Guest blogger: Peter L


For those of you who are a little older, I wonder if your experience with sports heroes is the same as mine:  the players who I watched when I was a child still stand today in my mind as giants of the game, even if they never won a championship. When names like Bobby Rousseau, Walter Tkaczuk, Rod Gilbert, and Billy Fairbairn are raised, I feel awe, as if I am thinking of gods. Such is the warped vision of youth.

So, I present here some faded memories of my oldest experiences with hockey; some of these may be remembered incorrectly; most are just snapshots, with little narrative around them.

First, some quick background: Westchester County did not get cable TV until the early 80’s. In Mt. Pleasant, the company was “McClain Cable”.  Thus, I never saw a Rangers home game on TV until about 1981, except for the very rare game shown from the Garden on National TV.

So, with your permission, let me commence:

1. I listened to home games on my small, white spherical transistor radio, about four inches in diameter. I am pretty sure I was listening when Don Murdoch scored his five goals against the Minnesota North Stars.  Is there not any film of this game extent at all?

2. The Russians were not the only Communist team to tour the US during the Cold War. The Czechs also paid a visit to these shores. My pop took me to see them play the Rangers at the Garden. If I remember correctly, Dave Maloney scored a late goal to tie the game at 2-2. I remember cheering my patriotic head off.

3. Why do I remember this? The old, rotten Kansas City Scouts were visiting. The Rangers trailed 1-0 going onto the third. What a disaster this would have been to lose to this lowly so-called NHL franchise. I listened on my little radio as the Rangers came back to win, 2-1, with the game winner being scored by Billy Fairbairn, on his birthday!

4. The Rangers in the 70’s used to practice in Elmsford, as they do now; except that back then it was at the old twin rinks in 9A, where the Bloomingdale’s Furniture Outlet is now. A couple of times a year they would hold an “open practice”, which fans could attend. My pop took me to several of these. After the practice, the players would come out and sign autographs. I never remember any of the players as being anything but kindly and patiently doing so. The Maloney brothers, Greg Polis, Nick Fotiu – somewhere in my attic I have a pretty impressive collection of these great guys’ autographs. Does anyone else remember the names Troy, Newman and Deblois?

5. In 1979, there was an uproar, because none the Rangers-Islanders playoff games could be seen without cable. So my dad sent a letter to Channel 9, demanding that they show at least some of the games. As if they had any control!

  6. The great Ron Greschner dipsy-doodling his way through all 5 opponents, always at what seemed like slow-motion. Gilles Marotte, the last great hip-checker in the NHL. Peter Puck, Jim McFarland and Bobby Ryan. Or is that Bobby McFarland and Jim Ryan? No, I was right the first time. (Editor’s note: I think it was Brian McFarlane and Tim Ryan).

7. To me, Marv Albert will always be remembered primarily as the voice of the Rangers, carrying over the airwaves with Sal Messina on WNEW-AM 1130. Jim Gordon was a broadcasting god. I would love to see MSG Vault rebroadcast the 11-6 victory over Hartford, in which Mark Pavelich scored five goals. I can still hear Jim Gordon commenting that four goals “is a lot for any player,” just moments before a face-off to the right of the Hartford goalie, seconds before Pavelich scored his dramatic fifth.

8. The terrible fear I had whenever we had to play the Canadiens, and the ridiculously speedy Yvon Cournoyer in particular. Guy Lafleur streaking down the right side for the Rangers, his hair (at one time his own) flowing backward in the wind, blasting the occasional 65-foot slapshot past some helpless goalie, late in his career.

9. No NHL games on Friday or Monday in the 70’s. Rangers always away on Saturdays (TV, WWOR Channel 9), home on Sundays at 7:30 pm.

  10. The Tkaczuk-Fairbairn-Vickers line. I remember watching Walt Tkaczuk take a deflected puck in the eye. He left the game, never ever to return – it was his last moment in the NHL.

11. I remember that in the 70’s, the Rangers had a weird penchant for never getting shut-out. They also never never lost to the St. Louis Blues at home. I think we beat them 632 straight times.

12. When the Rangers were mentioned in the NHL record books, it was primarily as the whipping boy of other teams’ good records (example: three Chicago goals by Bill M. in 21 seconds). One exception: I remember Rod Gilbert at one time had the NHL record for most shots on goal in a game, at 16, versus Montreal.

13. I loved the NY Arrows indoor soccer team. Even though Long Island was their home, they played the occasional game at the Garden, and I went to see them there a couple of times. Anybody else get chills when they hear the names Bronco Segota, Julie Veee, Val Tuksa, Renato Chila, and of course Steeeeeve Zunnnnnngellllll?

14. Whenever Rod Gilbert makes one of his appearance on MSG Vault, you can really see and hear the pain in his face and voice when he discusses the failure of his old Rangers to win the Cup. Does he still think about it at some point every day? And is it just me, or has Jean Ratelle disappeared from the face of the earth?

I realize this list is pretty random, but I get goosebumps when I see the clips of the Rangers from the early and mid 70’s, so you will excuse I hope the ramblings of a 47-year Rangers fan. Thank you for your kind attention.



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  1. Well I’m not quite 47 myself but those early 80s memories still last/ of course I missed the 1979 run and my relationship with the team dates back to the four year run of the team from long island (at least for the time being). Watching reijo routsaleinen score a goal wiu a minute left in the first week of the 1983-1984 season to best that team that had just won it’s fourth cuP in a row was awesome. To do it at the coldseum was even better!!

    Btw USA!!!!!!

  2. Peter, thanks for your memories and stimulating some of my own dusty ones. Being slightly older than you I also remember the channel 9 broadcast on Sat. nights and falling asleep to Marv Albert on my transistor radio… “He shoots, he scores!!”. Fondest non-specific memory was the GAG line, one of the all-time great lines in hockey.

  3. Morning, ‘heads!

    Nice memories, PeterL. I was still in Russia cheering for Dynamo Moscow back then….

  4. Good morning all! Peter, I am amazed by your memory. I’m lucky I remember watching/listening to hockey back then!

  5. Peter L

    WElcome to the old timers club. I have often regaled the Boneys, with ancient history, only mine goes back a bit further..I refer to the great Ranger line of Edgar Laprade, Tony Leswick and Dunc Fisher, and the immortal ( in my mind) Chuck Rayner in goal. And as I have previously mentioned being in upper balcony end ice when wee willie Mosienko scored his immortal hat trick against the
    sub goal tender in Rangers nets, (Anderson?) Only a ref and a linesman then, and no arguing.

    I also recall Don (Bones) Raleigh work his stick magic when going for a goal. It was a much slower game then, but still some speedsters ( a la Lafleur). (And almost no one wearing helmets, even the goalies.

  6. Thanks Manny, still moping and groping around with writing and reading, and trying to decide whether to submit my baseball poem for publishing, and I only show it to some family and friends, but I did send a copy to Suzyn ?spell right? Waldman who really liked it and sent it to her friend Dick Radatz, and I also used hockey to cover an essay for English prof at the local college where I enrolled for a shot at a degree…still not finished. If you are interested I can send a copy to Ilb,
    but it’s really a bit on the long side for this venue, and it’s titled “The Law of The Ice.”

  7. I remember watching a Rangers game on Channel 9 one Saturday night with Wynn Elliott at the mike. “Bathgate with the puck behind the net, pressured he centers to nobody, and nobody scores!!!”

  8. I remember Nobody. He was related to Who, who played first. Also remember Marv Albert on radio who made you feel that you were almost present at the Garden sitting right behind the glass. Before Philly games, the National Anthem was so emotional, it almost made you want to sign up for a hitch in the Marines.

  9. Great post, Peter.

    I, like most of the Russian speaking kids on here wasn’t in the USA back then (1992 is when i came to NYC)…growing up in Odessa, Ukraine during Soviet times, there was no better team (for me) than the HC CSKA Moscow led by the greatest coach ever – Viktor Tikhonov… Larionov, Fetisov, Tretiak, Krutov, Kharlamov, Bure, Kamensky, Mogilny…basically the best of the best. Face of the Soviet hockey.

    And speaking of memories… i thought this was pretty awesome stpry told by Igor Larionov

    “Learn something new about my Dad everyday… apparently him and the KLM line snuck beers at Gretzky’s house and tried corn for the very first time during the ’87 Canada Cup.” – Alyonka Larionov

  10. I really enjoyed this post and share many of the memories you expressed. I can remember hearing the Parise goal 11 seconds in OT back in ’75 on the radio – again no non-cable TV for Rangers/Isles in those days.

  11. Enjoyed the post, Peter. Such fond memories that we all have!! My friends and I would go to the games that CBS would broadcast on Sunday afternoons because they were easier to get tickets to since very few households had cable back then & the regular season games were always sold out. If we were desperate to watch a playoff game, my friend’s mom knew an old lady in Manhattan who had cable & she would get us invited to her house. Other times, my dad would take me to bar in Manhattan that had cable. When we went to the games we would get there hours early and get autographs from the visiting team before the game at the Statler Hilton or outside the employees entrance of the Garden and wait for the Rangers after the game. Sunday nights we would sit in a playground with a short wave radio to listen to not only the Rangers but any other hockey broadcast that we could pick up. Not sure that the youngsters today have the passion we did for the sport.

  12. Yes, I got Dan Newman’s autograph one night he was scratched, and oddly hanging out in the tunnel around the orange seats. Must have been lonely. Was that ’78? ’79??

    My first and only autograph of any Ranger. I met a few later on, including Maloney Bro’s but I can’t ask for autographs. I feel real silly.

  13. CCCP: I wonder if you remember the incredible 1980 Lake Placid Olympics with the Soviet team loaded with the likes of Mikhailov, Tretiak, Fetisov, Makarov, and Kharlamov,, et al. What an incredible and totally unexpected victory, and NOT by Canada, but rather by the USA! And it was real hockey, not like the Flyers stick swinging and wrestling matches with the superior Red Army team of ’76. You could have made a lot of rubles betting against the USSR on that 1980 one!

  14. Wellman’s problems: size, speed, injuries. Good college player, talent-wise is stuck BETWEEN AHL and NHL, but not NHL.

  15. I remember watching the Rangers practice at Skateland on Hillside Ave in New Hyde Park..players didnt make much back during the season in places like Glen Oaks…especially Harry Howell..who would often drop down to the schoolyard to watch his son (Danny?) play roller hockey with us. Anyway we had Goyette-Nevin-Marshall–the GAG line and Reggie Fleming…and of course Ron Stewart who whose fight with Terry Sawchuck led to Sawchucks untimely passing. Somewhere I have a small piece if paper with all their signatures–as the saying goes–to me it is priceless!

  16. cooscoos

    If we’re talking about the Olympics only…i remember, or at least i think i do the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games, 1988 Calgary Winter Games and so on.

    you know…72, 76, 84, 88 and even in 92 after CCCP collapsed they managed to win gold as the Unified Team. Days when Soviets dominated hockey and pretty much the entire sports world. It was truly a MIRACLE back in 1980 when American kids beat the mighty Soviets. Back then _Canada_ was lucky to even finish 4th as a hockey nation. They didnt even sniff any of the Olympic medals in hockey until 1992 when they finished second ;)

  17. Canada is like France in that they still think they won or deserved to win every hockey war, and France thinks they independetly won all their real wars. :-) If anyone on this blog is French, I apologize in advance.

  18. and of course there were other tournaments like Canada Cup and Super Series and Izvestia Cup, etc…where quite frankly, even with all the NHL pros that Canada put together for those games…Soviets dominated anyway ;)

  19. OK here it is….some old time Ranger hockey……..after a fashion.
    Quick question>>>.before we start…….I’m gonna lay a few names out for you, and if you’ve ever seen these players play ( and yes at the old Gahden)……..say so.

    READY? Val DeLory…….Nick Mickoski…….The New York Rovers………the Atlantic City Sea Gulls,
    Al? Dorrington……./ Vic Howe……’s what we did of a Sunday afternoon….we’d drive to the Garden, watch the Rovers play in the afternoon, and then the Rangers that night, and sometimes those guys who played for Rovers would be brought out to play for Rangers that night.I tell you we saw Hawwkkkkkkkkeyyyyyyyyyyyy. those days and on the drive back to New Haven, we would hear about the Ramblers on the road getting killed by the Cleveland Barons and (let me think, I’ll come back to his name, because he was eventually playing for the Rangers. It’ll come to me. Yeah Vic was no Gordie ( younger Bro) but no where near him) in fact it’s possible that Vic did get a game or so with Rangers, but I think his skating was sub par. Oh it’s a cold cruel world.

  20. No, Shelley is a Romantic poet who has been dead for almost 200 years. However, he remains an unsigned free agent with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

  21. I’d imagine that Peter L. Poster has excellent Farrah Faucett posters on his bedroom wall, right next to the black felt Steelers posters

  22. Chelios jokes: Chelios is so old, Phil Esposito wore a Chelios sweater as a kid. Chelios played defense in the original Greek Olympics. Seriously, the Rangers have been trying to get him since 1985, and in a few of those pre-cup years, he could have been the difference.

  23. Chelios is so old his social security number is 2.

    President Reagan, at the all-star game in D.C. during his reign, told Gordie Howe that “my mom used to take me by the hand to see you play.”

  24. He’s so old that when he was a kid, old glory was young glory.
    Old Ironsides was Young Ironsides.
    The Surgeon General was the Surgeon Corporal.

  25. A Polish guy had his vasectomy done at Sears. Now, when he makes love, the garage door goes up. (How’s your garage door, Carp?)

  26. ILb

    Refresh my memory…starting to slip a bit, but I cannot recall whether I included that photo of my folks and I at Polo grounds for that final
    giant’s game there.

  27. Evening, ‘heads! Just catching up….

    No, Fran, you didn’t include that picture.

    Coos- I remember that game very well. Played hooky from medschool that day….Still hurts, dammit :-). You forgot Maltsev, Petrov, Krutov, Kasatonov..The whole country was stunned….

  28. On a different note- I hope you’re following the negotiations. While it all sounds casual, the league now is willing to start with 49% players share with gradual reduction to 47% by the time CBA expires. Players are not willing to start with anything less than the current 57%. Still far apart, but it looks like ( and I’m a bit surprised by that move), the league withdrew from the table their initial proposal to redefine the HRR.

  29. Great old memories. Mine include delivering Newsday to Rod Ceiling in Hewlett when the team still practiced in Long Beach back in the 70’s. Pete Stemkowski came to one of my Little League games back then for some reason too.

  30. Thank you all for your kind comments.
    To “Heave Ho” – don’t forget “kick save and a beauty”!
    To Anthony M. – Tibor Molnar! Yes! The Hungarian!
    To hip bone – What would Dan Newman say if he knew we two were talking about his autograph, which we both have?
    To “Fat Guy” – I much prefered the Cheryl Tiegs fishnet poster to Farrah Fawcet

  31. Oh man, kick save and beauty…indeed…funny, I say that to my cat every time I toss her a treat and she kicks yet saves it with her paw. True story.

    p.s. happy anniversary to two good friends of mine. mama love to both your families.

  32. Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire,
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice. – Robby Frost

  33. Thanks for the post. Loved reading it. I’m a few years older than you and all those memories are right in my wheelhouse. I have a memory of seeing the Murdoch 5 goal game against Minny on Channel 9. I wonder if that’s an imaginary memory and I actually heard it on radio. I used to love to listen to Marv and Sal call the game on radio in my bedroom and then rush downstairs to see highlights on WPIX 11. I was always impressed at how often the goal looked just like I imagined it thanks to Marv’s amazing ability to paint pictures with words. Nobody has ever done it better. I really wish MSG would release a DVD history of the Rangers with a lot of those great moments included.

  34. John thanks for your comment. As it was at home, could the Murdcoch game have been on Ch 9? But then again, I worry that half my memories are phantom memories as well!

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