Pre-Game: 7pm LeafsTV
Broadcast: 8pm SportsNet Ontario
Post-Game: 10:30pm LeafsTV
Sunday, Feb 22, 2009, 8:00 PM EST
Madison Square Garden
Hey there, this is your preview. Here are some numbers on the previous meetings between the two teams. They've been remarkably even over the past few years. Of course, the last game between these two saw the emergence of John Mitchell as an NHLer as opposed to a guy filling the fourth line. It was one of the high points of the season and it would be nice to repeat it after seeing one of the lows last night.
Oh, they are honouring some old players tonight? Well, let's just prepare for the loss and hope it's not of the extra-time variety:
Now let's get on to a more positive subject -- tonight's ceremony for Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell. I am unfortunately old enough to have seen both of them play. In fact, I was at the famous game of March 14, 1962 at the Old Garden where Gordie Howe scored his 500th goal and Bathgate beat the Red Wings' backup goalie Hank Bassen on a penalty shot to lead the Rangers to an important 3-2 victory.
I remember sitting in the end arena on the opposite side of the arena from where both goals were scored. I was 8 1/2 a the time and already had gone to several games. If I remember correctly, Bathgate should not have been taking the penalty shot as it was Dean Prentice who had the puck knocked away by the thrown stick of Bassen. Anyway, Bathgate took the shot and made a beautiful deke and scored on the backhand. The victory led the Rangers to their first playoff appearance in 4 years.
I think my most notable memory of Howell was when he was at the end of his career playing for the California Golden Seals. I remember coming back to the Garden wearing those incredibly ugly gold skates or whatever color they were. It was not a pretty sight. I was at the first Harry Howell NIght back in the Old Garden in 1967. That was the year that Howell won the Norris Trophy before it was permanently given to Bobby Orr for the next 7 years or so.
The Rangers have slipped from their early season perch atop the Eastern Conference standings and are in real danger of missing the playoffs. Let's give them a hand.
Remember your SPG Picks.