Lessons learned thus far in our conversation with our friends at Blue Shirt Banter are as follows: Marian Gaborik was not implanted with bionic groins after signing with the Rangers, and the Rangers are the small team in a big city. Also, that Johnny Olson is a jerk who steals prom dates.
And here I thought I had figured out the secret to success for players that get injured repeatedly. I mean, come on. Craig Leipold has the money to ink Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, he has to have the cash on hand to install a bionic super skull shock absorber on Pierre-Marc Bouchard, right? We can rebuild him. We can make him better than he was before. We have the technology.
I really wanted it to be bionics.
What's in store for us today? Discussion of revenue sharing, the Rangers' prospect pipeline, and a softball question about hockey in general. Once again, we thank Joe Fortunato, the big cheese at BSB for entertaining us with our silly mid-western questions. Be sure to check out the second part of our answers to his questions over at BSB today.
How does it feel to know the team you cover supports several others that cannot turn a profit, in turn creating more competition for themselves?
James Dolan is a rich man. A very, very rich man. At the end of the day, I don't worry about how he spends his money. A ton of Rangers fans love to bash Dolan as a "bad owner" since he lets Glen Sather run wild (although post-lockout Sather might be the best general manager in the NHL) and doesn't seem to pay attention to the team. But those people generally feel that way because it's a "popular" thought, not because it's true.
Rangers fans will never have to worry about their team being sold and relocating. The team will never have to sell away prized young players due to fears of not being able to afford their massive contracts along the way. The Rangers will always be able to lure the best players in the game, because the team does not and will not have any financial issues. The stability of the Rangers is remarkable, and Dolan is a huge part of that.
So when it comes to him giving money to help support other teams, I support it -- not a surprise, it's not my money. I think if the NHL does better then the Rangers will do better. And if the Rangers do better, then Dolan does better. So, no, I don't mind at all. But again, it's not my money.
What does the pipeline look like for the Rangers? Any studs coming through the system, or will the Rangers just Steinbrenner the other teams with offer sheets?
The pipeline for the Rangers is surprisingly full, considering the team has "graduated" many of their top prospects. Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan were all prospects just a few years ago, and are now big parts of the team's core. Oh year, and also that Chris Kreider kid, he's good too.
Still, the team has J.T. Miller (who really impressed at the USA Developmental Camp this summer), Christian Thomas, Dylan McIlrath, Brady Skjei (this year's first-round pick) and more. Honestly, Gordie Clark might be the best scout in the NHL by a mile. The man makes "surprise" picks draft after draft and every time it works out. Ask any Rangers fan how they feel about Miller now and how they felt when the team picked him. I guarantee you you'll hear, "My God he is amazing but I did punch my television and broke my hand when I originally heard the pick."
The reality is that the Rangers' top youth is already on the team. McDonagh, Del Zotto, Stepan, Hagelin and Kreider are all under 23. That doesn't even mention Marc Staal being 25.
There's a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Rangers. Their youth is a major part of that.
What is / are your favorite things about hockey?
Madison Square Garden. If I had to pick one thing, it's The Garden. Or at least the atmosphere of a Rangers game.
There is nothing like walking to the Garden an hour before the game starts and seeing all the Rangers jerseys on the street. Walking into the arena seeing the huge photos of Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Adam Graves (among others). Sitting in the seats before the game, the electric atmosphere. How the Garden goes absolutely silent before a big play is about to happen, like everyone knows they are about to see something special.
The sheer volume, too. It never fails to blow me away at how loud the Garden gets. Just look at this. That's how loud the place was BEFORE Richards scored the tying goal. I was there. When he tied the game (and when Marc Staal won it) I thought I was going to end up unable to hear anything when all was said and done.
Plus, when they win and you walk out into New York City, it's just amazing. I'll probably miss that the most. The feeling after a win, walking on the street, slapping high fives with random strangers you don't even know. I dunno, maybe it's stupid. But it is what it is.