Photo credit: New York Rangers Twitter @NYRangers
There have been a lot of things that the New York Rangers have gotten right over their franchise history, but they have also had some horrible missteps along the way. Not having Brad Park’s number 2 hanging from the hallowed ceiling of Madison Square Garden is one of them. Once fans are allowed back in the Garden, a top priority for the franchise needs to be raising Park to the rafters.
I, along with a bunch of other Rangers fans, have been outspoken for years that the Rangers organization has had an unhealthy obsession with the 1994 team. Let’s be honest, if you were born after ’94 and you didn’t grow up in a home with a diehard Rangers fan, you’d be hard-pressed to know the organization even existed before the 1993-1994 season. Thankfully my dad is a diehard Rangers fan and would talk to me about all the teams and players he saw growing up and would even show footage of old games so I could see for myself.
Maybe it’s naïve but of me to think but I do feel like a team should help to educate their fans, and not only about the great teams but the poor ones and all the great players that the franchise have come and gone throughout the franchise.
That’s where I believe the Rangers have failed when it comes to Brad Park.
This is a guy who was deemed by the NHL to be one of the top 100 players in the leagues history and is widely regarded as the best defenseman in his era not named Bobby Orr. That’s pretty high praise if you ask me. Considering the fact that this is a guy whose career was spent playing Bobby Orr and then the beginning of Dennis Potvin. Park would’ve most likely won 5 or 6 Norris trophies in his career if it wasn’t having to play against two of the all-time great blueliners in NHL history. Just to put in perspective Park’s tough luck in Norris voting, he was runner-up six times in his career (70, 71, 72, 74, 76, and 78) with Orr and Potvin taking home the honor in all of those years respectively. At the time of his retirement as well, Park was the all-time leading defense scorer in Rangers history after spending 9 seasons away from the franchise with Boston and Detroit. To date he still ranks in the top 5 of all-time defenseman scoring in franchise history and is a hockey hall-of-famer.
So what’s the point of me saying all this? Well it’s pretty simple, the New York Rangers need to wake up and finally do something that they should have done 20 years ago and hang Brad Park’s number two high above the ice at MSG. I do not want to hear anything that they should not duplicate numbers because they have already made the exception twice for numbers 9 and 11 – Graves, Bathgate and Messier, Hadfield respectively. Park is one of the greatest players to ever pull over a Rangers sweater and he needs to be recognized as such. If the NHL can say he’s one of the top 100 players in the leagues history, how can the Rangers franchise honestly not recognize him as one of the franchise greats?