November 8

Rangers On A Roll, Podcast Up

by Erik Elken
We’ve been a little MIA due to scheduling conflicts, but fear not. We have been keeping up with the Blueshirts and like how they’ve been playing of late. We already take full blame if the Rangers now go on a losing streak since we did this podcast, but be sure to take a listen. Eric and I discuss two major things the Rangers have been doing that has been the difference in their play of late, plus Sean Avery and John Tortorella’s comments for Joe Thornton. Be sure to send us your questions and comments at hosts@nyrangerscast.com.

Let’s Go Rangers!

November 8

New Podcast Up

Be sure to check out the new podcast Eric and I put up Friday before that not-so-great Islanders game. We discuss the opening weekend in Europe, Marc Staal’s injury, the 24/7 announcement and say goodbye to Sean Avery.

Don’t forget to send your questions and comments

October 6

Twas the Night Before (NHL) Christmas

It’s the eve of the NHL season opener and I don’t know that I’ve been more excited to see the Rangers back in action. Maybe it’s just that natural feeling of giddiness that hockey is back, but I think there’s something different this year. The most obvious is the addition of Brad Richards. Who’s not excited to see him in a Rangers jersey for the first time in a real game?

But my excitement really stems from last season. The Rangers sputtered down the stretch, barely got into the playoffs, got bounced in the first round pretty handily, etc. But what Eric and I have discussed countless times is how fun that team was to watch. The youth, the energy, the grittiness. It was just a genuinely fun team to watch.

At the same time, we knew while that was a fun team to watch, it was also a team that didn’t have enough to actually contend for a Stanley Cup. That’s what is different about the New York Rangers going into 2011-2012 (I think/hope). With the addition of another star player in Brad Richards, plus the nucleus of last year’s team coming back this should be a year the Rangers aren’t fighting just to make the playoffs – rather, they should be battling for positioning in the upper-half of the Eastern Conference standings and perhaps even an Atlantic Division title.

The one red flag, and it’s a major one, at this point that could really put a damper on all those expectations is the health of Marc Staal. The Rangers know they won’t have him to start the season because of post-concussion problems, and Sidney Crosby’s continuing issues on that front provide all the evidence you need to be very concerned.

There’s no question while there is a lot of young talent on that defensive unit, it is largely inexperienced. To address that, the Rangers claimed a veteran defenseman per Andrew Gross.

The other obstacle the Rangers will be dealing with early on is their schedule. Obviously, they have their first two games overseas against two very good teams in LA and Anaheim. Further, their first seven games are on the road because of the MSG phase I of construction. Not only that, but they go from two European games to a roadie at the Islanders (never a gimme) and then on a West Coast Canadian swing. That’s a ton of travel in the first couple weeks of the season, so it will be interesting to see how the Rangers are able to deal with that. Perhaps the caveat to all of that is how good of a road team they have been over the past couple of seasons.

Eric and I discussed in our first show how important it will be for the Rangers to establish some dominance on their home ice this season, but they will also need a good jumpstart on the road.

On the Avery front, it’s definitely bittersweet for me as well. He’s an incredibly emotional guy who can often provide a spark, but it just seemed like Avery lost touch with his coaches and teammates as last season wore on. He became totally ineffective in the offensive production department and lacked overall consistency in his play. From a talent standpoint alone, I thought it was best to choose Christensen over him. I will miss Avery, but at the end of the day the Rangers made the right move.

Eric and I wanted to get one more show out before the puck drops tomorrow, but unfortunately our schedules didn’t pan out this week. We’ll get back on it after these first two European games and break down the start of what should be a very exciting season.

Before I wish you a Merry NHL Season, I leave you with a gift. Here’s to hoping this magic returns in 2011-2012.

Merry NHL Season!

October 4

The End of an Era…Again

In 2008, I thought I had seen the last of Sean Avery in a Rangers uniform.

Three years later, I know I have seen the last of Avery in a Rangers uniform.

The Instigator was placed on waivers today as the Blueshirts continue to cut down to their final roster. Avery had clearly fallen out of favor with the coaching staff during the course of last season. His production on the ice didn’t help his cause much. He managed just 24 pts last season, with only 3 goals.

Avery was never a superstar, but there was just something about him that made fans take notice. Obviously there were the verbal arguments and the fisticuffs, but it was more than that. Fans always had the “What is he going to do next?” feeling while watching Avery. If he was on your team, you loved him. If he wasn’t, than you just didn’t understand. When motivated, Avery was the spark the Rangers needed.

His career as a Ranger can be summed up as unconventional. I remember sitting in The Garden watching him stand in front of Marty Brodeur during a Rangers playoff game in 2008. As he completely ignored the play behind him, he focused solely on obstructing Marty’s vision. I remember thinking to myself, no one on earth would ever have the stones to do this except Avery.

It was an interesting run. Sad to see it come to an end.

October 3

New Season of NYRangerscast/Rangers Hockey!

For those of you who might not have noticed yet, Eric and I are officially back! Our first episode, recorded last week, is up and available. We discuss the Richards signing, other off-season additions/re-signings, this upcoming season, etc. Plus we provide you with our (very bold) 2011-2012 New York Rangers predictions.

We plan on whipping together another show before the season opener Friday in Europe. Any of our international followers going to the game? If so, give us a shout at hosts@nyrangerscast.com. Even if you’re not going, still give us a shout because it’s time to open the mailbag back up.

Here’s to a great season. Let’s have some fun and Let’s Go Rangers!

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