Thursday, September 3, 2009
'Meet The Blueshirts' Forum
The Rangers held a fan forum with the new Blueshirts in the lobby of the Garden this evening. For a relatively unbiased report, check out Ranger Rants. Check that out for a run down of the event, then come back for my outlook below.
First off, even though it was an event for season ticket subscribers, you couldn't pick up your tickets unless you arrived well before 6pm, which is ridiculous. At the same time, they had to keep trying to get blood from a rock and had a merch stand open. They had free food and free beer so I guess they still had to try to make a profit. While I can't see anyone spending over $500 for the Wade Redden game-worn jersey ... yes, it was over $500 ... for a Wade Redden jersey. While - like the Malik jersey I pointed out in a previous post - it is sure to have little damage from actual game play, game used Ranger jerseys go for around 300, maybe 400 bucks online nowadays. And the Garden is trying to get five bills for Redden. Jeez.
They did have some good stuff, like new, $20 player jersey tee shirts for Callahan, Hank, Gaborik and Higgins. Yes, I bought one. Yes, I have a problem. I know. The team also has a problem as they had season ticket reps around trying to get you to buy more tickets. Astonishingly, less people are buying tickets in a down economy as prices are going up. Who'da thunk it?
But let's get past that and move to the speakers.
Donald Brashear. To help deflect the boos and win over people, he played the clown throughout the chat and came across to me as smug and oafish. There were several people who responded to his offer to challenge him and he played it off with a smile. The thing that gets me most is that many folks there were taken in by the teddy bear tough guy act and will gladly cheer for him when he steps on the Garden ice. For shame. Guess it's like the dog that soils the expensive rug. You tell him 'bad dog, bad dog' but ya just can't help but not be mad at him. Your carpet is garbage but, heck, what a sweet, swell animal you have. Fool.
On the other side of the coin, I've always rooted for Chris Higgins as he grew up a few minutes from my house. Now I am even more of a fan after watching him deftly handle the questions presented to him (as well as the proposition from the busty young lady). Even though many of the questions were clearly queries he has heard before, it didn't sound like he was spouting cliches and rhetoric.
Chris Drury on the other hand ... I'm not sure there is a more boring, more benign player in the NHL. A buddy of mine essentially asked Dru if he felt bad for sucking so badly last season even though he was paid so much and what has he done so he won't such this season. Rather than confront the person, or respond directly to the question, he replied with his usual replies of tough times with the injury, working hard, blah blah I fell asleep during his answer. It is a good thing we have a coach who is willing to speak up because you probably could rob Drury's house and he wouldn't step up and get angry. Don't get me wrong, I like Drury - he plays with heart - but I still think the captain of this team should be a cult of personality, not a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
His boy Ales Kotalik showed up, fresh off the plane from the Czech Republic. It looked like he was fresh out of the gym, however, with him showing off his biceps. It is quite remarkable that he has played in North America for so long and he has such trouble speaking english. He tried to answer the questions but looked mightily uncomfortable when doing so.
Marian Gaborik was much better, even if he went the Drury route and gave canned answers to the questions about his health and how he might be able to help the power play. But, honestly, all of his talking needs to be done on the ice this season. Stay healthy and be a hero or fall apart and give us even more reason to hate Glen Sather (like we need that).
The forum ended with the players giving out jerseys to people who could answer stupid questions - who used to play on the same team as Chris Drury? - and the players were quickly ushered out. They didn't sign autographs, didn't pose for pictures, just got the hell out of there as quick as possible. Can't say I blame them as the free beer encouraged a few guys near me to consider taking Brash up on his earlier offer. The forum was nice for what it was but still a far cry from the events that other teams hold where the entire team comes out and interacts with the fans. But, we will see what this weekend's fanfest holds.