The Rangers Game Log

Friday, April 07, 2006

Taking One For the Team

- I had sat in Section 405 since the 1978-79 season along with my brother and my friend Ira, but after the dismal 2003-04 season, I thought that we really needed a change. It was mostly just for the change of scenery, and just partly because of a couple of morons sitting behind us (not Throwaway). My comrades were a little skeptical, but reluctantly allowed me to make the switch, while making it clear that I would be liable for any negative consequences. It was a huge responsibility, and I felt the pressure. We ended virtually exactly on the opposite side, with Dancing Larry finally in full view (we had been pressed up against the opposite side of the T V broadcast booth). I could only hope and pray that Section 422 would be a pleasant spot. The view, from nearly center ice, is certainly outstanding.

But after one of the early games, my mates started complaining. “Oh, man, did you hear that guy behind us?” Actually, I had, kind of, but I was so ga-ga about hockey being back, about sitting out in the open after being confined by that broadcast booth, and by the team’s spirited play, that it was at first like just a little harmless buzzing that was far off in the distance. But as the games wore on, it started to bore into my brain like some slow-acting acid. A guy with the most annoyingly piercing, high-pitched whiney voice who blabs incessantly from the opening faceoff on virtually any subject in the world….except the Rangers. The Giants….the Yankees….his futile exploits with women….the Knicks…..THE FUCKING KNICKS!?!? The little time actually spent on the game is loud, high-pitched, repetetive, and 100% unfunny and unclever rants that have recently, and rightly, drawn ire from other fans in the section, who have told him to shut up. They, however, don’t have to sit directly in front of this guy and hear all the idiotic, irrelevant chatter. You can only imagine the grief that I’ve gotten from my seatmates, who will not let me forget that this was all my doing. And who can blame them?

So last night, with around five minutes left in the second period, your normally mild-mannered blogger, who can usually tolerate even seeing the horses he bets on get left at the gate or nosed at the wire with nothing but gentle humor, lost his mind. From the opening faceoff, with the game of the dull variety, to say the least, the blaring chatter was non-stop. We heard about the Boston Red Sox’ bullpen. How could the Mets blow a 4-0 lead? The Nets absolutely have a chance to beat the Pistons. Absolutely! The attorney in court today was really hot. (He’s a personal injury lawyer, which precludes the possibility of me assaulting him.) Barry Bonds. Bud Selig. The only talk about hockey was: which third round draft pick did the Rangers trade this season for Jarkko Immonen (he was acquired in the Brian Leetch trade); and, is the Devils’ current win streak at nine or ten games? (it’s five) The frustrations of an entire season of this kind of stupidity, the weight of my colleagues' glares, not to mention a crappy day, put me over the edge.

AHHHHHHH!! WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP AND WATCH THE GAME???” I primal screamed. “AHHHHHHHH! JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!” I earned a small ovation from surrounding fans, who have no idea, really, how bad it really is. And though he at first reacted by questioning my sanity, yelling Let’s Go Rangers and stuff in my ear, and threatening to come to every game next season (like we'll still be there, ha) I felt much, much better; in fact, I achieved a complete sense of peace. I found that I was completely immune and unaffected by his nonsense for the rest of the game. How long this will last, I can’t really say. However, I can state with absolute confidence that the Rangers would not be having this kind of season if we were still in 405. No way. We took one for the team.

- Later, while reviewing Rangers in 60, I realized that the Islanders hit the crossbar twice during a power play during the time described above; and I’d remembered neither the two shots, nor that they even had a power play, for that matter. I had no recollection of anything until the goal that was originally credited to Jagr.

The home team’s play was racheted up from dismal to good-enough after the frightening first period, in which Weekes, looking far more confident than he had in the first half of the Flyers’ game, made a couple of sparkling saves, including one on a breakaway by Shawn Bates. It appeared that Renney said little during the time-out called after the Fish Sticks’ goal, and that Jagr did most of the talking. The timeout was followed by one energetic shift by the Betts-Ward line, but the team relapsed until the second period.

Nice effort by Prucha, relatively quiet since the four-day break, to set up Immonen for the goal. The rookie also showed a deft touch with a Nylander-type soft spin-around pass to Malek, which led to a nice setup to Jagr. Immonen was 6-4 on draws, and also supplied no less than four of the team’s 14 hits, an anemic total after the 30 dished out against the Orange Crud.

Tom Poti has at least earned the grudging respect of the crowd, and continued his steady play with his end-to-end rush, followed by a take-down of the pesky Jason Blake, one of the few Islander players to show up. Wouldn’t you think that Yashin feels guilty about taking all that money? It was a strange atmosphere as the rivalry lies in shambles at this point. Few Fish Stick fans were brave enough to show up, and the Rangers are 13-1-2-1 against them in the last 16 games. Ozolinsh picked up a plus two as his play continues to steady after a most shaky first few games.


  • At 4:10 PM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    I'm sure the entire Ranger organ-i-zation joins me in thanking you for your selfless sacrifice on behalf of the team.

    That's a classic post, Alan. In a way, it kind of reminded me of that Seinfeld episode (I think it may have been the one where George does the opposite of all of his impulses), where George turns around and screams at the loud guys sitting behind him at the movie theater. Sorry it came to that for you, but I bet it sure felt great.

    Like you, I left the unfriendly confines of sec. 405 this season -- but instead of moving across, I went down a level. Unlike you, I lucked out -- there are a lot of real good fans around us. Sure there are a few of what I call the "angry young men" in the back -- the ones who constantly curse Poti and start yelling "shoot" five seconds into every powerplay. But there are also several low-key, knowledgeable people, and we talk about the game almost from start-to-finish. I guess it's just luck of the draw to some extent, and the fact that a lot of people seem to sell off their seats for most games makes it even more unpredictable. Hopefully you'll land in a better spot next season.

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