I promised Dellapina I wouldn’t go overboard in bidding him a proper adieu from the Rangers beat. In fact, when earlier this week I mentioned writing something on the blog about “his departure from the Daily News”:http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/rangers/, he waved me off.
“Nobody cares,” he said.
Count this is as one of the few times I know John to be wrong. For instance, I know there are thousands of readers who care because he has long been one of the premier writers in hockey. I know there are players, coaches, and executives throughout the league who care because they respect him as a tough but fair reporter, and an astute hockey mind.
And I know I care becauseÂ few people have been more influential — both directly and indirectly — in my own education writing about this game.
Never mind that Dellapina is a defenseman, a shameless Brian Leetch apologist, and someone who loves to make fun of my incessant need to update this blog. He’s still become a good friend who I could consult on everything from the intricacies of the collective bargaining agreement to raising two kids.
We’re fortunate in that his new gig working for the NHL John will be even more involved in hockey than ever before.Â As a writer, I won’t miss having to compete with him on a regular basis — a challenge that remains with the other people on this beat who set the bar high. But as a reader and a hockey fan, I will miss the voice of someone who cherishes this game as much as the rest of us.