Tick, Tick, Tick...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Only 6 days until the blades of steel hit the ice at the Rangers training camp facility in Westchester. 70 players in all will show up and it will be an interesting camp to say the least. There will be lots to figure out with this years 2008-2009 version of New York Rangers (Boy, that sounds good).

I am very interested in how the defense will shape up. What will the pairings look like? Hopefully, there will be a surprise or two in store for the Rangers this year. I also hope, somehow, someway, Brendan Shanahan finds a roster spot. He wants to be a Ranger and that’s all I need to hear. Also, what about Nedved? Does he have anything left, or is he finally done? Which player or players will take control and be a true team leader? I could go on and on, but only time can answer all the questions we - as Ranger fans - have. Tick, tick, tick…

I also want to hear your take on E.J. Hradek’s choice of Mark Messier over Rod Gilbert as the best forward in Rangers franchise history. I think this one’s definitely up for debate! My choice is simple - Rod Gilbert. I know the impact Messier had on the Rangers cup run and all, but Gilbert holds all of the team’s offensive records: Goals, Assists, and Points. On top of all that, he was a career Ranger! For those of you that know baseball, Ernie Banks played his entire career with the Chicago Cubs - thus, he’s “Mr. Cub”. Well, Rod Gilbert is “Mr. Ranger” in my eyes and will be for a long time!

Lastly, I just wanted to let you all know that I am now contributing over at TheFourthPeriod.com. Below I’ll give a link to my first contribution - an article about the rise and fall of the 50 goal scorers in the NHL - as well as the main site for TheFourthPeriod.com. But don’t worry, I’ll still be on here blogging about my beloved Rangers & Bobcats! Over and out!

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/columnists/journal/kotsopoulos.html
http://www.thefourthperiod.com/

Images thanks to Google Images & Outside the Garden

34 comments:

Leatherneck said...

thats a tough one.I noticed..most of his choices were based on Cup winning teams...hard to argue over that..ie...Tom Brady or Dan Marino..I will take Brady every single time...now if the choice was say Marino over Tarkington..as hard as it would be..i would go with Marino...So is Messier the best Ranger forward ever? based on cups he is..though mind you Gilbert truely is also a Mr Ranger..arguement can also be..Beck was one of the best all around defenseman for the Rangers which would then eliminate Leetch of of his list..bleh..thats why i dont like individual choices...i prefer the team concept...because all of them would be on the roster

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I totally understand what Messier means to the legions of Ranger fans. I played almost 10 years against Messier and believe me it was no fun. I would have no problem putting Messier in the top 10 players of all-time. However when it comes to the top "franchise" player at forward in the history of the New York Rangers, I gotta go with Rod Gilbert. Beck was good but Leetch is my clear choice on the blueline, Richter edges out Giacomin in goal. It is a great debate though is it not?

Leatherneck said...

Yeah..it sure does make for a good debate..considering the quality of these players.my only remorse is that they were all from different eras..just salivating at the thought of all these players on the same team...one can wonder..any good news down the pike..in regards to training camp..early skates..who is looking good..who is looking out of place?..all i have heard is that Naslund looked good....Shannys chances?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Have not heard to much. Other than that I believe they will find a way to fit Shanahan on the roster.

Oh, and one more thing I would actually put Greschner ahead of Beck. Again I go back to the length of career with Rangers. Gresch held all the records for D until Leetch came along.

Leatherneck said...

yes..I agree..Greschner over Beck ..its just that Beck was good at fighting as well..more intimidating than Gresch...however overall skill Gresch was better than beck and he was tough as well..he knew his value was on the ice and not in the sin bin... also...was meaning to ask you...what do you think of all these numbers being retired or numbers that have been retired..ie..the Canadiens..I think a number should be honored not retired..look at 9 on the Rangers..now its Bathgate and Graves..we could have added Park to number 2...i would like to see the numbers active and honored by a player or players..whats your take on it?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: That's the big problem you have with retiring of numbers. You have 2 groups of thought. The fans who remember Bathgate (I'm one) and the ones who only know Graves (Who I played with and against). I think you have the perfect scenario in that both will be honored. It makes both groups happy. I was a huge fan of Park, but I don't think of him as Ranger, more a Bruin. They have to be careful or they might run out of Jerseys.

Just a thought on Greschner, I believe he is deserving of his jersey being retired. Look it up and see where he stands among the Ranger greats. He gave the Ranger fans 16 years and gave it all.

Crock said...

I agree with you totally. There is a difference of someone being with a team for part of their career and a lifer. Rod Gilbert is to New York what Gordie Howe is to Detroit. Messier did do a lot for the Rangers but was not a lifer. It would be like saying Stevie Y is Mr. Red Wing and we all know Gordie Who is Mr. Detroit.

Hope they can find a spot for Shannahan. Hey if Chelly is going back to Detroit for another year then why cannot Shanny still be a force in NY. Hope it works out for him.

Still cannot believe the NHL is still watching whether or not Sundin will sign. Who cares......

Nice column in the 4th period. Once again entertaining and informative. Is this something you are going to do all year.

One last thing and it has nothing to do with this article. Your thoughts on Alan May becoming and Assistant Coach in the AHL for Washington's farm team ????

And Doug Sulliman surfacing again as an Assistant Coach in Phoenix ??

WOW

Look forward to more readings .....

Crock

Kotsy's Korner said...

crock: Crock, you couldn't have said it better. As for Shanahan I think things will work itself out and he will be a Ranger once more. The Sundin story continues to live and it's all his doing. Enough all ready!

It's funny you bring up Alan May, I just talked to him through email last week. He's really happy for the opportunity and I think he will do well.

Doug Sulliman and Don Maloney have been best friends for a long time, so it doesn't surprise me at all. They both are good people and Don is doing a fine job in Phoenix.

Yes, I will be contributing to "The Fourth Period". It's a great website and lets me talk about my thoughts on today's NHL.

Mr. Hockey said...

Kots--Hradek just seems to be stating the choice of the "modern day fan". I feel sometimes that the Ranger fans of today think that Rocky is just some ex-player who walks out at center ice with a sports jacket on and waves to the crowd! I feel that very few actually realize just how talented and how dangerous and how tough he was when he played.
Not only does he have the mostG's A's and Pts.He also had to endure what I feel was two of the biggest insults that the Ranger brass(at that time)ever dumped on a loyal player! First - it was giving the C to Espo after all the great years that Rocky had as a Ranger--never mind the fact that Espo wanted to kill himself when he found out he was a Ranger!!!Second wad the way that Fergeson dumped him out the door like he was yesterdays garbage!!!To see him treated like something that manegment stepped made me ashamed to call myself a Ranger fan!!
Hey thanks to Mess -- I love the guy and always respected the type of game he played---and we can never thank him enough for what he brought to New York--but I'd have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Hradek---Mr. February was my guy!!
As far as seeing if Nedved has anything left??? what again... ask the Flyers...If this guy sticks( I said it before )It would be a sad day for me to realize that he has more to offer than any of the young bucks down on the farm!!
I heard your good pal Dave Maloney refer to Shanny as an ex Ranger foward along with Avery-Straka-and 68??I hope he was misinformed
I saw where Neck was wondering about the Habs moving Kommisarek--I sure as hell would'nt --although now that 68 is gone it might be a little harder for Kommisarek to dominate our team leader!!

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: Rod Gilbert is and always will be Mr. Ranger. I'll make the same argument Ive made before, Messier deserves all the accolades for what he brought to the Rangers (54 yrs is a long time!). In the end, it to me is about totality of career with one team. Rocky (Gilbert) is my clear choice.

On to Nedved, hey, it's not costing the Rangers a dime. If he somehow manages to wow them, who knows? Shanahan finding a roster spot wouldn't be a bad thing would it? Kommisarek ahh... that would be perfect.

Leatherneck said...

I think..we trade for Mclaren...then package Mclare Rosival, Mclaren a young forward or two and a draft choice for Kommisarek..if they dont bite..atleast we have Mclaren..then sign kommisarek to a long term deal if they do bite... Well one of the 09 free agents I was salivating about Eric Staal signed with the Canes..I thought he might have been a good fit on the Rangers playing with Marc..

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: If Mclaren is available on the cheap, then I'm all for it. Kommisarek, I'm afraid wont come so cheap and at the end of this year someone (Rangers?) is going to fill his pockets. You can bet on that. Eric Staal hit the lotto yesterday. Wow!

Leatherneck said...

yeah..good for him...being out west..I see the ducks and king often...Beauchemin is available as a free agent..good player..and kings have stockpiled on D-men...Dennis Gauthier might become available too..good hard nosed plater as well..there are options out there for Sather the cunning GM...I think he has a plan..dont think this roster is set yet..will be new additions coming..though..I hope Potter does well and secures a spot on the roster..do you know anything about Del Zotto..any scouting report on him..besides whats on the net?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I don't know any more than what I read. He's got a lot of ability offensively, but can be a physical force as well. Del Zotto is rather stout at 211 pounds. I would love to see someone make the jump to the big club (Sanguinetti or Del Zotto).

The future looks very good with the Rangers "D". As for the roster being set, I think the next 3 or 4 weeks will tell us the state of the Rangers. Oh, I also heard they might show the "prospect tourney" on the NHL network.

Jeff said...

Congratulations Kotsy for your column at TFP! Will definitely have a look there from now.

For me there's no interrogation around Shanahan and Nedved. Shanny was on the ice this week practicing with his teammates, that's all I need to know, He wants to be back, we should give him a chance. Even with a tremendous camp, Nedved will never find the pace in the line up. He's been a Ranger for a long time but everything has changed since he has been traded in 2004. Ok he might give a hand during the camp but I don't see further. Shanahan has the priority, and should be signed for another year. This guy isn't done yet. I'll bet on that. Shanny is a rookie after all, with Chelios signing for another year!

Kotsy's Korner said...

jeff: Thanks for the congrats, I will still be doing "Kotsy's Korner" through the year. I too believe that Shanahan deserves a spot on the roster. We will have to see how it all works out in the next few weeks.

As for Nedved, you're probably right, but it's not costing the Rangers anything more than meal money.

Wrath of Sanity said...

Nice article over @ the Fourth Period. It really is surprising that with all of these rule changes that, overall, the offense is down.

I actually think that part of the reason the scoring is down is that back in the 80's and 90's, the majority of the "stars" were still full bred North Americans (not to mention that I just think they were better to begin with).

It's been pretty evident that as a whole, although most of the European players (Swedes, Czechs, Etc.) are extremely talented, they can hit lapses in effort, concentration, and caring.

Anyways, can't wait for the season to start already. Pre-season starts real soon at least!

Leatherneck said...

I dont agree on the european talent scoring wise made by wrath...nor about their comitment to win...look at the Redwings...they are soft though physically for the most part and that is what i think has changed the game...my opinion on scoring not being where it should be..and also there is a decrease in the amount of garbage goals these days..a la Steve Vickers...again..people arent willing to stay infront of the net...one main reason last years powerplay sucked so bad..it was a peremeter powerplay..and no one screened,,battled infront of the net to pick up that garbage goal..my opinion..no offense meant to wrath

Wrath of Sanity said...

None taken. Just a thought among the many that I can think of as to why the scoring's down. To me, it's definitely not the entire reason, but I think it's part of it. It was pretty evident last year my boy Jags loafed through 1/2, 3/4's the year. Then, another Ranger example, didn't Cherepanov fall to us because of his attitude problems (coupled with playing in Russia)?

I will agree with you though on not a lot of people willing to stand in front of the net anymore (even though you no longer really have to face retribution and hits due to the rule changes). Although I wish someone would destroy Holmstrom one of these days. Man, I hate the Redwings. I wish someone would just KO Kronwall as well. See how tough he really is when he isn't jumping 10 feet in the air to hit someone.

Although leatherneck, I wish you didn't have to remind me about our awesome power play last year though *barf*. Thinking back on it, it just makes me want to vomit. I know Jagr is the man and all, but running a power play through a winger is all wrong. Thankfully we got Redden (even though the contract is a bit iffy) at least we know he's a capable defensemen on the power play.

In the end, after my Niners get beat by the Seahawks this week... I'm going to be wishing more and more that the NHL season started. I just hope the Rangers mesh early this year, I HATE having to go through that few month mesh period of losing.

Leatherneck said...

Wrath..I think we will mesh quicker than expected..my gut feeling..and establish our dominance towards the latter part of the season,,and I mean dominance just one area we need to possibly correct..that physical D-man..the rest is there i think..one area of observation on my part will be penalty killing..I am weary there if betts gets cut

Kotsy's Korner said...

wrath of sanity: Wow! First of thanks for the props on my article at the "Fourth Period". I have been pounding the point of where's the offense gone for a few years now. I don't know if I could completely agree with you about the european players. They have a lot of skill, speed, and savvy. I will agree with you about some who come over here and get used to the North American way of life and just cash a check. That's undeniable.

Now about the rule changes, weren't they put in to increase scoring? I haven't seen it and I'm still waiting. Oh and one more thing, Holmstrom wouldn't stand a chance of planting in front of the net in the 80s. He'd get destroyed or he would have to find a way to unglue his gloves. Nice debate though. I'm a 49er fan as well it over already.

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I don't know if you read my article over at the "Fourth Period" but it sure has sparked some debate. On the lack of scoring, I really emphasized the demise of the 50 goal men over the decades (The Numbers Are Alarming). Sarge (Vickers) took the beatings in his day and so did Dino Ciccarelli. I could go on and on, but today's players pay no price in front of the net. I've watched real close on how the "D" plays the front of the net. It's like they're handcuffed, no crosschecking, slashing, even the good old punch in the head has been eliminated for the most part.
So really, shouldn't scoring be up?

When I played in the NHL, I killed a lot of power plays in my day. It's simple, you have to shoot to break down the 4 man box. If you keep passing the puck around the box and don't shoot then you've done my job for me as a penalty killer. This is where the European influence hurts. When you score the perfect goal on the power play by passing it until you make the penalty killers look stupid, boy does it look nice... however, when it doesn't work, it's a waste of time. You gotta shoot to score!

I think you and I will crave that beastly type defenseman all season.

Leatherneck said...

that was a shift to my paradyme..yeah..that makes sense..i was thinking..the garbage goals are whats been eliminated from the game and why possibly the goals are reduced...

Leatherneck said...

Chris..howdy,,is Tom related to you by any chance?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I get that a lot , no his name starts with Kost... my starts with KOT...

Leatherneck said...

ah..ok..thanks..he is a solid player as well

JOHN said...

Kotsy

In an earlier post you stated that Tom Renney had to change the attack of the Rangers last year to a defensive style based on the lack of offense. How does that help the offense? In the 80's when you played, a team would open it up when they could not score and take their chances on a high scoring affair. Or get blown out on a given night. A team would shadow a star. Not play every shift like a tic tac toe game. Why has this changed? I think because coaches play for the shoot out. . what do you think? I hate the shootout. It adds nothing to opening up the game.

Kotsy's Korner said...

john: John, I think he came to the conclusion that in order for the Rangers to win - was to to tighten up the defensive end. Renney really could not count on consistent scoring from their top guns, it was painfully obvious.

In the 80s you're right, we had to play some games with reckless abandon offensively. Tough to play Edmonton and hold them to 3 goals, if you know what I mean.

I hate the shootout as well, and I like your theory about coaches playing for a shootout. I'll have to think about the pros and cons playing for a shootout, but I think you're right on this one.

Mr. Hockey said...

O.K here it is -- the N.H.L might as well be known as the N.B.A on ice!! The Troll got what he wanted.Can we expect anything else when a onetime Stern lacky is put in charge? How were the rule changes explained?? So the games SKILLED players can show their goods and not be held and mugged by the lunchpail guys!!Remember that? Remember how all of these changes were going to make the game more enjoyable for us?( watch the classic stuff on the nhl ch -- tell me what you enjoy ) Good reasons for the changes?? Maybe --if it worked!! I think the main reason it went over like a lead ballon, was because that select bunch of mamalukes-the leagues SKILLED players--Now that they are given space (not earned) -- Now that they don't have to battle for the puck - like in old N.H.L-- Now that the league seems to want the game to be played short-handed or 4on4--The SKILL guys seem to think that all means that the league is asking them to present us with the N.H.L's version of a roundball slam dunk contest!! Who can stickhandle the longest? Who has the slickest moves? Who can control the puck and make those pretty perimeter passes? and while they can get away with doing this --with the knowledge that the refs are there to handcuff the checkers--they seem to forget that anyway it goes in , it still counts as 1 goal !! they don't give extra points for Euro Hockey (thanks Herb) In to many instances they seem like unless the goalie is not totally out of posistion-and looking foolish -they don't shoot the dame puck-lets circle back and start over--maybe the judges will give me 9.5 !!
I read some guys feel that we don't see garbage goals because nobody goes in front anymore--I don't see why they would feel that way-since the space in front is FREE-nobody pays--Guys like Mike Knuble are suddenly offensive threats--If the SKILLED guys would shoot and not play keep away, I think the NEW RULES would actually benifit the players like a Knuble and all the lunchpailers more than the GIFTED ones because as the years of old have shown us--- the goal scorers will score --even if they have to fight thru checks--take a wack--get clutched or hooked--earn their space and their respect--All they have to do is want to score more than they want to put on a skills compitition--THEY MISSED THE POINT !!!
I have to agree with the Neck on Betts--if he does go I hope someone else can accept his role and take the draws as well as he does especially on the pk---under rated for sure
As far as the physical D-man goes--put it to sleep-forget it man--nobody has any to spare--if they did they would'nt come cheap --and that friggin cap still has to be delt with!! besides I still have nightmares about Willie Huber
BY the way if anyone is still reading and is interested toget a look at renderings of the new Rangers lockerroom and the 500million MSG--head to--www.NYDailyNews.com/sport

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: Mr.Hockey, It's hard to pick apart the arguments and points you put fourth. I tend to agree with most, if not all, of what you voiced. I still think the NHL has to take responsibility and man up, admitting that they goofed. Scoring has not gone up in way that I can see. 50 goal scorers are few and far between. What's the answer? Who knows? Just get back to playing hockey the way it was for decades and stop trying to confuse the players. It's that easy.

As for the tough "D" man, Hey we can still hope and dream!

Leatherneck said...

hiya Chris..whats your take..on the scores from traverse city..0 goals...any wod on soryals bouts..handling himself well?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I guess you could say Soryal and Weise did very well in their bouts, but the prospect team's lack of offense not very good.

Leatherneck said...

hey Chris...any word on what the line combinations are starting to shape like..D pairings..suprises in camp..

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: leatherneck you beat me to the punch! I am asking many of these same questions in my next blog which should be up tonight.

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