Thursday, December 28, 2006
Great, great news for the Horn of Africa and the world! Six months of radical rule by the Islamic Courts has come to an end in Somalia, at least for the time being. Troops of the United Nations-backed interim government were cheered wildly as they rolled into the capital city Mogadishu today. Soldiers from Ethiopia stopped on the outskirts of the war-torn city, but give credit to Ethiopia who got the whole thing done. It was their military that was able to knock out what many thought to be an impenetrable Islamic militia which has links to al-Qaeda. The mujahideen were last seen fleeing to the south of the country.
Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi definitely has his hands full trying to get a government set up in a country that has not had a workable governing body in 15 years.
Ethiopia became worried that the Islamic Courts was gaining too much power and would be a real threat to all the countries in the Horn of Africa. A well-regarded military, Ethiopia, took charge and has ousted the Islamists.
The courts were trying to establish Sharia law which is based on extreme fundamentalism of the Koran. I have no idea what role if any the United States played in all of this. Did they encourage Ethiopia? Did they send over some money? Arms? I don't know, but this is something that needed to be done. A failed state run by Islamists can not be allowed anywhere in the world, and I do mean anywhere.
The New York Rangers have been sliding lately, mostly due to surprisingly bad goaltending and the other teams' ability to shut down Jaromir Jagr. I have always felt that this edition of the Rangers will be better suited in the playoffs and that the team we see in the regular season would go through some changes during the year. I have believed that there would be more youth added to the team as the season went along.
So far Thomas Pock and Jarkko Immonen have been inserted into the lineup, well now joining the fray this weekend will be 24-year-old defenseman Bryce Lampman. He had a very small cup of coffee with the team at the end of the 2003-2004 season, but it looks like he could be up for a while. He has three goals and five assists so far for the Wolf Pack.
According to Hockeysfuture.com:
"Lampman is a solid defenseman with excellent leadership qualities. He is a great skater, which helps him play his excellent defensive game. Primarily a stay at home defenseman, Lampman does possess decent skills at the other end of the ice. He has a very hard shot from the point that he controls very well and he is very adept at making the outlet pass. One of those players that will never be seen as an all-star, but he will be extremely valuable to the team."
Sounds like what the Blueshirts need right now, especially with Marek Malik not expected to play in Ottawa or at home against Washington. Stay tuned...
It always seems as though famous people die around the holidays. I'm not sure if that is accurate or not, it just appears to be the case. As we all know former President Gerald Ford and "the hardest working man in show biz" James Brown both passed on. Add to that list a real good columnist from the New York Post, Uri Dan, who died over the weekend. Dan, 71, wrote some very good op-ed pieces for the paper and was a fantastic analyst on situations in the Middle East. He will be sorely missed...
If you are looking for a book that is really, really inspirational. I would highly recommend Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman In The World. It's about 105 pages or so and cost $4.95. The book can be easily read in a couple of days and is just an incredibly powerful story.
Finally, have a safe and Happy New Year and here's to a prosperous 2007 for all. Like Louis Skolnick said in Revenge of the Nerds "This is gonna be a great year!"
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The other day I was in the White Plains Library. I got there a couple of minutes before it opened at 10 o'clock and there are a bunch of people standing around in the lobby, waiting for the guard to let everyone in. So I notice a woman standing with three shopping bags literally overflowing with Christmas gifts. Next a little blond-haired girl and an Hispanic woman show up. The little girl says to the blond, "I haven't seen you for a really long time," and then adds, "What happened to you?"
I will never forget the adorable sound of the girl's voice saying those words.
The little girl asked this question with curiosity, concern, and a touch of anger. But anger more in a loving sense with great concern, as opposed to being filled with rage or hate.
I couldn't catch what the blond said in response, except the bits and pieces that I heard without looking like I was listening. They were "going to go upstairs to the children's room," "how nice it is up there," and "how nicely decorated it is." So as the three are getting onto the elevator the little girl says in a very matter of fact way, "I'm already seven."
I was heartbroken at this exchange. There is no question in my mind the blond was this little girl's mother. I am not sure who the Hispanic woman was. Perhaps child services? I'm not sure. I have my theories that I won't go into, but the bottom line is: Somehow, someway this little girl and her mother were separated. For how long, I don't know. As we all know, a long time to little kids can be a few weeks, a few days, or even just a few moments. I get the sense that it was a significant amount of time, though.
I had an urge to follow them onto the elevator and sort of hover and listen to what they had to say. This was a thought and in no way would ever be a reality. Still, I was very interested in how the mother and daughter would interact with one another.
I did what I had to do and left. But I was really struck by what I heard and saw. I still am. I drove away in my car with my radio off and was completely taken aback by the whole thing. I speculated about what I thought had happened? I though about how the time apart had effected the little girl and how it may impact her life going forward? I hope that the two can heal from whatever emotional scars may exist.
It appeared to me that this was a supervised visit for the mother and that is a shame on the one hand. Having to exchange Christmas gifts with your child in a library? Really sad. However, it also means that this woman is digging herself out of whatever adverse situation she was in, and is now restarting a relationship with her precious daughter. That of course is the positive to this and what really matters.
Some folks I know who are constant contrarians, would say I am being presumptuous and I may be completely wrong about who everyone was and what the circumstances behind all of this actually are. Yeah, I know some people think it's cute to just disagree for the sake of disagreeing. I've been wrong before, but there is absolutely no way I got this one wrong. The little girl was a "mini me" of the older woman. I also could tell by how the two were interacting, but basically it was just a strong sense that I had.
I have not seen many things like this that have touched me to this extent. Believe me, I can't overstate how moved I am. But it gave me a great deal of gratitude for what I have presently and have had in the past.
I am writing this on my blog to pass on because stories like this are really important. But also for selfish reasons, because I will have a record of it for myself and will be able to refer back to it in the future. I hope that I never forget the two women or the little girl. With her cute little face, she will not be easily forgotten. I kept all of them in my prayers over the weekend and hope to do so for a long time, perhaps you will as well.
Some days, and more specifically moments, stand out for good and bad reasons, however, most days in our lives are kind of all jumbled together. This is one moment that I doubt I will ever forget.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Cheers and don't drink to much egg nog!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The New York Islanders have been clearing out salary space for a possible signing of Brian Leetch. Is this just to force the Rangers' hand or are the Isles serious? Apparently, Leetch is not expected, however, to sign until after the all-star break. Huh? An aging defenseman who has not played since last April is going to sign that late into the season? Something is missing here and I'm going to get to the bottom of it. I will say this when it comes to Brian Leetch: Buyer Beware! Leetch is past his prime and could really upset a team's chemistry by being added so late in the year.
Brad Isbister was recalled from Hartford to play tonight in Florida. Isbister has size and potential, but his career got sidetracked and he has never lived up to his potential. But he is 29 and could serve as a solid checking forward. Meanwhile, Ryan Callahan, 21, was sent back to play for the Wolf Pack. He played well against the Isles, but is better suited to play in Hartford to gain more experience before playing with the big club.
Now if the Rangers want to go out and trade for Sergei Zubov to make up for one of the worst trades in team history. That I am all for. The Rangers dealt Zubov and Petr Nedved to Pittsburgh before the 95-96 season for Ulf Samuelsson and Luc Robitaille. Zubov is immensely talented offensively, but needs to play with a tough d-man to make up for his lack of aggressiveness. Can you say Derian Hatcher?
The Rangers and MSG are looking into buying an ECHL team and having them play in Brooklyn, at the new arena that is going to be built for the Nets.
Classy ceremony the other night honoring Brendan Shanahan and Jarmoir Jagr. A great touch by bringing out their respective families and Steve Yzerman (Shanny's old mate in Detroit) and Mario Lemieux (who played with Jaromir in Pitt), along with Mark Messier serving as the guy that got everyone lined up properly for pictures.
Later on Mark Messier, Yzerman and Lemieux all were interviewed by Al Trautwig. The next night Trautwig got to interview Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Charley Oakley. Not a bad week at all...
Hey, I don't like to blow my own horn, but so far, I'm doing pretty well with these hockey names, no?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Perhaps it was because of the flu which has really worked through the team or because there are some key guys banged up. It's not an excuse, just a fact. During the season every NHL team gets hit with the flu bug at one point or another. The Rangers are getting hit with it at the busiest time. A time in which they are playing 10 games in 17 nights. The guys on the blueline were the most stationary from what I saw. Marek Malik was the biggest offender in that area.
So that bring us to tonight against the New York Islanders at MSG. What will happen? Well, one thing we know for sure about 2o minutes from the game starting, is that the Rangers are going to look quite different tonight.
First off, Henrik Lundqvist has the flu and is out. So that means that Kevin Weekes is between the pipes. The Rangers have recalled future all-star Al Montoya from Hartford. He was taking a helicopter to the 34th street heliport. But believe me, I was in NYC today, and he's going to have a heck of a time getting over to MSG due to all the holiday gridlock. I suggest walking...
Brendan Shanahan also has a very bad case of the flu, but plans on playing. We'll see if he plays and how effective he is. So the Blueshirts have recalled the sensational Ryan Callahan who has 19 goals and 27 points in 25 games for the Pack.
If that's not enough number-one center Michael Nylander will miss his second straight with the flu; Matt Cullen has a sprained knee and may be able to go Thursday against Florida; Malik has a groin strain and is day-to-day.
So here's what I think the lineup will look like tonight:
Malik/Rozsival (If Malik can't go, Thomas Pock has been recalled)
Sandis Ozolinsh and his $2.75 million dollar contract have been put on waivers, which he has cleared and has been assigned to Hartford, thus, ending his short Rangers' career.
Which I don't like. If I were coach, here's what I would do.
My thinking being that Staka has played center before in his career and he plays his best with Jagr, so I think it is foolish to split the two up which was done Sunday night. I like a tough physical player like Hollweg to ride shotgun with Jagr. Hollweg can deliver punishing checks and will be great to pin the d-men deep while Jagr and Straka are able to do their thing from the cirlces and the slot. Ryan Callahan has been awesome with the Wolf Pack, so let's give him valuable minutes to show his stuff. I'll put Prucha on the third line, but would definitely be willing to use him on the second line, if Shanny is not up to par due to the flu. Prucha looked very hesitant the other night. Meanwhile, watching Shanahan over the years, I wouldn't be surprised if the guy goes out and gets a hat trick. Ward goes to the fourth line where he belongs. I'm not sure what Head Coach Tom Renney sees in this guy. But no way does he even sniff the first line if I'm behind the bench. That fourth line that I have with Hall and Orr on the flanks can actually serve as an energy or crash line.
Time to go, since I am not behind the bench and I am actually behind a computer and the game about to start. Oh yeah, Jagr and Shanahan will be honored pre-game for both scoring 600 goals earlier in the season.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Darius Kasparaitis has looked good so far on the blueline and I expect him to continue to improve once he gets into better game shape. I would, however, like to see Sandis Ozolinsh moved at this point. He's too much of a liability defensively, so perhaps the Blueshirts can get a sixth or seventh round pick in exchange for him, which would also free up some cash.
Rangers are in Chicago tomorrow night, who recently signed future Hall-of-Famer, Peter Bondra.
The St. Louis Blues have reportedly fired Head Coach Mike Kitchen and replaced him with Andy Murray. Kitchen has been in an impossible situation and it pretty much was a foregone conclusion that he would be canned as soon as new ownership took over this past summer. The team stinks and I expect them to dump plenty of vets at the trading deadline in February.
Murray brings a wealth of experience having coached the L.A. Kings for seven seasons and also winning World Championships as Head Coach of Canada in 1997 and 2003. Still, the Blues have a ways to go, but it's a start.
Emotions ran high Tuesday night in Montreal when they hosted the Boston Bruins. Both teams were dealing with separate off-ice tragedies. The sellout crowd of 21,273 gave a standing ovation before the game in honor of Laura Gainey, who was lost at sea after being swept off a tall ship by a rogue wave. Meanwhile, the Bruins played without 19-year-old rookie Phil Kessel, who had cancer-related surgery Monday in Boston and is out indefinitely.
This is not the first time that Bob Gainey has dealt with a personal tragedy, his wife Cathy, died at the age of 39 from brain cancer in 1995.
Such sad news. I hope we all can keep in mind those who face such tragedies, not only at this time of year, but year round.
I've written on here before about the incredible ineptitude of anything involving the United Nations so let's write that one off write away. But the involvement of the Saudis and Iran is pretty pathetic. Those two countries have been involved and that's by supporting the insurgency. Iran supports the Shiite death squads while Saudi Arabia supports al-Qaeda and her offshoots, all Sunnis. Syria is basically a joke to me, they follow whatever Iran does, so in essence they are one and the same.
I keep hearing people saying that all these countries in the Middle East want a stable Iraq. If that were truly the case this whole thing would have been over by now. Iran wants to have control over the oil in Iraq which would make the Mullahcrats the most powerful regime in that region. The House of Saud does not want another competitor on the world oil market. A stable Iraq with oil flowing nicely to the rest of the world would bring about immense competition and would take a great deal of money from the Saudis.
Also, at stake for those two countries is that Saudi Arabia does not want Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, which most surely they would be able to do with the extra reserves coming from Iraq's oil wells. The Saudis also have designs on getting a nuke, same goes for Egypt.
There are nearly 80 recommendations by the Iraq Study Group being suggested. How many President Bush attempts to go with is any one's guess. It appears that he will increase troop levels, which was not recommended by the Study. We will know more after the New Year, however, the only ones who can and should decide their future is the people of Iraq. They need to step up and take control of their country, rather than allowing others to dictate their fates and fortunes for them.
We've done our job in Iraq: We got rid of Saddam Hussein and his sons, we searched for but did not find the stockpiles of WMD that our and other countries' intelligence apparatus believed existed, and we watched over as the Iraqis went to the polls to establish a democratically-elected government.
Bush may be looking to play one last card here by going full out and eliminating the insurgency. As usual, we have "friends" who are playing both sides of the fence. The Saudis tell us they are our partners in the War On Terror, but history has continually shown that they are anything but our pals. The Iranians continue to talk about their vision for a world without America and Israel. So do you really want to sit at the negotiating table with Iran?
It's not too late for the Iraqis to step up, what certainly should have been done a long time ago, hopefully will take place now.
I submit to you that America did what she set out to do in Iraq. But as far as Afghanistan we have not accomplished our goals. The top leaders of the Taliban and al-Qaeda continue to roam free, as does the top warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyer, who poses a threat to the Hamid Karzai regime and that nation's stability.
This will come back to haunt us, no question about that.
The Middle East as always has a ton of problems. The stakes grow higher if nuclear weapons are brought into the picture. When I look at what the Iraq Study Group had to come up with, I was very disappointed. Perhaps, this is reflective of the futility on the ground in Iraq. I don't believe it is, but the only ones who can show us otherwise are the Iraqi people.
A Boy and His Guardian Angel
Once A Boy,
No More Than Six,
Wrote A Letter To God,
It Went Something Like This:
If You Only Knew,
But Of Course You Do.
The World Seems So Unkind,
To You, Do I Even Exist?
You Don't Notice Me.
There's No Connection,
Which I Sorely Miss,
What Was Once.
Is This Letter Wasted Time?
No Crime Committed Here,
Just Hope For A Written Response.
The Lord Responded:
You Believe Your Life Hangs In The Balance,
But Ineptness Leaves One With A Blatant Emptiness,
A Feeling Of Disconnect,
In Need Of Some True Affections,
Instead What Surfaces Are Superficial Relations,
Creation Would Not Sustain,
If This Was How We Maintained.
Listening To The Pidder Padder Of The Rain,
You Glance Out Your Window Into A World Of Nothingness,
Where Such Darkness Looms Like In The Corner Of Your Soul,
This Bottomless Pit Can Not Be Filled With Man's Creations,
Remember Always What I Tell You,
You Never Fail To Count How You Have Been Blessed,
Trust In Me And Watch The Dark Hole Shrink,
Your World Will Expand With Positive Accentuations,
Negative Feelings Arise,
But Peal Back The Onion,
Try To Learn To Not Become Undone.
For Now I Send One To Guide You,
He Never Leaves Your Side,
Trust In His Guidance,
He Acts On My Behest,
In Favor Is How He Looks Upon You,
You Can Never Leave His Sight.
We Reach For The Stars,
You Crawl Through Space,
I Dream The Impossible,
Walking Into A Great Pasture,
You Asked What Heaven Looks Like,
Why This Is It I Proclaimed!
The Great Oceans Roar Is Now Silent,
While Anarchy Ceases Abruptly,
We Travel Along A Road,
To A Mansion Of Unseen Stature,
See The Glory In Front Of You,
Only Fear Keeps You Looking Back,
Past Hurts Gripped Tightly Dampens Spirits,
History Lessons Become Points Well-Taken,
Briefly Staring At Yesterdays We Revel In Its Success Only,
So Much Will Be Revealed As The Future Unfolds,
Faith, Persistence, Patience Are Our Trusted Guides,
Like Torches They Lead Us Not Astray,
But To A Place We Will Always Want To Stay.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I haven't posted any photos so I decided that I would start with this one. No, that's not me! It's Pete Townshend, for those that don't know, from a 1980 photo. However, the quote in the dasher and this photo seem to fit at this point in time. I had written an entire post before, saved it, came back and it was gone. Must be those blogger rats that show up every now and again. Anyway, didn't feel like doing a rewrite so this is what I'll post for now.
Rangers play Philly tonight after a solid performance Sunday night in a home win against Florida. Jed Ortmeyer and Thomas Pock have been sent to Hartford for conditioning.
For those of you who don't want to hear anything personal about me, I guess this is the spot to "rock out." For anyone else...
I had an absolutely horrible 12 hours beginning Wednesday night into Thursday. Long story short I had a misunderstanding with someone which I tried to settle as diplomatically as possible. Basically, the subject did not handle it well and went a little funny, you know, a little funny. OK, that one is from Dr. Strangelove. Anyhoo, they left me some really sick messages that had me contemplating if I should go to the police. I talked to someone about it Thursday morning and this subject actually made me more upset. Next thing I know - I am physically fine - but I got into an accident. Company car. But I got hit on the passenger side by a van. The accident was my fault and his. There's a lot of people on the roads now who are not paying attention and I should have been more vigilant. But accidents do happen.
I was sore for a few days but thankfully, no one was hurt. Unfortunately, it brought back some dreadful memories of an accident I had in 1999 in which I very well could have lost my life, but by the grace of God I was fine and so was the other driver. Not many people know about either accident so let's just keep it between you and me. OK? Ha Ha!
I am trying to take a lighthearted approach to this because in reality it has really thrown me off. But I want to again say that physically I am fine. I am not blaming anyone but what happened on Wednesday night really through me for a loop. But I'll get by. Unfortunately, I will run into this subject again, which I am not looking forward to. But I did nothing wrong and I am absolutely going to stand my ground.
Situations like this I am completely powerless over. What gets me through without losing my marbles is my faith in God. I finally went to a mass in Latin - like they used to do it back in the day - that I have intended to go to for quite a while but for one reason or another have not. I went this past Sunday and it was basically just what the doctor ordered. It's always good to change up the routine a little bit. Although I must say that the church where I usually attend mass is like a miniature St. Patrick's Cathedral and is always very uplifting for me.
I would never push religion on anyone, yet, I will say I believe that everyone at some point in their life will need to find something that sustains them and not just through situations where people go a little funny. For me I have found a place with Catholicism that I gain a great deal of comfort from. I know for myself that I can never waver from this. This is the religion that I was brought up in, but over the last eight years or so has taken on much greater meaning for me.
To be blunt, Wednesday and Thursday sucked. I don't know if I took some bad advice from someone and I am also down on myself for actually trying to discuss the situation regarding the voice mails with the subject who I allowed to upset me. Does any of this make sense to you?
I am sure there are some valuable lessons for me to learn and perhaps I have already recognized what those are. But I'm not exactly sure what is the next best thing to do in regards to the person who went a little funny. So time will tell. Believe me when I tell you this is the last thing I needed right now.
But the reality is that I blame myself. I really should have not gotten involved with said subject, but I sometimes am nice to the wrong people.
Well, that's all for now. Please tune in next time for more blogging with Fr. Sean. You can't say I did not forewarn you. What I like about having my own blog is it can be whatever I want it to be. Hope I am not being pious or that this in some way comes off as being pretentious, but this is really just my experience. I hope that this does not read like a sermon, but I trust that those who know me, know that I am not the sermonizing type. I also hope you don't think I am looking for sympathy, it really is just what is on my mind. Hey, blame the blogger rats, I had something all set to go about Iraq!
I encourage one and all to go check it out. TD has a great knowledge of all the New York teams and knows the college sports as well. If you need a golf lesson Dee's your guy also. My wedge game is better than its ever been thanks to a lesson from TD a couple of years ago down at the Bronx Golf Center on Gun Hill Road. I look forward to reading all of Tommy's musings about the world of sports and beyond.
Go get 'em Dee!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
So will we once again abandon Muslims? The Iraq Study Group released their report this week and are basically saying that we should retreat. It has been suggested that the U.S. sit down with Iran and Syria in trying to get those two countries on board. Good luck! Both of those nations have been funding the insurgency and I really doubt that they are going to do anything to help our cause. Some suggest that the last thing either one of those terrorist-supporting regimes would want is an unstable Iraq. However, I put to you that this is precisely what they are seeking. They want to humiliate the United States and her allies and then be able to take over a war-weary country which would make Iran the undisputed power in the Middle East.
Time after time appeasement has shown to be ineffective, and that's exactly what we would be doing if we sat down with either Iran or Syria. Engaging in dialogue to me would only be window dressing and little else. If we decide to give up any leverage then we would really put ourselves behind the eight ball. The U.S. has to also carefully consider when dealing with Iran, how it would impact our negotiations with North Korea and other regimes that wish to pursue getting nukes in the future.
I believe I have stated on this blog before, that in the past we have abandoned Muslims, and in some ways this report suggests that we do the same thing again. We were of no help in the aftermath of Afghanistan ousting the Soviets in the 1980s and again when we encouraged the Shiites to rise up against Saddam Hussein at the end of the first Gulf War. I actually don't even see us being helpful in Darfur where a genocide is taking place as we speak. Of course the rest of the world has been absent in regards to the continual genocides that occur in Africa, but we are the lone superpower and have to take the lead on these issues, like it or not.
After Pearl Harbor the United States was able to field an incredible army that was victorious in World War II. Why the Iraqis have not stepped up in a similar way is mind boggling to say the least. I hope that the folks in charge in Iraq and more importantly the populous, do realize that we can't stay there forever and that maybe now they will have a greater sense of urgency and get things going in the right direction.
I would also like to see a bi-partisan committee put together to examine how we fight wars, when we should use American forces, and how to fight an insurgency effectively, if defeating an insurgency is at all possible. I don't think that all is lost in Iraq, and I do believe that there should be a shift in strategy, but a complete pullout or even a partial pullout is premature at this point. That's the reality. We would all like things to be different but they aren't.
In the future we really have to understand what we are attempting to do if the U.S. does decide to invade a country again. The goals have to be clearly stated and when they are met we have to leave. I submit to you that we have already achieved our goals which were stated before the invasion in March 2003. We got rid of Saddam and his sons, changed the regime, established a democratically elected government, looked for but did not find WMDs, and captured many of Saddam's top henchmen. We have trained an Iraqi army and police force, however, they have not been able to consistently stand up to the insurgency. Why that is, I don't know, but I certainly would love to know exactly why.
The bottom line is that Iraq can not be allowed to fall into the hands of the Shiite regime in Iran nor the al-Qaeda folks.
Let me also say that we did not achieve our goals in Afghanistan. Yes, we caught or killed many member of al-Qaeda, however, we did not capture the big fish. Ditto in regards to the Taliban. It seems as though Afghanistan is the forgotten war, which I just can't understand. But let's just add that to the list of things I can not grasp about our government.
So now we turn to the frivolity of pro sports. The New York Rangers played there most complete game of the season Saturday afternoon in their 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, on the road no less. The defensemen are playing much better than they have at any time during the season and the forward lines seem to have a pretty good balance. Henrik Lundqvist made some truly phenomenal saves and seems to have bounced back well from his dismal first period performance against the Islanders. I expect Hank to start against the Florida Panthers tonight.
The line combos that were reported elsewhere that I mentioned the other day were in fact accurate. I am definitely a little puzzled by Adam Hall's fall from grace, but the lines right now seem to have good chemistry.
Jarkko Immonen plays a well-rounded game and seems to always have on his thinking cap. I don't know if he is the number two center that the Blueshirts want heading into the playoffs, but that is obviously a long ways off. Let's give Immonen some time to adjust to playing in the NHL. Apparently Head Coach Tom Renney will do just that according to quotes in today's New York Post.
The Rangers set the tone early in Ottawa with the likes of Ryan Hollweg throwing the body around as New York were the aggressors early. Martin Straka scored his 16th as he continues to play the best hockey of his career, Jaromir Jagr scored a vintage 'Jags' goal with a wrister from the high slot, and who else but the former Red Wing Brendan Shanahan to score the empty netter.
Brian Leetch's name continues to be bandied about as being a possible addition to the Blueshirts' blueline. Reportedly Leetch will play for only the Rangers, so stay tuned...
I previously posted about the retirement of Joe Nieuwendyk. Thinking back about his career it's amazing how he had an impact on the New York Rangers without ever lacing up the skates for New York. Before he was dealt from Calgary to Dallas, the Blueshirts showed a strong interest. Neil Smith, the GM at the time, refused to part with Christian Dube in a deal for Joey N. who would have been a perfect second-line center behind Mark Messier.
Fast forward to the summer of 1996. The Rangers go out and sign Wayne Gretzky. For some reason the folks at MSG told Smith he could either sign Pat Verbeek who had scored 41 goals and 82 points in 61 games before injuring his shoulder in a game against Buffalo when he crashed into the crossbar. Ouch! Or he could sign hulking d-man Jeff Beukeboom. Smitty went with Beuk a crowd favorite. Most Rangers' fans thought that Smith would compliment Gretzky with a scorer on his flank. Naturally, after letting Verbeek walk, he would then go out and deal for Brendan Shanahan who was playing for the Hartford Whalers. Again, Smith refused to put Christian Dube in a deal that would have included Alex Kovalev.
Verbeek went on to win a Cup for Dallas in 1999 and Shanny went on to win three Cups in Detroit. Christian Dube? He went on to have an "illustrious" career playing in Switzerland.
There was not enough room on the Rangers for both Mess and Gretzky, so after the '97 season Messier headed for Vancouver. Rangers' management offered Mark Messier a one year deal that would not have paid him more than "The Great One," but not less either. Mess reminded MSG that he brought them their first Cup in 54 years. He was already incensed that The Garden had signed Knicks' free agent Patrick Ewing first and that Neil Smith hadn't even paid much attention to him until it was too late. Both sides deserve fault in what was an ugly divorce that did not benefit either party, but MSG blew it in this one.
I often wonder if the Rangers had in fact signed Verbeek and Shanahan what would have transpired. Nonetheless, the top two lines would have looked like this:
Oh well, dare to dream!
The Rangers were never able to find a suitable scorer to play with Gretzky. Luc Robitaille managed only 24 goals playing with Wayne before being injured. Ironically, he got hurt just before he was about to be sent to the L.A. Kings for Kevin Stevens, a deal that would be made that summer. Kovalev, meanwhile, managed only 13 goals in 45 games before blowing out his knee and being done for the season. That really screwed up the top two lines. The Broadway Blues then had to use such notables as Vladimir Vorobiev (five goals in 16 games) and Daniel Goneau (10 goals in 41 games) for offense. Still, they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, largely on Mike Richter's outstanding play.
By the way, Robitaille would eventually end up with the Detroit Red Wings where he would play a key role in the Wings' 2002 Stanley Cup Championship. Head Coach Scotty Bowman seemed to be able to bring out the best in all of his players, including Robitaille and some other former Rangers who were pretty much inept on Broadway. Gee, and Chris"Mad Dog"Russo once said that the eight-time-Cup-winning-coach Bowman was overrated. Hmmm...
Getting back to my original point, if Joe Nieuwendyk had been traded to the Rangers, things would have been much different. Gretzky never would have come to New York and Messier would probably never have left. But that's life I guess.
I'm not planning a parade just yet because the Knicks are 8-14. But they are much more cohesive than last year. Larry Brown did a horrible job with the Knickerbockers, despite his stellar career. That is always going to be a blemish, as far as I'm concerned, with Brown's career. I basically think he tanked it, so shame on Brown.
If only the Knicks could find a way to win at home where they are 3-11.
Randy Johnson, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang, and Roger Clemens? Let's say the Bombers do sign Kei Igawa and let's say he is pretty good. Fine, there is a bit of a logjam in the starting rotation but stick with me for a second. Does this starting staff in any combination win a World Series for the Yankees. Am I the only one thinking that this time next year Joe Torre will be talking to Fox or ESPN about being an analyst and that Brian Cashman will be looking for work elsewhere? Call me nuts, and I've been called worse, but I thought the Yankees were about winning championships. The question I have right now is which upstart team will beat the Bronx Bombers in the first round? But it's still a long way until the season starts, so let's see if Cashman has any tricks up his sleeve.
I can't overstate how good Christ The Lord by Anne Rice is. I thoroughly enjoyed her latest masterpiece and look forward to her next book. I also can't overstate how much I admire Rice's writing and her obvious thoroughness in research.
Speaking of thorough research, MSG's Fifty Greatest Moments has been superb. But there has been a couple of mistakes. The first one being when they showed the Rangers opening their season against the Buffalo Sabres less than a month after September 11, 2001. Their was a tremendous ceremony before the game honoring the NYPD and FDNY hockey teams. The narrator said that after 9/11, symbols of New York took on greater importance. While he was saying this they showed two fans wearing "Kovalev" and "Lundqvist" jerseys. Uh, Hank wasn't even a thought back in October of 2001.
The second being that they got the main event for Wrestlemania wrong. It was Hulk Hogan and Mr. T versus Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper. Jimmy Snuka and Bob Orton did not fight in this one, but served as cornermen. They also left out that Billy Martin was the guest ring announcer. But I guess we all make mistakes, oh yeah, except Mike Francesa.
I saw an interview with Joe Namath this week and the strangest thought popped into my mind. Do you remember when Namath appeared on The Brady Bunch and threw a pass to I believe Peter Brady?
WHY THEY HATE US
Britney Spears went underwear shopping on her birthday last week and reportedly spent $2,600!
Boy I sure am glad photos of Marilyn Monroe practicing her lines in front of a mirror are being released. Do we let anyone rest in peace?
LET'S HOPE NOT
I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton will be our next President. I hope I am wrong, but I just can't see anyone stopping the Clinton political machine. Can you?
Finally, finally, finally, it is said that everyone should get eight servings per day of fruits and vegetables. But what constitutes a serving? Obviously, one strawberry is not the same as one banana. Your help is much appreciated!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Karel Rachunek and Sandis Ozolinsh will both sit. I would love to see some shuffling in the pairings. Aaron Ward and Fedor Tyutin don't seem to have the same chemistry that Toots and Kasper had last season so I would reunite those two; Ward and Pock would be a good pair, and would greatly benefit the inexperienced d-man; meanwhile, the pair of Marek Malik and Michal Rozsival should remain intact.
I mentioned candidates for promotion from Hartford recently, well, one of them has been called up and will be in the lineup tomorrow night: Jarkko Immonen. Immonen, 24, has played very well lately for the Wolfpack. According to the New York Rangers' website, in the last five games Immonen has picked up five goals and two assists for seven points.
I love seeing the young guys playing for the Broadway Blues but at this point in time I kind of am wondering if it is the right thing to do. Hartford got off to a very rocky start but has played much better over the last month, so perhaps it is better for the team to stick together and develop some confidence as a team and as individuals.
But the Rangers do seem to need a player like Immonen who is a fantastic penalty killer, can score, and plays sound defensive zone hockey. I hope Immonen sticks and Head Coach Tom Renney finds a suitable place for him. Three or four minutes a night won't cut it.
Here's what I see for the game against Pittsburgh:
Forwards sitting: Colton Orr.
The way I see it the top line is obvious; the second line again has Adam Hall on the left side after he was moved up over the last week or so in place of Petr Prucha, but the third and fourth lines are definitely interchangeable. The above is what I think will be put together, but if I was the Head Coach, I would put Ryan Hollweg at center between J. Ward and Macel Hossa, then I would put Immonen on the right of Blair Betts with Prucha on the left.
Which would look like this:
I think then you would have a pretty good balance on the third and fourth lines of good faceoff men in Betts and Holly, good scoring balance with Prucha and Hossa, and good defensive forwards in Immonen and J. Ward. But we'll see. Just a guess.
It has been reported elsewhere that Immonen will center the second line and thus the top 12 would look like this:
But if you are going to put Prucha on the fourth line you might as well not play him. He's a goal scorer and needs to play a bunch of minutes. Renney was recently raving about Hall so I don't know how he can fall from grace so suddenly. If anything Hall will fill the slot for Hossa as third line left wing. These lines reported elsewhere came from a pretty good source but don't make sense, so stay tuned...
Brett Hull's number 16 was retired last night by the St. Louis Blues in a game against another former team of his, the Detroit Red Wings. Hull had an uncanny ability to get open in the slot and to park himself to the goalies' right where Hullie would blast one-timers like few others. "The Golden Brett" won a Cup with Dallas in 1999 and Detroit in 2002. He was always candid in his interviews and sometimes ticked off some of the folks in the NHL offices. Hull was a great player and is sorely missed both on and off the ice.
So long to another hockey legend, Florida Panthers' center Joe Nieuwendyk has called it a career, and what a career it has been. He won Cups with Calgary (1989), New Jersey (2003) and Dallas (1999); scored 51 goals in the season the Flames won the Cup; won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs in 1999, and won a Gold Medal for Canada in 2002. No question in my mind a first ballot Hall Of famer.
Incidentally, he was traded by Calgary to Dallas for C Corey Millen and the rights to eventual superstar Jarome Iginla on December 19, 1995.
Speaking of the Hall of Fame, is there any reason why six-time Stanley Cup Champion Glenn Anderson (498 career goals) and Pavel Bure (437 career goals and a pioneer for Russian players) are not in the Hall. Or is it just because someone has a grudge?
By the way, the Knicks are hosting the Wizards tonight who are winless (0-8) on the road, so I expect New York to drop this one. The Knicks are a game and a half out of first in the very inept Atlantic division, but they are a much more entertaining team and a much more cohesive team than last year. That may not be saying much, but it's improvement, which I'll take.
Stay onsides and don't foul out!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Bobby Clarke did not take long to find his way back into a top position with the Flyers.
Believe me when I tell you Devils' Head Coach Claude Julien is not going to last the season. His inability to get John Madden and Jay Pandolfo on the ice against the other team's top lines is deplorable and definite grounds for dismissal.
The New York Rangers have a mild interest in John LeClair, who was recently waived by the Penguins.
A lot was made over the weekend in certain spots about the Rangers not having certain young players in the lineup. Basically, in Hartford promotable forwards are Lauri Korpikoski, Jarkko Immonen, and Greg Moore. Ryan Callahan was up this weekend for a cup of coffee while Nigel Dawes started the year on Broadway. On the blueline there is Ivan Baranka and Byrce Lampman. The only guy out of all of the above I would like to see is Greg Moore because of his grit and the fact that he has a right handed shot, which the Rangers currently do not have enough of. The other guys are still a ways off in terms of development and I feel more damage can be done by bringing them up then keeping them in Hartford.
Basically the way I feel is pretty burnt out for the most part as a result of several things. But I know that when I am angry with someone it has something to do with me and not so much that particular person. For instance, someone at work is a bit of a pain in the ass, but they have been this way since I have known them which is a pretty reasonable amount of time. So what is it with me that allowed them to upset me so much this time around? Because he or she has not changed and is the same person they were years ago and in all probability always will be. So it is my responsibility to examine what is really on my mind and make the appropriate changes to my life where I deem necessary. I have made some decisions recently and am in the process of going forward with them. When nothing changes nothing changes. So in order for a situation to have a chance to improve I must take responsibility for who I am and how I feel and go forward. Life really is way too short for a job or anything along those lines to make one feel burnt out.
I haven't gotten any negative feedback in terms of me going into personal stuff, and quite frankly it won't prevent me from writing about whatever I want on here. I don't think there is one person who reads this blog who is going to get bent out of shape about what I write or don't write and if they do, oh well.
I learned a great lesson a couple of years ago. I wrote a few political commentaries and emailed them to some folks. Well, one person in particular really ripped into me and my personal life because of my political beliefs. I became very discouraged and did not write anything for a while after that. But that's my loss and that is me giving someone else an unnecessary amount of power. In essence, I am allowing that person to control me and my life. Believe me when I tell you I have learned many, many great lessons the last two and a half years. Allow me to share a couple of them while we are at it.
One is that you really don't have as many friends as you think. When difficult times come you'll find out who really is your friend and who is just an acquaintance. That is why I am hesitant to labeling this one my "friend" or that one my "friend." I learned that there are people who really are only in it for themselves and are "takers" rather than "givers."
As far as that person who ripped me about what I had to write, they are no longer in my life. Not for that reason alone but it became par for the course. Really what it all comes down to is this: I make a choice as to who I want in my life and who I don't and if someone is a drag then I have to figure out exactly what my role is. What part am I playing in it?
There is too much in this country of passing the buck and not taking responsibility. It's too easy for me to blame others, rather it is about me looking in the mirror and seeing where I may come up short. I am not saying that I am at fault all the time either, sometimes yes, sometimes no. But like I said I no longer have room for toxic people in my life because in the end it will come back to bite me in the ass. That you can take to the bank.
I write all this because I got an email from a young lady asking me to expound on what I touched on last week in regards to me being bummed out with someone I work with. It is actually irrelevant as to who he or she is or what he or she did, but it is all about my response. In summary, all I am really saying is that I have to focus on my reactions to things as opposed to how other people behave.
That's my tale to tell for today. Tune in next time for more blogging with Dr. Sean....
Monday, December 04, 2006
Bobby Lashley is the new ECW World Champ having won the Extreme Elimination Chamber match at "December to Dismember" on pay-per-view yesterday. Lashley eliminated the Big Show en route to victory. Show is scheduled to face the new champ tomorrow night and will probably lose due to the fact that he is scheduled to take some time off to heal some injuries.
"The Godfather of Extreme" and Scarsdale resident and native Paul Heyman has been fired by Vince McMahon over a disagreement about the direction of ECW and some problems at yesterday's pay-per-view. What a shame this is.
Heyman built ECW in the mid-90s before being bought out by McMahon who then flushed the ECW brand down the toilet before resurrecting it this past summer. This version of "extreme wrestling" is more like an extended version of the WWE. The problem stems from the fact that when Vince bought out all his competitors, namely WCW, he had an overflow of talent. Hence, he spread the wrestlers around on two rosters, Raw and Smackdown. Those two brands were not enough so more talent has been spread to ECW making it look more like WWE than anything like the old ECW.
I am not saying it's bad but over the last month or so it has more and more resembled WWE as opposed to being like the old ECW.
Heyman, I believe, will show up in TNA(Total Non-stop Action) which has a show on at 9 p.m. on Thursdays on Spike TV. Although Heyman and Vinny Mac have had their disagreements before and have made up, so you never know, maybe before long he will be back with WWE in some capacity.
NEW YORK RANGERS
The Rangers got off to an ugly start last night against the Islanders at the Garden last night. After the game Head Coach Tom Renney and Brendan Shanahan had a long talk about defensive zone coverage. Shanny came from a great system in Detroit and maybe he can bring some of that experience to the Blueshirts who need to play more like last season when their was an overall greater commitment to defense by d-men and forwards. Let's also not forget that Dominick Moore was traded over the summer and was a key component to the Rangers forwards doing a better job backchecking; ditto for Jed Ortmeyer who is due to return in early January; and let's also not forget that for some unknown reason Darius Kasparaitus continues to sit in street clothes.
Kasper was very good on the Blueline last season and was a fan favorite delivering punishing hipchecks and really getting under the skin of the opposing team's top forwards. Kasper needs to play, now! Fedor Tyutin is constantly improving and is benefiting tremendously from being paired with Aaron Ward, but I would rather see Toots with his fellow countryman, Kasper. I know, Kasper is from Lithuania while Toots is from Russia. But you get the point. Kasper has played in international competition for the former U.S.S.R. and also Russia. So you get the picture I hope.
Speaking of Russia, I have finally seen a guy who resembles Pavel Bure in his skating and play on the ice and that is the fabulous Maxim Afinogenov of the awesome Buffalo Sabres. I have never seen a guy skate as fast with the puck as Pavel but Maxim is a close second.
I missed out on getting tix to Rachel Fuller's In The Attic concert at Joe's Pub and apparently I would have seen some surprises. Jimmy Fallon hosted with Fuller and Pete Townshend teaming up as they usually do along with the other 'Attic folks such as Simon Townshend (who is a pretty good guitarist), Martha Wainwright (very good singer and from an impressive family tree), Mikey Cuthbert (I don't know him), Sean Lennon (son of a legend), and Ryan Adams (I have never heard any of his stuff). But in addition, David Bowie showed up!
I hear Joe's, which is located in lower Manhattan, is a great place to hear some music so maybe I will be able to check out the In The Attic gang next time around. I have read that full-time Oasis/part-time Who drummer Zac Starkey is expected to be on the bill which I would love to see up close. Also, tickets were only $50 which is a bargain for what you get back.
Finally, get well soon to Rowdy Roddy Piper who was recently diagnosed with a low grade lymphoma cancer. Ironically, it was discovered during surgery after Piper hurt his back while wrestling in the UK with the WWE. Reportedly a full recovery is expected for the legendary "Hot Rod."
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This is going to be a very interesting time for the Bush Administration. The Middle East's problems have expanded from Iraq to Israel and to Lebanon. Three civil wars breaking out is not out of the realm of possibility. The President's best work has to be forthcoming otherwise we could be in for some major problems and don't think that what happens in that part of the world is confined to the region.
By the way any idea how the hunt for Usama Bin Laden is going. Remember how united we were and those "Wanted Dead or Alive" posters with UBL's face on it. I hate to say it but one very dark day you are going to be driving around and you will say, "You know that Kilkelly guy had something when he said UBL was the most dangerous man on the planet. Too bad the politicos did not feel the same way."
I am wondering also why the media does not ever ask about UBL. Oh I get it, they are more concerned with Britney Spears and the grooming of her nether region. Glad we got that cleared up.
Oops I did it again! Am I being too long winded for you? High fives all around!
The Giants have fallen apart and the Rangers are very inconsistent. They can beat anyone in the NHL but they also have problems closing out games. The Blueshirts are in dire need of a solid two-way player who is dependable on draws especially in key situations. Gee, too bad they traded Dominick Moore away...
So let me get this straight. Bill Parcells can chew out the media on a daily basis. That's fine. Pat Reilly or Joe Torre get nasty with a member of the media and well they are just cranky. Bobby Knight can strike a player. That's fine, because you know, it's Bob Knight. Michael Strahan chews out a reporter and gets lambasted by "The Phone Slammers." Just wondering if race plays a role in this?
If you or I struck a co-worker because they were not paying attention to us would we be pardoned by society? God please let me be in attendance when one of Knight's players decides to turn the tables and goes a little Sprewell on him. Please!
Jason Sehorn was all over the media and it took a long time for the critics to say boo. Tiki Barber seems omnipresent as well and takes a pretty bad beating in the press on a daily basis. Why? Answer: See above regarding Michael Strahan.
I finished two outstanding books recently. Tunney by Jack Cavanaugh which was a bit long but is a good read for even a non-boxing fan and Christ The Lord by Anne Rice which is one of the few books that I have read that I would consider perusing once again. An incredibly powerful story told in the first person about Jesus and His perspective on the world and His own significance as a seven year old. I highly, highly, recommend this book even for the non-believers. Hey it's in paperback and for $7.99 you can't go wrong.
This Sunday is ECW's "December to Dismember" on pay-per-view which will feature an "Elimination Chamber" match for the ECW World Title. Big Show, Test, Sabu, Bobby Lashley, RVD, and CM Punk are all involved in this one. I say that ECW Champ Big Show will walk in and walk out with the belt. At 7'5 and 500 pounds this guy moves like a cat and is as unstoppable as ever. The dark horse in this one is CM Punk who is a product of Vince McMahon's "developmental league," the OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling).
The talent is now spread pretty equally between WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown, and ECW. Add to the fact that TNA now has Curt Angle as there top wrestler and it sort of is reminiscent of the old days when there were four solid wrestling promotions (WWF, NWA, AWA, World Class).
Roger Daltrey appeared on CSI Thanksgiving night and was pretty good. I like CSI:Miami but to me there is only one cops show that matters and that is NYPD Blue. The first season of Blue is a great stocking stuffer.
Great to see "The Huffington Post" take pot shots at Pete Townshend because he supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Yeah, liberals are real tolerant of those with differing viewpoints.
It was really cool to see Classic Albums on VH1 feature Who's Next. Incredible how much work goes into making an album.
I have no problem with Billy Joel. I like some of his music, but he's probably not my favorite. But he made the Top Fifty for MSG's Greatest Moments series. The reason: he sold out 12 straight shows. Impressive! So now a banner sits in The Garden's rafters that says "Joel" and the number "12." Sure that's cool and all. He's broken a lot of sweat like Mark Messier (11), Mike Richter (35), Rod Gilbert (7), Eddie Giacomin (1), Walt Frazier (10), Dick Barnett (12), Earl"The Pearl"Monroe (15), Dick McGuire (15), Willils Reed (19), Dave DeBusschere (22), Bill Bradley (24), Patrick Ewing (33) and Red Holzman (613 for the number of wins as Head Coach).
Oh and he sure does deserve to have his "number" retired ahead of Andy Bathgate and Adam Graves.
Hey while were at it why don't we retire Babs' "number" or why don't we really bastardize the whole thing and hang a picture of an elephant using MSG as a giant kitty litter. Because, hey, the circus never does leave town now does it...
This past month has not been a jolly one for me. But I always look on the bright side and have hope that December will be a memorable one, and not one for dismemberment, hence the ECW pay-per-view, "December to Dismember."
I wonder about some people. I wonder what some folks are after. Are they really your friend or is their just something for them to be gained. I wonder about a girl that I have gone on a few dates with if it is just a complete expletive waste of time and she is playing a game with me. In fact, I know it is a waste of time, accepting that is a whole different ballgame. Perhaps all of this is too melodramatic. Perhaps. But then again it's my blog and I'll piss and moan if I want to thank you very much.
I wonder about the excessive unprofessionalism of one or two individuals. This thought came to my mind this past Saturday night at work. By writing these things out I am able to make sense of them and can straighten my head out and make decisions on going forward. Do I really want to spend my Saturday nights anymore working part-time for not a lot of money and an increasing amount of aggravation? Good question. Do you have an answer? My brain is a bit scattered lately. I am tired of many things and not many people, but a few folks. Namely one person who is a miserable expletive and needs to either go to a massage parlor or get a girlfriend instead of bringing their misery to work.
Back in the spring I was encouraged by someone to just write on this blog and see where it leads. In fact, it has been one of the highlights for me this past year and has led to many new things and discoveries. I figure if I write on here once a day whatever it is it will come.
So this is my rambling for today. I really wanted to see The Who in Bridgeport last night but I was unable to get tickets and I had to work anyway. Rachel Fuller plays in NYC tonight and I was unable to get tix to that show, as well. Maybe the third time will be a charm.
Have a great day!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
I had a conversation recently with someone who did not vote last Tuesday. To be honest, I really look at people differently who don't vote. If someone is older and can not make it out of their home for one reason or another, I understand that. But for someone to not vote who is between the age of 18 and 65 and in reasonably good health is really pathetic. If you step back and look at world history, America is a young country. There are, in my opinion, no guarantees that we will always enjoy the same freedoms that we currently have. Governments come and go. Some countries that were once mighty, are no longer.
I think it is probably one of the simplest things an American can do. Last week was pretty important here in New York. The voters chose a new Governor, a new State Attorney General, and decided to keep Hillary Clinton as U.S. Senator for six more years. But it's equally as important to vote for town councilman and village managers and that sort of thing. They can really impact your life directly.
Shame on anyone who did not vote last week. Perhaps they should read up on some of the countries around the world where the folks would do just about anything to be able to vote. Remember, in Somalia, the current government is controlled by the radical and al-Qaeda linked Islamic Courts, where they don't allow women to go to the beach. A simple freedom that we in America take for granted.
Reportedly there was a 40% turnout nationwide, which was higher than expected. I just can't figure out why we can't double that number. If you are too busy to vote, you are too busy! I hope that no one who reads this blog, falls into the category of the people who did not exercise their privilege to participate in Democracy last week. But if you are one of those misguided souls, just remember the old adage that you never know what you have, until it's gone!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The Rangers return home to face off against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night in a matchup between the Atlantic division's two best teams.
The good news about New York last season was that they had a bunch of players who were either rookies or in their first full season. That also means a bunch of these guys are eligible for the "sophomore slump." That's what I think Henrik Lundqvist is kind of going through right now. Although last night's loss was not entirely his fault, he wasn't all-world as he was last year.
Head Coach Tom Renney has to have a better understanding of the pulse of his goalies. Last night would have been a perfect opportunity to start Kevin Weekes to keep him fresh.
Rangers play back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday, the aforementioned game against the Devs and then on the road against Carolina. Lundqvist is a fan favorite at home so he should get the nod against Jersey, while Weekes seems to be more of a road warrior, so I would have him in between the pipes in Carolina.
The forwards are fine at this point. I am more concerned about the guys on the blueline going forward. Fedor Tyutin who is not in a sophomore slump is rounding into a top four d-man, Aaron Ward brings experience and is pretty steady, but I think the Blueshirts either need to promote someone from Hartford or make a deal. Marek Malik at this point seems to be a step too slow for the new NHL. I'm not sure what he would fetch in a deal, maybe a fifth or sixth round draft pick. I would not mind seeing him traded away to maybe free up some space under the salary cap. This would more importantly allow Thomas Pock to play on a regular basis, so the young blueliner can get some valuable experience and confidence. It makes absolutely no sense to have Pock going in and out of the lineup. I don't believe it does anything in terms of his development.
Ivan Baranka is a possible promotion from the Wolf Pack to play on the Blueline, but might still be a year away.
Ryan Callahan has nine goals in 12 games for the Pack. I wouldn't be surprised to see him or the all-around good player, Dwight Helminen taking an Amtrak from Hartford to The Garden.
Elsewhere, don't be surprised to see Tampa trade Martin St. Louis to a western conference team this week.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Happy Veteran's Day
Most importantly I would like to wish all those who have so bravely served our great country a Happy Veteran's Day! I sent an email to someone earlier thanking him and letting him know what he did for his country is most appreciated, especially in this corner. Have a good thought, say a prayer, just remember why we are free. So make it a point to thank a vet!
I can honestly say that the most touching and a most proud moment during my father's internment, was when members of the U.S. Army removed the Stars and Stripes from his coffin and presented the flag to my mother after the playing of "Taps." An incredible tribute!
Ironically, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing(1955) is on AMC tomorrow morning. This was a movie my father reviewed for the New York Daily Mirror during his very brief journalism career.
It's only been a couple of days but there are already calls for investigations and impeachment. It's gonna get ugly folks.
Now that the Democrats control the House and Senate, I wonder if there will still be conspiracy theories if we catch Usama Bin Laden in the final two years of the Bush Administration?
Many of you know I am a big fan of Rachel Fuller, a pretty good singer from the U.K. Well, she does a thing called In The Attic which I am hoping to get tickets to when it comes to Joe's Pub in NYC in late November. Anyway, I first heard her on the soundtrack for Shall We Dance? which belongs to a friend of mine, and yes that friend is a female. Ha Ha! But that's where I first heard Fuller's incredible voice, or so I thought? Turns out she was part of Pete Townshend's Lifehouse CD which he did a few years ago.
In 2000, I taped Townshend's performance of Lifehouse off the radio and have kept those two tapes near my Walkman ever since. So a few months ago I was listening and realized that Fuller was playing violin with the London Chamber Orchestra during the performance. She also did some backing vocals.
So then it turns out that Fuller and Townshend are an item and have been for years. She and PT wrote "It's Not Enough" which is on Endless Wire. This is what caused Howard Stern to compare Fuller to Yoko Ono, which is ridiculous for many reasons that I won't go into right now.
By the way, Lifehouse is the story behind the Who's Next album and is kind of about the Internet, but Pete calls it "the grid." He started writing this story around 1970 and finally finished it 30 years later. I guess better late than never.
Where was I? Oh yeah, so my point is that you never know how or where you will find some music you may have been unaware of. Also, at a recent In The Attic jam Minnie Driver performed with Fuller and Company. On Rachel's blog she describes Driver as being really great and encouraged her to stick with it. Most of us I'm sure remember Driver from Good Will Hunting.
So what is In The Attic anyway? Basically, it consists of Fuller, Pete Townshend and his brother Simon, and assorted guests who stop in to jam away.
Rachel Fuller's In The Attic website is in my links section, it includes her blog, and podcasts of some Who shows on their current tour. Recently, she closed a jam with the very moving "Blue" by Joni Mitchell which Fuller dedicated to Linda McCartney. A real nice touch!
I haven't been to a whole bunch of live shows but I've been to a decent amount. The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett, Shawn Colvin, The Cranberries (remember them!), are just some that I can recall at the moment. I know there are more, but these are the ones I can remember right this second.
It's pretty amazing how The Who and Bruce Springsteen step up their performance when you hear them live as opposed to in-studio. Anything I can get my hands on from The Who or The Boss that is live is like gold to me. I love them both on their studio Cd's but I can't overstate how much these guys take things to a new level!
This as opposed to Jay Z who actually goes down a few notches when he is live. I have all of his studio albums which are great, but live, he sounds pretty bad. I hate to say it, but there is no other way to put it. I can't figure it out! Seriously.
So much for retirement as Jay releases Kingdom Come on November 21.
Jay Z's girlfriend, Beyonce, will be co-starring with Desperate Housewives' star Eva Longoria in a 'lesbian' version of Brokeback Mountain. I didn't see the original and have no plans to see this new version, but I have no doubt that it will be a smashing success at the box office and that Howard Stern will have a field day with it.
Finally a music video channel that plays videos. The Tube plays everyone you could imagine and is one of the highlights of having the new digital cable box that Cablevision made everyone get a few months ago. Also, there are a bunch of music channels that are genre-specific. Although there are no videos they do show some assorted facts about the musicians that are playing. Kind of like VH1's Pop-Up Video without the annoying bubbles.
The Yankees traded Gary Sheffield and I know some will be happy to see the Bombers cutting payroll for a minute or two. The issue of the payroll is a hot button one. So let me just say that my thing with it is this: The Yankees are operating within the rules, no question about that. They also generate an enormous amount of money. But if I am George Steinbrenner I don't think I would entrust Brian Cashman with putting together a team that has come up so short. Especially, when it is my money!
If the New York Yankees are about winning the World Series, then Cashman has been an abysmal failure. I like the guy. But at this point maybe he should have taken the heat after the Yanks fell to Detroit.
Getting rid of bench bosses is window dressing in my opinion. The Boss has mellowed, but maybe too much. That's why I bring up the payroll, not because I believe the Yankees are cheating. The fact is, a player on Kansas City has no business complaing about how much the Bombers spend, because he voted in favor of the collective bargaining agreement that sets the rules for how all of MLB's teams operate. I gotta think that if the Yankees don't get it done this year, Cashman's a goner.
The New York Rangers are playing much better and are paying more attention to defense and backchecking. Their trip out west has seemed to have transformed the team.
The Dominick Moore for Adam Hall trade has been a bust to this point. Hall doesn't use his size nearly enough, and the Rangers definitely miss Moore, who was one of the best penalty killers in the game.
Jed Ortmeyer is working hard to return, probably in late December, after a pulmonary embolism was discovered this summer, which potentially can be fatal.
Although a lot of publicity has been given to New York Giants' running back Tiki Barber's retirement at season's end; General Manager Ernie Accorsi will also be riding off into the sunset at the conclusion of the season. A pretty good G.M. and by all accounts a heck of a guy!
I am currently reading Boxing's Brainiest Champ and His Upset of the Great Jack Dempsey by Jack Cavanaugh. So far a pretty good read.
THE WORLD OF THE DESPICABLE
Bill Maher is classless for not only saying that the Republicans are all homosexuals stuck in the closet, but also for his Halloween costume; The Crocodile Hunter complete with a stingray sticking out of his heart.
ELIMINATING THE ANNOYING
Hey are you tired of getting those annoying letters asking you to get such and such a credit card? Well now you can be put on a list so that you will no longer be solicited. Just call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.
In the spirit of pro wrestling, why don't we just add Mitt Romney/Jeb Bush vs. John McCain/Rudy Giuliani vs. Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama in an "Anything Goes Triple Threat Match" at ECW's December 3 pay-per-view, "December to Dismember." The winners will decide who the next Presidential Administration will be. I bet it will be less dirty than what we will see over the next two years.
Wow, I'm really sucking wind!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Britney Spears is dumping K-Fed. I guess she is also upset at the fact that he has challenged WWE Champ John Cena. Vince McMahon can be a brilliant promoter, but the whole K-Fed angle may be one of his worst ideas yet.
Speaking of wrestling King Booker was victorious at Cyber Sunday making him the "Champion of Champions." Makes sense actually, since his World Championship has links back to the WCW World and NWA World titles, the oldest in the biz.
If you haven't been watching you are missing something really special on MSG with their 50 Greatest Moments series. A new one airs every Tuesday night, and they repeat the show multiple times during the week. When it comes to production and that sort of thing, MSG is one of the best.
I listened to Opie and Anthony for the first time in a very long time this morning. They were discussing the ouster of Don Rumsfeld, and they actually showed themselves to be pretty intelligent. Then Cindy Margolis came on the air and it became time to change the station. I don't have a problem with the shock jocks, but these guys do go over the line. When O & A orchestrated a man and woman attempting to have sex inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, I had a big problem with it. The hierarchy of the Church can be criticized for the pedophilia scandals that have rocked the Church, but when you interfere and basically make a mockery of the folks who are trying to practice their faith, that I have a big problem with.
I actually used to like Opie when he was with WBAB many years ago. But I was in college then and my tastes have thankfully evolved. At that time he was not as far out there as he is now.
My problem with the whole Howard Stern/Pete Townshend thing was that I don't see the humor when someone makes fun of some else for being abused as a child. I don't get it. But then again I don't listen to it, which is a good thing. Most rock stars have some strange stuff in their history, especially the guys who were around in the 1960s. I don't know if some of them try to accentuate their eccentricities or what, but I mostly don't pay attention to it.
I actually really don't understand the obsession with another person's sex life. That's what I have pretty much always gotten from Stern. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying this, but I think when you reach 30 or older, your tastes do not include Howard Stern. But who am I to say what people should and shouldn't like!
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I saw a guy named Brooks Williams perform locally. Here's the deal with that: Monty Delaney has something called "Monty's Room" at his residence every now and again. This is where some of the musicians that he is buddies with come and perform, and Monty gets some pretty good food. So I walked about five minutes from my place to his and paid $20 bucks to eat and listen to a very talented musician. This led me to thinking about what makes a musician really successful and what makes them kind of a local circuit kind of guy. The answer was simple for me, it's talent, it's the music they play, their stage presence, but above and beyond everything else, again it's talent. I mean no disrespect but as good as this guy was and as good of a guy as he was, there is a major difference between him and someone like Eric Clapton.
I used to hear people say that minor league sports is great. That there are some real good athletes and it is not as expensive as the big leagues. True. Some would even say that it's better. Not true. I have gone to a fair number of minor league baseball and hockey games, as well as professional games. Their is absolutely no comparison. I respect the guys in the minors, but trying to draw a comparison is like comparing apples to oranges.
Still, I love being able to listen to guys and gals perform who are not as popular as the folks who get the most play on the radio. So that leads me to this from Monty's website:
Saturday, February 3rd, 2007
THE IRVINGTON THEATRE
An Evening With Montgomery Delaney & Friends - 8PM
Westco Productions is proud to continue to present some of the finest in Adult Contemporary and Contemporary Folk that America has to offer. As of this writing, Montgomery will be joined by his good friend, singer, songwriter, slide guitarist extraordinaire, PAT WICTOR as well as the amazing new/NEW ENGLAND singer/songwriter on the block, ANAIS MITCHELL who is literally taking the country by storm with her debut release "Hymns For The Exiled". You will not want to miss this first major appearance by Anais in Westchester County. Montgomery will be joined on guitar by Grammy nominated guitarist Gil Parris and on percussion by the exquisite hands of Ali Chambliss. ORDER TICKETS NOW by clicking on the "THE IRVINGTON THEATRE" above...SEE YOU THERE !
He's a very talented and likable guy, if you get a chance I would definitely encourage anyone to go and check him out. He's not performing locally until that time which is kind of disappointing. Monty is also planning to release a new CD in early 2007.
If I hear anything new I'll be sure to pass it along.
The phone slammers decided to chime in about the election. I was so glad they gave their two cents on this topic. These two will tell you they don't know much about a subject and then they'll act like they do. If you need a mechanic, neither one of these guys would be able to fix your car, but they sure as hell will tell you all about it.
TO THE WINNER GOES THE SPOILS
For some reason I find the Geico commercial where the caveman is in the airport and sees himself in a Geico promotional picture to be quite humorous. What adds to it is the music playing in the background. So if you can name that tune, I will give you a Cohiba cigar or at the very least I will buy you a drink at Starbucks. Or maybe I'll just shake your hand and say thanks.
The positives out of this is that our democracy, which in actuality we are really a republic, is strong. The Iraq war has got people down and they wanted a change and they voted for it. Still way too low of a voter turnout, at 40%.
I learned a great deal about several black politicians such as Michael Steele who ran unsuccessfully for Governor in Maryland; Congressman Harold Ford ran for Senator in Tennessee, in which he was defeated; as well we saw the success of many women such as Nancy Pelosi, who will soon be named as the first woman to be Speaker of the House; and the incredible victory for Jodi Rell who became Governor of Connecticut.
This should serve as a great example to the rest of the world such as the violent and extremely angry Islamists, some of the smug Europeans, and the anti-Americans who reside inside the borders of our great country.
Democracy is healthy when there are two parties who have a say, however, the Democratic party is for the most part a joke. But they have a great opportunity to straighten things out in Iraq, to continue the enormous strides made in the overall War On Terror, and to deal with the illegal immigration problem. Let's see if this once proud party rises to the occasion, or folds like a cheap suit. As they say in the world of broadcasting, stay tuned...
Franks operated out of his offices in Tampa, Florida, and I never heard him on television or in his book say anything negative about Rummy. Franks, was the General in charge that led the invasion of Afghanistan and then later Iraq. Him and Rumsfeld worked together to develop a plan to wage war inside these two nations.
Prior to 9/11 Rumsfeld was in the process of reforming the military into a force that would be capable of fighting in the way that wars would be fought in the future. The days of mass invasions were over, he believed, and the days of relying mostly on Special Forces was the new way to wage warfare. This was done successfully in Afghanistan. The U.S. relied heavily on the locals, mostly the anti-Taliban fighters, known as the Northern Alliance. Although Secretary of State Colin Powell wanted a 500,000 invasion force for Iraq, Franks and Rumsfeld went with a force much smaller, but still substantial at around 150,000.
Overall I liked Rumsfeld, with some mixed feelings, but a time for change had come and was probably overdue. But to besmirch this man's good name as he served his country in the Navy during the 1950s is really out of line. He was the oldest and youngest man to hold the position of Secretary of Defense. The man loved his country and did the best he could. Nothing like Monday morning quarterbacks to make him out to be a pariah!
Rumsfeld has a personality that I generally don't gravitate to. He is, in sports parlances, similar to Bill Parcells, Pat Reilly, and Bobby Knight, three guys I can't stand. Although Reilly is a bit more congenial as opposed to the other two men who exude arrogance at seemingly every moment.
Rummy was an in-your-face type of guy, he got up five days a week and played squash first thing in the morning, at the age of 74 no less.
From what I have read over the years, the generals in the military generally don't like the whole idea of Special Forces. Some of the traditionalists see it as too much like Rambo. But things change, the world has changed. There is no more Soviet Union but a much more fragmented enemy.
I kind of feel bad for Rumsfeld, but he's got plenty of money and has been incredibly successful in life. But he took an endless amount of criticism since he was sworn in five years ago. He got no credit for the good that was done in Afghanistan, or Iraq for that matter.
History, will view this man favorably and will see him as a visionary, hardheaded yes, but not a stupid man. I think he will actually be missed when all is said and done.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
My fellow Americans, I regret to inform you that although the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives last night, that you and I are the real losers. This is a very grim day for America and her allies, and I fear that the worst is yet to come.
I have added the Department of Homeland Security to my links section. I would strongly suggest that you go to the DHS website and click on 'prevention and protection,' because I believe that within the next 90 days we will be hit with a terrorist attack that will be beyond our worst nightmares.
By the end of this weekend, I will make sure that I have a kit at home at the ready for not if, but when, this catastrophic attack occurs. Let me make it as clear as possible: I have no doubts, but only pray that I am wrong. The West is in grave danger now, terrorists know we are very much divided. "United we stand, divided we fall." We, the West, are about to fall.
In fact it has already begun:
Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said Wednesday that a truce with Israel is finished and his group's militants can resume fighting following an Israeli tank attack that killed 18 Palestinians.
Militants will answer the deaths with "deeds, not words," Mashaal told a news conference in the Syrian capital.
From World Net Daily: Terror groups in the Gaza Strip, including militants from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, warned today they may attack U.S. interests in the Middle East.
Hamas' so-called "military wing" released a statement, the first of its kind, calling on Arabs and Muslims to attack American targets in the Middle East in response to an Israeli artillery strike today that killed at least 19 Palestinians.
"The U.S. provides political and logistical cover for the crimes committed by the Zionist occupation, and it must be blamed for the Beit Hanoun massacres," the Hamas military wing said in a statement.
Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah: "When we were young, I cannot forget the sight of American forces leaving Vietnam, and the Americans abandoning their Vietnamese allies, I anticipate the same for our region."
The terrorists are emboldened by what they see as a country about to come apart at the seems.
Saddam Hussein was right when he said we would come in and be very successful at the beginning, but eventually the folks in this country would wear down.
If you do a search on Google or Yahoo, type in "Bin Laden's Letter To America" which he wrote in 2002. He explains why he and the Islamists attack us and why our society is so decrepit. He also predicts that America will run away when the going gets tough.
Don Rumsfeld, the only man to serve as Defense Secretary under two Presidents (Bush and Ford) resigned today. I think it is very difficult to make such a substantial change like this in the middle of a war and think about it, what kind of message does this send to our troops?
Get ready folks for Nancy Pelosi and San Fransisco politics. Get ready for endless indictments and an attempt at impeachment.
Quite often I hear people say that the Iraq war is a recruiting ground for new terrorists. But being repeatedly attacked as we were throughout the 1990s by al-Qaeda and prior to that by Hezbollah is never mentioned as a recruitment tool. I believe that although our country is being protected pretty well by law enforcement, I think that the real reason we have not been attacked is that al-Qaeda has to top 9/11. That a smaller attack, although deadly, would show the terrorist network to be less potent, and therefore not as attractive to potential suicide bombers.
How many terrorists were produced as a result of September 11, 2001? How many were produced after seeing tapes and coverage on CNN of American soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu and then our "fearless leader" former President Bill Clinton taking our troops out as soon as he could, because he could. We ran out of Lebanon in 1984 under President Reagan. Former President Jimmy Carter stopped supporting the Shah of Iran which led to his ouster by Ayollah Khomeini and his firebrand of shiites which we are now dealing with today.
With President George H.W. Bush at the helm, we told Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein at the end of Gulf War I, only we did not back them and left them to be slaughtered. We did not support the mujahideen, or holy warriors, in Afghanistan who so bravely defeated and chased the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The U.S. left and ultimately that country fell into the hands of the Taliban. We not only stopped supporting these people, but we left them with millions of dollars of our military equipment. Our history of leaving prematurely has fueled hatred for us. But I do not blame us entirely, the fault lies with the terrorists.
Keep in mind that when we left Vietnam what occurred with the killing fields and the slaughtering committee by Pol Pot and company. Is it out of the realm of possibility that something of this nature could occur in Iraq if we leave? Thus not only resulting in the deaths of so many but fueling anti-Americanism as well.
If we leave Iraq and Iran gets control of that country and their oil. Will that enable them to finish their quest for nuclear weapons? This most certainly would then trigger an arms race in the Middle East where Saudi Arabia and Egypt would be looking to quickly obtain nukes.
President George W. Bush has made mistakes, but the one issue he has right is the War On Terror. The voters failed to see that last night, or perhaps, the GOP did a poor job in selling themselves. I suppose the lack of a real policy on illegal immigration and spending money like a drunken sailor was too much for the Republican party's base. Because it was obviously not the scandals that plagued some of the GOP. Because God knows how Americans overlook scandals. For example, New Yorkers reelected crooked Alan Hevesi as State Comptroller.
Is it scary that a $25 million dollar reward has been offered for UBL and there hasn't even been a sniff of him? Should we not be worried that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks that the most popular name mothers gave to their newborn in the Middle East was Osama?
Believe it or not UBL actually took heat throughout the Muslim world because some thought the 9/11 attacks to be "premature." According to Muslim law, UBL needed approval for such a large scale attack as the one committed against New York and Washington. He got that approval from blind sheik Omar Abdul-Rahman, who now sits in jail for his role in the plot to blow up New York City landmarks. But the attacks were considered premature because it then brought attention to the problem of Muslim extremism, that if Bin Laden had waited something much larger could have been done.
Here is where the scary stuff comes in, Osama bin Laden now has religious approval to use a nuclear device against Americans, says the former head of the CIA unit charged with tracking down the Saudi terrorist, Michael Scheuer.
Let's throw this into the ring as well, a story which was reported on CNN but got little pub elsewhere:
A Pakistani journalist says that his sources in al Qaeda and the Taliban are claiming that nuclear material has already been smuggled across the Mexican border into the U.S. and that an operation bigger than 9/11 will be carried out.
Hamid Mir, who is the only journalist ever to interview both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, claims that he learned this information on a recent trip to Afghanistan in September.
A man called Adnan Al-Shukri Jumaa (Juma, Jumah) is presently in the U.S. and has been assigned the task of detonating the nuclear material. The report does not say whether an actual nuclear bomb was smuggled in or only material to be used for a 'dirty bomb'.
This was supposed to have happened during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which ended last month. I believe now that the U.S. is going to be so divided and so bogged down at home, we are a ripe target. I also believe that this is why UBL has not sent one of those tapes to be aired on television in quite a while. He did not want to help the Republicans in any way, as he clearly did in the 2004 Presidential election.
Iraq is a struggle, no question about that. But it is the central front in the War On Terror. If we pull out in Iraq, which I have no doubt that the Democrats will do such a thing, we are really in big trouble.
Bin Laden has become "been forgotten" it seems. The threat against the homeland seems like an ancient memory. But the jihadists have exhibited patience in the past and they always come back. Again, I strongly urge each and every one of you to prepare for the worst. I don't like to be an alarmist, but don't call me when the bombs go off.