Sunday, April 18, 2010

IIHF Update- Division 4

Division 4-A
Ireland- 3-0
Greece- 2-1
Luxembourg- 1-2
United Arab Emirates- 0-3

Division 4-B

North Korea- 3-0
Armenia- 2-1
South Africa- 1-2
Mongolia- 0-3

-Ireland and North Korea are promoted to Division 3 for 2011.

-As a follow up to the last post, Spain finished its Division 3 tournament undefeated, and will play in Division 2 next year for the first time in its history. Meanwhile, Turkey was relegated back to Division 4, as expected.

-Check back later this week for 2010 Division 2 results.

Friday, April 16, 2010

IIHF Update Part 2

Updated Division III standings:

Division A:
Estonia- 5-0
Romania- 4-1
Iceland- 3-2
New Zealand- 2-3
China- 1-4
Israel- 0-5

-Estonia will return to Division II in 2011 after a three-year hiatus.
-Israel is relegated to Division IV for the first time in its history.
-Both Iceland and New Zealand achieve the highest finish in their histories.
-China suffers the worst finish in its history.

Division B
Spain- 3-0
Belgium- 3-1
Australia- 3-1
Mexico- 1-2
Bulgaria- 1-3
Turkey- 0-4

-Having already defeated Belgium and Australia, Spain has an excellent chance to be promoted to Division II for the first time in its history.
-Turkey, all but certain to be relegated back to Division IV, has never won a Division III game in its history.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

IIHF Update

Keeping my eyes closed to the NHL playoffs until further notice, but the IIHF World Championships are going on right now, and provide a welcome diversion. The top level, of course, will not get started for a few more weeks, but there are in fact four divisions of tournaments each year, reaching all the way down to include nations like Mongolia, South Africa and Luxembourg, made up entirely of recreational players.

The Division III championships are currently in full swing. Some of the best players from countries that comprise this division play in low-level pro leagues, but most are strictly amateurs. The standings as of now are as follows:

Group A
Estonia- 4-0
Romania- 4-0
Iceland- 2-2
China- 1-3
New Zealand- 1-3
Israel- 0-4

Group B
Spain- 2-0
Belgium- 2-1
Australia- 1-1
Bulgaria- 1-1
Mexico- 1-1
Turkey- 0-3

The top team in each of the two groups will be promoted to Division II for the 2011 World Championships, while the last place team in each group will be relegated to Division IV. Those four teams will be replaced in Division III by the two last place finishers in this year's Division II, as well as the top two seeds from this year's Division IV.

The great thing about following all IIHF tournaments is seeing the progression/regression of each of these countries on an annual basis, as countries fight for promotions while trying to avoid relegation. This format carries all the way up to the top level. From Canada to the United Arab Emirates, all IIHF tournament participants are part of the same ranking system.

The Division IV tournament is just kicking off. Check back for continued updates.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What he said...

Nothing I can say that hasn't been said already.
Classic Rangers.
Where were the millionaire forwards that make up the highest payroll in the sport?
Over 65 minutes of non-shootout hockey, our only goal was from Jody Shelley.

After the buzzer as MSG flashed the goalie stats, Sid turned to me and said, in reference to Lundqvist "This guy's gonna demand a trade!"

Not literally, of course, but Sid's point is well taken. How many times can you exhaust yourself for a team that doesn't take care of things on their end? Could you imagine if Henrik played for Philly or heaven forbid Washington or Chicago? Could you imagine how solid that team would be? Hank even admitted how wiped he was by the time the shootout came along and he wasn't his best on those three shooters.

But again our only SHOOTOUT goal came from a rookie AHL call-up. Where was Gaborik? Where was Drury? Since coach Torts didn't explain himself after the game I can only speculate that he was "saving" Gaborik for a sudden death 4th round. Which never happened.

Kind of like the Rangers presence in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Stanley Cup is the greatest tournament in sports. The multiple overtime thrillers. The incredible goaltending and clutch goal scoring. The late game face-offs . The game sevens. Think Ovechkin's not excited to light it up in Montreal? The Devils and Flyers won't grind each other into dust? Ryan Miller isn't ready to snare a few Chara blasts from the blueline? Sidney and Geno aren't ready to skate with Alfie and Spezz? Can the young Avalanche trip up the veteran Sharks? Can the Predators pull-off another Music City Miracle against the balanced Chicago attack? Can Jonathan Quick and his Kings out-duel the stacked Vancouver Canucks and their gold-medal goalie? Will the battle-tested Red Wings survive a spring trip into the desert? And will a run by the Coyotes save their franchise?

The Rangers have no place in this discussion. Even if they had snuck in, it may have been for the right to get steamrolled by the Capitals. But you have to be in it to win it. And New York didn't even qualify to have a chance.

Fire Sather.

Project Philly: Over and Out

Three weeks ago, I idenitified 8-2 as the necessary record over the final 10 game for the Rangers to make the playoffs, and the path with which to achieve that record. As we all know, they came up one point short.

We know as well that yesterday's game would not have reached a shootot -not even close- had Lundqvist not risen to the occassion, as he has done time and time again.

There was no forecheck yesterday. The breakout was stifled. The power play was DOA, as it was during most of Friday's game at the Garden. The Flyers were hungrier, faster, and better in every phase of the game.

It goes without saying that the way the game played out makes the shootout loss all the more painful. Surely, all observers believed, Hank could get the better of Boucher once it became a breakaway battle between the two.

That did not happen. It hurts to say that both Flyer shootout goals were the kind that Hank generally stops, but it should hurt more to realize that the Blueshirts failed to generate more than cursory offense against a goaltender who was there for the beating.

This year, John Tortorella was not part of the solution, but part of the problem. The same can be said of Glen Sather for the past decade.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

9th Place: The First Loser

Hopefully the team and specifically the young guys can build from this. They fought hard to get there. There are some very fundamental dysfunctions on this team right now but we do have a core of some great and very likable young players. If Sather can somehow get rid or Rozi or Redden over the summer I think it would do wonders for us. Also the Gilroy experiment was a disaster. There is so much more I want to say but I think anybody who has watched this team this season could see this coming. That game was a microcosm of the season. Typical Rangers.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Its Now or Never

C'mon Blueshirts. It doesn't matter what you did until this point. It doesn't matter how many sloppy, un-inspired winter nights you spent losing to Boston, Buffalo, Montreal. It doesn't matter how many times you left your goalie out to dry. You lost the footrace to the puck. You missed your hit, whiffed on the one timer or let the puck hop over your stick at the point on the power play. It doesn't matter if you lost in the Olympics or lost Elisha Cuthbert. All that matters is tonight. Win tonight, stay alive. Philly won't go down without a battle. But New York's fate is in New York's hands. So remember, you play for the team that brought hockey to the big city. On the floor of Willis Reed. On the rink that belonged to Richter, Graves, Leetch and Captain Mark Messier.. What would they do? Would they let Philadelphia come into their house and go home happy?

Let's Go Rangers!