t have a home game till later in the month…but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself in the meantime.

There will be a viewing party tomorrow at 12:30 till 3:30 at Local West, the Beer Garden at 1 Penn Plaza, to see the Rangers open their season in Sveeden, ya, against the Los Angeles Kings.  May the best Richards (Mike or Brad, ha ha) win!

In the meantime, my NYR partner-in-crime, @sfmerkakis, and I are trying to drum up interest to see the Rangers play the Icelanders at the Mausoleum on the 15th. Who’s with us???  We like to drink and make fun of the team.  Actually, it’s not much different from going to a baseball or football game with me.