Tonight Brian Leetch gets his number raised to the rafters so I figured I would throw some random thoughts up on Leetch, what he meant, and what I think we will see ...:
*They will have the second real giveaway of the season, a minibanner. The first giveaway was the Hummer calender poster; you can expect the minibanner to also be sponsored. Hopefully the logo for Modells, Hummer, XM, whoever will be smaller than the No. 2.
*Rick Carpiniello said that the Leetch presser Wednesday night was a who's-who of recent Rangers alumni and that Leetch (rightly) still holds plenty of resentment towards Sather. Do we hear our first 'Fire Sather' chants of the season tonight?
*Leetch handled everything with a level of class that does the jersey proud. He was, and always will be a New York Ranger - no matter where he spent the final hours of his career.
*I have two memories of Leetch that stand out. 1 - I remember a rush he made in his rookie year that Sam and J.D. called Orr-esque. Leetch went end-to-end and scored. Back then I didn't really realize just what that praise meant, but I knew that the play was amazing. Who knew it would be the first of many?? As for memory No. 2 - Leetch broke his ankle slipping on some ice. How is that for irony?? A hockey player slips on ice and gets hurt. Granted, rumours had it he was plastered, but that was just rumours so I shall leave it at that. Pretty funny though ...
*I mentioned Orr - on the Rangers/Bruins broadcast - the shootout loss in Boston on Saturday - Sam mentioned that Sather had asked the B's legend to speak but he had to decline. That is a damn shame but does mean that Sather at least put real effort in to the ceremony, perhaps as a small step to get Leetch back in the fold. I don't think it will work, but I think that the ceremony will be special. Lots of speeches, gifts and grown men crying ... and at the center of it all, a guy who hates attention.
*Brian Leetch should never have been the captain of the Rangers. He had the untenable task of taking the C that Messier left for Vancouver and just was not the man for the job. His quiet, calm demeanor and loathing for the limelight just could not replace the cult of personality that was Mess. If anyone, that C should have gone to Graves, as his rough-and-tumble playing style and utmost devotion to his team would have better served the role. That is not to say that Leetch was not devoted, but he worked best in a supporting role, not a starring.
But, that being said, he was a true Ranger great and, as the first defensemen to get his number retired, he represents all of the great Blueshirt blueliners through the history of the franchise. I think it is safe to say that he does them and all of the Rangers players and fans very, very proud.