“Around the NHL”: Tortorella vs. the Beat Writers, Off-Season Speculation, Devils & Kings Game One

Hello there again! It’s time to take a look at what’s going on in the wide world of hockey. From a coach at war with the writers who cover his team, to already ridiculous off-season speculation involving the New York Rangers, it’s all here, in Around the NHL! (Oh yeah, and there was a Stanley Cup Finals game played last night too.)

  • It’s no secret that I cannot stand the New Jersey Devils; well, actually, it’s their fans more than the actual team. Anyway, I gave them the benefit of the doubt heading into these Stanley Cup Finals. All we heard from them during the series against the Rangers is how they, as a fan base, are growing more now than ever before, how they are finally solidifying themselves. If that’s the case, then how come Game One of the biggest series in this sport was not sold out? Not just empty seats appearing in view of the TV cameras, but a laughable amount of available seats. Example: my friend (who is a Rangers fan wanting to see some Finals action with a group of people) buying eight tickets just a few hours before puck drop, then other people posting screenshots of Ticketmaster a half hour before the game, with plenty of seats still empty. I guess this should not really be a surprise—they could not sell out against the Rangers just weeks ago, and that was with the Blueshirts buying up roughly 20% of the seats in the arena. It’s a shame for them that there aren’t more Los Angeles Kings fans living in the Garden State.
  • Just a few weeks ago, a massive argument ensued between my friends due to a little Facebook status I posted about the Devils. While I stayed out of it, the 70+ comments of people going at each others’ throats was very enjoyable. The one highlight was of a Devils fan defending his small fan base, saying that the reason they do not have as many as the Rangers or Flyers is because they have not been around as long. To punch a hole in that, what is one thing fans, casual and otherwise, love more than anything else? WINNING! “The Devils won three Stanley Cups in a span of eight years (1995-2003)”, another friend said, “if that won’t grow your fan base, what will?” The answer is nothing. Not selling out Stanley Cup Finals games is proof of that.
  •  A THOUGHT: If a hockey game is played in Newark and there is no one there to see it, was it really played?
  • Do you know how much of last night’s game I watched? Exactly one minute. When I take a break from something, like a sport, I take a break from it. Complete detox. I was just very happy in the sense that the only minute I watched was the last one they happened to play in overtime.
  • What would an Around the NHL update be without something from John Tortorella? The Rangers head man went onto Mike Francessa’s show yesterday afternoon to discuss the season, and being asked about his press conference behavior and reactions to reporters was inevitably going to be brought up. He called the writers who follow the team a “bunch of idiots” which caused a craze on Twitter between them. First of all, I think it was about time they got a taste of their own medicine. Is Tortorella cordial in his post-game remarks? Almost never, but those who cover the team (and have for many years) should know what to expect. Instead, they allow themselves to be shocked and offended so they can write about it the next day. What else could be the reason for such ridiculously loaded questions (and an obvious cell phone ring loudly blaring away in the middle of a playoff game press conference on national television), only asked to incite him so they can then complain on Twitter about him later that night? Tortorella needs to be more calm just like the writers need to act more intelligent. The problem is mutual…and entertaining as hell.
  • When the Rangers lost to the Devils in Game Six, Tortorella remarked in his post-game that, “I love our balls”, meaning the moxie they showed in continuing to battle. Maybe the beat writers should borrow some of those balls, instead of sitting around Tweeting like a bunch of whiny old women. “He…he…yelled at me! He called us idiots! Wah wah wah!”
  • Here we go, our first Ranger-related rumor! This is one of the joys of being a Rangers fan, because every summer, the chance to sign any free agent is there. We wait in the early days of July like little kids on Christmas Non-Denominational December Day of Gift-Giving Eve, just dreaming about who we are going to sign. Sometimes it’s a Wade Redden or a Scott Gomez. Other times its a Marian Gaborik or Brad Richards. This summer, will it be…Dustin Penner? According to Arthur Staple, that’s who the Rangers should make a push for, along with Zach Parise of course. Does this team really need Penner? Isn’t he just a fatter, even more useless version of Brandon Dubinsky? Sure, I would take Penner over him in a heart beat for the RIGHT PRICE, but it is highly unlikely that they can achieve signing him cheap AND trading Dubinsky and his enormous contract. I think Penner is more likely to end up in New Jersey because of all the great diners we have. He could stuff himself with pancakes until his heart is content. He just better not forget his back brace.
  • THIS JUST IN: Detroit Red Wings’ defenseman Niklas Lidstrom has retired. I think I am going to cry, or at least sulk around a little bit. Truly the classiest player to ever lace ’em up in the sport of hockey. He was an outstanding player on the ice and an even better human being off the ice. His is the ambassador this game needs. Would have killed to see him on the Rangers, but he goes out in style, with a team he spent his whole career with. Enjoy the retirement! (And please come back as a coach very soon!)

4 thoughts on ““Around the NHL”: Tortorella vs. the Beat Writers, Off-Season Speculation, Devils & Kings Game One

  1. Vinny

    so if you were going to The NJ Devils management as an adviser,, what would you tell them or suggest to them on how to attract more fans? What solutions would you present?

    1. That’s the thing. I don’t think there are any solutions. The Devils marketing strategy is fine (except for the “No Blue” thing which even Lamoriello disagreed with). They donate hockey equipment to schools, they give out free/cheap tickets, and they still can’t sell out. I honestly don’t think there are any solutions. They’ve been here 30 years and have 3 Stanley Cups. That should be enough.

  2. Vinny

    I would imagine that being half the state being transplanted New Yorkers that are die hard Ranger fans has something to do with it. Its pathetic to be in a NJ Modell’s/ Sports Authority to find more Rangers gear than Devils. We know that their grassroots program spawns lots of little Devils fans and I heard Daneko saying yesterday in 10 years or so the loyal 12,000 will grow to sellouts once these little ones grow up. thanks

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