I know what some of you are thinking: That “general sports blog named after a baseball reference” (which makes no sense to be general, right? “Focus on baseball!” Yeah I get that sometimes) really sucks for not posting about the NY status in each of the NHL and NBA playoffs. Well folks, you’re in for some treat then. I needed a day to calm down, realize they are both still only sports (and one of which I didn’t care about all that much since #33 played center for them) and yes, the “This guy will not pay my rent” principle still holds fast. By the way, the "this guy" game is still on. If you don’t write here, and can figure out all of the “this guy” pictures, you win something (to be named later). Last week’s article, I got zero replies, so I don’t expect much from you idiots. Impress me!
Blogging 101 – most bloggers who have 50 readers or less (a very generous number for us because on our busiest days we are around 30-50 unique views) write purely for themselves (therapy) and a few other die hard friends (in this case other writers I already talk sports with - group therapy). I’m fine with that – this will help me center my chi. Unless of course more of you jerks post all over my facebook page about how my teams suck and yours rule. I will find, and kill you. This is therapy for me, not anger management. (Just kidding! Bring it! But not like this guy did his last fight, I mean really bring it!)
Okay, enough prequel. Dammit the NY teams completely shit the bed! As you all know, basketball is not my forte. I watched the Knicks 8 times this year (including all 4 playoff games, not in entirety). This is 8 more times than the last 5 years combined, and probably the last 10 as well. It is time to relax for Knicks fans for a change. The only thing they’ll miss from that blockbuster trade to get Melo are the draft picks. You now have 2 superstar players to put pieces around. If CP3 REALLY signs after next season, they will be a true big 3. Aside: I hate that – “big 3.” You know, in basketball we have had a big 3, a new big 3, a fab 4, the twin towers, etc… you know what they called Jordan’s bulls? Kobe’s Lakers? Nothing I can think of... except the word DYNASTY has bounced around a lot. Sorry, I digress. The front office needs to insert a few people to the team are not on the current team at all. You know the kind who have actual talent and poise (minus a select VERY few who can stay). Bottom line – the road looks better ahead. The Knicks have screwed the pooch before though, just ask the garden faithful if they like this guy anymore. So don’t completely relax, just relax a bit.
DISCLAIMER: (This next section may get long winded as this was my favorite team in awhile this year and I am sad to see them go – skip it and just look for a clue if you’re playing “this guy.” You’ve been warned if you hate hockey talk.)
I have read every NY Rangers article under the sun since their game 5 bounce a day before the Knicks’ exit. Some are way too negative, some are way too positive. I am going to tell it how it is in my eyes. Our coach John Tortorella was just reportedly given a 3 year extension. I really like this front office move. Torts is able to extract all of the talent from these kids that is possible. This is HIS team. He shows patience with them, and seems to put them in a position to succeed, only to demand perfection and settle for a hard work ethic. He knows what he is working with – in fact at the exit interviews, he simply said the words at one point: “We need more talent.” However, this is not to say the team didn’t earn all 44 of their regular season wins. Arguably, they “should have won” at least 1 other game against the Caps as well (and gotten me to game 6 at MSG!). I’m not all for “we beat ourselves” as much as I am for “we let them beat us,” but the series is over, and Ovechkin is still a piece of Russian trash - like this guy (character name is fine in the movie). This team of line 2 to line 4 forwards (with the exception of 1 and maybe 1/2) and a group of good and young defensive defenseman with a WORLD of potential in front of them, achieved more than what a lot of people pegged them for. If Gabby can right himself for next season, and everyone else progresses naturally and can stay major injury free for next season, we are looking at a 2-3 round dive into these same playoffs. There is speculation they will be (and perhaps should be) in the Brad Richards bidding war. Torts coached him to a cup with Tampa, and will want him to anchor the Gabby line at center (since no one else at center can do it). Richards can be a playmaker and put the puck in the net – he would be a great first line guy to pair with Gaborik and someone like Dubi or Callahan (if you want to break them up as a solid second line). This changes the team instantly. However, the team must also bring back Cally & Dubi, presumably on raises (be about 5-6 mil of the 16 mil total cap space), A.A. would be smart to resign as well, and guys like Boyle, Sauer and Fedotenko are FA as well. What will be interesting is who stays and goes next season. A team in surplus of middle of the pack players will ditch some of them. I'm sure someone won't be here that we all will miss (Gilroy? Christensen? Boyle?). And don’t forget Boogy’s contract that was on the IR the entire season (seemingly) after getting rocked in the head a few times in a fight. Need to clear way for that waste of money don’t we? Especially if we want to go after Richards for real. This guy should be crucified for that contract as well as many others. Long story a bit shorter: this season, while disappointing we couldn’t play upset to a true contender like I had hoped, the Rangers ended up pretty much where I expected them. Check here (http://sterlingshakers.blogspot.com/2010/09/breaking-ice.html) if you don’t believe me. Just read the last paragraph of that post. It was my first ever SS post, and it is proving that I am more of a prophet than a blogger. I am awesome and will not grant you any wishes unless you play the "this guy" game. Oh, for the record, I am very happy with the season as a whole for the NYR, and think they can honestly only better themselves from here. Watching these kids progress in their careers has been a treat and I really just hope it amounts to something in the future soon.
A short conclusion to this whole mess: Garden faithful alike, both on ice and the hard wood, have the future to look forward to for each team. Will we ever see 1994 again? I’m not sure, but in the near future, we have plenty to be hopeful for. Heck, maybe they’ll say 1994 was a joke compared to 201*. When it all boils down to it, at least we’re not this guy or his team’s fans. We’d have a lot more to bitch about.