MSG Networks Garden of Dreams Fundraiser
The fundraiser is closed. Check back on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 to see if you are a lucky winner.
All net proceeds of the fundraiser will benefit the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which makes dreams come true for children facing obstacles in the tri-state area.
Check back on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 to see if you are a lucky winner!
NEW YORK RANGERS RAFFLE PRIZES:
1. Two (2) tickets to Rangers vs. New York Islanders game on Thursday, April 7, 2016 – and pregame visit with MSG Networks’Al Trautwig on the Chase Bridge.
2. Two (2) tickets to the Rangers vs. New York Islanders game on Thursday, April 7, 2016 – and visit MSG Networks’ broadcast announcers Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti in between periods.
3. Two (2) tickets to the last home regular season game vs. Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, April 9 – and visit with MSG Networks’ Radio announcers Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney in between periods.
4. Two (2) tickets to the last home regular season game vs. Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, April 9
5. Autographed Team Stick
6. Autographed Chris Kreider Jersey
7. Autographed Kevin Hayes Jersey
8. Autographed Oscar Lindberg Jersey
9. Autographed J.T. Miller Jersey
10. Autographed Dan Girardi Jersey
11. Autographed Ryan McDonagh Jersey
12. Autographed Derick Brassard Jersey
13. Autographed Jesper Fast Jersey
14. Autographed Tanner Glass Stick
15. Autographed Henrik Lundqvist Stick
16. Autographed Antti Raanta Stick
17. Autographed Dylan McIlrath Stick
18. Autographed Derek Stepan Stick
19. Autographed Keith Yandle Stick
20. Autographed Marc Staal Stick
21. Autographed Dan Girardi Stick
22. Autographed Kevin Klein Stick
23. Autographed Viktor Stalberg Stick
24. Autographed Rick Nash Stick
25. Autographed Mats Zuccarello Stick
26. Autographed Eric Staal Stick
27. Autographed Staal Brothers’ Stick—Marc and Eric Staal
28. Autographed Puck Collection – Puck Signed by Every Player on Active Roster
29. Autographed Stick by MSG Networks’ Studio Analyst Anson Carter & Steve Valiquette
For more information on the Garden of Dreams Foundation, visit www.gardenofdreamsfoundation.org
**You must be 18 years old to enter and cannot be an employee of MSG Networks Inc. or The Madison Square Garden Company.
A copy of the Foundation’s annual report may be obtained, upon request, from the Garden of Dreams Foundation, 2 Penn Plaza – 14th Floor, New York, NY 10121 or from the office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.
Mike And The Mad Dog Reunion Show
The iconic radio duo of Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo reunited for a special live show at Radio City Music Hall on March 30 to benefit The Garden of Dreams Foundation. Watch clips from the show below.
MIKE & THE MAD DOG TAKE THE STAGE & START THE SHOW
MARK MESSIER REFLECTS ON RANGERS ’94 CUP
TOM COUGHLIN TALKS GIANTS SUPER BOWL WINS
WHAT WAS MIKE & MAD DOG’S BIGGEST FEUD?
WESTCHESTER KNICKS CLINCH FIRST-EVER PLAYOFF BERTH
**COURTESY WESTCHESTER KNICKS**
WHITE PLAINS, March 29, 2016 – The Westchester Knicks, the official NBA Development League affiliate of the New York Knickerbockers, have officially secured the eighth and final berth into the 2016 NBA D-League Playoffs. The clinch signifies the team’s first playoff appearance in franchise history. With three games remaining in the regular season, the Westchester Knicks own a 27-20 record and are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Individual playoff game tickets for the first potential home game are on sale now at Ticketmaster outlets, via WestchesterKnicks.com, and at the Westchester County Center Box Office. Playoffs ticket strips are available by calling 914-559-6889.
Fans can purchase Westchester Knicks 2016 NBA D-League Playoffs ticket strips to receive access to every Westchester Knicks postseason home game. All Westchester Knicks playoff game dates and times are to be announced.
The top four teams from each conference qualify for the NBA D-League Playoffs, with the conference semifinals, conference finals, and NBA D-League Finals consisting of a best-of-three series with a 1-2 format.
Zuccarello One of the Best Power Play Weapons in the NHL
One of the main goals of a successful power play is to make the opposition goaltender feel uncomfortable. This can be achieved by withholding information by forcing a goaltender into multiple shot possibilities. By taking away clear sight, altering the trajectory of the puck or placing pucks outside of his line of vision, an offense can create scenarios where a goaltender will struggle.
The New York Rangers have all the tools to present opposition goaltenders with these problems. With the trade deadline addition of Eric Staal, they Rangers have a center who is strong at winning face-offs and who can allow the Blueshirts to start the power play with possession, maximizing their time with the man advantage and allowing them to initiate their setup immediately.
Once possession is won, the Rangers have one of the greatest power play assets in the NHL. With the ability to quarterback below the goal line, Mats Zuccarello, along with Keith Yandle, provide the Rangers with multiple pivot points on their power play. Zuccarello is elite at facilitating the offense through his ability to manipulate passing lanes and deliver passes across the slot line.
His left-handed shot allows him better angles to create dangerous passes for the opposing goaltender and lets him view the whole offensive landscape before him. Should he want a reset, he can move the puck back to the half wall or the point. It also allows him to create angles for poor angle shots, which can keep a goaltender honest and reduce their ability to cheat the pass.
This is important because in a small sample, like a playoff series, a repetitive approach can end your season. By establishing multiple possibilities from this position, you remove a goaltender’s ability for easy pattern recognition which provides them with an easier process to apply the information they are gathering.
With a right-handed shot placed in the slot, like Derek Stepan, the Rangers create another distraction for the goaltender. With Stepan in the center, it allows for manipulation of the defensive box and the possible opening of the most valuable scoring opportunity, the back-door feed. A player like Kevin Klein has shown good instincts in jumping into this opening in the goaltender’s blind spot. With the goalie forced to rotate his head 180 degrees, it provides the highest quality chance for any power play.
Zuccarello has shown an elite ability to deliver this type of pass this season and when he has managed to complete them (like those charted above), the Rangers shooters have managed a 40% shooting percentage.
It’s the primary option, but one that the Rangers opposition will likely key on. If the defense collapses the box on Stepan and denies Zuccarello these lanes, Yandle becomes the secondary focus.
Yandle is a left-handed shot that can facilitate the offense from the top end, which offsets Zuccarello down low. With the highest opportunity removed by focusing on Zuccarello, Yandle can attempt to facilitate a high percentage cross slot line feed from a different angle or manipulate the top end of the zone for screen shots or puck deflections.
When the Rangers remove clear-sighted opportunities for the opposing goaltender and deliver on the high-end possibilities, the data dictates this will lead to greater success. This type of power play setup manages to capitalize on multiple scenarios while using some of the Rangers best assets to manage them. Players like Derick Brassard, Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller and Rick Nash can also be used in the same manner.
The Rangers have all the tools to deliver a dominant playoff power play and Zuccarello will have a chance to make a sizable difference this year on a possible march to a Stanley Cup.
Maven’s Ravin’: 30 Thoughts as the Locals Make the Playoff Push
1. The original baseball “Old Reliable” was the Yankees 1941 World Series hero, Tommy Henrich. The March 2016 “New Reliable” is the Islanders Cal (Clutch-Shooter) Clutterbuck, allegedly a “fourth-liner.”
2. What is this “fourth-liner” nonsense, anyhow? The Welland, Ontario native has 15 goals; nine of which Capable Cal has scored either in the third period or overtime. (Plus, he’s a good interview.)
3. Each night, in every way, Antti Raanta is looking every bit as good as Cam (No Longer A Backup) Talbot did last year for the Rangers. Long-range, Raanta – The Replacement – will be a better puck-stopper than Tabby.
4. It’s a bit early to project the Devils whiz-goalie, Scott (Whoa, Baby!) Wedgewood, as the second coming of Cup-winning Ken Dryden or even Jersey hero, Sean Burke. But, you never know, do you?
5. Then again, when Kid Wedgewood posts a shutout against the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Thursday and a night later at The Rock blanks Ovechkin’s Capitals over three periods-plus, he’s arresting my attention, big-time. Ditto for coach Happy Hynes, too. Well, he had to come down to Earth some time and that place was Raleigh on Sunday night. (Hey, nobody’s perfect.)
6. If New Jersey’s Andy (I’m Not) Greene isn’t — pound-for-pound — the most underrated NHL defenseman, I’d like to know who is; and don’t tell me Willie Mitchell because Willie, my favorite Panther, is hurting, big-time.
7. A few months ago, a couple of Rangers fans asked me why the Blueshirts bothered to elevate Tanner (Unbroken) Glass from Hartford to Seventh Avenue. My answer was that T.G. is A-OK and an asset to the club.
8. Glass has since demonstrated that he doesn’t crack easily — actually doesn’t break at all — and is an all-purpose grit guy with mesmerizing mitts.
9. Every day, in every way, Keith Yandle‘s play underlines one fact: It’s a darn good thing the high command didn’t unload this New Englander at the trade deadline.
10. That’s from Lesson 10 — priceless quote — from the graduating class of Hockey 101, “Some of the best moves are the trades that are not made.”
11. Those who keep insisting that hockey has become a big fellows game overlook the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Mats Zuccarello, Nathan Gerbe, Brian Gionta and kid brother Stephen, just to name a few pint-sized hustlers.
12. Quote Of The Week: My buddy, Rob Taub, asked Justin Williams how he feels about his nickname, “Mister Game 7.” The Caps ace shot back that he didn’t like it because hockey is a team game and he’s only one part of the club. Good answer – and still a worthy nickname.
13. A late season squeeze into the playoffs isn’t the worst thing in the world whether you’re the Islanders, Flyers or Red Wings. And, in some cases, it could be the best way to do it.
13A. On the other hand, the Capitals have peaked too soon and could wind up being ousted in the first post-season round. (I’m not kidding either. Too much Braden Holtby trying to break Marty Brodeur’s record.)
14. In 1949-50, the Rangers just barely made the last available post-season berth. The Blueshirts then knocked out the Canadiens in five games and took the Red Wings to double-overtime in Game Seven of the Final.
15. New York would have had a Cup-winner then, had Don (Bones) Raleigh’s first-overtime shot gone in rather than clank off the post.
16. Sean Avery is finishing his autobiography. His view of John Tortorella is insightful. “Torts has only one gear, and that’s to scream at people.”
17. There’s one $uperior reason why the potential Las Vegas franchise will get a better deal than previous expansion teams. That’s because the Nevada sugar daddies will be paying a record $500 million for their franchise.
18. Cory Schneider – wise beyond his years – has emerged as a very influential player in the goalie equipment controversy. Which explains why you’ll see “streamlined” — no cheating anymore, lads — net minders for the first time since Ed Giacomin.
19. Schneider explains the form-fitting, streamlining this way, “We should all be on the same playing field doing the same thing, and let the talent win out. If you’re talented, can move around the net and stop pucks, then those are the guys who should be in the league.”
20. LETTERS! Albert Van Horn, Jr. of Philadelphia believes the NHL is overlooking a key area in goalie protection: “What bothers me is the fact that the NHL allows skaters to use composite sticks with ‘metallic’ composition. Pucks shot with these sticks have the same effect as baseballs hit with aluminum bats, and that seems unfair to me. For the sake of goaltender safety, the NHL should do something about that.” (Maven says, “Good point.”)
21. Although the Devils may miss the playoffs, one – among many – pluses from the New Jersey season was the maturation of defenseman Adam Larsson.
22. When my pal Leo Scaglione, Jr. asked Larsson his theory on staying sharp while averaging more than 20-plus minutes a game, Adam explained, “When you’re out there for so long, you should think to not overdo stuff. That’s when you can get caught, especially if they have their first line out. You have to keep it simple and don’t overskate, Stay in front of the net – that’s the key.”
23. That said, I like the Washington Post comment by Dan Steinberg about Barry Trotz’s impressive sextet: “If you can’t enjoy this Capitals season, sports fandom isn’t for you.”
24. Or, as Jeremy Strauss writes from The Nation’s Capital, “We don’t know what will happen in April, May, or even June, if the Caps even get that far. But what kind of sports fans would we be if we didn’t allow ourselves to enjoy the ride and see where it takes us? Plus, and perhaps more importantly, this season has actually been unparalleled; that is to say, we haven’t seen this kind of regular season dominance in Washington.”
25. Members of Al Arbour’s dynasty Islanders will honor the memory of their beloved coach with a private get-together later this Spring. Or, as Chico Resch puts it: “Al was as close to perfect as a coach could be.”
26. If Arbour made one mistake, it was using Gord Dineen on defense in Game 3 of the 1983-84 Stanley Cup Finals against the Oilers in Edmonton. “Mark Messier broke that game when going around Dineen,” a Hall of Fame Islander told me recently. “If tough Gord Lane had been there, Messier would have been chopped down like a tree!”
27. Speaking of hurting the enemy, Elliotte Friedman has an interesting comment about Nashville captain Shea Weber. Friedman asked Ryan Johansen to name the most intimidating player in the league. Johansen shot back, “Shea Weber is like Sasquatch. He doesn’t win every battle, but he’s always competing, always giving everything he has.”
28. When a Devils fan, such as Dan Marsiglia of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey touts a Ranger such as Ryan McDonagh for the Norris Trophy, that’s news. Come to think of it, Dangerous Dan makes sense as follows, “The Norris is about all-around play, and that’s what McDonagh gives the Rangers. The captain has been steady offensively and he’s Top-3 in plus-minus among defensemen — not to mention Top-10 overall.”
29. The Player Most Likely To (Physically) Hurt You Prize goes to (scary drum roll, maestro, please) Flyers defenseman Radko (Godzilla) Gudas.
30. This is one Broad Street Bully who never will win a Good Housekeeping Award. His Saturday night victim was Arizona’s Shane Doan, hammered by Goody Gudas’ mallet, disguised as an elbow.
Official Rules for Sweepstakes and Contests Conducted on MSG Networks Social Media Platforms
OFFICIAL RULES FOR SWEEPSTAKES AND CONTESTS CONDUCTED ON MSG NETWORKS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
From time to time MSGN Holdings, L.P. and/or its related entities (“MSGN” or “Sponsor”) may conduct contests, sweepstakes and/or other promotions (individually and collectively, “Promotion”) via social media/networking platforms including, but not limited to, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr and Pinterest, (each, a “Social Media Platform”). Unless governed by a different set of rules, these terms and conditions shall serve as the official rules (“Official Rules”) for any such Promotion conducted by Sponsor. These Official Rules may be updated as deemed necessary by Sponsor in its sole discretion.
Each individual Promotion will be announced and promoted via Social Media Platform status updates, posts or tweets, or by email or other calls-to-action (“Promotion Posting”). A Promotion Posting will include how to enter, the entry deadline, method of determining the winner (for a contest), the prize(s)/value(s) and the eligibility requirements. All information contained in a Promotion Posting is incorporated herein by reference.
1. ELIGIBILITY: Unless otherwise stated in the Promotion Posting: (i) to participate in any New York Rangers, LLC (“Rangers”), New York Knicks, LLC (“Knicks”), New York Liberty, LLC (“Liberty”), New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. (“Islanders”), New Jersey Devils, LLC (“Devils”), Red Bull New York, Inc. (“Red Bulls”) or other sports-team related Promotion conducted by Sponsor on a Social Media Platform, you must be a legal US resident, either eighteen (18) years of age or older or thirteen (13) years of age or older at the time of entry (as stated in the Promotion Posting), and reside in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania, except that with respect to any Red Bulls Promotion, you must reside within a 75-mile radius from Red Bull Arena, located at 600 Cape May Street, Harrison, New Jersey 07029. If applicable, an eligible minor should have a parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to participate. Employees and other workers, including temporary employees, freelancers and independent contractors, of (a) MSGN, (b) the Rangers, the National Hockey League and its member teams, NHL Enterprises, LP. (collectively, “NHL Entities”) for Rangers Promotions, (c) the Knicks, the National Basketball Association and its member teams, NBA Properties, Inc. (collectively, “NBA Entities”) for Knicks Promotions, (d) the Liberty and the Women’s National Basketball Association and its member teams, WNBA Enterprises, LLC (collectively, “WNBA Entities”) for Liberty Promotions, and (e) the Islanders and the NHL Entities for Islanders Promotions, (f) the Devils and the NHL Entities for Devils Promotions, and (g) the Red Bulls and Red Bull Arena, Inc. and Major League Soccer, L.L.C. and Soccer United Marketing, L.L.C. (collectively, the “MLS Entities”) for Red Bulls Promotions, and each of their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, sponsors and advertising agencies, and members of the immediate family of any such persons are not eligible to participate and/or win. The term “immediate family” includes spouses, domestic partners, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, or other family extension, and any other persons residing at the same household whether or not related. Void outside the area listed and where prohibited. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply.
2. ENTRY: To enter any Promotion, follow the directions provided in the Promotion Posting. All entries must be received by the date and time stated in the Promotion Posting to be eligible. All entries must be in English. Unless otherwise specified in the Promotion Posting, there is a limit of one (1) entry per person/Social Media Platform account/email per Promotion. Entries received from any person/email or Social Media Platform for any Promotion in excess of the stated limitation will be void. You must have an account on the Social Media Platform on which the Promotion Posting was posted in order to be able to enter that Promotion. Establishing an account on any Social Media Platform is free. If entry takes place on any Social Media Platform other than Facebook or Snapchat, your account must be set to “public” and you must follow the applicable MSGN Social Media Platform account to be eligible. You can return your account to “private” and unfollow that Social Media Platform account any time after the winner announcement for that Promotion. Entrants must take the actions required and/or must include the information requested by Sponsor in order for entries to be eligible. Late and/or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means, or by any means which subvert the entry process are void. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.
3. PROHIBITED CONTENT: By submitting an entry, entrant (and, if applicable, if an eligible minor, his/her parent or legal guardian) agrees that the entry complies with these Official Rules and does not contain a virus. In addition, entrant (and, if applicable, if an eligible minor, his/her parent or legal guardian) warrants and represents that he/she and any persons appearing or who are identifiable in the entry consent to the submission and use of the entry in the applicable Promotion and to its use as otherwise set forth herein. As applicable, entries may not contain, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, any content that:
- contains music (unless specifically provided for in the Promotion Posting);
- is pornographic, sexually explicit or suggestive, or contains profanity or nudity;
- is unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group;
- promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing);
- promotes any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous;
- promotes any particular political agenda or message;
- is obscene or offensive, or endorses any form of hate or hate group;
- defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about other people or entities;
- contains trademarks, logos, or trade dress (such as distinctive packaging or building exteriors/interiors) owned by others, without permission, to the extent permission is necessary;
- contains any personal identification, such as license plate numbers, personal names, e-mail addresses or street addresses;
- contains copyrighted materials owned by others (including without limitation, music, videos, photographs, sculptures, paintings, and other works of art or images published on or in websites, television, movies or other media), without permission, to the extent permission is necessary (and if such permission is necessary, entrant must obtain permission from the appropriate third party to use such material(s) for the purpose(s) set forth in the Promotion Posting and in these Official Rules) and Sponsor reserves the right to request proof of these permissions in a form acceptable to Sponsor from any entrant at any time. Failure by an entrant to provide such proof, if requested, may render such entrant’s entry null and void;
- contains materials embodying the names, likenesses, voices, or other indicia identifying any person, including, without limitation, celebrities and/or other public or private figures, living or dead, without permission, to the extent permission is necessary (and if permission is necessary entrant must obtain permission from such third party to use such material(s) for the purpose(s) set forth in the Promotion Posting and in these Official Rules) and Sponsor reserves the right to request proof of these permissions in a form acceptable to Sponsor from any entrant at any time. Failure by an entrant to provide such proof, if requested, may render such entrant’s entry null and void;
- contains look-alikes of celebrities or other public or private figures, living or dead;
- communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will with which Sponsor wishes to associate;
- appears to duplicate any other submitted entries; and/or
- violates any law.
Sponsor may disqualify any entry for any reason, including if it determines that the entry fails to confirm to these Official Rules in any way or otherwise contains unacceptable content. Sponsor is under no obligation to disclose why an entry has been disqualified.
4. WINNER SELECTION: Sponsor’s clock will be the official time keeper for all Promotions. Entries from one Promotion will not be included in other Promotions. Unless otherwise specified in a Promotion Posting, winner(s) will be selected on or about seven (7) days following the end date of the applicable Promotion.
(a) FOR SWEEPSTAKES: Potential winners will be chosen in a random drawing conducted by Sponsor from among all eligible entries received for the applicable Promotion. Odds of winning a particular Promotion will depend on the number of eligible entries received for such Promotion.
(b) FOR CONTESTS: A panel of qualified judges determined by Sponsor will judge each entry based equally on the originality, creativity, and relevance to the theme of the Promotion, unless other judging criteria are stated in the Promotion Posting. The entrant(s) who submitted the entry(ies) with the highest score(s) will be deemed the potential winner(s) for the contest at issue. In the event of a tie, an additional, “tie-breaking” judge will determine the potential winner(s) based on the same criteria used by the original panel of judges, unless otherwise set forth in a Promotion Posting. Sponsor reserves the right not to award any or all prizes in any contest if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified entries for that contest. Judging scores will not be revealed.
5. OWNERSHIP/USE OF ENTRIES: By submitting an entry, each entrant (and, if applicable, if an eligible minor, his/her parent or legal guardian) agrees Sponsor and its successors, assigns, designees and licensees shall have a perpetual, irrevocable, assignable, royalty free, fully paid-up license to exploit, edit, modify, post, disseminate, create derivative works of, distribute and otherwise use the entry and all elements of such entry, including, without limitation, the names and likenesses of any persons or locations embodied therein, as well as entrant’s name, Social Media Platform account name, city and state of residence, photo or other likeness (including, without limitation, Social Media Platform account profile photo), in any manner, in any and all media now known or hereafter devised (including, without limitation, via Sponsor’s Social Media Platform accounts, on Sponsor’s websites and the Madison Square Garden arena Jumbotron), worldwide, without compensation or notification to, or permission from, entrant or any third party.
6. WINNER NOTIFICATION: Potential winners will be notified within ten (10) business days following the conclusion of the Promotion via an email, or Direct Message or comment on his/her winning post, or by other means applicable to the Social Media Platform on which the applicable Promotion was entered. Potential winners may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability Release and, where legally permissible, a publicity release and/or provide other personal or tax information. If a potential winner (i) cannot be contacted, or (ii) does not respond to the initial notification or return any required documentation within the time period specified or (iii) does not meet the stated eligibility requirements, or (iv) refuses the prize, or (v) fails to claim the prize as directed, or (vi) is otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules, such potential winner will be disqualified and Sponsor reserves the right to select an alternate winner from the remaining eligible entries received for the applicable Promotion. If a potential winner is eligible but still considered a minor in his/her state of residence, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize to his/her parent or legal guardian who will be responsible for fulfilling all requirements imposed on winners set forth herein. Sponsor’s decisions concerning all matters relating to any Promotion, including winner selection, are final and binding.
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My Favorite Maven Moments
I will never forget the first time I met Stan Fischler. The details are ingrained in my mind, from the dress I was wearing to the genuine way his eyes smile just as much as his mouth.
It was just about two years ago that the world of sports brought us together for the first time. I was about halfway through my interview with MSG Networks and was a nervous wreck.
After the big bosses had explained the job responsibilities, they asked me why I wanted this position. Part of my answer included the opportunity to work with Stan Fischler. I don’t think there is a hockey journalist in the United States or Canada who doesn’t know about “The Maven.” Still young in my career, I was eager to work with and learn more about the sport from one of the best.
Little did I know, Stan was in the office right next to where I was interviewing. Within moments, we were standing face-to-face and shaking hands. He told me a joke, which made me laugh and feel comfortable. I could not stop smiling the rest of the interview.
Fast forward two seasons later, and Stan is still making me smile and laugh. We’ve had so much fun covering the Islanders together, but here are just some of my favorite Maven Moments:
1. What is a knish?
Early on last season, Stan was doing a Fischler’s Four-Checks segment. I think the point he wanted to get across was that the Nashville Predators were going to be a front-runner all season and he brought in a toy dinosaur (to represent the Preds). Somehow, the dinosaur was going to eat a knish.
I admitted on live TV that I didn’t know what a knish was. I have learned a lot from Stan, not just about hockey, but also about Jewish culture, including Yiddish phrases and fantastic food! My face pretty much says it all in this picture.
2. What’s in a beard?
Hockey players are very particular about their beards. One of the most notable players in the league, when it comes to having wild facial hair, is Brent Burns, a defenseman for the San Jose Sharks. In Stan’s segments Yays and Boos, he gives his unfiltered take on current events he likes and doesn’t like around the league.
During the 2014-15 season, Stan gave Burns his “yay” for hosting Burnzie’s Buzzcut for Charity. At the event, Burns and some of his teammates shaved their heads and beards for charity. Stan then let me snip a little off his beard on television. He’s such a good sport.
Stan is very passionate about his home borough of Brooklyn, NY. Until the Islanders moved to Barclays Center, I really didn’t spend very much time in Brooklyn. Much like the fans at home, I have learned a ton through Stan’s Brooklyn Beats. I can’t wait to watch each time a new story airs. If you throw in some delicious food, I’m even more excited!
Stan’s Brooklyn Beat segment on Junior’s cheesecake was capped off by dessert on the set!
4. Back to the Future
Sometimes, some of the funniest stuff doesn’t always make it on television. One time we tried to do something for a story about getting from the Coliseum to Barclays Center on the train. Ultimately, the planned beginning of the story didn’t make the cut. It was a little out there and confusing, but we had a great time shooting it.
The idea was for Stan and I to perform a spoof of the movie “Back to the Future.” He was dressed as Dr. Emmett Brown, from head-to-toe. In the skit, I wanted to go back to the Cup era to watch the Isles win it all in 1983. However, the time machine was broken and we ended up at the Coliseum in 2016, when the Isles had already moved to Brooklyn.
To get the opening shot the producer wanted, Stan had to drive the DeLorean toward the camera (yes, we even had a DeLorean!). Stan and I stalled out the first time, but we eventually cruised through the Coliseum parking lot and straight at the camera. We landed on our mark and jumped out hollering, just like in the movie. We laughed so hard the entire afternoon our stomachs hurt for hours.
I think it’s important to note that some of the best times with Stan are when the cameras aren’t rolling. We have so much fun just sitting around after pregame meetings talking about hockey and joking about life. I can’t thank Stan enough for his support and guidance. His willingness to share his knowledge and passion for the game is something I not only appreciate, but truly admire.
A video tribute to Stan will air Tuesday during the Islanders-Hurricanes telecast on MSG+ to help celebrate “40 Years of Fischler.” A few games ago, each of his broadcast partners taped something for the piece. My part might be short because I burst into tears midway through the segment. I’m emotional now just thinking about it!
Stan has been more than a co-worker to me. He’s like a grandfather. I feel so blessed to have him in my life and I’m looking forward to many more years of friendship and hockey together.
Infographic: Stan Fischler’s A to Z
40 Years of Fischler: A Dozen of the Maven’s Best, Worst & Most Unusual
After 42 years broadcasting with the Islanders and the network, I give you a dozen of Fischler’s best, worst and most unusual.
1. BEST BIT OF LUCK
Charles Dolan asks his pal, Marty Glickman to find a hockey analyst to work with play-by-play man Spencer Ross on the first Islanders telecast from Nassau Coliseum. When Marty phoned me with the offer, I thought I had gone to Heaven. Four fruitful decades later, I am happily still working with the Dolan Family.
2. MOST UNUSUAL COMEBACKS
Underdogs against the Rangers in the 1975 playoffs, the Isles beat the Blueshirts in the first round. Still underdogs, they lost the first three to Pittsburgh in the second round and then took four straight to advance to the third round against defending Cup-winning Philly. Once again, Al Arbour’s sextet lost three straight and then rallied for a trio of wins. Unfortunately, they lost Game 7 to the Flyers. Ross and I handled all home games at the Coliseum.
3. WORST DEFEAT
By 1979, the Nassaumen had become a powerhouse. But the Rangers had their playoffs number. I worked with play-by-play man Tim Ryan at The Garden for Game 6. From an Islanders viewpoint, it was heartbreaking to watch the Blueshirts conquer the series and listen to accusations of a “choking” hockey club. No broadcast could have felt worse to do than that one.
4. BEST ANSWER TO THE ‘CHOKE’ LABEL
Watching Bob Nystrom convert John Tonelli’s pass for the Cup-winning goal in 1980 still has a surreal feel to it. In only seven years, I watched Bill Torrey’s club ascend to fabulous status. The “Let’s Go Islanders” post-win horn-blowing still resonates in my ears.
5. MOST UNUSUAL STUDIO SCENE
When the Rangers invaded Uniondale for the decisive clash in 1984, Arbour’s outfit was hellbent on its “Drive For Five.” I was watching late third-period action on our TV monitor in the old SportsChannel studio across from the Rangers room. Suddenly, two sidelined Rangers — Barry Beck and Nick Fotiu — march in uninvited just in time to see Don Maloney tie the game for the Blueshirts. They returned for the overtime — half of us rooting for the Isles and those guys pulling for the Rangers — until Ken Morrow buried the puck behind Glen Hanlon. We waited for Barry and Nick to bolt from the studio before letting out our roar of approval.
6. TOUGHEST INTERVIEW
I had been warned that Edmonton’s goalie Grant Fuhr was less than loquacious and it would be best not to try an interview with him. Still, I liked the challenge and had a number of questions ready for the Oilers ace before our verbal ping pong match began. I managed to fire right back at Fuhr’s one- or two-word answers, but never got him to really open up. Bottom Line: Nice try; bad choice.
7. BEST ISLANDERS INTERVIEWS
It would be unfair to list just one because so many were eloquent, funny and insightful. Among the Isles, Denis Potvin was the most analytical and Bobby Bourne, the most candid. Bill Smith, by far, was the most outrageous especially the night he ripped Wayne Gretzky on network TV after Smitty was presented with the Conn Smythe Trophy by NHL President John Ziegler. By far my regular favorite was Evgeni Nabokov with whom I developed a comedic routine and chemistry that topped them all.
8. BEST VISITORS INTERVIEWS
As a Bruin, Mike Milbury was so entertaining that Newsday’s Stan Isaacs said that “Milbury should be on, not only between the first-period break, but the second one as well.” Washington’s Al Iafrate arrested attention by smoking a cigarette before and after our interviews, while Blues back-liner Charlie Bourgeois always was good for laughs. And how could I forget the beauteous model Carol Alt who twice appeared with me when she was married to Rangers defenseman Ron Greschner.
9. MOST UNUSUAL INTERVIEWS
I was having a feud with Wayne Gretzky when he was a Ranger. But The Great One showed his class by coming on with me at the Coliseum between periods and even went so far as to discuss our differences; after which we made up. No less startling was the time that Rangers coach Herb Brooks was being interviewed before a game and tired of waiting to launch the interview with me. Suddenly, Herb began to leap from his chair when young stage manager Mark Berlinsky shouted, “sit down!” Brooks was so startled he fell back in his chair, whereupon I quickly launched into our interview.
10. BEST UNEXPECTED LAUGH
My good friend Father Ed Casey of Philadelphia inadvertently walked onstage while Matt Loughlin did an interview with the Devils John Madden. Producer Roland Dratch flipped on the TV truck as Casey strolled in front of the camera. That part wasn’t funny. But just before Matty and I were to launch into our game intro, the curtain behind us began to accidentally slip down. Cameraman Mike Finn fixed it within seconds of us going on the air whereupon Roland whispered in our earpieces, “Next time have the Father fix it.” Alas, Matt and the Maven spent the next minute laughing our heads off and never could stop until the commercial break finally gave us a break from the endless guffaws.
11. WORST DISAPPOINTING FAREWELL
In the Spring of 1988, the Devils gained a playoff berth for the first time and that was swell. But then they met the Islanders in the postseason — I was broadcasting the decisive New Jersey victory, watching my buddy Denis Potvin get clobbered into the end boards. The sad part was that the future Hall of Famer had slowed down and lost his famed ferocity. He was slow to get up from the check and I remember sadly thinking that I was watching the curtain come down on a super career. Denis soon retired.
12. MOST UNUSUAL FIGHT
Pound-for-pound, Bob Nystrom of the Isles and the Rangers George McPhee were two of the best fighters in the league. They proved it one night at the Coliseum in a free-slugging — no jersey-grabbing — bout that ultimately ended with Nystrom head-butting his foe; an out of character move if I ever saw one. For years, I wondered why Nystrom did that. Finally, when McPhee was GM of the Capitals, I reminded him of the fight and added that I was amazed that Bobby would end it with a head butt. “What you didn’t notice,” McPhee shot back, “is that I head-butted Bobby first!”
Where the Rangers Get Their Scoring
Assessing a goal-scorer by the amount of goals scored seems like an intuitive way to evaluate. Players who score goals seem more valuable than players who don’t. This is evident when we view large samples because the players who put themselves in the best positions to succeed the most will produce the most goals.
Where it becomes tricky is when we evaluate and judge in-season. Chris Kreider became a scapegoat for the Rangers early in the season when high end opportunities weren’t finding the net and Mats Zuccarello is having a career season when low end ones are finding the net.
In reality, judging a player by goals scored in small samples is not an ideal way to assess their play.
This isn’t the 1980s and goals do not flow in a consistent manner. Kreider’s 2016 season ebbs and flows. He has consistently produced opportunities of a high end scorer. But, like most players, he hasn’t produced goals in the same manner. His season has been defined by scoring streaks. On the other hand, Zuccarello has produced goals at a level way above his expected opportunities.
Zuccarello is having the best shooting season of his career, but it isn’t wise to make the assumption that he will consistently produce goals this far above the opportunities he generates.
These type of fluctuations play out team wide, and generally are responsible for winning and losing streaks. It is no different than assessing goaltenders in regards to short term results.
At the end of the day, all players have a baseline talent and the key to good assessment is identifying what that baseline is and proceeding from there, regardless of short term fluctuation. The problem is that there are variables that go into this evaluation. Linemates, quality of competition, coaching systems, playing time and special teams opportunities, all create noise around these evaluations. When you add in short term shooting streaks, it creates an environment where coaches can misidentify the means to success constructed on result based analysis.
This is one reason why I attempt to represent all of the data that I collect as an expected goal total. It provides an easily digestible stat to identify the players who shoot from the best positions on the ice, the ones who create secondary opportunities, and those that force goaltenders into difficult positions for them to succeed through forced lateral movement.
It helps as an indicator for players like Oscar Lindberg, who may line up for future goal-scoring success if he remains committed to the process.
The Rangers have done a nice job of placing Lindberg in a position to succeed during his rookie season. They have utilized his skillset well by complimenting his ability to find open space with players like Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller, who excel in completing feeds across the slot line. Easing him in with third line usage has also placed him in a situation to succeed immediately and this shows as he has been able to produce a positive expected goal differential of 51.3%.
Lindberg has produced 12 goals this season, consistent with the 12.3 goals his opportunities suggest. While still among the highest numbers on the Rangers, his production becomes even more impressive when we adjust it to reflect minutes played. When the Rangers up his usage rates, he could easily approach the 20-goal plateau with even average shooting. Should he capitalize on a one-year Zuccarello/Derek Brassard type run, he could easily push past 25.
It took Lindberg about 25 games to level out from an early expected shooting percentage of 18% to the 11% where it settled. Looking at his expected goal totals against his actual results, we can see that Lindberg continues to produce offensive opportunities though his finishing has evened out over the second half of the season.
If we judge him based on goal-scoring alone, he may be perceived as reaching his full potential based on early inflated expectation fueled by a quick start. As the season wore on, we began to see his baseline talent level out and that baseline bodes well for the Rangers and their future.