I never liked afternoon NHL games. To me, it often seems, players aren’t totally awake and ready for the battle of an NHL game. These are creatures of habit, and they can’t force themselves to bed early, and their bodies are generally used to rising early for a morning skate, a meal and a nap before playing in the evening. Now they lose the morning skate and the nap and the afternoon preparation.
I’m not making excuses. I just think the daytime games sometimes lack the fire and enthusiasm.
I also get a kick out of every post-afternoon-game interview. The player or coach will invariably say “tonight” when discussing the game.
Adam Graves will have his number retired Tuesday, but do you remember that he already has had one of his Rangers numbers retired?
It was right in Boston — in the little rat-and-roach-infested Boston Garden where you could never see a bad game, before they tore it down to begin playing in their new corporate-named Garden 18 inches away — on the opening night of 1991-92. The Rangers had traded their captain, Kelly Kisio, so Graves, who had signed as a free agent from Edmonton late in the summer, wore Kisio’s No. 11 that night in Boston. Bernie Nicholls wore No. 9.
During that game, back in New York, Mark Messier passed a Rangers physical, and the next morning the trade was consummated, bringing Messier here to wear No. 11 and Kisio’s old “C.” Nicholls was in the deal, so Graves got No. 9 for the next game in Montreal.
Are you missing Sam Weinman? I am. He did this interview with NYRangerscast yesterday and you can hear it here: He did this interview with NYRangerscast yesterday, and you can hear it here.
We hope to do a live Rangers Report video chat Wednesday at 1 p.m. I’ll keep you “posted” on that. Hope you can all drop by.
One of our readers asked why the Knicks can pay Stephon Marbury $23 million to sit and watch and not play, but won’t pay Wade Redden his $5M or so to go play in Hartford. The obvious answer is that Marbury was somebody else’s mistake, not Donnie Walsh’s. But while there is much deserved dislike for Redden already, and he’s probably never ever going to be worth anywhere near that amount of money, he is an NHL defenseman, better than anything they have in Hartford, and the Rangers have to hope he finds his game somehow, and soon.
Meanwhile, another reader suggested I pin to Redden’s locker this quote from all-out, every-play Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu about earning his gigantic contract (four years, $30 million). I can’t tack it to Redden’s locker, so I’ll post it here:
“You have to earn the money,” Polamalu said. “It’s not for what I did in the past, it’s for what I’ve got to earn now.”
Enjoy the game.