OK, we’re off and running…
6:34 p.m.: Sam Rosen approaches center ice. A brief intro, followed by (presumably) the first of several video montages. I don’t know the song, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a Marcel Hossa techno favorite.
6:38 p.m.: The Stanley Cup hits the ice. No truth to the rumor Messier and Leetch were just swilling Jagermeister from it backstage.
6:40 p.m.: OK, first spine-tingling moment of the night: Shot of Leetch in the Rangers dressing room, where there’s a hanging Leetch No. 2 jersey at his old stall. Walks out to one of my personal favorites, Coldplay’s “Fix You.” Standing ovation ensues. Dellapina is a mess.
6:43 p.m.: The parade of players begins coming out of the Zamboni door right below me. Brian Mullen. Ron Greschner. Jan Erixon!! Man, if Jan Erixon is in the house, you know it’s a big night….
6:46 p.m.: Rosen begins an intro of the “greatest defensmen in franchise history.” Wait, so Malik is here after all?
6:49 p.m.: The retired jerseys come out wearing the home blue: First, Rod Gilbert, then Eddie Giacomin. Biggest cheer yet for Richter…which is only trumped by Messier moments later. Great stuff. I just thought it was a little awkward that Messier stopped to hand Glen Sather his resume for the G.M. job.
6:53 p.m.: The start of the presentation of gifts, beginning with a brand new Harley Davidson. Here’s hoping Leetch gets some use out of it. As a point of reference, the silver goal given to Richter on his jersey retirement night is still sitting in the lobby of the MSG Training Center.
6:57 p.m.: The 2007-08 Rangers are introduced. Blair Betts boldly proclaims “We’ll all meet back here for my No. 15 retirement ceremony in 2020!”
6:58 p.m. Oh boy, stap yourselves in. Messier approaches the podium. The over-under on the start of tears is at 15 seconds.
6:59 p.m. It’s the under. The faucets are officially on. The best cheer from the crowd, “Suck it up, Messier!”
7:02 p.m.: Messier introduces, “the greatest Ranger ever.” But I still don’t see Malik anywhere…
7:05 p.m.: The love-in is briefly interrupted. Leetch thanks Jim Dolan. Boos ensue. Dolan shuts off the lights and tells everyone to go home.
7:13 p.m.: Wow. Leetch announces the Rangers will retire Adam Graves’ number. Graves looks legitimately stunned. Huge ovation.
7:15 p.m.: Just a thought here, but why not just knock out that Graves ceremony right now? Quick, someone get a seamstress on the phone!
7:22 p.m. Leetch wraps up his remarks. Flash bulbs pop. Chants of “Brian Leetch!” And then they all walk to the other side of the arena for the banner-raising.
7:24 p.m. The ceremony comes to a close, as warm-ups are about to begin. The song of choice is Jon Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?”
Actually, I’m pretty sure it was Glen Sather who said that….