Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Day Off From the Soap Operas

Mid-Day Update: Our friends at the IIHF sent us a press release of a meeting held involving the NHL, NHLPA and the members of the IIHF.

The IIHF, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association met in Zurich on Thursday to discuss issues relating to player transfers and the international hockey agenda, including the Olympic Winter Games, the IIHF World Championships, the Victoria Cup and the World Cup of Hockey.

All parties involved, including the federations and leagues from Belarus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland, agreed to mutually respect the players’ contractual obligations during the current situation where the IIHF and the NHL are without a Player Transfer Agreement. Also USA Hockey took part in the meeting.

The parties are committed to respect contracts and not to sign players who are under contractual obligations.

A working joint working group was established which will have the mandate to draft a document that will specify the terms of such an agreement, including the handling of possible disagreements regarding the validity of contracts.

The joint working group is scheduled to meet in early September to see if there is any common ground for a possible new long-term Player Transfer Agreement and with an objective to establish a framework for a future international agenda for both national team competition (Olympics, World Championships and World Cup of Hockey) as well as international club competition (Victoria Cup).

The inaugural Victoria Cup will be played on October 1, 2008 in Bern, Switzerland between the New York Rangers and European club champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

The participants also discussed logistical issues pertaining to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The NHL delegation was headed by Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, while Executive Director Paul Kelly represented the NHLPA. The meeting was hosted and led by IIHF President René Fasel.

We highlighted those 2 areas because it does underscore the need to put an end to suggestions of tampering as in the case of Jagr last season or the Rangers trying to purchase the rights to Cherepanov.

More later

Ok for us it is time to take a break from all Jagr and Cherepanov soap operas as other news has been going on and how they affect the Rangers. Not to mention but really the constant stuff out of Omsk only helps them.

This place is supposed to be about Ranger news not helping a Russian team generate publicity . The constant on going "He said, they said" is getting kind of silly and many of you are tired of it.

In checking the emails, a lot of you are wanting to see people move on to the upcoming future events involving those who are going to wear the Ranger uniform next season (although one voice asks us not to play the line combo game).

We agree so let others continue to yap away about the Russian soap operas as we have other news that has been sitting on the backburner.

Mara Resigns for a Discount

What very few are realizing about Paul Mara resigning with the Rangers at a million dollar cut in pay has several implications. For one thing while it does say a lot about Mara's desire to remain a Ranger; at the same time reality is Mara was not worth 3 million that he got last season.

Mara has offensive talent that we hardly ever got to see during his time with the Rangers. His main quality that we liked is that unlike Marik Malik or Christian Backman, Mara stood up for his teammates and used his body.

However with Mara resigned then there is only one spot left on the roster for a defenseman and that is the part time 7th defender. Baring a miracle or another trade it just about assures Bobby Sanguinetti as starting the season in Hartford.

It is not a bad thing for Sanguinetti as it would help his development more if he is playing 20 minutes a night in Hartford than 10-12 minutes in the NHL IF he got to play. It also means that hardly anyone among the Wolfpack defense has a shot at the Rangers.

For the 7th defenseman position we think that Strudwick will remain the most likely of choices given his ability to play forward as well. It also does not hurt Strudwick that he will play for close to 500,000.

Get Your Tickets

Well there is one event involving the Russians that we want to pass along to you which got lost in all of the events of last week which is that ticket sales for the very first Victoria Cup went on sale last week.

Our friends with both the IIHF and Ovation Sports are working their backsides off to put one great event that is more than just the one game for the Victoria Cup for your money as the folks at Ovation Sports are going to put on quite the show.

The IIHF sent out this press release last week that we have been waiting to post since this is more than just a game to those in Europe. Hopefully this might give Ranger fans an idea that the Rangers may not take this event seriously but many others do.

The IIHF was kind enough to send us a copy of the press release announcing the sale of tickets for the entire event. If you are looking for a way to spend some time on vacation then this might be the way to go.

Switzerland is a wonderful place to visit and knowing the combination of folks from the IIHF, Ovation Sports and SC Bern then we know this will be a trip of a lifetime. Here is the IIHF press release:

Hockey fans can now secure their tickets for the inaugural Victoria Cup at the PostFinance Arena in Berne, Switzerland. Official ticketing to the public will start on July 3, 2008, at 10am Central European Time at

The inaugural Victoria Cup will feature NHL challenger New York Rangers take on European champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk on October 1. The day before, the Rangers will meet Swiss top club SC Bern in an exhibition game.

“We are very pleased that we have agreed a co-operation with ticketportal as the official 2008 Victoria Cup ticketing partner,” says Craig Thompson, CEO of Ovation Sports, who organises and markets the Victoria Cup as well as the Champions Hockey League on behalf of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

“This is a moment we have been looking forward to for a long time: we have received a large number of national and international ticket requests for the inaugural Victoria Cup showdown between the New York Rangers and Europe’s best club and we are pleased to have such a strong partner in
ticketportal to help us satisfy this demand. Tickets are expected to be sold very fast.”

On the occasion of its 100 year anniversary, the IIHF introduced the Victoria Cup, a trophy meant to become an annual showdown played between Europe’s club champion and an NHL challenger. "The Victoria Cup will be a joined venture between the IIHF and the NHL and it will be the first annual world club competition for a trophy endorsed by both the IIHF and the NHL. This competition will also carry a substantial financial reward," said RenĂ© Fasel, the president of the IIHF.

The 2008 Victoria Cup is one of the main events during the IIHF’s 100 year celebrations. The cup is named after the
Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal where the first organised hockey game was played on March 3, 1875.

The first edition of the Victoria Cup will be held on October 1, 2008, in the PostFinance Arena in Berne. The defending European club champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia) plays one of the most identifiable clubs in all of professional sports, the New York Rangers, for the first Victoria Cup. It has been 17 years since a Russian club has last played an NHL team anywhere in the world and this is expected to be an emotionally charged contest with national pride on the line.

NOTE: On Tuesday, the New York Rangers signed star defenseman Wade Redden from the Ottawa Senators to a six-year contract and re-signed Czech defenseman Michal Rozsival for another four years, adding to an already impressive roster.

The 2008 Victoria Cup offers another major milestone on September 30, 2008, when the Swiss National League A powerhouse SC Bern faces the New York Rangers. This is the first time in history that an NHL team plays against a Swiss club and the first time for 49 years that an NHL team plays in Switzerland. SC Bern won the regular season last year and has been the best-attended club in Europe for seven consecutive years, averaging 15,939 spectators in the 2007-2008 regular season.

The people of SC Bern have helped us in the past so we know that the "exhibition game" to them is not going to be just an "exhibition" to them. Yes by all rights SC Bern should not match up with the Rangers at all.

As Ranger fans are spending their time arguing over the line combos and other issues the teams in Europe are getting closer and closer to starting their training camps. Take these teams lightly and the Rangers will risk embarrassing losses to start their season.

We will have more as about these games in the weeks ahead.

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