Friday, January 13, 2006

"And The Tears Flowed Like Wine"

Number 11 - Mark Messier - goes up in the raftersBack in the nineteen forties The Stan Kenton Orchestra had a big hit with a tune called, "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine". Kenton had a nineteen piece band and a cute, blond haired jazz singer named June Christy who sang the tune.

Last night at The Garden Mark Messier had a nineteen piece family, from Mom and Dad, fiancee, three children and an assortment of nieces and nephews that was better than any orchestra. In addition, Messier had Dana Reeve, widow of Christopher Reeve belt out a tune called, "Now and Again" that brought the entire Garden to tears. "And The Tears Flowed Like Wine." Mike Richter put it in context when he remarked that the event was being "sponsored by Kleenex."

This was a tribute to the legend, Mark Messier. However, it was equally a tribute to an event, the winning of the 1993-94 Stanley Cup. It was a tribute to the members of that memorable team. It was a tribute to the Garden and its people and all it stands for and most important it was a tribute to the fans, then and now.

It was probably, next to the winning Cup night, the most memorable event in the history of Madison Square Garden. Hey, my wife, Maryann, for the first time in her life watched a sporting event on TV, from the opening ceremony to Jaromir Jagr's OT goal winner. Her first comment to me when I got home was, "they cheated us out of a goal, that was no offside."

The game. Yes the Rangers won in OT 5-4. You have to love this team. They played sloppy and their special teams were awful. The penalty killers gave up 2 goals in five attempts. Their power play was a dismal 1-10 and gave up two shorthanded goals. Rucchin gave the Rangers an early lead but by 10:47 of the second period the Rangers were down 3-1. Instead of panicking and going to one of the scoring lines Renney put the HMO line on and they restored some semblance of order with their checking and passion. Less than six minutes later Tyutin had a power play goal to bring the Rangers within one and about two minutes later Petr Sykora tied it up.

Sykora now has two goals and four points in two games and seems to have revitalized the offense. Prucha put the Rangers ahead on a beautiful backhand around defenseman Jason Smyth and the refs gave the tying goal back to the Oilers by not calling goalie interference on Ethan Moreau. The officiating was bad all night. Was Bettman taking notes?

Rangers gather at cener iceJaromir Jagr's OT goal 14 seconds into OT on a beautiful play by Michal Rozsival (did I really say that) was the exclamation point on a great night. It was the passing of the baton from the old leader, The Legend, to the new leader, Jaromir Jagr. You somehow knew that he would get into this act. Despite an assist on Tyutin's goal Jagr had played a quiet game, but he was lurking there and ready to strike and strike he did. He then called his team to center ice where they gathered and raised their sticks up high to salute the fans. He may not be the official captain but he most certainly is their leader.

ICINGS: The win was the Ranger's third straight after a minor bump in the road. This was the Rangers seventh consecutive game with at least one point. The crowd booed when Messier mentioned Jim Dolan and then Glen Sather. I am not a fan of either but there is a time and a place for booing. Last night was neither the time nor the place.

Captain Exits
Messier Honored, Rangers Move On [Inside Hockey]
Rangers Who Wore #11 Before Messier [NY Rangers]

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