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Latest News : Rangers lastly set to retire Jean Ratelle's quantity at MSG
Sunday night time on the Backyard will function a long-overdue celebration of one of many Rangers’ and the NHL’s biggest gamers, Jean Ratelle’s No. 19 being raised to the rafters 33 years after he was inducted into the Hockey Corridor of Fame.
It should even be a night of two star-crossed eras in franchise historical past coming collectively, durations during which the Rangers reached a Stanley Cup Remaining and have been very, superb however simply couldn’t recover from the hump.
The present Rangers’ rebuilding course of because it strikes on from its close-but-no-cigar previous a number of seasons supplies an intriguing backdrop to Sunday’s festivities, with balls within the air that would result in a commerce at any second.
A commerce — The Commerce — ended Ratelle’s tenure on Broadway on Nov. 7, 1975, despatched him to Boston the place he’d seem in two extra Cup Finals following the one he got here again for in 1972 towards these Bruins after a damaged ankle ended his ’71-72 common season with 109 factors in 63 video games. Ratelle hoped that season he and the middle’s GAG Line teammates, Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield, who will likely be available Sunday, would all rating 50 targets that season; Hadfield did whereas Ratelle (46) and Gilbert (43) fell quick.
Ratelle, beloved for his class and class as a lot as his expertise, is second in franchise historical past with 336 targets, third all-time with 817 assists and sixth in video games performed at 862. He’ll be the ninth Ranger to have his quantity retired, becoming a member of his longtime pal Gilbert, Eddie Giacomin, Mike Richter, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell.
That checklist of names was talked about final season throughout a Rangers tv broadcast watched by Ratelle and his spouse Nancy, who instructed Jean the Rangers ought to retire his quantity. Ratelle says he by no means had a foul relationship with the Rangers, however a since-improved again difficulty, which made carrying even a jug of milk tough, prevented him from touring. He did, nevertheless, really feel some loyalty to the Bruins after working for them throughout 26 years as a participant, assistant coach and scout.
Nancy stated it’d been so lengthy since he was with Boston that he didn’t owe loyalty anymore, and so Jean agreed if his former teammate and Rangers president Glen Sather known as him relating to having his quantity retired, he’d say sure. Which he did final 12 months after being named one of many NHL’s 100 biggest gamers, sporting his blue No. 19 Rangers jersey throughout All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. Nobody will ever put on the No. 19 Blueshirt once more, Jesper Quick giving it up for No. 17 earlier than this season started.
This can be a pivotal second for the Rangers as they attempt to reshape their staff to raised compete for a Stanley Cup sooner or later, whereas present gamers have been enveloped by uncertainty for weeks ready for Monday’s commerce deadline to move. On the very least, Sunday’s celebration of Ratelle will present gamers and followers a short respite from the membership’s present malaise, and all will witness Ratelle lastly getting his due.
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