Wow, that was a good time. As its late, I will just go right into my thoughts/observations:
*First off, the biggest thing that pissed me off was the title of the night - Forever a Ranger, Brian Leetch, presented by American Express. Who thought of that?? Brian Leetch, forever a Ranger until we decide we would rather have some low-level prospects - none of whom are on the team now. The 'Welcome Home' stuff was much more appropriate.
*Leetch was always so unassuming and reticent of the spotlight, so the ceremony was perfect for him. It really seemed to be less about him and more about everyone else. Messier, Richter, Graves ... especially Graves, who got an ovation equaling (if not besting) that of Leetch when Leetch interrupted his own speech to announce that No. 9 will go to the rafters. Quick note about that - I bet you it will come during another midweek game against some crappy team next season, let's say, the Columbus Blue Jackets or someone else as ignominious. But nonetheless, that night I am sure will be far more emotional than this one was - if only for the hundreds of stories about the ways Graves has given back to the community.
*I got chills when they opened the ceremony with a montage that had the Terminator theme song. I've wanted to do that for years, such a great song. MSG did a decent job, before crossing over to some sentimental tune.
*I guess because of time, the reair of the ceremony was cut apart with a butcher's knife. Gone were all of the player introductions, which was huge to me. Seeing Jan Erixon in person was great, he is one of my all-time favourite Rangers, and the ovation for Gravey proved to be awesome foreshadowing.
*There was something hugely wrong in seeing Harry Howell out there as one of the former Rangers in white jerseys, rather than one of the blue jerseys like the players with retired numbers. Howell is one of many former stars of the Rangers who has gotten the shaft by the team after a remarkable career. He was Brian Leetch before there was a Brian Leetch, a stellar Ranger defenseman. Are we just going to go through the '94 lineup and honour those guys?
*Unlike the Messier ceremony, brought to you by Kleenex, there was just one tearful moment for me - when they brought out his friend's 9/11 widow and kid and Richter gave them a gift of a donation to the lost friend's foundation. That was touching.
*As for Mess, he cried. Of course. However, he said something to the effect of that when people look back, Leetch epitomized what it was to be a Ranger. To be honest, I don't think he did, at least not nearly as much as Gravey did.
*Also, it was awkward that Mess introduced Leetch, then Sam Rosen felt the need to introduce him as well. Weird.
*Aside from the jeering when Leetch opened his speech thanking Dolan, the fans were good, chanting and cheering.
*Sam from Rangers Report did a quick live blog of the ceremony, its pretty amusing.
*They had the trophies out on the ice, but as someone in my section pointed out, it would have been awesome to see him raise the Cup one more time ...
All in all, it was a nice tribute to a great Ranger. As I said, it wasn't as tearful as Messier's ceremony, nor as momentous, but it was certainly fitting for Brian Leetch the person, the player and the Rangers' legend.