First I want to say a big “Hello!” to all the Blueshirts diehards, and I also want to tell you all that I will miss Sam as much as you guys do. Maybe more. He is (and always will be) a great friend and a great writer, and a person who did his job with the greatest of enthusiasm and skill (plus the prettiest practice swing in golf).
I can’t replace him.
But … this blog is one of the greatest places in sports. It has become sort of like the Garden itself, because while its players retire or are traded away, the place remains the same and it is the fans who make it so and make it go. A blog is only as good as its readers – or participants might be a better word. Sam made it great, no doubt. But you all made it better, and we certainly hope you will stay, just as you stay glued to your TVs or your MSG seats whether you’re watching Gilbert or Davidson or Pavelich or Patrick or Leetch or Messier or Lindros or Jagr or Lundqvist.
Because we know your passion, and that never changes, no matter who fills the blue shirts.
Some of you probably know me. I covered the Rangers for The Journal News to various degrees from the 1978-79 team that made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup finals (and should have won), through the only Rangers team in the last 68+ years to win the Cup, through all the mayhem of the non-playoff disaster, until the middle of the forgettable Bryan Trottier era. I have written a couple of books on the Rangers, and used to be a regular in The Hockey News and many other publications, as well as on MSG Network.
My all-time favorites are the same as your favorites – Graves, Leetch, Richter, Messier, going back to Davidson and the Maloney brothers and forward to King Henrik.
I covered the Rangers home and away, through sickness and in health, through the good, the bad and the awful.
But those were the days in which, if somebody said, “blog” you’d think they’d eaten some bad clams (or MSG hot dogs). I never had the chance to blog about “my” team when it was mine.
So the people here have entrusted me to be part of the team that tries to fill Sam’s skates (or his golf shoes). All I ask is that you stay with us, and here’s why. It is the banter among you that make this blog what it is. It is the sheer numbers of you guys and ladies who watch the game with your keyboards within reach, and who let the opinions and observations fly. Who live and die with every penalty call, every bad line change, every goal, every W-L-OT.
We’re going to continue to give you that forum. None of us personally will be able to be as involved as Sam was, but we will try to keep you informed, and to hear you. If there is ever anything in particular you want to discuss, just let us know.
An aside to Sam’s last post: Exactly like Sam, my first assignment for the newspaper was a football game in Northern Westchester, and the next day my girlfriend (who would become my wife) and I drove up there in a pouring rain to buy a stack of northern editions of the paper. Only this was quite a few years before Sam’s first story.
Fortunately for me, the Rangers subject I know best is the subject coming up in the next few days: No. 9, the most popular, beloved Ranger ever. So hopefully we’ll have time to tell some Adam Graves stories and to help celebrate the retirement of his number from this weekend through Tuesday’s ceremony.
So keep checking in, and keep your comments coming. Again, if there is ever anything you want to bring up, just let us know. Thanks.
Update, 2:09 p.m.: The Rangers “have traded Dan Fritsche to Minnesota for defenseman Eric Reitz”:http://wild.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=406780. Reitz, 26 (7/29/82), had two points (1-1=2) and 41 penalty minutes in 31 games with the Wild this season, and totaled two points (1-1=2) and 45 penalty minutes in 37 career games with Minnesota.