Hockey

Brendan Smith – This guy was the worst player in the league in 2013, when he singlehandedly gave Game 6 back to the Hawks and changed that series. There’s always someone in your life–be they a coworker, a friend of a friend, a cousin–who has the job and money you want and for the life of you you can’t figure out how they got there. That’s Brendan Smith for everyone in hockey. He’s slow, his hands are made of cardboard, and he’s got all the instincts of a drunk raccoon. And yet here he is, closing in on 10 years in the league. The world is fucked.

Michael Haley – Likely to not play tonight but we don’t know what he’s doing here at all. There’s still some thought that a rebuilding team, which the Rangers are, need a goon lying around to protect the innocent children. That starts to come apart when you see Kakko is 6-3, Howden is 6-3, Chytil is 6-2, and so on. This guy couldn’t spell dog if you gave him all the letters to rearrange.

Chris Kreider – Never met a goalie he couldn’t run, and his facial hair makes it clear he has a drawer full of designer roofies at home.

Everything Else

Beth Machlan writes in more places than we can possibly list. Follow her @bethmachlan and find out for yourself. 

It’s obviously going to be a long year on Broadway for the Rangers who are in the first full season of a total rebuild. Who are what are you watching on a nightly basis to make you feel good about the future?
Frankly, we’re watching David Quinn. For one: he coaches. You can hear him screaming through the broadcast. He’s used more timeouts in the last four weeks than Vigneault did in his whole time here. This is new For Rangers fans, who are used to AV, who was Sphinx-like in his silence, if Sphinxes were stupid and wasted the careers of two Hall of Fame goaltenders. Quinn tells the players what’s expected of them, and he tells the press what he’s doing. It’s a whole new world. He also apparently takes the babies, Chytil and Howden, out to breakfast on game days. THANKS DAD!
Speaking of which, Filip Chytil and Brett Howden are a lot of fun to watch, and they give us dreams of an actual future …
Chris Kreider is off to a hot start. it feels like trade rumors swirl about him every season, but is this the time he goes? He’s only got this year and next on his deal and is in the middle of his prime at 27…
 
I don’t see Kreider going. The Blueshirt Banter chat votes Hayes. Seriously, though, every season the NYR broadcast team announces that it’s Kreider’s year. He was great last season but then had that major surgery; he also has nights when he’s invisible, which is pretty impressive for a guy who’s 6’3”  and 220. Still, I hope we keep him. He and Mika Zibanejad and whoever they stick on the RW — Zuccarello, earlier this week, with great results — are among our few consolations this season.
Neal Pionk seems to be turning some heads. 
 
Right? Imagine how many he’d turn if he wasn’t stapled to Marc Staal.
Confirm what we’ve always claimed: Brendan Smith is the worst player in the league, right?
 
Did I mention Marc Staal?
 
Dude. Smith has made a hell of a comeback, really. He was a major casualty of AV’s coaching style — “I won’t tell you what I want, but I’ll bench you until you give it to me” — as well as who the hell knows what going on in his personal life — but it’s past now. He now looks like a second pair defenseman (for NYR, anyway) as opposed to just a pile of cash lit on fire. I also appreciate scrappiness that actually responds to circumstances on the ice as opposed to the fans’ “old timey” desires.
Are Rangers fans, a notoriously cantankerous bunch as any group of New Yorkers tend to be, really understanding of what’s happening here and how long it will take?
 
No. But then Hank announced that they’re playing to win, so who are we to judge?

 

Game #10 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Generally we reserve this section for a pest, or goon, or someone who just kills the Hawks. Rarely do we allot this to someone whose mere presence we find objectionable. The fact that he is just there, no matter what he does, leaves us with a look on our face akin to whenever we’re told vanilla ice cream is more popular than chocolate.

Brendan Smith will make $4.3 million this year to play NHL hockey. You, dear reader, will not. And believe us when we tell you that you aren’t that much less qualified to do so than he is.

Brendan Smith sucks. He has always sucked. And really, perhaps we should love him, because without his 2013 Game 6 Tour De What The Fuck in the 3rd period, the Hawks might not come back against the Wings that year. But thankfully, because Smith was wandering around his own zone like he got into the devil ether, the Hawks did. The highlight of course was keeping the Hawks onside for Bickell’s go-ahead goal.

But that’s always been Smith. And yet he keeps getting work. The Rangers gave up two high draft picks to acquire his services last year. And then they signed him to this deal for the next four years. Signing Brendan Smith to do anything for four years other than to clean the dressing room is a fireable offense, or at least it  should be.

This is how much Red Wings glow still exists. Anyone with a handful of functioning neurons knows now that Ken Holland is actually an idiot who just happened to win the raffle a couple times with late-round picks and a wheelbarrow of Mike Illitch’s money. So any player that is a draft pick of that guy should come with huge scrutiny. But no, there are still a lot of GMs who think he must be a stud and the Wings just have too many good players for him to find the lineup.

Smith has no positioning. He has no ass. His passing is barely ok. Sure, he can skate, but who the fuck cares when it’s never in any specific direction? He’s a puck-moving defenseman who doesn’t move the puck or play defense. Great.

And if the Hawks can’t directly benefit from his presence anymore, then it’s just upsetting. Maybe the worst part of the Wings fleeing to the East was that the Hawks didn’t get a handful of points simply because Smith was out there performing in a chorus line only he could hear. Damn you, Red Wings.

Game #39 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

I’ll admit it. I lost the faith last night. During the 2nd intermission. I felt the sweet embrace of the end growing within me. I’ve seen it before. I didn’t tweet it, or text my brother or Kills as I might normally do. It felt like last year’s Game 6 again. A brief opening flurry, watching the second period drift away. I was sure it would be followed by a brief spasm of a death rattle, before Scum cleanly and efficiently took the game, season, rivalry, bragging rights, and seemingly everything else away with them.

I should have known better. This team is made of sterner stuff. And Brendan Smith and Carlo Colaiacovo were going to be on the ice. Always a chance with that.