Certainly you can discuss anything you want below, and please feel free to continue to argue about the team, its coaches and players, or anything else. It’s your blog.
But what I’m asking you, additionally today, is this:
1). It is my contention that Adam Graves has touched more Rangers fans than any athlete has ever touched fans of any team in any sport. I would guess that 80 percent or more of Rangers fans have actually met Adam. So if you’ve ever met him, or not, please let me know, and if you have any favorite stories, please share them here.
2). Some think No. 9 should not be going up tomorrow night because Adam probably wasn’t a Hall of Famer (he might be; Clark Gillies is in the Hall, and that’s my standard answer). He surely wasn’t a slam-dunk first-ballot guy (Richter might not be, either). But he was a very good player who was great in the greatest year in franchise history, and as good a teammate as there ever was, and probably the most popular and beloved Ranger of all-time. I think tomorrow is a unique situation in sports because Graves is being celebrated as much for the man he is as for the hockey player he was. You don’t see a lot of uniform retirements for that. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime player/person who touched a franchise like no other.
3). I said this before, but I wish teams would do away with retired numbers and have a Ring of Honor thing. In other words, put Nos. 9, 11, 2, 35, 1, 7 up there in the ceiling, but don’t retire them. OK, you can retire 11, and of course 99 is retired throughout the NHL (when will the Rangers have a ceremony for him? Next?). It’s gotten crazy over at Yankee Stadium, where they’re running out of numbers. Over there, guys like Billy Martin and Ron Guidry and a few others deserve to be honored, but not necessarily have their uniforms retired. Same with Bernie Williams and Mattingly. But if they had a Ring of Honor, then the number goes up on the wall in Monument Park, with a plaque, but it can be worn by a worthy young player in the future. (NOT PAVEL BURE!).
Before I forget, Sam Borden and I are debating some Super Bowl 43 issues over at Faceoff. Stop by.
AFTERNOON UPDATE: I’m going to let you all continue to have the lineup debate without me. I have to go to the press conference in the city.
But MSG Network announced its schedule for tomorrow, and here it is:
9:30 a.m. — “The Game 365: Adam Graves — Champion of the People.
10 a.m. — “Spring of ’94”.
11 a.m. — 1997 Eastern Conference semifinal Game 5, Rangers-Devils, Graves’ series winning goal in OT.
1 P.M. — Rangers at Edmonton, 3/23/94, Graves ties and breaks Vic Hadfield’s goal record with No. 50 and 51.
3 p.m. — 1994 Stanley Cup final Game 7.
6 p.m. — MSG Profiles: Ranger No. 9: Graves.
6:30 p.m. — The Graves ceremony live at the Garden.
After the ceremony: Special pregame show focusing on the ceremony.