In the two years Blueshirt Banter has been in existence, thanks in large part to the fact that the NHL has generously extended us media credentials to the 2009 and 2010 NHL Draft, I feel that with the exception of Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park, we've covered the draft and the prospects better than any other website out there that is devoted solely to the New York Rangers. Our being at the draft helped us bring you video and audio that you weren't able to find most other places.
Unfortunately, this year we aren't going to be able to do that.
As most of you know, the Rangers weren't happy with our being credentialed at last year's Draft, because they are still of the belief that this website organized the "Fire Sather" rally that took place last March (more on that from my story here), despite the fact that the people that did organize it were well documented on numerous websites, in newspapers, and on the radio. All we did was cover it, and the day the Rangers organization can prove something different, I'll kiss their tuchas in Macy's window. Did we cover it? You betcha. Were we in the middle of it? Yes. I'm well aware of the bridges I burned that day, but I was not going to ignore something that was that important to so many Ranger fans. This site is by the fans, for the fans, and if you guys are talking about it, so will we. If I had to do it all again, I would do exactly the same thing, except maybe next time I would help organize the rally, because at least then I wouldn't have to constantly defend this site to the people the Rangers have lied to about it.
So the Rangers petitioned the NHL for right of refusal on who is credentialed for league events, as is their right, and they have succeeded, as the NHL sent out a list to all the SBNation bloggers who applied for credentials for the 2011 NHL Draft in Minnesota, showing all that had been approved, and one name that had been denied. That name was mine.
Just to reiterate; it is completely within the Rangers rights to say who they want covering their prospects at the Draft, but considering how much great coverage we've given all their picks the last two years, it seems rather petty. But again, it is completely within the Rangers right to do this, and while I don't agree with it, I respect and abide by it.
In all honesty, the Rangers are probably doing me a favor. Unlike a beat reporter working for a news outlet, any trips I make on behalf of Blueshirt Banter come out of my own pocket. I don't travel with an expense account, so in essence the Rangers probably saved me $1000. I'll be sure and spend it as foolishly as they do.
I've said this before, and I will say it again: I was a Ranger fan long before this current front office came along, and I'll still be a Ranger fan long after they've gone. I just find it sad that an organization that once employed people like Emile Francis, Neil Smith, and John Halligan, who genuinely appreciated Ranger fans and what they meant to the team, is now controlled by a regime that is so paranoid and fearful of criticism that they've created an ever-growing disconnect with their fans. For the sake of future generations of Ranger bloggers, I sincerely hope this organization will someday realize that its not 1987 anymore, and the times they are a changin'.
Undaunted, Joe and the guys have been doing a great job bringing you up to speed on the biggest names in this year's draft, and when the time comes for the Rangers to make their pick Blueshirt Banter will still be your place to be for all the latest. I just thought you guys deserved to know what was going on.