Friday, August 17, 2012

Everyone Loses

(Center Ice)
So there won't be any New York Ranger prospects playing at this year's Traverse City prospect tournament now that it's been officially canceled. It was actually canceled back in May when the NHL served their 120 day notice on the NHLPA.

The reason I can say that is because that was also the same day when the Vancouver Canucks were forced to cancel their version of Traverse City which they call the "Young Stars Tournament." There was no need for either prospect tournament to have been canceled because the NHL is only hurting the 13 NHL teams who participated in these events.

Canceling these tournaments is going to have zero impact upon the NHL players were about to be locked out. None of them were going to play in either tournament so really this is like the NHL cutting off an entire leg to cure an ingrown toenail.

The NHL hurts themselves here because these young players are the future of the NHL and they blow an opportunity to introduce their future players to their teams and more importantly their fans. The prospects wind up missing an excellent chance to work with the entire Ranger staff.

It is taking basically away a full week where John Tortorella, Glen Sather and the Rangers staff can watch to see how much progression the kids have made over the summer. What a missed opportunity for John Tortorella to spot a kid who he would remember during the season when he needs help from the AHL.

Want to know who it hurts? It hurts somebody like Ken Gernander who has his own dream of one day coaching in the NHL. It's an opportunity for both Gernander and his staff to show Glen Sather and company that if an opening happens behind the Ranger bench that they are worthy of a promotion.

It hurts guys who are taking one last shot at professional hockey before they go off to a Canadian college. It hurts the 18-20 year olds who have been bypassed in the NHL draft and are getting a look not only by the Rangers but the other NHL teams.

One great example is Jason Missiaen who attended Traverse City with the Columbus Bluejackets then went back to the QMJHL. The Rangers saw something they liked and they kept tabs on him to eventually signed him to a professional contract.

The Rangers just might not have spotted Missiaen if not for Traverse City but they did and this season Missiaen could be the number four goalie in the Ranger system.

The NHLPA isn't going to get hurt by canceling Traverse City but a lot of other people will be. It actually also hurts the Canadian juniors because while the drafted prospects are away at Traverse City, the even younger kids get opportunities to play in CHL exhibition games.

It really is a domino effect in terms of the development of future NHL players. CHL teams wind up cutting players because they don't have any place for them to play.

The CHL teams also lose out on what the prospects learn while at the NHL camps and that in turn is knowledge passed on down to the younger players.

And on September 15th rather than showing the baby Rangers in action against one of the other attending teams; Ranger fans will know that the lockout is for real. Instead of getting to see the progress that JT Miller has made over the summer, Ranger fans will watch dueling press conferences where the NHL and NHLPA blame each other for the lockout.

As I write this it dawns on me that the NHL is actually blowing an opportunity to turn public opinion against the players. I think back to last year when the baby Rangers made it to the final game of the Traverse City tournament and how excited Ranger fans were.

If I was running the NHL then I would've let the tournament play out and if I was going to lockout the players than I would've done it right after the finals. I would have used the excitement from Traverse City and blamed the players for why the excitement isn't carrying over.

Especially for a team like the Rangers who would've had one of the more experienced teams at Traverse City making them a legitimate favorite to win that tournament. From there you jump right into a training camp where Ranger fans after last season have high expectations for this year's team.

Now instead what do the Ranger fans think? How angry will they be not only at the NHL but the NHLPA for possibly cheating them out of a run at the Stanley Cup?

Nobody wins here and it's just another reminder about how little anyone cares about hockey fans.

Tortorella goes to the dogs

I'm pretty sure most of you have heard about this event that's upcoming but if you haven't been serious stick tap to John Tortorella and his wife Christine.

"This spring our family adopted Blaze, our third rescue and fourth dog, from a shelter he'd lived in for three years. He lived with 28 other dogs and over fifty cats, in filthy, unhealthy, inhumane conditions, slowly starving from being malnourished and provided with inadequate veterinarian care. Within three miles of where we lived for three years, since moving to New York to coach the Rangers; these animals suffered while, though unknowingly, we did nothing. We will never turn away again.

"Our family foundation is partnering with the New York Rangers, to hold a dog walk fundraising event. We are reaching out to you, the Rangers’ fans and dog enthusiasts, to help us bring humane conditions to this shelter as well as generating awareness for proper animal care. Come take a walk with myself, the players and our families, to raise funds that will make a substantive difference for the betterment of animals. Thank you and see you there!"

-- John Tortorella

All net proceeds from the event benefit the Westchester Humane Society and other organizations dedicated to promoting the humane treatment of animals.

For more information regarding the Westchester Humane Society please visit For information on how to adopt a dog, please email A copy of The Westchester Humane Society annual report may be obtained, upon request, from The Westchester Humane Society at 7 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528 or from the Office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271

For more information regarding the Best Friends Animal Society, an organization working closely with John Tortorella and his family, please visit Best Friends Animal Society is a national non-profit organization which is guided by the simple philosophy: kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us.

For more information on The John & Christine Tortorella Family Foundation, please visit

On behalf of of Kelly, Cyrus and Tammy who we tend to believe picked us rather than the other way around, if you can please support this.

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