Ranger Faithful Pulling for Leetchie

I haven’t had much time to make a post the last week or so, but there is just too much stress building inside of me regarding my beloved NY Rangers. Alexi Kovalev, Petr Nedved, Jussi Markkanen and Chris Simon being dealt were just mere flesh wounds. If this gets posted great, if not it’s a great way for me to vent on a very sensitive subject aka the low blow of all low blows: Brian Leetch being dealt to Toronto.If it couldn’t get any worse for the New York Rangers and their fans, a harsh reality hit exactly four days ago(that is March 4, 2004). The man that was oh so loyal to an organization for his entire sixteen year career. The man who had helped ended a 54-year curse. The man who probably was the only reason why we paid money to even go see the New York Rangers play at Madison Square Garden. The five words that we all did not want to hear or did not want to believe: Brian Leetch has been traded.

Last season, many felt that the New York Rangers and GM Glen Sather would hold an absolute firesale to finally move the franchise into rebuilding mode. Instead, Sather acquired high profile winger Alex Kovalev, and Anson Carter. Of course, like the script has been written, the Rangers did not make the playoffs. This season, the New York Rangers again had high expecations of making the playoffs and stopping a franchise high seventh year of missing the playoffs. Once again this season, the Rangers were the NHL’s most penalized team as well as the most inconsistent. With one last hope of possibly gaining a playoff birth, GM Glen Sather sent Anson Carter to the Washington Capitals in exchange for high profile forward, Jaromir Jagr on January 23, 2004. Even with the addition of Jagr, the Rangers still struggled. New York never was able to get a winning streak going, and surely but slowly, began to fall even more down the latter of the Eastern Conference. Sather then removed himself from his position as head coach inorder to “focus on the GM position.”

We all didn’t want to see it happen, but you could just tell that the man who lost all his fiscal responsibility in Edmonton, the man who was responsible for hiring Ron Low, Bryan Trottier, and himself behind the bench was finally set to realize it was time to rebuild. Let me rephrase what I just said, we all did not mind using the term rebuilding, but Brian Leetch was the only Ranger many fans did not want to see traded. On March 4, 2004, Brian Leetch was traded with a Conditional Pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Jarkko Immonen, Kondriatev, a 1st Round Pick(2004) and a 2nd Round Pick 2005). Now personally, this was a hefty package the Leafs paid for Leetch’s services, and Sather was smart in pulling this deal for ‘the future benefit of the organization’. Respect goes a very long way, but too bad Glen Sather doesn’t understand this. Apparently, Senile Sather did not tell Leetch that he was actually in trade talks with him, nor did he really explain to him on where he was going to be shipped. Brian Leetch did not want to be traded, he already won a Stanley Cup in New York and wanted to be apart of the solution to the Rangers’ struggles. Leetch, when a free agent this summer, agreed to all of Glen Sather’s terms by taking a pay cut and agreeing to not have a no-trade clause in his contract. Loyalty to a corrupt organization anyone? I think so!

A day after the trade that official put the rebuilding stamp on the NHL’s biggest spending team, Brian Leetch was interviewed on the Mike and the Mad Dog show on WFAN 660AM in New York. If anyone has ever listned to Mike and the Mad Dog, you easily can see they don’t know what a hockey puck is to a hostess cup cake. When Leetch came on, at 1:50PM EST, Leetch could have easily bashed Jim ‘Son of Cablevision'(term coined by Mike Lupica in Newsday) Dolan and Glen Sather for the way he was treated upon the trade which sent him North. Instead, Leetch took the high road and had nothing but positives to say about the Rangers, and most importantly the fans. I’m not talking about the corporate garbage that fills the seats near the glass, but the faithful who sit in the ‘blues’ or the upperdeck that support their team night in and night out. Mike Francesca then questioned how Ranger fans felt about the dealing of Leetch. A month and a week earlier, Sather lands the most expensive player in the game(Jagr), then turns around to move the face of a franchise in a chance to rebuild. Francesca concluded the show by saying Leetch will be back in New York. Can I honestly agree with this? There is a difference between letting a player know that he might be traded, not only for his sake but for his family’s as well, and just shipping him away without warning. Sather did the latter of the two by just sending Leetch away.

Matthew Barnaby, who has had his name appear in numerous trade rumors as we inch closer to Tuesday’s Trade Deadline, said, “I’m going to duck.” Barnaby was referring to the Ranger fans about how they will show their displeasure of Glen Sather’s dealing of a long-loved Ranger. Barnaby was right, as the NYR faithful began to chant “Leetchie!” and “GO LEAFS GO!” Tom Poti, the man who has been in the dog house of many Ranger fans this season, said another interesting statement regarding Leetch. Poti felt that as players, the Rangers should look at themselves in the mirror for Leetch being dealt. Had the Rangers not put themselves into a position to miss the playoffs for a seventh year, Leetch could still be a New York Ranger(Not to mention Jussi Markkanen, Petr Nedved, Alex Kovalev and Chris Simon).

Could Brian Leetch finally be the X-Factor the Toronto Maple Leafs have been waiting for? There is no doubt that Mike Richter and Brian Leetch both evelvated their play in 1994 to lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup to end a 54-year curse. Jeez, doesn’t this sound a lot like the situation the Maple Leafs are in right now? I’m not saying one man can carry a team, but many of the ‘haters’ that wanted Gonchar in Toronto rather than Leetch could end up kicking themselves in the you know what once a Stanley Cup Champion is crowned this Spring. Leetch was a class act for the New York Rangers, and will represent the Blueshirts like no other. He easily could have went wherever he had liked this past season, but returned to the place where he played his previous 15 NHL Seasons. When future Rangers look at themselves in the mirror, they will look at Mike Richter and Brian Leetch as a reminder of what a TRUE NEW YORK RANGER actually is. I never thought that I would hear myself say this, but as of now I am a Toronto Maple Leetch Fan. So my fellow Ranger fans, it is okay to route for the Blue and White up North this post season. I won’t comment on the ‘rebuilding’ the Rangers are doing at the current moment, this post was meant for Brian Leetch. We are heading into the deadline and playoffs, why mention the New York Rangers? Good luck to Brian, as we’ll always miss him and thank him for everything he has done. GO LEETCH GO!!!

26 Responses to Ranger Faithful Pulling for Leetchie

  1. The_Coach says:

    Great Post!!!!!!

    I was estatic to get Leetch in the blue and white and his leadership, experience and poise is exactly what the Leafs needed on their blueline. Leetch and McCabe are going to log 25-30 minutes a game come the playoffs and will carry this team.

    Kinda like Stevie Yzerman and Ray Bourque, there are just some players that you would like to see retire on the same team that drafted them. Leetch should have retired a Ranger and for that I am sorry, however; if like Bourque did for the Avalanche, Brian can bring a cup to TO, I will get over it.

  2. markodj says:

    sather, in a way, had no other choice… the team is not making the playoffs, and who knows what will happen next year… tough decisions like this have to be made b/c winning is more important than loyalty….

  3. HeWillFollow says:

    I have been a reader of this site for awhile now and I’ve never posted, but after reading this I just had to say that i couldnt possibly agree more. I’ve been a ranger fan my whole life. Even through the last 7 horrible seasons that they’ve played I had always been a faithful rangers fan and I also thought that they’d be able to pull themselves out of it. Every season i was hopeful that maybe, they would finally get it right and be consistant and make the playoffs and maybe even make a run for the cup, and i felt that way right up untill a few days ago when i logged on to tsn.ca and saw that they traded Leetch to Toronto. I had heard all the rumors about him being traded but I always thought that it was just garbage, I mean why or how would they possibly trade the one guy that went out there and busted his ass everynight, the one guy that bled blue red and white for every game that he was out there as a ranger, even when the times were rough. He was a ranger through and through and there probably isnt a single ranger fan that didnt think that he would retire right here in ny. But what sather did is disgusting, and as of right now I consider myself a Toronto Maple Leaf fan, and up untill the other day, Toronto was one of the teams that i absolutely hated. Thanks a lot glen sather, I hope by the end of the season there isnt a single fan in the garden, because you’ve done an outstanding job driving your fans away.

  4. Beckfan5 says:

    Good article but I have to disagree on one thing.

    Fatcessa knows what a cup cake is that fat bastard!

  5. HockeyMessiah says:

    It must be a sign of the Apocalypse… The fans in two of the largest hockey markets – Toronto and New York – aligning? Is there any evil they can’t accomplish together?!?

  6. PurpleHelmet says:

    You guys can honk on bobo. Boooooohoooooo. That package we gave you was garbage. leetch has gone on record in Toronto as saying that the fans here are twice the fans the NY fans are and alot better looking. He said he wish he could take back the last sixteen years and restart them in Toronto. He is a Leaf now and will remain one. His days in NY are done for good. Once he tastes success here he will retire a Leaf and all the torment of NY will be forgotten, hahahahahaha!

  7. Tweek says:

    Being a Leaf fan I feel for Rangers fans. Leaf Nation was extremely grateful that we nabbed Leetch as he put the Leafs into Stanley Cup contender status. The Leafs are now in the “A” group of contenders right there with the Sens, Wings, Avs, Flyers, Devs, and Nucks. Whenever I thought of Rangers I thought of Leetch, he and the team name along with the city go hand in hand. For Leetch to be traded away from the city for which he played without even being asked is a embarassment to Sather and Rangers management. Leetch has been treated nicely in T.O by the fans and will continue to be welcomed with open arms. Although the Sens are still the favs for the cup I think the Leafs have the best team they have had in years. I feel for ranger fans and I hope you guys get that bastard Sather fired. Go Leafs go

  8. Killa_Bs says:

    I Agree with you. I have a lot of respect for these players who stay with their team their whole careers. I was extremely sad to see Ray Bourque leave Boston. Even though he finally got Lord Stanley it wasn’t the same. I think even Ray would have rather won it with Boston.

    Brian Leetch has won a cup so therefore it wouldn’t be the same if he, however unlikely 😉 won the cup with Toronto.

    Now all we can hope for is that Detroit never trades Steve Yzerman. Stevie Y. has stayed with Detroit through the bad and the good, through sickness through health. All these guys who stay with their teams seem to have great character and deserves a lot of respect.

  9. Killa_Bs says:

    The “nucks” but not the “B’s”?? What’s up with that? How come Vancouver is on the A-list and not the Bruins? I personally wouldn’t put either team on the A-list. They would, however, top the B-list as they have most of the components that could have them playing hockey long after the first 82 games.

  10. bleedingblu says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this posting.

    Leetch should have been told that he was being traded. You could see it all over his face that he was still in shock on Thurs. and Saturday.

    Well I could say this much he came to the right city.

    The fans here already love him and he’s a character player that gets along well with Roberts, Fitz, Nieuy, and Sundin.

    I hope he is the missing link for a Stanley Cup…. we’ll soon see.

    I was in shock when I heard “Go Leafs Go!” in NYC!!

    Is it true?…are there Leaf fans everywhere?

    Go Leafs Go ….. Go Leetch Go

  11. bleedingblu says:

    Don’t mean to put salt on the wound but add Vladamir Malakhov to your list.

  12. Killa_Bs says:

    I know the feeling when you lose a loved one. It is almost as if the team lost it’s heart and soul.

    As a fan of the B’s I remember how I felt when Raymond J. Bourque left Bruins, the club he had represented and become a big part of since 1979.

    Growing up I could never imagine the team without #77. I never even thought of the fact that he would eventually not play for the Bruins. To me he was the Boston Bruins.

    I am not sure how Sather felt when he traded Leetch but I can imagine that it wasn’t easy. Still it must have been even more difficult for Harry Sinden to trade Ray Bourque. Sinden and Bourque had worked together for much longer.

    Both Ray and Brian handled their trades pretty well and they both mentioned the fans in their respective cities first and foremost.

    Many people are surprised how you can temporarily become a fan of another team because of one player. I understand it totally. The same way that Ray Bourque was an icon for the Boston Bruins, Brian Leetch is for the NY Rangers. When Ray played for Colorado I felt as if he took a piece of the Boston Bruins with him and I imagine that the fans of NY Rangers feel the same way about Brian Leetch.

    In closing, I hope that Steve Yzerman and the fans of the Detroit Red Wings never have to go through this kind of thing. Like Ray and Brian, Steve Yzerman is class-act both on and off ice and the great fans in Detroit deserves to see him end his hockey career where it started.

  13. OilersRush says:

    As someone who seen players torn away from a club, I know what you are feeling, and yes Sather should have said somthing to Leetch before dealing him. But instead of pissing and moaning, perhaps if the players played well and won none of this would have happened?

    The Rangers have no excuses for why a team of allstars with one of the top payrolls should miss the playoffs for 7 YEARS!!!

    If Messier and the rest are crying, oh boo hoo if they were going to make the playoffs, none of this would have happened.

    With there crappy play, the players have no one to blame but themselfs.

    Sather deserves blame yes, but last time I checked he is not the one in goal, playing defence, or forward is he?

    Did he play Messier longer then he should have? Yeah he did, but now he is finally not living in the past, and going ahead with the future, and Sather got more for his players then the Caps did.

    He got a prospect and a 2nd rounder for Malakhov .He should light his cigar over that one alone.How many think that Sather got over on Calgary in the Simon trade?

    The Rangers needed to rebuild for years, its about time.

  14. B-man says:

    Nice post. I totally agree with you about Leetch. He was and always will be my favorite Ranger, he is the man, and the leafs are gonna love him. And i agree with you about Mike and the Maddog. They know **** about hockey. I hate it when they talk about it and think they know what they are saying, when they really have no clue about the sport.

  15. LondonK says:

    As a leaf fan I am torn. I am ecstatic that we got Brian Leetch, but the fact that he was just uprooted like that absolutely blows. To me it just cements how out of touch with it Glen Sather has become. I could understand Leetch asking to leave the Rangers because they are rebuilding, but he didn’t. I could understand Sather asking Leetch if he would allow himself to be traded for the betterment of the franchise, and Leetch probably would have accepted too, but he didn’t. I could understand if Sather said I am going to test you in the market and if the right deal comes along I may do it, do you have a preference, but he didn’t.

    Certainly this is one situation where temporary bandwagoners are going to be welcomed in with open arms as the Rangers fans cheer on the leafs for the success of Brain Leetch.

  16. nocuphere says:

    Your right bro, even as a leafs fan the bruins would have to be considered an “a” type team.

  17. RangerSteve says:

    First off, Messier wasn’t even part of this article. This post that I made was for Brian Leetch, a fan-favorite and a class act for the Ranger organization. Telling me to instead of pissing in moaning that I should take a look at the players? Re-read again! Barnaby and Poti both felt that the players are to be held accountable for Leetch’s departure. Pissing and moaning? Let me guess, you must have had a good cake when Gretzky was sold by Pocklington back in teh 80s.

  18. Sands says:

    To tell you the truth I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he came back. The lock out is going to happen. Everyone knows it. but your right I don’t know 100% but hockey will be out till at least December maybe Jan. sooooo if this 6-7 months with one team and ( and still no cup in Toronto) is enough to wanna stay with a team and leave 18 years of friends and family behind. Your just completely out of your mind.

    The only way i want Toronto to win… is if they resign him and he is stuck in Toronto till the end of his career, Otherwise, I hope they lose until Leetch comes back.

  19. laserman says:

    And what cesspool of a station did you hear that on, you Moron. It wasn’t on Sportsnet or TSN. Thank God most Leaf fans have class unlike the douchebag you surely are. Another thing don’t count your chickens before they hatch if you can count at all…

  20. laserman says:

    That was a really well done post Ranger Steve. My thoughts go with Leetch enough maybe to pull for the Leafs this playoffs. Hope to see yo back Brian after Sather gets fired…

  21. mojo19 says:

    I agree, but still… Leetch is such a Ranger. I have such a hard time picturing him in his Leafs Jersey. Picture Steve Yzerman wearing an Avs Jersey or a Stars Jersey, its just so weird. Anyway’s I’m a leafs fan, so I hope we win the cup obviously and its awesome to have a great defensman like Brian Leetch playing for us, as crazy as it feels.

  22. GretzNYR99 says:

    For Leetch, for Toronto.

    Win it, make the man happy.

  23. GretzNYR99 says:

    Thank you Steve, for being the voice of reason among the chaos.

    I’m sorry that I haven’t been on much, my computer’s down.

    As for the article, amazing. You hit it on the head of the nail. Couldn’t have said it any better than that.

    One of my top 10 favorites of all time, Brian Leetch is one of the greatest players I have ever had the priveledge of watching. A class act, a true Ranger. #2 should be up in the MSG rafters, whether he retires a Ranger or a Leaf or anything else. I was in shock that it happened. Of course I wanted to rebuild as many other fans did… but Leetch? No, no, no. A very good point about the changing of the guard in New York, now they’re building around Jagr, instead of Leetch. That is *****ing bullshit. Sather’s head should be on a stick paraded around Manhattan, but in reality, Dolan will applaud him for making the trades he’s made this. Then Sather in an interview in Vancouver had the nerve to blame the players and Dolan for this situation. This guy has a lot of nerve. He is a *****ing disgrace to this organization for the shit he has done. I know that Neil Smith started this mess, and that after 94, we should have started to rebuild, but it never happened. We kept adding and adding for another run at the cup, and it never happened. Injury after injury killed us in 96 and 97, Messier’s charley-horse in 96 from a Slava Fetisov knee-on-knee hit with a week left in the season, Leetch’s knees, Richter’s groin, Sundstrom got hurt, Kovalev got hurt, Bill Berg who was a key character guy for us got hurt. But instead of adding and adding year after year when it’s just not going to work, why not rebuild? Sather inherited a mess, made it even bigger, and blamed it on Neil Smith, and is now blaming it on Dolan (I hate Dolan regardless), the players, and in that same interview in Vancouver, blamed the fans for being too harsh. I’m glad that Sather made these trades and started the rebuilding process, and that the return for Leetch was good… but still, Leetch didn’t need to go, and blaming this on Neil Smith, Jim Dolan, and the Fans… ESPECIALLY THE FANS, has pissed me off to the point that this guy’s head should roll.

    “Instead, Leetch took the high road and had nothing but positives to say about the Rangers, and most importantly the fans. I’m not talking about the corporate garbage that fills the seats near the glass, but the faithful who sit in the ‘blues’ or the upperdeck that support their team night in and night out.” — Thank you, thank you.

    Keep the faith bro.

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