1999-2000 season notes

June 23, 2000

Effort, dedication, and good will don't account for much in the NHL anymore. After being one of the only bright spots in an embarrassing season, the New York Rangers let another team take Mathieu Schneider in exchange for absolutely nothing. Mathieu was in fact selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Expansion Draft. So what's next?

1. he plays next year, and perhaps the rest of his career, with an expansion team (possibly fading into oblivion as many players do);

2. the Blue Jackets trade his rights, for more players (possibly even back to the Rangers);

3. he will sign with another team after he becomes a free agent in 8 days. In turn, the Blue Jackets will get compensatory draft picks in next year's amateur draft. (which I think is unfair; they shouldn't have chosen unrestricted free agents in the first place. If they want them, then they should sign them like every other team.)

Columbus GM, Doug MacLean, is expecting and willing to accept the third option, as he wants to try hard to sign another defenseman, Mathieu's former (and interim) teammate, Lyle Odelein, and allowing Mathieu to go to free-agency.

If I was Glen Sather, I would have made a deal with Mathieu to let him go, but re-sign him as a free-agent. How could any GM let go of a solid player who wants to stay (Mathieu), while protecting an ungrateful player who wants to leave (Stephane Quintal). And, even as negative as I feel about the Rangers organization, Mathieu has said innumerable times that he wants to stay in New York. And if that is what he wants...

June 13, 2000

In a not very suprising move, the Rangers left Mathieu unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft. With his high price and upcoming unrestricted free agent status, neither team will likely select him (hopefully).

June 1, 2000

The New York Rangers have officially hired Glen Sather as their new GM. Sather is a proven "winner," and has done wonders with the club in Edmonton for years. Hopefully he can do something positive in New York. And hopefully Mathieu fits into his plans.

May 7, 2000

Since there is no news to report in these first few weeks of the off-season, I looked at some of the more random stats available from the NHL, and outlined how Mathieu did in these areas. The ranking is in terms of the entire league.

stat rankingtotalEven StrengthPower PlayShorthanded
ice time

Another fun stat is that of total penalties taken. Mathieu ranked 59 in the league (51 among Defenseman) in total penalties taken: 39 minors, and no major, for 78 total minutes. But probably the most significant is that Mathieu lead the entire league in blocked shots!

April 25, 2000

The following is The Sporting News' report and grade on Mathieu: "Rebounded from a troubled ‘98-99 season both on and off the ice to re-establish himself as one of the NHL’s better two-way defensemen. An unrestricted free agent July 1, he wants to stay in his native New York. Grade: B"

April 9, 2000

In this final game, he had an assist, and a little fight with Philadelphia Flyers' Valeri Zelepukin. Game summary: served by Kenady (cross checking, roughing), at 7:52 of the 1st; Dimaio (Nedved, Schneider), at 19:12 of the 2nd.

April 2, 2000

The Rangers are officially eliminated from the playoffs. Here are some of Mathieu's quotes regarding this disappointing season and the front office changes:

  • "I thought we had the makings of a great team. I still think that. I haven't played on a team with this much talent since I've been in the league. I played on a Stanley Cup winner (Montreal in 1993) and I think we have more talent than that team did."
  • "We came in with so much optimism, and we started with turmoil right off the bat. It seemed like we had things settled down, but something was always coming up that would set us back."
  • "(GM Neil Smith) honestly, truly cared about us as players. I don't think there are a lot of people in hockey, and in sports in general, who you can really say that about. He was great to me, and he was great whenever a crisis came up, like with Kevin (Stevens) this year. Neil was there. It's sad. He's been here for a long time, and he's had successes. This is a tough business."

March 28, 2000

Mathieu "confirmed" yesterday's NY Post report. His response was "All I want to say is that we had a disagreement. We've talked it over and have put it behind us. I just want to look ahead."

The Post also threw in a jab at Mathieu saying he was on his fourth team by age 30. So? Other players that have that distinction are Paul Coffey, Ron Hextall, Larry Murphy, Brendan Shanahan, and Pierre Turgeon. Bryan Berard, before his career threatening injury, had been on three teams by the age of 21. In the same era that sees the Great Wayne Gretzky in four different uniforms, number of teams doesn't mean anything.

March 27, 2000

Was Mathieu really sick yesterday? The New York Post doesn't think so. They reported that "upon reporting to Rye for practice Saturday morning, Schneider learned he was going to be benched for yesterday's (Sunday's) game. The defenseman then left the locker room and drove away from the rink. He later returned, but did not skate. He met briefly with Muckler following practice, and appeared grim as he emerged from the coach's office, eyes straight ahead." Muckler would neither confirm not deny the story.

March 26, 2000

Mathieu missed practice and tonight's 8-2 rout by the Detroit Red Wings with the flu.

March 23, 2000

After practice yesterday, Mathieu met privately with coach Muckler. One source said he look "visibly shaken" after the meeting. Mathieu responded by playing lousy tonight.

March 21, 2000

Mathieu will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He says he has no desire to test the free agent market and would very much like to stay in New York: "I'd really like to get settled with my next contract. New York's my first choice, but wherever it may be, I'd like to be there for a few years. It'll probably be my last four years or so and I'd like to stay in one place for the rest of my career. Hopefully, that will work out here."
Game summary: Schneider 10 (Dvorak), at 9:35 of the 2nd.

March 19, 2000

Saturday afternoon, Mathieu was the hero as he scored the game winner against Philadelphia. Game summary 3-18: Schneider 9 (Dvorak), at 13:24 of the 1st. Game summary 3-19: (Obstr interference), at 12:51 of the 1st; (Obstr tripping), at 2:26 of the 2nd.

March 17, 2000

Mathieu's answers for the Players Q & A are now posted on the Rangers' Fanzone. Check it out, there was some good stuff.

March 13, 2000

Two days after the probable career ending eye-injury to fellow Mt. St. Charles Academy alumnus Bryan Berard, Mathieu started wearing a visor. Game summary: Schneider 8 (Leetch, Dvorak), at 16:32 of the 1st.

Also today, the New York Post listed the "Rangers who have met or exceeded expectations this season." Mathieu was on this list.

March 12, 2000

The Star-Ledger featured several Rangers players most vivid "NHL first" memories. Here is Mathieu's response: "My first goal. It was my 12th game or so, and that was a natural high, very exciting for me. It was in Montreal, against Kirk (McLean), actually [my note: then the Vancouver Canucks goalie, he is currently Mathieu's teammate]. It was a one-timer on the power play. My dad's got the puck on a plaque at home." The rest of the responses are available on nj.com.

March 9, 2000

Game summary:(elbowing), at 8:00 of the 1st; (high sticking), at 13:32 of the 1st.

March 7, 2000

I finally got to see Mathieu play in person this season. My patience was rewarded with a GOAL! I was the first one standing and cheering in that whole arena (even from the cheap seats I could tell it was his goal). Other than the glaring give away to Owen Nolan, Mathieu played fairly strongly (having 20% of the teams shots). With 3 seconds to go to tie the game, he took a huge slap shot from the point, which was blocked in front. Game summary: Schneider 7 (Daigle, Kamensky), at 7:21 of the 2nd; (tripping), at 7:38 of the 2nd.

March 6, 2000

Mathieu is this session's Players Q & A participant. Check it out at the Rangers Fanzone.

March 3, 2000

Game summary: Daigle (power play) (Schneider, Leetch), at 17:26 of the 1st; (boarding), at 19:29 of the 1st.

February 27, 2000

The Star-Ledger had a special feature which included some Rangers' players' favorite equipment memories from the pasts. The following was Mathieu's response: "There was one stick I wanted really bad, it was a Christian. I was about eight. They used to have shiny stickers down the side, and that's why I wanted it. My dad wouldn't let me have it, so I begged him for two weeks, and finally he let me have it. Then I cut it too short when I got it, and that became my street hockey stick." The rest of the responses are avaliable on nj.com.

2-25 Game summary: Fleury (power play) (Graves, Schneider), at 19:49 of the 1st; (cross checking), at 1:41 of the 1st.
2-26 Game summary: (cross checking), at 10:38 of the 1st; Nedved (Schneider), at 9:46 of the 2nd.

February 20, 2000

The live chat with Mathieu on nhl.com finally took place last Thursday. I wasn't able to participate because I was in class. Check out the entire chat transcript, available at newyorkrangers.com fanzone. If that link becomes inaccessible, I will see about posting the transcripts here.

February 16, 2000

Another "respected analyst" in the hockey world had positive things to say about Mathieu. The following was said by Barry Melrose during tonight's game versus the Florida Panthers: "Matt Schneider has played great since Leetch left. Probably the best I've seen him play in New York. Maybe the best he's played for a number of years. He's agressive, he's jumping in to play offensively. He's really turned into a defensive leader for the New York Rangers."

February 14, 2000

The following is from Stan Fischler's column in The Hockey News: "This is major no-no talk in New York, but those in the know will tell you the Rangers are a better team without Wayne Gretzky. And Mathieu Schneider has (gulp!) become a better defenseman then Brian Leetch." I'm not making this up! It is in the February 11, 2000 edition of THN, on page 17. See for yourself!

February 9, 2000

Game summary: Kamensky (power play) (Hlavac, Schneider), at 12:27 of the 1st.

February 7, 2000

This is pretty funny. The New York Post wrote of things loved and hated about New York sports. They listed the five most intelligent, overrated, etc. athletes in the city. Mathieu made it to the list as fifth in the "immature" catergory: "Might get his jollies keeping his stick in opponents' necks. But at 30, he should know better than to force his team to kill so many gratuitous penalties." Is that immature, or just stupid?

February 3, 2000

Game summary: Schneider 6 (Graves), at 11:27 of the 1st; (boarding), at 3:45 of the 1st.

January 31, 2000

Mathieu played his first full game back from the flu. In Saturday's game, he came out late and left early.Game summary: York (Fleury, Schneider), at 17:38 of the 1st.

January 28, 2000

There is a GREAT article in the Star-Ledger about Mathieu's intersting fashion statements, including zebra print shoes.
Check it out! If the link doesn't work, let me know. This is a MUST read!!

January 27, 2000

Mathieu missed tonight's game with the flu. Break out the chicken soup, ginger ale, and Jello. Maybe, if he is lucky, his wife will go buy him a coloring book, like my mom did whenever I was sick.

January 22, 2000

Game summary: (tripping), at 15:20 of the 2nd; (cross checking), at 12:14 of the 3rd. (and after the game Mathieu's teammate Kevin Stevens got arrested in a St. Louis motel with a hooker and some crack!)

January 21, 2000

As of January 19, Mathieu leads the league in blocked shots with 120. Cool!

January 20, 2000

Mathieu took a really undisciplined penalty in tonight's game, that could have hurt his team, and Carolina player Robert Kron. Fortunately, the Hurricanes did not capitalize on the penalty, and Kron was not injured. He was a bit upset at a nasty cross-check from Jeff O'Neil, which left him on the ice and dazed. His frustration was understandable, but the action wasn't appropriate. But he held up a bit, and it was obviously not an intent to injure. Game summary: (boarding), at 16:42 of the 3rd.

January 19, 2000

Fun stat reported by The New York Daily News: Mathieu currently leads the team in penalties taken (21) and comes in 10th on the team in penalties drawn (6).

January 17, 2000

YEE!! CHECK IT OUT!! "Mathieu Schneider, will be chatting live with Rangers fans Wednesday, January 26 at 1:00 PM ET." (see newyorkrangers.com Fanzone for more details!!)

January 16, 2000

Game summary: Graves (power play) (York, Schneider), at 18:06 of the 1st; (high sticking), at 7:14 of the 2nd; J Maclean (power play) (Daigle, Schneider), at 7:12 of the 3rd.

January 12, 2000

Mathieu got a day off from practice to do some extra strength training for his groin. It has been an important aspect of his workout routine since groin surgery three years ago.

January 9, 2000

Mathieu hit the post midway through the game, and that was the closest the Rangers came to scoring. According to the NY Post, "Mathieu Schneider had a strong night in his own end, and when there was a rush to join, consistently joined it, propelling six shots on net."

January 8, 2000

Even I can admit when Mathieu plays badly, and he has been taking some ill-advised penalties lately (maybe it's the beard). But tonight he ended the game a +2. Game summary: J Maclean 7 (Kamensky, Schneider), at 18:02 of the 3rd.

January 5, 2000

What is up with the beard? He doesn't even look like Mathieu! He took a bad penalty in a tie game, but did his part trying to score a game winner. Game summary: (high sticking), at 5:46. of the 3rd.

January 3, 2000

Game summary: (cross checking), at 13:11 of the 1st; J Maclean (power play) (Schneider, Nedved), at 17:15 of the 2nd.

January 2, 2000

After taking a penalty that lead to a power play goal, Mathieu took another penalty just seconds later. But he helped set up Sylvain Lefebvre's tying goal. Game summary: (Obstr holding), at 18:34 of the first; (high sticking), at 19:48 of the first.

December 29, 1999

Game summary (December 28): (high sticking), at 12:15 of the 3rd. Game summary (December 29): Hatcher (power play) (Schneider, Nedved), at 13:56 of the 1st; (Obstr holding), at 17:34 of the 1st.

December 26, 1999

Game summary: Schneider 5 (York, Fleury), at 16:51 of the 2nd; (roughing) (with Scott Gomez, NJ), at 11:56 of the 2nd.

December 21, 1999

Game summary: (interference), at 6:45 of the 1st; (tripping), at 0:41 of the 2nd; (holding), at 11:07 of the 2nd; Knuble (power play) (Nedved, Schneider), at 14:25 of the 3rd.

December 19, 1999

Game summary: Schneider (power play) (Fleury, Nedved) at 7:57 of the 2nd; (Obstr tripping), at 15:11 of the 2nd.

December 17, 1999

In the annual SuperSkills Competition, or "Super Skate 2000," on December 11, Mathieu made two impressive marks. He came in second on the team (after Stephane Quintal) in the Hardest Shot category, with a 90.5 mph shot, and tied for first (with Adam Graves) in the Shooting Accuracy, after hitting 3 of the 4 targets in eight tries. Game summary: Graves (power play) (Fleury, Schneider), at 13:43 of the 2nd; (cross checking), 15:59 of the 2nd.

December 10, 1999

In a recent New York Daily News article, terms like "contagious inspiration" and "soldiers undaunted" were used to describe the inspired play of two Rangers: Tim Taylor, and Mathieu Schneider. Both players, despite recent injuries, are being given credit for reviving the Rangers this year. For any critics of Mathieu's dedication to team or game, his true spirit is summed up in this sentence: "one thing (Taylor and Schneider) will never require is a pacemaker. Instead, they have electroshocked the team's heart, which was critically close to flat-lining." He's got heart, and that should never be, and should never have been, questioned.

December 8, 1999

Game summary: (roughing), 16:42 of the second. (he cross-checked Alex Selivanov into Mike Richter, then Mike Richter jumped Selivanov, so the rest of the team jumped in.)

December 6, 1999

To protect his sore mouth, Mathieu started the game with a full face shield but took it off after the first period. To add to the pain, he took a shot of the left instep and was limping after the game. Game summary: Schneider (power play) (Fleury, Daigle), 19:41 of the 2nd.

December 4, 1999

Oh no! In the 1-1 tie with Buffalo, Mathieu was hit in the mouth by an accidental high stick from Buffalo's Geoff Sanderson late in the first period. One tooth was knocked out, and two others were cracked. OUCH! Although he missed the entire second period, he came back later in the game.

December 3, 1999

Game summary: Graves (power play) (Hatcher, Schneider), at 17:27 of the 1st.

November 29, 1999

Once again John Valenti of Newsday seems to see something in Mathieu's play that no one else in the media sees; after key defensemen went down with injuries, he says that with increased ice time, players like Mathieu and some others "were exposed for what they are -- role players, guys who are good enough to help you when they see limited time, but could hurt you when they see more." That's funny, not only because he had an assist (on the last goal, late in the third) in the losing effort, but also considering another journalist from the same area (Bridget Wentworth of the Star-Ledger) saw it another way: "Schneider was especially effective after Leetch and Quintal went down, and played one of his best games of the season." I'm not in New York, so I can't say for certain, but when even the Toronto Sun, a paper that is not generous with its complements of Mathieu, publishes praise for Mathieu's season, I question such harsh criticism, such as that from John Valenti.

Game summary (November 24): Schneider (power play) (Fleury), 1:39 of the 2nd; (cross checking), 3:37 of the second.

Game summary (November 26): Daigle (Nedved, Schneider), 16:45 of the 3rd.

November 21, 1999

Game summary: (cross checking), 14:44 of the 1st.

November 18, 1999

Game summary: (high sticking), 9:17 of the 1st.

November 17, 1999

Now the media is admitting that Mathieu Schneider's play has been one of the few bright spots for the Rangers this year. He said that the settling of his personal life has made play fun again and he enjoys coming to the rink. Both the Daily News and the Star-Ledger had articles about him, but both said pretty much the same things.

November 15, 1999

Mathieu had a team best +3 in the game against the Washington Capitals, November 11. Game summary: Nedved (Fleury, Schneider), 19:41 of the 3rd.

Mathieu scored his first goal of the season with ONE SECOND left in the loss to the Boston Bruins on November 14. Three points in three games. Not bad! Game summary: Schneider (Fleury, York) 19:59 of the 3rd.

November 10, 1999

Mathieu scored his first point of the season, an assist on Eric Lacroix's first goal of the season. Game summary: Lacroix (Schneider), 4:06 of the 2nd.

November 8, 1999

Coach John Muckler has singled out Mathieu, along with 6 of his teammates, as having put forth good efforts in the last few games.

October 31, 1999

According to John Valenti of Newsday, "Schneider has not taken a dumb penalty in at least three games now.... Schneider, the ultimate cheap-shot artist, has toned down his game." I would say that is a bit overblown: rhetorical hyperbole, if you will. "Ultimate cheap-shot artist"? Does Mr. Valenti not remember watching Darius Kasparitis on the Island? Has he never seen Bryan Marchment? I think that is a bit of a stretch.

October 24, 1999

The Rangers power play remains weak. Attention Coach Muckler: do we have to spell it out? P-U-T S-C-H-N-E-I-D-E-R O-N T-H-E P-O-W-E-R-P-L-A-Y!

October 21, 1999

Although the Rangers got creamed 5-0 by the Flyers, the Star-Ledger reported that "the only defensive tandem that played well was that of Mathieu Schneider and Sylvain Lefebvre." But he did get that penalty that lead to Eric Desjardins' power play goal. Game summary: (cross checking), 12:58 of 1st.

October 19, 1999

The Rangers played the Sharks tonight, and I was able to see Mathieu's play for myself. I thought he played decently. He had some great shots on goal (including a beautiful shot from slot) and wasn't caught out of position. He was on the ice for one goal against, but it was on a 5-on-3 and he couldn't really be faulted. He took a hard shot of the foot, but didn't miss a shift.

October 11, 1999

Mathieu was given an assist on Kevin Stevens second period goal, but it was later taken away and given to Mike York. He is still waiting for his first point of the season.

October 10, 1999

Game summary: (cross checking), 16:34 of 2nd.

October 8, 1999

Mathieu rung a hard shot off teammate Petr Nedved's foot late in the third period. Petr's foot was bruised badly but he won't miss any games. Game summary: (cross checking), 3:08 of 3rd; (Obstr holding), 15:07 of 3rd.

October 6, 1999

This is an exceprt from The Sporting News team report.

"Do you think Muckler finally got the message that Schneider, despite his severe limitations as a defenseman, is a perfect fit for any power play? This guy has a heavy, heavy shot and he loves to shoot the puck every chance he gets. That said, Schneider needs to stay on the power play, even if Muckler seems not to like him. . . .

On the down side, Schneider is a lazy defenseman, who often resorts to cross-checking or nasty stickwork to accomplish what he might -- and, should -- do with his body.... Not that we dislike Schneider. He reminds us of 'Mutley,' Dick Dastardly's dog from those old 'Wacky Racers' cartoons of the early 1970s -- always flashing one of those sly, sneaky grins like he has something up his sleeve. And, all that nasty, dirty stickwork would be fine, if he was a bit more prudent in his use of it and backed it up with an honest game."

Although it seems a bit negative, I finally agree with the media! They were able to portray the negative side of Mathieu Schneider's play without reducing themselves to simply "Schneider sucks." And that "Muttley thing"... yup, I agree with that too. See for yourself.


October 2, 1999

Game summary: High sticking at 6:51 of the first (lead to power play goal against).

October 1, 1999, first game of the regular season

Game summary: Cross-checking at 7:43 of the third.

September 23, 1999

Mathieu is now wearing number 21. Preseason game summary: Nedved (MacLean, Schneider) at 10:50 of the third.

September 21, 1999

Some fantasy hockey notes: RotoNews has Mathieu as 25th on its list of top 50 NHL defenseman. Additionally, he was considered one of its 10 "Sleeper picks," due to the Rangers acquistion of top players and Mathieu's tendency to play his best when surronded by talent.

August 19, 1999

It is now official... finally! The Rangers have signed Mathieu Schneider to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $2.75 million. When the contract expires next summer he will be an unrestricted free-agent.

August 12, 1999

Mathieu is listed as a signed free agent by the NHLPA (on August 1, 1999).

August 1, 1999

I just returned from my vacation and learned that Mathieu has agreed to a one year contract with the New York Rangers. I only learned about it fromThe Sporting News team report and details were not very clear. Apparently the deal was agreed upon around July 26, and terms were not disclosed. I am still awaiting confirmation from another source.

July 1, 1999

For the second straight year, Mathieu is a restricted free-agent. Being a restricted free-agent means that the Rangers have priority in resigning him, and if he signs with another team, the Rangers will be compensated with first round draft picks.

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