Friday, April 1, 2011

Missing In Action

No, it isn’t John Tortorella who is MIA. He’s the one leading the search and rescue effort. He’s looking for the 3 guys that were supposed to roll the New York Rangers into the post-season.
Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky. Where have you gone? Gaborik has been a disaster all year. It is one thing if he’s been nagged by injury, but there is no reason to believe that’s been the case. And the sad part is that on most nights he visibly lacks the hunger on the ice. The hunger that Ryan Callahan has had all year. Until now. Callahan has been invisible in the past few games, and there’s no reason why. Maybe injury? Who knows at this point in the season. But Callahan has lost that step he used to have on opponents. He looks sluggish and certainly doesn’t have the pop and physicality that he did a month ago. Dubinsky on the other hand has looked hungry and physical and provides the fight when appropriate, but his puck possession has plummeted. And at this time of year the Rangers need goals and assists, and he’s providing neither. Dubinsky is strong on the puck and fast, but he continually refuses to drive to the net. Coach John Tortorella must be pounding him with these same thoughts, but clearly he isn’t listening. Nobody is. Which is certainly surprising given the time of year and the position the team is in.
Four regular season games remain. This past Wednesday and Thursday nights were meltdowns. Now the Rangers find themselves against Philly and Boston in their next two games. Not promising opponents to win against. One glimmer of hope is the Rangers have seemed to step up against the better teams of late. But lets be honest, the Rangers are going to need a lot of luck to get to the post-season this year. And now every fan has the pleasure of watching luck play a factor in the team’s final 4 games. The same luck that Olli Jokinen carried on his stick in the shootout of Game 82 last season.
On a much much brighter note, we have a newcomer in The Hasty’s Top 5 on the right. Congrats to Kate Upton. Can you say smokeshow? Shit yeah.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Last Call for Christensen, First Call for Grachev, and Hello Ms. Kramer

My long absence was inexcusable, and I apologize. I did successfully get married though, so lets take a shot and get ramped back up again here at The Hasty.

I'll start with Erik Christensen. He got a 2-year deal out of the off-season after an above-average stint with the New York Rangers last year. He showed he can play, but obviously the verdict was still out. What better a time to prove your worth than when the team is riddled with injuries right out of the gate. Well instead of seizing the opportunity, he has crumbled beyond belief. Has has compiled 1 goal and 1 assist thus far, and the amount of chances he's getting and creating is minimal. His quote today in the NY Post: "My whole life I've heard about how much talent I have, and so I've always tried to live up to that, and if I can't, then I get frustrated". Seriously? Christensen has the talent for sure, but when he starts speaking like this, it has to make you wonder. And if he doesn't start producing, then when all the injured players return, he'll be left wondering why he's on the ice with Redden in the minors.

Tonight will mark the first NHL game for Evgeny Grachev. And good for him. Although he hasn't been producing in the AHL yet, scouts reiterate the talent level this young Russian kid has. With the injuries to the lineup, this is his chance. And in the Rangers organization, chances aren't exactly a dime a dozen. Here is his first. Lets see if he can stand out.

And lastly, lets hear a warm welcome for Jana Kramer to our Top 5. Although her acting credentials aren't superb, we really don't give a shit.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Question Worth Asking Patrick Kane: What's With The Smirk?

The mugshot begs the question. The kid had to know at this point how serious the situation was. And he had to know that his big head and NHL star status wasn't going to get him out of this one. So why would he ever in his right mind decide to have a who-gives-a-sh*t look on his face? I'll tell you why. He wasn't in his right mind. The kid was drunk as a skunk and thought he could buy his way out of it (which is undoubtedly what most of us would think if we were him). But this opens up an entirely new can of worms. Patrick Kane is 20 years old and last time I checked that doesn't provide legal eligibility rights to drink alcohol in the United States of America.

So lets summarize his actions: We have assault, robbery and underage drinking. If The Hasty pieces this together, it sounds as though he got hammered with his cousin and at the end of the night (5am) they took a cab home. When it was time to pay the fare, the taxi driver locked the doors until he received his money due (as he says he always does). When Kane and his cousin paid, the cab driver said he did not have the 20 cents change, and therefore they punched the driver, took back their money, and ran off. Um, way to think this one through Patrick. But lets remember that he is innocent until proven guilty. And as horrible and convincing the reports are, there does seem to be some serious doubt of his guilt. First off, the driver's lawyer says this is all way "overblown". Also, does anyone else think it is just a little creepy for the cab driver to lock the doors? If you or I were drunk I'm not sure we would react very well to that either. But more importantly, the cab driver was reportedly driving with two DUIs and no license. That's unbelievable -- if true. Talk about taking everything he claims with a grain of salt.

Clearly something happened here though, and certainly it was illegal. The question is whether Kane committed a crime. Maybe one of the two boys simply shoved the driver when he locked them in the car. And maybe no one stole back the fare money at all. The thing Kane can't deny is the boozing piece of this puzzle. He was clearly drunk. But the good thing for Kane is that somehow he was not charged with underage drinking. Does he look drunk in his mugshot to you? C'mon. This situation wreaks in every way and don't be surprised if it ends in a money settlement. Welcome to America.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zherdev, Roddick, Roenick and Swingers

Sorry for the lengthy delay in posts. There are indeed some things to catch up on. Jeremy Roenick retired, the Rangers walked away from Mr. Z, Andy Roddick decided to continue his tennis career, and finally we'll have a nice surprise/classic video for you at the end.

Jeremy Roenick was a true warrior and an ambassador for the sport, especially in regards to media interaction. The guy was a character and still is. There has been a push for Versus to hire him as an analyst for his outgoing and controversial personality. I think I remember him doing a guest appearance as an intermission analyst once, and I specifically remember him being very mediocre. Maybe I'm wrong. Anyways, Jeremy should be remembered for his grit. The guy not only could score, but has to be one of the most gruesomely injured players of all time. But he always battled through it. To commemorate his career, check out these top 10 Roenick sound bytes I came across online. The top 2 are awesome.



Andy Roddick stepped back on the court for the first time since his loss to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. He won convincingly over Benjamin Becker in the Legg Mason Classic, which is a great sign after his hurtful loss to Roger. But his next test is tonight when he faces Sam Querry, who has been on fire of late. You can't wait to watch the match, right? Don't hold your breath. Neither ESPN2 nor The Tennis Channel start coverage of the tournament until tomorrow. That's just great, it's going to be real enjoyable clicking refresh on my computer's tennis scores. Way to go ESPN. You're doing a great job in building the tennis hype heading into the US Open which your network bought the TV rights to this year for the first time.

The New York Rangers walked away from Nik Zherdev's arbitration award of $3.9 million. The Rangers never considered Zherdev for next season, and that was clear when they signed Kotalik. I'm not so sure about Sather's decision here. If you exclude the playoffs, Zherdev didn't have that bad of a year. In fact, he led the team in points. I know he was expected to have a breakout season, which he didn't, but he had a decent year. I'll say it again, he led the team in total points. Would one more year at $3.9 million been that big of a gamble? His playoffs were horrific, but it was his first time in that position, so I would have given him a pass. Lets see what he does his second time around. But Sather decided otherwise the moment he signed Kotalik, making the arbitrator's salary decision insignificant. Hopefully Kotalik's eyes aren't blinded by the Broadway lights.

Lastly, the classic movie Swingers is one of the best ever. But the part in the movie involving the video game NHL '94 is one of the funniest scenes ever. I haven't seen it in a while, but I'll tell you, it never gets old. Please watch this below, beginning to end. You must.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is Brandon Dubinsky A First Line Center?

Is this the Rangers first line center of the future? That's the million dollar question. Why do we get the feeling that Sather isn't convinced of that? Then there's ol' Chris Drury. But again you get the feeling that Sather doesn't have first line plans for him either. So who is it then?

Lets hope it isn't someone at the expense of Brandon Dubinsky, but it sure seems headed in that direction. The Rangers have 2 players still unsigned. Nikolai Zherdev (who is unlikely to be signed) and Brandon Dubinsky. Why in the world is "Dubi" not signed? It doesn't make any sense unless it's true that Sather is shopping him. But are they already giving up hope on the youngster in exchange for a "proven" center?

I read an article the other day that laid out the potential lines for next season. I have to say, it begs the question, and undoubtedly has Sather's attention, of who will lead this team in the center ice position. Here are the hypothetical lines:

Higgins-Dubinsky-Gaborik
Kotalik-Drury-Callahan
Avery-Anisimov-Lisin
Byers-Boyle-Brashear

Lets break this down. Anisimov and Boyle are experimental, so little can be expected of them. Our top six wingers are strong, very strong in fact, and lets give Glen a pat on the back for that. But the potential problem, and undoubtedly what Sather is concerned with, is down the middle. What are the chances that either Drury and/or Dubinsky contribute significantly this year? If they do, then that would mean they overachieved. What are the chances of that? Drury isn't being shipped anywhere, he is here to stay and captain this team. So it's down to Dubinsky, and only Dubinsky. All these rumors about the Rangers being heavily interested in Brad Richards are nauseating. The former star is not what he used to be, and his level of play has diminished significantly since winning the cup. A trade such as Rozsival-Dubinsky-draft pick for Richards would be extremely tough to swallow, especially financially. Lets be fair though, swapping Richards in that lineup for Dubinsky does indeed raise an eyebrow. What if he and Gaborik click? That could be at least a combined 75 goals right there, which probably isn't realistic with Brandon in there.
But what a risk the trade would be. Too much so. I say give Dubinsky a shot next to Gaborik. If he falls on his face, then make a move mid-season. But give the kid a chance. It's better then taking on Richards' bloated contract that's almost $8 million per season.
That being said, based on media reports, a Richards acquisition seems to be what the Rangers front office is focused on these days and seriously considering. In the end here, the spotlight is on Brandon Dubinsky. The roster spot in question is Brandon Dubinsky's. The next move (or non-move) involves Brandon Dubinsky. Sign him Glen.

One last thing, I came across this photograph below, although I'm not sure who created it. Even though it is from last season prior to the trade deadline, I thought I'd pass it along. It is pretty damn funny.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Top 5 Re-Shuffle: Welcome Marisa Miller & Lucy Hale, Goodbye Maria Menounos & Kate Beckinsale

Sorry Maria Menounos and Kate Beckinsale, but your time has come. Marisa Miller had originally narrowly missed the Top 5, but she just didn't quite make the cut. Since then, lets just say things have only gone up for her. As you can see on the right-side panel, Marisa is now the new #2, even bumping fan favorites Lindsay and Anna down a spot.

Regarding the Lindsay Lohan and Anna Kournikova flip-flop----it had to happen. I've got to be candid here, Lindsay is losing a little steam in my eyes lately. I can't really put a finger on it, but I guess she's losing her lust. Anna is still going stronger than ever, and in a selection lineup my index finger points to Ms. Kournikova if I had to choose.

The newcomer Lucy Hale rounds out the Top 5, but barely. To be honest, I can see her getting bumped in the near-term for sure. But for now, she is a fresh face that is Grade A in my book.

Olivia Palermo still sits atop with the #1 position. This is unquestionable.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yes Barack Obama, That Is Called A Ba-donk-a-donk

Okay Mr. President, time for you to do some explaining. And Nicolas Sarkozy, don't think you're getting off easy here. In fact, you're in even deeper once we're finished. This photo was taken at the G8 summit in Italy this week. Evidently, the First Lady must not be providing for her husband. Barack seems quite distracted and mesmerized in the photo. And French President Nicolas Sarkozy (on the right) looks like he's about to jump out of his pants. One can only imagine what is going through his head. And it only gets worse for him...

But first, who is the entertainer here? Get ready for this. A 17-year-old junior high school student. She is a Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro and her name is Mayara Tavares (we're going to go out on a limb here and say no relation to #1 NHL draft pick John Tavares). The girl was selected to attend a meeting of young people held in conjunction with the summit. Now--Barack and Nicolas must know they are on camera, so what are they thinking? Forget that she's only 17 years old. And I'm actually even willing to give Barack some leeway here, it was a quick reaction. Unacceptable, yet involuntary. Nicolas on the other hand is just blatantly eyeballing this girl in glee. Come on dude. Below is a video of the incident and it only gets worse for the French President. Alot worse...just watch. One other thing though--the G8 summit host, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was recently ditched by his wife because of a sex scandal. It just makes you wonder how much behind-the-scenes sex scandals and activities go on with our "high ranking" officials worldwide. I've got to think the reality is beyond belief. These people think they are above all morals and laws. Anyways, here's the video, which probably gives us just a glimpse into these people's lives:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't Buy Into The Kournikova Engagement Hype

Rumors are swirling that Anna Kournikova is engaged to Enrique Iglesias. The blondy was "flashing a sizable diamond ring on her left hand" while watching a night match at this week's World Team Tennis in King of Prussia, PA. She later deflected to answer the question when asked by the Associated Press.

No, this isn't a case of deja vu that you are experiencing. This story is indeed surfacing yet again. Don't you remember? The Hasty believes that, once again, it is inaccurate to assume that Anna is engaged for the following reason: they tried to pull this exact stunt off previously, in fact about a year and a half ago to be precise. Let me jog your memory. Here was the report:

Are Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova Engaged? - 2007
December 5, 2007

Tennis babe Anna Kournikova has been spotted wearing a $6 million diamond ring, sparking rumors her long-time boyfriend Enrique Iglesias has proposed to her. Enrique – who has been dating Anna since meeting on the set of his ‘Escape’ video on 2002- has refused to comment on the engagement rumors. Anna was snapped wearing the triple gold-band ‘engagement’ ring on her left hand on Tuesday in London, where Enrique is doing promotion. The Daily Star quotes an ‘onlooker’ as saying: “They certainly both seemed quite smug about something and Anna seemed to be sporting a Russian wedding ring.”

Now unless they canceled that engagement (which there is no evidence of) then it wasn't true, so The Hasty has to put serious doubt on this new report. I don't know if I'm going out on a limb here, but could this just be another publicity ploy? The new rumor did successfully put them on the NY Post's Page Six. I wonder if we could get a comparison of the rings she was wearing in the recent citing versus the 2007 citing. Want to bet they are the same ring? I'm not sure we'll ever know. But if I was a betting man, I'd say Anna Kournikova is still very much "not-engaged." What she is in actuality is in the news again, now twice in two weeks. Goal accomplished Kournikova camp.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Oh Andy----Heartbreaking Defeat At Hands Of Federer

Definition of a crushing defeat: Playing the best tennis anyone has ever seen you play; doing that in the Wimbledon finals against the best player in the history of tennis; holding serve for 4 hours and 15 minutes straight; and then being broken for the FIRST time at 15-14 of the 5th set to lose it all. That pretty much sums up how Andy Roddick's heart was broken in the 2009 Wimbledon final (also broken was Pistol Pete's grand slam record). Everyone in the world feels sorry for Andy right now. But lets be honest though, Roddick's nauseating choke volley at set point in the second set cost him the match. There is absolutely no excuse for Roddick to miss that shot. Federer was halfway to his chair for the changover and all Andy had to do was block the ball into the court. That said, the court did probably look 3ft x 3ft through Andy's eyes right before contact. But if the roles are reversed, does Roger miss that volley in a million years?

This one is going to sting Roddick for a very long time. To the point where I don't know if he can recover, at least from a career perspective. In an interview afterwards, Bjorn Borg said the loss would "sting" Andy for a couple days. Are you kidding? This is going to sting him until the day he dies, unless of course he wins Wimbledon before he retires. If he plays this well again next year, he has an even better shot of winning the title, to the point where he will likely win it. But the question is if he'll be able to take this loss in stride or struggle to recover from it. Turning down the famous post-match John McEnroe interview for us American fans was not a good sign. Nor was his decision to withdraw from his upcoming Davis Cup match. A telling factor will be the US Open Series that is approaching. That is the season that Roddick usually thrives. If he stumbles through this summer and at the US Open finale, then this may be sayonara for Andy Roddick.
My guess: there is a very good chance (lets say 75%) that Roddick comes out of this with renewed confidence. The reason why? Larry Stefanki. Clearly Andy's new coach is perfect for him, and I doubt he will allow Andy to dip at all. We'll just have to wait and see if that's the case. The US Open Series starts July 20th with the first tournament in Indianapolis. So in the meantime, feel better Andy. Look on the bright side. You just married a supermodel. You're really really rich. And Elton John played at your wedding. That should cheer you up...maybe along with a relapse of Federer's mono.

In hockey news, at least the significant hockey news:
  • The Rangers signed Higgins (1-year $2.25 million per) -- Higgins will have 1 shot to prove himself
  • The Senators signed Kovalev (2-years $5 million per) -- this won't come close to replacing Heatley
  • The Maple Leafs signed Beauchemin (3-years $3.8 million per) -- if Toronto can get a goalie, they are going to open some eyes this year

And lastly, we all know about Patrick Kane's habit of constantly chewing on his white mouth guard during games. Well it seems Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings is not too fond of it. Check out this video:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rangers Ink Gaborik, But Can He Handle The Big Apple?

As I'm sure you know by now, the New York Rangers signed free agent stud Marian Gaborik to a 5-year $37.5 million contract. That comes to $7.5 million per year, so Sather not only swapped Gaborik for Gomez (who was about the same price as Gaborik), but added Christopher Higgins as well in that swap (not to mention some prospects too--but do we really think a prospect will blossom and at least equal expectations in NY?). Either way, pretty nifty maneuvering from the Rangers though.

As you also probably already know, the Blueshirts signed Donald Brashear to a 2-year $2.8 million contract. That comes to $1.4 million per year versus the 4-year $1 million signing by Toronto of Colton Orr. I honestly have no idea why Orr was not re-signed. 4 years could not have been a breaking point, could it have been Glen? According to Sather, Brashear is "quicker" and will be "a little more effective for us." Are you kidding me? That is complete malarkey. What happened is that Sather didn't have Orr on his priority list come noon on Wednesday, and Toronto swooped in and snagged the Rangers enforcer. Either that, or Orr simply wanted to go to Toronto, which actually could be the case given he is from Canada. Either way, I don't think anyone would have imagined Brashear would be a Ranger after his dirty hit on Betts in the post-season last year. And by the way, everyone seems to be saying that New York needs another center, so what about Blair Betts? I find it hard to believe the Rangers aren't going to take any penalties next year. We're talking about the Rangers here. Penalties are always an issue. So if you want to say Anisimov is going to be a great 4th line center next season, then fine, but I'm not convinced of that. Sather - lets sign Mr. Betts, he won't cost more then $1 million per, and let him and Anisimov fight for the spot in training camp. Or are you scared Blair will win that spot? Just like last year.

But back the big fish. The big question is whether Marian Gaborik will be a savior or instead follow in the footsteps of Scott Gomez. Who by the way is about to officially put his New York "$3.2 million three-bedroom, three-bathroom with 31-by-32-foot terrace/grill" condo up for sale. Too bad for Smiley Scotty that his hockey skills tanked at the same time as the real estate market. Who wants to bet that he takes a loss on that? But there is a point to this. Many players (or should I say most players) come to New York and tank. Purposely or not, they lost themselves in the limelight. I always find myself thinking every time Sather signs the big name, that the cup is on its way to Broadway the following season. Instead, the team doesn't get past the second round, and the star that was signed doesn't seem to contribute in any way. So lets not get too excited here. Lets see him bury 15 goals in the first 20 games and then there's something to really start talking about. In the meantime, lets just hope Marian Gaborik buys a nice studio in a quiet Manhattan neighborhood and finds a nice shy Slovakian girl to date. But based on this photo to the right, I'm not so sure this is realistic. If this is a snapshot photo of his lifestyle, I don't think he will have much trouble finding women like this in the New York scene. And I think Sean Avery can attest to that.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goodbye & Goodluck Mr. Gomez

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired centre Scott Gomez, winger Tom Pyatt and defenceman Mike Busto from the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Chris Higgins and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko from the Montreal Canadiens.

Clearly this is a move by Sather (and an impressive one if you can imagine) to make a big time signing in the next 24 hours. Free agency starts Wednesday at noon. You've got to think he plans on making a run at Heatley, Hossa, Gaborik or the Sedin Twins.

Kournikova A Rowdy Drunk?

She seems like she's all fun and giggles, but it sounds as though the princess has a little bit of a choppy side. At least when she's drunk. And at least in Vegas. This article was published today in NY about an incident involving Anna Kournikova:

Anna Kournikova got into a fight Saturday night in Las Vegas after an unidentified woman threw a drink at the tennis ace. Kournikova and her pals were partying at Lavo after attending the Hardbat Classic table tennis tournament when a woman at the next table "threw a drink at Anna. She felt Anna was invading her space." Kournikova "sprung into action" and starting screaming at the woman and shoving her. "It was a big fight." The woman was kicked out only after leaving Kournikova with some vicious scratch marks on her neck.
Lets remember that she was drunk. And this is Sin City we're talking about here. Vegas will do that to anyone. In fact, she was probably acting rationally compared to most others around her. Especially if they had just come from a table tennis tournament. Yikes. But it could have been a lot worse. Put any rowdy drunk male in front of that girl and all bets are off. If I had an O'Doul's in my system I would probably have been singing "I Can Be Your Hero" to her on both knees.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Something Big On NHL Draft Day?...You Can Just Feel It

The NHL draft is Friday and the amount of buzz surrounding who the Islanders will pick with their #1 choice is absolutely baffling. This draft choice for them is so huge that the franchise's abliity to stay in Long Island depends on it. If the Islanders do not pick John Tavares as their man, the fans in Long Island are going to revolt, and in my eyes the owner will not hesitate to begin investigating relocation options for the team. The arena situation is enough of a reason to move the franchise, so this would be the icing on the cake. We'll see what Garth Snow does. I would be shocked if John Tavares is not the #1 draft pick. Only time will tell, but for now I'm finished typing about the Islanders, that's the most I've ever talked about them, other than when they play the Rangers.

All of Friday is going to be a very interesting day to follow hockey (and there's not even a game to be played). You just get the feeling that there are going to be some major splashes across the NHL. From draft picks being traded, to salaries being shed, to soon-to-be free agents being signed. There are some big time names out there, and many GMs are fishing for them. It is a matter of the best offers that will determine the winning bidders, and I think that is going to result in some trades that really open eyes. Hopefully the Rangers don't give up any of their core youth (cough...cough...Staal...cough). But Sather knows what he's doing, right?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nadal A Surprising No-Go For Wimbledon -- Roddick's Door Opens

In a stunning decision, Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon citing his knee injuries and not being 100%. He won't be defending his title and there will be no rematch of last years epic finals versus Federer. With an initial thought, you would think Federer is the one who would be jumping for joy, but there is someone else who just got a major break by Nadal's announcement. But no one is talking about him STILL. Every article I've read says Andy Murray caught the biggest break with Rafa's withdrawal. But he potentially could meet Gulbis (2nd round) and Blake (quarters). The only break Murray could get is finding out he's actually not British. Until then he's sunk at Wimbledon. The guy who undoubtedly benefits the most, and in my eyes becomes the favorite in the top half of the draw, is Mr. Andy Roddick. He is playing some of his best tennis ever right now, and his serve is on fire. With Roddick's serve hitting a groove, how does that not make him a favorite to get to the finals? The Hasty thinks it does.

Who wouldn't love to see a Murray vs Roddick semi-final? And then a Roddick vs Federer finals? Maybe I'm in a pipe dream but I think there is a real shot for this. Murray is going to have his ups and downs over the two weeks, and with the whole country of England watching, one of those "downs" is going to finish him, as usual. That said, if Nadal was in the tournament, a Nadal vs Roddick quarter-final would have been extremely tough for Roddick. If he did advance, how much gas would he have left in the tank for the semis and the finals? But that is moot, now there is no Nadal, no quarterfinal hurdle, no mental wall in Roddick's mind knowing Rafa is in his section. I think Roddick is a lock for the semis. I only see one potential speed bump along the way, and that's in the fourth round. He potentially could play Davydenko. That match is scary.
Here is Nadal's press conference where he announced he was withdrawing:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nadal Has To Play, But Winning The Whole Thing Is Another Story

Rafael Nadal will defend his title at Wimbledon despite his knee woes. And you can quote me. Now don't get me wrong, Nadal's knees are killing him, but his coach Uncle Tony is a drama queen. That guy is going to build up the doubt and uncertainty of Rafa playing in the tournament for sure. He always seems to do that throughout the season, and he's doing it here. But Nadal's camp announced today that he will be playing two exhibition singles matches on grass at the Hurlingham Club in London this week. So tell me this, if he is so hurt why in world would he step on a court between now and his opening round match on Centre Court? Now if he pulls out of his first exhibition match in the second game, then we've got a problem. But for Nadal to even attempt to play this week is a sign that he thinks he is okay to go next week in the big one in London. Don't forget, Nadal hasn't played a single match on any surface, let alone grass, since his 4th round loss in the French on the red clay. So it is extremely important for him to play a competitive match on grass before Wimbledon. You know Federer is salivating to win back the Wimbledon crown, and a rusty Rafael Nadal on grass isn't going to get in the way of that, whether he's the defending champ or not.

The Hasty thinks the biggest wild card headed into Wimbledon are the "semi" favorites...the ones who are happily sitting on the back-burner. I really like (depending on the draw) Djokovic and Roddick to both get into the semis. And you've got to consider Federer a lock to make it to the final four. The last slot is as good a guess as anyone's. Forget Del Potro, he's going to be gas'd from his emotional semi-final match versus Federer at Roland Garros. I would be surprised if Nadal is there, especially with his floundering confidence right now. And I'd be surprised if Murray was there too, because he's shown (thus far) that he can't handle the weight of England on his shoulders. In my eyes, I think we'll see someone in there that is somewhat accomplished yet flies under the radar. Someone just like Davydenko, Haas or even Tsonga. In the end though, is anyone actually going to beat Roger Federer here this year? I doubt it. He is the heavy, heavy favorite.

Friday, June 12, 2009

DO OR DIE ---- CUP OR NO CUP

There really is only one thing better then a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and that is overtime of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That would produce the optimal scenario of "next-team-to-score-a-goal-wins-the-cup". Imagine that. My heart isn't rooting for a team in this series, therefore I'm pulling for a close game that is intense and physical. And some OT (for the first time in this series) would be the best case scenario. That would top off a great 2 months of playoff hockey indeed.

The Hasty's final prediction of the season (other then the Rangers landing Heatley or Kovalchuk in the offseason) for tonight's game is this...RED WINGS. There are 3 reasons why: 1) Home Ice Advantage: Red Wings; 2) Fleury vs Osgood: Osgood; 3) Depth Players: Red Wings. Those are the factors that are going to determine who takes The Cup from Mr. Bettman tonight and hoists it to the rafters. I will leave you with this one minor twist: The Penguins do have those two guys named Crosby and Malkin, who have both been pretty quite of late. Are they do? Scary thought.

Just one more thing, and I'm sorry for anyone who this offends, but while searching the web for the Stanley Cup photo I headed today's article with, I came across this photo above. For anyone who likes Lindsay and hockey, this is a match made in heaven. Enjoy the game tonight, it's the last one for over 3 months. And just think, after tonight The Hasty will have plenty more time and ink to dedicate to people just like Lindsay!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The New Jersey Devils Are A Mess Of A Business

No joke, The Hasty got a call yesterday from a representative with the New Jersey Devils asking if I had any interest in Devils hockey discounted ticket packages. Wow. If that isn't a sign of a financially struggling sports franchise, then I don't know what is. That team is going to go belly up. Perhaps it is time for the team to instill a less "defensive" and more "entertaining" on-ice strategy so that maybe they can fill a few more seats. What do you say Lou? Either way, this organization is in trouble.

Oh yeah, did I mention that their coach quit the other day?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And You Thought I Was Crazy...But You Heard It Here First

Over two weeks ago, The Hasty wrote about the Dos Equis beer advertising campaign centered around "The Most Interesting Man in the World." It's a great (and effective) commercial, and one that draws the viewer into the curiosity of this one man's life. At the time, you probably thought The Hasty was crazy, but it certainly seems as though that is not the case. Clearly this man and the Dos Equis commercial has grown exponentially in popularity. You don't believe it? Watch this clip below that SportsCenter produced...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tennis Security A Joke In Paris

A pretty scary scene occurred at the French Open men's finals on Sunday. One that was pretty embarrassing for the security staff at the tournament too and one that should be a lesson to all tournaments on how moments like these should not be handled, although there shouldn't be a need for another lesson after the Monica Seles stabbing. Pretty pathetic. As you can see, a man ran on court, startling Roger, and then approached him to attempt to put a hat on Federer's head. The man then proceeded to run around the court, jumping over the net onto the other side, all while the sloppy and overweight security guards, who were sleeping at wheel, chased him around. Finally one security guard took him down forcefully and the others eventually caught up. Federer was pretty shaken up, understandably so, but he collected himself just fine. The fact that this intruder was able to get out on court for a good 30 seconds without anyone laying a finger on him is inexcusable. Why weren't those guards quicker to grab him? The guards approached him on court in a caveman-like style, clearly without any strategy whatsoever. The man easily maneuvered his way from all of them. But the fact he had enough time on court to get in the face of Federer and attempt to put a hat on him is sad. Imagine what he could have done if he had some sort of weapon, or simply a sharp object. Thank goodness it was all non-violent. You just never know though. The full clip of the situation is below. And the clip under that includes his press conference reaction to it.

Anyways, congrats to Roger Federer for winning his first French Open. I think this pretty much locks him up as being the best tennis player ever.



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Federer's French Open Final Is His Semis; & NHL Game 4

First of all, I apologize for the large time gap in posts. Now with that out of the way...

I'm sorry, but there is no way that Fernando Gonzalez or Robin Soderling are going to beat Roger Federer in the French Open finals. I don't care how hot they are. So in my eyes Federer needs to defeat Juan Martin Del Potro in the semi-finals tomorrow and he'll almost certainly capture the elusive French Open title. And this will crown him as the best male tennis player of all time. I know Pistol Pete would still be tied in grand slam titles with Roger, but Pete's resume still has a massive hole - he never won the French. How could you say Roger isn't better for that simple reason? In the end, that will be moot though, because Federer is going to win another grand slam on top of this potential French title. But lets be clear, Del Potro isn't even close to being a pushover. This will be Federer's toughest match of the tournament, beginning to end. Tommy Haas came out of the gate flying, but couldn't finish Federer (or anyone for that matter) as usual. Gael Monfils is way too hot-and-cold, and Federer jumped all over him. But Del Potro is the best all-around player of the bunch. I expect this match to be a dogfight, and one in which I wouldn't be surprised if Del Potro wins. But with Nadal at home for the first time in his career and not holding the trophy, Federer is on a mission. This, in my opinion, is his one and only chance to win the French Open. And Federer knows it.

One note on the Andy Roddick meltdown again Monfils in the 4th round. Roddick is 100% right with his anger. If you didn't see it, Roddick was consistently complaining to the chair umpire that the light was too dim to play, and that he wanted the match suspended. In the second set, not only was the sun setting, but there was significant cloud cover that rolled in. No joke, it was 9PM local time in Paris when they started the 3rd set. The fact that the chair umpire did not suspend play is a disgrace. Who's call was it to even start this match that late in the evening? Why not make it the first match the next morning? I'll tell you why. They started the match out of stupidity, Monfils then wins the first set, Roddick complains in frustration about the sunlight, the French officials don't mind, and they simply decide to keep the match going. Why? Monfils is French.

One last thing, Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals is tonight. This series has had amazing action, especially in Game 3. The only difference in the series has been goaltending. Games 1 and 2 would have been a toss-up if Fleury had played half-decent. Detroit is going to come out flying tonight, and the only way they lose is if Crosby wakes up. He's actually not playing bad, he's just being so heavily covered that he seems invisible at times. But he is creating his chances, he's just not finishing them. If that doesn't change then the Pittsburgh ship is sunk, they'll lose tonight and they'll lose the series. But no matter the result, tonight's game will be another back-and-forth game with a plentiful amount of offensive opportunities. So enjoy it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hossa Was Asking For This

Marian Hossa jumped ship after last season. It was clear that he wanted the cup and didn't think he'd get it in Pittsburgh. Not only did he take a pass on Pittsburgh, but he only took a 1-year deal. And, yes, it was with the Detroit Red Wings, who he'd just lost to in the finals while playing with Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. But who could really blame him for switching sides? It certainly would provide him with the best chance of getting his hands on the cup before he hits the open market and then inks a deal with the highest bidder, whether that team is a cup contender or not. There is really only one scenario in which Hossa would probably feel like he made the wrong decision. And that would be if there was a repeat finals of last year, with him being on the Detroit side instead. Yikes. I know this isn't totally his fault, but he was clearly asking for it. If I was a Pittsburgh fan, I would've been fuming when he signed with Detroit (talk about a spit in the face) and now I would be even more worked up about this trader. Talk about the ultimate payback though. And lets be honest, as shown in the photo, Crosby spilled his guts in last year's finals with Hossa at his side, so if you think Crosby doesn't have any hard feelings, you're dead wrong. I don't care what type of neutral answer he gives in his interviews, this guy would love to see Hossa go down here.

In the end, imagine if Detroit loses the finals to Pittsburgh and you're in Marian Hossa's shoes. What a disaster. If that scenario does come to fruition, he'll probably sign with Pittsburgh again over the summer. Okay...not really...right?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Man, I thought I was the only one who was into this guy. But he's becoming a phenomenon. This 60 or so year old guy is the center of a beer advertising campaign, and he's "The Most Interesting Man in the World." Talk about effective advertising, have you seen the commercial? Not only does this guy make me crave an ice cold Dos Equis, but every male who watches his commercial seems to want this man's beard, even though it's as prickly looking as a rusty razor.

It really is a great commercial that draws you into this guys life in only 30 seconds. I'm interested in this guy, you're interested in this guy...hell, by the end of the clip when he's just chilling with the women half his age I think every guy is infatuated with this dude.

Most importantly, will we be as accomplished as this mystery man by the time we are his age? I guess only time will tell. But in the meantime a slogan on a poster ad of his will guide us: "Happy hour is the hour after everyone from happy hour has left." Here's the commercial in case you've never seen it. Watch at your own risk. Stay thirsty my friends.



Oh yeah, and if you really, really love this guy...see here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Malkin May Not Know English, But He Knows Who Britney Spears Is

***UPDATE*** Unfortunately this video seems to have "been removed by the user". I wonder if it was actually the Penguins PR staff who ordered it to be removed. In any event, you're going to have to take my word on this.


Oh boy. We can only hope this isn't real, but like they say, pictures don't lie. Unless they're artificially edited I guess. This is a video of a Britney Spears concert in which Evgeni Malkin seemingly is in attendance. There is really no evidence of who he is with and it doesn't look as though he is exactly happy to be there.

So why would Malkin attend such an event? Maybe he received the tickets for free. Or maybe his girlfriend dragged him there. We can't really see who he is with. Maybe he took his little sister. But that would entail him, first, having a little sister and, second, her visiting from their motherland of Russia. Seems very unlikely. What if Malkin is dating Britney?! It certainly would be a step up for her from Kevin Federline, right? I doubt Britney understands Russian though, so they would have to communicate through hand gestures. But a relationship with Britney would probably be better off that way.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Note to Kane & Toews: Wake Up Quick

I need to see Patrick Kane's birth certificate. This kid (leftmost) looks like he's young enough to hit pinatas at a birthday party still.

Now to the game, is this series over if Chicago loses tonight? It would certainly be a longshot to come back from a 2-0 series deficit against a veteran Detroit team. We all know by now that Chicago is deep and can get secondary scoring, but they wouldn't be here, nor will they go any deeper, if Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews don't show up for tonight's Game 2. The thing that baffles me is how they both didn't show up for Game 1. The only explanation is that Detroit shut them down, and I'll buy it. So the question tonight is what kind of new game plan the Blackhawks will have to show for themselves. According to Kane, "We think we have a better game plan for tonight". Well that's great to hear because he needs an actual shot on goal after going shotless in Game 1.

Was anyone else unimpressed with the Game 1 goaltending? The first two goals of the game were pretty lousy ones to let in. I'm going to be watching that in particularly tonight. There's really 2 major factors in tonight's game:

1) Do Kane and/or Toews make a difference? (if both do, then Chicago will win)

2) Do both goalies rebound? (if one steps up, it should be enough for that team to win)

My prediction is both goalies rebound well and have strong games. I think this game will be a tight one, with Chicago prevailing in OT.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Olivia Palermo Making A Move & Jay-Z's Big Head

Olivia Palermo is on the move. No, don't worry gentlemen, she's not leaving her role on The City, but instead moving job positions. I know this isn't that exciting of news, but there's not much out there right now. Except for the start of the Chicago Blackhawks vs Detroit Red Wings series that approaches us. But I'll save an article on that for next week. Back to Olivia, I don't really know of the place she is working at now, nor who her new employer is. But does anyone really care? Actually, I'm thinking MTV cares. And if I was a betting man, I'd say that MTV has a huge say as to who her next employer is. My guess is that they will have to pay MTV a nice sum for hiring Olivia and having their firm exposed on MTV's hit show. Anyhow, I just wanted to reassure you that she's not leaving The City, and certainly not moving from the lead spot on my top 5 list (to the right). Here is the text of the article:

Olivia Palermo, who plays a working girl on MTV's "The City," is getting a new "job" for the show's next season. The fauxcialite is leaving Diane Von Furstenberg's fashion firm to join Elle. The oft-photographed Palermo may be working in the magazine's publicity department. Her rep said, "I haven't heard anything about Olivia going over to Elle," but Elle had "no comment." An MTV rep said, "Olivia is currently still working at DVF."

In other news (if this can even be classified as news), who does Jay-Z think he is? The guy seems to think he is God. He recently performed at the University of Arizona and, in return, this was his list of demands:
  • $750,000
  • Black Maybach with tinted windows
  • 72-degree dressing room
  • And the dressing room must include: Sapporo beer, vodka, tequila, two bottles of $300 champagne, "good quality" peanut butter and jelly, one martini shaker, 12 shot glasses and Marlboros

The school refused to provide the booze, cigarettes and car. Can you imagine why?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Penguins-Capitals: 'Til Game 7 Do Us Part

Could this series have been scripted any better? Is this really going to Game 7? All we can do is sit back and enjoy it. I don't know about you, but all series I have been toying back 'n forth on which team I was rooting for. I have a feeling there are alot of you out there with that same feeling. The best advice I can give to you is to just kick up your feet and soak in this historic game 7. We certainly don't know when we will be treated to another Crosby-Ovechkin playoff dual again, if ever. Whether this game lives up to the hype or not, the anticipation for the game is at a peak. But don't fret, it should be a very tight game, and I would be extremely surprised if it isn't tied or a one-goal game heading into the 3rd period. From that point forward, your guess is as good as mine.

And one more thing, I think we need to give both Crosby and Ovechkin some serious credit for living up to the hype. They have both played at a top notch level throughout the series, possibly even more so Crosby. Sidney has completely outshined Malkin, which isn't an easy task. In my view, the media incorrectly put him in front of Malkin as the key for the Penguins success in the series, yet Crosby answered the bell, stepped up to the plate, and has been the team's MVP by far in the past 6 games. My question is - How are Crosby or Ovechkin possibly going to be able to carry their intensity into the next round after this series? Talk about a let down, at least in Game 1 next round. Enjoy the game tonight.

Friday, May 8, 2009

We Don't Know Jack

Jack Bauer, a.k.a. Kiefer Sutherland, is screwing up yet again. As you've probably already heard, the king of action television and star of the Fox show "24" has been charged with misdemeanor assault after a fashion designer claimed the actor head-butted him at a Manhattan nightclub. Supposedly it happened in the middle of a conversation Kiefer was having with Brooke Shields. If this is true, and it sure seems that way, what is Kiefer thinking? The only explanation was that he was seriously intoxicated. Which is a bit of a concern as well because he served 48 days in jail on a 2007 drunk-driving charge in California. Clearly this guy needs to get his head on straight. Could he actually be such a loose cannon that he thinks he can get away with Jack Bauer-esque moves in real life? I really hope not. But most celebrities seem to be a bit loopy, so I wouldn't be surprised.

If only we could get the actual video footage of this incident. I can see it now...Kiefer and Brooke Shields peacefully talking...and then some tool walks by, makes a comment, and absolutely gets shelled in the nose by Kiefer's forehead. An odd and stupid way to react for sure, but quite entertaining nonetheless.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Triple Whammy For Miss California

This girl can't catch a break. Darts just keep getting tossed at her, but how much longer can she dodge them? She was in the middle of gay marriage controversy, then it was the accusation that someone else paid for her breast implants, and now it's the circulating “semi-nude” photos. Welcome to the wonderful world of Carrie Prejean, more commonly known as Miss California. Lets rehash the events that have played out:

  1. 1. In the Miss USA pageant, Miss California was asked by a panel judge whether every state should legalize gay marriage in the wake of Vermont becoming the fourth state to do so. Miss California's response? "Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what? In my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be, between a man and a woman. Thank you very much." YIKES. And YIKES again. I'm not taking sides here, but no matter what she should have shut her mouth after her second sentence, and just left it at that. Key takeaway: Don't ramble on stage in a beauty pageant or else your IQ will be exposed.

  2. Keith Lewis, co-executive director of the Miss California pageant, went on the CBS program “The Early Show” on Friday and said that before the Miss USA pageant (in which Prejean finished second by the way) his group helped her get breast implants in an attempt to propel her to the Miss USA crown. The controversy, from my understanding, is that a contestant can't have the procedure financed by someone else, but I'm not 100% sure. Key takeaways: 1) So what.

  3. Pageant officials are stunned to find out that four photos are circulating on the internet of Prejean in her underwear with no top on and only her hands covering the exposed boobies. Supposedly this is the most serious of the issues, and she may have her Miss California crown stripped, but once again I'm not really too sharp on these pageant rules. But Prejean is desperately claiming that she was only 17 years old when the pictures were taken. Key takeaway: Is it better or worse if she really was 17 in this photo? If she's 18 then she violated contest rules, but if she's 17 then why is she doing lingerie photo shoots, let alone semi-nude ones? And what were her parents thinking?

What a debacle. How is this all going to be sorted out? I say who cares. The only person that should care about all this is Miss California herself. Because she is going to make a boatload of money off of this no matter what the outcome is. And good for her too. With the way things are headed in society, you may as well make some bang for your buck if the opportunity presents itself. I mean, c'mon, something tells me she doesn't really have anything else going for her.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How Can Nadal Possibly Lose?

This guy is unstoppable. Not even Federer can manage to slow this guy up. The amazing thing is that no one could have ever imagined making this statement 1 or 2 years ago. It appeared Roger Federer would prevail with pure dominance for many, many years. But clearly the tide has turned on him, although I do think Federer's game has declined rather than the competition catching up to him. Rafael Nadal recently won the Rome Masters tournament on clay, his specialty, by beating Djokovic in the finals in straight sets. Nadal has only lost one set on clay this year, and every indication is that he will win his record straight 5th French Open title.

Clearly Nadal is the best tennis player in the world, that's not arguable. But my question is if he will ever win the US Open. Nadal has never even made it to the finals and only once to Super Saturday's semis. The guy continues to be beat up and battered by the end of August year-after-year. He doesn't even play in more than two of the US Open Series tournaments leading up to the US Open. So what should he do to make a better run at Flushing Meadows?

He certainly can't get in any better shape, he is already in peak condition. I say he puts down the racket and takes his little hottie Spaniard girlfriend on a nice vacation right after Wimbledon, and get away for a couple weeks. Just a side note, but look at the rightmost picture and tell me Nadal doesn't know he's the man). Back to business - I think Nadal's actually done this vacation idea in the past, but obviously it isn't enough. After that time away, he should train off-court for a couple more weeks. Then slowly pick up the racket and start hitting some balls, play in only 1 of the US Open Series events in mid-August, and then train hard on-court for the last week leading up to the main event. I think this approach will fully rest Nadal's knees and relieve his mental stress, which will give him a shot at the tour's fourth and final grand slam of the year. Am I crazy? I think this approach would work for Rafa and allow him to give Federer a run for his money. To give that extra push. To at least make a run to the finals. But what do I know? I'm sitting here on my rear end in a cubicle all day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What do Avery, Price and Phaneuf Have In Common?

The fact that Page Six of the New York Post is reporting that Sean Avery was spotted smoking cigarettes the other night in New York City shouldn't come as news to anyone. The guy loves to party, loves to be social and loves to be seen out on the town. What did you think he does? Sip on cosmos all night?

Meanwhile, Montreal "star" goaltender Carey Price was caught in this photo (to the right on top) in which he is enjoying not one, not two, but three cigarettes at once. Interesting. I guess you have to give him credit. Good thing he didn't have a game the next day. And pictured under that is a photo of Dion Phaneuf, seemingly very uninterested in what the blonde girl is blabbing about, and more concerned with how he is going to light his cigarette. Overall though, I don't have a problem with these guys doing it in the offseason, as long as it isn't during the season and isn't affecting their on-ice performance. Partying is what these young men do, they're kids. Especially in the offseason this shouldn't be a surprise, certainly not in Avery's case. And you are being ignorant if you don't think he rips a few butts occasionally during the season as well, I can tell you that firsthand.

Here is the text of the Page Six article on Avery:

IT'S officially the off-season for Sean Avery. The oft-penalized puckster, who was benched by the Rangers for Game 5 of their seven-game defeat to the Caps, was smoking cigarettes the other night with Catherine Keener and a gaggle of groupies in the Meatpacking District on his way to Daphne Guinness' birthday party for photographer Steve Klein at the new Standard Hotel. "He was wearing a tight black shirt, thick glasses and wide-legged swishy black pants," laughs a spy. "He looked ridiculous." Also in attendance at the party were Madonna and boy toy Jesus Luz, Ingrid Sischy, and Avery's ex Kelly Klein.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Naslund Retirement Bittersweet For Rangers

If it is indeed true, Markus Naslund has played his last professional hockey game. It is disappointing to hear because the guy deserved a standing ovation from the crowd before he skated off for the final time. But he is a good man, who is not only passing on his remaining millions of dollars on the second year of his contract, but also did not want his retirement to be a distraction in the playoffs. He had a great career and it is sad to see him go, if it is true. I think this picture pretty much sums up the caliber of hockey Markus has played throughout his life. I'm not sure how old he is here, but the men (rather boys) next to him are Mats Sundin on the left and Peter Forsberg in the middle. If they only knew at the time of this photo what they would become. Quite amazing.

For the Rangers, Naslund's retirement is bittersweet. They are disappointed to see him go. It is a slightly sentimental departure, and from a hockey perspective he did have 24 goals this year. But removing his salary from the lineup allows Glen Sather the financial capacity to now make a much more aggressive move towards a pure goal scorer we've all said that the Rangers desperately need. I still say that Kovalchuk should be pursued. Even if the guy wants long-term money in the range of say 5 or 6 years at $8 million per year, how could the Rangers pass on that? He is too good. The problem is that he will probably draw more money and a longer term elsewhere, so he would have to take a slight discount to play in NY, which I guess is a possibility but not a strong one. Anyways, we'll see what Glen has in mind in the next couple months, but for now, so long Markus. You had a great career.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Got To Give Versus "Commercial" Credit

I know I'm not the only one with this opinion, but the hockey coverage on Versus isn't exactly perfect. Everyone seems to have complaints, and the casual hockey fan can't even find the channel on their television lineup. But the one thing we have to give Versus credit for is their NHL playoff hockey commercials. They just seem to outwit themselves every year. The Rangers' Matteau commercial this year was excellent, although it clearly jinxed the present-day team. But their commercial that I just can't get enough of is part of their new "Look Up" advertisement campaign. Below is the video of the commercial. You gotta love the players' expressions. Make sure to have your volume on, unless you are at work. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Usain Bolt In Car Crash

Usain Bolt, olympic champion and fastest sprinter in the world, was hospitalized after a car crash in Jamaica. Luckily, he is fine and was not seriously injured. He did drop out of a track meet that he was scheduled for this weekend due to "minor injuries."

I don't know about you, but it seems to be fairly dangerous driving in Jamaica. Whether it be the weather, road maintenance or Jamaican drivers in general I don't know. I can tell you that I was recently in Jamaica on vacation, and lets just say that the ride to and from the resort was an hour of high octane driving whereas I was out of breath upon arrival. And earlier this month, Vancouver Canuck hockey player, Taylor Pyatt, sadly lost his fiance in a car crash while she was vacationing in Jamaica. Extremely sad stuff. Glad to hear that Usain is alright.

Rangers Simply Couldn't Finish

Beyond Game 1, the Rangers simply couldn't finish, the series nor the individual chances. To start Game 7, Avery with a great chance plus a rebound, nothing goes. An Antropov breakaway in the first five minutes, but he doesn't bury it. So what if he scored four minutes later. That goal should have been his second of the period, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead. Those are the important early chances I was talking about. Fast-forward to the Federov goal and there is your series. I don't fault Lundqvist one bit for the Federov goal, in fact, The King played tremendous. The diving glove save and kicking blade save were two of his best ever. The Federov shot was a snipe which shouldn't even have left his stick if Redden hadn't played conservative with him. I have no problem with Redden backing off as Federov was streaking, but once he stops short, Redden needs to pop forward and get a stick on it, instead he sat back lazily and allowed Federov to shoot. Come on Wade.

But this game honestly could have gone either way. If Antropov scores the breakaway and the Capitals first goal doesn't pinball into the net, then Federov's goal cuts the Rangers lead to 2-1. But, for obvious reasons, you can't look back and say what-if, so we will leave it at that.

The Rangers have numerous off-season moves to decide upon. In my opinion (while keeping the salary cap in mind although I'm not doing the math):
  1. Goodbye: Don’t re-sign Morris, Mara, Voros or Zherdev

  2. Keeping: Sign Sjostrom, Betts, Dubinsky, Callahan, Orr, Korpikoski and Valiquette

  3. Offering: Offer Antroprov a decent contract but not a huge amount and see if he bites. I doubt he will, so let him go (which is okay because they need some cash to sign Staal whose entry level contract I think ends after next season)

  4. Needing: The major off-season task is to get a pure goal scorer. This will be almost impossible because of the Drury, Gomez and Redden contracts.

  5. Solution: To solve the money issue, buyout Redden’s contract (if Mr. Dolan allows it) and use that money to make a run at Kovalchuk who is a free agent (I would think he'd love the limelight of playing in NY). Backup plan is Havlat or Gaborik (I would say one Sedin twin but I doubt they will break themselves up and we can’t afford both)

So here is my lineup for the first regular season game of 2009-2010, keep in mind that 3 spots will be determined in training camp:

FORWARDS
1) Kovalchuk/Gaborik/Havlat-Gomez-Callahan
2) Avery-Dubinsky-Anisimov (I know he is a center, but doesn't he seem like an Antropov-type?)
3) Korpikoski-Drury-Minor leaguer who makes team (Byers / Bell / Pyatt / Parenteau / Grachev)
4) Sjostrom-Betts-Orr

DEFENSE (we should be in good shape with all the young talent)
1) Staal-Girardi
2) Rozsival-Minor leaguer who makes team (Gilroy / Sanguinetti / Potter / Sauer / Fahey / Del Zotto)
3) Mara (keep'um if Redden is bought out)-Minor leaguer who makes team (Gilroy / Sanguinetti / Potter / Sauer / Fahey / Del Zotto)

Like I said, this is all dependent on money, and although I think this may work financially, a guy like Kovalchuk will cost a ton of dough. So I'm not so sure that he is the best move, nor the smartest. But I do know one thing for sure, all you Rangers fans out there undoubtedly feel deflated and want more blueshirts hockey today, but you can't feel as empty as Devils fans. On the last two goals, I guess Marty was just drained from such a long season of carrying the team on his shoulders. Oh wait, I forgot he only played in 31 games this year.

More later or tomorrow...most likely on the exciting world outside hockey...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rangers Need To Capitalize On Early Chances

Would it be so horrible if the Rangers got an early lead? I can see it now, the Verizon Center crowd sitting silently stunned from the quick first period start by the visiting team. Why do I feel like I am writing a fictional fairy tale? Well it may just come true, but only if 2 things happen. First - Tortorella follows through with his original game plan when he came to The Big Apple of pressure-pressure-pressure on the forecheck. The team has significantly fallen away from that mentality. If they can get back to that in Game 7, then it could stun the Capitals who haven't seen that type of play from the Rangers in the series. Second - The Rangers have to finish on all or most of their opportunities, and not only in the second half of the game. They need to bury that first chance that comes in the initial 5 minutes (ok Nik?). They need to put the Capitals lousy defense on their heals and score their chances using authority. That means none of Scott Gomez or Wade Redden wussified flippy shots at the net that are meant for deflections instead of goals.

So tonight Game 7 commences and the NHL's first round across the league will come to an end. From all indications, it sounds like Anisimov will be in the lineup. Don't expect much from him, it is only his 2nd NHL game ever. But we should still hold him at a high standard. He had 37 goals in the minors this season, so if he is the one who gets the point blank chance in the first 5 minutes, then he NEEDS to bury it. That is how you win game 7s, you score when you have the chance, and every single Ranger who touches the ice is responsible for that.
Game 7 - Rangers vs Capitals @ 7pm Tonight. Here we go.
On a side note, can you believe the San Jose Sharks? What a mess.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Brashear Gets 6-Game Suspension

Donald Brashear received a 6-game suspension. 1 game for the contact with Orr in the warmups and 5 more games for the hit delivered to Betts. It doesn't sound like there is enough video evidence to suspend a Capitals player for the bite to Dubinsky.

Capitals Mike Green Possibly Suspended Too?

An initial report on ESPN stated that Donald Brashear AND Mike Green were being suspended for Game 7. ESPN then retracted the statement saying that there is a hearing with the league today at 1PM for both players. We know why Brashear is being summoned. But why Mike Green? Could he have been the one that took a bite out of Dubinsky's hand instead of Shaone Morrisonn? More to come later...

Crash and Burn, But They Ain't Dead Yet

It was simply a horrific display of hockey from the Rangers this weekend. They were two huge games, and an even bigger one is on the horizon. The Rangers blew the series lead. Lets just remember that. They blew the series lead, not the series.

The potential suspensions are something to talk about. Clearly the hit from Brashear will result in a suspension. The picture here clearly shows elbow to head. He should get 2 games, one for this hit and one for the contact he initiated with Orr in the pregame warmup. I'm leaving it at that. Although losing Betts, which sounds like it will be the case for Game 7, is a massive blow to the team. Now to the biting incident on Dubinsky by Morrisonn. This should be another suspension given the precedent with Ruutu earlier this season. The question here is whether there is video evidence. If not, then this won't result in a suspension. I will keep you updated if I hear any news on this today.

My take on Game 7 is this: The Rangers need something to light a fire under them. And maybe that something is someone. The team has called up rookie minor league all-star Artem Anisimov, likely since Betts is a no-go for Game 7. Talk about throwing a kid into the fire.

Maybe this will spark the team. If this kid can go out with some jump in his step, something no Ranger has done except for Ryan Callahan, then maybe it will be contagious, for one game at least.

Lundqvist will obviously need to be much better too, but that really isn't the team's problem. It's everything in front of him. The defense has a ton of holes and the offense has no game. That was a concern voiced here before Game 1. Then everything seemed to come together. Our defense was stellar and our offense put 4 goals on the board. Now granted Theodore was a disaster in that game, but if I remember correctly, we had a boatload of offensive opportunities, which hasn't happened in a game since. So if the team can gather the energy to actually put forth a defensive and offensive effort, then they will take Game 7 tomorrow night. Oh, and maybe some suspensions will help too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lundqvist-Ovechkin: Part 5

Tonight is the 5th edition of Washington vs New York, and absolutely no one has any idea who the winning team will be. The Hasty would love to make a prediction, but I can't honestly say much more then what you see in the picture, Lundqvist owns Ovechkin so far. The winner of tonight's game will be the Rangers if Lundqvist stands on his head and stonewalls AO. If Alex buries a few, then I don't see how the Caps could lose. You may be asking, what if the Rangers offense ignites and outscores Ovechkin? Not going to happen. If Semin or Backstrom hit the scoreboard tonight then maybe we can counter that. But if Alex does, I think that is too much for the Rangers to overcome from a mental and physical standpoint.

It sounds like Avery is a go for tonight. From what I've read, Tortorella was asked point blank this morning if he intended to bench Avery, and his response slipped at first as he said "No." Although he retracted a bit in saying his lineups will be whatever they are at the puck drop, I think it's pretty clear that Sean will be in. I also think there is a very good chance that he has his best game of the series. Lets face it, this guy is due for some points, if not goals. Don't be surprised if he comes out flying.

But, once again, tonight it's about Lundqvist vs Ovechkin. What a matchup. Not even Sean's antics can get in the way of this. Nor can another playoff game on the tube -- this bout is the only game on the schedule tonight across the NHL. The spotlight is solely on these two men. And thus far in the series it has been Alexander The Great glaring up at The King on his throne.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Avery Uses His Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card

Come on Sean. Those two penalties in the 3rd period in that type of playoff situation were probably the most selfish I've ever seen. I doubt Tortorella will bench Avery for Game 5 and you know Rangers fans will continue to cheer him tiredly (and deservedly so for now), but he messed up big time last night in the last ten minutes. He was very fortunate that a tying goal did not come during one of those two penalties because, if it had, it could have been a series swinger. But it didn't, so in my view, we proceed to Game 5 with The King leading the way and Avery as much a part of this team as ever. Avery gets his one break, his one "as-a-fan-I'll-let-it-slide". But if he is undisciplined again, at least in this series, I think he should sit a game out. I'm sure Tortorella has already discussed this with him, so Avery knows he is on the shortest of all leashes. Although, I wonder if the leash has broke in Colin Campbell's eyes. There's certainly a chance that the second penalty results in a one game suspension and undoubtedly Campbell is reviewing the tape today. Quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if a suspension is handed down given the dicey Avery-Campbell history. If there's any news on that front, I'll have it for you here.

On to Drury. When I saw him take that shot, the first one, as the puck fluttered through the air no quicker towards Varalmov then a curling shot, I asked myself why he's even on the ice. But when Varalmov juggled the puck and the rebound was put home by Chris himself, it was amazing. Now I'm not ready to anoint him "Captain Clutch" status just yet, but I can say that he showed guts, and certainly this is something for the team to eat up going forward. Nice job Chris. And nice job getting Mr. Gilroy to commit to the Rangers (on top of the $3.5 million). Here are two quotes from Matt's press conference last night (the second quote is pretty good stuff):
On Drury calling him during and after the BU season: "He talked about what it was like being a Ranger, where he's been. He told me, 'Matty, I've been all over the NHL, different cities. There's nothing like being a New York Ranger."

On the reason for his late development vs his peers that were drafted years ago:
"Those kids are more physically mature than me. The reason why is I'm such a late bloomer. I didn't hit puberty until I was 18 years old. I still don't shave. I'm 24. It's embarrassing."

Those are some great quotes. Definition of a late bloomer: Since 2003, the year he was eligible for the draft, Gilroy has grown six inches and added nearly 100 pounds.