Monday, August 28, 2017

Jean Ratelle's #19 Retired to Rafters on Feb. 25, 2018

Jean Ratelle #19

The NY Rangers announced that Jean Ratelle will be the 9th Ranger to have his number retired by the organization. Looking back at Ratelle's career allows us to relive the organization's chronic ineptitude.

Ratelle's greatest success came with linemates Vic Hadfield (LW) and Rod Gilbert (RW) on the so-called "GAG line" (which stood for goal a game). The were together from the late 60's until 1974, when Hadfield was traded to the Pens for Nick Beverly. Beverly scored 4 goals in 139 games over 3 seasons with the Rangers. That's a goal every 35 games. Hadfield scored 31 goals for the Pens during the 1974-75 season, and 30 goals for them in 1975-76. Yet again the Rangers gave away the store.

On November 7, 1975, Jean Ratelle was traded along with defenseman Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Carol Vadnais and Phil Esposito. At the time, this was considered the biggest blockbuster trade in NHL history. Of course the trade turned out better for Boston than for New York. Ratelle and Park have several great seasons for the Bruins, while Espo declines, and Yadnis is not even close to Park. But, that's the way it always seem to go on Broadway.

Ratelle played parts of 16 seasons with the Rangers (1960-61 - 1975-76), registering 336 goals and 481 assists for 817 points, along with a plus-167 rating in 861 games. He ranks second on the Rangers' all-time goals list, ranks third on the franchise's all-time assists list and all-time points list, and ranks sixth in career games played with the Blueshirts. Ratelle and Rod Gilbert are the only players who rank third or higher on the Rangers' all-time lists for goals, assists, and points. In addition, Ratelle is one of only five players in franchise history who played in parts of 16 or more seasons with the Rangers (along with Gilbert, Harry Howell, Brian Leetch, and Ron Greschner)...
NY Rangers Legends:
Jean Ratelle is about as perfect a hockey player as there as we have ever seen. His professionalism and sportsmanship are as rare as his elite puck handling and skating skills...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Happy 90th Kids

The Rangers celebrated their 90th year in grand fashion. They beat the Islanders 5-3. However great that was the pre-game show was a knockout, boffo. They went back in history to introduce all the greats: Mark Messier, "the Messiah," Eddie Giacomin, "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie," Barry Beck, "Shoot the puck Barry." I was waiting, wistfully, for the ghosts of Chuck Rayner and Frankie Boucher. No luck.

While the old timers shone in the pregame it was the young guns, or more appropriate, young legs who took over. Kreider, a goal and assist, Pirri, goal and assist; Zibanejad, two assists, JT Miller, goal and Brady Skjel an assist. All young and all 25 or younger. So what does this all mean? It means the Rangers beat the Islanders in the first game of the season. It might mean the young legs might carry the team, just as the Yankee kids carried the Bombers in August and September, at least for awhile. It will all depend on how long the youngsters continue to get meaningful ice time. And remember the coach is two points oriented. On to St. Louis and on to bigger things. Hopefully the young guys will continue to play, skate, score and win. Let's Go Rangers!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Sad Truth: "Holy Cow the Rangers Are Worse than the Cubs!"

Cliff Asness, a big time PhD money manager, who appears to have a soft spot for the Blueshirts, has analyzed all the probabilities and statistics regarding the prodigious losing streak the Rangers have compiled. As you might guess, if you have been paying attention here, his mathematical conclusion fits our theme. The Rangers have punished their loyal fan base beyond anything known in modern professional sports.

Cliff's Perspective at AQR Capital Management:
Holy Cow the Rangers Are Worse than the Cubs --

I’m taking a break... to demonstrate something really important – that hockey’s New York Rangers not winning the Stanley Cup from 1940-1994 was a greater achievement (“achievement” being, you know, really bad in this context) than baseball’s Chicago Cubs not winning the World Series from 1908-2015.


I think the numbers are so strikingly different it’s hard to argue with the basic conclusion... The Rangers from 1940-1994 were just way worse than the Cubs from 1908-2015 (or, perhaps, were way more unlucky as their chance of no championships by random chance was way smaller!).

If Cubs fans are curious, they will surpass the Rangers in probabilistic futility if they can go until 2040 without winning the World Series, assuming major league baseball continues with 30 teams.
Thanks Cliff.

So, while our current MSG brain trust continues to build a new 22-year and counting monument of futility let us take some small consolation by knowing it will take some real serious work to beat the previous 54-year (plus small league) losing streak. However, we should also never underestimate them.