October 19, 2011
While our first inclination was that it might be something from the personal collection of "The World's Sexiest Ice Man" (thank you, New York Post), it's actually the Rangers' "winning hat" this season, given to a player after impressive victories and likely smelling like a pile of bowling shoes by season's end.
"The hat sort of found its way back with us from Europe; just we're going to use it as a little reminder of how we came together over there," said Brad Richards(notes), who came up with the concept and awarded the hat to the netminder. "It's another way for us to bond."
"I'm wearing this hat with a lot of pride," said Lundqvist, who managed to look stylishly jaunty wearing the beat-up black fedora following the 40-save performance that earned him his 36th career shutout. "It looks good."
Oh, that Henrik Lundqvist … soooo jaunty.
As Joe DeLessio of New York Magazine notes, the Rangers are following in a grand hockey tradition: the post-victory symbolic trinket. Such as:
• The Pittsburgh Penguins' had the shovel, symbolizing the hard work that goes into building a winner.
• The Washington Capitals' hard hat, symbolizing the blue-collar determination that goes into being a champion. (Based on their results, one gets the feeling they actually see it as a fun way to run head-first into the locker room walls.)
Hence, the Rangers' fancy hat is just about perfect.
It's European like Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik(notes). It's Manhattan, whereas a ball cap would have been the suburbs (or, worse, Jersey). It's the kind of victory trinket you'd expect from an Original Six team with a $62,226,950 payroll, that won the hand of the prized free agent last summer. Other teams have symbols of hard work, dirty fingernails and sweaty brows; the Rangers have something Justin Timberlake wears to his Junior Rat Pack meetings.
To put it in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" terms — this is not the cup of a carpenter.
Also, we really look forward to Pronger finding the hat and stomping on it before the Winter Classic like it was Ryan Kesler(notes). Because he has a wicked sense of humor and impulse control problems, you see.