Thursday, May 21, 2009

Once A Ranger, Always A Ranger

New York Ranger Clint Smith passed away earlier this week. The last surviving player from the 1940 Cup champs survives no more, and the franchise is poorer for having lost him.

Back in 1994, as the Rangers were making the run for the Cup, Smith gave Neil Smith his jersey and other old souvenirs. The NY Times' description of the occasion had this pearl:
Neil Smith said he would give the mementos a place of honor in Madison Square Garden. Clint Smith seemed to think that would be just fine. A slightly built man with white hair and bright eyes, Clint said he would continue to follow the fortunes of the team closely.

"Once a Ranger," he explained, "always a Ranger."
If only the current crop of Blueshirts could understand that, and take pride in it. For a glance at who Smith was, check out his Ranger page for stats, and his Legends of Hockey spotlight for stories. I just hope that - as his passing comes at this time of year - the team still remembers and recognizes him at the season opener. That they didn't hold a moment of silence for Alf Pike still makes me ill, as does the way they handled Cherry's passing online.

RIP Clint.

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