OK let us get honest here, the Ranger 4-3 comeback win over Metallburg was a loss for the NHL in the war of words with the KHL. Right now the KHL is celebrating the outcome of the Victoria Cup as if they had won the game.
Let us be blunt here this was not a 4-3 comeback win, it was an escape from a major embarrassment that the Rangers had avoided. One can just imagine how the KHL is going to spin this loss because Metallburg has not been one of the KHL's better teams and they had the Rangers in a deep hole.
That reported 100,000 bonus that was offered to the players of Metallburg for winning should be sent in the direction of Henrik Lundqvist as his performance for most of this game was to be blunt toilet bowl level.
Sorry but not one, not two but all three of the goals scored by the team from Siberia never should have gone in. Those were not perfect shots, they were not super tough shots and they were not fired by NHL shooters either.
What they were was the result of in our eyes some piss poor efforts by Henrik. Henrik got bailed out by his teammates because had the Rangers lost it would have truly been all on him.
A friend of ours used to say all the time "Glen Be a Lion" which was his way of saying please take a stand and demand accountablilty. If there is one area where Tom Renney in our eyes drives us nuts is that he does not hold players accountable for their play.
We would have yanked Henrik after the second goal if for no other reason but to send a message to the team "exhibition" game or not. Falling behind and having to play catch up has long been a tradition among Renney coached teams.
If the Rangers want us to believe that this year's team is different then we want to see the team come out on Saturday from the get go. No waiting until they are trailing, until the second period or when ever.
Send US all a message that this team is going to give us a full 60 minutes of effort on both Saturday and Sunday. No excuses, no anything just come out and show us that 2008-09 is going to be different.
Some of the other messages we got from this game has to start with this one: If God is a Ranger fan then he will find a way to make Dave Maloney the Ranger's color guy once and for all. Since we do not get to listen to Ranger's radio very often to listen to Maloney be totally honest and candid is such a breath of fresh air.
Maloney speaks the language of the Ranger's fan, he is right to the point and brutally honest which makes him the only one from the entire Ranger announcing staff who does not shill. Maloney was right to the point when he ripped on Lundqvist's play after the first period.
Using him only as an intermission analyst is not only a waste of his talents but the kind of announcer that not only the Rangers but the NHL needs. Really listening to Maloney is more than informative as it is also so very entertaining.
On the other hand, the other head of the analyst table our friend the Maven makes us wonder if maybe Jagr and Avery gave him the mother of all wedgies. Our question to the Maven is: Are we going to have to listen to you all season along trash both Jagr and Avery?
There was no reason to bring up either former Ranger, if you want to show a new leaf for the Rangers then let the new roster make their own case. This constant "Jagr and Avery are to blame for last season" is so not true until this current team and coach prove themselves with their play.
Another message we got today is that there is no excuse not to keep Lauri Korpikoski on the Rangers after watching his play. If anything sending Korpikoski back to Hartford and keeping a Rissmiller would be a crime.
We bring up Rissmiller because after watching the exhibition season the true moves that the Rangers need to make start with cutting Rissmiller and Sjostrom as neither really have earned a regular role with the Rangers.
Too bad that is not what will happen because either Dawes or Prucha appear to be the ones who lose because at least one or both of these two have some trade value return to them. That is not what we want to see but hockey is a business and Dawes/Prucha could bring back draft picks.
On defense Corey Potter we fear will lose out not because of his play but because he can be sent to Hartford without waivers. Potter earned a Ranger roster spot with his hard work and play but the reality is that until someone gets injured then Potter goes to Hartford where he plays regular minutes instead of watching from the press box.
Stop or We will Say Stop Again
Robin Williams once did a bit about London police officers who while unarmed tried to stopped armed criminals by saying "Stop or We will Say Stop Again". We bring that up after reading this media release from the IIHF regarding the Alexander Radulov dispute between the NHL and KHL.
Here are the lowlights of that release
The IIHF announced the legal findings of the investigation regarding player Alexander Radulov. A group of international lawyers hired by the IIHF concluded that Mr. Radulov was under a binding and valid contract with the NHL Nashville Predators at the time when he signed a contract with Salavat Yulayev,
The IIHF does not support breach of valid and binding agreements. However, the current IIHF statutes and bylaws – as well the absence of an agreement regarding respect of valid contracts between the IIHF and NHL – does not give the IIHF legal base to sanction the player from professional domestic hockey.
So why not take a stand just once on a very important issue that affects all of the hockey world. Why not threaten both the KHL and the Russian Federation with suspending them from membership in the IIHF and in turn participation in World Championsips, the CHL and the Olympics
More from the release:
The parties agreed in principle to work towards drafting an agreement which would be consistent with the previous understanding of mutual respect of contracts. The objective is to have the IIHF, the NHL and all relevant European associations and leagues, including the KHL, signing the agreement that would regulate terms of mutual respect of contracts.
The intent is that the NHL and NHLPA will be entering the agreement with the IIHF, and consequently the IIHF will work separately to secure agreements with its member associations and leagues, which are to the same effect.
The parties also agreed to work towards a new Player Transfer Agreement between the NHL and the top European associations and leagues. The ambition is to have an agreement in place by early spring 2009. A future Player Transfer Agreement would most probably not include the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia or the KHL.
We highlighted the 2 areas that made this whole thing a waste of time. Why bother with a PTA if neither the Russian Hockey Federation or the KHL will be a party to it?
If you want to get people to sit down and seriously work out an agreement that puts an end to all of the player tampering then force them to sit down and work out any agreement with whatever weapons you have.
In this case we have been saying all along that the NHL can use the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi Russia to force the Russians to the bargaining table. The IIHF and their European members in turn can also use any attempt by the NHL/NHLPA to restart the World Cup of Hockey as their weapon.
See while the NHL and KHL are fighting like children, the rest of the hockey world is paying for it because players are being tampered with by both sides in our eyes. We have yet to hear how the Rangers were able to get Tomas Kundratek out of a contract with his Czech team so we are not going to say that the NHL does not get their hands dirty either.
It is long past time for people to sit down and work out a fair deal for the entire hockey world.
Wait Some Prospect News
Finally Antoine Lafleur will have a home in the QMJHL as the Prince Edward Island Rocket traded the 2007 second round pick to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The Huskies have struggled big time with goaltending issues and this is Lafleur's last real chance to show that he is worthy of a Ranger contract.
Lafleur's first start might be this Friday evening as the Rangers reassigned him back to Rouyn-Noranda almost as soon as the trade was announced. We will be keying in on his game this Friday evening.
Hartford also sent back Evgeny Grachev to the Brampton Battalion of the OHL which in our eyes is the right move. Grachev is going to need playing time to work on improving his game and Stan Butler as we have said all along is the right teacher for him.
The Battalion and Grachev need each other as Grachev needs to play a lot and the Battalion need some more offense.
The question though remains is will Dale Weise remain with Hartford as after the Wolfpack made some cuts they still had 26 forwards on their roster. We know some of those remaining are headed back to Charlotte of the ECHL but that still means Weise is going to be fighting for ice time.
Stay tuned as the Rangers will be playing a verison of dominos as when they announce their final cuts it will mean someone from Hartford and then Charlotte could find themselves cut.