Last night the Rangers held their Lifer Season Subscriber Forum in the Grand Ballroom of the Manhatten Center. It really was a grand ballroom - a very impressive space that held what Ranger reps said was 1,200 subscribers.
Speaking in the now-typical forum fashion were Ryan Callahan, Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Brian Boyle and Enver Lisin, with Sam and Joe MC-ing. Everyone got popcorn, a soda and a 'I am a Ranger' placard. There were no autographs or photos, with the players led in and out away from the fans. There was the usual giveaways - through trivia, raffle and selected seats - but I didn't get anything. I don't mind; like every year, I'm holding out hope for Blueshirts Off Our Backs.
Some things I learned:
*Marc Staal doesn't deserve the respect we give him. He saw the Drury hit, thought it was borderline and still did nothing.
*Staal is also narcoleptic.
*Lisin is the team's Yakov Smirnoff: hilarious for his broken english and blatant honesty. That, as well as his bro-mance with Arty Anisimov ...
*The players were told no ties but Hank showed up with a tie and a pocket square, something Staalsie ridiculed him for.
*Hank doesn't think that the extra games of the Olympics are too costly physically.
*And the only person he is afraid to take on in a shootout is he brother Joel - good thing he is back in Sweden.
*Cally takes that letter on his sweater really seriously, which is good to see.
*Joe is just as obnoxious live as he is on tv, and needs glasses. He tried to get Lisin to read something for him and Lisin - who can barely speak english much less read it - was of no help.
*Hank's sister thinks that the goaltender needs to start standing up for himself.
*Boyle really is a massive human being and comes from a massive family of 13 kids. And is a diehard Sawx fan - garnering plenty of boos.
*The Rangers greatly appreciate how their fans travel, thinking of Devil and Islander games as home games, even if most of them feel the Mausoleum is the worst building in the biz.
*And us Ranger fans are a passionate, slightly insane bunch. But let's face it, we knew that already.
More in-depth notes and quotes available at Beyond the Blueshirts