I can’t believe they actually went through with it.
Obviously by now it is well-estabished that I consider the Adam Graves number retirement to be an hilarious, misguided travesty of the “proud” “tradition” of the New York Rangers. But watching the highlights of it tonight on NHL.com (like I could have stomached a full hour of that crap live), it kind of occured to me exactly what this all was.
1) A shameless money grab on the part of the New York Rangers.
The whole thing reeked of a “Hey guys, we know we’re not really all that good any more, but remember how awesome 1994 was?!” sentiment. Not that the Rangers don’t sell out every night, but this was a way to get disenfranchised fans back into the fold in a way that their boring, mediocre hockey team never could have. Some jerkoff from Queens might have heard about this and went to his buddy, “‘Ey Vinny you remembuh this Adam Graves guy? Yeeah, they’re retirin’ ‘is numba ova at the Garden,” and that’s all the Rangers were looking for. There’s a reason the franchise retired two numbers prior to Mike Richter’s, and six since: brazen, cheap opportunism.
2) A slap in the face to Andy Bathgate.
Bathgate was a guy who actually had a very good career and had his number retired by the Rangers earlier this year. He’s in the Hall of Fame, for chrissakes! And now he has to share a No. 9 banner with this, let’s face it, mediocre player. This is like if Patrick Roy had to share a banner with Ryan Walter (who, by the way, had more career points than Adam Graves) or if Steve Yzerman had to share one with Keith Primeau (who also has more career points than Adam Graves). It’s insane to think that this is being allowed to take place. Jesus, Todd Bertuzzi is only two points away from knocking Graves out of the NHL’s top 250 leading scorers, and they had the GALL to actually call him “One of the greatest Rangers in team history.”
3) A chance for the NHL to once again celebrate the 1994 Rangers as though they mean anything to anyone who isn’t a Ranger fan.
Yeah, it was a great team full of great players. So was the ‘89 Flames team but I don’t expect anyone outside of Calgary (and myself, of course) to give a rat’s ass about Hakan Loob (who also scored 50 goals in a season once, so face to you, Adam Graves). ‘Course the Flames wouldn’t have the unmitigated audacity to retire his number either, so there’s that. Meanwhile the NHL — and more specifically Gary Bettman, I’m sure — wants everyone to get geared up for next year’s Esa Tikanen Night.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of guys out there who are “great teammates” and “great in the community.” They don’t deserve to have their numbers retired. Craig Conroy is one of the best teammates in the league. So is Tim Thomas. Don’t think we’ll be seeing Connie or Timmy ever hoisting their numbers up into the rafters anywhere, and if they did everyone would rightly call it ridiculous.
I read a Rangers blog today that said Adam Graves should have his number retired because Clark Gillies is in the Hall of Fame, except that Gillies, of course, won FOUR Cups, not one, and had more points in fewer games than Graves. So there goes that argument. Can’t retire a number every time a journeyman has one great year, or the Orioles will have to put Brady Anderson up there next to Ripken.
Adam Graves sucked then and he sucks now. So do the Rangers, who fittingly lost their stupid game tonight. Good. That’s what Graves would’ve done.
Washington 5, New Jersey 3
And so ends the debate that New Jersey is, in fact, the greatest team in the East, right? Because if the Caps beat them and the Bruins just beat the Caps, we can deduct that the Devils would then lose to the Bruins. Or maybe that’s not how all this works. I dunno. Mike Green continued to be awesome for my fantasy team, though, so I’ve got that going for me.
New York Islanders 3, Tampa Bay 1
Holy hell, the Isles have won four in a row thanks to Yann Danis. Kid can steal games, that’s for sure. He made 29 saves tonight, and while it was only the Lightning he was working against, he also plays for the Islanders, so that evens out, I think. On the other side of the ice, Kari Ramo gave up three goals on 16 shots, which sounds just about right for Kari Ramo.
St. Louis 4, Columbus 2
Wow, the Blue Jackets started Steve Mason even though he has mono, the same disease that sidelined Phil Kessel for a month. Wonder how that worked out tonight… hmm, 18 saves on 21 shots. Safe to assume, then, that the mono affected his play. Brilliant goddamn move, Hitchcock. Why steal Wade Dubliewicz from the Islanders if you’re not going to use him ever?
Florida 4, Toronto 3 (OT)
I know Florida won and all that, but lookit this video I stole from Pension Plan Puppets.
The Leafs should’ve gotten an extra loser point just for that shift outta Hagman. Jesus.
Montreal 4, Pittsburgh 2
Nothing cures a bad run for a decent team like playing the Penguins. They just seem so sad and hopeless. Somehow Michel Therrien still has a job. On the plus side for the Pens tonight, Luca Caputi scored a goal on his first NHL shift and shot. So that’s not a bad start.
Los Angeles 1, Ottawa 0
I was able to take a couple things from this battle of governmental philosophies. Positive: Jon Quick got his third shutout of the year. Not so positive: It was only against the Senators. Definite negative: The Kings only scored once against the Sens and Brian Elliot.
Nashville 2, Phoenix 1
Wow, no one could have possibly cared about this game. Enver Lisin had a point, and that’s all I’m worried about.
Dallas 3, Calgary 1
Uuuuuuuuugh. Second stinker in a row for the Flames, who have just looked awful on defense. Dallas went 2 for 5 on the power play while Calgary was 1 for 3. And when a team whose special teams net is 25th in the league does better than you on special teams, you should really consider just quitting on the season.
Chicago 3, Edmonton 1
Dave Bolland and Martin Havlat both had a goal and an assist. And while I, as a Flames fan, shouldn’t be rooting for Chicago due to their proximity to Calgary in the standings, I can’t get mad when anybody beats the Oilers. Good work, Blackhawks!
Vancouver 4, Carolina 2
Sundin had a goal!? VANCOUVER WON AT HOME!? Defcon 5, people! This is the end of days we’re dealing with now! This is not a drill! Battle stations, battle stations!