Since our friend LW3H and his blog “Springing Malik” got the topic rolling on classic moments of tossing stuff onto the ice in NHL history, here are some favorite Rangers-related stuff-thrown-on-the-ice stories. Or my two cents. Hope I have the details correct:
1) There was a night in the ‘80s when the Rangers gave away hats. Actually, it was a sponsored giveway, just about the time when such things began to explode. Yes, once upon a time, the team would give away bats and balls or hats and shirts, not the sponsors. Anyway, these were red baseball-style caps, and I think they were sponsored by a cigarette company—sign of the times—Winston or Marlboro or somebody, if I’m not mistaken.
Anyway, of course Mark Pavelich scores five goals that night. So the ice was littered with red hats three times, until just about every one of the 17,000 or so hats had been tossed. Looked a little like the day the Reggie Bars came flying out of the stands at Yankee Stadium.
2) At the end of one of those great Phil Esposito years, the Rangers had a fan appreciation night. They gave away these cheap plastic clocks.
Or, better to describe them as pointy, sharp, plastic missiles. Because when the Rangers got bombarded that day (might have been by Pittsburgh, or maybe not) the clocks came a-flying. Bob Froese had to back up into his net to avoid being maimed. Afterwards, asked what he was thinking, he said, “I was thanking God it wasn’t Machete Night.”
3) This got lost in the shuffle the night the Bruins went into the stands to fight the patrons at MSG. But the game actually ended with Espo on a breakaway, and as he bore in on his friend Gerry Cheevers, he was hit right in the caboose by a tennis ball thrown perfectly from the blue seats.
4) Does anybody remember the night somebody flung a puck into the net from the seats during play, causing much controversy and discussion?
5) Roger Neilson, when he was Toronto coach, and perhaps later when he was Rangers coach, had a couple of dirty little tricks … for example, if his team faced a 5-on-3 at the end of a game, he’d simply send a fourth and fifth skater onto the ice. What could the referees do? Even if they assessed more penalties, the worst the Rangers could face was a 5-on-3.
Anyway, one of Neilson’s tricks was, whenever his team needed a timeout, he and/or an assistant coach would reach into his pocket and throw all his change onto the ice. The officials didn’t know where the money came from, but they had to stop the game to pick up the coins, and Neilson had his relatively inexpensive timeout.