Friday, January 31, 2014

Bronx News Sports: Bronx Hockey Showdown was WarmUp to Olympics

Bronx News Sports: Bronx Hockey Showdown was WarmUp to Olympics: Bronx Hockey Showdown was WarmUp to Olympics Lundquist and Other NHL Stars to Participate in Sochi Winter Olympics By Howard Goldin BRONX, N...

Bronx Hockey Showdown was WarmUp to Olympics

Bronx Hockey Showdown was WarmUp to Olympics

Lundquist and Other NHL Stars to Participate in Sochi Winter Olympics
By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 31- After the first three of the 2014 Coors NHL Stadium Series concluded late Wednesday night, many NHL fans and players gave thought to the national hockey squads of 2014 Winter Olympics that will take place in Sochi, Russia.

Current NHL teammates will become opponents beginning in mid-February as each participating player will be representing the country of his birth. The NHL teams will be competing for one more week before a two week cessation of games.

Fifteen players from the three local NHL franchises that were at Yankee Stadium during the past week will be in Sochi representing eight nations. Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonough, and Derek Stepan of the Rangers will be on the United States team. Carl Hagelin and Rick Nash of the Rangers and John Tavares of the Islanders will be on Team Canada. Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky of the Devils will play for Czechoslovakia. The Devils’ Michael Grabner and Thomas Vanek will be with Austria. Ranger Mats Zuccarello will be with Norway. Islander Lubomir Visnovsky will be on Slovakia. Devil Damien Brunner will be on the team from Switzerland. Henrik Lundquist, the Rangers’ goalie, will again lead Sweden.
Of the 15, five are medalists, Callahan, Jagr, Elias, Nash and Lundquist. The latter two received Gold. At this time, the medal favorites are the United States, Canada, Sweden and Russia.

As they are all professionals, they are currently focusing on the final few games to play in early February. At a press conference after Wednesday night’s game against the Islanders, Lundquist explained his and the others’ thought processes as the Olympics approach, “The closer it [Olympics] gets, the more you think about it. Right now, our focus is to get in the playoffs.”

The Olympic teams will have a relatively short time to practice as a team and form a bond before the first day of games on February 12.

Overriding the publicity for each sport is the threat of terrorist violence in Sochi and nearby areas. This issue has become a widespread international concern that has been publicly discussed by world leaders. Terrorist violence at the Olympics has been a reality since the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Lundquist, an experienced Olympian, discussed his thoughts regarding potential violence in Sochi, “When you’re there, you tend not to think about it [a threat]. I think every Olympics has a threat.”

Hopefully, the games in Sochi between the 12th and 23rd of February will be interesting, competitive and well-played and the area will be free of violence.

Bronx News Sports: 50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee...

Bronx News Sports: 50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee...: 50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee Stadium Photo by Joe McDonald By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bronx News Sports: 50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee...

Bronx News Sports: 50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee...: 50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee Stadium Photo by Joe McDonald By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY...

50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee Stadium

50,027 Watch Rangers Edge Islanders 2-1, at Yankee Stadium
Photo by Joe McDonald
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 30- The second 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series contest at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night was a sell-out just as the game played at the historic venue three days earlier. A crowd of 50,027 filled the seats to watch the two locals, New York Rangers and New York Islanders, play the first of two games this week, under the lights. 
After the exciting and hard fought game concluded, an elated NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters, “It’s been a memorable month of special events, three outdoor games in five days with more than 150,000 fans. This is a season we’ll all remember.” Not surprised by more than 50,000 attending a night game outdoors with temperatures in the 20’s, the commissioner commented, “Nobody braves the elements like hockey fans.”
The teams played with caution early in the contest. Unlike the high scoring game on Sunday afternoon, the first goal on Wednesday night was not scored until Islanders center Brock Nelson netted the puck with assists from Matt Donovan and Cal Clutterbuck at 18:33 of the 20 minute second period. 
A goal by Benoit Pouliot on assists by Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarllo tied the score 30 seconds after the first goal was scored. 
The game winning goal was not scored until 4:36 of the third period. Daniel Carcillo netted the puck, his second as a Ranger, on assists from Dominic Moore and Brian Boyle. Carcillo did not become a Ranger until earlier in the month when he was traded by the L.A. Kings. His first game with the Rangers was on January 8. 
Ranger coach Alain Vigneault gave credit to the newcomer and other unsung contributors in a post-game press conference, “He [Carcillo] brings energy. You need contributions from your whole lineup. In an 82-game schedule, different guys have to step up.”
Both goalies, Henrik Lundquist of the Rangers and Evgeni Nabokov of the Islanders, played outstandingly, but the hero’s mantle went to the winner, Lundquist. The Ranger goalie stopped 30 shots, and only let one get in the net.
He believed playing one game outdoors earlier in the week benefitted him, “I felt a lot more calm. I felt more relaxed. For me, it was just about doing my job.”
The Swedish Olympian expressed his joyous reaction to the occasion, “It was another amazing night. It’s a great stadium, but you need the fans to show up to make it special. [It was] everything I hoped for, two wins, two sold out crowds, the atmosphere. It was two days I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Islander coach Jack Capuano, despite his team’s fourth straight loss, spoke positively about his team’s current play, “I think we play well, we’re just not getting the results. We’re playing well enough to win; we just have to find a way to win.”
Vigneault praised his team, which has won 8 of its last 11 games, “We’re in a one game at a time mentality. We’re defending better. It took a lot of courage to do those things [block shots] on this kind of day. Our speed is a big weapon and I think we’re using that element better.”
The Rangers and the Islanders face off again in their next game on Friday night, January 31. Each them plays only three more games before the Olympic break.

Bronx News Sports: Yankee Stadium Turned into Winter Wonderland as Ra...

Bronx News Sports: Yankee Stadium Turned into Winter Wonderland as Ra...: Yankee Stadium Turned into Winter Wonderland as Rangers Beat Islanders Photo by Joe McDonald By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YOR...

Yankee Stadium Turned into Winter Wonderland as Rangers Beat Islanders

Yankee Stadium Turned into Winter Wonderland as Rangers Beat Islanders
Photo by Joe McDonald
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 30- They got off the 4 train at 161st Street stop these fans of two New York hockey teams, the Rangers and Islanders, and on their mission to spend the evening at a frigid Yankee Stadium. Yes, this was similar to a hockey version of the Yankees playing the Mets in mid-May or sometime in June.
Except the vendors inside Yankee Stadium were not selling cold drinks. Hot chocolate and coffee was the big seller. There were blankets covering the fans, gloves, scarfs, and their faces were covered from the frigid temperatures that dropped below 20.
Yes, for a night in the Bronx, in late January, Yankee Stadium was a winter wonderland. The puck dropped on the ice and it was nice to say that in about 65 days the stadium would once again hear the sounds of “Play Ball” when the Yankees open the 2014 baseball season in the Bronx with high expectations.  
The National Hockey League concept of “The Stadium Series” drew over 100,000 rabid fans of the Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils for two games in the Bronx. They say this successful venture, one that has high marketability for the NHL will continue, though next year there is reportedly a plan to do this again at another venue.
Met Life Stadium, site of the Super Bowl this Sunday, reportedly will get to play host of the “Stadium Series” in the New York area next January. Why not? It is evident now that fans will come and root no matter what the weather conditions are in the height of winter.
“To our fans who were here both Sunday and tonight, simply,” incredible commented NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman who was all smiles. And he should be smiling. The NHL gained some revenue and more exposure. The Yankees were thrilled to keep their stadium busy in the off-season.
Wednesday night in the “House That George Built” it was frigid. However, the fans were loud, more of a Rangers presence as their team completed the two-game sweep over the Devils and Islanders. And at times, with the exception of the colors and an infield as a hockey rink, the ballpark resembled an October baseball playoff game in the Bronx.
About playing outdoors, where most professional hockey players got their start, Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov said, “You never really know until you’re out there and see that great atmosphere. I loved every second of it.”
And that was the overall consensus of the players, coaches, and the fans, the cold did not seem to be a factor. However, the one difference with playing an NHL game outdoors is the conspicuous absence of the hockey fight or brawl on the ice. As the experts explained, the game does not change.
But taking a punch in the cold elements is not a good idea for a hockey player, or for that matter any one else. The sting hurts a little more to the body outdoors in frigid conditions. So, there were no fights on the ice, rather a good and competitive hockey game with the two New York rivals.
“We’re playing well enough to win, but we’ve got to find a way to win,” said Islanders coach Jack Capuano after 2-1 loss to their Blueshirt rival Rangers. His team is 0-3-1 in the past four games. And like the game of baseball, where the Yankees are accustomed to winning in the Bronx, not getting a win in four games means a lot in the standings.
Because in the game of hockey, a stretch of not winning games in a competitive division where the Islanders, Rangers and Devils are situated, can be crucial. In this case, the Islanders did not prevail in what was their home game, away from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale.
The Islanders got the shots, but Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped a good many of them. The Rangers and their fans are content getting the road win. Their team has won five consecutive games away from Madison Square Garden and prevailed in 13 of their last 19 on the ice.
“They’re a ton of fun,” said the Rangers defenseman Marc Staal who got a feel of outdoor hockey before huge crowds the past few days in the Bronx. He said he could play in 50 or, 40 of these games during the course of a season. 
The National Hockey League scheduled more of the outdoor games in stadiums this season including the “Winter Classic.” They are all popular and now New York got caught up in the atmosphere in a week busy with the premiere game in town, the Super Bowl.
You get the feeling the outdoor game will return to the Bronx soon. The overall consensus is, hockey fans in New York are all for it.
Comment Rich Mancuso: Mancuso

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bronx News Sports: Islanders Gear Up for Showdown with Rangers in the...

Bronx News Sports: Islanders Gear Up for Showdown with Rangers in the...: Islanders Gear Up for Showdown with Rangers in the Bx. By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 29-  The New York Islanders made ...

Islanders Gear Up for Showdown with Rangers in the Bx.

Islanders Gear Up for Showdown with Rangers in the Bx.

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 29- The New York Islanders made their first visit to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday afternoon for a practice session on the ice and to experience the aura of Yankee Stadium. 

The words of the players were similar both towards the seriousness of the Wednesday night contest against the Rangers, the opportunity to play outdoors as they did as youngsters and of the awe-inspiring atmosphere of Yankee Stadium. This article will document only the views of captain John Tavares and assistants Kyle Osposo and Andrew McDonald as they are representative of the others on the team.
All here reminisced of playing outdoors when they were children. Kyle Osposo had the opportunity in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. He recalled, “I played outdoors a couple of blocks from my house.” Used to cold weather, he said, “I will wear a turtleneck, nothing else [extra].”

The two Canadians expressed similar memories. John Tavares remembered, “In Ontario, I played a lot outside. Growing up playing outside was a lot of fun.” He felt the memories come back 100 percent while on the Yankee Stadium rink, “Feeling the air and hearing the sound of the puck.”

Andrew McDonald only felt the cold affect his ears and his toes. Of his childhood hockey experience, he stated, “This is where it all started. [We had] random ice patches, not a real rink.”

Being in a historic venue that houses an organization that considers great success a normal expectation every season had meaning to all. The American [Oksposo] seemed most familiar with Yankee attitude, “I have a ton of respect for the Yankees. To have an attitude of winning at all costs is a terrific way to run a business, an organization. When you come out there and it’s Yankee Stadium, it’s pretty cool. It’s awesome.”

McDonald described his feelings coming out on the field and anticipated how special Wednesday night’s game will be for the players, “You can feel the history of the Yankees team when you walk out of the dugout and see the Stadium. The Yankees are the most recognizable team in the world. I’m really looking forward to it [the game on Wednesday], being in the elements surrounded by 50,000 people. The ice will seem a little small compared to [the size of] the Stadium. It’s a very special experience. The fans will really enjoy it. The players will really enjoy it.” 

Tavares, a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, was nonetheless impressed by the facilities in the Stadium, “They did a great job here. It’s unique. It’s going to be fun.” The team captain had a great experience at Tuesday’s practice, “It was really a great day. My family was here with me.” The players skated on the ice with family and friends after the practice concluded.

The importance of the result of every game to the islanders is huge. They are in last place in the Metropolitan Division, nine points behind the second place Rangers. A victory in each forthcoming contest is a necessity for them to qualify for the playoffs. Every player, the coach and all of their fans recognize this truth.

McDonald commented, “These are important two points. We’re going to be prepared,”

Tavares optimistically remarked, “There’s still a lot of hockey to be played. We know we have to play a lot better.”

Osposo spoke of the uniqueness of each contest, “Once the puck drops, it’s another game.”

The second highly anticipated and final outdoor game in New York City will be played before a sold out crowd of 50,000 fans on Wednesday night. It will be another great day in NHL and New York sports history.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bronx News Sports: Jaspers Edged by Bobcats

Bronx News Sports: Jaspers Edged by Bobcats: Jaspers Edged by Bobcats By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 27- Quinnipiac (12-7, 7-3), which joined the MAAC this se...

Jaspers Edged by Bobcats

Jaspers Edged by Bobcats

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 27- Quinnipiac (12-7, 7-3), which joined the MAAC this season, defeated Manhattan (14-5, 7-3) for the second time in January on Sunday at Draddy Gymnasium in Riverdale. These meetings were the only two men’s basketball games the two teams have ever faced one another.

The Jaspers led the visiting Bobcats, except for three ties, until 7:45 of the opening half when Zaid Hearst hit a layup to give the Bobcats a 17-15 lead. The visitors then kept the lead for the rest of the half except for two ties. 

The Bobcats continued their advantage in the second half until 14:15 when a dunk by the Bronx’s Emmy Andujar put Manhattan ahead, 42-41. 

The lead changed hands several times in the next two minutes until a run by Quinnipiac raised the lead of the visitors to double figures, 70-60, at 5;33. 

Thirteen unanswered points by the Jaspers followed to give Manhattan a 73-70 lead with 2:43 remaining in regulation time. The second half ended with the score knotted for the seventh time at 77.

The Bobcats dominated the five minute overtime. The first lead of the visitors was augmented by nine successful free throws by Quinnipiac. 

Steve Masiello, Manhattan coach, gave credit to the visitors for their victory over Manhattan, “It was a tough conference game. [Quinnipiac] is a very good team. They took it to us the whole night.”

One Bronx native, Marquis Barnett, a junior at Quinnipiac, who played nine minutes, was happy about the result.

Three Bobcats scored more than 20 points. Umar Shannon and Zaid Hearst scored 25. Hearst also grabbed 10 boards. Another double-double was achieved by Ike Azlan who scored 21 and hauled down 13 rebounds.

Rhamel Brown, who led Manhattan scoring with 15 points, became the third member of the team to reach 1,000 points with the Jaspers. Brown’s five blocked shots kept him in second place in the nation in blocks.

Michael Alvarado’s 15 points hiked his career total to 1,056. His seven assists gave him 315 as a Jasper, seventh in team history. George Beamon had his fourth double-double of the season, 12 points and 12 rebounds. His 1,592 points is seventh in Manhattan history.

The Jaspers travel to New Rochelle on January 31 for a game with conference rival Iona. They return to Draddy on February 3 to host Saint Peter’s.

Bronx News Sports: Monroe's first class going to the NCAA

Bronx News Sports: Monroe's first class going to the NCAA: Monroe's first class going to the NCAA  Mustangs football graduates moving on By Gary Axelbank and RJ Troche BRONX, NE...

Monroe's first class going to the NCAA

Monroe's first class going to the NCAA 
Mustangs football graduates moving on
By Gary Axelbank and RJ Troche
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 27- With their six-game winning streak that pushed their second varsity season to an impressive 7-3 record, Monroe Mustangs sophomores, the team's first graduating class, are a hot commodity for NCAA scouts. As a result a number of Monroe players will be continuing their college careers at the next level.
"We prepare and compete to win every game," said Coach Terry Karg, "but we never lose sight of the big picture and that is to provide a platform for our student athletes to develop as young men and achieve on and off the field at the next level. I have confidence in all of these young men that they will all do well in football and in life."

Bronx News Sports: Rangers Defeat Devils, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium

Bronx News Sports: Rangers Defeat Devils, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium: Rangers Defeat Devils, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 27-  A below freezing temperature of 24.9 ...

Rangers Defeat Devils, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium

Rangers Defeat Devils, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 27- A below freezing temperature of 24.9 degrees did not dissuade a sell-out crowd of 50,105 from purchasing tickets to the first outdoor hockey game in New York City. 

Neither the cold nor the snow showers that fell on Yankee Stadium later in the game interfered with the contest or lessened the excitement of the fans in the stands. Strangely the game was delayed for more than one hour by weather conditions, the glare of the sun. 

The winning goaltender Henrik Lundquist of the Rangers told reporters after the game, “I was out there when the sun was still out and it was kind of hard.”

After an enthusiastic and entertaining version of a half-dozen of the hit recordings of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons performed by cast members of the Tony winning musical Jersey Boys, the dramatic introduction of the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils began. Members of both teams walked to the ice to the musical accompaniment of the NYPD and FDNY Pipes and Drums. 

The first goal was scored by Patrik Elias of the Devils at 5:36 of the first period. The score was tied on a goal by Dominic Moore 3.5 minutes later. The goals kept coming. New Jersey scored the next two goals, a second by Elias and one by Travis Zajac, to take a 3-1 advantage. Jaromir Jagr assisted on both of the latter goals. His two assists raised his career total to 1,035, which passed the total of Mario Lemiux and his career points to 1,732, seventh in NHL history. The 41-year-old, future member of the Hockey Hall of Fame is the leading scorer of the Devils this year with 44 points.

The happy moments of the contest for the Devils passed quickly as the Rangers scored the final six goals of the game. After a late first period goal by Marc Staal, the game was knotted at 2:48 of period 2 on the first of two consecutive goals by Mats Zuccarello. A fifth Ranger goal was scored by Carl Hagelin. 

Rick Nash scored his 18th goal of the season 29 seconds prior to the end of the second period. Nash extended his goal scoring streak to five games. He has scored in his last 11 games. The left winger is only two goals short of reaching a streak of 10 straight seasons of scoring at least 20 goals. 

Ranger coach Alain Vigneault commented upon Nash’s recent success, “He’s going to the net a little more. He’s an elite player and we need him to play like that now.”

The only goal of the third period was by Derek Stepan of the Rangers on a penalty shot, the first such score in an outdoor NHL game.

Devils coach DeBoer attributed the change in his team’s fortune in the second period to a mistake in plan, “We had a good first period. We started to open it up in the second and that’s not our game.” 

Lundquist was disappointed in his and the team’s start, “It was not a good start. My first thought was am I going to finish this game.” As the game progressed the goalie saw he and his team adapt, “I recovered and as a team we recovered after that start. The way we responded was just great to see. We took advantage of some mistakes they made. It felt like we had so many guys step up.”

Three Stars were awarded to: 1. Mats Zuccarello (2 goals), 2. Patrik Elias (2 goals) and 3. Anton Stralman (2 assists).

For the losing coach to make the following statement exhibits how great this rare hockey event was, “Other than the outcome, it was one of the best hockey experiences we’ve had.”

On Wednesday night, January 29, Yankee Stadium will host a game between the Rangers and the New York Islanders. 

Bronx News Sports: Future Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Brodeur and Jag...

Bronx News Sports: Future Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Brodeur and Jag...: Future Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Brodeur and Jagr Speak in the Bronx (Facebook Photo) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANU...

Future Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Brodeur and Jagr Speak in the Bronx

Future Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Brodeur and Jagr Speak in the Bronx
(Facebook Photo)

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 27- The players of the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils had their practice sessions on the recently constructed ice rink on the field of Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Although the result of the regular season game on Sunday is important to both teams in the tightly contested Metropolitan Division of the NHL, the seriousness of the practice was tempered by the pleasure of the presence of so many family members on the ice with the players of each team.

After the Devils’ practice concluded, two special players, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur, were invited to the Interview room in the Yankee Stadium basement for a mass press interview. Although each was born in a different part of the world, Jagr in Kladno, Czechoslovakia, then a part of the Communist world, and Brodeur in Montreal Canada, they have much in common. 

Each was born in 1972, Broduer less than three months later; each is a left-hander; each was drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft of 1990, Jagr the 5th overall selection and Brodeur the 20th ; each has earned an Olympic Gold Medal with his native country’s team; each has been an integral member of a Stanley Cup champion and each will be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame shortly after his legendary NHL career concludes.

The two greats were good humored, patient and open to all questions from the journalists in the room. Jagr humorously spoke of the huge size of the locker room, “There’s a lot of great dressing rooms, but I’ve never seen nothing like that, so big you can’t hold a team meeting; if you make a mistake, the coach can’t find you in 15 minutes. “When he first entered the Yankee clubhouse, he jokingly asked for a GPS.

The 41 year-old was asked if he believed the frigid weather would affect him. He had mixed feelings contrasting New York’s weather to Moscow, where he played in Red Square and in Los Angeles, where the Kings and Ducks were competing that night, “This is like summer compared to Moscow. If I had to choose to play here or L.A., I would choose L.A. [he laughed]. It would probably be a lot better for my body to play in different conditions.”

He was asked to express his feelings regarding playing in Yankee Stadium, “When Czechoslovakia was Communist I didn’t even know about the NHL. Since I came here [24 years ago], I follow baseball, basketball and American football. It’s very special just to play here. I took pictures, Babe Ruth.”

The experienced professional was very concerned about how the result affect the goal of reaching the playoffs, “Any points and any victory can make a big difference. We have to play better than we did yesterday. We have to make sure we get some points tomorrow.”

Brodeur shortly followed Jagr to the Interview Room. After the Devils’ practice, Devils coach Peter DeBoer announced Brodeur would start in goal on Sunday. The veteran goalie reacted, “I’m happy to play a game; it’s been more than a week.” [Brodeur last played on January 18]. The veteran said, “They felt it meant a lot to me. For me, it’s the last one [rivalry game outdoors].”

The Canadian understands the importance of the Yankees and Yankee Stadium, “After 21 years in the New York area, I know what the Yankees mean here and to the world of sport. It’s a good feeling to be in this building. To be in the first game here is very exciting. It’s an unbelievable setting.”

Brodeur recalled childhood experiences when speaking of playing hockey outdoors, “When I grew up in Montreal, for us, we took it for granted. I did it every day; it’s great memories.” He felt he was overdressed even for the cold, ‘I had too much, gloves, ski mask two tee shirts; it wasn’t bad.”

Like his teammate, Jagr, he also spoke of the importance of the game, “It’s a big event, but at the end of the day, it’s just hockey. The points are important.” 

Of the idea of this series and the game in California, he opined, “It’s a great idea to have these rivalry games outdoors.”

Hopefully, those in attendance will realize they are watching two of the legends in NHL history, Jagr and Brodeur.

Tags: NHL, Jaromir Jagr, Martin Brodeur, Yankee Stadium

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bronx News Sports: Fans Slap Happy that Hockey Comes to Yankee Stadiu...

Bronx News Sports: Fans Slap Happy that Hockey Comes to Yankee Stadiu...: Fans Slap Happy that Hockey Comes to Yankee Stadium By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 24- Preparations are currently underway for th...

Fans Slap Happy that Hockey Comes to Yankee Stadium

Fans Slap Happy that Hockey Comes to Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 24- Preparations are currently underway for the construction of a hockey rink on the field of Yankee Stadium that will serve as the “playing field” for all three local NHL franchises, New York Rangers, New York islanders and New Jersey Devils. 
Each of the three rivals will have an opportunity to play an outdoor NHL game at the legendary baseball stadium. A Saturday matinee beginning at 12:30 pm on January 26 will feature the Rangers and Devils in a regular season contest. Three days later at 7:30 p.m., the Rangers will return to the ice to face the Islanders. Both games will be hard fought contests as they will count in the regular season standings, and thus, have a direct effect of the teams qualifying for the playoffs.

The intricate and time consuming work of setting up a hockey rink on the Yankee stadium grass is being supervised by Michael Craig, the NHL’s senior manager of facilities, who remarked with awe of his surroundings, “Yankee Stadium is a bit of a fairy tale. I’m from a small town in Western Canada, so to be standing here in New York at Yankee Stadium is pretty special.”

Craig was not the only NHL employee thrilled to be at Yankee Stadium. Matt Moulson of the Islanders, who was at the August 8 Yankee Stadium press conference during which the games were publicly announced, expressed his excitement, “I grew up in Toronto but I go to a lot of games at Yankee Stadium. When the Yankees aren’t playing the [Toronto] Blue Jays, I cheer for the Yankees. Every time you come here it’s exciting. We’ll be a little part of the history of Yankee Stadium.”

A veteran of the Devils since the 2006-7 season, Travis Sajac, spoke of his joy in making his first visit to Yankee Stadium, “I’ve been with the Devils for eight years and never been to Yankee Stadium. I’m kind of excited about that. You hear all about it and I love following the Yankees, but I’ve never been to a game.”

There will probably be several thousand hockey fans attending the games that have never been inside the showplace on 161st Street before and will also feel the thrill of bring inside the world renowned sports venue. 

To add to the excitement of the debut of NHL hockey at Yankee Stadium, the 161st Business Improvement District (BID) has scheduled Winterfest, an exciting day of related activities, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., on 161st Street. Placards posted in the neighborhood announce an ice statute of Yankee hero Mariano Rivera, free autographs, games and food. 

The statue was commissioned by the BID, in the words of its executive director, Dr. Cary Goodman, “to honor the pitcher, celebrate the renaming of River Ave. in his name and enhance the beauty of the district.” 
The other fun and interactive events were scheduled because, according to Goodman, “We want the neighborhood to be part of this historic event.”

Those attendees who never viewed hockey in person previously will be seeing it played at a very high level and outdoors, the manner in which youngsters in Canada first experience learning the game. 

The Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, in the Bronx, televised nationally one week before the starts of the Winter Olympic Games, will also enhance the interest of people in the borough and the entire country in the sport that will be played in February in Sochi.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bronx News Sports: Who is Pitching Phenom Masahiro Tanaka?

Bronx News Sports: Who is Pitching Phenom Masahiro Tanaka?: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 23- Two days before the deadline for Masahiro Tanaka to sign with a major league tea...

Who is Pitching Phenom Masahiro Tanaka?

By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 23- Two days before the deadline for Masahiro Tanaka to sign with a major league team or return to his club in Japan, the New York Yankees announced the signing of the Japanese pitcher. Thus, they won the big sweepstakes of the 2014 pre-season with this signing. Several teams including the Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox and Diamondbacks were making a strong effort to sign the 25- year-old Japanese right handed hurler.
Although the young pitcher has yet to throw a pitch in MLB, he signed the fifth highest contract for a pitcher in the history of the majors. He was given $155 million for seven years with an opt-out clause after the fourth year in 2017. As the team that signed Tanaka, the Yankees will also have to pay the $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). 
Tanaka began playing organized baseball as a little leaguer in his native country. He was a highly touted pitcher in high school before joining the Golden Eagles at the age of 18.
He immediately lived up to expectations as he was elected Rookie of the Year in 2007. 
Tanaka won 99 while dropping only 35 decisions in seven seasons in the Pacific League with an ERA of 2.30. He fanned 1,236 batters in 1,315 innings in 175 games. Unlike recent MLB stats, the righty completed 53 of his 172 starts. His strikeout/walk ratio is a startling 4.5-1 (1,236/275). 
His most recent three seasons were played at an even higher level of performance. He was 53-9 with a miniscule ERA of 1.44. Last year, he had a perfect 24-0 mark. 
The 25 year-old has pitched against international competition in the 2008 Olympics and in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) 2009 and 2013.
Obtaining the services of Tanaka has been a goal of the Yankees. The retirement of Andy Pettitte and the decision not to sign Phil Hughes left the team short two starters. The farm system of the Yankees has few, if any, pitchers who could make the jump to the majors and keep the team in the hunt for the championship. Tanaka will join Sabathia, Kuroda, and Nova in the rotation with a fifth starter, perhaps Pineda or Phelps, to be decided in Spring Training.
The Yankee ownership has, judging by the signings of McCann, Ellsbury, Beltran and Tanaka, shown dissatisfaction with an 85-win season in which they finished out of the playoffs for only the second time in the last 19 seasons.  
Although keeping this year’s salary below $189 million has been an organization goal, managing partner Hal Steinbrenner, at the press conferences for the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, made it clear having a championship caliber team was the paramount objective. A Wednesday afternoon conference call, the Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman, remarked that these signings are proof that Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are very serious regarding raising the franchise to a level where they can compete for the World Series title.
Why the Yankees desired to obtain the services of Tanaka is much more obvious than why he chose the Yankees. There may be many reasons why he chose the Yankees, playing in New York City, having experienced players from his homeland like Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki as teammates, having his songstress wife, Mai Stoda, further here career in the international city, or receiving a call from former Yankee Hideki Matsui of his favorable experiences as a Yankee. The reasoning may be revealed at his first press conference as a Yankee.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bronx News Sports: Is He Worth the Ca$h?

Bronx News Sports: Is He Worth the Ca$h?: Is He Worth the Ca$h? Tanaka is a risk for Yanks but the rotation looks better to put them on top By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YOR...

Is He Worth the Ca$h?

Is He Worth the Ca$h?
Tanaka is a risk for Yanks but the rotation looks better to put them on top
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 22- Spending never was an issue with the New York Yankees and that $189 million salary threshold by all means was not going to stop them. No, spending is not an issue when this organization is idle and not playing baseball in October. And for the Yankees it is not right to be watching, instead of playing baseball in October.
Throw away a theory that the Yankees were not going to spend their precious money, and with the agreement in place to sign Japanese right-hander Masaharo Tanaka, they may have assured themselves of playing baseball again this October.
Well from all accounts it appears the Yankees will play baseball in October. It is a long season. There are still questions about the infield with an aging Derek Jeter over at shortstop; second quality talent to fill the holes at second; at first Mark Teixeira is coming off an injury ridden season.
At seven years and $155 million, with an opt-out clause after four years, the seventh highest contract granted to a pitcher, Tanaka is a risk because he has never thrown a Major League Baseball pitch. But, the Yankees feel they got what they needed.
They saw Tanaka enough to be convinced, his 24-0 record and 1.27 ERA last season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles will work here. They may have solved the missing pieces of a puzzle. It gives manager Joe Girardi the leisure of throwing left-hander and ace CC Sabathia, followed by right-handers Hiroki Kuroda, Tanaka, Ivan Nova and David Phelps.
And Michael Pineda, who has not thrown a pitch since being acquired two years ago, could be the other right-hander in the mix along with Vidal Nuno who threw some quality pitches last season.   
A risk of seven years, Tanaka is one of four active pitchers now to have thrown over 1,000 innings, at or before 24-years of age.  The Yankees had the leverage to spend more with the departure of Robinson Cano to Seattle and the certain season-long suspension of Alex Rodriguez.  
So the Yankees were the team once again this off-season spending the money. With acquiring contracts of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, and now Tanaka, that is a combined $491 million.
Say what you want, this reminds one of the late George Steinbrenner. He took out his wallet and they came to the Bronx. The Steinbrenner sons, Hal and Hank, did not appear to be on that spending spree and perhaps the long-term and bad contract of A-Rod was a reason why.
However, the Yankees do not like to be idle in October. Declining attendance and hearing boos in the new house “That George built” was a message sent to baseball that they were not going to stand still. They threw out the bad A-Rod contract theory, and had the money.
All of a sudden a threshold of $189 million was insignificant.
Of course that figure is not important, because from all standards the Yankees have improved by spending money. However, the signing of Tanaka and others does not assure they will go all the way. With improvements they have made a step to be in the post-season this October.
It was 2009, the last time the Yankees spent all this money. You remember, the last time the team won a World Series with Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, oh, and a guy named Alex Rodriguez.
That is in the past of this illustrious Yankees franchise. The emphasis is now and the need to possibly find a replacement for Mariano Rivera, the all-time saves leader because David Robertson may not be suited for that role.
In the meantime, Tanaka will adjust to the different game and pitching to Major League baseball talent. He will get help from Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki who may have influenced his decision coming to the Bronx, a second factor of course to the contract.    
Tanaka tossed eight complete games and recorded two shutouts last season in Japan. He can make a big difference in a pitching staff that still had some question marks but that remains to be determined.
What has been determined is the Yankees have spent their money again, something that had never been an issue. And this latest signing of Tanaka assured that the organization will never be content unless they are playing baseball in October.
Time will tell if the Tanaka investment was worth the long-term risk. Rest assured for the moment it made the Yankees a better team in their quest for an October return.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bronx News Sports: Class of 2014 Inducted into Fordham Athletic Hall ...

Bronx News Sports: Class of 2014 Inducted into Fordham Athletic Hall ...: (Photos by Ken Carozza) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 15- Successful athletic teams and athletic heroes are imp...

Bronx News Sports: Class of 2014 Inducted into Fordham Athletic Hall ...

Bronx News Sports: Class of 2014 Inducted into Fordham Athletic Hall ...: (Photos by Ken Carozza) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 15- Successful athletic teams and athletic heroes are imp...

Class of 2014 Inducted into Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame

(Photos by Ken Carozza)

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 15- Successful athletic teams and athletic heroes are important to every college and university. They serve as a unifying factor among the student body; are an encouragement for increased donations from alumni; are sources of pride to current students and alumni and can be inducements for prospective students to enroll.

Many colleges and universities have created athletic halls of fame to recognize past student-athletes who have excelled in their sports and added respect and interest to the institutions they have attended. 

The Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame has been in existence for more than 40 years. The first induction took place during the 1970-71 academic year and included honorees such as Frankie “Fordham Flash” Frisch and Vince Lombardi. 

This year’s induction was held at the McGinley Center Ballroom on Fordham’s Bronx campus on January 11, in the late afternoon between the men’s and women’s basketball contests of Fordham and Richmond. Eleven former Rams were honored. One track star, Jack Faith (’68), was previously inducted 34 years ago. 

The other 10 former Rams added to the HOF represent a total of six sports programs. Jim Groark (67), Brian Hernon (67) and Don May (68) were teammates of Faith on the remarkable 1967 Two-Mile Relay Team. The foursome broke both the Fordham and Penn Relay marks for their specialty. It was later pointed out that May made the furthest journey, from Alaska, to receive his award.

The baseball and basketball teams each had two representatives on the Class of 2014. Both Tom Davis (08) and Cory Riordan (12) were pitchers. Davis was selected as Pitcher of the Year by the Atlantic-10 in his senior year. He graduated with the Fordham record for starts (50) and innings (339). 

Riordan was voted as the Rookie of the Year by the Atlantic-10 in his freshman year when he compiled a 10-4 mark. He completed his career at Fordham with a 21-11 record and 200 strikeouts in 246 innings. 

The award for Bryant Dunstan (08), currently playing basketball professionally in Greece, was accepted by his dad. Dunstan compiled stats among the best in the school’s basketball history. He is second in points with 1,832, 54 less than the legendary Ed Conlin, fourth in rebounds with 993 and first in blocks, 246.  

Mobolaji Akiode (04) received Fordham’s most prestigious honor for female athletes, the 2003 Claire Hobbs Award as female athlete of the year. She represented her native land, Nigeria, in the Olympic Games. Of even greater importance is her founding Hope 4 Girls, a charity that is dedicated to raising opportunities for African female youths in education and sports.
Ben Dato (08) was the kicker on the football team in his years at Fordham. In his senior year he received the Vincent T. Lombardi Award as male athlete of the year. He amassed the most yards punting at Fordham.

Allison Twarowski (08) was an outstanding batter in her four seasons on a successful softball team. She graduated holding several school batting marks, hits (251), runs (181), doubles (44) and runs batted in (45).

Robert Valdes-Rodriguez (86) three times set school marks for the 100 butterfly and qualified for the NCAA tournament several times. He is currently chairman of the NYAC swim team.

Valdes-Rodriguez articulately gave the response of the Class of 2014. He gave thanks to “the Jesuit university, the coaches and the professors who helped us balance our faith, academics and athletics.” 

Athletic Director David Roach began the event by saying to the honorees, “Your achievements and your total lives are a shining example to the current student-athletes.”

The television voice of the New York Yankees, Michael Kay (82), ably served, as he does every year, as the emcee of the ceremony. Kay, on the day of the announcement of the suspension of Alex Rodriguez, joked about Rodriguez having enough time on his hand to enroll at Fordham and perhaps be considered for this HOF next year.

Father Joseph McShane, the Fordham president, officially closed the ceremony with a tribute to the new members of the Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame, “Wise men and women of Fordham, we honor you for your wisdom, and your generosity to Fordham. We hold you up as models for our students, role models and sources of inspiration.” 

Bronx News Sports: Fordham Women Defeat Richmond, 70-59

Bronx News Sports: Fordham Women Defeat Richmond, 70-59: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 15-  Saturday was a day in which the Fordham Rams and the Richmond Spiders played twice. T...

Fordham Women Defeat Richmond, 70-59

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 15-  Saturday was a day in which the Fordham Rams and the Richmond Spiders played twice. The women competed in an afternoon contest while the men played in the evening. 

After losing their most recent game, 65-61, to Duquesne, for their first home loss of the season on January 8, the Fordham Rams (14-3, 3-1) responded with their 13th win in the last 14,  a 70-59 victory over the Richmond Spiders (7-10, 1-3) on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Hill Gym.

The game was a see-saw battle during the first 10 minutes. The score was knotted twice and the lead changed hands four times during those early minutes. A basket from beyond the perimeter from Abigail Corning, Fordham’s newest 1,000 point career scorer, began a run of 14 unanswered points by the Rams, who took a 29-16 advantage at 7:11.

Fordham’s excellent shooting from the floor, 58.6 percent in the half, kept the lead at double figures as the half concluded with Fordham ahead by a score of 38-25. The #2 scorer in the Atlantic-10, Erin Rooney, paced the Rams with 11 points and 7 assists.

A seven-point run by the Spiders cut their deficit to single digits, 43-34, at 16:54 of the second half. The Rams followed with nine unanswered points to take the largest lead of the contest, 52-36, with 11:50 remaining in the game. 

Fordham’s double digit lead remained in effect until 90 seconds were left on the clock as a basket by Genevieve Okoro cut the lead to eight, 65-57. The Rams netted five of the final seven points of the contest to ensure their victory, 70-59.

The home basket was very attractive to the Rams during the contest as they achieved a season-high shooting percentage of 61.2 percent (30 of 49). Their usual superior defense kept the Spiders to 38.7 percent (24 of 62). The Rams also moved the ball well as 24 of their 30 baskets followed assists.

Rooney led the scoring with 14. The total was below her usual 20+ because she concentrated on dishing the basketball, reaching 11 assists, for her sixth double-double of the season. 

Three other Rams also reached double figures in scoring, Corning with 12, Samantha Clark with 11 and freshman Danielle Burns who achieved a season and career high of 11 points in only 19 minutes on the court. 

The Rams now hit the road for two games before returning home to the Rose Hill Gym on the afternoon of Saturday, January 25 to host UMass.