Pavel Buchnevich cross checks Anthony Mantha
Pavel Buchnevich cross checks Anthony Mantha
(That’ll wake you up in the morning)

In the wake of the Jeff Gorton and John Davidson dismissals back in May, I expressed apprehension at a first-time GM taking over a rebuild. While other franchises solicited Chris Drury’s services, I felt concerned over how he came to the general manager position.

Taking over for one’s mentor in the wake of the firing always looks bad publicly. This obviously wasn’t something that New York Rangers owner James Dolan decided when he fired his GM and team president. There had to have been some preliminary discussion between Drury and Dolan.

This brings us to the present day where Drury…


(He’s not exactly Kucherov)

When the New York Rangers acquired the rights to forward Barclay Goodrow from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon, I was cautiously optimistic. After all, there’s a genuine need for a bottom-six forward capable of playing with less space come playoff time.

However, if Frank Seravalli’s report of Goodrow’s supposed contract is true, that optimism will quickly turn into panic.

In Chris Drury’s first real contract negotiation with a free agent, he’s getting taken behind the woodshed and revealed a glaring hole in his talent evaluation. …


Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis interview gif
Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis interview gif
(Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis)

In the five major North American sports leagues, team franchises operate under a cartel system. If some uber-wealthy individual or group wants into the club, they’ll have to pony up an exorbitant expansion fee to be divided up by the existing franchises.

Kraken owners David Bonderman, Tod Leiweke, and film producer Jerry Bruckheimer paid the National Hockey League $650 million for the rights to start a team. That $650 million will be divided among 30 NHL teams (The Las Vegas Golden Knights are exempt).

This process has been refined over the years. Gone are the days of new teams drafting…


GIF of Chicago Blackhawks GM and President Stan Bowman at a press conference
GIF of Chicago Blackhawks GM and President Stan Bowman at a press conference
(Blackhawks GM and President Stan Bowman)

At its core, sports are supposed to be an entertainment entity. The beauty of hockey specifically is supposed to be its simplistic and humble roots on the ponds of Canada and the northern United States. As an extension, the NHL tries to prop this myth up through its “we, not I” marketing campaign. The team is always more important than the individual.

However, the older and more in tune with reality I get, the more the NHL’s portrayal of the game resembles a myth like bigfoot. …


Alexis Lafreniere scores a goal vs New Jersey Devils
Alexis Lafreniere scores a goal vs New Jersey Devils
(The Rangers are gonna need more of this)

For the first hundred years or so of professional hockey, most institutional knowledge was locked away. Those who weren’t lucky enough to be a professional in and around the game had to settle for their own personal judgement when analyzing the sport.

Now, with the explosion of access to statistics, the general public can make its own conclusions. While Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” might’ve spawned a million wannabe Billy Beanes on the internet, it’s also elevated the discourse beyond experts gatekeeping the sport.

In the spirit of understanding Moneyball, Beane’s assistant Paul DePodesta pitched the Oakland Athletics’ problem as trying to…


Mika Zibanejad scores a power play goal against the Philadelphia Flyers
Mika Zibanejad scores a power play goal against the Philadelphia Flyers
Power Play offense is nice…but not everything

As a team eager to make a leap, the New York Rangers’ decision-makers have nothing but difficult choices ahead. With a mandate from ownership to get the ball rolling on contention and Chris Drury installed as general manager and president to make it happen, the team is going to change.

However, Drury’s mandate isn’t just to make the playoffs once. As the Tampa Bay Lightning proved, you need several cracks at the postseason to give a team the best chance possible of winning the Stanley Cup. So, prolonging the window of contention is the real key.

Yet, the NHL’s player…


Las Vegas Golden Knights scoring an overtime-winning goal in game 4 of the Conference Finals.
Las Vegas Golden Knights scoring an overtime-winning goal in game 4 of the Conference Finals.
(Vegas needed this badly)

Somehow, in spite of the talent gaps in both conference finals, both series were tied at two going into their respective game fives. One of the reasons I personally find hockey so interesting are the various styles and methods for building a team. There is no universal principle for roster construction like there is for other sports.

Some of this is tied to pure stubbornness and resistance to progress. There are also just different ideas as to what produces winning hockey because there is no one way of playing. …


Ryan Pulock saves a goal as time expires in game four of Islanders Lightning 2021
Ryan Pulock saves a goal as time expires in game four of Islanders Lightning 2021
(It doesn’t get better than this)

There are just four teams remaining in the hunt to capture Lord Stanley’s cup for the 2021 NHL season. While the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights are still competing on the ice, the other 28 franchises (Hi, Seattle) are in their annual cold war.

For those other 28 franchises, there’s a war of information being waged through media insiders. Every single day there are bread crumbs about disgruntled stars, prospects being dangled and contract negotiations sent across the internet, in print and on TV and radio.

Aside from the actual playoff hockey, the…


The Golden Knights lifting the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in 2018.
The Golden Knights lifting the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in 2018.
(No one predicted this back in 2018)

In the history of NHL, expansion teams have always had an uphill struggle at the beginning of their tenure. Picking a team of spare parts from the other franchises is supposed to make a bad team. The existing franchises take the expansion fee from some billionaire and then proceed to beat up on their team for the foreseeable future.

The two teams prior to the Vegas Golden Knights, Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets have had a hard time cementing themselves as legitimate contenders and destinations for marquee players. …


In the grand scheme of hockey debate, two parties have entrenched themselves in their respective corners of the ring. The eye-test, grit-obsessed class with grey in their beards and the computer-strained eyes of the analytics community are locked in a Joker vs Batman-esque eternal struggle.

While neither party will give an inch, it always manifests a particularly unique way during the postseason. With less space to operate on the ice in the playoffs, the greybeards tout those players who chip the puck below the goal line and go get it.

What the proponents of the eye-test miss in their fetishization…

Nick Zararis

Stony Brook ’19, Rangers hockey, if it’s competitive I’ll watch it.

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