“A Chris Drury Tribute”
FULL DISCLOSURE: I 100 percent supported and was beyond thrilled on July 1, 2007. While I thought signing Gomez was nice, I was hyperventilating when the Drury signing was announced. While I did actually want Nylander to return (Jagr would never end up being the same), I gave Sather my proverbial stamp of approval on the 2007 offseason.
Drury’s tenure would go on to provide the best/most fodder for this blog. When historians look back on the Drury era, only two words come to mind: EPIC FAIL. With that in mind, I decided to embark on a seemingly impossible journey: finding Chris Drury’s best moments in a Rangers uniform.
So, click on the links, sit back, relax, and enjoy the “Chris Drury Greatest Hits!”
Opening night of the 2007-2008 season. The Rangers fans were primed and ready for what was thought to be a long run into the playoffs. But, after Roszival scored a quick goal in the 1st, the Rangers curdled for two periods and were down 2-1 heading into the third. Petr Prucha would tie the game at 2 in the third. Later in that period, “Mr. Clutch” would find possibly the juiciest rebound in the history of hockey to put the Rangers up for good.
Now, I was at this game. When he scored, the crowd was going berserk and I could remember screaming at my brother (who likewise loved Drury as he was a BU graduate) “THIS IS WHY WE GOT HIM!” Needless to say, I miiiiight have been putting the cart before the horse. However, that was a fun night…except for the fans chanting “WE WANT THE CUP!” during the first game of the season. I should have known we were doomed right then.
This was just an epic game during a season in which the Rangers won 7 of 8 games against the Devils in the regular season (also beating them 4-1 in their first round playoff series). One could argue this was the best regular season game between the two that season. Zubrus put the Devils on the board in the first and the game would be nip-and-tuck after that. With under five minutes in the third, Drury’s likely replacement as captain, Ryan Callahan, had the puck behind the net and wheeled out in front and Drury was there for another juicy rebound. He did, however, have to roof it above Brodeur’s glove and he did just that to tie the game at 1, which cause the many Rangers fans in attendance at the Pebble to go crazy.
I suggest you stick with the video beyond Drury’s goal because this is also the game where Nigel Dawes COMPLETELY undresses Brodeur in the shootout (Brodeur would later claim Dawes “got lucky”). Incredible stuff all around.
With the playoffs mere weeks away, this game had the intensity and feel of a playoff game (of course, these teams would later meet in the second round of the playoffs that same year). This was another Tom Renney special (a.k.a. 1-1 defensive struggle that went into overtime), except, this time around, the shootout would not be necessary as Drury unleashed a snap shot from the slot less than two minutes into the overtime to win the extra point and gain some crucial momentum heading into the final games of the 2007-2008 season.
What a fun series this was. This game really was a fitting end as it had it all: lots of goals, some timely goaltending, and, perhaps most significantly, an epic handshake line for a couple reasons. But, lost in the mayhem of things like a goal from center ice and a stopped penalty shot was Drury’s goal that would turn out to be the game winner. At that point, the Rangers were up 3-1 and Drury’s goal, off a beautiful feed from Nigel Dawes, put the Rangers up 4-1. However, the Devils would not give up and made it 4-3. But, in the end, after Henrik stopped John Madden on a penalty shot and Dubinsky buried an empty netter, the game and series would be clinched at the Rangers’ home away from home (a.k.a. MSG West).
I like to block this series out of memory because it was really like a train wreck happening in slow motion. But this was a game the Rangers flat out stole (thanks to Henrik) to take what was thought to be a comfortable 3-1 lead in the series. And, once again, Drury scored what turned out to be the game winner. Drury did so with literally a broken hand. The goal is hilarious as Drury meekly throws a 6 mph shot on Varlamov but he somehow could not corral it and Drury got to the rebound and was able to put it in the top shelf to take a 2-0 lead in the MSG crowd went absolutely bonkers.
The title of this video says it all. This might be the most skillful goal of his tenure.
When this happened, I started believing that this ragtag group was going to make the playoffs. This was no fluke or juicy rebound. This was Drury being in the right place and executing after Tortorella used his timeout.
What a surreal day this was. The Rangers were playing Game #82 and had to win then wait anxiously for Carolina to take on Tampa Bay later that night. This would also be the day where Drury would return from injury after being out for two months. And, wouldn’t you know it, he would end up scoring the first goal of the game after the Devils jumped out to an early lead. It would turn out to be his only goal of the season (banging head on desk).
I am sure I left other moments out but these are the ones that stick out in my mind. So, while I join everyone else in being thrilled that he is no longer on the roster, we must give him at least a little due that he did provide some great moments in what was an otherwise disappointing tenure for his favorite team growing up. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors, whether that be managing a pizza place or a LLWS team.
Thanks Carp for letting me do this once again!
P.S. Tuesday night my friends and I won a Seinfeld Trivia contest in Hoboken! Our team name: “We Prepared It As We Bathed.” Figured you all could appreciate it!