Saturday, May 19, 2018

Your 1966-1974 New York Rangers

Don't know if any of you have ever been hockey fans. I suffered that addiction for a few years, when I was a kid. Now, I think there are maybe 19,000 Rangers fans in all of New York—enough to fill up the Garden for every home game, and no more.

But when I was paying attention to them, that was a pretty good team. I loved them all. The Goal-A-Game Line, with Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert, and Vic Hadfield. Brad Park. Eddie Giacomin, the last goalie not to wear a mask!

Terrific team. Very lovable.

Only trouble: they were never quite the best.

Every year, somebody else was just a little bit better. The Canadiens. The damned Bruins. The Flyers.

Those Rangers went through life being just—barely—second best.

I look at these Yankees, and that's what I see: a very nice team that will always be second best. To the Red Sox and Indians, maybe. To the Astros and Nationals, almost certainly, with their superior starting pitching.

I keep wanting this Yankees team to be the 1998 Yanks. But they're not. In part because they don't have a Derek Jeter or a Paul O'Neill, with that fire to just not lose. In part because they have no pitching.

So here's my outside-the-box plan: break them up. Now. When the going is good.

Specifically, I'm thinking Sanchez and Didi to the Mets, for deGrom and Syndegaard.

The human brain is a funny thing. I look at Sanchez, and I see a young Johnny Bench. Then I look at the box score, and I see he's still hitting .211, and giving up a run a game on passed balls. I love Didi. Can't imagine giving him up. Except for a guy who's hitting a hundred points higher.

Maybe we can get the Mets to throw in Amed Rosario, their own flop, to fill the shortstop hole until we can sign Manny. Maybe we have to do it with Tyler Too. I dunno.

But I'd love to pull off this deal, then sign Manny, Bryce (with that Paul-Derek fire) and Corbin in the off-season.

I doubt if we'll do anything like it. But if we don't, I see us as that Rangers team. Always juuust out of it for the next 6-8 years. Always in second place, or eliminated just short of the World Series. Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.


Anonymous said...

Please, somebody give this guy an emergency injection of lithium before he trades again.

Anonymous said...

Andy Brown was last NHL goalie to not wear a mask. Gump Worsley was next to last.

KD said...

This team, as exciting as it can often be, is destined to make early exits in future post season play. It is obvious to anyone who watches regularly. The available front line starters went where? We know where. Yet Hal is very happy. The payroll is swell and the fans are attending and watching. Revenue is up and expenses are down. SUCCESS!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Exactly my point, KD!

I don't know enough about hockey to know what secret ingredient was missing in the old Rangers. But in baseball, it's not so secret. It's pitching.

I think that Hal would be content to do just as you say, KD: have this be a fun, high-scoring team that brings in the moolah, whether or not it ever quite gets over the top.

Sure, a better fate than that suffered by the Mets. But not what we want.

Giacomin wasn't the last goalie to put on a mask. Huh, that's what they always used to say. I've been lied to again!

KD said...


KD said...


(By the way, did you see Hairy swing a bat at YSIII a few years back? The dude’s got talent.)

Carl J. Weitz said...

Just a few years before the 1966 starting year for the Rangers that you mentioned, they were so bad that their TV sponsor HO Oats (how many remember that brand?) gave away one free ticket for each 2 box side panels you sent in. The team consistently traded places with the Bruins for the fifth and last place finishes.

I'll tell you what the Rangers needed between 1966-1974. Balls! They were a bunch of pansies.No one made the other teams pay for a late hit or a cheap shot. Who can forget Terrible Ted Green in 1970 quarter finals or Terry O'Reilly in the Cup finals in 72 beat the crap out of half the Rangers team with little retaliation. And to this day, I still can't unsee the bloody pounding Dale Rolfe endured from the hands of The Hammer, Dave Schultz while the Rangers skated away in fear.

Speaking of enforcers, the closest the Rangers had to an enforcer in the early to mid-70s was who? And who is his famous son?

Alphonso said...

I loved that Rangers team, also. As they all faded away, my interest in watching hockey on TV did, as well.

Same thing happened to me when the Knicks traded Pat Ewing, rather than pay him in is last year. So they took on a bunch of worthless players and inflated contracts and remained non-competitive for 30 years ( 30 is a guess. I am not interested enough to actually do the research). They are still the worst entrant in professional sports, equaled only by the USMNT in soccer.

Moving right along; the Mets are neither that stupid nor that smart.

Your deal has no prayer. Although one does sense that the status quo could be in jeopardy. If we get swept, say, in KC.

Hard to imagine, with Luis pitching today. I mean if we can score another 2 runs we have a shot.

ranger_lp said...

@Carl...Tai Domi. Who happens to look a lot like Henry Rollins btw.

And not to forget Nick Fotiu...

But the game has changed and we really don't have enforcers any longer.

And I'm old enough to remember Win Elliot doing Ranger games on WOR-TV when Andy Bathgate was on the team...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Sad to say, Alphonso, I think you're right.

And that's very well put: the Mets are neither that smart nor that stupid. They wouldn't take the chance on winning that trade, because they'd be too scared of losing. Probably the same for Coops.

But I can see a whole future of one-game wild-card losses or even division titles followed by more repetitions of our Houston ousting last year.