I’m always so bad about getting out thank-you notes promptly. This one is about 15 months late. I hope he understands…
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all that you accomplished while donning a Rangers sweater for just over three seasons. You came into New York with a lot to prove and thankfully a cheaper price tag since our much-maligned GM somehow induced the Washington Capitals to pay around $4 million per year of your annual salary during the length of your contract. Unloading Gomez’s tragic contract this past summer comes in a close second in Glen Sather’s Post-It sized list of “Good Moves” during his dictatorship tenure.
You proudly predicted, in response to all the naysayers that thought the Rangers would be bottom feeding with the ragamuffins from Long Island, that the Rangers would be a playoff team in 2005-2006. You proceeded to put the Rangers on your broad shoulders (with some help from Henrik) and carry them for 82 games in a whirlwind season that brought a majority of Rangers back from their collective fetal position following 7 seasons of morbidly disgusting hockey played by players that would skate for 20 minutes and watch their ludicrous paychecks come in.
While that 2005-2006 season fell apart due to many injuries (yours included), that season made hockey relevant again in New York City. The identity of the team changed. You made a man out of a player who probably doesn’t have a hair under his arms, but who could also be the team’s future captain in Brandon Dubinsky. You covered up a lot of the weaknesses of an overmatched coach who had the killer instinct of the adorable bear in the Snuggle Fabric Softener commercials. You became the team’s captain prior to the 2006-2007 season and you were a captain that led by doing and not by talking (though when you did talk, you cracked everyone up).
And, unfortunately, you and the aforementioned GM could not agree on a new contract following the 2007-2008 season. My instinct was to attack you for not coming down from your asking price to play in a city that you loved. But I realize that things aren’t always that cut and dry. Nevertheless, I felt I owed you a heartfelt thank you for your service while wearing the red, white, and blue. You wore the sweater with pride and respect and you are the reason the team is not the punch-line they once were at the turn of the century. Your presence this past season was sorely missed.
So please accept this belated thank-you letter that I would hope represents the pulse of the Rangers fan base. Hope all is well in Russia. Send me a postcard when you get a chance.
(Thanks for the opportunity, Carp!)