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While the Devils will be looking to increase their Atlantic Division lead versus the Canadiens, the Rangers will be honoring one of their greats tonight, by raising the No. 2 of Brian Leetch to the rafters. Whereas Leetch wasn't Mark Messier, the Ranger who made the guarantee in the '94 semifinals against the Devils, or Mike Richter, the longtime Ranger goalie who made saves that would even make Martin Brodeur 's jaw drop; Leetch was just as valuable a player as Scott Stevens was to the New Jersey Devils.
As a Ranger for sixteen seasons, Leetch displayed an uncanny ability to be one of the best defenseman that this tri-state area has ever witnessed. In his first season in a Rangers uniform, he made an instant impact and ended up winning rookie of the year honors in 1989. And, in 94 when the Rangers did end up winning the whole thing, it wasn't Mark Messier, or Adam Graves, or even Mike Richter who took up the MVP honors with the Conn Smythe Trophy. It was none other than Brian Leetch who had just about as consistent a playoff run as any defenseman could have.
It is sure to be an emotional ceremony, as the Rangers organization now completes the retiring of the trio, who you can say is arguably responsible for putting a halt to the 54-year drought of the Rangers. Before Leetch, Richter's No. 35 and Messier's No. 11 have made it to the top of MSG, but let it be known that Brian Leetch played almost double the amount of games in a Rangers uniform than that of Messier, and won more individual trophies than any living former player of the Rangers.
If you would liked to be reminded of the performance that Brian Leetch had in the '94 Stanley Cup playoffs, turn away from the screen for a second if you're a Devils fan, because the brunt of it came against New Jersey. Yesterday when Leetch was at the Rockefeller Plaza with some members of the 1994 squad, Adam Graves recalled that performance. "Thirty-four points in 23 points" can only be described as "indescribable." And Devils fans remember from Game 7 of that series, the moves Brian Leetch made on the ice against Martin Brodeur.
If you're a Rangers fan, cherish this moment of honoring one of the greatest Rangers to ever hit the ice on Broadway. Don't let it go away, because whereas us Devils fans have 3 Stanley Cup trophies (one more on the way) to salivate over, the Rangers only have 1 in your lifetime thus far. And, also, Dubi's ceremonial piece on Brian Leetch, over at Blueshirt Bulletin is a must-read for all NHL Fans. So, Rangers fan, take it all in and honor one of your greats!
And, let's see if this moment can spark the Rangers to thrash Atlanta again...
Read more great NHL posts over at DevilsDaily.Com.