In the absence of my ill colleague, the King of the Rumpled Golf Shirt, I tried to hop online from 30 Rock, where Brian Leetch joined the media in anticipation of tomorrow night’s ceremony. Would you believe there was NO wireless signal? Maybe it’s just me, but that was an upset along the lines of USA-USSR…
OK, I’m exaggerating. Still, it was a shame I couldn’t check in to set the scene for everyone. There were a multitude of former Rangers on hand at La Cucina, a restaurant near the Rockefeller Center skating rink. They included: Messier, Richter, Graves, Jeff Beukeboom, Tie Domi, Darren Langdon, Stephane Matteau, and others. Messier looked like a human block of granite. Carp told me one player said, “Wow, Messier really let himself go.” That might’ve been the line of the afternoon.
Anyway, there were lots of great stories told by all, but, to me at least, the two most interesting nuggets were these:
1. Adam Graves said repeatedly that Leetch was the toughest player he ever played with. â€œMake no mistake, he is quiet and reserved and a gentleman, but he was as mentally tough and competitive of a guy as I played with.”
(No joke: a few minutes after he said it, Graves literally adjusted a false tooth by removing it, then reinserting it in his mouth…You gotta love hockey players.)
2. Leetch, who was always quiet, unassuming and non-controversial, said he was still disappointed and bitter because of how he departed. He mentioned Glen Sather by name.
I won’t go into it more because Carp has the quote on his blog. “You can go there to see Leetch’s comments and check out Carpie’s thoughts.”:http://carp.lohudblogs.com He covered the team for a long time and he shares some of his thoughts on the afternoon.
Sammy should be back tomorrow, so I bid you adieu.