Monday, August 30, 2010

Biz Nasty Will Return To Twitter!

Update:
He's back ahead of schedule w/ a new Twitter account - for those who want to follow, he's @BizNasty2point0

----------------
This is great news for everyone that was missing Biz Nasty's tweets, and not so great news for those that were happy Paul Bissonnette had been somewhat silenced.

Credit goes to The Arizona Vibe who grabbed the information from Bissonnette’s Facebook page.

According to the Facebook update Bissonnette will be starting the Twitter account back up on Tuesday night and he'll start re-tweeting again when he lands in Arizona on Wednesday.

We'll have to wait and see what the new username will be because it appears that someone has already grabbed the old Twitter account that Bissonnette had been using.

For those of who wondering who the hell Biz Nasty is, why we care or why you should be even remotely interested, I suggest you read this Puck Daddy article.

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Agree or Disagree with what was said? Use the comments link below...let your voice be heard!

Rangers Sign LW Tim Kennedy

The rumor that was rumbling around the internet this morning that the Rangers had signed Tim Kennedy has been confirmed by The Blueshirts Blog. It didn't take long for Jesse Spector, the newest addition to the Rangers beat writers club, to get his feet wet.

According to Spector:
The Rangers have agreed to terms with former Sabres left wing Tim Kennedy, a 24-year-old who scored 10 goals with 16 assists in 78 games last season.

An official announcement will be made later today.
BuffaloNews.com (thanks to James Mirtle for the link) is reporting:
South Buffalo native Tim Kennedy has reached a one-year contract agreement worth $550,000 with the New York Rangers, ending four weeks of misery after he was waived and had his contract bought out by his hometown Sabres.
If the details of this contract are accurate then I'm surprised, then again Sather never ceases to surprise me. But, a one-way contract? I'm assuming that at this kind of money several teams were interested, was that the deal breaker? Who knows, but it'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

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Agree or Disagree with what was said? Use the comments link below...let your voice be heard!

Guest Blog: The Lunacy of the Bargain Goalie

This is a Guest Blog as part of the current competition we are running here on Puck Central  
by Corey Tomlinson

Take a second and stop whatever you're doing, hockey fans. Listen...listen really hard.

Do you hear that? I'll wait...

There, that sound. It's the sound of utter lunacy starting to pervade the ranks of NHL general managers.

Nobody's sure when the lunacy started, but I point to the beginning of March, 2010. It was just around then that a quiet Finnish goaltender named Antti Niemi firmly took the reigns of the Chicago Blackhawks away from the grossly overpaid Cristobal Huet and, well, I don't have to tell you what happened. But for the benefit of those that don't know, Niemi was instrumental in winning a Stanley Cup for the 'Hawks.

Over the last two months of the regular season, he posted a record of 9-5-3 while recording three shutouts for a team that was, admittedly, already firmly entrenched as a playoff contestant. Let's not forget the April stretch of 5-0-1 that left everyone without a doubt for who would be between the pipes during the playoffs.

Niemi's, and Chicago's, subsequent run in the playoffs doesn't need to be recounted here. We all know what happened with that.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Staal's Agent Says They Aren't Looking For Offer Sheet

According to The Sporting News:
As negotiations between the New York Rangers and restricted free agent Marc Staal drag on into late August, rumors of pending offer sheets for the talented young defenseman have started to surface.
But offer sheets aren’t the focus right now, said Staal agent Paul Krepelka of the Orr Hockey Group.

“The report of an offer sheet is absolutely unfounded and our priority and focus is on finalizing a deal with the Rangers,” Krepelka wrote in an e-mail to Sporting News.
I've put this up because it's some information regarding the Staal situation, but it's not much. Did you really expect Staal's agent to say anything other than this? It's not like he was going to ever admit they were looking for an offer sheet, even if they were.

We covered the Marc Staal situation last week and there hasn't been much change yet apparently.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Giveaway! Blue Jackets Goalie, Steve Mason Autographed Photo!

Winner: @JordanJuicey


Who wants to win a signed 8x10 photograph of 2008-09 Vezina Trophy nominee Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets?

The prize is courtesy of our newest advertiser.  Chances are if you are a hockey fan then you also like collecting memorabilia or autographs. If that's the case then you might as well check out what their site has to offer. They carry cards, photos and autographs from all major sports - most notably hockey and baseball.

Photos and Graphs has also kindly agreed to give ALL Puck Central readers a $5 discount off all items if you enter the code “puckcentral” in the coupon code box during checkout.


Here's how to enter the competition:
#1. Follow @PuckCentral on Twitter (if you don't already)
#2. Retweet this text on twitter:
Entered to win a Steve Mason autographed photo via @PuckCentral How to enter http://tinyurl.com/PCMason Follow & RT
Just make sure that you tweet that exact same message or your entry into the contest won’t be counted!

This giveaway is open to anyone in the United States or Canada and is 100%  free to enter!

Each Retweet on Twitter is counted as another entry and bonus points for posting the link on other hockey message boards :-)

The winner will be selected at random.


Entries will be accepted via Twitter until midnight ET on September 13, 2010.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Video: Man, Eric Lindros Really Was a Beast!





If you haven't been following Puck Daddy's blog over on Yahoo, they've been running a feature over there called "Mount Puckmore." Today they took a look at the Flyers and they had this video of Eric Lindros. I just had to put it up. Yeah, I know that eventually the way that Lindros played led to him having to retire at a young age, but he was a dominating force in the 90s!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Blog: Don't Bet on Hamilton...

This is a Guest Blog as part of the current competition we are running here on Puck Central

Recently there has been some chatter in the press about several fledging franchises that may be on the move including the Coyotes, the Islanders, and even the Oilers.

The Coyotes are often mentioned because of their lack of ownership and an arena that consistently produces small crowds. The Islanders are obviously brought up a lot because of Nassau County’s government refusal to get the Lighthouse Project moving and the Oilers have recently been in Canadian headlines for similar reasons. But you can always toss in the Blue Jackets, Thrashers and Panthers since the press likes to pick on their attendance woes.

Of course every beat writer north of the border keeps mentioning Hamilton as a possible city to relocate a hockey team to after Jim "Blackberry" Basillie's failed attempt to purchase and move the Coyotes there last summer. The idea seemed fabulous to some at the time since Balsillie was able to sell around 14,000 $100 deposits for season subscriptions. There were many owners who quietly would of liked to see Basillie succeed, but there was just one major obstacle that all of his billions of dollars couldn’t overcome.

And when I talk about the obstacles, I am not talking about the litigation process or the fact that Gary Bettman loathes the man. No the obstacle I am talking about is the lack of a brand spanking new arena.

First off, in order to understand relocation or expansion you have to first understand how hockey teams make money. Having previously worked for a professional sports team, I know that an arena lease can make or break a team financially. Counter to popular opinion, the reason why some teams are on the verge of bankruptcy has not to do with a struggling team's location geographically, but rather a building lease that is “tax friendly” and allows countless revenue streams from sponsors and season subscribers.

Old arenas, or in Columbus's case an arena with bad lease, just do not have the same revenue streams as teams with new arenas. For example, MSG is undergoing renovations. Why is this happening? It's not because the fans want it or need it, but because MSG needs to keep up with the Steinbrenner’s, the Wilpon’s, the Mara’s and the Johnson’s of the world.

What do other owners in other sports have to do with MSG?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Competition Time! Calling All Hockey Fans...Interested in Blogging?

Update: Winner gets $65 Gift Certificate  to CSNStores which sells many items from dining tables to dumbbells.


Last summer I had asked any of our readers (or anyone that came along the blog in passing) if they were interested in guest blogging for Puck Central. We had a good response and ran a few guest blogs prior to the start of the 2009-10 season.

I'd like to once again offer anyone out there the chance to have their opinion heard. On average Puck Central has about 1k visitors a day during the offseason and hopefully that number will increase again once hockey starts up again within the next month.

There is no set criteria for what you must write. All I ask that the article is hockey related. You can be a Rangers fan, an Islanders fan, a Leafs fan or an international hockey fan. All that matters is that the article covers hockey and is your original work. I also request that you do not use any profanity and that the blog be be kept as grammatically correct as possible.

The last time I did this I got a handful of responses (all great articles) and those articles were amongst the most commented on and viewed articles that had been posted on the site to date. I'm hoping that this time around there is more interest and that perhaps that the guest bloggers can become regulars. I know how much you all love reading what I have to say (I kid), but in all honesty, the more people writing about the Rangers or hockey in general the more interesting the blog becomes.

I also welcome any other hockey bloggers out there to write an article for us. I'll gladly allow you to put a link in the article back to your own site, so it can also serve as a chance to get some more readers for your own website.

Thanks to CSNStores I am able to turn this into a competition, rather than just a request to get some of you to write articles! The winner will receive "one-time-use $65 gift certificate to use as they wish" at FitnessEquipmentandMore.com or CSNStores.com

The winner will be decided by me of course. I will take into consideration the quality of the article, the amount of readers that the article gets (meaning you should link to the article as much as you can) and the amount of comments that your article generates in the comments section. It can be a combination of these qualities.

Deadline: September 24th @ Midnight ET

If interested just send me an e-mail or send me a message via Twitter

Summer Reading - What Are Your Favorite Hockey Books?

What are your favorite hockey books?

Here's a list of a few hockey books that I've either read and recommend or heard were good books to read. They are not listed in any particular order. Recommend any books in the comments section if you'd like.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Morning Link Dump: Rules, Making Hockey More Fun & Fighting in the KHL!

  • NHL.com continues to run their feature 30 in 30 in which each day for a month they focus on one NHL team. Yesterday it was the Rangers turn - a look at the new players, the players that left, three players to watch and a prediction.

  • Five Minutes For Fighting has some good ideas with a list of "Ten Ideas To Make Hockey Even More Fun." I think the author may have ran out of number ideas when he got down to #2 because it was plain awful in my opinion, but the rest of the list was creative and full of things that truly would make hockey "even more fun."

  • Down Goes Brown takes a look at the new rules being considered at the NHL Research and Development Camp. [By the way, DGB is a blog you'll want to check often, it's hilarious and now thanks to a deal they have with a Canadian media outlet, they blog a couple of times a week.]

  • There has always been fighting in the KHL, but now it's being treated the same way as the NHL. According to Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy "KHL legalized fighting. Until this upcoming season fighting carries an automatic game misconduct penalty." Will we see an increase of North American players who specialized in the fine art of punching other people's faces heading over to the KHL? Possibly a place for Donald Brashear to finish his career. Also check out this forum post over at Hockey-Fights.com, which explains a little how it affects the KHL rules.

  •  Del Zotto says it's his job to get the Rangers power play going [NYR Blog]

Saturday, August 21, 2010

NHL Confirms Rule Change

According to EJ Hradek of ESPN:
NHL confirms this rule change: Regulation/OT wins (shootout Ws EXCLUDED) now will be first way to break ties in the standings.
Columbus GM Scott Howson had proposed this tie-breaker rule change/adjustment at the GM Meetings in March.
Assuming that this will mean we'll be looking at a new standings format come October. Another column!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday Morning Link Dump: New Rules, Rookie Watch, Team Sales & More

  • Are the Dallas Stars about to be sold? Rumor is that there's a buyer for the the team and the price could be as high as $300M [Dallas Stars Blog] and Mark Cuban could be a potential buyer according to TSN

  • Who are the early favorites for the NHL "Rookie of the Year?" [Hockey's Future]

  • A look at some of the new rules being considered by the NHL at their Research & Development Camp [The Rangers Tribune]

  • Speaking of rule changes, a look at The Hockey News "Top 10 Rules That Changed The Game"

  • A team by team analysis heading into the 2010-11 NHL Season [From The Rink]

  • It's a contract year for these eleven players and they need to have a big year [CBS Sports]

  • The Hartford Whalers moved to Carolina 13 years ago (the last NHL team to relocate) but apparently they are still a big merchandise seller [All Voices]
Hartford Whalers Vintage Replica Jersey 1979 (Away)
Hartford Whalers Vintage *Ricky* Cap

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Video: Islanders Suck Song

I don't know whether I should laugh or cry.

The best part is in the middle when he basically just stops singing and starts reading.

The Marc Staal Situation

The summer is winding down and the Rangers and RFA Marc Staal have yet to agree on a contract extension. There hasn't been much news on the topic since Glen Sather was asked if there was a wide gap between the sides and he responded "“I wouldn’t say it’s a wide gap, it’s more like a chasm.”

E.J Hradek of ESPN Insider recently said:
I can't imagine any team swooping in with an offer sheet because of the simple knowledge that the big-market Rangers will match.
The problem however, can the Rangers match an offer sheet? Glen Sather did say earlier this summer “If somebody gives him an offer sheet, we’re going to match it.” Which in theory sounds great. But, with the additions the Rangers have made, do they have the cap room?

If the Rangers were to waive Wade Redden (as most NYR fans hope) and send Todd White to Hartford then that should clear enough space off the cap to make any realistic offer that Staal gets matchable. It's highly unlikely that any team is going to make an offer in excess of $4.5M and even if they did with those two salaries off the books, the Rangers would have about $6M available in cap space. No team in their right mind is offering Marc Staal $6M.

Realistically, it's safe to say Marc Staal will remain a New York Ranger, the question is how much longer will this contract negotiation stand off last and what kind of deal the sides can agree to? Ideally the Rangers are going to want a deal for at least three years, because once this next contract expires Staal will be an unrestricted free agent and he will be on the open market. Hopefully this ends sooner than the Brandon Dubinsky contract standstill last summer.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

THN Prediction: NYR Finish 13th In East

The Hockey News is doing their annual prediction of how teams will finish in each conference.They have predicted that the Rangers will finish 13th in the Eastern Conference in 2010-11, with only the Islanders (14) and Panthers (15) finishing lower.
Why: Missing the playoffs on the last day of the regular season must still be stinging the Rangers and it won’t help we’ve slotted them in at unlucky No. 13 for 2010-11. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is about the only reason the Rangers are still afloat and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes Marian Gaborik will make it through another season untouched by injury.
There's no way that the Rangers will be contending for the Cup come next June unless they do something incredibly drastic. But, at the same time I certainly don't see them finishing this low in the regular season standings. Are they a playoff team? Well, that definitely remains to be seen but looking at the current roster even having a horrid season I'd be shocked if the Rangers finish less than 11th and I can certainly see them making a serious push for one of the final playoff spots. Then again, teams that finished below the Rangers last season like Atlanta, Toronto and Tampa have all improved.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Henrik Lundqvist "Fathead" On Sale - 50% Off


Personally, it's not my thing but I know that there are plenty of Rangers fans that would like one of these in their house, whether it be for their "game room" or for their kid's room. These are usually $100 each, but right now FatHead has the
Henrik Lundqvist
Fathead on sale for $50. The only other NYR that they have is
Marian Gaborik
, unfortunately his Fathead isn't on sale.

The
New York Rangers Logo
is also on sale for $49.99, it's also usually $100.

Las Vegas Odds To Win 2011 Stanley Cup

Update: Here are updated odds as of January 30th, 2011
===================================

Click here to see a larger version of the chart


Source of information

New Puck Central Banner Revealed!

If you look to the top of the blog you will see the winner of the "Design A Banner Competition"

The winning banner was designed by Pwood of the HFBoards. As promised, he will be sent some Easton hockey apparel.

At this time I'd like to thank those who did enter and took the time to design a banner for the competition. I thought it would be a little fun, I do know that there are many out there that thrive at the chance to design banners and logos using photoshop. At the same time I felt it was time to spicen up the blog with a quality banner.

In all honesty, I had a really hard time because each banner in its own right is high quality. Any of the banners would look great at the top of the page in my opinion. In fact, over time, I may decide to switch up the look with a different banner from those submitted. But, the banner that I chose did stand out to me from the second I saw it. I like the way the PC logo in the corner resembles one of the Rangers logos that says "NYR", I also like that it is not a perfect rectangle.

To have a look at all of the submissions, go here

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Kovalchuk Decision, My Take

As you are already aware, the 17 year contract that the Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk agreed to has been invalidated by an arbitrator. As a result of this arbitration ruling, Kovalchuk is once again an unrestricted free agent. However, I think that most would agree that it's highly likely the Devils and Kovalchuk restructure some type of deal that falls within the NHL's rules. (As I type that I smile because many would argue that the first contract was within the rules, having exploited a major loophole that was left in the CBA, but I digress).

Sportslawblog.ca has provided a .PDF version of the decision, if you are interested in reading it.

The NHL's argument against allowing the contract was that the 17-year deal “is intended to or has the effect of defeating or Circumventing the provisions of the CBA."

The NHL substantiates that argument by stating the contract
is for a term of 17 years, and provides for almost 97% of the SPC’s total Salary to be paid in the first 11 years of the contract term. The SPC provides for the Player to be paid the remaining 3% of the SPC’s total Salary over the final six years of the SPC, at the conclusion of which the Player will be 44 years old, which is well beyond the typical retirement age for NHL players.
I think you will be hard pressed to find a single person familiar with the situation and the rules of the CBA that believes that the Devils didn't intend to circumvent the salary cap. The issue with the NHL stepping in here is that they have failed to do so in the past when other players signed similar deals that were also obviously structured to "circumvent the cap."

Many have argued that although Kovalchuk is only 27 years old now, that clearly he has no intention of playing until he is 44 years of age. The arbitrator put a lot of weight into the statistics provided to him.
Kovalchuk is 27 years old, and the agreement contemplates his playing until just short of his 44th birthday. That is not impossible, but it is, at the least, markedly rare. Currently, only one player in the League has played past 43 and, over the past 20 years only 6 of some 3400 players have played to 42.
Remember when your English teacher told you to always read footnotes because they are important. Well, perhaps one of the most important aspects of the arbitrator's report was stated in the footnotes on the 19th page of a 20 page document. The report points out the various contracts in recent years that seem to have the same effect of circumventing the cap that Kovalchuk's deal attempted.
It is true, as the Association observes, that the NHL has registered contracts with structures similar to the Kovalchuk SPC PA Exh. 8 reflects a list of 11 multi-year agreements, all of which involve players in their mid to late 30’s and early 40’s. Most of them reflect reasonably substantial “diveback” (salary reductions that extend over the “tails” of the Agreement). Of these, four such agreements, with players Chris Pronger, Marc Savard, Roberto Luongo, and Marian Hossa reflect provisions that are relatively more dramatic than the others. Each of these players will be 40 or over at the end of the contract term and each contract includes dramatic divebacks. Pronger’s annual salary, for example, drops from $4,000,000 to $525,000 at the point he is earning almost 97% of the total $34,450,000 salary. Roberto Luongo, with Vancouver, has a 12-year agreement that will end when he is 43. After averaging some $7,000,000 per year for the first 9 years of the Agreement, Luongo will receive an average of about 1.2 million during his last 3 years, amounting to some 5.7% of the total compensation during that time period. The apparent purpose of this evidence is to suggest that the League’s concern is late blooming and/or inconsistent. Several responses are in order: First, while the contracts have, in fact, been registered, their structure has not escaped League notice: those SPCs are being investigated currently with at least the possibility of a subsequent withdrawal of the registration. It is also the case that the figures in Kovalchuk’s case are demonstrably more dramatic, including a 17-year term length, a $102,000,000 salary total and precipitous drop that lasts for the final six years of this contract.
Basically, the report says that the NHL is looking into these prior contracts that have already been registered with the league. I had a serious issue with the NHL stepping in and invalidating the Kovalchuk contract when it was first announced. I believe 100% that contracts like these are bad for the NHL. However, I also feel that the NHL should have stepped in a long time ago. How can you honestly look at the Marian Hossa or Chris Pronger contracts and allow them and then a year later invalidate a very similar contract.

The Kovalchuk contract has been invalidated. Fine. The end result in my opinion is correct, even if the NHL should have stepped in when previous similar contracts were registered with the league.

But, the league will be an absolute joke if it uses this decision to go back and analyze the Pronger, Luongo, Hossa and Savard deals. Some of the contracts were registered over a year ago. The NHL had their chance to step up then. They had their chance to "investigate," to invalidate the contract back then. Now? Just because an arbitrator has ruled in the NHL's favor doesn't make it fair game to go back and review these deals. If NHL was sleeping at the wheel then they are just SOL.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Design A Banner Competition, Win Easton Hockey Apparel

Originally posted last week

If you haven't noticed, we changed the design up a little bit earlier today. The main change is that we went from a blue background to a white background.

We also added a new comments feature which allows visitors to comment more easily by signing in via their Twitter account.

As a result of the design change, I've decided that Puck Central deserves a legit looking banner. I'm not looking for anything too flashy, although I know that some of you have crazy photoshop skills. As you can see, the original banner that I have is pretty plain.

Since this is a non-profit website, I don't have any cash prizes to offer up. But, I can do the next best thing for you hockey fans. The grand prize will be hockey apparel from Easton Hockey. Last month Easton had sent me over some quality merchandise such as a baseball cap,  winter hat, Easton Adult sized jacket and an Easton Adult sized red hooded sweatshirt. I haven't decided yet which of these the winner will receive (most likely either one or both of the hats), it depends on the response to the competition and the quality of banners that I receive.

Keep in mind that although I often post material related to the NHL, this is a Rangers blog and therefore if any team is predominant in the banner it should be the Rangers ;)

Rules:
1) You can submit as many banners as you want
2) Banner Must Say PuckCentral.net
3) Banner Must Be 860px × 135px or Smaller
4) Image must be in JPEG or GIF format
5) I will select the winner and it will be used on PuckCentral.net
6) You can e-mail me image files to declan911@gmail.com or send urls via Twitter
7) Competition Deadline: Thursday, August 12th 9PM ET

For those interested, I am going to upload all entries here, so you can see what has been submitted.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ducks Re-Sign Selanne. Kariya Next?

As was reported last Friday, Teemu Selanne will return to the NHL for at least one more season, signing a one year contract extension.

Kevin Allen of USA Today today reported:
Teemu Selanne signed with Anaheim at $3.25 million plus bonuses.
It's been rumored for a while now that if Selanne did in fact re-sign, that former Duck Paul Kariya would also possibly return to Anaheim. Apparently Selanne wants Kariya to sign with him.“I've talked to Paul and the Ducks," Selanne said. "Paul has been waiting for my decision and I hope things move forward," he said.

The OC Register is currently running a poll on what Ducks fans think of bringing Kariya back.

Riley Cote Announces Retirement

According to the Flyers Official Twitter:
Riley Cote just announced he is retiring and will become an assistant coach with the Phantoms.
At first I was skeptical about whether there was truth to it or if someone had somehow hacked into the Flyers Twitter account. But, apparently it's true.

The Official Press Release:
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that left wing Riley Cote has retired as a player to become assistant coach of the Flyers American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren.  Cote will join head coach Greg Gilbert and associate coach Kjell Samuelsson on the Adirondack coaching staff. 

“We are pleased to add Riley to our coaching staff in Glens Falls,” Holmgren said.  “Riley’s dedication, perseverance and passion for the game of hockey are beyond reproach. We believe he will be a good young coach, and his knowledge and experience will be very beneficial in the development of our young prospects.
Cam Janssen, who fought Cote several times says "Riley Cote just announced he is retiring and will become an assistant coach with the Phantoms. Good luck bud. One tough SOB!"

Cote was just 28 years old but I guess he saw the writing on the wall that he wouldn't be making the Flyers roster this season. He had an impressive fight card in his rather short tenure in the NHL.

Getting To Know The Newest Rangers: Mats Zuccarello-Aasen

Who is he? 
He's the 22 year old Norweigan forward that the Rangers signed earlier this summer. He will be competing for a spot during training camp on the Rangers opening night roster and it's possible that he'll be wearing #48. Mats Zuccarello-Aasen is a real mouthful, so get used to reading a lot of about "MZA" instead. I can honestly tell you that I've never seen him play and don't know much about him other than what I have read about him since he signed with the Rangers.

Remember all of the hype about Fabian Brunnström in 2008? Many have compared the Mats Zuccarello-Aasen situation to that of Brunnström. There were a handful of teams (or more), including Detroit, Toronto, Chicago and Dallas all attempting to sign MZA prior to the Rangers finally signing him.

There are many who feel that MZA won't be able to compete at the NHL level because of his size. MZA is listed at 5'7, 160lbs - which as you know is very small for an NHL player. I myself wouldn't be worried about his height but I am a little skeptical seeing that he weighs only 160lbs. Immediately, Marty St.Louis comes to my mind when I think of small players in the NHL that are elite players. But, even Marty St.Louis has 2 inches and about 20lbs on MZA! But, he has played against much bigger players throughout his career and most recently during the Winter Olympic and World Championships, so we'll have to see how he can do on an NHL sized rink against NHL players.


What's his contract?
He signed a two year (two-way) entry level contract. If MZA plays in the AHL he will be paid $67,500 but if he plays for the Rangers he is a cap hit of $1.75M per season because of performance bonuses in his contract. His NHL salary is $900K per season but he can almost double that if he meets certain performance incentives.


What does he bring to the Rangers?
The jury is still out on this one to be honest. From what I have read about Zuccarello-Aasen he is a highly skilled forward who is best suited for playing on the top two lines. The main issue for MZA is whether he will have a good camp and crack the Rangers top six. If MZA shows that he can play on one of the top two lines then he will stay in New York. But, it's highly unlikely that he stays on the roster if it doesn't look like he's going to play a prominent role on the top two lines.

New York has had serious scoring issues the past few seasons. There is hope that the additions of players like Frolov and Zuccarello-Aasen will immediately change the look of the Rangers forward lines.

Earlier this summer one of the Detroit Red Wings scouts basically said that the reason why MZA had signed with the Rangers is because they had promised him a spot on Marian Gaborik's line. But, recently in an interview with a Swedish website, Zuccarello-Aasen said that there were no promises, but that Sather had said the Rangers needed someone to get the puck to Gaborik.

If the Rangers think he can provide scoring then he'll be in New York to start the season. If not, he'll head down to Hartford and get a chance to prove that he can compete in North America and is worthy of a roster spot in the NHL.

What other bloggers are saying:

Scotty Hockey
It is definitely nice to see the deal done as it is low risk/high reward, but - as I said a while back - let's just wait and see how quickly makes the transition this fall before we get all giddy.

Andrew Gross of Rangers Rants in recent interview on Rangers Tribune
The Norwegian Hobbit was not at the prospect camp so my first chance to see him in person will come in September. He comes advertised as a speedy skater with a great scoring touch, a person who knows how to get to the net. The biggest adjustment will be in adapting to the North American game. Playing in smaller rinks than in Europe, Zuccarello-Aasen will be facing much more physical opponents. If he quickly shows he can handle that, he stands a very good chance of making the team out of training camp. Otherwise, he’ll need some seasoning at Hartford.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rumor: Rangers To Make Greenville New ECHL Affiliate

According to The Prospect Park:
The Rangers will be adding the Greenville Road Warriors as their ECHL team with an announcement coming as soon as Monday and no later than the end of next week but for the Rangers it helps put their developmental program into place.The Rangers were without an ECHL team ever since the Charlotte Checkers decided to move up to the AHL and signed an agreement with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Selanne Says He's Returning to Ducks

According to a Finnish website Teemu Selanne will be re-signing in Anaheim sometime soon and playing for at least one more season in the NHL.

Thanks to the translation from over at the HFBoards, Selanne apparently told the media:
"I have made the decision to continue my career in Anaheim, in fact I have known this for some time already. The talks will start now and I hope to have the new contract signed in the next few days"

In other news today the Minnesota Wild have signed UFA John Madden and Maxim Afinogenov is heading to the KHL after signing a 5 year contract.

Video: Top 10 Hockey Agitators Of All-Time

Some Extra Flavoring On Those MSG Hot Dogs

Last week ESPN ran an article that listed major health violations at all of the major sports arenas across the United States and Canada.

How did the Garden do? That depends, do you like "extra flavoring" on your food?
Madison Square Garden
New York Knicks, New York Rangers
Vendors with critical violations: 61%

Inspection report excerpt: At one stand, inspectors found "53 mouse excreta" (38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit).
I don't know about you but I can't wait to get in line for some beer, popcorn and hot dogs at the Rangers home opener in October!

Look on the brightside, at least we're not the Crapitals
Verizon Center
Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals
Vendors with critical violations: 100%

Inspection report excerpt: Mice droppings, a critical violation in Washington, were found at at least 10 vendors.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting To Know The Newest Rangers: Marty Biron

Who is he? 
He's the new New York Rangers backup goalie of course.  Biron is probably best known for his days as a Buffalo Sabre which was his only NHL team from when he was drafted 16th overall in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft until he was traded to the Flyers. With the Sabres knowing that Ryan Miller was their goalie of the future Buffalo traded Biron to the Flyers during the 2006-07 season.

During the next two seasons, Biron was considered the number one goalie for the Flyers. Last summer Biron signed as a UFA with the Islanders in what was a peculiar move at the time for the Islanders because they had just signed UFA Dwayne Roloson and already had Rick DiPietro under contract.

Of recent years, one of my main memories of Marty Biron was watching him get pummeled by Ray Emery in the the brawl that resulted from the Chris Neil hit on Chris Drury, when Drury was a member of the Sabres. Despite the clear loss, I gave Biron props at the time because it was a well known fact that Emery was a pretty tough kid.


What's his contract?
Biron signed on July 1st right after free agency opened up. It was expected that the Rangers were in the market for a backup goalie. There were several names being thrown around by the media and from the beginning it looked like Biron might be the guy coming to the Rangers. He signed a two year deal worth $875K per season. It's a very cap friendly number for the Rangers - not too often you hear that phrase.


What does he bring to the Rangers?
He's not the second coming of Patrick Roy. But, he doesn't have to be. His job is to backup Lundqvist. Year after year the Rangers coaches claim that Henrik Lundqbist is going to play less than he did the previous season. Hopefully, the addition of Marty Biron will actually allow the Rangers to follow that game plan. If Biron can come in and start 15 games in relief of Lundqvist, then the hope is that Lundqvist will be rested for the end of the season and hopefully the playoffs, if the Rangers were to make it.


Biron is also known for being a great guy in the locker room and for chirping a lot at opponents from the bench.

Let's just hope he doesn't do this!


What other bloggers are saying:

Scotty Hockey
A good backup goaltender needs to be able to come in to give the team a chance to win, and there were far better goaltenders out there. That being said, when Glen decided that Chad Johnson simply was not good enough yet to play in the NHL, he set himself upon finding a veteran. He got one and at a good price - even in the saturated market of netminders, few vets were likely desperate enough to take a deal for 875k. Glen found one that would. Alex Auld, last season's stopgap, took one million from Montreal. Hope that 125k is worth losing an additional few games ... just the difference between making the playoffs and not.

I hope that Hank can handle another 70 start season.

Rangers Tribune 
a spectacular signing just because they acquired a capable goaltender for under one million per year. General manager Glen Sather got things started right from a Blueshirts perspective and I must admit that I am impressed by what Slats was able to pull off here

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Video: Top 10 NHL Bloopers


You might want to lower your volume, or even mute it, the music this video creator chose for this song gets quite annoying after a few seconds.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting To Know The Newest Rangers: Derek Boogaard

Who is he? 
Derek Boogaard aka "The Boogeyman". Boogaard is one of the most feared fighters in the NHL. He is 6'7" and weighs 270lbs, he's built like a building on skates. Boogaard has never fought as much as the other heavyweights in the league, according to HockeyFights.com, he has never fought more than 16 times in a season since playing in the NHL. However, I attribute that to the fact that most players are not willing to take on Boogaard based on his sheer size. There are other heavyweights like Orr and Carkner who fight a lot more, but that is because some of the middleweights are willing to fight up a class. Not too many middleweights are going to go picking a battle with "The Boogeyman."

What's his contract?
You haven't heard yet? It was one of the most talked about contracts from July 1st. Sather signed Boogaard to a four year deal worth $6.5M total, a cap hit of $1.625M per season.

Sather intended on bringing back Jody Shelley who played for the Rangers at the end of last season was effective on the fourth line during the final few weeks of the season. However, the Flyers offered Shelley a three year deal worth $1.1M per season. I was one of the Rangers fans that wanted Jody Shelley back in a blueshirt. But, there's no way that at 34 years of age I would want Shelley under contract for another three seasons.

Granted, $1.6M is a lot of money for a fourth line player. But, Boogaard is one of the best in the business at what he does and there were other teams interested in him. Boogaard is also only 28 years old, so he will likely remain one of the most dominating enforcers in the NHL throughout the life of that contract.


What does he bring to the Rangers?
Boogaard was brought to New York to fight and throw his body around. Anybody expecting any offense from the big man will be severely disappointed.

Boogaard has gone 222 games without scoring a goal which is the longest active streak in the NHL. Many critics of the signing have continuously cited this. However, I'm a proponent of carrying a heavyweight fighter on your team, especially in the Eastern Conference which has gotten even more tougher this summer. Any team that is relying on their fourth line to score goals has serious problems. The Rangers need to get their offense from the top three lines, if they do their job then there should be no pressure on the fourth line to put the puck in the back of the net. Boogaard's job here is to protect the Rangers better players, make sure that the other team isn't out running Gaborik or Lundqvist.

Since Boogaard has been out West for the entirety of his career so far, I have not gotten to see much of him besides seeing highlight clips of his fights online. I was very surprised when I did a YouTube search to see that he is a good enough skater to throw some huge hits.
  • Huge hit on Renee Bourque - Video
  • The man shatters glass! - Video
  • Knocking down Brashear - Video
  • Pounding Seabrook - Video
There are nights that Boogaard probably shouldn't be in the lineup. But, when the Rangers play teams who clearly are built to physically punish you at any opportunity, or playing teams in the Conference that intened on fighting then Boogaard better be dressed. The Islanders, Devils, Penguins, Flyers; all in the same Division as the Rangers have bulked up with at least one legit fighter on their team. Tortorella better not think that leaving Derek behind those nights would be a good idea. I hate watching my favorite team get pushed around. It makes me sick to see them get physically manhandled. Hopefully Boogarrd brings back that physical presence that Colton Orr once brought every game for the blueshirts.

What other bloggers are saying:

Scotty Hockey
Frankly, there are no answers just yet. It would be alright that Boogaard hasn't scored a goal in four years if he was a big fighter but he had just nine fight majors last season - not enough to rank in the top 40 tough guys in the league. Sure he went 8-1-1 according to Hockey Fights but who cares? The guy plays three out of every four games, skates just over six minutes per game and adds nothing offensively. Sounds just about right for someone getting a four-year contract worth $1.65 million per. Right?

Joe Fortunato - Blueshirt Banter
For those of you that think that Boogaard is going to make a difference because he is going to be able to take the body and through his weight around for the Rangers now, please consider this. Tortorella has no patience for stupid penalties. Voros saw the bench most of the time he was playing for taking dumb penalties. So I say by game 3—if he lasts that long—Boogaardtakes a cheap shot and is no longer in Tortorella’s favor, and thus never plays. And even if Boogaard prove himself to be useful, he will play 6-7 minutes a night, worth 1.65 million a year for the next 4 years? I didn't think so.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sather Does It Again: Trades Brashear & Rissmiller

The speculation started late last night when Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune posted on Twitter that the Atlanta Thrashers had traded center Todd White to the New York Rangers. The rest of the trade was not announced until after 10am this morning, so that left Rangers fans speculating who had been sent the other way. Many thought that defenseman Michal Rozsival had to be part of the deal and that it was a cap space clearer for the Rangers. I had a gut feeling right away that Rozsival would not be part of the package. However, I wasn't expecting the players that were involved.

The Rangers acquired Todd White in exchange for Donald Brashear and Patrick Rissmiller. Pretty much immediately after the trade it was reported that the Thrashers were placing Brashear on waivers with the intention of buying him out tomorrow if when he clears.

As many of you probably know, since Donald Brashear had signed his contract when he was older than 35, his contract for next season was going to count against the Rangers cap regardless of whether or not he actually played in the NHL or AHL. So, if Brashear stayed in New York and played the entire season in Hartford as was the plan barring a trade, the Rangers would have had $1.4M counted against their salary cap.

That was not the case for Rissmiller who has only played in two games for the Rangers in the two seasons since he signed that three year, three million dollar contract to leave San Jose. He has spent the majority of his time since signing that contract playing in Hartford and with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Rissmiller has only one year left and then will become a UFA. He'll get a shot at cracking the Thrashers lineup.

Todd White is a $2.375M cap hit if he plays in New York next season. However, the Rangers also have the option of sending White to Hartford and alleviating themselves of that money off their cap. Although White is 35 now, he signed his current contract prior to his 35th birthday. There are several reasons why White may not be destined to Hartford this season. Despite the fact that he is 35 years old, two seasons ago he had 73 points (even if that was playing alongside Kovalchuk). White also has a history with Marian Gaborik, playing in Minnesota for two seasons prior to going to Atlanta. The question is, will the Rangers have the cap space to give White a shot at making the roster and are the Rangers willing to take away yet another spot in the lineup for a young player to get some decent NHL minutes.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Getting To Know The Newest Rangers: Alexander Frolov

Who is he? 
Alex Frolov is the newest member of the New York Rangers, signing a one year contract last Tuesday. Frolov is a Russian left wing who contemplated returning to Russia to play in the KHL after deciding against re-signing with the Los Angeles King. Frolov was drafted in 2000 by the Kings 20th overall. In 536 NHL games, Frolov has 168 goals and 381 points points.

What's his contract?
Frolov signed with the Rangers for one year at $3M. He will become a UFA next July. It was rumored that he was seeking more than $4.5M prior to signing the deal.  It was also rumored and later confirmed by Frolov that he was close to signing with a team in the KHL. The Kings wanted to re-sign Frolov, but only after they made a strong pitch to land Ilya Kovalchuk. Once Kovalchuk decided to instead sign with New Jersey, the Kings tried to get Frolov back in LA. Apparently Frolov wasn't too happy with the way the Kings handled the whole situation and immediately told them he wasn't returning.

What does he bring to the Rangers?
Frolov is capable of scoring 30 goals in a season, he's done it twice in seven sesaons playing in LA. He also has three 20 goal seasons, just missing a fourth last season when he finished the year with 19 goals.

The Rangers hope that he will slide in on the top line alongside Marian Gaborik. Don't forget, that was also the plan last season when Chris Higgins was acquired from Montreal as part of the Scott Gomez trade. However, Frolov has way more offensive potential than Higgins ever had.

Many Rangers fans are excited about the signing because Frolov does have the potential to have another 30 goal season playing alongside Gaborik. But, there are many fans who are upset because they see this as one less chance for a young Rangers prospect to get minutes. Many were hoping that Grachev would make the team this season, but it's unlikely that he will stay in New York unless he's on one of the top three lines.

The other issue that will have to be answered is whether Frolov can be consistent. That is the only knock that continuously appears in almost every article about the guy. There is no doubt that Frolov has the skills of a top-6 NHL forward. The problem is that he isn't always consistent.

What other bloggers are saying:

Scotty Hockey
I don't hate Frolov. I hate what he stands for. He is the latest mercenary that Sather has signed to maintain this mediocre team's meager reputation. I want the franchise to "Either go 4 the Cup or build a team that can win 1. Don't set the bar at 8th place." By bringing in another hired gun, that is all that they are doing.

Joe Fortunato - Blueshirt Banter
In the end, you can't be upset with the deal. It's for one year, and it allows the Rangers a ton of flexibility. Say that the Rangers are tanking, and won't be making the playoffs come February. Frolov will be a nice bargaining chip for playoff contending teams whoa re looking for some experience and scoring help.

At best - and this is my opinion on the situation - he makes the Rangers a very dangerous team to play against. You might not think that this addition makes a huge difference, but I do. This team and last year's team are basically akin, and adding a 20-30 goal scorer to last year's team (along with all of the increases we can expect from last years youngins') would have made some nice changes.
Rangers Tribune
I think he will fit into the lineup nicely, though, most likely filling a slot on the second offensive line. Other than Gaborik no Ranger last year scored more than twenty goals so to have someone that is capable of doing so on the second unit will make a big difference. I know a lot of you are wondering if head coach John Tortorella will consider trying Frolov and Gaborik on the same line, and the answer is yes, I am almost positive he will.