Friday, January 25, 2008

Forever a Ranger

Last night, the New York Rangers retired Brian Leetch's #2 in a ceremony before the Rangers/Thrashers game. Overall it was a wonderful night celebrating the greatest American-born defensemen in league history. They even announced that next season Adam Graves #9 will hang in the rafters of MSG along side Gilbert, Giacomin, Messier, Richter and Leetch. I think the Rangers should probably pull the reins in on retiring numbers for awhile, unless they really feel an overwhelming need to have "Kelly Kisio Night". (By the way, Kisio's #11 has already been retired with Messier's name above it, so the ceremony could get a bit uncomfortable). One thing MSG and the Rangers always manage to pull off for these events is bringing back "Ranger Legends From the Past". Its nice to see the older guys once again putting on the sweater but honestly some of these cats aren't in the best shape anymore. Heck Brad Park looks like my Uncle Mel for crying out loud!!! One constant at these ceremonies is old #7 himself, Rod Gilbert. He is a cross between a goodwill ambassador and that tipsy uncle who never wants to go home on Thanksgiving. In fact, Rod is at the Garden so often, I'm beginning to think he lives in some dark recessed corner on the 33rd Street side.

Anyway, the ceremony got me thinking about collecting so I pulled out the hockey binders and searched the pages for any Ranger cards I could find. I hit a bunch of Messier's and Gretzky's, found some Richter's and Leetch's and stumbled upon Tony Granato, Jan Erixon and good old #11 Kelly Kisio!!. Seeing these carda again gave me a weird sense of connection to the team I love so much. They weren't anything special, mostly commons and inserts from cheapo blasters and packs I picked up along the way, yet there was something new and kind of beautiful about them, something I never noticed before.

Oftentimes we collectors get caught up in the hoopla of a hot rookie or the amount of $$$ a particular card will bring back in sale. Hell, I'm just as guilty as anybody on these counts. But sometimes the stars align perfectly and you're able to see the beauty in cards that had been long forgotten.

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