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Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment: New York Rangers Edition

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(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!)

Written by Tom Urtz, Jr. of Bleacher Report

Most Disappointing Team: 1992-1993 New York Rangers

After climbing new heights in 1991-92 with the help of The Bald One Mark Messier, expectations were high heading into the 1992-93 season.

The Rangers were fresh off a President Trophy winning season; and with a stacked roster and some good young talent, 1992-93 was supposed to be the year that 1940 became as relevant as Jody Shelley.

But alas, if the 1991-92 season was like the original fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, 1992-93 was the like Rocky Balboa’s first bout with Clubber Lang. After being at the top of the world, the Rangers were knocked harder to reality than one of Lang’s super punches across the granite-like jaw of Sylvester Stallone.

It was a season in which Mark Messier tallied 91 points, Tony Amonte had 76, Mike Gartner had 68, Adam Graves had 65 and so on and so forth, but the team was downright awful. The team had a record of 34-39-11, and they played more games (84) than they tallied points (74).

Obviously there are seasons in which the Rangers' played worse, but this was the most disappointing because of the sky high expectations that were established the year prior.

As disappointing as this year was for Blueshirts, it ultimately led to the hiring of Mike Keenan, and well the rest is history.

Most Disappointing New York Ranger: Alexei Kovalev

It is a strange pick, but once that makes a ton of sense when you think about it.

Alexei Kovalev spent the majority of his career, 492 games over nine years with the Rangers. He averaged 0.67 P/GP or 330 points in 492 games.

He was a highly skilled, creative and offensively charged player who looked like Pavel Bure in one instant, and Valeri the next. (No offense to D.J. Tanner's husband.)

It was baffling to see a player be so inconsistent, and he never truly actualized his potential with the Rangers. He could have been a career Ranger that set records, but his up-and-down, Chris Kreider between Hartford and New York during the John Tortorella era-like play led to his departure.

During his non-Ranger career—AK27, the Original Kovy, or whatever moniker you can think of— netted 690 points in 824 games or 0.83 P/GP including a 95-point season with Pittsburgh.

When it comes to disappointing, there are signings that don't work out (Holik, Redden, Gomez, Drury), trades (Luc Robitaille, Ken Hodge, etc..), but the most disappointing thing of all is having a home grown player who beams talent, but fails to take it from stun to kill.

Don't get me wrong, Kovalev was a good player with the Rangers, but he could have been the great one he was later in his career, and that is just a major disappointment.

Most Disappointing Moment in Rangers' History: Trading Jean Ratelle and Brad Park

ean Ratelle and Brad Park were two great Rangers who were icons of the beloved Blueshirts of yester year. Ratelle was an elite offensive player whose No. 19 should be retired now that Brad Richards is no longer on the team, and Park was a great defender that got caught in the shadow of one Bobby Orr.
Park was truly a great rear guard for the Rangers back in the 1970s, and he should get the Andy Bathgate treatment by having his No. 2 retired alongside Brian Leetch.
These two players were icons of the era alongside Rod Gilbert and Bathgate, but they were traded for Phil Esposito, who still is bitter about being dealt to the Rangers to this day (h/t Montreal Gazette).
The deal goes down as a true kick to the gut, because two all-time great Rangers were dealt to a team they hated, and the cornerstone of the return wasn’t exactly thrilled about coming to New York.
Maybe that explains why Espo was so irate about the prospect of the Tampa Bay Lightning losing Martin St. Louis to New York

HON. MENTION: The 2003 NHL Entry Draft

There were a record number of births after World War II ended, The soldiers were home and... well you know the rest. Well, something amazing was going on in 1984 and 85, as there were a number of births that are linked to a very important event in NHL history.

That event is the 2003 draft. An event that saw the likes of Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, and Shea Weber get their name called by various NHL teams.

This list includes Stanley Cup Champions, Olympic Medalists, various award winners and so on. All of these players were on the board at No. 12, but the Rangers went on to select Hugh Jessiman.

Hindsight is 20-20, but Brown was the No. 2 ranked North American skater, Getzlaf was No. 5 and Parise was No. 9. In other words, the Rangers f*#$ed up in a huge way by going off the board.

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Most Disappointing Rangers Transaction: Trading Rick Middleton

The Rangers deal of Rick Middleton goes down as a tough one to swallow because he went on to record 402 goals and 898 points in 881 games with the Bruins. That is good enough for 4th all-time in B's history. The return for Middleton? 
Veteran winger Ken Hodge who tallied 68 points in 96 games over two seasons. Hodge was so bad in year two that he was sent to the AHL to finish out his career. That include a stint with the Binghamton Dusters, which is rather apropos in my opinion. 

Hon. Mention: Trading Brian Leetch on his birthday

Brian Leetch was a great defenseman, NHL hockey player and American. He had an illustrious career of 1129 games that spanned 17 season in which he tallied 981 points, included a Calder Trophy, two Norris Trophies, a Stanley Cup and the first American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

He was one of the greatest all-time Rangers, and he had his No. 2 retired in an amazing ceremony. That is how it should read in his bio. It should look like this if you search him on Hockey-Reference.

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However, this is not the case, so let us go into the Pensieve and look at the real memory of what happened.

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March 3, 2004... It is an amazing day that commemorates the birth of Brian Leetch. All appears to be good and well until Glen Sather announces that Leetch has been traded to Toronto.

Seriously, who trades the all-time greatest defender in American history, and a 0.63 P/GP player that season for prospects and draft picks... ON THEIR BIRTHDAY? Glen Sather does, and it is a moment that deprived Leetch of the distinction of All Career Ranger on his career dossier.

HM to the trade of Rick Middleton to the Bruins in 1976 for Ken Hodge as a disappointing transaction, as Middleton had a great career in Boston. Hodge on the other hand wallowed in mediocrity in Manhattan.

Most Disappointing Rangers Coach/Executive: Bryan Trottier

The Rangers announced on June 5, 2002 that former Islander great Bryan Trottier would become the next bench boss of the Broadway Blueshirts.

There were a number of well-qualified applicants, but Sather decided to channel his inner Palpatine by going to the dark side.

Trottier got the job because he entered the process like a true Minkus. By Minkus, I am referring to the know-it-all little twit that charmed the hearts of many, but not sweet Topanga, on Boy Meets World.

Trottier was a studious little fellow who hand wrote 80 pages for Sather that could be stuffed into a binder that could compete with the one Mitt Romney talked about during the most recent presidential election.

At the time Ranger fans had mixed feelings of having an Islander at the helm of their storied Arbitrary Six franchise (h/t Jeff Marek), but they held onto the notion that they could rub it in the face of Islander fans if Trottier successfully led the Blueshirts to the playoffs.

That never happened, as the Rangers eventually fired Trottier after a stint that was shorter than the application he studiously compiled to land the job.

It would be interesting to see how history could have been altered had the Rangers hired an experienced bench boss, but as good ole Dwight Schrute likes to say…

Most Disappointing Rangers' Fashion Choice: Discontinuing the Lady Liberty jerseys

The Rangers' jersey has remained virtually the same for the history of the Arbitrary Six franchise.

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There were some periods of experimentation like here and here, but the diagonal wordmark has been the standard.

The most disappointing fashion choice the Blueshirts have made is the discontinuation of their Lady Liberty line.

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For one season there was a glorious white Lady Liberty, and then it became the Navy version that still appears in the inner matrix of video games.

It is an amazing logo, and one synonymous with New York and the team. Mike Richter famously adorned a mask in Lady Liberty's image, and the Rangers' current goaltender/musician/heartthrob has kept the tradition going.

The jersey was one of the rare alternates that were different, fresh and exciting during its run, and it was something that was the antithesis of the 1999-2007 Rangers.

There is hope that this jersey will make a comeback, but I wouldn't hold my breath.


Other disappointments (in order of appearance): Calgary FlamesSt. Louis Blues • New York IslandersDallas StarsBoston BruinsColorado AvalancheWashington CapitalsOttawa SenatorsArizona CoyotesMinnesota WildEdmonton OilersSan Jose SharksWinnipeg JetsNew Jersey Devils Los Angeles Kings Florida PanthersCarolina HurricanesBuffalo SabresMontreal CanadiensTampa Bay LightningChicago BlackhawksColumbus Blue JacketsNashville PredatorsDetroit Red Wings Anaheim DucksPhiladelphia FlyersPittsburgh PenguinsVancouver CanucksToronto Maple Leafs

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