Friday, November 04, 2005

Rangers 4, Devils 2

Went to a hockey game last night for the first time in a couple of years. Bonus: It was Rangers vs. Devils. I can't believe I forgot how enjoyable hockey is when you're at the game. The game pace seems quicker, you could actually see things that are going on away from the puck, and the genuine passion of the die-hard fans is probably unmatched by fans at any other sport.

I'll admit I haven't been to that many games over the years, but I'll say this: I can't remember any Ranger in my lifetime - with the exception of Wayne Gretzky, but that was for historic purposes - that ever generated as much excitement when he's on the ice as Jaromir Jagr. After he scored his first goal of the night (league-leading 13th, by the way), every time he put skate to ice the place was different. Rangers fans were excited, Devils fans a bit anxious (the crowd was about 60-40 Devils). At 9:22 in the 2nd, he showed why. With the Rangers up 2-1, Jagr had the puck behind the net. And he held it there, unchallenged, for about 20 seconds. Nobody attacked the puck. Rangers fans were screaming in anticipation, Devils fans pleading to put a man on him. The patience paid off; he finally flicked it to Michael Nylander, who banged home his second goal of the night. It was a thing of beauty. Just for good measure, Jagr added an empty-netter as well.

I think the new rule changes are helping him, and I'm sure new coach Tom Renney is as well. But it's about time the Rangers are seeing the kind of player Jagr had been and could be. Like I said earlier, he creates excitement, not to mention goals. Don't think it's not being noticed, even by casual fans like me.


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