Hockey Season Nears

Friday, August 22, 2008

I just got back from a trip to my hometown of Toronto, Canada. My family and I were visiting old friends and relatives and we had a great time rehashing old stories. While up in Toronto, the Mats Sundin Watch was still a huge topic for the hockey obsessed people of Toronto (not my words, Sean Avery's words, to be exact)... Avery's not far from the truth, I will admit. I personally don't understand the fury it has caused (waiting on Sundin's decision). He's a very good player, but as I've said before; he's not Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Etc... I could go on and on but enough is enough.

The NHL and college hockey season openers are right around the corner. I really am looking forward to this year. I will be the color analyst for the Quinnipiac Bobcats of the ECAC along with my good friend (and voice of the Bobcats), Bill Schweizer, as well as Don Boyle. I had a fantastic time doing radio for the Bobcats last year and this year should be even better. If you are in the area of Hamden Connecticut, check the Bobcats hockey team out... you will not be disappointed! It's a great university and they play in a highly competitive league of Division 1 hockey.

Back to the NHL, specifically the New York Rangers. The Rangers have announced the All-Time Ranger Team as voted by the fans and here were the results:

Ed Giacomin
Mike Richter

Brad Park
Brian Leetch

Jean Ratelle
Rod Gilbert (Mr. February!)
Mark Messier

Emile "The Cat" Francis

Hard to argue with these selections, the fans were dead on with their choices. I would like to see a 20 man roster chosen by the fans as well, though. I know that Harry Howell and Ron Greschner were 3 and 4 in the voting for defense. And what about the other 3 lines of forwards? Hadfield, Vickers, Etc.? Let me know what you think. I am very interested to find out!

Other Ranger news... the dates are set! Adam Graves' jersey induction is February 3rd and the fans get a 2 for 1 with Harry Howell and Andy Bathgate on the same night on February 22nd. Tickets to these nights will be tough to get a hold of, so get cracking on them now or you will be shut-out!

One last thing, my question to Ranger fans: Mats Sundin joining the Rangers... yes or no? Looking forward to your responses. Over and out!

Images thanks to and


JOHN said...

I would love to have Sundin. Even at the expense of exposing the defense to a rookie every night. Reason being it wold allow the coach to put 4 pivots out on regular shifts with a chance to score. In my opinion, that is the key to going 4 rounds in the playoffs. That is, having the ability to score on all 4 lines. Betts would be a casualty, but so what?

Leatherneck said...

Hello from Las were one of my favirotes back when..smiles..i recall you and Tom Laidlaw arriving about the same time and with Barry..that was a tough defense..which is what we for thanks..he reminds me of Jeremy Shockey in attitude..dont need him..if you want to bring someone..let it be Shanny..he deserves it more than that clown..his (sundin) is with quebec and the leafs..lets not do a reversal of Brian Leetch..he should have ended his career as a Ranger...Whats your take on Mclaren of San jose..will he be a good addition?

Kotsy's Korner said...

john: John, thanks for your response. I have my doubts about Sundin, but I've been wrong before. I just feel that you're replacing one 37 yr old (Jagr) for another in Sundin. As for Betts, he's been a good soldier for the Rangers, accepts his role, but an upgrade is an upgrade. In the end, I'm just not sold on Sundin.


leatherneck: Leatherneck, nice to hear from a fellow dino-man. Las Vegas? Yeah it seems like yesterday, but 27 yrs have passed since my time with the Rangers. Enough of the old days, I think I tend to lean on your side on this debate. Sundin's a future HOFer, but didn't we allow another HOFer (Jagr) who is basically the same age, same type of player, to go on his merry way? I am not big on Sundin and his toying with NHL teams with his decision. He's good, but not worthy of the royal treatment that he is getting. I would love to have Shanny back, but he may have take lesser role. As for Mclaren, you need to fill me in on this one. I have not heard anything.

Leatherneck said... last memory..I recall a playoff game in LA..what a brawl..chuckles..Well we need a physical defenseman..just too one demensional our defense..San jose has a lot of D-men..and Mclaren seems to be available..your thoughts on him as an addition..Also I would love to see Corey Potter given a chance..a fair one to make it..not too thrilled about Khalinin..I do believe Mara will flourish and have a career year..

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Yeah, that brawl was wild. I still remember Hospodar, Beck and myself sitting in the shower with our equipment still on because of exhaustion. As for Mclaren, if he's the player he was in Boston, then I am all for him. Potter needs to prove people he's NHL worthy. Kalinin's a crap shoot (no pun intended). Mara is a good, solid, all around D-man. It will be interesting to see how this season will unfold.

Leatherneck said...

here is my all time list of selections are from the 70's to present with a few honorable mentions

Richter. Lundqvist and Giacomon
honorable mention VBK

Beck / Routsaleinen
Leetch / Buekeboom
Greschner / Park
honorable mentions: Laidlaw, Patrick

GAG line Ratelle, Hatfield and Gilbert
Messier, Graves and Gartner
Don Maloney, Pavelich, Hedberg
Vickers, Erixon, Kocur
honorable mentions: Fotiu, Colton Orr, Sandy McCarthy, Ulf Nilsson, Jagr and believe it or not..Betts and Lindros
Dave Maloney, yourself, Langdon, John Davidson. Tkaczuk, Kovalev, Ed Johnstone and Gretzky are in my heart but not on my list

my reason for my picks was a team, not a bunch of glory names, my picks included penalty and powerplay units, face off specialists and of course toughness and all time favirotes. All of the mentioned are dear to my heart and will remain so till the day I die

Wrath of Sanity said...

Rumors today were that a Swedish newspaper reported Sundin will sign with the Canucks. Hopefully this is true.

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Not a bad squad you came up with. I would have to put Patrick on defense though over Routsaleinen. Keep checking back on my blog and thanks for the trip down memory lane!


wrath of sanity: This Sundin thing is making me lose my sanity - HA! HA! Really, haven't we had enough this guy?

Leatherneck said...

hows this for opening line up?
naslund gomez zherdev
dawes drury callahan
sjostrom dubinsky fritsche
byers betts orr

and rissmiller

staal roszival
redden girardi
mara potter

and pock



additions i would like to see to fiddle with the line up shanahan and mclaren..

trade potentials


Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: The lineup is fine, but the bigger problem is "team chemistry". If you look at one of my previous blogs, I talk about the major overhaul the Rangers have had in the last 2 years. The current roster has only 4 players who were in the lineup opening night. I'm hoping things gel and gel quickly.

Leatherneck said...

interesting made about do you see it developing...problems facing them now in that if you were Sather..i honestly think with Jagr will be more a team...Newyork Rangers than Jagr's Rangers.... what would your opening day lineup look like with what we have..and..who would you want to add to the team via a trade..and whom would you like to see traded to better the team? you place sjostrom with naslund..because the 2 are swedes..for chemistries sake?and finally..your take on the two rookies i mentioned..Byers and Potter..if Sauer was not hurt..he would have been there too...i look back at the 80's and all those idiotic example..yourself..with you..we had 2 players to combat the best line in bossy, trottier and gillies..with you gone there was only beck..and gordie lane took care of gillies could stay on the ice..we added huber who couldnt move gillies and we payed dearly for it..saw them with 4 cups and the chants of 1940 until that was put to rest in 94...see..i see something similar..with this team..whos going to handle the power forwards of the opposition from infront of our crease..

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: It's not that the team currently assembled lacks talent, it will take time to mesh. If you remember last season, Gomez and Drury didn't really find the comfort zone for most of the year. You are probably right about Jagr overall, but I'll bet every d-man in the league is happy not to face him one on one. I don't see that type of player currently on the roster (maybe ZHERDEV?). It's hard to put a starting roster together as of now. We all will get a better picture of who plays with who once the pre-season ends. Byers and Potter will have to step up big time because of all the moves made in the off season. Are they capable? Yes, but to supplant a player who was just brought in is tough to do.

You are dead on about the defense. I have said since the playoffs ended they lacked the fear factor. You got to have the opponents a little fearful of going in to the corners. It's unfortunate, but the Rangers do not have that type of D-man. I thought they might go after Brooks Orpik, but he was tad too expensive. Really though, what does it matter? You can't touch players in front of the net, let alone clear them out. The crap rules of today don't allow you to play physical anyways.

You are also right about the 80s, other than Nick Fotiu & Barry Beck, the Ranger's were not the most intimidating to play against.

Leatherneck said...

sometimes the best moves are the ones we never make..we need to grow our own..hell picks we make in the draft..figure they are trade bait anyway..successful teams are built by the draft..i have never been shocked by our draft choices not panning out most of the time...thats why..i was dumbfounded by the signing of rismiller and voros...give byers a chance..why was he drafted if we wont play him..same of jessiman and kopikoroski..i am not shocked jessiman hasnt made it yet..i think alot has to do with these free agent signings..most of them...un neccessarily signed..i know if i was in the minors and kept seeing these players signed..i would lose confidence in my leaders..and start to audition myself for another team..a trade or signing should be to tweak a team to win..not overhaul humble opinion..i have a question..i make my own rangers cards of players who never had a card of them in a rangers can i get pictures of players in a Rangers uniform so i can make cards of them..players like the kleinendorsts...dore..yourself..ed mio...and such and make my own cards..i have every ranger who has a card in a rangers uniform from the late 60's to the present team.,,one of my hobbies

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: One thing I know for sure that has not changed is the time it takes to crack the lineup. As a prospect toiling away in the minors, you get 2-3 years to crack the big club's roster. The powers that be know it quicker than the player does most of the time. Anything after 3 years makes it tough on the player because of the reloading of talent teams make every year. It almost becomes like your yesterday's news.

As for picture's of former Ranger players, I have been trying to find some of myself. The picture of me on the home page of my blog is a team issued postcard that was given to each player. I have asked my good friend and former teammate Ron Greschner to look into it for me and hopefully we'll find some.

Leatherneck said...

thank you..i am enjoying my conversations with'll tell you why you are one of my favirotes..i used to sneak in to the garden to watch the games..we used to take two ticket stubs..tape them together and find an usher and slip him some cash..and go watch the used to get there early to watch the warm ups and wait for fotiu to toss the pucks with the hope of catching one..remember his ritual? not once..but twice i waived at you and you subtly nodded and smiled..not to mention you were tough..didnt you have a good fight with gillies and actually win the fight..i think i recall that too..or was it gordie lane.. another who did that and i never forgot him either was jerry minor of the canucks..subtle gestures that have lasting impressions on kids..4 years later i was in the somalia..i used to get the blueshirt bulletin to keep track of the team..any plans to visit vegas?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Yeah it's true, I did fight Gillies in the playoffs at MSG and somehow came up with the win. Unfortunately they beat us in 4. I have enjoyed talking to someone who knows his Hockey and Ranger history. Keep checking back, you never know when I will write my next blog!

Mr. Hockey said...

Long time no talk, I'd like to see Sundin on the Rangers----the Texas Rangers!!!!--are they kidding me with this mutt?--Me and 13 have one thing in common---are best days are behind us!Hey if this sick rumor is actually true and this guy lucks his way into New York I think alot of fans are just going to wait for this to play his age --and then he'll realize that this ain't Toronto and we don't care what you did for them in the past--sorry 13 I don't think tere will be that warm fuzzy love affair that you had up North!!
It's getting late and 4:30 a.m come in too fast --so I'll have to wait on my thoughts of an all-time team.
I liked Leathernecks line-up for opening night-we'll see if Shanny figures in----He also mentioned Jim Dore, I had the pleasure to meet him at the Garden a while back --a real nice guy--GREAT story teller--and made me feel like one of the boys---gotta go,but as Arnold once said.....I'll be bach!!

JOHN said...

About Sundin's abilities: He is a training athlete. His physical size makes him better than any 5' 10" 190 lb 23 year old forward. Sundin can pass the puck better than 90 per cent of the NHL in my opinion. That will turn many ALMOST GOALS into REAL GOALS. 'Nuff said.

Kotsy's Korner said... I think leatherneck was talking about Andre Dore. As for Jim Dore - he and I something in common, we both played for the Rangers, Leafs, and Whalers.


john: John, you are correct on all of your assessments about Sundin. It's hard to argue with everything you pointed out. I just feel that is he has a inflated opinion of his importance to the NHL. I can't accept that fact, even unnamed GMs are starting to talk about his delayed decision holding up league business.

Mr. Hockey said...

Hey Kots thanks for setting me straight on that Dore mistake--like I said it was late and I was beat(How do you like that for an excuse?)--Be that as it may, JIM Dore is still good company at a game.
Question? If Sundin is such a talented passer(we all know he had the goods)--Why couldn't the Leafs turn more of those almost goals into real goals??Maybe if they did ,a coach and a G.M.would still be working for the franchise and Leaf fans would be cheering for a winning team not the under achieving over paid bunch they had the last few years!!

Leatherneck said...

yeah..sundin needs to stay a leaf..enough of these high price signings for the sake of coorperations who but the tickets and hand them out to people who dont even know the game..marquee is in a stanley cup team,,not a player or players..we have much talent of our own we have drafted and with a few signing..and most of the questionable..lets grow our own..all the dynasty franchises grew their own..they molded a system in the minors and the players got to know one another and build chemistry..les habitants of the 70s..isles of the 80s oilers of the 80s..thats not a coincidence..i know newyork is newyork..and the stars would prefer to hang out with the bure types..than say a dane byers..its enough..we lost the middletons, ridleys zubovs and amontes for in i can mention so many ranger draft choices who became stars for other teams..and for starts with the draft..a great minor system and a solid coaching in the pros to build a championship team..we have a few capable players down in hartford we need to nurture and mold ..tom renny is a great coach and sather built the oilers so he is no clown..he knows what he is doing.. my suggestion to sather would be..forget the headlines..your headlines will come in the form of cups..again i say..lets grow our own..the cornerstone of the rangers for the next 5 years is lundy..roszi..redden drury and gomez due to the length of their contracts and all are solid..throw in a few of our draft choices who made it to the big show..and a solid few draftees in the wings..the foundation is good..there is only one player out there i would sell everything to get..and he wont be coming..and thats dion final deal has to happen..and thats for an intimidating d-man..and next years draft..i would like to see the rangers draft 3 of them.and hope for 1 to work the way..this years draft..we could have had that kid carlson that the caps took..well my point in this patience..old saying do you eat an elephant? 1 bite at a time...

JOHN said...

Kotsy. Thanks for your response. I am only holding the Sundin flag because he is about a cash transaction. The players that would be moved to make cap room will not be impact players in my opinion. For example, Rosival to me is not a number one pair defenseman. We as Ranger fans have had to accept him as one. But he truly is not. If it becomes a couple of third or fourth liners for Sundin, so what? We have 5 players to replace them in the minors. I cannot see why having a 60-to 70 point guy on a bad Leafs team , that may want to play here, would not be a good idea from an offensive standpoint. Sundin is different from Jagr. Sundin plays his game within the team concept. that is why he was a captain in Toronto. Even if it takes till November . This is a good move.

Leatherneck said...

an intriguing look at the future.. your take on this line Chris

Grachev Anisimov Cherepanov
Dawes Drury Callahan
Sjostrom Gomez Zherdev
Byers Betts Orr

dawes can be replaced with rissmiller and Betts with fritsche..and Callahan with Moore if they are still around

Redden and Girardi
staal and Sanguinetti
Del Zotto and potter
and Sauer as 7th D-man though if we find an intimidating D-man then..humm..D would be tweaked

two vital elements the Rangers need to address..power forward and hard hitting stay at home D-man

goalie..we are set with lundy and valli..but..i would consider adding dan cloutier for depth

What do you know of Justin Soryal and this kid Mitch Gualton..there's lots of praise going around for these 2..though Gaulton is hurt.. thats not a bad looking near future

Leatherneck said...

ughhh... i forgot about Dubinsky..scratch Sjostrom and add Dubey there

Kotsy's Korner said... I had to correct you and you're right, Jim Dorey (correct spelling) is a great storyteller. I love the fact GMs and executives are starting to squawk about Sundin's "To Be Or Not To Be" decision.


leatherneck: You make a lot of sense about building a top-notch NHL team. The only thing that you left out is that with today's player salaries, overall team budgets and cost to the consumer (ie the fans). It's a 'what have you done for me lately?' league. The pressure to win is enormous on players, coaches and management. Patience is out the window and that's why you have all the player and coach movement year in year out.


john: John, once again I can't argue if it's only about money. However, will Sundin be happy when the god-like status he gets in Toronto disappears and when does it become Gomez's or Drury's team? Isn't that what some fan's have called for since Jagr is gone? In the end, if it works for the Ranger's, then I am all for it.

Leatherneck said...

question..why cant there be a set scale..i am a union carpenter and we have a scale..why not in sports..

superstar makes soo much money
star makes so much money
above avg makes so much money
ans so on..until it bottoms out with rookies

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I for one don't begrudge the money athletes make today. It's called supply and demand, not many people can fill a resume to play in the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA. Very few people can actually play in these leagues, and that's why salaries are what they are. It is what is.

Leatherneck said...

I am not by any means begrudging them,,infact..i come from a philosophy of "what you think is what you create" saking was..for the purpose of sports operations and simplicity... add in the loyalty factor to a team which is missing these days.. you think bure or nedved are true say you or beck is? there are many players in al sports just playing for money..not championships we as fans see that and are not blind to it.. another question regarding malik.. that guy got unjustly crucified in my opinion ..whats your take as a former NHL D-man on only problem with malik was..that he didnt hit..but his plus minus was pretty daggone hard to argue with

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: You hit the nail right on the head. Greed plays a big role in everyday life. The players of today have no loyalty. It's all about status and recognition. Look, even Messier left the Ranger's because of a contractual issue. I realize the fans get screwed by the greed and you have a right to be outraged.

Finally, I have been going to Ranger games the past 2+ years and I never understood the anger fans had with Malik. I know he was not a big hitter or a physical force, but the guy was a plus player with a wining record! Every team has a whipping boy and Malik was ours.

Leatherneck said...

whats your opening day line up look like Chris..with what we have..potential lines..D-pairings and such? and what additions/subtractions would you like to see

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I think I will wait until training camp opens and see who's actually in camp. I will be posting a new blog soon and I hope you check back. You know your Rangers very well and I am impressed with your hockey knowledge. Stay tuned!

Leatherneck said...

Thank you..i bleed red white and what i consider the best game on loyalty to this team can only be matched..not surpassed...heck..i follwed the Rangers from okinawa japan..while on a US Naval desert shield/ storm..and operation restore hope in matter where i am..i'll know whats up with the recollections are not just of the bure and fact i hold the talafouses and cam conners just as dear..what i enjoy about your site is..its real..and intelligent comments posted..unlike other sites where people bash as if they are the king of the the malik bashers..its very easy to sit back and critisize..and quite difficult to be a true can hear the gossip and jump the bandwagon..true have to study..observe..give credit where its due and never complain..i am blessed to have the Rangers in my of the greatest gifts given to me to be a Ranger fan..Semper Fi Chris..looking forward to your next blog

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