George Grimm: Reminiscing with Billy Fairbairn

Blog favorite George Grimm has given me a few columns to use. I’m running one today, and then three in August, including two previously unreleased interviews. He has a book coming out in September about the Emile Francis era that you should all definitely buy multiple copies of. Thanks, George, and great work as always!

Reminiscing with Billy Fairbairn

by George Grimm

“Everybody liked Billy Fairbairn. Billy Fairbairn was quiet. He hit, he worked hard, he took his hits and he played up and down that wall. And you could trust him every step of the way. You knew what he was gonna do, and he didn’t play dirty. He was a good guy” – Derek Sanderson.

Bill Fairbairn was one of the most dependable right wingers the Rangers have ever had. Signed by the Rangers in 1964 at the age of 17 as a free agent, Fairbairn played his junior hockey for the hometown Brandon Wheat Kings scoring 125 goals and adding 190 assists in four seasons. ‘Bulldog’ as he came to be known because of his tenacity, then moved on to Omaha of the CHL.  In two full seasons with the Knights Billy scored 51 goals with 80 assists and finished second in team scoring both seasons behind teammate Juha Widing.

Fairbairn made a brief appearance for the Blueshirts in February 1969, but the

22-year-old 5-foot-10, 190-pound right winger stuck with the team right out of training camp the next season.

Bill Fairbairn: “It was a very big change coming from Brandon to Omaha to New York. Playing in front of maybe 3,000 people to 17 – 18,000 was a very big change right off the bat.  I guess I was a little nervous for the first couple of months but then after that everything settled down and it was good.

I was lucky right if off the bat, when I came up to New York I roomed with Brad Park. We roomed that first year together and since he’d been there a year he kind of took me under his wing, made me feel quite welcome. He knew his way around so I just kind of hung with him and saw the sites and everything else and got to the rink with him. He was the driver, he was a chauffeur for me but it was a good fit rooming together with him.”

Originally expected to be used in a checking role, Billy was moved up to the Walt Tkaczuk –Dave Balon line when winger Bob Nevin was injured. The trio became known as the “Bulldog Line” and was so effective that Coach Emile Francis kept them together even after Nevin was able to return to the lineup.  The line recorded 203 points that season finishing ahead of the Goal-A-Game line that included Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield. Fairbairn wound up with 23 goals and 33 assists that season and finished second behind Chicago’s Tony Esposito in the voting for the Calder trophy as the NHL’s Best Rookie.

Bill Fairbairn: “I think it was because I went to good team. I played with Walter and we clicked right off the bat and if I hadn’t started off with him I wouldn’t have been runner up for the rookie of the year.  We just sort of gelled when we went to training camp and then when we started playing  together Emile took us both aside and said ‘look you guys are the young guys on the team and we’re going to have you killing penalties.’ So the extra ice time really helped me during that year.”

The next season however Fairbairn’s production dropped as he came down with a case of Mononucleosis. He missed 22 games due to the illness and was less than 100% for the remainder of the season.

Bill Fairbairn:I thought it was the flu and that I would shake it off. But I had it for quite a while. I think we were in Oakland and Teddy Irvine was my roommate and I just told him I can’t go to practice this morning. I can’t get out of bed. And that’s when they flew me back to New York and found out that I had mono. Where it came from I had no idea. I went to Lenox Hill and I was in the hospital there for quite a while.”

By the fall of 1971 Dave Balon who had led the team in goals the previous season was beginning to experience weakness in his legs and arms. As it turned out, Balon was in the early stages of Multiple Sclerosis that wouldn’t be diagnosed until after his playing career was over. He was traded to Vancouver and after a succession of wingers were given tryouts on the left side of Tkaczuk, Steve Vickers was finally given the job and the second incarnation of the “Bulldog line” was formed.

Bill Fairbairn: “Dave and Steve were both good goal scorers. They were magic with the puck around the net there and it was pretty much up to me and Walter to get them the puck. They were the go to people Dave and Steve both, because they were kind of natural goal scorers and they were close to the net all the time so they weren’t too hard to find.  Steve especially because he was always right off the post there and he stayed away from the defensemen and if you could get him the puck he made sure it went in. The same with Bozey, he was a hustler. We were called the bulldog line because we worked hard to get the puck and when we got the puck Dave or Steve would find a way of putting it in. I enjoyed playing on that line. I played most of my career with Walter it was very enjoyable it made hockey fun to play.

We were the checking line. We were put out against the top lines and we’d kill penalties and we were second on the power play. Ratty, Rod and Vic were the number one power play line but we were second up so we got a lot of ice time and that helped me and Walter because we were chunky guys and we needed the extra work out during the game to stay in shape.

I liked going along the boards. I didn’t go off my wing too often but if I could get the defensemen to take the body on me then Walter would be wide open and then there’d be a two-on-one with either Steve or Davey. I didn’t mind taking the hits, I’m starting to feel them now though, but back then I didn’t feel them. Now the aches and pains a coming out in the hips and shoulders and everything else but that’s old age setting in too.”

Fairbairn’s best offensive season was in 1972-73 when he scored 30 goals with 33 assists for 63 points which placed him fourth in team scoring behind Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert and Walt Tkaczuk.

Bill Fairbairn: “I don’t know how I got those goals because I had one of the worst shots in the league. I think the goalies were kind of surprised when I shot the puck because when I let it go it was like a changeup in baseball and that would be my hard shot. I wasn’t known for having a hard shot, as a matter fact once in practice Eddie Giacomin said give me your best shot. So I came over the blue line and let a slapper go and Eddie threw off his trapper and caught it in his bare hand. That’s how slow my shot was. But it was accurate and I had help from my two line mates to get the 30 goals that year. As a line we really clicked well. I could never have played on a better line. Steve ended up getting rookie of the year that season.”

In the summer of 1974 Emile Francis acquired Derek Sanderson from the Bruins, a move that initially was not well received by Fairbairn and a number of his teammates.

Bill Fairbairn: “I always hated him but yet when he was on our team I became friends with him, like he was a good guy.  I never thought I would do that, you know change that quickly. I couldn’t stand him when he was in Boston, I just hated him. But then when he came to us he was just like one of the guys he wanted to win. At first I didn’t think it was a good move but then after a while it turned out it was. There’s nothing wrong with a guy who played his heart out and tries to win.”

The following spring, the Blueshirts lost to the Islanders in a best of three series, the final game ending with J.P. Parise’s goal 11 seconds into the first overtime. It was a devastating loss and proved to be the beginning of the end for that group of Rangers that had been together for so long.

Bill Fairbairn: “That was kind of a heartbreaker. I still remember that because Parise scored that goal and it was very, very disappointing to lose right in the Garden like that. That was the start of their dynasty but it was very upsetting really.”

The next season, the Blueshirts got off to a bad start and soon veterans like Ratelle, Park, Giacomin, Villemure and even Emile Francis were no longer part of the team.

Bill Fairbairn: “That was pretty sad, we still had a good team and why it was broken up I’ll never know. You can’t just take the top players and bring in other top players from other teams and make it work because you are taking two players and putting them with 15 other players. That was kind of the decline of the team when that happened and with ‘the Cat’ leaving that kind of demoralized a lot of the guys that played for him back then. We were like a family, we stood together pretty well all the time. Even after practice in Long Beach we would go out for lunch as a group.  I had never been on team like that. You could say that we were kind of like brothers and ‘the Cat’ was the father because it was like one big family. We backed each other up right from the get-go. When the team was broken up you tried to put out but it was different, a lot different.

When Ferguson came in he didn’t like the style that me and Walter played. He didn’t like that at all. He was kind of on us all the time about different things even in practice he would get kind of ticked off at us because they would be working on the power play and we’d be the penalty killers and we would get the puck and wouldn’t give it back.  He got kind of fed up with that and he wouldn’t let us kill penalties in practice”.

In November of 1976 Fairbairn was traded along with Nick Beverly to the Minnesota North Stars for Bill Goldsworthy. A year later, the North Stars put him on waivers and he was claimed by The St. Louis Blues who by that time were being run by Emile Francis.

Bill Fairbairn: “For me it was like going from a broken family to a team where the players didn’t hang around together. There were a lot of college players on the team when I went there and it was hard to fit in. There weren’t many players who had played in the league long. Tom Reid was there for a long time, Dennis O’Brien, Gary Smith and Ernie Hickey so I kind of hung around those guys and enjoyed their company like it was in New York in the early days. But it wasn’t the same, not nearly the same. Hockey wasn’t as much fun when I got traded there and my back was giving me problems then too so I missed a lot of games because of it.

After I went from Minnesota to St. Louis nobody hung around together. You went to the rink and practiced and then you wouldn’t see them until the game. It wasn’t a team that looked out for each other, but that’s the way a lot of the teams were. I guess playing in New York so long I had no idea.  I would think that Boston was like New York with the players that they had in their heyday. It’s a lot better when you know that everyone is your friend and they’ve got your back.

The funny thing is that I started and finished my career with ‘The Cat’. The reason I quit was my back was bad. I’d go down and I couldn’t get up. I had to stay on my feet because if I got knocked over I couldn’t get up. You know if you can’t help the team or play up to your potential then you shouldn’t be playing. So that was my main reason for quitting.  I talked it over with my wife and she said you know you can’t play because you can’t skate so that’s what happened. And it was very fitting to start off with ‘the Cat’ and end with him

Billy Fairbairn played in 536 regular season games for the Rangers scoring 138 goals and 224 assists for a total of 362 points with 102 penalty minutes. Included in those goals were 25 power play goals, 12 short-handers and 25 game winners. In 52 playoff games he scored 13 goals with 21 assists. In all he played in 658 NHL games scoring 162 goals with 261 assists.

After he retired Billy moved back to Manitoba and got into Real Estate but he still has fond memories of his days in New York.

Bill Fairbairn: “I still love New York and I love the team I played with. It was very disappointing all the years I was there that we were contenders but we just couldn’t come up with the cup. That was the only bad part about being there. But my life wouldn’t be as it is now if I hadn’t gone to New York and played with the players that I was with. I couldn’t have played for a better coach than Emile Francis, I can’t say enough about him.  I made a lot of friends and still have a lot of friends from the game. I love New York and still love the Rangers. They are my only team.”

George Grimm is the former publisher of Sportstat, The Ranger Report and columnist for the Blueshirt Bulletin. His book about the Emile Francis Era Rangers “We Did Everything but Win” is scheduled to be released in September 2017 by Skyhorse Publishing. . He currently writes the Retro Rangers column for Insidehockey.com and is working on a book about the history of Ranger goaltenders.

Advertisements

366 thoughts on “George Grimm: Reminiscing with Billy Fairbairn”

  1. Fairbairn’s comments about team camaraderie and sticking up for one another still rings true. I don’t see enough of it around here (MSG) yet.

    Like

  2. I’m here RR2.
    Enjoyed every word of it. The part about Ferguson not letting he and Tkachuk kill penalties in practice made me laugh. They used to do that in games too. Get the puck and not give it back while killing penalties.

    Like

  3. Thank God. When Doodie said a good post was here I shoulda known he didn’t write it. Will sink into this in a bit. Thank you George!

    Like

  4. Looking at the Rangers D today, and down the road, there is not going to be a lot of room for all the prospects. They have 4 locked up ( not including Staal) long term. McD, Skjei, Smith, and Shatennkirk. That leaves two spots and a seventh. You have Pionk, Deangelo, Day, Bersgalov(s), and Graves. Plus I’m probably leaving somebody out.
    And Doodie,
    Before you yell at me that there not ready, I’m not just talking about this year.

    Like

  5. Fantastic read! Thanks George for writing and sharing it.

    Thanks doodie for allowing we boneheads the forum to enjoy it.

    Bdl loving life today 😉

    Like

  6. BDL, You figure next summer, something will have to give with Staal. And for sure Holden will be gone. That opens up the third pair, plus a 7th. Maybe in two years they could deal Smith as well. I’m not worried about it.

    Like

  7. Thank you all very much for your kind remarks. I appreciate them. The Rangers of that era were a joy to talk to, funny, humble, open and honest. They made me feel like an old friend.

    Like

  8. Great fun read – thank you! Going to lunch together in Long Beach. The good old days.
    Thank you George!!

    Like

  9. Bdl
    Was skjeL re-signed?

    Last I checked he was not signed long term and next season was his last on elc.

    It would be wise to lock him up long term, so smart by them if they did

    Like

  10. Thanks George. This is the era where I fell in love with the Rangers. In fact, my favorite player was Walter Tkaczuk and when I see anyone wearing the #18 in blue, I think of him. How they did not win the cup………I look forward to your book. I will buy it day 1!

    Like

  11. That infamous Parise game was a heartbreaker. Billy Fairbairn is far to modest as he scored the first two goals in the third after the Rangers went into the 3rd down 3-0. Loudest crowd I ever heard as they came back with Vickers scoring about 20 seconds after Billy’s second goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great read as always George, keeping the dark days of summer at bay!
    Football (soccer) season starts this weekend so that will take my mind off no hockey for a couple of months while we wait for desperation to sink in and someone trade for Holden.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Awesome George thanks it brings back many memories when I first started following the Ranger in the early 70’s when I lived in Palo Alto Calif. I would see them live wherever they played the Calif. Golden Seals. Great write up!

    Like

  14. I must admit most of you guys were fans long before I was around (no offence), my dad didn’t start rooting for the rangers until the messier deal…subsequently that’s when I did as well.

    Like

  15. There aren’t many guys who get hired in hockey management who I have never even heard of, but I have literally never even heard of the guy that was just hired to be the Wolf Pack assistant coach.

    Like

  16. I actually saw Mormina play during his Freshman year in 2001/2002. Iona lost 4-1 at Colgate. spent last season as an assistant coach at Mercyhurst under Rick Gotkin – my favorite opposing coach to cover.

    I still remember the Iona hockey program’s last game – a 6-5 playoff loss at Mercyhurst. at the press conference prior to the game, Gotkin and I were talking and he expressed shock that Iona was ending his program. I told him that I knew about a month or so earlier that the program was done. He paid me a great compliment by saying that he enjoyed my coverage of Iona and that you could never tell that I had a relationship (aka a job) with Iona.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It doesn’t matter when Count, it just matter who! And yeah some of us have been around awhile always hoping for the best, but always prepared for the next disappointment!

    Like

  18. Not sure what Mercyhurst sounds like, but it was a long ass bus ride the first time I went to Erie with the team. For the playoffs, and last game, we flew. Then again, the team flew up earlier in the year when they played Mercyhurst and Canisius.

    Like

  19. Cccp
    Re skjeL…along time ago (1 or 2 blogs) someone, can’t remember who, did a typo on skjei and spelled it skjeL and got the head bit off. I decided to throw gas on the fire and started typing it as skjeL.

    I think booby is the only one that has ever if I knew I was typing it incorrectly lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. McGrath: Good crowd out there tonight, boys, let’s really try to win this one.

    Ned Braden: You have to hand it to the old bastard, he’s highly original.

    Jim Ahern: He traveled 15 hours by bus to say that?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What now? I tell you what you? 1. You leave town now. You be gone you stay gone. You lost your LA privileges. 2. You tell no one about this. This here is between you, me, and soon to be spending the rest of his short azz life in agonizing pain rapist here.

    You hear me talking hillbilly boy? I ain’t thru with you my damn sight. I’m gonna get some hard pipe hittin bruthas with some pliars and a blow torch and go to work on the home boy. I’m gonna go medieval on yo azz.

    Like

  22. Torts – “roll the ******* windows down. I ******* can’t reach the ******* button.”

    Mooch – “and ******* turn the ******* radio up. I ******* love this ******* song. ”

    Torts – “what ******* band sings this ******* song? It’s got a ******* great melody and a hip ******* beat”

    Mooch – “I ******* have no ******* what ******* song this is but the ******* lead singer can ******* suck his own c***”

    Torts – are you ******* serious? That’s ******* insane!”

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Stepan better get some major sun block for that hole in his natural. It be hitting the 120’s some days. That cue ball head will glow red if he doesn’t protect that shine.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Eric Trump – “dad, Don Jr is eating my paste again. You told him he could only eat my crayons. And I’m running out”

    Like

  25. Mooch – “torts, what the **** are you doing?”

    Torts – “what’s it ******* look like I’m ******* doing?”

    Mooch – “it ******* looks like your ******* sucking you ******* tiny ******* little ****”

    Torts – “Trust me. This ****** ain’t tiny. Look at my ******* hands. I have ******* no ******* problem down there”
    Torts –

    Like

  26. Neil Best of Newsday reports that the Rangers will be on NBS or NBC Sports 14 times this year – YUCK! As part of that scheduling, the following four games have had their start times changed:

    — Dec. 5 against the Penguins from 7 to 7:30 p.m.

    — Dec. 27 against the Capitals from 7 to 8 p.m.

    — Jan. 18 against the Sabres from 7 to 7:30 p.m.

    — March 26 against the Capitals from 7 to 7:30 p.m.

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/14-rangers-games-to-air-on-nbc-nbcsn-this-season-1.13892063?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

    Like

  27. Team dinner at a seafood restaurant: Pulling mussels from a skjel.
    Scoring a goal against the devils: Hell’s bells but no skjels
    Hockey on a cold day: Skjelly winters
    Stones play at MSG: Gimme’ Skjelter

    Like

  28. Rosario is the 24th Mets player to wear #1 starting with Richie Asburn and included Mookies 3 stints and a cast of others.
    Love the Mook!

    Like

  29. before the Buckner play the game was tied via a wild pitch or passed ball.

    many people think if he made the play the series was over and that was not the case.

    Like

  30. Good morning, class! Today we will talking about Nick Rash’s extension!
    ————-
    A good framework for a potential Nash extension could be the deal that Alex Steen signed with the St. Louis Blues back in September. He inked a four-year deal that carries an AAV of $5.75 million along with a No Trade Clause until February 1st, 2021 (via CapFriendly).

    Yes, Steen and Nash are different players and Nash will be slightly older when his new deal kicks in, but I think this is a good starting point for both sides. Nash will certainly be looking for four years in any deal and I think the Rangers would be willing to match that. In terms of production, Nash is a superior scorer but Steen has been better in terms of point production. So a similar cap number should be expected.
    http://thehockeywriters.com/new-york-rangers-rick-nash-should-extend/

    Like

  31. 3CP – wtf? Extend Nash?? No thanks, the team’s “only” first line forward and back checking demon is NYR’s 5th leading goal scorer over the last 2 seasons (7th in points).
    Please no to Mr Short Shifts.

    Like

  32. Agree with coos… 2 by 4 dont equal 61…

    And I know… the trend is to bash the Nash but I like Nash. I think he’s a very important player. Sure he can be a pain to watch but nobody is perfect (unless you’re born in Odessa, Ukriane)…

    That said…2 years 4 million per and I’d kerp Nash. Anything above that, no thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Nash is going to get at least what Eric Staal got. The Rangers have to decide if Nash is more valuable to them on the ice, and sign him, or more valuable as a trade chip. The one thing they should not do is let him walk and get nothing for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Unwritten Rule 1 in management is you pay your guys before looking for someone else’s. That being said Nash’s contract expires in a year where there are some quality offensive guys coming available who are younger and healthier. Also, they’re all going to cost around that 6×6 ball park. Do you give that to your best offensive player l-a 33 year old who can’t make it through a full season?

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I have no problem trading Nash, but whatever comes back can’t make us less competitive this year unless we’re clearly out of it and in sell mode in which case it would probably be a deadline deal.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Wings on expiring contracts this year:
    Mark Stone, 25 y/o
    Evander Kane, 26 y/o
    James Neal, 29 y/o
    JVR, 28 y/o
    Patric Hornqvist, 30 y/o
    Cam Atkinson, 28 y/o

    Doubt they’re all hitting the market. Who would yous trust to assume Nash’s role?

    Like

  37. Nash is trending way down in terms of his on ice production. There are occasional flashes of his vintage form where he drives hard to the net and won’t be denied, but there is no consistency in that effort, likely because his body just can’t do that the way it used to. His shot generation over the past two seasons has really bottomed out. I think if you’re expecting him to post anything significantly above 20-20-40, it’s a mistake.

    Like

  38. I have said in the past that I would re-sign Nash. But with the moves made this off season, I’m not so sure I would. I think the move is to trade he and Zucc before the season starts. If they wait until the deadline, chances are they are going to be in the playoffs race. Then you are stuck.

    Like

  39. Be interesting to use the line AV used in POs at times; JT-Haze-Nash. Nash needs someone to scrape (JT), make the long outlet (Haze) and can provide Dside support.

    Like

  40. Coos,
    Not sure if you are breaking my chops or not, but just in case. What I mean by stuck is, if they are 3pts in or out, there is no way they trade Nash, Zucc, or even Grabner at the deadline. Then they lose nash and Grabner for nothing in the off season. Stuck.

    Like

  41. BDL the other difference between now and the deadline is that the price will be much higher by the deadline. Well, maybe not MUCH but higher nevertheless. If they’re middle of the pack they may still decide to pull a move like that..Look at what TB did with Boyle this year. Dumped him and still tried to make a push. Would be nice to get something for Nash.

    Like

  42. The shame about Nash is that nothing he’s done has made me think his skills are diminished. He just isn’t healthy enough to play often enough to put up the points

    Like

  43. There’s a reason Nash gets paid what he does. Our best scorer, our best defender, no maintenance, doesn’t take shifts off, and is a swell fellow all around. 🙂

    Like

  44. Just to fire a warning shot: With basically every D-man in the NHL now getting $4.5M per, whether RFA or UFA, start preparing for the Rangers to trade McMonster next summer. Because you’re not paying a 28 y.o. $7Mx8 or more, and that’s what it will take when he hits UFA.

    this isn’t just me talking, btw.

    Liked by 5 people

  45. BDL THEN you take that money and get a younger healthier player to play the wing and put up 25-30 goals for a little less money

    Like

  46. So Carp, let’s discuss. You think they’ll look for McCaptain to take a deal similar to what Shattenkirk just signed? Or is it obvious that he’s not giving them another discount and will look to cash in so they’re alright with parting ways?

    Like

  47. Not the best scorer. In fact, #5 over the last 2 seasons. Short shifts as well.
    .
    McD is the kind of player who will be sorely missed when he is gone. Girardi should be deferring his ‘extra’ salary windfall to McD for covering for his arse over the last 5 seasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. McMonster has been a bargain up to now. The biggest problem is Bettman and his lockouts that always manage to depress the cap growth. He will go for the $ and get it. I think he is terrific but I also would have a problem paying him $8MM+ per. Drew Doughty he is not.

    Like

  49. The whole Nash’s offense vs his defense thing is irrelevant unless we’re still re-hashing the post season from 3, 4, or 5 years ago. The problem is that he’s going to be 34 at the end of this upcoming season and his ceiling seems to be 60-70 games a season. And I’m willing to bet that of those 60 to 70, he’s probably not effected by his ongoing lower body injuries in about 50 of them

    Like

  50. Understand that if Mcdonagh is traded it’s probably not a Subban for Weber type of thing. No Nash and no Mcdonagh may be a reason to try to trade Lundqvist and truly start over. Save the money for the up and comers..

    Like

  51. If Nash pretty much disregarded D, like Richie Rich, or even Ovi, played more PP and less PK – and just found comfortable open ice in the slot and waited to be fed, he’d have no problem with 35+ as I see it.

    Like

  52. Donuts gave us a major salute by signing his last contract on the cheap side. Either his agent is incompetent or Ryan is not a money-grubber, is happy with his dollars, likes it here and might do it again with a nice bump up.
    Not sure what the story is here.

    Like

  53. Carp, I disagree with the notion that Nash is our best forward. In an individual game, he still can be, but over the course of the entire season, I don’t think he is physically capable of being that anymore.

    As for trading McDonagh rather than re-signing, I don’t see that happening. I know you aren’t just talking, but by the time he’s UFA, a Staal buyout would be a lot more palatable than it is now. I also think they’d be much more likely to trade Brendan Smith. I think they commit the big dollars to the captain, and then move him before his deal is over.

    Like

  54. I think it’s Zuccarello. He takes shifts off and definitely takes longer shifts than he should, but I just think he’s better than whatever else we have. It’s more an indictment of our forwards than anything else.

    I think it could easily be Miller or Kreider if they just would take the next step.

    Like

  55. Zuccarello had more 5v5 points than Nash had total points. His Even strength GF% is the highest among the regular forwards (other than Grabner, which is breakaway driven) by a pretty healthy margin.

    Like

  56. to me, that’s the larger narrative: our forwards are bad. Or, more accurately, our forwards lack any true first line players. We have a few second liners, and then a lot of third liners. It’s the post-Jagr Renney years all over again.

    Liked by 2 people

  57. If you watched Zucc play last year and came away thinking he had a good season, then you ( not meaning you specifically Doodie) watch a different game then me. Zucc STATS were very deceiving.

    Like

  58. Miller had a more effective season than Nash last year with limited PP production. Kid’s getting ready to break out. Needs Haze to take the next step as a pivot to facilitate his development.

    Like

  59. For about a half of the season, the two best forwards were Miller, and Hayes. At no point during the Season was Zucc the best forward. Both Kreider and Grabner had stretch where they were the best forwards. And I believe for the month of December, Stepan was there best forward.

    Like

  60. BDL

    if nash walks after season we get the cap space. that is not nothing. if we’re out of things like i think we’ll be we can expect nash to be traded for couple of picks we desperately need going forward.

    zucc is not going to be traded. sorry to break that to you but it’s the reality..

    Like

  61. if we sign nash for above mentioned 4 year contract my question will be when the next lockout arrives will teams be allowed more than 1 compliance buyout as we’ll need 1 for shatty besides the nash one. i’m assuming staal is gone before then.

    Like

  62. Alex,
    I’ve said I think Zucc SHOULD be traded, not that he will be traded. And on that cap space, who are they going to use it on. James listed a handful of forwards, and I must say none of them excite me.

    Like

  63. Doodie

    if I’m right about missing playoffs then yes AV would be gone. I think Gorton survives as he inherited the mess from Sather in bad contracts and frequently traded picks.

    Like

  64. I don’t see how Zuccarello is their best forward in any way. … stats be damned.

    You can live with Miller’s head-scratchers in the D-zone and/or with the puck. You can’t live with his 20-game stretches of 1 goal, three assists. Too many of those each of the last two seasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  65. teams give up players at deadline way before they’re mathematically eliminated. usually just about 8 points out is enough for most,

    Like

  66. Doodie’s 12:09 is correct. The part that really amuses me about posters here is no one wants to trade from a position of strength/depth to address a clear area of need.

    Like

  67. I’d take any of the forwards off that list except Atkinson.

    I like Neal, hornqvist, and Kane the best.

    I think trading mcdonut would be a huge mistake.

    Like

  68. Wicky,
    I would trade anybody for the right player, but here is my problem right now, I don’t know where they are going. Is it a take a step back season? If so, Nash is the obvious guy to go. If it’s a rebuild, then everyone is on the table. If it’s a re-tool, then it’s Nash, Zucc, Staal, Holden, and Grabner.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. And Nash is consistent? Puleeze. Miller did more to maintain possession than any forward on the team and got most of his points at even strength, a good barometer of effectiveness. Does he still try to force plays through middle – less so, but yes.
    Does he take stupid shots from behind the goal line, shy away from contact and take short shifts?
    Nope.
    Nash is a 6’4″ 230lb marshmallow aka the Nashed Potato.

    Like

  70. Can JVR be had In the right package? Getting lost in the youth movement in Toronto??
    Nash for JVR – Babscock loves his pk play…

    Like

  71. SN, I don’t think Nash is ever ever going to be enough to get JVR from TO but I do think he’d be a nice investment as a Nash replacement next summer.

    Like

  72. Carp, what I can’t live with RE: Miller is his disappearance in the post season. Was waiting for some big OMG injury report after they were eliminated . It never came.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Bdl
    I certainly don’t disagree. I don’t think the rangers “rebuild” until the $8.5 million dollar man is gone.

    I think they have been over the past few seasons and will continue to “re-tool”.

    I don’t think any player is or should be “untouchable” (move clauses notwithstanding) but mcdonut should be as close as it gets.

    Like

  74. James

    I think Nash can still score 25-30+ goals, too… especially in contract year. That’s why I feel pretty good about keeping my $26 bucks and pocketing more cash on top if anyone wants to take on the bet.

    Like

  75. 1. A healthy Nash by far our best all-around player. By far.
    2. Someone should pay for the minimal development of THE and JT. Either they, themselves, or the coaches, or both.

    Like

  76. Just to capstone the recent greatness of Nick Rash.
    Last season he was 9th on the team in points per 60 all situations; points per 60 minutes not total points. Oscar flipping Lindbergh was 10th
    The last 2 seasons he was 8th. That includes all the PP time he was given.
    .
    For the non-math crowd, there are only 9 forwards in the top 9…

    Like

  77. SN, once again, what that stat doesn’t point out is that he was out for a length of time and came back a different player. Stats don’t mean much when you’re missing 20+ games a year. All this GF% and corsi stuff doesn’t take into consideration that all else is not equal when it comes to health just because they’re on the ice. If he plays 80 games and puts up less than 25-25-50 I’ll eat my hat.

    Like

  78. Andersson looks good. He is always on the right side of the puck. Good skater. Good hands in tight spaces.
    Day is not playing, but Gettinger is. I like what I have seen from him as well. He’s not playing a lot, but he is noticeable when he’s out there. Better skater than I expected

    Liked by 2 people

  79. James – he missed 15 games and the stat describes his offensive output on an adjusted basis relative to TOI. He was being paid all season, just like all the other forwards. My point is his effectiveness has dropped significantly. Hopefully the recent trend will reverse but he is not producing offensively at the same level as ANY of the other forwards.

    Like

  80. Wanting to trade Nash and actually being able to trade Nash, now or at the deadline, are two different things. A lot of things have to line up just right for Nash to be traded – even if you wait until the deadline.

    You have to hope that the team(s) in the market for Nash are on his list of acceptable teams. As I have stated previously, I am sure the teams on his accept list are teams that do not want him (e.g. Columbus), teams that can’t afford him cap or cheapness (e.g. pick one of many) or are teams the Rangers aren’t dealing with (e.g. Isles/Devils).

    I am not saying it is impossible, but some tend to toss around the notion of trading Nash like we are talking about Steven Kampfer or some other marginally priced player who doesn’t own a modified contract cluase.

    As for the Rangers best forward last year, everyone is forgetting Tanner Glass! 🙂 Brandon Pirri?!?

    Like

  81. Graves has been passed over by at least 4 other players according to brass comments; Day, Poink, D’Angelo and Bereflazov.
    Not sure if they are trying to motivate him but he is now seems expendable to be packaged if need be.

    Like

  82. The other Sweedish player the Rangers Were rumored to like, Pedderson, is going to be one heck of a player. The U.S. has a lot of skill.

    Like

  83. There are times when Nash is driving to the net and seems to have 2 or 3 opposing players hanging all over him. Sometimes he scores on those plays. Often he doesn’t. I just find myself wondering, isn’t someone else open? Yes, his linemates should crash the net and go for the rebound, but Nash doesn’t seem to make the players around him that much better.

    FWIW I think he’s the best forward on this team, but I wouldn’t resign him.

    Liked by 2 people

  84. Lol. Swedish Crayfish party. (kräftskiva) My Mom’s from Stockholm. Happens in August and it’s a reason to eat cray fish and drink a lot which might explain the hat.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. Well, Park was the Captain, but he was traded for Vadnais, not for Orr. I don’t think Brad ever got over it. If they considered hanging high his jersey, he might not agree to attend, but I say he would.

    Like

  86. Park has been to the garden a few times and they introduced him as ex Ranger and he seemed fine with it. It always looked like Ratelle who never forgave.

    But it’s not the fans it was The cat who I would think they held it against.

    It was a horrible horrible deal.

    Like

  87. Park has been involved with team through Gilbert. He used to play in ‘corporate outings’ at MSG as a Ranger vet along with Rod, Dugay and B Mullen. I was lucky enough to skate in one 15 years ago. Probably safe to say I am only bonehead to score a goal at MSG assisted by Rod Gilbert. Amarante sang the anthems pregame to an audience of 5 not counting players.

    Liked by 3 people

  88. I guess we just see it differently SN.
    I still consider Stamkos one of the best in the league. He was paid for the whole season and wasn’t very effective for Tampa having sat out all year. Doesn’t mean his skill is diminished. Idk.

    Like

  89. Watched Lias Andersson yesterday against the USA. The game itself was very choppy. Moments of real good hockey, followed by, a game being played in the middle of the summer. Anderson was the best player on the ice. Not the most skilled player, or the fastest skater, but definitely the best player. His composure with the puck in his own end was very impressive. His awareness in the O zone was also very impressive. The only down part of his game I saw, and because of this he fits right in as a Ranger, he was not good at all on face offs. I think I saw him win one.

    Liked by 2 people

  90. James – my comments were more directed at Nash was the ‘teams’ best forward last season’ with the following caveats:
    – he didn’t play in every game
    – he didn’t play well because he was injured when he came back
    – he was more consistent than others
    – he back checks well…
    .
    He may be the most talented, but he wasn’t the most productive.
    .
    Stamkos is very talented but imagine if NYR had signed him and watched him get injured season after season. The Bolts are a top 4 team in the league with Stamkos/Johnson in middle and Hedman as D1 (and Cally as a non-vocal locker room presence…). it’s too bad for him and Bolts but if he doesn’t play, he doesn’t produce. Big part of this league is staying healthy and being out on the ice.

    Like

  91. Alex – While it was a horrible deal it was one that The Cat probably had to make. That is a statement that took me a long time to come to terms with because I was a huge Jean Ratelle fan – as well as being a mega-huge Eddie Giacomin fan. Needless to say, those eight days were a difficult time for this then 11-year-old Rangers fan.

    The Francis Era Rangers had gone as far as they could and the loss to the Islanders was the final nail in their coffin. I think most people would have felt better about the deal if Francis traded Ratelle, Park (and the usually forgotten Joe Zanussi) for younger players with the team going into rebuild mode. Heck, they could have accepted deals for veterans from any other team than the Bruins (and the Flyers) – and then toss in the fact that Phil Esposito (who, for those too young to remember, was on par with Denis Potvin in the Garden’s heart) was one of the players coming back.

    Interestingly enough, Francis always had a jones for acquiring Carol Vadnais. He tried brining in Vadnais a couple of times when he was playing for the Seals/Golden Seals.

    Like

  92. 100% agree on that SN. You have to stay healthy. When you get right down to it, Nash’s time as the go to player on this roster has come and gone. Whether they trade him or let him walk next summer doesn’t matter to me in regard to the roster spot which I think will be filled via free agency.
    Fact remains the “new” core of this team has to start becoming the source of the go to guys.

    Like

  93. I realize that I am approaching this situation as a rank amateur, but how is it that Nash is so often double-teamed (and fouled) and yet no one is ever open for him to flip the puck to? I hate this coaching staff.

    Liked by 1 person

  94. For the record, I was a huge Nash fan, loved the trade and thought his production in the strike shortened season (12-13) was very impressive. 42 points in 44 games; 21-21-42 incl. 3-6-9 on PP. He played best with speed on his wing with Hags on his line that year. Love to see Grabs play with him to give him more room.

    Like

  95. the current groups window has shut. in last decade basically 3 teams shared the hardware with boston the outlier.

    look for teams like edmonton and toronto to be at the top pretty soon.

    Like

  96. Alex what is this current group you speak of? Lundqvist Nash Zucc and Staal?? They’re simply left overs at this point with the exception of LQ. The current group to me is a bunch of younger players with untapped potential in need of some updated star power

    Liked by 1 person

  97. The Kings were very fortunate to get Jeff Carter; the Flyers received a lot of value from Lumbus but the BJs were fleeced by the Kings.
    If NYR had been able to get Carter, things could have been much different.

    Like

  98. I’m sticking my neck out here but I’m gonna say this. Kreider, Miller, Hayes, Vesey, & Zibanejad will be impressive this year solidifying our young forward core! Something good is bound to happen sooner rather than later for a change! Go Rangers!!! There I said it!

    Like

  99. This ‘group’ is defined by the D; Henk, McD, Staal and Girardi along with Step, Nash and Hags. Kreider (and Zucc) are the bridge to the future.
    There is talent on the roster, need pups to keep developing and new D to play to their Cap Hits.

    Like

  100. I’s say anybody 26-27 and up is what i mean by current group. need some contracts off the books and i’m including buyouts. also need to start getting draft picks and not surrendering them. i don’t see a cup in our short term future. medium term is debatable too.

    so maybe 5 years IF things change and the youngest guys are as good as hyped and we don’t make mistakes in the draft.

    Like

  101. Zibanejad, Hayes, Miller, Kreider, Vesey, Buchnevich, Mcdonagh, Skjei, Shattenkirk, Smith…That’s the current ‘group’ now or at least is should be..

    Liked by 1 person

  102. I’d say we’re headed in the right direction then, Alex. almost 10 million dollars coming off the books next season between Nash and Grabner. Haven’t given up a draft pick since the Eric Staal acquisition 2 seasons ago. Just drafted 7th overall this year…

    Like

  103. Ironic, looking at this team as currently constructed. It’s very similar to the roster they had circa 07-10 when the Dubinksys and Callahans Girardis and Staals were in their prime and the organization yearned for some star power post Jagr. Just like now. A lot of 3rd liners and some quality 2nd liners..

    Like

  104. Wonder if Sakic would trade Duchene for Ovie…”well you’ll just have to throw in a first rounder Brian. I mean I know what I have here I don’t NEED to make a trade”

    Like

  105. On the 30th anniversary of the trade I wrote an article for Blueshirt Bulletin and I came across the following quote which explains why Brad Park was (and still might be) upset about being traded. You have to admit he sure had cause.

    The outrage over the deal was not limited to those coming to New York. For very personal reasons, Park contemplated retirement.

    “My first instinct was to refuse to go; to say, ‘To hell with it.’ That didn’t last long. I knew I had responsibilities as a professional and as a family man,” the former Ranger captain told Kevin Shea of LegendsofHockey.net. “For a player who had never been traded before, it was definitely an experience. The thing that bothered me most was uprooting my four-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy. He had just started going to a fine facility in New York and I worried about finding similar facilities in Boston. But I didn’t have to worry for long. Boston had a fine school. Once I got there, everything fell into place.”

    Liked by 1 person

  106. One more excerpt from that article. It is one of my favorite hockey stories.

    Ranger fans hated the thought of Esposito coming to the Rangers and the former Bruins’ superstar shared the repulsion. In an excerpt from The Hockey News’ “The Lighter Side of Hockey”, Glen Goodland relates the following story.

    “One day early in 1975-76, after years of glory with Boston, Phil Esposito was called in to meet with infamous coach Don Cherry. Cherry reluctantly told Esposito he was being traded. ‘OK,” Esposito replied, “but if you say it’s to New York (Rangers), I’m going to jump out that window.’ Cherry’s reply? ‘Bobby,” he said, turning to an assistant, ‘open the window.'”

    Liked by 2 people

  107. James

    Grabner is worth every penny and then some. so off the books has to be netted against a replacement who is far less effective but still costs something.

    We’re still getting hurt in a big way by those picks given up.

    I’ll feel better about our cap situation in a few years. MAYBE.

    Like

  108. Coos – I am sure the traded would have been voided, but there would have been a lawsuit between the Bruins and Rangers to see who would have been responsible for the guy Esposito landed on/killed when he jumped. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  109. Anthony – The best part of the deal is that Esposito still hasn’t forgiven the Bruins for trading him. He was about to sign with the WHA for twice what the Bruins were offering him. But, the Bruins talked him into signing with them. Less than two weeks later they traded him. And, Espo finished his story with “F the Bruins!” You have to love that.

    Like

  110. Was a time, not long past, when the chief attribute to getting hired as an assistant or bench coach was to be a reliable and preferred drinking partner for the head coach. Same with baseball Managers.

    Like

  111. The good old WHA. They made a lot of NHL players rich because GMs were afraid to have players jump leagues – and The Cat was one of them.

    I had the chance to talk to a guy who played three games in the WHA with the Winnipeg Jets while I was at a Booster Club Convention in the ‘peg. Also got to meet Chuck Rayner, Bill Mosienko, Jim Neilson and Randy Gilhen and others that I can’t remember. Damn Canadian booze.

    Anyway, Gord Tumilson played in 1972-73 under Jets coach Bobby Hull. Yes, you read that correctly. Gord was about 21 when the Jets went to Los Angeles to play the Sharks for two games. The Jets had a day off in between games so Hull took a couple of the guys, Gord included, to Vegas. Gord abided by the motto “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but said I was free to use my imagination of the kind of fun a 21-year-old could have in Vegas with a star like Hull around.

    Like

  112. Nash is harder to replace than Grabner, Alex. I think that’ll be a bit more obvious after this upcoming season.

    Like

  113. And I don’t buy that we’re hurting from losing those picks. Could we be in a couple years? Maybe.
    There’s teams that have had a first rounder every year for the last 6 years that have had far less success and haven’t acquired the likes of Hayes, Vesey, Buchnevich…Regardless of how they got here they’re in the system and playing for the big club.

    Like

  114. Congrats to Don Maloney on his new gig!

    Last year at this time we were complaining about that annoying kid from Harvard who could pick any team he wanted, but definitely was not coming here.

    Like

  115. In today’s world news: A woman pretending to be a man in a relationship with a man who is pretending to be gay had a baby.
    Pushing that kid out must have really hurt his penis.

    The end.

    Liked by 2 people

  116. James – in terms of cap and cap relief Grabner will be much tougher to replace than Nash. Grabner leaving at his cap hit hurts us Nash leaving at his helps us.

    Re the young guys especially Buch – exactly what have they done so far. I think the hype is expecting Tarasenko. We’ll see. The jury is still out.

    Teams don’t win championships by consistently trading 1st and 2nd rd picks and we’ve traded them quite often.

    Like

  117. I don’t think picks are that important.

    Having a mid to late first round pick in any of the past 5 or so years would not have pushed the rangers over the “hump” to a cup.

    And when they do draft in the first round, they have to make the right choice.

    Like

  118. Alex let me answer your question by opposing my own- What would you have liked to see from Buchnevich when he missed half the season and then came back and played limited minutes and a fourth line role? That’s not exactly what I call giving a rookie every opportunity. The fact that you’d value Grabner over him is alarming to me. And I very much value Grabner in his role here.

    Like

  119. James

    I’m not buying into the Buch hype. This organization (like most others) hypes the kids in a big way – so much that the fanbase gets into a frenzy when the kid is brought along slowly. I’ve seen too many failures among the hyped ones. Example Grachev.

    I’m not from Missouri but I am from the show me school.

    By the way you can insert Vesey where I wrote Buch and I’d say the same thing.

    Last year Grabner showed me and at least some others.

    Like

  120. James

    I’m ok with trading Grabner now instead of marginalizing him on the 4th line. That gives Buch the spot – deservedly or not. Not my first choice but it’s better choice thatn killing a good players value (one who scored 27 goals w world class speed)

    Like

  121. Well you can’t hype a prospect and relegate him as a fourth liner at the same time. Again I think people are crazed sometimes w stats and highlight reel plays and that’s their litmus test.
    Not a single piece of evidence to say the kid can’t Play hockey. Maybe give him a full 82 game season while healthy before deciding what he can offer at the ripe old age of 22?
    This is why I joke that had the Rangers drafted all these picks they “gave away” fans would have a problem with who they drafted instead of which picks they gave up

    Liked by 1 person

  122. Alex agreed that Grabners speed is world class and that makes him valuable. But he won’t sniff 27 goals again this season. Not buying the notion that he’s a 30 goal guy now and going to receive some career contract come next summer.

    Like

  123. James

    actually they do hype him while bringing him along slowly. So they are doing both.

    And most of the fanbase (at least those who frequent the internet – blogs/ twitter)) take the hype and run with it.

    i’d rather Grabner be moved now although I don’t expect that and I do think AV will do what many fans want and Grabners value will plummet.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s