Golfing in the Rain


Written on 10/05/2010 by Jim Cerny

The Rangers held their annual golf outing, reception, and dinner yesterday at beautiful Trump International. And save the cracks that the Rangers usually do their best golfing in April.

Though the weather was lousy---Rangers center Brian Boyle told me that at one point the rain was literally slanting sideways directly into his face because of a stiff wind---the event was yet another classy success.

The entire current roster and coaching staff was on hand, along with a string of Rangers alumni, to golf and mingle with various corporate types and fans.

Several of the new players told me that, though many teams hold annual golf/dinner outings, the Rangers event clearly stands out. This organization just does not do anything less than first-class. The Rangers take tremendous pride in being an Original Six franchise and in celebrating their 85th Anniversary this year. They stand right alongside the Canadiens and Red Wings as NHL teams that do things "the right way".

Here are a few observations from yesterday:

*The Rangers saluted all 25 captains in franchise history, with former bearers of the C Harry Howell, Bob Nevin, Dave Maloney, and Mark Messier on hand. Kelly Kissio, Ron Greschner, and Walt Tkaczuk were originally scheduled to attend, but the first date for the event was rained out more than a week before and none of those three could reschedule.

*The four former captains on hand ascended a stage and answered questions from host Sam Rosen. The most poignant remark came from Messier, not surprisingly, who, when asked about the most important quality a captain needs to have, said, "I found it very important to be transparent at all teammates needed to be able to see right through me always, to see that I spoke from the heart". Messier also said that there were so many qualities important for a captain to posess that he could speak for weeks on the topic, spending several days alone on each individual trait. Yet another example of why he is known simply as The Captain.

*Nevin was funny recounting that, after winning 2 Stanley Cups in Toronto, it was a bit of a letdown coming to a struggling Rangers team. "I figured I'd make the best of it," said Nevin, who did just that by living the high life in Manhattan with the extremely social Rod Gilbert! Nevin told me on the side that he and Gilbert spent an evening with Joe Namath at his nightclub just weeks after Broadway Joe led the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl Three. A real Time Capsule Moment, for sure.

*I was fortunate to sit at the same dinner table as both Messier and Maloney, as well as Rangers broadcaster Kenny Albert. Kenny and I really gave it to Dave when the Rangers played a video saluting the 25 captains, showing a young, long-haired Maloney---a defenseman known more for his play in his own end than in the offensive zone---making a gorgeous solo dash which resulted in a goal. "Where'd they dig that up from?," teased Kenny. "No doubt Dave had this video stowed away at home and offered it up," I answered. Dave is one of the real good guys and laughed long and hard. He later showed us the beautiful Tiffany cufflinks with the captain's "C" engraved on them that each captain in attendance, including current Rangers captain Chris Drury, received. It pays to be the captain, it looks like!

*Rangers head coach John Tortorella put 20 year old rookie center Derek Stepan (photo above) on the spot and the kid handled himself quite well. After the team was introduced one-by-one and stood on stage side-by-side, Torts spoke to those in attendance about what it means to be a Ranger and the great tradition of playing for this organization. He then said, "You probably want to know about training camp. Well Derek Stepan, come on over here and tell everyone about training camp." As the veterans laughed loudly Stepan awkwardly accepted the microphone from his head coach and joked, "I couldn't feel my legs after the first three days, but other than that it's been great!" Torts explained today that he wasn't hazing the rookie, just testing him. And he felt that Stepan, just as he has done on and off the ice throughout training camp and the pre-season, passed another test with flying colors. "He has such an inner confidence, and such a sense of maturity to him," said Tortorella. You know how Torts and Glen Sather talk about the Rangers Young Core? This kid is going to be a big part of the core for a long, long time.

*Henrik Lundqvist knows his role with the Rangers organization, and plays it to perfection. And I don't just mean being the club's world-class goaltender. Lundqvist understands that he is the face of this organization and as such it is his responsibility at these types of events to be seen and to schmooze with the attendees. And he did just that, easily moving from group to group casually making small talk, telling funny stories, and most importantly, making each guest feel that he, personally, appreciated that he/she was there. It is a gift that not every famous athlete owns. But Henrik indeed has that gift.

Follow me on Twitter at: @jimcerny and @thenyrangers

If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to our feed

No Comment

Post a Comment