Monday, October 30, 2006

Spinning, Spinning a poem by Sean G. Kilkelly

I know you are afraid of facing the world,
So you indulge in all things comfort,
But gain nothing from it.
The earth spins constantly,
Which makes me wonder,
If that is why so many are confused.
The ink is not dry on human history,
The quills are still busying themselves with the thrills of mankind.
Are we so lost that we don't recognize one another in passing,
But wait for each other to leave this dimension,
Before we are even worth garnering a mention.
Time heals they say, but does it really?
And if so how long will it take?
Do the wounds that we carry just become more suppressed,
Leaving so many so overtly depressed.
Am I rambling like a madman or does my prose ring true for you?
The man on TV tells me the end is near?
He threatens an impending Armageddon
But this male does so in the realm of an incredibly lost medium.
Each day we wake up we are sold a bill of goods,
From hoods who should be on street corners,
Although now they occupy the web, TV, and radio.
'Twas once the world looked so bright to you,
Yet now you ask me how to reignite your passion for life.
Spinning, spinning out of control,
The earth rotates it revolves,
Don't look up or down you may fall off,
Beware of the preacher man,
he will rob you blind,
Be careful what you wish for,
you may receive something very unkind.

Random Ramblings

One week to go before the mid-term elections. Boy the media really exhausts people with this. Yeah I am definitely interested in what happens, but it sort of becomes comparable to Mike and The Mad Dog discussing who really owns the "Enter Sandman" theme song.

By the way, nobody asked me, but the real owner of that song as their entrance hymn is ECW's The Sandman, he's been using it since its release in 1991. But anyway who really cares? My point is that we have gotten bombarded with dirty politics for quite a while now. But get ready because November 8th begins the push for the White House. We will be even more bombarded with politics than ever before. A lot is on the line in 2008 and the media desperately wants one of their own to take office. I believe Hillary Clinton will win, although she would never get my vote. In fact, if all the Republicans have to offer is John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mit Romney, Hillary will roll to victory. But that's for another time. Romney teaming up with Florida Governor Jeb Bush is an appealing ticket; McCain/Giuliani would probably make me consider staying home.

I think the Dems will retake the House, but not the Senate. This actually could benefit the Republicans in '08 because the country will see how inept the Dems are when it comes to the War On Terror and many of the social issues that everyday folks find to be important. But as we are on the eve of Halloween, let's remember that the election has not occurred yet, and I believe there will be one event that will take place that will have a major impact on the results one way or another.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

T.G.I.F.S. or Odds & Sods Extended Version

Greetings, one and all!

What a long and busy week. Today, is the first day I checked my email or visited my own blog.

So why don't we do some catching up, shall we?

Last weekend I saw The Departed with Matt Damon, etc. etc. Great cast and very well-acted. However, it is very violent and graphic, with a lot of cursing, and also if you are easily offended, I would suggest not going because they offend basically every ethnic group around. Overall, a good movie!

I also got to see Brooks Williams perform recently. He is very similar to James Taylor. I got to chat with him for a few minutes and found him to be a pretty good guy. He gave out, yep for free, a bunch of his CDs, so I grabbed two of them. You have to be in the mood for his music as it is very laid back, but he is a very talented guitarist. Basically, he is blues, jazz, and folk mixed together.

To be quite honest I am not a huge James Taylor fan so I wouldn't normally listen to a performer like Williams or someone of that ilk. But I liked his music, plus he is a good guy so it becomes more of a sell for me when someone is cool. Plus, I am always looking to hear something new. "Hey Chuck, remember that new sound you were looking for? Well, listen to this." Know what movie that was from? OK, times up, Back to the Future. Anyway, I would recommend giving Brooks a listen.

Here is the link to his website:

Only hours remain until the new Who CD Endless Wire is released. I have heard mostly good reviews so far. By the way, Pete Townshend walked out before being interviewed with Howard Stern on Wednesday. But Roger Daltrey stayed. Stern to me is and always has been a bozo. Having said that, PT should have known what to expect when he agreed to go on with Stern. For his part, Howard Stern did apologize on-air and said he wished Pete would come on with him. Stay tuned...

I was in Barnes & Noble recently and I saw this gigantic book about the top 500 albums ever with an intro by "Little"Steven Van Zandt. I think likes and dislikes are very subjective when it comes to music and any form of art, so I don't really put much stock into these sort of things, but a few items to mention.

I am glad that rap got its due. Especially, greats such as Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z. It is kind of a given that most critics recognize Reasonable Doubt as Jay's best album, but so little credit is given to The Dynasty compact disc. Funny they liked many of the standard Who albums, such as Tommy and Quadrophenia, but did not list maybe my favorite, By Numbers. Which some say is a dark album. Pete wrote it when he was in one of his downer moods and questioning the whole disco thing. It was also written at a time where Pete's relationship with Roger had deteriorated to almost the point of no return. Sure Pete's depression is shown in songs like However Much I Booze, but a few of the songs are quite light-hearted such as Squeeze Box and Dreamin' From The Waist.

I was surprised they did not list this album, but it just goes to show we all have our own personal likes and dislikes.

I am not sure if it is me or not, however, I am really not very charged up about sports right now. The NHL season is young and I won't really be more into it until mid-November. I am not worried about the Rangers mediocre start, because the NHL right now is littered with mediocrity. Yeah, the Bruins stink, that's no surprise. Ditto the Flyers, but that is a surprise to me. But what you have on ice is mostly 3-4, 4-4, or 5-4 teams. Of course, Buffalo is off to an incredible start. I like the Sabres but did not expect them to be this dominant. Atlanta is also off to a great start, but injuries have plagued them the last few years. Let's see if they can stay healthy.

Incidentally, the Rangers make little sense sometimes. There is talk of them waving or trading Darius Kasparaitis who is a good leader and pretty fierce on the blueline. But are going to keep
Sandis Ozolinsh who has proven nothing with the Blueshirts and makes a lot of money. There is even talk about trying to send Thomas Pock back to Hartford, which would mean they would have to put him on waivers and risk losing him. Pock is a young blueliner and in my book, young d-men are like left handed pitchers. If you get a good one, or one with promise, you do everything you can to hold on to him.

The Yankees and Mets obviously ended in a disappointing fashion and I found the World Series to be lackluster. The Jets are nothing to write home about. The Giants will let me down at some point, probably in the playoffs. The Knicks, Nets and Islanders....insert joke here. Oh yeah, the Devils. The Devils are a great organization that should have been moved a long time ago in order to get some worthwhile attention. Add to the mix I am not a big college football fan. So where is the juice coming from in pro sports?

Incidentally, just wondering if the radio phone slammers are ready to make more excuses as to why they make bad pro picks?

Also, how is that Subway Series they guaranteed going? You know, the one that they would not allow anyone to question them about.

So that leads me to sports talk. I remember the good old days of WFAN in New York. Where I couldn't wait to put on the radio to see what Mike and Chris had to say about a certain topic or The Sweater and The Schmoozer. But now the only time I listen to WFAN is to hear Mike and The Dog, and that's basically when I am tired of listening to Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly or have played out my compact discs.

Don't get me wrong Mike and The Dog are still great. They are at their best when they are being funny. But there is just no juice right now and hasn't been for quite a while. The A-Rod talk got old very quick, as did the Tiki Barber talk. I am not sure what it is. Maybe I am just not as big a sports fan as I once was. Or perhaps, and I think this is really the answer, there is just an over saturation of sports.

The problem with sports talk is many of the hosts spend too much time on one subject. This makes me long for the days of Scott Ferrell. A bit cartoonish in his approach but he was at least able to talk about multiple topics and was mostly respectful to the folks that called in to his program, "Ferrell On The Bench." I know he got in trouble off-mic a few times and I am really not sure where he is currently. But radio misses a guy like that to get things charged up.

Sex, overindulgence in booze, scandals, lies. Sure looks like an election is coming up. I am really interested to see not only who wins, but also how many people come out to vote. I sense that the folks of this country are really ticked off at both parties and may not come out to vote. Once again democracy loses to the power-hungry whores in Washington.

Not all politicians are bad, but there is definitely enough of 'em right now!

RVD beat Big Show in a ladder match on Tuesday night in a non-title bout. So now RVD will face Show for the ECW Championship on pay-per-view at "December to Dismember." That is if Show gets through his "Champion of Champions" match at Cyber Sunday.

Say what you want about Vince McMahon but the guy is one sharp cookie. This upcoming pay-per-view next Sunday has the fans deciding via internet, the types of matches and opponents. Ingenious. McMahon also showed great brilliance when he purchased the video libraries of all the other now-defunct wrestling promotions. This led to a 24/7 wrestling channel. McMahon not only beat all the competition but outsmarted them right to the bitter end. So why is this so brilliant one might ask? Here is a perfect example: The WWE recently released an anthology DVD on Hulk Hogan which has footage of Hogan in the AWA and Mid-South where he got his start. So since McMahon and the WWE own the video libraries of those two dead promotions they don't have to get into any legal battles and can put out a more complete product.

McMahon is definitely not a saint, but he is unquestionably a great businessman.

I love this time of year and am a big fan of Halloween. I like all the scary movies that are on television as well. But wonder why I never see The Black Cat or Interview With The Vampire on cable. The Black Cat is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen and is a classic. It stars two masters in Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. The story is by Edgar Allan Poe so you know you can't go wrong. It's not a slasher film, but that doesn't diminish its frightfulness in any way. It's a shame they don't put it on.

Interview With The Vampire stars Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise and is based on the book by Anne Rice. As always, the book is better, but the movie is pretty good. It also stars Christian Slater, Antonio Banderas, and a very young Kirsten Dunst.

Here are some folks who I hope get no candy for Halloween:

The very smug David Gregory, the very, very attractive but loves to play the game of gotcha Norah O'Donnell, the very fake Katie Couric, and the man-hating Maureen Dowd.

Yeah sorry, I guess not everyone loves Katie!

Just to show that there are a few good liberals, I have sent candy to the following:

WABC's Ron Kuby, Fox News' Alan Colmes, and author and The New York Times' Tom Friedman.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Odds & Sods

So little to talk about with so much time. Wait, strike that reverse it. Yes, I never get tired of Willie Wonka.

I am not for a complete pullout, but I am also not for "staying the course." There has to be a different strategy in Iraq, which I have wanted to see for quite a while. President Bush is meeting with his top generals this weekend and I am eagerly anticipating what, if anything, comes out of it. October has been one of the deadliest months for the troops in Iraq. Something has to change and right now it is very important for all those who are in power to work together to come up with a solution that makes sense. The time for finger pointing should be over. To read more about our brave men and women serving in Iraq you can click on this website below:

The Islamic Courts, now in charge of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, has banned women from swimming at the local beach. This story was just a little blurb in many newspapers, but I believe this should be headline news. OK I can hear some people saying that no newsroom in the country would take me seriously, that's fine. But certainly the talking heads on television can find time to talk about this. Some people think that since Somalia is on the other side of the world that it is inconsequential. However, I recall a New York politician once saying, "If it happens in Mount Vernon, stop it. Because if you don't it will come to Scarsdale."

His point being that left unchecked the rich are not immune to adverse problems or being oppressed. I really don't think that the world has really grasped the problem of Islamic extremism. I am sick of hearing people saying how popular the US was after 9/11. I recall many people around the world celebrating the attacks on America, and I am not just talking about those in the Middle East or their descendants.

So if the Dems take back Congress or at least the House, do you feel safer with Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel having more congressional power? I don't. UBL and company must be salivating at the prospect. This is not a scare tactic, but I believe to be the truth, that the policies of those on the left leave this country more vulnerable for an attack.

So the Democrats are against wire tapping of terrorists, against Iraq, they say Afghanistan is a failure, etc. etc. Just wondering, they support our troops how? They support the War On Terror how?

Supposedly this was the year that we would once again see the Mets and Yankees in the World Series. The guys who love to slam the phone down on people guaranteed it. There was no way that Detroit could beat the Yankees. How dare anyone even question the "phone slammers." So much for guarantees...

By the way I like Detroit in seven!

I wonder if Tiki Barber is trying to get his team more focused then they have been. Perhaps that is why he found it necessary to announce that he was "leaning towards retirement" at season's end. I hope it works...

Montgomery Delaney & The Itchy Nipple Band will be performing Wednesday night at Vintage, 171 Main Street, White Plains N.Y. 10601 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The debut of The Itchy Nipple Band.

Delaney is very talented and his new CD is definitely worth a listen.

I have recently finished Blood and Gold by Anne Rice and am zipping through Blood Canticle, the final book in the Vampire Chronicles. I am looking forward to reading the paperback version of Christ The Lord, Out Of Egypt which is due out November 1.

According to Rice's website, this new introduction will appear in the paperback edition of the book: This book seeks to present a realistic fictional portrait of Our Lord in Time. It is rooted in the faith that the Creator of the Universe became human in the person of Jesus Christ and “dwelt among us.” The magnificent mystery of the Incarnation is accepted and affirmed as fact. Scripture is the inspiration for the emotions and powers of the Child Jesus as they are envisioned here. History as well as the gospels is the source for this picture of a world in which Our Lord might have lived, as a little boy, in war and in peace, from day to day.

I really think her writing is incredible and is guaranteed to improve one's vocabulary. I am always amazed at how Rice blends fiction with history and weaves it into a literary work of art.
Rice is a true genius in our time.


Ozo Back On The Blueline...

Tonight Sandis Ozolinsh returns to the lineup for the New York Rangers when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ozo played poorly in the playoffs last year for the Rangers, after he was obtained from the Anaheim Ducks late in the season.

His deficiencies are quite apparent defensively, but offensively he is definitely very skilled when on his game. An arrest in the offseason and surgery, actually seems to have given Ozo a new lease on life. In reading his comments the last few days, he appears to be more willing to take responsibility for his problems that have taken place on and off the ice the last season or so. The former all-star entered into the NHL's substance abuse program early last year, but was said to have been doing much better after returning to NHL action. That all came before his disastrous end to last season for Ozo and the Rangers.

We'll see what happens. But the Blueshirts' blueline needs a better offensive presence. Ozo might just be the guy.

The Rangers looked good against New Jersey in Monday night's win, but not that great in a loss to Nashville on Wednesday night. I liked the style New York played against the Devs; playing more like old New Jersey teams. That's what I loved about the Rangers last season. They reminded me of the Devils of their glory years. Tight defense, solid penalty killing, and goal scoring by committee, led by Chairman Jaromir Jagr. In addition, a goalie that left no rebounds.

So far in this very young season the Rangers have taken too many penalties and have seemed to be more focused on offense. I don't want to see this team try and play run-and-gun. Tighten things up, skate hard, and draw penalties. Then they can let what may potentially be the best power play in the league to take over. That's what will make this Rangers' team successful.

Brendan Shanahan has been sensational, but I am afraid Coach Tom Renney will burn him out. The whole point to having him on the team is for the playoffs where his leadership and feistiness will be extremely valuable.

Henrik Lundqvist has been a bit inconsistent, but I am not worried.

Michael Nylander always gets off to slow starts, so that does not worry me either.

What I am concerned with is the forwards not backchecking enough and taking lazy penalties. I really hate to hear coaches whine about the refs calling bad penalties. Yes, the Rangers have had some phantom calls go against them. But it's a long season. Also, referees have long memories and if a team gets a reputation as a bunch of whiners, they will lose the benefit of the doubt from the men in zebrastripes.

The Rangers have to get back to being a "blue collar team" like last season when they worked extremely hard on every shift. They do miss Jed Ortmeyer, a future captain, who will be back in January after doctors discovered a heart embolism during the summer. They do miss Dominick Moore who was traded for the hulking Adam Hall.

So that means that Hall has to start using his size in front of the net. Ditto Marcel Hossa. Peter Prucha, benched often in this young season, has got to start playing like he deserves to be in the NHL, despite his diminutive size. Nigel Dawes either has to start using his blazing speed or take a slow bus ride back to Hartford.

It's early yet, but the Rangers seem to be lacking that "eye of the tiger" they had last year.

Tonight, is a good place to start. If this team's gigantic hearts are in deed dormant, perhaps a brutal hipcheck from Darcy Tucker or Michael Peca will awaken these Rangers.

Stay Onsides!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Walking Down Memory Lane and Elsewhere...

So this morning I happened to be in the area of Pelham Manor and I decided to stop in to what was, at one time, my favorite coffee shop around. The Four Corners Cafe on US 1, about two miles north of the Bronx. I hadn't been there in about three years, if not more. I was once a regular of the shop when I lived in that part of the county. I'm not a big coffee drinker but they do have some very good and smooth tasting coffee, not to mention their chocolate croissants.

When I lived in New Rochelle, along the Pelham Manor border, I used to regularly start my day with their coffee, but most importantly their chocolate croissants. I have a real endless love affair with chocolate! I would get up pretty early, hit the cafe and also buy the New York Post and/or the Wall Street Journal. Generally, I would either sit in the store or sometimes I would go to Glen Island to relax before my day would start. I would look out at the Long Island Sound; watch the endless line of cars and trucks going over the two bridges leaving the Bronx, and I would also wonder about what would ever become of David's Island. Oh, will they ever do anything with this valuable property that was once a military operation?

So I would eat breakfast and read the papers and more or less try to solve the world's problems. Once I finished with that around 8 a.m...

Seriously, though, thinking back to the last year or so that I lived in the Queen City, I remember I would go running about three or four times a week. My route began at my house and take me down Shore Road past the neighboring public golf courses of Pelham and Split Rock; I would continue chugging along past the NYPD's Firing Range, Rodman's Neck; this would then take me to City Island. When I would reach the end of the island I would take a break for a few minutes. I always remember the water from the Long Island Sound being extremely choppy in this particular area. Some referred to it as a second Hell Gate.

The real Hell Gate of course is an area that is supposed to be an extremely difficult area to navigate where the East River meets the Long Island Sound. In fact, the waters were the site of New York City’s worst maritime disaster when the steamer General Slocum caught fire and about 1,021 of the 1,300 on board the ship burned to death or drowned in the East River on June 15, 1904. The ship was headed toward Long Island’s North Shore with the congregation of St. Mark’s German Lutheran Church on board.

The Hell Gate Bridge is considered to be the world's strongest, particularly after being reinforced following 9/11. It runs from Astoria and Randalls and Wards Islands over the section of the East River known as Hell Gate. You can see it when you are driving over the Triborough Bridge, it is to the east. The bridge is used for Amtrak and some freight trains and was a target for sabotage by the Nazis in World War II.

But I digress, a somewhat strange area being that Hart Island and Riker's Island sit just offshore. Hart is of course home to the infamous Potter's Field and Riker's, well, unless if you just landed from Mars, you have heard of Riker's, a place for some of the most hardened criminals.

So anyway I would usually jog the remainder of the way home but sometimes would walk, round trip it was about 11 miles and would usually take me up to two hours. I was very ambitious and would get up at around 5:45 or 6 a.m. and do this. But there wasn't a better way to start a day! Incidentally, besides having some very good seafood restaurants, City Island also offers one of the best views of New York City and Long Island. As far as food goes you really have to know where to go on the island. Tito Puente's is pretty good, but the Lobster Box is probably your best bet.

I haven't been able to jog that much in a long, long time. I would love to get back to where I was, as I once had aspirations to run the NYC Marathon.

To be continued....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Smoke And Mirrors, Or The Real Thing?

I make the difficult transition of going from the usually innocuous world of professional sports to the more serious topic of terrorism. I have held off writing about this for at least two months because I have read many stories in the past about "impending attacks." However, since this one has come from multiple sources I have decided to write about it.

According to World Net Daily: "Another Pakistani journalist is reporting receiving another threat – this one from a senior Taliban leader – warning all Muslims to leave the U.S. in anticipation of a major terrorist attack before the end of Ramadan.
The head of the Islamabad-based al-Quds Center reported receiving an audio message from Mullah Masoom Afghani urging U.S. Muslims to get out of the country "because Allah's punishment would fall on America in the month of Ramadan."
Muslims are observing Ramadan this year Sept. 24 to Oct. 23. "

If you want to view the full article just click:

It was back in August on CNN that I first saw a story of a manhunt being conducted by the FBI for a man who had smuggled in a so-called dirty bomb. CNN was the only news outlet that I saw report the story and then it disappeared after a few days. I heard Michael Savage talk about it as well. But I don't listen to him very much and when I have recently he has not mentioned this impending threat.

Usama bin Laden and friends have influenced elections in the past, most notably in Spain, so it comes as no surprise that they would try to influence this upcoming election. The question I have is who will lose the most. Obviously, if an attack does occur we would all lose. But suppose this is more of just a smokescreen. I have read over and over again that al-Qaeda is not powerful enough anymore to pull of a large scale attack inside the United States, however, such a perilous threat reminds everyone that UBL is still out there.

I can't say I believe there will be an attack soon or not. I have no idea, really. There have been many, many false alarms since 9/11 so who knows. I pray that this does not happen, of course, but I would not be shocked. I also do not believe that al-Qaeda is not capable of pulling off a "spectacular" attack in this country.

I really don't think that the vast majority of Americans understand the global threat of Islamic extremism. So many people want to blame our support for Israel. But the reality is that Israel has nothing to do with the fact that Islamic extremism is at the heart of the current genocide going on in Darfur or the Islamic Courts taking over Mogadishu and attempting to impose sharia or strict Islamic laws. In fact, there are 14 conflicts going on in the world right now that involve Islamic extremists, which obviously has nothing to do with Israel.

So getting back to the election. If this is all just smoke and mirrors, and hopefully it is, will it pull people to vote Republican, believing they are more equipped to handle the War On Terror. Or will the folks vote Democrat, believing that the GOP bumbled things with Iraq and that a change is necessary.

Personally, when I read about the possibility of such horrific attacks taking place, I use the Ronald Reagan method of "trust but verify." I believe there are many people out there who wish to harm the United States, but I am also realistic. I know that politics is a dirty game and that there are those, on both sides of the aisle, who would float rumors for their own or their party's benefit.

Time will tell, of course. Again, I pray that there are no attacks on this country. But I also wish that more people would take the time to vote. Many people have given their lives for us to have the privilege to vote, a privilege that may not always be there.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ice Chips

The New York Rangers started off great against the Buffalo Sabres the other night, and then they fell apart against the NHL's best team. The Sabres beat the Blueshirts in a run-and-gun matchup that was more like a game from the 1980s.

The good news is that it is early in the season. The bad news is that Kevin Weekes started in goal for the Rangers and was awful on most shots. He had groin problems in camp and probably is just not in good enough shape right now. But last season he was the Rangers' road warrior. Now after such a dismal performance on the road the question becomes when will he start again. Weekes was no favorite of The Garden faithful last season so it's going to be a tricky situation for Head Coach Tom Renney.

Darius Kasparaitis returns tonight against the New Jersey Devils at MSG. Kasper was kept out of the lineup for the first five games of the season after off-season surgery restricted him from getting into top game shape. The message from Renney was clear: Ice time is earned, it doesn't matter who it is. Expect Kasper to be in a nasty mood tonight!

Brian Leetch is back skating according to the New York Post's Larry Brooks. It is expected that it will take Leetch a month to get back into game shape before being ready to play. Interested suitors for Leetchie include Boston, Philly, and the New York Rangers.

The Rangers are among several teams also interested in sniper Peter Bondra, also unsigned.

Penguins' Evgeni Malkin will return earlier than expected to suit up against the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night. Watch this guy, he's a superstar-in-the-making!

Toronto superstar Mats Sundin scored his 500th goal in dramatic fashion on Saturday night giving the Leafs the win in OT against Calgary. Toronto got Sundin in a blockbuster deal in June of 1994 that sent Wendel Clark, along with Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a first-round pick to the Quebec Nordiques for Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner and a first- round pick. Clark would eventually finish his career as a Leaf in 2000.

It took a while because Clark was so popular, but Sundin has really won the fans over in Toronto. Some even believing Mats to be the best Leaf ever!

Sundin is viewed the same way former NFL star John Elway was before he won two Superbowls. Sundin has accomplished everything expect a championship. I wonder if he would accept a trade to a contender...

Stay Onsides!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rangers Need Some Sabre Rattling

The New York Rangers visit the Buffalo Sabres tonight in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. What I have seen in the first four games of the season is kind of what I expected. The Blueshirts can score, they can skate, they are a bit inconsistent on specialty teams, and they need more toughness.

Jaromir Jagr is still working himself into shape after off-season shoulder surgery. Jagr may not be up to par at this point but within a couple of weeks I predict he will be back at the top of his game. Brendan Shanahan has been awesome thus far, doing everything you would expect; taking the body, scoring, and being a real good leader. His passing is definitely underrated.

Henrik Lundqvist has been inconsistent and has been getting run more than I would like to see. This is the "franchise goalie" and the Flyers did a great job of getting traffic in front of him and bumping him every chance they got trying to get him off his game.

We have also seen some players taking too many shots against Jagr.

This is the problem right now with the Rangers. They have got to stand up for their top players. Colton Orr is a fighter. Ditto Ryan Hollweg. But if they are only getting two or three minutes of ice time per game then they are being wasted. Coach Tom Renney has got to get his team to stick up for one another and establish what each guy's role is.

Believe me I know how early it is in the year. To be honest I would rather things started off slow because we have all seen teams play outstanding in the regular season only to fall apart in the playoffs.

A shot in the arm is expected from Darius Kasparaitis, who is scheduled to return tonight. Renney was waiting for him to get back in shape after he also had off-season surgery. The Blueshirts miss his "personality" on the ice in which he talks a lot of trash and does a lot of hitting. I remember fondly when pugilist Donald Brasheer was chasing Kasper around the ice last year during a Flyers' game. That's what Kasper does best, he gets guys off their games. He's frustrating as hell and the Rangers miss him. I hope he plays tonight!

Rookie Nigel Dawes tore things up last season in the AHL with 35 goals in 77 games, but he is not getting enough ice time right now. If that continues he should be sent down to the minors.

At Center Ice: Great interview this week in the Wall Street Journal with NHL Commish Gary Bettman on the state of the game...I may have already mentioned this but Brian Leetch may become a studio analyst on Rangers' road broadcasts...Good to see Rob Ray yapping away again, but this time as an analyst for the Buffalo Sabres...So far things sound real good with Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, but I do miss John Davidson...Thursday night's Devils' win over Toronto was Martin Brodeur's 448th, moving him ahead of Terry Sawchuk for sole possession of third place all time. Marty now trails ex-Leaf Ed Belfour at 457 and his boyhood idol St. Patrick Roy at 551.

Stay Onsides!

The Figure Skater a poem by Sean G. Kilkelly

From The Doldrums Of Winter,
Comes This Tale I Tell,
A Day Like No Other,
The Story Of Amour And Great Rapture.
A Legend Now In Lore,
For I Sat At The Local Pond,
The Water Frozen Over,
The Sun Setting,
With Snow Falling Lightly.
She Would Soon Make Her Appearance,
Rising Most Certainly Like A Phoenix.
So Graceful,
So Full Of Splendor,
Elegant And Regal,
Tall And Mysterious,
Perhaps Egyptian Like Cleopatra.
An Exhilirating Smile To See,
Her Eyes The Gateway To A Mischievous Imagination,
Twisiting And Turning,
With A Subtle Gyration,
Slowly Moving Across The Ice,
For There Were Many To See,
But Jealousy Would Soon Reign Supreme,
For Here Was This Figure Skating Beauty,
Whose Lust And Love 'Twas Only For Me.

It's A New Day a poem by Sean G. Kilkelly

Ever Have A Day So Stressful,
For Not One Blessing Can You See.
You Got An Earful From Your Boss,
The Creditors Tell You Of A Serious Loss.
A Few Birds Deposit Turd On Your Car,
I've Heard That's Good Luck,
But All You Can Think Is What the F***!
Man Your Down on Your Luck,
But Don't Ever Feel Like Your Stuck,
Hey Things Are Bound To Turn Around.
Just Stay Strong,
Before Long You'll Be Able To Say,
Hey, Things Are Much Better,
Just Look Over Yonder,
The Sun Is Shining,
The Grass Is Lush,
Financially You're Now In The Black,
With Plenty Of Green,
What Will You Do,
Oh, Dare To Dream.
Life And The Tide Are Always Changin'
In And Out, Up and Down,
We Ride The Waves Of Life,
So Much Makes So Little Sense,
The Good Times The Bad Times,
And Everything In Between.
For Yesterday Is But A Memory,
Today People Were Kinda Mean,
But Tommorrow, Tommorrow Will Be The Time,
When All Sorrow Is Gone.
And All Dreams Are Pleasant,
All We Have To Do Is Just Hold On.

A Sweet Romance a poem by Sean G. Kilkelly

A Slow Dance Inititates This Sweet Romance,
Sealed With A Kiss The Fate Of Two Young Lovers,
To Be Entwined,
After A Bottle Of Wine.
Behold How Beautiful A Chance At Romance,
Intense Love Between Entangled Lovers,
For Without One Another,
Desperate Longing Is All That Would Be.
The Lonely Get No Solace,
For They Only Know The Pangs Of Longing,
To Be To Yourself Man Was Not Intended To Be,
Adam Was Lost Without Eve.

Dead Hair a poem by Sean G. Kilkelly

I Never Knew My Dad To Have Much Hair,
So 'Twas Rare Him Sitting In A Barber's Chair.
This Story I Tell You Is True,
For When The Barber Said Your Next,
My Dad Looked A Bit Perplexed.
For A Customer Was Already Waiting,
But In Vain He Was,
For The Man Fell Into A Deep Sleep,
So Deep He Made Not A Peep,
Turns Out He Was Not In A Slumber,
But Was Ready To Be Buried,
Six Feet Under.

No Nukes! No Guns!

So North Korea is testing nuclear weapons. So what? What are we going to do about it? The United Nations is a joke and should be used for low-income housing instead of the whores that are alowed to run the place. The UN blew it in Somalia, blew it in Rwanda, the Congo, Libya's WMD, Iraq's WMD, and now is blowing it with Iran and North Korea, and continues to get it wrong in Darfur at the cost of so many innocent lives.

As I write I am also glancing at Fox News reporting that the U.N. Security Council agrees on sactions for North Korea. But it won't be enough, I predict.

Kim Jung Mentally Ill will do whatever he wants and will continue to thumb his nose at the free world. Eventually he will have to be dealt with militarily, as will Iran. The same goes for what would have happened with Iraq. If Saddam had been left in charge with his two maniacal sons, the United States and friends would have eventually had to deal with him at a later date. The whole debate about the Iraq war was not if he had WMD, but the timing.

The world is a dangerous neighborhood and the world is not doing enough to make it safer. China and Russia will never go along with any kind of tough and worthwhile sanctions against North Korea. For God's sake Kim Jung Il is being controlled by the Chinese!

As far as The Sudan goes, UN troops could have been sent in long ago but China is in bed with the Sudanese government. There's plenty of oil under the sands of The Sudan which China is interested in. So the Sudanese government sends out the Janjiweed, who are Islamic fundamentalists, and they kill thousands of civilians in Darfur. Meanwhile, the African Union does nothing to help its brethren and the rest of the world fiddles about.

The lonely eyes of the world look toward the United States and asks where have you gone? But we are fighting two wars and our military is obviously spread too thin. That is why it is so important for the United Nations and the rest of the world to unite. But I won't hold my breath.

Over four hundred thousand dead and two and a half million people displaced and spilling over into neighboring Chad. I thought the world said there would never be another genocide. Well, we have now had two in the last 12 years, Rwanda in 1994 and the ongoing genocide in Darfur which began in 2004.

Way to go United Nations you have a lot to be proud of! So the whores moved from the west side of Manhattan to the east side into a posh building. As far as I am concerned they can all go to hell!

I had a debate the other day with a friend about guns. This obviously is a very hot button issue, especially lately with the recent rash of school violence we have seen across the nation. I have to clarify what I wrote on this blog once: I believe that there should be very strict guidelines as to who possesses a firearm, however, I don't necessarily believe that no one should be able to possess a gun. But I think that the less guns that are out there, the world would definitely be a better place.

Look if you want to go out and hunt, be my guest. I do feel that if you are going to eat the animals you hunt, that is fine, but I hope hunters don't just leave a dead carcass lying in the woods.

The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to bear arms. However, I think there should be some very tight restrictions. Definitely a psychological test and a meeting with a psychologist to pre-screen the person. If they have a history of alcohol or drug abuse I think that should make he or she ineligible to possess a firearm.

So why do I bring this up you ask? Well, recently a man who lives in my building committed suicide. I feel horrible for the family and for him. He suffered from multiple sclerosis and suffered a setback recently by injuring his shoulder. He was wheelchair-bound and was very dependent on others, mostly his sister. I used to see him once in a while on the elevator and he always said hello.

So one morning he went into the parking garage around 9 a.m. after most people had gone to work and then shot himself in the temple. Other people in the building said that he seemed fine emotionally as of late and showed no signs of being deeply depressed. But they did stress that he was not happy about being so dependent on others.

I want to know how this man obtained a gun. Although a shoulder injury caused him to rely on others more than usual, that hardly constitutes a reason for suicide. I can't judge him, of course, so I realize that it had to have been many, many years of setbacks which led him to that very sad decision to end his life. But he must have also been clinically depressed, which from what I have read is only treated with medication.

I really feel awful for him. I can't pretend to know what he went through in his life and the emotional pain he experienced. I hope, that he is finally at peace.

But I believe that if he obtained that gun legally then the sytem did him and everyone else an injustice. Police officers go through rigorous testing, backround checks, and interviews before they are allowed on the force. Psychological tests are pretty acurate, although not 100%, in indicating who is more likely to "go off" when under extreme duress. These tests also show who is more likely to abuse alcohol or take drugs.

The biggest argument I hear against such testing for those who wish to possess a firearm is that the right to bear arms is guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. OK fine. I also know there are many illegal guns out there. But I think it is quite reasonable to have certain guidelines as to who can and who cannot possess a firearm. The other rebuttal to my argument would be someone saying that I would then suggest we have psych testing when someone buys silverware or a car, or if one is going to buy a baseball bat. All can be used as a weapon no doubt about it. But let's just start with guns.

I am not a pacificist by any means, but too often I have read and seen on television people abusing their right to bear arms or folks that really should not have ever been able to possess a gun in the first place. Although I don't like Michael Moore but he did show in Bowling For Columbine just how easy it is to get your hands on a gun.

I am not saying the Second Amendment should be overturned, but I think because of the world we live in today we should definitely restrict the demand for guns. Take the gun manufacturers to task for the high-powered weapons they make which fall into the wrong hands. Some say that restrictions will lead to a complete abolition. That this will lead to the government having too much power. Well if you don't want that to happen maybe more people should participate in democracy, and vote. Not participating in democracy, more likely will lead to its end, rather than stricter gun control laws.

I really am not sure what the obsession is with guns. We worry about steroids in baseball, as we rightly should, but maybe we should also worry about guns in the household.

Concerning the debate I had with my friend, I know when to fold 'em, so I kind of eased up and changed the subject because I saw how angry he was getting. Like The Who sang once, "I don't need to fight to prove I'm right." I'll just blog instead...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thoughts About 10/11

The horrific tragedy that took place Tuesday showed the very best and the very worst of humanity. The bravery of the first responders and the cowardice and insensitivity of some folks in the media and elsewhere.

What we have to remember is that Cory Lidle was not just a New York Yankee or a former Philly, he was a person. A person who left behind a wife and six-year-old son. I find it deplorable that there are those in the media and talk show hosts and callers and internet posters who besmirch this man because of the team he played for or other ridiculous reasons. Let's also not forget the co-pilot who perished in this tragic accident, Tyler Stanger.

According to 1010 WINS, Stanger operated a flight school at Brackett field in La Verne, California, and lived with his wife and young child in nearby Walnut.

I heard talk show hosts bring up things about Lidle that they took exception with, some stuff that he did in his career. For me I feel that it is completely unnecessary to bring up this type of stuff. So I am not going to get into specifics, because I think that everything has been well-documented the last few days. Let the man rest in peace. Have some empathy. Does anyone remember that?

Isn't it strange that this took place on 10/11? I think when most people heard that a plane hit a building in New York City, everyone's minds went back to that horrific day five years ago. Thankfully we did not have to relive that horrible day, but I think the vulnerability that still exists was magnified by this event. However, I will add that no matter how much security there is, we just will never be 100% safe.

Hats off to the FDNY and NYPD and all the first responders. Once again, when folks are running from a burning building these brave men and women are running to save lives and extinguish a raging fire. Amazing bravery!

Great job by NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg who obviously has all his ducks in a row and ready to respond during emergency situations. I am really amazed that only the two men on board the plane died. We are truly lucky that although this was tragic it was not worse than it was.

According to Fox News, mystery writer Carol Higgins Clark, daughter of author Mary Higgins Clark, lives on the 38th floor of the building and was coming home in a cab when she saw the smoke. She described the building's residents as a mix of doctors, lawyers and writers, and people with second homes. Normally she would have been at home writing by a window in her apartment.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mini Odds & Sods

I am really happy that Joe Torre is returning to be the Yankees' manager next season. I have always hoped that he would go out winning another World Series and that's what I am hoping will happen. What a shame it would have been for Torre to have gone out after being booted in the first round by Detroit, in all due respect to the Tigers.

So if the Detroit Tigers win the World Series does it then become official that the "experts" really have no clue what they are talking about and that maybe they should think twice before slamming the phone down on people who stay on hold for over an hour. I heard that quite a bit leading up to the playoffs. A few folks tried to make a case for Detroit only to be shouted down!

Barry Bonds a Yankee next season? Never say never!

Last night on ECW was the first ever strip poker competition between the ladies of WWE Raw, Smackdown, and ECW. I know a lot of people will get fired up about this being wrong etc. etc. But the bottom line is that you can always change the channel...

I don't know if I mentioned this but Hardcore Holly lost to RVD in one of the meanest matches I have ever seen. It happened two weeks ago on ECW and let me tell you if you want to see two guys knock each other silly...this was it!

Also, for the first time ever there will be a title vs. title vs. title match at the upcoming Cyber Sunday on November 5. Big Show (ECW Champ) vs. John Cena (WWE Champ) vs. King Booker (World Champ). Just to clarify the winner does not leave with all three belts.

The Rock was great in Gridiron Gang, now let's see how John Cena does as The Marine which comes out this Friday. I plan on seeing The Departed tonight or tomorrow and I will report back to you what I think. I am intrigued by The Marine it looks pretty good.

Montgomery Delaney & The Itchy Nipple Band will be performing at Vintage, 171 Main Street, White Plains, N.Y. at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday October 25. For more information go to:

I hope to finish the rest of my previews for the NHL season this week. I hear Brian Leetch may end up as an analyst for Rangers' broadcasts.

Versus has got to stop with the graphics being put up at the bottom of the screen while play is going on. They put up little promos of upcoming games that consist of a little cartoon character shooting the puck. It got in the way several times during the Rangers' game last night.

People I am really tired of: Jeanine Pirro, Terrell Owens, and Paris Hilton!

Fox News Channel recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. So Bill O'Reilly had a special show which took a look back at some famous and infamous moments on The O'Reilly Factor. What stuck out most to me was in late 2001, Senator John Edwards emphatically stated that everyone would remain united as the War on Terror goes on. O'Reilly asked the question several times and said "Even as we go to Sudan or Somalia or Iraq or wherever to fight the terrorists?" Edwards still said "absolutely everyone would remain united."

I guess not everyone got that memo!


Saturday, October 07, 2006

These Rangers Get It...

Although I have been a Rangers' fan forever, I have not always liked some of their teams, for instance the Eric Lindros and Bobby Holik years, which were thankfully brief. But these guys are definitely likeable which makes me want to root for them even harder. This is a great article that I got permission to republish here from the author, Warren Alber of The Post Star in Glens Falls, NY. The Blueshirts were up in Lake George for some team bonding before the beginning of the season. If all professional athletes were like this what a wonderful world this would be. Enjoy!

Hockey With A Heart: Team Stops Bus After Boy Misses Out On Getting Autographs

By WARREN ALBER, alber@poststar.comWednesday, October 04, 2006

LAKE GEORGE -- Ayden Murphy thought making up a story about why he was absent from Mrs. Wykes' third-grade class at Hudson Falls Primary School on Tuesday might be necessary, because the truth, he said, is unbelievable. Murphy, an 8-year-old hockey fan who roots for the New York Rangers, went to the Lake George Forum on Tuesday with his mom, Jessica, to watch their favorite team practice.

Jessica had thought ahead and washed Ayden's authentic New York Rangers jersey, which Ayden had worn during his Adirondack Youth Hockey Association team practices, hoping Ayden might be able to get an autograph, any autograph, on it. They waited in the lobby when the players filed by going into practice, but he was not able to get a signature. They waited in a cluster of fans near the player exits, and got lost in the shuffle of other autograph seekers.

In one last-ditch effort, they scrambled out to the parking lot, and Ayden waited with his mom near the team bus. After he finally made it to the front of the line, Ayden's hopes were dashed when the doors closed and the bus started pulling away. His jersey didn't even have a scribble on it." We just wanted to get one autograph," Jessica Murphy said." He would have been happy with one."Jessica was trying to console her son, his head on her shoulder, when suddenly the bus stopped, and New York Rangers head coach Tom Renney stepped out." He came off the bus and he was like, 'Young man, come here,' and he was looking right at Ayden," Jessica Murphy said." I told Ayden, 'Go,' and he took him right on the bus."

"I thought they were going to take me to New York City, and I was ready to go," Ayden said. Once inside, Ayden walked down the aisle of the bus, and each and every player on the team signed his jersey.

"I saw the bus stop," Lake George Forum Hockey and Ice Program Manager Tara McMillen said," and then a bunch of people came in saying, 'You wouldn't believe what the Rangers just did.' But I believe it. "That organization's wonderful. If they weren't Rangers fans, they are now."

The Murphys are Rangers fans, and Ayden has a keepsake -- and a story to tell his classmates that he could not make up.

"We're going to go out and get a frame for it, and I'm going to hang it in my room," Ayden said." And tomorrow, when I get to school, I'm going to tell everybody just what I did -- I got on the bus and got everybody's autograph."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

NHL Preview:Atlantic Division

Three games last night and now everyone else gets into action this evening. The New York Rangers are at home to host the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin, in what promises to be another exciting year on 33rd and 7th.

The New York Rangers fell apart toward the end of last season; blame it on injuries, lack of experience, Olympic fatigue, or overdependence on a small sampling of players to score goals, or how about the Devils surprisingly winning 11 in a row after being seen as a team that might not even make the playoffs.

This Rangers' team went out and added some goals and experience in Brendan Shanahan, a dependable blueliner in Aaron Ward, and a speedy centerman who can put the puck in the net, former Carolina Hurricane Matt Cullen. Oh yeah, those guys have also won Stanley Cups. Add Adam Hall from Nashville who brings grit, a lot of potential for goals, and is pretty tough to move from in front of the opponent's net and you have a definite upgrade. Shanahan will be a force on the power play and will help to take the pressure off Jaromir Jagr. Meanwhile, Cullen is younger and more durable than Steve Rucchin was.

Another year for the King in between the pipes...Henrik Lundqvist won a gold medal for his home country, Sweden, last season. He helped to backstop the Rangers' revival and now is poised to carry his team deep into the playoffs. New York is very solid in goal with Kevin Weekes, Al Montoya, and Chris Holt waiting in the wings.

On the blueline the Rangers have a pretty good crop of defenders. Darius Kasparaitis still delivers the hits and humor, while Fedor Tyutin continues to develop and will probably run the point on the power play. Hey, wasn't it Kasper who found that Petr Prucha disco song they play in The Garden? Beats dancing Larry that's for sure.

Meanwhile, 27-year old Karel Rachunek returns from Russia and is a good fit to also run things with the man advantage. Tom Poti is gone and that means the Garden faithful will have to find someone else to pick on. The question I have is when will Brian Leetch sign with the Blueshirts?

The forwards are very solid. Jagr, Shanahan, and natural goal scorer Prucha enters his sophomore season ready to improve on his 30 goal tally last season. These three could put up some very impressive numbers this year. Jagr and Shanahan on the power play together could be something special to watch.

The kids are definitely alright in Hartford. So many players in Hartford ready to make the jump to the NHL and they will be pushing hard. Jarkko Immonen, Ivan Baranka, Nigel Dawes, Bruce Graham, Lauri Korpikoski, and Greg Moore will at some point in the season make their way up the stairs from Penn Station to don a red, white, and blue jersey.

The Rangers are well-coached and have a good mix of veterans, young players, and even more young players ready to make it to the big show. Tom Renney and GM Glen Sather, along with assistant GM Don Maloney will have some tough decisions to make as the season rolls along, as to who comes up from Hartford and who is trade bait. One thing is for sure though, things will be worth watching again on Broadway. This year they'll edge the Devs for the division.

The New Jersey Devils will always be a Stanley Cup contender as long as Martin Brodeur is in goal for them. Marty will go down as the best goalie of all time when all is said and done topping my personal favorite, St. Patrick Roy. Things are different in Jersey with so many of their great defensemen retired or playing elsewhere. But the Devils have been managed so well over the last decade by GM Lou Lamoriello that there is little to worry about.

The forwards are impressive, some small and fast, some extremely nasty, but all are defensively responsible. Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Sergei Brylin, Jay Pandolfo, and John Madden headline the guys up front. Of course, who can forget Patrik Elias who turned down big, big money to remain in NJ. He played 45 games last year and was the spark the Devs needed to turn around an at-that-point otherwise lackluster season. A full season of Elias means the Devils will be more formidable offensively.

I do question the Devils' hiring of Claude Julien as Head Coach. I never thought much of him when he coached Montreal, but we will soon find out. It is amazing that the Devils have had so much success and so many different coaches.

The Devils only area that could use upgrading is on the blueline. They are in need of a puck moving defenseman for one and maybe another bruiser. Hmmm, if Leetch doesn't go to the Rangers maybe he moves across the Hudson?

Is this 1994 all over again? You don't want to miss any games between the Rangers and the Devils this season.

The Philadelphia Flyers are like a broken record; good forwards, slow hulking defenseman, and of course questionable in goal. GM Bob Clarke, is still Philly's favorite son, well at least owner Ed Snider's favorite. But he built a team for 1996 not 2006. More speed is needed, especially from their d-men.

The forwards look like this: Peter Forsberg is healthy, Simon Gagne is wealthy, and Mike Knuble is definitely wise. Petr Nedved plays more like a deadhead most of the time, although he is not as "soft" as he was portrayed in New York. Their penalty killers are awesome with Sami Kapanen and Mike Handzus. 'Zus shadows the other teams best forwards like no one else in the game.

The blueline is filled with immobile d-men. Mike Rathje, Denis Gauthier, and Derian Hatcher can all hit, but lack the quickness necessary for the new NHL.

Robert Esche and Antero Nittymaki are the goalies for the Flyers, which means that Clarke will be looking for a netminder at the trade deadline.

Keith Primeau and Eric Desjardins were both forced to retire due to injuries and will both be missed. I can't picture the Flyers without the always dependable Desjardins on the blueline.

The Flyers will be well-coached by Ken Hitchcock. Last year the injury bug ravaged the team from start to finish. They'll be tough most nights, but will gracefully bow out in the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a tough team to figure. The cornerstones for a dynasty seem to have been laid: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal all figure to have stellar careers in the NHL. Crosby we know is here now after scoring 39 goals last season. Malkin and Staal may be a couple of years away, but let's see what happens. There is plenty of veteran leadership on this team with John LeClair and Mark Recchi. But for right now the Penguins are still a one man show, also known as, The Crosby Show.

The defense features the gigantic Eric Cairns and Sergei Gonchar, which means whoever is in goal will face a barrage of shots every night.

Jocelyn Thibault will be somewhat of a tutor for Marc-Andre Fleury who promises to be an all-star, some day.

That's really what it comes down to for the Penguins; some day. Some day they will be great, some day Crosby will break records, some day Malkin will dazzle the fans. Some day they won't be playing in Pittsburgh. Some day it may be Hartford, more likely, Winnipeg or Quebec.

Many moons ago Wayne Gretzky referred to the New Jersey Devils as a "Mickey Mouse organization." Well, now Charles Wang and the New York Islanders get to act goofy and wear Mickey Mouse ears. Their offseason started out well by hiring Neil Smith to be the GM and Ted Nolan to be the Head Coach. But then Wang started meddling too much and he ended up alienating Smith. Now Garth Snow is the GM and he'll have his work cut out for him. Not only is it tough enough to build a good team but apparently Wang believes he knows more than everyone else. Wang is apparently taking a page out of George Steinbrenner's playbook, which was published in the 1980s and then thrown in the recycling bin in the 1990s. Islanders' fans will really have to worry if Wang shows up wearing a turtleneck and a blazer!

Neil Smith signed Chris Simon, Tom Poti, Brendan Witt, and Mike Sillinger. Pretty good moves. Simon brings toughness to a soft forwards corps, while Sillinger brings a dependable defensive-minded game but can also chip in some goals; Poti is good offensively from the blueline and Witt is a mean bodychecker, who may be a bit past his prime, but is still nasty. Miroslav Satan and Jason Blake will score goals and Alexei Yashin will leave everyone scratching their heads.

Hey, just wondering but wouldn't the Devils make a lot of money if they had Satan on their team. Or would some politically correct pinhead stage a protest? Just asking.

Rick DiPietro signed a 15-year, $67 million dollar deal to remain on Long Island. Fifteen years! Haven't the Isles learned from the whole 10-year, $87.5 million dollar fiasco also known as the Yashin contract. DiPietro hasn't had any help defensively, but he has not performed up to expectations. He was drafted first overall in 2000! You think the Islanders miss Roberto Luongo? I know one player they definitely don't miss, Eric Fichaud. What is it about the Islanders and goaltenders. Maybe they should just try to clone Billy Smith!

DiPietro's career to this point does not, in my eyes, garner that type of money. The whole thing seemed to be a publicity stunt from Mr. Wang and I'm not exactly sure why.

In summary the Isles will lose many games. They have some exciting players and Nolan will have them ready to play every night, but it will be another year sitting at home for this once proud franchise.

One other thing to wonder about...who blows a gasket first, DiPietro or Nolan?

So here is how the Atlantic shapes up:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Get Ready To Drop The Puck!

So before I get into hockey, I was unable to post anything on baseball the past couple of days so I am going to refrain from making my picks for this round. I will wait until the second round to do so. I will say, that so far nothing has surprised me.

Well, tonight is like Christmas Eve to me; the NHL season begins. But tomorrow is Christmas Day with the New York Rangers getting into action, opening at home against the Washington Capitals. I haven't researched it, but it seems as though the Blueshirts usually open on the road. I hope that over the next four or five days I will do a more in-depth analysis of the National Hockey League, but right now I will kind of just do a basic overview and focus in on only a few teams.

The Outdoor Life Network (OLN) is now known as Versus and they will kick things off with a double-header tonight when the Carolina Hurricanes raise their Stanley Cup banner against the Buffalo Sabres followed by the Dallas Stars visiting the Colorado Avalanche, the other game will be the Toronto Maple Leafs and new Head Coach Paul Maurice hosting the Ottawa Senators.

The Buffalo Sabres have the best coach in the NHL, Lindy Ruff, a former tough-as-nails blueliner for the Rangers among other teams that he played for in the 1980s. His teams are always very, very disciplined. I expect the Sabres to be in the Eastern Conference Finals come May. The Sabres feature some very good forwards such as Connecticut native Chris Drury, Maxim Afinogenov, Brian Campbell, and Jochen Hecht, while they have two stellar goalies in Martin Biron and Ryan Miller. When Buffalo had some down times, pre-lockout, they still played with snarl and discipline, now that they have some guys who can play, they are very dangerous. A brick wall in goal and some very gritty forwards makes for a team built for the regular season and the playoffs. They could use another scorer but these guys are defintite Cup contenders. This will be the year they usurp Ottawa from the top of the Northeast division.

The Carolina Hurricanes have a great goalie in Cam Ward and a wily veteran in captain Rod Brind'Amour, lets see how much Eric Staal will continue to develop. But there is no reason to think these guys aren't going to be one of the top teams in the east again. They lost some good veterans in Matt Cullen and dependable, yet unspectacular blueliner, Aaron Ward. But I expect them to finish either first or second in the conference and are runaway winners of the Southeast division.

Things are different in 'Big D' with Brendan Morrow becoming the new captain of the Dallas Stars taking over for Mike Modano, who gave over the captaincy to Morrow. Eric Lindros and Matthew Barnaby join the team, as did Patrik Stefan. Stefan has been plagued throughout his career with injuries, and surprise, surprise starts the season on the injured list. Lindros' injury problems have been well-documented. Darryl Sydor comes back to Dallas to join a pretty formidable blueline with all-world d-man Sergei Zubov, backed up by goalie Marty Turco. If you get a chance don't miss Zubov in the shootout, he's money in the bank. Mike Modano isn't getting any younger, but he and his aging team will be very resilient. They'll need to be. The Stars won the Pacific last year but they will be hard-pressed to do so this season with the Anaheim Ducks poised to become the best team in the division and in the NHL.

The Colorado Avalanche have not done a good job adjusting to the new NHL and the salary cap which is why Rob Blake is back in Los Angeles. Joe Sakic is still Joe Sakic, but beyond forwards Milan Hejduk and Marek Svatos this team will definitely not remind you of the old Avalanche. Time to rebuild, and there is no better place to start then in goal, Jose Theodore doesn't even come close to Patrick Roy.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have brought in one of my all-time favorite players in Michael Peca, but his leadership and hipchecks won't be enough for this team. Yes, Captain Mats Sundin is who he is and Darcy Tucker hits like an NFL lineman, but you won't hear "Go Leafs Go" too often in Ontario. They will play hard and may be a seventh or eighth seed if all breaks right, but I don't think so.

The Ottawa Senators beat out the Sabres last year by three points to win the Northeast Division, I expect the same neck-and-neck battle, but this time the Sens will fall short. This team boasts an enormous amount of talent up front with Danny Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza; on the blueline they are no slouches either with Wade Redden and Chris Phillips giving nightmares to opposing forwards, and in goal they have Martin Gerber who replaces the high-maintenance Dominik Hasek.

Speaking of Hasek he returns to Detroit to try and reclaim some past glory with the Detroit Red Wings. Don't write the Wings off just yet, yes they lost Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman, but they still boast the best defenseman in the game, in Nicklas Lidstrom. Chris Chelios has had some magnificent years in his 40s, and up front, Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper, Tomas Holmsrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Robert Lang will keep this team in the playoffs.

So I will continue to preview the rest of the teams, but time does not allow me to continue much further. So I will leave you with my picks for the season:

Eastern Conference
1- Buffalo Sabres
2- Carolina Hurricanes
3- New York Rangers
4- Ottawa Senators
5- New Jersey Devils
6- Philadelphia Flyers
7- Montreal Canadiens
8- Tampa Bay Lightning
9- Toronto Maple Leafs
10- Boston Bruins
11- Pittsburgh Penguins
12- New York Islanders
13- Atlanta Thrashers
14- Washington Capitals
15- Florida Panthers

Western Conference
1- Anaheim Ducks
2- Nashville Predators
3- Calgary Flames
4- San Jose Sharks
5- Edmonton Oilers
6- Vancouver Canucks
7- Dallas Stars
8- Detroit Red Wings
9- St. Louis Blues
10- Colorado Avalanche
11- L.A. Kings
12- Columbus Blue Jackets
13- Chicago Blackhawks
14- Phoenix Coyotes
15- Minnesota Wild

Eastern Conference Finals
Buffalo beats New Jersey in 7

Western Conference Finals
Anaheim Ducks beat Nashville Predators in 6

Stanley Cup Finals
Anaheim Ducks over Buffalo in 7

I don't want to jinx the New York Rangers so I can't pick them in any way when it comes to the playoffs but I do expect big things from them this season!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Musings

It's official, I am burnt out! Too much work lately and not enough play. I am grateful to be working, but sometimes too much is too much. But I am really looking forward to the start of the NHL season Wednesday night so that may recharge my engines.

If there was someone out there who knew how to market this league and got on board right now, they would make a ton of money. Over the last few years the NHL has lost many future Hall of Famers such as Mark Messier and Steve Yzerman, along with plenty of other stars. In fact, I have never seen an exodus of so many good players from one sport at the same time as what has occurred in the National Hockey League the last few years, due largely to retirement. But the NHL cupboard is restocked and in many ways is overflowing with top notch talent. The league is young and salaries are under control. Most importantly the New York Rangers are poised to make some noise, the L.A. Kings are building a team that is going to be very good a year or two from now, and Chicago has definitely improved as well.

This out of left field...I did get to see Gridiron Gang recently and thought it was a very good movie. I would definitely recommend it!

Getting back to the NHL, the New York Rangers have certainly changed things around. In the past they would only have one prospect to talk about as being highly touted. Yet, now they have a whole group of top tier prospects. Not just according to the Rangers but the various scouting bureaus and prospect rankings. That means that the roster will probably look quite a bit different in March as opposed to the start of the season. I expect there to be some guys making the jump from the American Hockey League and maybe a prospect or two gets dealt away for some veteran experience. One thing I will say is that I don't expect them to ship out a bunch of their young players, just one or two, as opposed to the past when they would clean out all the cabinets.

There was a really great story in The Hockey News' season preview issue about the Staal family. Once again to show that the Rangers are interested in developing talent, they sent Marc Staal, a defenseman, back to his junior team, Sudbury of the OHL. Too often in years gone by they would keep a prospect on the team where he would see very limited action as opposed to sending him back to juniors. See: Manny Malhotra. It really wasn't the Blueshirts fault though. To be fair a junior player has to be either sent back or if he plays in 10 games or more he has to be kept on the roster for the remainder of the season, get paid for that year, and it costs the team a year in regards to keeping his rights even if at some point he is sent back to juniors after he plays ten or more games. Once a player is sent back to juniors he can't be recalled. Usually they will rejoin the 'big club' or the farm team after their junior team has been eliminated from the playoffs.

A player sent to the AHL farm team can be recalled at any time. So I can understand if a guy plays well in camp you don't want to lose him for the whole season. But still, at 19, unless the player is really something special I feel it is always better to send him back to not stunt his development as a player.

Getting back to the will hear that name quite a bit over the next fifteen years in the world of hockey. Eric, a forward, already won a Stanley Cup with Carolina last year. Marc I have already mentioned is expected to be a top-four d-man in the NHL probably beginning next year. Jordan, a centerman, was drafted second overall by the Penguins this past summer and plays for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, while Jared, 16, was drafted in the first round by the Sudbury Wolves this past summer and will play forward. He will be eligible for the 2008 NHL draft.

Kind of reminds me of the great Sutter Family who had six, count 'em six players, make it to the NHL. Ron, Rich, Brent, Duane, Brian, and Darryl all laced 'em up in the NHL. Meanwhile, Shaun was the first son of the Sutter Brothers to be drafted by an NHL team. He was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 1998 and is Brian's son. There was actually a seventh Sutter, the oldest, Gary, he was actually considered by his brothers and father to be the best of the clan. But according to Brian, Gary just never caught the eye of any of the scouts despite a heavy slapper.

Gary Sutter is not to be confused with Gary Suter, an American born d-man. Got all that? There will be a test on all this in the very distant future. Gary, won a Stanley Cup in Calgary and also played for the Blackhawks and Sharks. He was a member of the 1996 United States World Cup team that upset Canada in the finals!

That reminds me of last year when during a Rangers-Capitals' game play-by-play man Sam Rosen had the pleasure of saying "Nieminen(Ville) takes the puck from Numminen(Teppo) and takes a shot on Noronen(Mika)." Try saying that one five times fast!

Speaking of the Washington Capitals...Alex Ovechkin hit a hole in one during the Caps Care Classic at the Springfield Golf and Country Club in Springfield, Va., today. Ovechkin took a shot on the par-3, 160-yard fourth hole that landed short of the green and rolled in! Is this guy great at everything he does or what!!