NEW YORK, NY – The California Golden State Warriors blew out LeBron James and the Cavaliers of Cleveland, Ohio last night in game 1 of the NBA Finals. I don’t care. It’s a repeat of last year’s finals. There may be a different result than last year but it seems like nobody is interested. I’m certainly not. The Association has gone stale.
The NHL isn’t any different. The Pittsburgh Penguins are well on their way to repeating as Stanley Cup Champions. They’re up 2-0 on the Nashville Predators after winning both games at home to start the series. They head back to Music City tonight for Game 3. Expect a gentleman’s sweep from this series (Penguins in 5). Boring.
What won’t be boring is the upcoming expansion draft and free agency period in the NHL. The Rangers will be a completely different team next year. The defensive core is due for a major shakeup. Ryan McDonagh may be the only one staying put. Everyone else on defense looks expendable. I’d like to see them keep youngster Brady Skjei and I don’t think they’ll get much for Staal and Girardi, who both make way too much money.
The Rangers should start looking for a young goalie to replace Henrik Lundqvist. The Uncrowned King turned 35 in March. Who knows how much Hank has in the tank? The Blueshirts may look to draft or make a trade for a goaltending prospect. Doing so now would give the prospect some training time under Hank’s tutelage before The King abdicates or is traded to a contender. Kevin “Lazy’ Hayes could be potential trade bait.
I don’t have high hopes for the Rangers going into next season. But GM Jeff Gorton proved me wrong last season. The Blueshirts need a lot of help on defense and we’ll see who they lose in the expansion draft. The Vegas Golden Knights are looking to poach all the talent they can for their upcoming inaugural campaign. The Rangers may lose one of their young, promising forwards. See more on the G-Knights via Deadspin.
Alain Vigneault will be back at the helm. I like AV but I don’t think he’s got what it takes to coach a team to a Stanley Cup. He’s gotten close, making the finals with Vancouver and the Rangers, but he can’t get over the hump. And there was a sharp decline in Vancouver’s form in the seasons after their Finals loss to the Bruins in 2011. AV got the axe when the Canucks were swept out of the playoffs in the first round in 2013.
So far Vigneault has fared better with the Rangers, but the team is certainly in decline. An early exit for the Rangers next season may spell the end for his time in New York. And I’m okay with that. I’ve never been a huge fan of AV’s style. He’s a good coach, no doubt. But there are definitely problems with his style. His teams don’t seem to cope well with physical play. And he can’t seem to keep the players motivated to play a full 60 minutes. Maybe some player personnel changes will help that.
The above considered, the upcoming off-season will arguably be a more interesting than the finals in either the NHL and NBA. That’s a problem.
And the Mets lost again to the Brewers, who are now 26-1 against them this year it seems.
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