'Fire Sather' rally falls flat


Although fans aren’t always particularly “eloquent” about their distaste, most express their disapproval by doing nothing worse than booing (or maybe mockingly chanting a goalies name, preferably in two syllables).

Every once in a while, though, a fan base will start to turn on a team’s management. Often times these displays seem to echo political protest or acts of “civil disobedience” even though the stakes are pretty low compared to, say, the civil rights movement (sorry sports fans). One great example is the disastrous run of former Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen. He incited rage in Lions fans with numerous ill-fated draft picks and free agent signings which eventually lead fans to start “Fire Millen” chants and bring insulting signs to games. Those fans were usually kicked out of Ford Field.

With a passionate (and often knowledgeable) group of fans like the New York Rangers have, it’s not too shocking that a “Fire (Glen) Sather” rally was organized. However, despite garnering plenty of attention and gaining more than a thousand “confirmed” guests on Facebook, The Hockey Independent wrote that the rally only drew a little bit more than 100 people.

And, that’s how the great Fire Sather Rally went down that fateful day. 100+ faithful stood closed together in barricaded pens outside the Fuse building as onlookers casually watched from across the street. Two very bored members of NY’s Finest held the peace and urged everyone to keep clear and stay within the barricade. Whoopity doo.

Sather has long been the target of derision among Rangers fans (not to mention hockey fans in general, myself included). He has given superstar contracts to solid but unspectacular players like Chris Drury and Bobby Holik, is responsible for draft blunders like Hugh Jessiman and just generally seems to have a knack for making the wrong move.

Unfortunately for anti-Sather advocates, Rangers ownership isn’t going to fire Sather unless fans hit them where it hurts: at the box office. The team still attracts plenty of fans and has been limping into the playoffs (therefore making even more money) lately. It took some of the worst moves in NBA history, several years of missing the playoffs and a sexual harassment suit for James Dolan to can Isaiah Thomas.

I wouldn’t expect “Fire Sather” to become anything more than a cute grassroots movement anytime soon.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.