When I was a kid, the New York Rangers were strictly the “B” list. Despite being an original 6 team, when my family tuned in HNIC if the Rangers were on things would eventually end up at the kitchen table (beer, smokes, cards, laughter). The television–a black and white–would be shoved over in the corner when I’d watch with my aunt Shannon and my brother (or by myself). I liked the Rangers the way kids who love underdogs always like sad sacks. That’s one of the NHL’s problems since the world began: bright lights, big city, dog’s breakfast for an ice hockey team.
That’s Brad Park (#2) and Eddie Giacomin (#1) in about 1972. Notice Park’s skates and the way he taped his stick, and check out Eddie’s pads (they probably weighed more than Darren Pang by the end of the game).
I cheered for the Rangers unless they played Orr’s Bruins and once my Dad flushed the Leafs I cheered for all of the American teams on Saturday night (sounds crazy, but they traded Mahovlich and in English Canada there are still old men who hold the grudge. Ask Howie Meeker about the day Toronto traded Frank Mahovlich).
I cheered for the Rangers all down the line, mostly because they were one of the better NHL teams in the 1970s and watching the Habs win every year with picks stolen from the Oakland Seals was boring. John Davidson had some big moments in the Big Apple before losing his career to injury.
I was fine with the Rangers until they absconded with Adam Graves (part of the Oilerizing of NYC that would eventually send the whole damn tractor east) and since then they can rot in hell like the rest of them.
The current Rangers are a pretty solid group, with excellent goaltending, a solid defense helped by a wonderful new hire (McDonagh) and some jump up front that includes Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. I think NYR might end up being a destination for Mr. Hemsky if things break that way, so we can consider this a scouting opportunity too.
Nation Radio hits the airwaves at noon today on Team 1260 radio. Emails welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org and the following guests are scheduled to appear:
- Dan Moriarty, formerly of Cool Shots and currently with Fox Radio and Cinesport. We’ll talk about the NHL in California and about some recent advice from Bill Guerin to NBA players.
- Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun. The world’s latest twitter phenom will give me the lowdown on Renney’s way, the Katz arena and that Oilers blue.
- Dean Belanger from Jets Nation. Dean was the Oilers feature writer for Hockey’s Future for a time and is now back at Jets Nation. He’s a Jet, Oiler and Expo fan so is uniquely qualified to deal with pain. We’ll discuss the return of the Jets to Winnipeg, his experience at the Pens game in Winnipeg recently and a few other Jets related items.
- Kent Wilson from Flames Nation is back this week. We’ll discuss the gap between the Flames and Oilers (it’s still there) and the upside down look of the NW division currently.
- Doug Sauter is an Oklahoma City legend and a great source of hockey information. We’ll talk about the Barons and we’ll talk about something the Clouston’s and the Sauter’s have in common.
- Danny Gray from Leafs Nation. I’ll ask about the Leafs and their early success while also trying to change their fortunes using mind control.
Hope you can tune in.