As we continue moving forward with plans to release Bluehsirts Monthly in September or October (leaning towards September right now) we want to give you all a little look at some of the stuff we're going to be doing. If you don't know what Blueshirts Monthly is click this link for more information.
Below is one of the stories we're going to be having in our first edition of B12. Well, it's actually half of the story (we can't give away everything, guys, that's why you have to subscribe!) for you to enjoy so you can get a feel for what we're all about.
All the information for how to subscribe is in the link above (it's free) but if you want to do it without reading the link just send an e-mail to Blueshirtsmonthly@gmail.com with the subject "subscription." That's all you have to do.
Now, enjoy half of Mike's story.
Why Sergei Zubov is the Greatest Russian Ranger (Thus Far)
By Mike Murphy
According to hockeydb.com there have been 22 Russians that have played hockey on Broadway. Since the departure of Artem Anisimov in the Rick Nash trade the Rangers have been without a Russian in the lineup, but that certainly doesn't mean that Russian players haven't made a noteworthy impact on the team's history.
The New York Rangers have a unique connection with Russian hockey players. The first Russian-born and trained players to have their name etched on the Stanley Cup belonged to the 1994 Rangers. They were Sergei Nemchinov, Alexander Karpovtsev, Alexei Kovalev, and Sergei Zubov. Growing up a diehard Rangers fan, I remember how overwhelmingly popular Kovalev was and how excited Rangers fans were when he was traded back to the Rangers. Many were hoping that Kovalev's return to the team in 2003 would help turn the struggling Rangers around, but that was not to be.
On February 10th, 2003 the Rangers traded Mikael Samuelsson, Rico Fata, Joel Bouchard, Richard Lintner, and cash for Kovalev, Dan LaCouture, Janne Laukkanen, and Mike Wilson. In his second stint with the Rangers Kovalev scored an underwhelming 23 goals in 90 games before being shipped off to Montreal for Jozef Balej and a 2nd round pick as part of the team's commitment to rebuilding. Alexei Kovalev played 492 games over two stints as a New York Ranger. He never scored more than 24 goals in a season while playing in New York and he never eclipsed 58 points (his best season as a Ranger was 1995-96). He is perhaps best remembered for his exceptional performance in the 1994 Playoffs where he scored 21 points in 23 games and helped the Rangers break the 54-year championship drought. It's important to celebrate what Kovalev and other former Rangers did in 1994 but, outside of his brilliance in the postseason, Kovalev was and is overrated as a Ranger.
Kovalev played his best hockey for Original Six rival Montreal Canadiens and division rival Pittsburgh Penguins, including a 95 point season in 2000-2001 in Pittsburgh. One could argue that Kovalev wasn't coached or used properly in his time playing for the Rangers but with Kovalev's reputation for apathy and lack of commitment it is hard for me to peg the blame on anyone but him when all is said and done.
Constantly criticized for not playing up to his potential during his professional career, Kovalev was a polarizing player that was capable of either taking over a game or simply disappearing during it. I will always remember AK27 fondly for his early years in New York, especially his contribution to the 1994 team and ending one of the worst championship droughts in the history of team sports, but in my opinion he is not the greatest Russian Ranger.