Thursday, March 31, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ The Rivalry, Part VI


New York Islanders

From Uniondale, Long Island

Rangers lead season series 4-1

New York Rangers:  Way To Go Guys!!

Last Night's FINAL
New York Rangers  0
Buffalo Sabres  1

They didn't play badly.  They just didn't play to win. 

Henrik Lundqvist got beat high on the blocker-side, and that was that.  Tim Connolly of Buffalo blasted a slap shot past Henrik while everyone was still looking the other way. was more like we had a three on two short-handed opportunity; had a shot attempt blocked; and then Buffalo skated back the other way, post-haste, and scored a power play goal for the Sabres.  The one goal held off Marc Staal's 2nd period interference penalty.

Jhonas Enroth; Remember That Name Ranger Fans.  Because if you guys fail to make the playoffs this year, I'll never let you live it down!  You got shut out by Jhonas Enroth in the most crucial game of the season.  Buffalo's back-up goalie stepped in because Ryan Miller was suffering a "lower body injury" and proceeded to blank the Rangers when they could least afford to lose.  We only managed 23 shots against him, while Buffalo peppered the Blueshirts with 35 shots.

The Rangers had a goal waved off...  But whatever.  Last night was Total Fail - Failure to seize the moment!
They chose to continue doing this the hard way.  So now the Rangers sit in eighth place because of tie-breakers.  Carolina is only three points away. 

Great..   Way to go.

From Buffalo to Eighth to Long Island......  What's next?

GOTTA WIN Boyz.  No choice.

For The ISLANDERS ~ Former N.Y. Ranger draft pick; Al Montoya will start tonight in goal in place of Rick DiPietro.  The Islanders lost to the Devils last night 3-2 at The Rock in Newark.


N.Y. YANKEES ~ Opening Day 2011

From the desk of:  Blame Carlos May

The Evil Empire Is Open For Business

Graffiti Mural South 11 Street; Willy'Burg BKN

OK Yankee fans, here's the deal.  I am very fair - most days - when it comes to the Yankees. 

I call myself a Yankee Hater.  And it's true.  I revel in their folly.  However I don't show it that much.  My bark is worse than my bite.  I'll take it a step further.  I'll say I'm a better Yankee fan than many newer generation Yankee fans.  But when I get in my moods, I say a lot of things you Yankee fans don't like to hear, but are none the less true.  But that's just when I'm being passive aggressive...ya know?

It goes like this.  You must know by now I'm a Mets fan; always have been.  My Pop was a Yankees fan though.  He and I went to as many Yankee games as we did Mets games.  He did me right in that respect.  And I still live that way today with my son the Yankee fan.  But it's never mattered to me which team is home.  If I feel like going to a game, I'll go to either park.  Many times I'll antagonize my son during the game, but he does the same to me at Met games.  It's pure fun though.  At games, I'm weird.  Sometimes I'll root for the Yanks if the spirit of the game grabs me (just not against the BoSox and Mets).  Sometimes I just sit as as unbiased observer.  When the ChiSox come to town, I bust out all my White Sox gear...(family ties ya know).

When I was nine years old.  One day after school, I was home doing homework.  He called home and told me to be ready when he got there because he scored a pair of tickets to that night's Yankee game.  The year was 1976 and the game was the fifth game of the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals.  With the score tied 6-6  in the bottom of the ninth inning, Chris Chambliss led-off and hit the first pitch he saw for a home run that won the Yankees the pennant.  The on-field pandemonium that ensued was insanity.  It remains till this day, as the sickest baseball game I ever attended.  He and I danced out in the right field area for a few minutes.  Then he had to play responsible Father again and get me safely out of there and back home.  The scene was complete chaos.  And I'll be honest, - as a 9 year old, it was a slightly scary scene not to mention it was the 70's!  Themz were some wacky times.  But it's a night I remember like yesterday and one I'll never forget.

Next year; 1977 ~ Bat Day at Yankee Stadium.  My cousin, three friends, and I,  along with my Pop and Uncle went to Bat Day.  The five of us kids got in line to get our bats.  My cousin got Reggie.  I was the last one to receive mine.  That mattered not, right?  It didn't matter who got theirs when right?  My friends pulled down a Mickey Rivers; a Thurman Munson; and a Willie Randolph.  Man I couldn't wait for my turn!  I was really excited.  I was hoping for a Munson.  I stepped up and received my bat and walked off to the side where cuz and the rest were checking out the bats they got.  They were comparing the names and different lengths of the bats.  When I looked down at mine and saw CARLOS MAY? ~ I said aloud, Carlos freakin MAY!?!?! - I damn near flipped!  I was like what?!  I wanted an exchange.  I wanted someone to trade with me.  I wanted a different bat other than Carlos Friggin May!!  A Piniella bat?  Nettles?  I would even have taken Oscar Gamble! Chicken Stanley!  But Carlos Friggin May? was the shortest bat of the models!  It was the ultimate insult.  This day as much as any, started my path towards the dark side.  I now began to steadily feel less and less tolerant of the Yankees.  And it was at this time that THE BRONX ZOO Days were coming into full swing making me dislike them more.  My Mets being in the toilet and Pop reminding me they sucked didn't help either.

Next year; 1978 ~ I was already intrigued by the Red Sox, because as a Mets fan, I hated the Big Red Machine; Cincy Reds.  So when the Sox faced Cincy in the Series of '75, I wanted Boston to win.  But because I was so involved with watching Yankee games with Pop, I also noticed the Red Sox happened to be the Yanks biggest rival.  And I started to like them.  Then I started to really like them.  When the Yanks and BoSox faced off in the one game playoff for the AL East title to conclude the '78 season, I remember running home from school to watch the game (6th grade?).

When Carl Yastrzemski hit a home run to put the Red Sox ahead early, I was genuinely jubilant.  When Yaz ended the game popping out to Craig Nettles at third, I was genuinely pissed off!  That's when we can probably pinpoint when I truly became a Yankee antagonist.  It was also then, I became a Brooklyn fan of the Boston Red Sox.  I still remain one today.  Yes, I like the Red Sox.  I'm fascinated with Fenway Park, and I dig the city of Boston too.  I go as often as I can.  Aside from the Mets, Yaz was/is my favorite player of all time.

I am the self-appointed President, Founder, and sole member of BROOKLYN-NATION!  I think (I hope I didn't steal that from somebody).  But not to be disrespectful to real Red Sox fans, I've never suffered to the degree they did rooting for their team and wouldn't claim to.  But I do consider them my secondary team.  My other cousin played with their 2007 championship team and that brought me even closer to the team (literally).

1986 Mets vs Red Sox World Series?  There was no conflict for me.  I AM a Mets fan first and foremost.  You do not have to question my loyalties there.  I repeat...There is no conflict.  But in that year of 1986 and the World Series lies the whole rub of my quasi-Baseball mixed salad.  From the latter part of 1985 through 1990 I was away in the Army.  It was a great five years by the way.  The point is I missed our Mets' glory years. I wasn't here for them and I am too young for 1969's championship.  Thus, the Chris Chambliss game remains as the single most sickest game I have ever been a part of.

So back to the Yanks..., the truth is, I treat the Yankees like a Brother from another Mother.  I'm a New Yorker first and I love having two teams in town.  I will go to Yankee Stadium as easily as I go to Citi Field.  I just love being at a ballgame.  I've always been one to take advantage of the fact we have two teams.  You must also know, I always loved old Yankee Stadium II.

So that's where I stand.  I do have a small spot in my heart for this team because of that Chambliss Home Run in '76.   And here's another for you...   In 1995, my cousin played for the Mariners.  I want you to know I rooted for the Yankees in the playoffs against Seattle in spite of that fact.  When Donnie Baseball connected during back-to-back home runs, I like everybody else in the place went bonkers.  When Bernie Williams got thrown out at home I grabbed my head with my hands yelling NOOOoooo! - also.  Then when Leyritz hit his winning home run in the unteenth inning, I like everyone else remaining till the end went nuts.  But outside of those two moments/games, I don't have anymore stories of me perpetrating to be a closet Yankee fan.  I'm not.  But I cheered like hell for Jim Abbott to get his no-hitter.  I was there for that.  And I forgot to mention I was at Gooden's no-hitter because they played the Mariners and I get the comps from my Cuz.'re welcome to find out just what kind of Met fan I really am.  But like I said, I'm fair.  And above all else, I love Baseball.  I don't have a problem giving the Yankees full credit for anything when credit is due.  But when the fans jerk the chain of death...well then..., I'm not responsible and may...

So if come here to read any of my Yankee posts, I have some favorite players, and I'm generally a fair guy.   I'll give you a decent read and a baseball/responsible take on things.  But every once in a while, I'm going to release the good natured hate from within.  I'll take jabs, make jokes and be derisive (but not too much).  It's designed for a laugh, so don't take offense...OK?  I don't do to the Yankees what I wouldn't do to my own team.

So, I wish you Bronx Bombers luck this season. 

May your days at the HOUSE WHERE SPARKY USED TO SPIT be filled with good times this season; just not too good...okay?

P.S.  I've decided to name the Yankees portion of my blog ~ BLAME CARLOS MAY 
Do you approve?  I'll be thinking about this.  I may change it.  But for right now, it works for me.  Tell me what you think.

The 108th Season in New York Highlander/Yankee History


Detroit Tigers

From the Highlander Museum and Baseball Park
161st Street and River Avenue

A fan of 30 baseball teams and a junkie of One

Wednesday, March 30, 2011




7th Place  41-30-5   87 Points
8th Place  38-29-9   85 Points

Buffalo Sabres: (6 games remaining) 

The Buffalo Sabres are on the cusp of completing a most impressive turn-around. They got off to a terribly sloppy start to begin the season, and to their credit have worked furiously to be in the position they find themselves in today.  The Buffalo Sabres have the benefit of playing the Devils, Maple Leafs, Rangers and Hurricanes down the stretch.  Their fortuitous schedule affords them the luxury of keeping a grip on their own destiny and eighth place (for the moment) in the Eastern Conference.  

The Devils?  Check.  Buffalo pretty much ended New Jersey's season last Saturday with a 2-0 blanking of the Devils in Buffalo.  The win earned them points two crucial points that came on the heals of the N.Y. Rangers shut-out over Boston earlier that day.

Tuesday night against Toronto, the Sabres had an opportunity to tie the idle Rangers with 87 points.  A Montreal loss Tuesday night, coupled with a Sabres win against Toronto, would have caused a three-way tie for the bottom three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference between Montreal, New York, and Buffalo (with Carolina knocking on the door).

How did it play out?

Buffalo @ Toronto
FINAL ~  Toronto 4;  Buffalo 3
Two goals in the first period and two more goals in the second period were too much for Buffalo to over-come against Toronto.  In the first period, Toronto jumped out to a 2-0 lead with an early goal by Dion Phaneuf and a late goal by Darryl Boyce.  But just before the first period horn sounded, Buffalo's Thomas Vanek got one back at the 19:48 mark of a very cleanly played first period.

In the second period, Toronto struck first again with a goal from Clarke MacArthur to make the score 3-1 in favor of Toronto.  About a minute and a half later, Buffalo decided to tie this contest at three.  At 6:25, Jason Pominville scored and thirty seconds later Rod Niedermayer scored again for Buffalo to knot things up at three apiece.

But Toronto has been resilient and decided they were going matter down the stretch.  After that burst by the Sabres, Toronto put Buffalo right back down when Mikhail Grabovski scored at the 13:35 mark of the second period.  And that was that.  The third period remained scoreless and the Sabres did not capitalize on two points that would have tied them with the Rangers heading into their showdown Wednesday evening. 

Ryan Miller who has been playing as well as ever got credited with a tough loss.  It was because of him, the score against the Maple Leafs stayed respectable.  The shots-on-goal were pretty even but Miller made spectacular saves for Buffalo.

Tonight's Buffalo loss allowed Carolina to get two points closer to the eighth spot.  Buffalo still stands at 85 points while Carolina up-ticked to 82 points.  Toronto has now also joined the 80 point club.

Buffalo will be playing back-to-back games while the Rangers have been off since Saturday afternoon.

Buffalo Fans ~ Follow @PatMalacaroWGR on Twitter.

Atlanta @ Montreal
FINAL ~  Montreal 3;  Atlanta 1
Montreal straightened out after slipping.  Instead of potentially being in a three-way tie, with their win Tuesday, they up-ticked over the N.Y. Rangers by two points.  With 89 points, it's now up to the Rangers to keep pace with Montreal.

The Atlanta Thrashers?  Atlanta, meet the Devils.  Devils, meet Atlanta.  Both of you guys are done.  Go find something to do.

Carolina @ Washington
FINAL ~ Carolina 3;  Washington 2 - Shoot-Out
It took a lot of hard work and a shoot-out, but the Carolina Hurricanes kept their hopes alive with a big win over number two seeded Washington.  Carolina is still square in Buffalo's and New York's rear-view mirror and don't seem willing to go away.  They now have 82 points leaving them only three behind Buffalo.

The New Look Eastern Conference:
#1 ~ Philadelphia
#2 ~ Washington
#3 ~ Boston
#4 ~ Pittsburgh
#5 ~ Tampa Bay
#6 ~ Montreal ~ 89 points
#7 ~ NEW YORK ~ 87 points
#8 ~ Buffalo ~ 85 points
#9 ~ Carolina ~ 82 points
#10 ~ Toronto ~ 80 Points

NEW YORK RANGERS: (6 games remaining).

My last post, King Lundqvist XI still covers most everything I want to say for the moment.  You can check that out if you like.

Three days off?  They needed the rest; especially Henrik Lundqvist and maybe to a lesser degree, Marc Staal.
But, boy do I hate these long lay-offs.  I think they're momentum killers.  And right now, the Rangers have a ton of momentum on their side.

As well as we've been feeling about the Rangers' late season surge, Buffalo is still right there breathing down our necks.  With a loss Wednesday night, our back-side will be exposed and sitting tied in eighth place.

The big question going into this game is ~ Who is going to be the next healthy scratch?  Is it within Coach Torts to give Sean Avery a second consecutive start fresh off Avery getting into a fight on his first shift, in his first game back, after being a repeated healthy scratch?

I started writing this post yesterday. So, I just learned Ryan Miller will not start in goal tonight for Buffalo due to the ol' "Upper Body Injury".  The Blueshirts should consider themselves fortunate for this development.  He's been in classic form lately  It's a good break for us; bad for Buffalo.  It will be bad for us too if we do not capitalize.  Now with Ryan Miller out, the Ranger MUST seize the moment.  This is their biggest game of the season to date.

The Big Bash In Buffalo

Let's Do This!



KNICKS vs. NETS ~ Wednesday Night Hoops


New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks

Madison Square Garden
33rd Street and 7th Avenue

Most Talk Of A Budding Rivalry Is Taking A Back Seat This Time Around With Both Teams Having More Pressing Issues As The Season Winds Down.

This rivalry will have it's day.  It's just not Wednesday.  Actually after the Melo Trade Drama and the Nets acquisition of Deron Williams, things have been fairly quiet between the two camps.  James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov are out of the headlines for the moment and attending to owner's stuff I assume.  Since the last time these teams met, the Nets went across the Pond to play a pair of games in England and the Knicks shocked their fans with massive ticket increases.

On the court, the Knicks are still trying to mesh together.  The Defense is non-existent and the Offense isn't where everyone thought it would be.  As for the Nets, they better be real careful as to how they deal with Deron Williams' injured wrist.

KNICK NEWS:  It took overtime, but the Knicks finally snapped their six game loosing streak that frazzled everyone from Melo and the Media, to D'Antoni, and the fans.  Melo dropped thirty-nine points in the win.
FINAL ~ 113-106 Knicks over Magic.

From the Taken Out of Context Department:  Melo doesn't want to play upwards of forty minutes a game?  Amare' can't drive an hour out of town for a team shoot-around?  Really?

Coach D'Antoni breaks out in a rash any time you bring up defense.  If you read between the lines, he'll tell you his defense IS his offense.  But it's the offense that has struggled of late.  And that reminds me of the league wide welcome mat placed in our defensive paint in the absence a big man.  And when is the Garden crown going to get it?  Save your breath and stop chanting DE-FENSE!!   I know that's our thing for a long time, but right now, it's useless.  It's laughable for the crowd to chant De-Fense when there are pigeons landing on Knick players imitating statues on the defensive end.

And for what ever reason, this team carries itself like it's already clinched a playoff spot and is just finishing out the string now.  Doesn't it?  I have a lot of opinions about these Knicks.  And most of them aren't good.
But I'm going to ease into all that.  I don't want to make it seem like I'm just surfing the wave of negativity especially after I haven't posted about the Knicks much lately.

The truth is I was never a big fan of Melo.  However, I do feel the trade was still worth pursuing.  And I do think he can work here.  But I don't have any visions of grandeur or lofty expectations for this Knick team as presently constituted should we wind up in the playoffs.  I just can't get the vision of Carmelo Anthony sucker-punching Mardy Collins several years back out of my head.  ...But that's just me.

On the other hand...

NETS NEWS:  Tonight versus the HOUSTON ROCKETS:

Houston Rockets  112
New Jersey Nets   87

Deron Williams looks like he may be ready to make a return against the Knicks after missing the last six games.  Coach Avery said it best when he stated one big game will not make him (Coach Avery) jeopardize Deron's long-term health.  Deron says the wrist feels better.  I'd have concern because this is a recurring injury.  But I'd be pretty cautious if I were the Nets.  Managing this injury will weigh into Deron's decision to re-sign here as much as any factor he'll take into consideration.  And I have to admit, the trio of Williams, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries intrigues me.  Some complimentary pieces around them and...ya never know.  But that's up to Billy King.

Speaking of Kris Humphries - Life seems to be quiet lovely for him these days.  What's better than a stroll through NYC's Meatpacking District with his Gal?  Or, is the article possibly implying, "Mister" Kardashian is being accompanied by his larger than life Lady Friend?  Quite the paradox...No?  (Uh...No!)

AAR/Fame Pictures ~ N.Y. Post

And sorry Kim, these are the curves that have my attention.  Just take at look at these...

Barclays Center ~ Downtown Brooklyn
Future Home of the New Jersey Nets

...ain't she a beauty?

A Rivalry Grows



Sunday, March 27, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ King Lundqvist XI

NEW YORK RANGERS:  One Goal Is Fine With Henrik; Lundqvist Is Great For Us.

New York 1;  Boston 0

Henrik Lundqvist's league leading 11th shut-out of the season left little doubt as to how the Rangers plan on playing deep into April and hopefully beyond.  Yes, of course I am assuming a Blueshirt appearance in the playoffs here.  But their formula for success basically boils down to one or two goals a game; tenacious defense, and their Goalie providing nightly miracles.  No secret there.  But the team has given Coach Tort's vision of them, a physical identity and it all starts with our goalie; the goalie Coach Torts challenged to ignore a pain in the neck.

Over his last ten games, The King is 8-1-1 with a 1.67 Goals Against Average.  In that span, he has recorded three shut-outs, to include yesterday afternoon's 11th of the season versus Boston.

I questioned in my last post how much the loss of Marty Biron will affect us down the stretch.  Last season, the Rangers had to go on a late season tear to put themselves into a position to play Philly in that fateful end of season battle for eighth place that ended in a New York Rangers shoot-out loss and no playoffs.  Henrik Lundqvist played 17 consecutive games down the stretch as the Rangers suffered inadequate back-up syndrome all season long.  After the season Henrik admitted the work load took a slight toll on him and his knees wound up requiring treatment.  Marty Biron was supposed to rectify that problem for us.  He served the role marvelously until he too went down to injury like many Rangers this season.  This last game against Boston was Lundqvist's 21st consecutive start between the pipes as the Rangers try to cling to their currently held 7th playoff spot.  However, instead of showing signs of wearing down, Henrik seems to be surging at the right moment and appears eager to carry the team on his back through a potential post season.

But now the word is out on New York's goalie.  And Ranger Defense-men better take notes; - Henrik is tending net like The King again, and the only way to knock him off his game is to roll the goalie.  Montreal, Pittsburgh and Boston all took runs at our Liege in consecutive games.  This isn't incidental contact anymore.  This is scouting report stuff just like beating him glove high once was.  He's been playing with a stiff neck and has responded with shut-outs.  The Bruins peppered Henrik with shots in the third period Saturday and the Rangers' goalie denied them all.  So you can beat on Henrik, but you can't break him.  But the Blueshirts had better be well prepared to defend him and fight for him.  Henrik will now have a much needed three full days off before a major show down with the Buffalo Sabres this coming Wednesday night.

Taking a Que from their goalie, the Blueshirt skaters in front of him are themselves sacrificing their bodies and allowing themselves to get peppered with shots; in the form of Blocked Shots; a courageous amount of blocked shots.  This is what Coach Torts has demanded of his team.  But to watch them put it into action, it's almost as if they're doing it for fun; painful fun.  And the more shots you take at them, the wider their smile (or grimace) about it becomes.

There-in lies the unspoken mantra of this team; No Pain, No Gain - Success comes with a price.  Boston came out hitting the Blueshirts hard and often.  But the Rangers absorbed hits and gave em back; just ask Chara.  Taking the body in addition to the blocked shots? - That's called taking the body to another level.  While admirable and gladiatorial in their execution, how much can one Blueshirt take?  In this case, it's a nice problem for the Blueshirt faithful to ponder due to the strongest indications yet, the Rangers are officially a major factor in the Eastern Conference despite what a 7th seed may inspire you to think.

This is based on recent wins against Philadelphia, San Jose and recurring poundings they issued against Washington this season.  There have been gritty give-and-takes against Pittsburgh and multiple wins against Boston.  A resounding victory at the Garden against Montreal and PITT may have been followed up with suspect efforts against Florida and Ottawa, but making one goal stand up to Boston when bearing down was order of the day, is hopefully more indicative of this team than the one that tended to play down to last week's opponents.

This team is what it is; and that means good enough to play with every team in the League.  In addition to victories against the teams mentioned above, they own wins against the likes of Chicago and Vancouver.  However, if there is a team the Rangers have absolutely no answer for, it's the Tampa Bay Lightning.  That's just not happening for us.  But let's let optimism dance in our minds for a day before we get back to the mindless grind of focusing on the moment when taking the ice against the Sabres in Buffalo later this week.

As of today, Sunday, March 27, 2011, the Rangers have 87 points in the Eastern Conference standings.  Last season, they finished with 87 points and a 38-33-11 record which was bad enough for ninth place.  This season, the Rangers have already amassed a record of 41-30-5.  They've improved on last season by three wins thus far with six games left to play.

Last season, the Rangers ended up with 219 goals-for, which rated them 16th in the league. Today, they currently rank 11th in the league and fourth in their conference with 218; again, with six games left to play.

Now if you really put your thinking caps on, you'll remember how most experts predicted the Rangers would not make the playoffs this season.  At the most optimistic, we (me, Media and fans) thought they'd be battling for eighth place.  Some predicted the Rangers to fall to as low as 12th or 13th in the conference.

Well according to the spread Glen Sather set on the table back in October, predictions of the Blueshirt decline started materializing by Thanksgiving and we all thought many Fans would not survive another coming cruel winter and perish like modern urban hockey pilgrims.

Chris Drury, Alex Frolov and even Vinny Prospal (who has played exceptionally well since his return with 17 points in 23 games) was the plan remember?  And Marian Gaborik was supposed to be the guy who buttered our bread.  Fedotenko?  Boogaard?

I know.

Well, Gaborik has done well to grind back to respectability and now has 22 goals in 56 games played.  But the Rangers' successes have their genesis in Glen Sather's failures, and in their place, come all the players responsible for improvements upon last year and our viability as an Eastern Conference team capable of playing out of this eight team bracket. 

Improvement was expected of Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan and they've largely played-up to the task.  But Brian Boyle and his 21 goals; Artem Anisimov with 18 goals; Derek Stepan with 20 goals; and even Brandon Prust chipping in with his 12 goals have been the success stories and part of the very promising in-season turn-around the Rangers managed on the fly.  When we take the other names like Michael Sauer, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonagh and other blue-collar workmen on this team and add them to the story, would you agree this spring is shaping up to be unlike the one's we've been embarrassed by during our playoff appearances under Tom Renny?  And shouldn't we give, not only these kids who saved our season for us, but to the Coach who managed, toughened them up, and demanded they be something better than they thought they could be, his equal share of credit?

As of today, we are tied with Montreal for 6th place in the Conference standings with 87 points.  Fresh off beating New Jersey, the eighth place Sabres now have 85 points and play Tuesday night against Toronto before facing off against the Rangers the following night.  The Sabres can very well end Toronto's season and become tied with the Rangers at 87 points by the time Wednesday rolls around.

Whether the Rangers are making strides towards the future or running away from the past, they will do so first with a short little tour of New York State.  Wednesday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres is set up to be a most Epic Clash.  Then from Western New York, the Blueshirts must travel to Long Island for a game the next night before returning home.

Mats Zuccarello was the healthy scratch this time.  Sean Avery's last game was an incredulous effort against the Islanders.  He's been a healthy scratch four out of the last five games.  So what does he do on his first shift of the game?  Just over two and a half minutes into the game he dropped gloves with Boston's Gregory Campbell. - Five for fighting and really no harm done man-power wise.  Coach Torts would allow him only another 5:45 of ice time the rest of the night as he was limited to 9 shifts; by far the team's lowest.

Heading into the game against Buffalo, there are only three questions:
1) - Does Coach Torts scratch Mats Zuccarello again in favor of Avery?
2) - Does Coach Torts scratch Sean Avery again?
3) - Does Coach Torts scratch someone else (Christensen) and keep Avery on the ice again?

We shall see.


N.Y. AVIATORS ~ No Championship For The A's; Lose Game Four


Federal Hockey League Champions
of Ontario, Canada

This photo of the "Winning Warriors" was taken by and provided to me
by Allison Papineau.

To my fellow Hockey Fan and neighbor in the Great White North,
I thank you very kindly.  And once again, congratulations to the
Akwesasne Warriors; 2010-2011 FHL Champions.

From the desk of:  The Coolest Guys In Brooklyn

NEW YORK AVIATORS:  Fall to Akwesasne in four games.

Inaugural Season
Federal Hockey League Champions

Warriors win series three games to one.

Don't let the scoreboard fool you.  This wasn't another third period barrage that did in the A's.  This was just one of those things.  You have to pull the goalie when the situation is dire.  A coach who doesn't gets fired for not coaching.  The problem is, the New York Aviators got burned twice by the move late in the third period while trying to come back from a 3-2 deficit. 

What the A's will probably rue most is giving up a power play goal at 5:01 of the third period after John Goffredo got whistled for hooking.  With only four seconds to go for a successful penalty kill, Akwesasne's Miguel Delisle scored a back breaking goal which is what really did the Aviators in last night.  Delisle's goal made the score 3-1 in favor of the Warriors with one second short of fifteen minutes left remaining in regulation time. 

Now down by two, Michael Thomson scored (assisted by Matthew Puntureri; Nick Vandenbeld) to get the Aviators within a goal again.  They still had over half of the third period left to try and muster one more goal for a tie.  They peppered Warrior's goalie, David Plouffe, with 18 of their 38 shots on goal in the third period.  But then it started getting a little too late for the A's and trying to score the conventional way.  At 18:55, Akwesasne scored the first of two goals after New York pulled goalie Kevin Druce in favor of the extra skater.  Two empty net goals made the final score 5-2 in favor of the team from Canada.

These two teams finished one and two in the regular season.  The Aviators needed a ferocious finish to place first in the standings and ended the season with a 32-13-3 record and 66 points.  Akwesasne finished in second place with a 30-16-1 record and 61 points.

During the playoffs, the Akwesasne Warriors played perfect hockey on the road skating their way to a 4-0 record as visitors.   Today, they are the Federal Hockey League's inaugural season champions.  They win the series in convincing fashion; three games to one.


The winning team's celebratory photo and the FHL Commissioner's Cup can be seen on the Federal Hockey League's website:  Federal Hockey League

New York Aviators
Akwesasne Warriors

To the New York Aviators, thank you for a great season! 

And you're still The Coolest Guys In Brooklyn.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

N.J. DEVILS ~ Flame Out

The Epic Clash
New Jersey Devils vs. Buffalo Sabres

New Jersey Devils  0
Buffalo Sabres  2

New Jersey Devils:  PostCards from Hell. 

*After an inspired run, the Devils had ZEROES left in the end.

A bedeviling start to the season can now officially be classified as ruinous.  The Devils' atrocious start cost their Coach his job; it cost them their season; and it cost them a spot in the playoffs for the first time in...uh, a very long time.  This is not the traditional way to be talking about the Devils in late March.  In the Devils' case, this is an ironic blasphemy.  They made things very hot for the Eastern Conference with furious play beginning with the New Year.  And they continued their Hellish play through the early portion of this month.  But lately, the Devils have slipped mightily losing four of their last five as they headed into tonight.

Tonight's game against Buffalo was supposed to be an Epic Clash for eighth place.  But heading into the game, the Devils trailed Buffalo by ten points with only eight left to play.  So instead, this game was more like a last flicker of hope for New Jersey and a reinforcement for Buffalo, that they are in control of their destiny and have a tightening grip on eighth place.

The Devils went down 2-0 after the first period.  They did nothing to alter their predicament in the second period.  They knew they were two goals closer to the end and that it was just a matter of time now.  With twenty minutes and a season in the balance, they took to the ice in the third period and.... completed the shut-out for Buffalo's Ryan Miller (his 5th shut-out of the season).  At the worst possible time in their incredible chase for a playoff spot, they got shut-out on back-to-back nights.  After six scoreless periods of hockey down the stretch, it is safe to say, tonight was the end.

What failed them back in October, November, and December, plagued them again over the last six games; Offensive scoring.  Take away the game against Columbus when they scored three goals, in losses to the Senators, Capitals, Bruins, Penguins, and including tonight's game against Buffalo, the Devils managed all of two goals.  And now, twelve points out of eighth place is too much to overcome.  With only seven games remaining for the Devils, it's time to put this demon to rest.

Flame out.  Hell just closed for the season.  Sorry about the bad memories.  And if all you got from this crummy trip was a postcard, then this game was the stamp telling everyone concerned to mail it in.

The second season is officially beyond reach now.  In between the what if's, what happened, and what could have been's - I guess Devil fans can talk about how Martin Brodeur increased his NHL All-Time Shut-Out record and added to his NHL All-Time Wins total.  There's that, but not much else.  It doesn't matter what team you root for; getting close sucks.  We've all felt it.

But what a run!  Give the Devil his Due.


N.Y. AVIATORS ~ Alive And Well; Game Four Tonight

From the desk of:  The Coolest Guys In Brooklyn


Akwesasne Leads Series 2-1

Akwesasne Warriors

Ontario, Canada

The Game Went Final

NEW YORK AVIATORS:  A's Gain Life In Game Three.  Will Try And Tie Series Tonight.  A Deciding Game Five Would Be Played In Brooklyn.

Throughout these playoffs, the big period has undone or propelled all participating teams.  This series has been no different.  Last night, the New York Aviators rode a big second period to victory over the Akwesasne Warriors and are now officially back in this series.  Although the A's are still down two games to one.  A victory tonight by the Aviators would tie this series and bring it back to Brooklyn for a Game Five Show-Down Monday night at the Hangar where the FHL will finally crown a champion.

Last night in Ontario, Canada - The Aviators opened up the scoring when Casey Mignone (assisted by Warren Galloway; Angelo Serse) scored four and a half minutes into the game.  At the 12:47 mark, Akwesasne tied the score 1-1 and that's the way the period would end.

Andrew Scampoli put the Aviators up by a goal again at 7:39 (assisted by KC Timmons) of the second period.  Then at 9:22, KC Timmons got called for a hooking penalty that the Warriors cashed in on with a power play goal at the 10:12 mark.

At 10:25, the Aviators struck right back with the first of three unanswered goals they'd score to close out the second period.  John Goffredo's goal (assisted by Andrew Scampoli; Jesse Felten) put New York up 3-2.  At 13:34 N.Y.'s Nicholas Kuqali got whistled for a holding penalty.  On the ensuing penalty kill, A's Nick Vandelbeld scored a pick-me-up, unassisted, shorthanded goal for the visiting team, which put them up 4-2.  And at 15:54, Angelo Serse gave the Aviators a 5-2 lead (assisted by Stephen Obelnicki) they'd take into the second intermission.

Half way through the final period, Akwesasne closed the score to 5-3.  But that's as close as they would get.  The New York Aviators sealed the game when Stephen Obelnicki scored, unassisted, on an empty Warrior's net.

A's goalie Kevin Druce faced 42 shots and stopped 39 of them.  He reversed the trend of the last two games when Akwesasne turned the third period into their personal skating sessions and mounting comebacks.  Seventeen of Akwesasne's forty-two shots on goal came in the third period.  On this night, Kevin Druce stayed solid and has given the Aviators life.

The final score of 6-3 says the skaters from Brooklyn are indeed alive and well.  A win tonight and the series comes back to the Borough of Kings for a decisive Game Five.

Let's Go Aviators!!


N.Y. Rangers ~ Blueshirts and Henrik Face A Familiar Dilemma

New York Rangers ~ Fall To Ottawa In Shoot-Out.
Salvage One Point.

They played a rather unflattering first period.  Ottawa spent way too much time in the Rangers' zone.  The Blueshirts did not play like a team desperate for points.  The second period would only serve to further infuriate their Coach, as the Senators took a 1-0 lead into the 2nd intermission.  In the third period, a tie game was born on a Brandon Prust goal.  In over-time, Henrik saved the Rangers' skins with a brilliant right pad save off an Ottowa breakaway coming as a Rangers' power play had just expired.  That's all there is worth speaking of.  Why chronicle the Rangers' seeming futility which plagued them most of this game?

They went to a Shoot Out at The Garden ~  Coach Torts elected to shoot first;

OTTAWA - Anderson; 30 shots - 29 saves.
NEW YORK - Lundqvist; 29 shots - 28 saves.

NYR ~ Christensen ~ Shot wide.
OTT ~ Spezza ~ Save; left pad.

NYR ~ Zuccarello ~ Save; right pad.
OTT ~ Shannon ~ Save; pushed left.

NYR ~ Wolski ~ Save; glove high.
OTT ~ Svatos ~ Save; right pad wide.

NYR ~ Dubinsky ~ Shot wide.
OTT ~ Foligno ~ Stick Save!

NYR ~ Callahan ~ Save; Broken stick shot.
OTT ~ Karlsson ~ GOAL!

The New York Rangers lose in a Shoot-Out. 
Game final ~ N.Y. Rangers 1; OTT Senators 2 - SO

That's all there needs to be said of the game other than I'm disgusted that we played down to Florida and Ottawa.


The New York Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist
find themselves in a similar situation as last season.

But first....I thought I was ready to put the Sean Avery issue to bed after his consecutive string of being a healthy scratch.  The Rangers' play during their recent streak (before running into a slow-down versus FLA and OTT) justified Coach's move.  But when Coach Torts doesn't let Fedotenko, Zuccarello, nor Erik Christensen touch ice during the third period against Ottawa (which also isn't the first time these guys have been benched during the third periods of games), we have to rethink the Sean Avery situation.  Me personally, I'd rather have Avery getting shifts over Christensen and Fedotenko.  But that's just me.  Chris Drury just might be back to muddle the forward line mess a little more; which I hope is unlikely.

Last year, Henrik Lundqvist started 73 games.  Our back-up goalie situation was in disarray.  Steve Valiquette, Alex Auld, and Chad Johnson were all called on to help Henrik but were all generally ineffective.
Henrik wound up starting the final 17 games of the season leading up to that fateful Shoot-Out against Philly on the final game of the season.  And if we all remember correctly, last season's final playoff push wore Henrik down and his knees needed treatment in the off-season.  Marty Biron was supposed to rectify that situation and be the one to spell Henrik for about 20 games this season.  But we know what happened to him and we're right back to having Chad Johnson waiting in the wings.  If Henrik starts this afternoon against Boston, it will be his 20th consecutive start since Biron went down.  But it will only be his 61st start of the season with seven games left to play.  I'd like for someone to ask Henrik how his knees are feeling right about now.  He will fall short of 73 starts like last season, but he's going to wind up close.

Make of it what you will.  I'm just saying...


Boston Bruins

From Not the Boston Garden



Friday, March 25, 2011

N.Y. AVIATORS ~ A's Face Elimination In Game Three Tonight

From the desk of:  The Coolest Guys In Brooklyn

FRIDAY,  March 25, 2011



Akwesasne Warriors


New York Aviators: Must Win Tonight! 

As Kevin Druce goes, so shall the Aviators go.  In both games of this series, after establishing early leads, the third period has proven to be the team's achilles heel.  Akwesasne's secret success however, has been their 4-0 record on the road through two rounds of playoffs.  As a result, they are in position to win this year's FHL Title tonight.  They'll have two chances to win one game on home-ice and clinch a championship.  Meanwhile, the Aviators are faced with having to sweep the next three games.  If they manage to win the next two games, they will come back to Hangar #5 in Brooklyn for a series finale.

After the first period, the Aviators led 3-1 in Game One.  But Akwesasne came back to hand New York a 4-3 loss.  In game two, Jesse Felten kept the A's ahead for the first two periods; recording a goal in each session.  The Akwesasne Warriors then exploded for 6 third period goals.  The Aviators managed two more goals but lost 6-4.

They now face elimination in Game Three. 

Bring the series back home.  Let's Go Aviators!!!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

N.Y. METS ~ I Say Fans Have More Power Over Wilpon Than Picard

From the desk of:  Head-Butting Mr. Met

New York Mets:  An Embattled Owner Needs His Fan Base Now More Than Ever.  Met Fans Are In A Unique Position To Let Their Owner Sink Or Swim.  What Will "WE" Do?

The Mets just ate $18 million in contract money still owed to Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez.  Picard upped the ante against the The Wilpons by another $700 million dollars; bringing the total bill against Fred and Co. up to a cool $1 Billion Dollars.  So what did today have in store for the Mets' beleaguered owners?  Forbes downgraded the value of their club by 13%.  That's a huge disparity if the figure reflective of the team's worth has nine or ten digits in it before the decimal.

While the Wilpons are estimating their team's value in excess of one billion dollars, Forbes didn't see it that way.  This directly alters what the Wilpons are trying to secure in exchange for up to 25% ownership of the team from a prospective stupid silent partner.  How much will 25% really cost someone, and will it be enough for the Wilpons to keep their noses above water?  I ask because we sadly have been told by the owners, they need this financial infusion to sustain operations over the next two to three years.

Having us ponder the ramifications of Fred's stated short term goal is ponderous.  Does that sound very promising to you?  Forget knowing what we all know and have learned thus far.  Just take the statement at face value.  They need a hard cold cash infusion and a truck load of help to survive the next two years. The Wilpons and Uncle Saul, need help with the daily financial operational ability of the Mets.  Go ahead, say it again if you have to.  It sounds mind-boggling for a NYC team.  We know all about the MLB loans by now.  We also know they have no where and no one else to borrow from.  And borrowing against questionable accounting is how they operated in the first place.  How else does an initial 2% owner's stake parlay into the empire Fred Wilpon is currently wrecking?  Of course that's total speculation on my part.

According to circulating reports about the handling of the sale, nothing should happen until at least July.  Between then and now, as the team is also plagued by weak ticket sales, can the Wilpons manage at least till then?  I'd imagine so.  I'd imagine MLB offices have ensured the Mets have payroll locked up safely in escrow.  Right?  You would think.

But when the original revelation of the Ponzi Scheme first broke out, I thought for some time, such a smart guy like Fred Wilpon would be savvy enough to be more diversified than he was, and not have a great majority of his investment principle heavily intertwined with Bernie Madoff.  Like I said, the longer this goes, the more we learn.

At this point, there is nothing more Sandy Alderson can do to inspire fans to fill seats this season.  His biggest successes have come before the season even starts.  Other than reconfigure the front office, revamping minor league operations, and ridding the team of Castillo and Perez, the state of the Mets suggests Sandy Alderson's work for the season is near complete.  The only pending matter would be that of Carlos Beltran.  Will he or won't he last the season in a Mets' uniform?  Otherwise, it's up to the current players themselves to inspire high numbers of fans to get out to Citi Field and fork over large sums of money the owner of this enterprise desperately needs us to spend.

How long? - the question.  How long can the Wilpons last?  Being found right or wrong by Picard maybe be a matter resolved just a wee-bit too late for Mr. Wilpons' purposes.  They need cash; and they need it now.  They can't be entirely sure if we are going to literally come to the rescue by heading out to Citi by the Bay in droves.  Other than that, the very earliest anyone else can give him the type of cash he needs won't be ready till mid-summer.

The fan base has been quite the perturbed ones with regard to their ownership these last few years; and especially since Fred and Family became sole owners in 2003.  And now, he has never needed us more than he will in April; May; and June.  He hasn't been what we would call being forthright with us.  He's even bent the truth on us with regards to Madoff over a detail or two.  At one time this organization was valued by Forbes as the number two organization in Baseball.  But the Wilpons never allowed the club to operate in a manner reflective of that lofty status.

Now he needs our help to get him through to at least July.  Mr. Wilpon is confident Picard is drumming up pure fiction.  But do you think he's feeling equally confident we will show up for him in the numbers he desperately needs over the next three months?

For those of you Met fans who want to see the Wilpons sell the team and fade away, you'll never have a better chance than right now to exercise a say in his and our present dilemma.  If we show up in record lows over the first three months of the season; his ownership is toast.

If you have compassion for the man and want to see him remain, then go to Citi Field, root, cheer and scream....Let's Go Mets.  But the truth be known, Met fans are in a very unique position over the next four months to exert a lot of influence with regards to their present or future owner.

Let's Go Fans!


Brooklyn Urban Art ~ "People of Empire City"

From:  My Urban Art Archives 2010
Credit: To Brooklyn's Urban Artists


N.Y. RANGERS ~ Must Finish Strong Homestand Against Weak Ottawa

NYR - Eight Games Left

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ottawa Senators

33rd Street and 7th Avenue

#1 ~ Philadelphia
#2 ~ Washington
#3 ~ Boston
#4 ~ Pittsburgh
#5 ~ Tampa Bay
#6 ~ 87 Points;  Montreal
#7 ~ 84 Points;  New York
#8 ~ 81 Points;  Buffalo
#9 ~ 78 Points;  Carolina
#10 ~ 76 Points;  Toronto
#11 ~ 72 Points;  Atlanta 
#12 ~ 72 Points;  New Jersey
#13 ~ 70 Points;  Long Island

Thursday Games of Note:
Montreal vs. Boston
Toronto vs. Colorado
Atlanta vs. NYI

Friday Games of Note:
Florida vs. Buffalo
Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh


I guess two of the biggest questions going into this game are, One; How is Henrik's neck?  And two; How is Marc Staal's double-secret body ailment?

In Henrik's case, Coach made it very clear after the Montreal game in which Henrik got run over by the Canadiens, that he expected his goalie to lead his team; make no excuses, and tough his way through neck soreness.  Henry has obliged his Coach with a superb effort against Pittsburgh and his 10th shut-out of the season versus Florida.  But c'mon; let's face it, Coach Torts isn't about to hand a game over to Chad Johnson at this juncture of the season just to spell Henry.  We don't have a cushion to work with.  So it's Henrik or Bust.

Marc Staal?  We're not so sure.  Coach Torts is being as tight lipped about what ails Staal as a disinterested baby refusing one last spoon full of strained spinach and peas.  Most suspect it's his left knee that he's had trouble with before.  He may play tonight.

Outside of getting some of Erik Christensen's ice-time, there is little to no reason why Coach Torts shouldn't make Sean Avery a healthy scratch for the fifth time since the Rangers played in San Jose.  The way the Rangers have been playing and not having Avery in the penalty box speak for themselves, despite my season long protestations.  Even I realize Coach is making the right call.  And I'll be honest; I never thought Vinny Prospal would be as effective as he's been since his return.  I just learned through the wonderful world of Twitter, Avery will indeed be a healthy scratch again.  So that settles that.  Barring an injury within the ranks, will Sean Avery see ice again in the last games of the regular season?  I guess we'll have to stay tuned.

POINTS ~  is the name of the game.  There's really not much else to talk about other than this team just needs to sustain what they've been doing.  Buffalo is the team I find most troublesome because of all the head-to-head games they still have left with us; the Devils; Carolina; and Toronto.
Tuesday I did an Eastern Conference Shake Down.  You can check that out HERE.

The Rangers are now 18-16-3 at home.  Their marked improvement at MSG can ill afford to suffer a setback tonight versus Ottawa; the worst team in the Conference.  After tonight, we take to the road again for four games.  Boston is first before the big show down with Buffalo.  Then games against the Islanders and Flyers conclude our road schedule.  The Rangers will play their last three games of the regular season on home-ice.

Talk to ya after the game.

Let's Go Rangers!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

B'klyn Dodgers ~ Panel: Re-Examining Carl Furillo at BHS

EVENT: Brooklyn Dodgers

Linked from: The Brooklyn Historical Society ~ PANEL: RE-EXAMINING CARL FURILLO

This Saturday, March 26, 2011
Panel: Re-Examining Carl Furillo

Ted Reed, a veteran reporter and author of the new book Carl Furillo: Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star, will speak about Furillo’s career and two little-explored events that have shaped perceptions of the Dodgers right-fielder: Furillo's supposed opposition to Jackie Robinson joining the Dodgers and Furillo's suit against the Dodgers for injuries. Judith Testa, a former college professor and author of Sal Maglie: Baseball’s Demon Barber, will speak about the twists and turns in the relationship between Furillo and Maglie. Carl Furillo Jr. will share memories of his dad. This program is open to the public and is free with museum admission. Admission is always free for BHS members.

Picture and Link: Brooklyn Historical Society

Thanks to for letting me know.


Brooklyn ~ Tom's Egg Cream; Delicious Since 1936

Tom's Restaurant

Today, I visited the corner of Washington Avenue and Sterling Place in Prospect Heights.

Billy, and the fine people at Tom's Restaurant make an Egg Cream that is..


...Did I say The Best?  Yes I did.  Just look at it!  It's beautiful.
Remember what I always say, - Clear cups are the way to go.  But take a look at the top.  No place in my search for the Ultimate Egg Cream has topped mine off with whipped cream and a shake of cinnamon.  Let me tell ya..., underneath that plastic dome was five minutes of slurpin' splendor.  Get One!  Tell 'em TheBrooklynTrolleyBlogger sent ya.

A short walk away from the construction site where the Barclays Center is being prepared for Brooklyn's foray into Professional Basketball, Tom's Restaurant in Prospect Heights has been serving up the Borough's traditional elixir since the days when 
Dem Bums still played at Ebbets Field.

It's simple. 
If you're hungry and are in the neighborhood, you go to Tom's.
If you want to sit somewhere friendly and enjoy good food and conversation,
you go to Tom's.
 If you want to go back to a more simpler time in Brooklyn's rich past,
you go to Tom's.

They don't recreate anything. 
They ARE the black and white picture in some-one's old photo album. 
They are the Good Ol' Days.  Best of all, they are right now and in color.
They ARE and always have been....Brooklyn.

Happy 75th Year Anniversary
To A Brooklyn Icon

TheBrooklynTrolleyBlogger Memebers of