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How to Pretend to Care About Hockey

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It's NHL playoff time, and your New York Rangers start their postseason tonight in Atlanta. This is good news for the Rangers themselves and troubling news for the rest of New York, which is suddenly obligated to actually pay attention to hockey. How to follow a team you haven't watched in a while (or since 1994 or never) and don't much care about? Simple: Just pretend the Rangers play for other New York teams, the ones you've heard of. So who's the Rangers' A-Rod? Who's their Paul Lo Duca? After the jump, our guide to the Rangers and their other-sports analogues.

Russian Hockey on Brooklyn Ice? A Miracle!

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Feeling nostalgic for the Cold War? Then head to Brooklyn this weekend for a completely un-ironic celebration of one of the reddest symbols of Communism — the Soviet Red Army hockey team. An exhibition game at the Aviator Sports and Recreation complex Sunday is meant to recognize the 50th anniversary of the USSR’s first Olympic gold medal in ice hockey. And though the team is perhaps the most historically unpopular one ever assembled — among Americans, at the very least — you wouldn’t know it from the publicity material for the game, which could have been published in Krushchev-era Pravda. “Historically, Russia and the former Soviet Union have produced some of the strongest, most talented and admired hockey players the world has known,” says a blurb on Aviator's Website. Organizer Alexander Vasiliyev insists that the game is completely void of politics and that the fans who attend — 90 percent of whom he estimates will be Russian — would agree with him. “These are really sports people,” he says. “They don’t care about the politics. They care about hockey.” Even, apparently, commie hockey. —Joe DeLessio 50th Anniversary of the First Victory of Team USSR at the Olympic Games [Aviator Sports]

Giuliani Not the Only GOPer Who Knows His Campaign Faces Problems

Some Republicans think his business and the press will keep Rudy Giuliani from running for president. Robin Williams made friends with a bunch of former enemies in the New York Film Critics Circle. Ron Perelman brought rabbis over to bless a plot of land he purchased on the secluded Harbour Island in the Bahamas; locals, having never seen a rabbi, thought they were terrorists. Dita Von Teese left Marilyn Manson because he was partying too heartily with Lindsay Lohan, Angelina Jolie, and Evan Rachel Wood. Word association with Forbes publisher Steve Forbes: Nancy Pelosi: "Trouble." Hillary Clinton: "Future Trouble." Speaking of Pelosi, daughter Alexandra's latest documentary features a telling interview with outed pastor Ted Haggard. Claire Danes' new boyfriend, Hugh Dancy, seems to be more interested in boys than in poor Claire. Simon Cowell prefers Kelly Clarkson to Bob Dylan. Britney Spears went out drinking, shacked up with model Isaac Cohen at the W Hotel on Monday. Bill Nighy prefers his matzo-ball soup without matzo balls. Coke-loving, hooker-loving Pat O'Brien is out at The Insider. Amy Sedaris was listening to "Desperado" when she lost her virginity; an 11-year old Tracy Morgan had "Superfreak." The guy behind the N.J. sale of Whitney Houston memorabilia may not actually own all the stuff he's selling. Paris Hilton pleaded innocent to her DUI charge from September. Katie Couric is having a 50th birthday party at Tiffany this weekend. Cross-town goalie rivals Henrik Lundqvist and Marty Broedeur avoided each other at Tao. PETA claims that the makers of POM pomegranate juice fund experiments in which the arteries of male bunnies are severed so that researchers can study the effect of the juice on male impotence.

Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger, Up a Tree

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• Now this hasn't happened in a while: Rapper Fabolous is in stable condition at Bellevue after getting shot in a Manhattan parking garage. The would-be assassin and his three friends, who fled in a vehicle, were quickly arrested after running a red light. Update: Now Fabolous is under arrest as well. Developing, needless to say. [AP via amNY] • The Gubernator toured Bloomie's turf yesterday, not two weeks after the mayor's Cali visit. Says the Times in the vintage Times deadpan, "The two men seem to be genuinely fond of each other." We know they're both post-ideological moderate Republicans and all, but this love-in is giving us the heebie-jeebies. [NYT] • You may remember Dean Faiello as the guy who allegedly (a) impersonated a doctor, (b) botched a cosmetic surgery, (c) killed the patient to cover it up, and (d) buried her under his New Jersey house. Well, feel free to remove "allegedly" from that litany. Faiello pleaded guilty in exchange for a twenty-year prison stint. [NYDN] • Queens assemblyman and union leader Brian McLaughlin is expected to surrender today to federal corruption charges. The rap is a rather shopworn classic: contractor bid-rigging, with a side of possible expense-account abuse. [WNBC] • Finally, in case anyone cares, and some of you must, Rangers 4, Devils 2. Oh, come on, people, it's one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports. Or so we're told. [Fox Sports]