Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Cheating Off Of Chi-Town
You know when your teachers and your parents said that you shouldn't copy anyone else? If all of your friends were jumping off a bridge, you shouldn't follow?
Well, they were wrong. At least in this case.
The Rangers should follow the Chicago Blackhawks as the Hawks announced last week that they will retire a number for two players - the No. 3 of Keith Magnuson and Pierre Pilote. Montreal also did it a few years back with Yvan Cournoyer and Dickie Moore.
As Brian Leetch made Adam Graves nearly soil himself in front of over 18,200 people last season, the Rangers will retire number 9 at some point this coming season. In a separate announcement, the Rangers said that they will 'honour' Andy Bathgate (something fans have been asking for for a while and I had recommended a few months earlier).
Since the Rangers aren't the Islanders, ticket sales won't be a problem. Much like last season, this year is sure to sell out within moments after the September on-sale date (which has yet to be determined from what I can see).
Sadly, Bathgate doesn't have the name power that Graves does in today's day and age, even though Bathgate was by far the better player. That isn't to say anything bad about Graves whatsoever, believe me, but Bathgate was a league MVP, team captain, First Team All Star and Hockey Hall of Famer. Despite all of those achievements, when Bathgate is feted at the Garden, a small minority of the people in attendance, the old-time and die-hard fans who can still afford tickets, will know who he is. That is just a statement of fact.
So why not combine the two events?
By making it one big night you successfully honour the history of the team without insulting either player. Graves is that great of a human being that he would not be the least bit offended to share the spotlight and Bathgate deserves the accolade just as much. It would be a wonderful celebration of everything Blueshirts and for two men who wore the jersey so very well for so very long.
And one last thing: The Carolina Hurricanes announced they will retire Glen Wesley's number yesterday and had the game picked out in the press release (Feb. 17 vs. the Bruins, Wesley's first team). So what is taking the Rangers so long to tell the public which game Graves will be immortalized?