It’s your favorite grandson, Ryan. How are you? Greetings from sunny Tampa Bay, Florida … you know, that place you probably should’ve retired to about 20 years ago but didn’t because you’d miss the cheeriness of Rochester too much? Yeah, that Tampa. It’s like Orlando, but without all the fun.
I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve just been really busy with contract negotiations, pottery class and … well, that’s pretty much it. However, summer came early for me this year, which is great because now I can devote more time to writing you letters. Plus, I got this super cool new upside-down pen, like the ones the astronauts use. Astronauts really do it the “write” way haha! You know they have astronauts in Florida, right? I feel like Tom Hanks! Sometimes I wonder if I could go to space. It’s like you always used to tell me, “Reach for the moon, because if you miss, you’ll at least land at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.” Then again, I probably wouldn’t want to lead a good solid team of crew members to an ultimate goal like that. There would just be too much pressure involved.
It’s weird to think that I haven’t played hockey since April. It seems like so long ago I was huffing and puffing on the third line of a mediocre hockey team. I can’t even remember the last time I put on a pair of skates, or heard the sound of thousands of real, passionate hockey fans cheering you on. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a hockey fan at all since March. April seems like a distant memory. I have to keep reminding myself that, yes, I really was in the playoffs this year … for four whole games. In fact, I have to constantly remind my teammates I was there too, because they keep telling me I never showed up.
Could you imagine how different my life would be if I’d stayed in New York? I would’ve played a lot more hockey this year … like, SO much more hockey; competitive, spirited hockey; hockey done “the right way”. I could’ve made so much more money too. Yet, you always told me that life isn’t always about money, which is why I held out for less than I could’ve made in New York. Money doesn’t make me happy; YOU make me happy, Grandma. All I really wanted was a no-trade clause so I could stay as close as possible to you. Along with first-line caliber money, was that so much to ask? Instead, I ended up with a 1,500-mile buffer zone from you.
Whatever. I don’t need to be the captain of a team anymore. I know it’s every little boy’s dream to one day grow up, play in the NHL for an Original Six team under the bright lights of New York City at Madison Square Garden, be a hero and lead that team on and off the ice to the Stanley Cup, but that stuff doesn’t interest me. To be honest, it sounds like a lot of work. Why do all of that when you can spend the rest of your once-promising career lounging under the hot Florida sun while drifting into oblivion?
New York was getting too tough for me. Don’t those people appreciate leadership? You’d think they would after all the great leaders they had in Ranger history, like Chris Drury or Mike York. Hell, they wouldn’t know leadership if it hit them like an ugly Ron Duguay suit. The last thing I need is some jerk face like Brad Richards telling me what it means to be a vocal leader. I can’t help it that I get stage fright when trying to address the team, Brad! Get off my back for once and worry about the Tortorella-shaped piano on yours. Gosh golly, that Richards was so mean, Grandma. One time he made fun of my Christmas sweater you knitted for me. He kept saying it was an “ugly” Christmas sweater and said that I won the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” contest. Pssh… like he has any sense of style!
Anyway, you remember my friends Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman right? Well, they’re coming to play with me in Tampa next year! It seems they’re not really into good, solid hockey either. Here’s the thing, though: I kiiinda promised you’d bake them your famous “Grandma Cally Cookies” if they joined the team. Could you do that for me? In the meantime, I can’t wait to take them to the local Crumbs Cupcake shop … it’d be just like old times! I hope it’s still there. I haven’t gotten a cupcake in a week, but I’m sure the shop’s there. I mean, it’s not like they could simply disappear, right? They’re not Rick Nash.
Love and kisses … the right way,
Photo by Getty Images.