Thursday, January 12, 2006

Old Faithful

In his news conference yesterday Mark Messier alluded to the fact that he referred to the Ranger fans as "The Faithful" and how they were going to respond in a big game. One thing we the Ranger fans, the faithful, always knew was that Mark Messier, Old Faithful, would always show up. If you have been to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming you can watch Old Faithful, a geyser, erupt every hour and spew off its steam. It's a natural phenomenon and it never misses an eruption.

We, the faithful, always knew that Mark would never miss a beat, never take a night off and never mail it in. That was a given. Because despite all the accolades about his accomplishments the bottom line was that Mark Messier showed up every night and played to the best of his ability that night. He brought his hardhat and his lunchpail.

There is very little I can say about Mark Messier that hasn't been said by more profound writers than me. Mark Messier was the ultimate team player in a team sport. He has always been about winning and not piling up stats. There was only one player who played more games than Mark and that was the great and ageless Gordie Howe. Mark was without doubt the greatest Captain in the history of sports. You think of the great Captains and they all seemed to reside in the New York Area. Lou Gehrig, Pee Wee Reese, Willis Reed and lately Derek Jeter. Is it any wonder that the Rangers are going without a Captain now and are using three alternates?

Maybe tonight Mark Messier will make the dramatic gesture and bestow the Captaincy of the Rangers onto the broad and great shoulders of Jaromir Jagr.

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