Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NY RANGER PLAYOFF CHANCES i am not a jinx

Hello NY and everywhere else, I'm Bird and you're at Hockeybird.com here for the last SIXTEEN years for no reason at all. I'm going to jump the gun and preview a possible playoff preview between your beloved NY Rangers and the league wide hated, Philadelphia Flyers. There it is, I said it. No taking it back.

Let's get this out of the way now. I AM in fact JINXing the New York Rangers with this post. I know that, you know that. I am doing it on purpose. It is in fact an anti-JINX JINX. By even typing these very words I am taunting the hockey gods with each keystroke. It's April 1st as I type this but it is no joke, I am talking about the Rangers vs the Flyers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff first round. Go ahead, curse at me now. It's ok, I'll understand that it's something you need to do. Go ahead, I'm waiting..........................Send your nastygrams to @hockeyangrybird or email to bird @ hockeybird.com.

I know what I'm doing, I'm a professional. Please, do not try this at home.

OK,

I'm assuming a 2-3 match-up with NYR having secured home ice. (Oh boy have I done it now!) The Flyers have enjoyed quite a turnaround since a rough beginning to the 2014 season. They ousted "Pete from Uniondale" Laviolette and promoted Craig Berube who was the consummate Flyer. He was hard nosed, big, aggressive, edgy, intimidating and could play. That is Flyer hockey. He has turned the team around into an impressive (3-2) metro Division finish. His captain is the first focus.

Claude Giroux:

I really thought the Flyers went nuts when both Richards and Carter were essentially dumped by the Flyers. I still scratch my head as those guys HAVE won a cup. I distinctly remember writing here on Hockeybird that the Flyers would be a team to deal with as Richards and Carter were gonna be scary. I truly enjoyed the Dubinsky - Richards battles. Once gone it was no longer just goaltending that would limit the Bullies. Then of course this kid with a chip on his shoulder pops up and once again we have to deal with those of Broadstreet. As a fan of hockey, pure and simple, Claude Giroux is everything one could ask for in a hockey player. If he wasn't a Flyer I'd have one hell of a man crush on this guy. To make matters worse, if you look at him these days he reminds you of a certain number SIXTEEN who once danced around the Spectrum. Praise aside, Claude has yet to lead his team all the way and until he does I for one will not publicly praise him. Crap, I just did.

If Claude catches fire his passion will spread and the Flyers will be dangerous. He makes players around him better. His success is infectious within that Flyer locker room. Stop him and you beat the Flyers. If not......good luck. In my opinion, the way to stop him is to make him play run and gun. The Flyers can't match the speed and Claude is only one guy. Look, I know he's barely 5-10 and 175 lbs but when he started popping his 25 goals and 78 points the fly Guys started winning. Simple as that. That's my two cents on that.

Scott Hartnell:

C'mon.....the guy LOOKS like a Flyer even with his new short hair. I'm could be wrong but I think he's better the longer his hair is. Honestly you have to keep this guy quiet and that means walking away from his yapping. You can't let this guy get into your head........ignore him. Well, his mouth any way. His 20 goals and nearly 50 points speak for themselves. Another passion guy who needs to be kept quiet.

Vinny Lecavalier:

I watched this guy drop his gloves with Jerome Iginla in the 2004 Cup finals and I watched him carry the Cup around that rink in Tampa, 2004. He's still got game. His 18 goals does NOT tell the story in my opinion. Factor in a new team, injuries and not being played 1st line minutes and that's a lot to digest. His 18 goals so far tells me that he will score in the playoffs. He wins faceoffs and is a big body who knows the game. Be wary of this guy. 4th line my ass.

Flyers Defense:

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

No really.

OK, they have some size. They have some vets. They have Kimmo. Hey, he's got 37 points.

As far as I'm concerned the Flyer defense is only off the hook if their goalie sucks. I'm not impressed nor intimidated. (In fairness, I'm not playing either) A decent fore check beats these guys in 60 minutes.

Flyers Goaltending:

Um,

Ah......

Well, one can..........ah, um.........

Steve Mason.

He won the rookie of the year in like......eight years ago. He doesn't suck. The 25 year old has 31 wins as of now. That's not freaking bad eh? But his GAA is 25th in the league and I'm not remembering his last big playoff accomplishment, can you? In other words, he's ripe for the Flyers Goalies Sucks syndrome. If I didn't dislike the Flyers it would be considered cruel to watch. Trust me on this.....the Flyers will NOT win the Cup this year and at some point, it will be the keepers fault.

A look at our boys......

Henke:

There is a difference in his game this year. I noticed it when he was losing but it was a positive change. And, it's continued and improved as this season has progressed. Hank comes out to challenge shooters more than ever before. And, farther out too. I love it. It's the one area I can complain about and with all the records and statistics, it's hard to find fault. But I've always suggested that Hank went down too early and too often. He waits a bit longer now. He stays up on a few more shots than before. I think we might be seeing his best yet. I'm confident that Lundqvist can stymie Claude and his boys.

Defense:

Can Ryan McDonough get any better? The guy has actually inserted himself into the Norris discussion. His 47 points are only eclipsed by his heads up plays in the D zone.To hear a national broadcast team give Montreal the business for the Scott Gomez trade yet again is just icing on the cake. I sure hope he and his agent took notes from the Cally debacle as I must see 27 in Ranger blue for years to come. His partner Girardi is no slouch himself. It's Mark Staal that I'm most grateful for. He's a 1-2 guy who currently plays 3 type minutes. Not bad eh? Diaz the trade deadline acquisition has impressed many with his shot, ability to play on the power play and the depth he adds. Hands down I like the NYR D in a seven game series vs the Bullies.

MSL & The Beast:

Here is the only question I have about this series. Will these guys play a big role on the score sheet? Despite the numbers there are few who skate with the same desire as Marty St. Louis. 26 gives his all as he always has. I'm not the only one who expects a bunch of goals from this guy once he gets back his mojo. The streaky Rick Nash has yet to leave his mark on a playoff series in a career that's not getting any younger. Now would be a good time for a hot streak Mr. Beast. If he does get hot, look out Flyer goalie.....

Number Twenty One:

Derek has to play like a number one center in the NHL. He is fer chrissakes.  Stephan doesn't have first line center numbers this year and that's not good considering he held out for cash. That said, Derek can erase that ugliness with a solid playoff performance. Watch his face off numbers and his match up. If he can shut down Giroux and be involved in the Rangers offense it's a five game series.

ZuccaPrucha and the Mighty Mights:

OK, the Flyers are bigger and meaner than the Rangers. I get it. AV has improved the power play and it behooves the Flyers to stay out of the box. That means it behooves the Rangers to turn the other cheek and skate away from the normal playoff intimidation tactics invented in Philadelphia or so it seems. Secondary scoring for the Rangers is a must if they are to advance as I'm suggesting they will. Not only must the Rangers make the Flyers pay on the power play but they'll need to add a few timely 3rd and 4th line goals. If not it'll be a long and painful series.

In a nutshell what I'm saying here is two fold. A, I know full well I am tempting the wrath of the hockey gods by posting this. I am a professional of 16 years, I'm trained. Do not try this at home.

And Three, the Rangers will defeat the Flyers in six games (yes they win it on the road) in the first round of this years playoffs. Please send hate mail here hate @ hockeybird.com


So, that's a really long winded, bloviated (my word) way of suggesting that your New York Rangers can and should beat the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs this year.

----}- Bird

Sunday, March 23, 2014

NOT EXACTLY WHAT I THOUGHT

So, Marty St. Louis got his wish and is now a NY Ranger. Frankly, I'm happy for him and his family which is what this is about. But I'm confused. What do the Rangers get out of this. Since it been a little while since trade deadline day my thoughts are quite clear here. I expected another all out "Going For The Cup" trade and picking up a 7th D man is NOT all out.

This means one of two things. Slats had a move planned and it didn't work out (my guess) or 2, this was his only planned trade. I don't think moving Cally for MSL straight up is a bad deal. My problem with the trade is that we didn't do anything else that makes us a contender. I know, that's easy to say this far out.......I can see the same stats you can and Marty has yet to put the puck in the back of the net. We weren't one guy away from a cup unless you added Marty and KEPT Cally. I also hate the draft picks given up. A # 1 in 2015 which is by all accounts a very deep draft is a hefty price.

Bottom line here is of all the trades Slats has pulled off, this one is his worst. That's not to say it's horrible. It's just that Slats has done much better and I think the Bolts win this one. Cally will resign somewhere this year and if the Bolts make the playoffs and win a round guess where I predict he will sign? The owner there has bucks and will spend them if he thinks he'll get a return. Cally will give a return no matter where he goes, that's his DNA. The likelihood of him resigning in NY is about as high me scoring in the 70s on a legit golf course. It could happen but I wouldn't want to bet my kids life on it.

I also haven't seen enough from this team to suggest they are peaking at the right time and will run deep to the finals. Again, it could happen. But I love my kids too much to bet 'em here. So I'm going to go with scenario number one. Slats had additional moves in mind but couldn't pull the trigger because the deals as asked for, cost way too much and would have left the Rangers unable to compete in future seasons or they didn't make the Rangers good enough to feel good about a finals appearance.

I no longer get the inside info that was once enjoyed here back in the heyday of Hockeybird. Living in Florida and not being at the rink every day tends to do that. It's OK. I'm now a fan like most of you are. I root like hell for my favorite team and enjoy the great hockey that is now available on our TVs like never before. But I'd love to know what Slats had in mind and why it didn't go down. The window for a NY CUP is not getting wider.......it's the other way around.

See ya for the playoffs

----}- Bird

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

CAPTAIN CALLY TRADED FOR MARTIN ST. LOUIS

Just a quickie: Cap. Cally was moved today for Martin St. Louis and the Rangers also gave two draft picks including the #1 pick in 2015. Unless there is another move today it'll be the first time Slats has been beaten in a trade this badly.

More later and hopefully a HockeyRodent Hockeybird radio show in a few days. Tonight's game vs Toronto has now become must watch television as Marty will play tonight.

I do expect another deal by NYR....stay tuned.

----}-

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

IT'S TIME FOR ACTION

Hello NY and everywhere else I'm Bird and you are at the one and ONLY Hockeybird.com

I'd rather be writing about the Olympics, something we've done since 1998, the Nagano games. Those were the first Olympics where the NHL participated. Mike Richter back stopped a US team who had won the '96 World Cup but preferred to trash hotel rooms rather than playing. Those were the days eh?

These days Hockeybird is under attack from the NHL and the game company Rovio who created Angry Birds. They created a character called Hockeybird causing confusion and damaging the brand created here over the last SIXTEEN YEARS. This cannot stand.

As I huddle with my team to figure out the best course of action I do want you to consider supporting us in this cause. Big huge entities like the NHL or Rovio should not be stealing names from little guys like us. So I may be asking for your help.

First, please share this with anyone you think was a reader here or just likes to support the under dog. The more people aware of this the better. If and when it comes time to act, I'll let you know. Of course, nothing is stopping you from tweeting or sending an email to the offending parties letting them know how you might feel about this injustice. Everyone is entitled to their opinion ya know. If we come up with a way for you to directly participate we will post our suggestions here. For now, Go USA! oh, and please stay healthy all you NY Ranger Olympians. 

----}-

Friday, January 31, 2014

NO COMMENT

Hello NY and everywhere else, I'm Bird and you are once again at Hockeybird. OK, I know some are wondering about the NHL-AngryBird thing. I am advised by my attorney not to comment on this and I have to comply. I can say that I have been contacted and that WE are hoping for a fair conclusion.

On to better things........

With the sweep of the Stadium Series the Rangers find themselves in 2nd in the Metro. OK, not bad but the Ice Chickens are running away with this thing. A playoff spot is not even close to a guarantee for us. But that's not what has me bothered. Glen Sather and Captain Cally's agent have not quite reached terms and this has me worried. I'm already reading trade proposals. In fact there are some who are already fine if he goes. REALLY?

Watching this team as I have over the years it's been somewhat of a treat in the sense that since the famous fire sale 10 years ago we have seen home grown players in NY Ranger sweaters at MSG. I'm not so sure that parting ways with Cally is a good PR move. That aside, I'm not convinced that it's a good idea from a team perspective. Just look back to last season. Replacing the pieces moved to acquire Rick Nash took too long and didn't achieve a Cup. A heart and soul guy like Cally can't be replaced unless you can find a guy who can do what he does.

Now I am hearing that he gets hurt, doesn't play 82 games and is 29. A long term deal may not be exactly what Slats wants. It's a fair point to suggest that playing this style of gritty hockey may make him less than a bargain in lets say year seven. So, my concern rises. Yes, I trust Sather in a trade situation but I don't trust him to sign free agents to fill spots.....that just doesn't work out.

I can't tell you what's going to happen but we will all watch.....and we will watch Dan Girardi and his status as well. The Hockey Rodent has been talking about this very issue for a few years.....and now it's here. Let's see how it turns out. Until then, NYR vs NYI again tonight at MSG. Catch my take on twitter @hockeyangrybird

----}- Bird