Ron Greschner

Friday, May 30, 2008

Too often in sports, we - as players and fans - easily forget the past’s fortunes of teams or players. How and why this happens, I don’t really know the answer - but it happens. Maybe the lack of hardware (championships) or league acknowledgments (MVP) - your guess is as good as mine.

The New York Rangers are, in my estimation, the finest NHL franchise of all-time. Next season, the Rangers will honor the well deserving Adam Graves by retiring his jersey and hanging it up with the Ranger Elites: Rod Gilbert, Eddie Giacomin, Mike Richter, Mark Messier, and Brian Leetch. All of these players have left an indelible mark on the Ranger fans, franchise, and the city of New York. I believe that there is one more Ranger truly deserving of this honor. His name: Ron Greschner.

I broke into the NHL with him as a rookie way back in 1980-81. Although my stay in New York was short (1 season), Ron left a great impression on me. He was, and I’m sure his former teammates will agree, just a perfect teammate to play with or to just be around. He did not have a huge ego and he made you feel good about yourself at all times. Although, these reasons alone do not warrant such a great honor...


Regular Season

- 982 Games Played
- 610 Points; 431 Assists, 179 Goals
- 1226 Penalty Minutes

Post Season

- 84 Games Played
- 49 Points; 32 Assists, 17 Goals
- 106 Penalty Minutes


- Retired as the Rangers All-Time Pts, Goals, Assists leader for a defenseman
- # 7 on the Rangers All-Time Scoring List
- # 7 on the Rangers All-Time Post-Season Scoring List
- # 4 on the Rangers All-Time Games Played List
- # 1 on the Rangers All-Time Penalty Minutes List
- 2nd Round Draft Pick in the 1974 NHL Draft (#32 Overall)
- 16 years straight with one team (Rangers of course)
- 1-Time Ranger Captain (1986-1987)
- Played Forward as well as Defense
- Started from 1974 - 1990 (16 years)

The people of New York who were fortunate enough to watch him play knew they had witnessed a very talented and special player. I've seen the reaction that Ron gets from the fans in and around Madison Square Garden first hand. The New York Rangers and Ron Greschner were seemingly made for each other. I think someday in the near future the New York Rangers will show the ultimate respect by putting Ron Greschner’s jersey up where it belongs.


Penguins Tough It Out, Win 3-2

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Pittsburgh Penguins kept their undefeated streak at home intact with a nail biting 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Led by their captain, Sidney Crosby, and a very vociferous and enthusiastic hometown crowd - which I felt acted like an extra man for the Penguins - the Pens were able to capture their first win of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Early in the game it seemed to be “Uh-Oh!”, the same old thing with Detroit taking it to the Pens. In fact, I believe the Pens were being out-shot 7-1 at the midway point of the 1st period. That’s where I believe the hometown crowd kept the Penguins’ spirits alive with numerous loud crescendos of noise an basically would not allow the players to get down! Sidney Crosby finally broke Chris Osgood’s shutout streak late in the 1st (137:25 of shutout hockey). Crosby’s goal was assisted by who? That’s right, Marian Hossa (He finally showed up). Crosby again found the net on a rare PP goal assisted by… you guessed it! Marian Hossa and Ryan Malone.

It looked like from there Pittsburgh was in total control and would breeze through the rest of the game. But then, Detroit cut the lead on a PP goal on a great individual play by Johan Franzen. We now had a game (One I was waiting for). In the 3rd when Adam Hall made it 3-1, you would think the Pens were again in good shape - however Detroit cut the lead to 1 when Mikael Samuelsson’s wrist shot found the back of the net with plenty of time remaining.

Detroit seemed to put it in another gear and had the Penguins on their heels for most of the 3rd period. The Pens started to look a little tired, where the Red Wings looked like the much fresher team. However, the Penguins were still able to hold on and capture a much needed victory - swiftly avoiding the dreaded 3-0 playoff deficit. In the end, I believe there was a sigh of relief on two fronts: One, the Penguins now know they can win against Detroit (The Machine) and two, the NHL itself can breathe a little easier… we might have a series after all.

The Penguins silenced the critics for at least one night (me included). But remember, it’s only one game. Get your rest Pittsburgh, you’re gonna need another huge effort next game.

*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images


Detroit "Machines" Pittsburgh Again!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Detroit Red Wings proved once again to the Pittsburgh Penguins about life on hockey's biggest stage. There is no stage fright in the Red Wings, just a flat out - well oiled machine. They were faster, stronger, quicker, and really embarrassing the Pens from one end of the ice to the other. Once again, when Brad Stuart blasted the puck by Marc Andre Fleury, did anyone in this world not believe Pittsburgh would surely score - and score enough to make it a game? Well, they did not.

Where's the stars of Pittsburgh? Crosby looked like he was trying at least, Malkin was totally missing in action, and I wasn't too sure what Marcel Hossa was doing out there tonight for Pittsburgh (Rangers fans, beware of potentially overpaying for Marian Hossa this off-season!). I could go on and on, but the fact is everyone believed this could be the Stanley Cup Finals series that will be remembered (what a joke). So far, this series reminds me of a fine talented, tried and true NHL hockey team (Although sometimes boring) playing against the worst team in a mens' beer league! Maybe all the calls that went Pittsburgh's way in the first 3 rounds made a difference? Maybe not? But now the playing deck appears to be even in the finals and the Pens can't score a goal? Embarrassing. They have shown no passion and have looked so far out of it that it's laughable.

I'm pretty sure of one thing, the NHL is not laughing and hockey purists are a little shocked (I know I am) at the Penguins performance. Pittsburgh, you're going home now... show something or this will be a Stanley Cup Finals easily forgotten!

*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images


Detroit Cruises 4-0 Over the Pens

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Detroit Red Wings withstood an early attempt by the Pittsburgh Penguins to show what they're made of by shutting down the Pens on 4 consecutive PP's (Well, really 3). The Red Wings do what they do best (yawn!) - make you look silly with their tried and true style of play.

I got to give them credit, it's not just what they did to the Penguins, Stars, Avalanche, and Predators - they do it to everyone! Great defense, timely scoring, and they sort of grind their opponents into submission. Chris Osgood barely broke a sweat as Pittsburgh really didn't show up. The Penguins lacked speed, intensity, and had no physical presence at all (Detroit's game plan may of had something to do with it). It really was disappointing for hockey fans in general, the Penguins were terrible and the Red Wings... well they were just being themselves. Pittsburgh better snap out of it, or they are going to be totally "machined" by the 'Wings.

Just one more thought; the NHL must stop the micro-managing of this wonderful game. Let the players play! Let the players decide the outcomes of the games! The players need to be able to play their game and not be in the fear of the ridiculous calls that are being made (this goes for both teams, some horrible calls were yet again made both ways).

*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images


Pens and Wings to Battle for Lord Stanley

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

With all the squawking & cries of injustice during the playoffs, the NHL still got it right. Yes, there’s much to discuss and dissect about the good and bad of the playoffs, but in the end we all have to admit the two best performers of the playoffs are in!

The electric & young Pittsburgh Penguins with Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and the Detroit Red Wings with Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom - a machine in their own right. I can not argue with this match-up, they were the dominant teams (although Detroit looked a little shaky against Dallas) and the numbers don’t lie. Pittsburgh boasted an astounding 12-2 record during the playoffs, while on the flip side Detroit posted a nice record of 12-4. Detroit scored 55 goals and Pittsburgh scored 51 goals. And lastly, both teams had a goals against average of less than 2!

Yes, in the end, the right teams made it to the finals. I only hope it captures the casual sports fans attention. I already know the hardcore fans can not wait. The young guns of Pittsburgh against the tried and true vets of Detroit. It should be a great Stanley Cup Finals. Stay tuned!

*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images


Penguins Await Next Victim

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Pittsburgh Penguins put on a show of force in Game 5 with a message sending 6-0 victory. The Penguins were led by Sid the Kid, Ryan Malone (he’d sure look good in a Ranger uniform) and Marion Hossa. The Pens just looked like they were in high gear, where as the Flyers looked like they were skating with 2 left feet. Whatever hope Philly had coming off of Game 5 was quickly and decisively extinguished early and throughout the game. The Penguins smothered most of the offensive attempts by Philly with everything it takes to be a Stanley Cup champion: hitting, goaltending, good defensive play, and a terrifying offense to defend against.

I know how good the Pens are and so does the hockey world, however they have had some help by officiating (just ask the fans of teams they laid to waste). If you are a true fan, you know it too. That’s the part that is tough to swallow, they don’t need that kind of help. They are that good and the record speaks for itself! So, now we will wait and see who the next victim is - Detroit or Dallas. Whomever it is, they better be ready!

*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images


Detroit Choking? Dallas Shuts Down Wings 2-1

Saturday, May 17, 2008

When Marty Turco assisted on Joel Lundqvist's goal at the 6:04 mark of the 2nd period, I don't think anyone watching the game thought, "That's it. There will be no more scoring this game," but that's exactly what happened.

The Dallas Stars came into Detroit and shut down the Red Wings with great goaltending by Marty Turco and not allowing Detroit second chance opportunities. I know I have said previously that it's just a matter of cleaning it up for Detroit, but I'll be more than happy to eat all of my words if Dallas can do the impossible! (are you listening Philly?)

Is it possible that I hear a slight choking sound coming from the collective throats of the Red Wings - or is it just a mere bump in the road? If I'm a Red Wing player or fan, I'd be really worried.

Some other observations I have from this series: What about Kris Draper's "Crosscheck" to the head of Brendan Morrow, did you see that NHL? Or is it a mirage? And one last thing, I love the fact that a 46 year old Chris Chelios is getting a lot of props for playing at his age (it is amazing), but to me he's showing his age. He's a little off-balance, slow, and downright clumsy looking! Well, that's it for now. Over and out!


Pens and Wings on the Brink

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I hate to say I told ya so, but in my previous blog I told you it would take a miracle for the Flyers and the Stars. Well, I think the miracle has left town. They gave it a shot, played hard, and tried to overcome the lousy calls. But in the end there's just too much talent with Sid & Crew, as well as Zetterberg & company.

The NHL is going to get what they wished for (was there any doubt?) - a star laden final. It's just a matter of the cleaning up of the existing series and then the acting... I mean the Stanley Cup Finals will begin (is there not a better looking trophy?). I really am wondering which way the wind will blow - Pittsburgh or Detroit? The NHL has a tough choice, the up and coming stars of Pittsburgh, or the revitalized Detroit Red Wings (Oddly enough, empty seats in Hockey Town are common these days).

Anyway, I'll be gone for a few days. I'll be playing some golf in Connecticut. I'll be back soon though. If ya disagree with me (or agree) - feel free to comment!

*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images


Penguins & Redwings Roll On

Monday, May 12, 2008

Watching the game last night in Pittsburgh, I felt (well, almost) sorry for the Flyers. They know they are overmatched on talent and skill up and down the ice. Philadelphia played a much stronger game overall and were right there, even up until Steve Downie’s gaff allowed Pittsburgh to score the game winner. My observations of the game are that the Pens are the most talented team in the playoffs and last night the Flyers played them tough only to be beaten really by the lack of skilled players (no offense).

Martin Biron bounced back with an excellent performance, but it wasn’t enough. Also, if you’re a Flyers fan you have got to be going out of your mind with all of the horse bleep calls that are going against you (and somehow are rarely being called against the Penguins). Well, I regret to inform you but - get used to it! The Pittsburgh Penguins are the “chosen ones” by the NHL. If you can’t see that or don’t believe that, then what do you think you’re watching? Trust me on this, you can’t beat City Hall (NHL). The Flyers are going to need a miracle!

Now on to the machine that I call the Detroit Bore-Wings. I’m sorry, I just don’t get a thrill watching these guys. Dallas is much like Philly, in the sense that they are way too under talented to compete with the Redwings. Marty Turco played well and his team played about as well as they could in Detroit, however they are now down 2-0 in the series and heading back to Dallas. The Stars are in the same situation as Philly - come up with a great effort, hope the NHL doesn’t screw you with the calls (What if Sean Avery hit Ribiero with the butt-end of the stick, do you think he would be suspended? I would say yes), and just try to get the win. Good luck Dallas and Philly, you’re gonna need it!


Kotsy's Playoff Thoughts

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Correct me If I’m wrong, but did it seem a little boring watching game 1 of the Western Conference Finals (Dallas at Detroit)? No excitement, no intensity, and seemingly just a routine day at the office for Detroit. While on the other hand, Dallas hardly looked like they were even there! Detroit’s like a machine that gets the opposing teams to play into their hands. It’s effective - but boring! I hope Dallas can make it interesting, or this will be over real quick (Detroit in 5?).

As for the Eastern Conference finals, the so called “Battle of Pennsylvania” - which might not end up being that much of a battle in my opinion. The Penguins, in my estimation, are too talented for the Flyers. The Flyers have been playing outstanding hockey, but I feel that they have met their match. Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Gonchar, Sykora, Malone, Etc. Philly just can’t cope with that line-up! If there’s any hope for the Flyers they need to get a better performance from Martin Biron than he gave them in game 1 - he was horrible! If he doesn’t deliver, the “Battle of Pennsylvania” will be a slaughter. If you disagree let me know, I dare ya! Over and out.


Rangers Need Some Fine Tuning

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rangers fans, let's not get carried away with the current roster of the New York Rangers. I feel there is a good foundation of players already in place. All that I think is needed for more success this upcoming season is a little fine tuning, not a major overhaul. They have the goaltending in place with Henrik Lundqvist for at least 10 years. The youth and young legs are in place with Callahan, Staal, Dawes, Dubinsky, Girardi, Korpikoski, and maybe a few more prospects projected to make the roster next season.

However, the Rangers are not without a few flaws. They need to get tougher physically, especially on defense. They are not a physically intimidating team. Opposing teams are not afraid to go into the Rangers corner to get pucks. As a player you must have a little fear of going into the corners, opponents this year had ZERO fear and were free to do as they pleased. The Rangers also need a proven scorer (sniper type player). The reason for the rangers excellent defense this season is because of the lack of "O", it gave them no choice but to play a certain style (let's face it, they underachieved offensively)! Scott Gomez needs to have steady wingers to work with. The transition from New Jersey to New York is over, this is a must do. Lastly, the Rangers must find a quarterback-type defenseman to run the (rather LOUSY) powerplay. That's one area that cost the Rangers dearly this season.

I have a few other thoughts on Jagr, Avery, and Shanahan. First off - Jagr. Even though I have been critical of his play to my friends during the season (it was not his best, that's for sure), when you look at it... is he not the most dangerous offensive threat the Rangers have? If he isn't, then who is? I say bring him back for one more year. Next, Sean Avery; love him or hate him - you got to have him on your team. He's one of the few on the team that plays a nasty, physical-type game that this team sorely lacks (Oh, and by the way, he contributes offensively as well)!

Lastly, Brendan Shanahan. Maybe it's time, maybe it's not (I mean, I played against this guy...) I feel what he's done for hockey and the Rangers in particular is fantastic. However, there comes a time for everyone in sports to hang 'em up and this might be it for Shanny. He's a sure fire Hall of Famer, he should take his time and arrive at a decision at his own pace. He deserves at LEAST that!

Again, you can agree or disagree. But these are my ramblings. Over and out!


Rangers Go Down Fighting!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The New York Rangers lost in overtime Sunday, 3-2, due to the 2nd goal of the game scored by Marion Hossa. Hossa had beaten Lundqvist on a quick wrist shot through the 5 hole. In the post-game interviews, Lundqvist stated that he thought for sure Hossa was going to go high with his shot and he had prepared himself accordingly. However, during the post-game handshakes, Hossa revealed to Lundqvist that he missed the initial shot a bit causing it to stay low and go through the 5 hole.

The Rangers did put up a valiant effort fighting back from a 2 goal deficit to start the 3rd period. Lauri Korpikoski, a rookie, fired a quick wrist shot that beat Fleury and then shortly thereafter Nigel Dawes added the game tying goal in a span of 1:22. The Rangers had to fight with all of their will and they actually took the momentum away from the Penguins from that point. Rest assured that there was now some doubt creeping into the heads of the Penguins.

With 1:18 to go in regulation, Chris Drury - who was high sticked earlier in the game by Ryan Malone that somehow went unnoticed as blood poured onto the ice - was called for high sticking on Malone and was given a 4 minute penalty. How ironic. Luckily, the Rangers managed to kill off the portion of the penalty in the 3rd as well as the remaining 2:42 in the overtime. The penalty kill was largely due to some great goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers even had a golden opportunity while shorthanded when Martin Straka fed a pass to Mark Staal, who in turn tried returning the favor back to Straka on the 2 on 1 breakaway. However, the pass was broken up by a Pittsburgh backchecker. I really feel that Mark Staal should have shot the puck, as he was clearly in a scoring zone (stop the pass-first, shoot-second mentality... it ended up killing the Rangers). In the end you must tip your hat to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are a deep and talented hockey team that is built for this post-lockout type of hockey.

Once again, I do have some beefs with the officiating. Some of the stick fouls in today's game - by both teams - were truly laughable. I'm still trying to think of how 2 referees miss Drury bleeding like a stuck pig on the ice due to a high stick... in the end the better team and some unfortunate bad calls/no calls ended the Rangers season a few steps short of their ultimate goal.


Lundqvist, Jagr Lead Rangers Past Pens

Friday, May 2, 2008

Henrik Lundqvist and Jaromir Jagr led the New York Rangers to a 3-0 victory last night over the Pittsburgh Penguins. "King" Henrik was outstanding - showing the true form which we all (Ranger fans) have witnessed in his short, but brilliant career. His performance is just what the Rangers needed, and will to continue to need if they really want to make a series out of this! As for Jagr, when he wants to he is still one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the NHL.

In the first period, the Penguins had the better scoring chances, but Lundqvist shut them down. The Rangers seemed to be determined last night and it payed off in the 2nd period with Jagr's hard wrist shot that beat Marc Andre Fleury. I felt that if the Rangers scored first it was gonna be their night. Even when Malkin was awarded a penalty shot, (seemed to be kind of a weird call, was it a trip? was it a goal?) you just had the feeling Lundqvist was gonna shut Malkin down and he did, with ease. In the 3rd period, Dubinsky's PP goal (yes, that's right... A POWERPLAY GOAL!) and Jagr's empty net PP goal put the game away!

It was a great effort by the Rangers after losing Avery (spleen), Betts (cheekbone), and Backman (benching). They could of easily rolled over and layed down like a dog, but they didn't and proved they are a team with some fight still left in them. It's going to be tough in Pittsburgh, but you never know what'll happen. That's why hockey is a great sport, you just never know!

Some other thoughts on the game last night... Brooks Orpik's hit on Jagr was a clean hit. Sidney Crosby's attack on Dan Girardi had good intentions (sticking up for Hossa when he was sent flying by Girardi). I give Sidney an "A" for effort but an "F" for not taking the helmet & shield off if he really did want to fight. Oh, and the Russian "Cosmonaut" Evgeni Malkin, who speaks little English, but sure knows how to kick the skates out from underneath players... that was an absolute "no-no" what he did to Paul Mara last night (it's dangerous) no matter what era you play in. It's dirty, cheap, and gutless. I only wished Paul Mara would of exacted his "pound of flesh". I don't blame Mara at all for going after him at the end of the game for that cheap move.


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