When I was about 10 years old I had three blank Rangers jerseys that my parents offered to get customized. I chose Pavel Bure and Dan Blackburn for the first two. Although both had relatively short tenures ended thanks to injuries, both were incredibly talented and made an impact in their time with the Rangers and are respectable human beings.
I have no idea what the hell was going though my 10 year old head, or why my dad didn’t overule me, but I decided to basically waste a jersey and get Bobby Holik and his number 16 stitched onto the back. If I attempted to donate that jersey to a poor kid in Sri Lanka Andy Bathgate would send a charter plane full of Garden Of Dream volunteers halfway around the world just to take it away and ensure the kid couldn’t wear that atrocity.
Anyway, the Observer-Dispatch decided to publish a piece on Holik. Holik had a solid though unspectacular hockey career and now sells firearms in the Czech Republic. For some reason this make him a “hockey hero” and “diviserfied.” Whatever. The relevant part is when Holik talks about signing with the Rangers:
“After playing a decade in the Garden State, I wanted to know from Bobby, once signing with the region’s rival New York Rangers, what went through his mind when first pulling a Blueshirts sweater over his head? ” It ( signing with the Rangers ) was business. I tried to stay in New Jersey, I couldn’t be sad to move on, my contract was ground breaking at the time”, Holik remembers. Published reports have Bobby’s two seasons playing in Madison Square Garden for the Rangers ( 2002-’03 & 2003-’04 ) with a total compensation in excess of $18,000,000. The year prior to taking the free-agency route, Holik tells of he and his agent were working closely with Devils President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello on a deal but, in the end, the Rangers made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
Look, I’m not naive enough to think that hockey players shouldn’t or don’t care about money. I understand that the economic aspects are going to play some, if not a significant, part in choosing a destination. But Holik is basically saying, “I wanted to stay with the Devils and didn’t really didn’t care for the Rangers, but Glen Sather offered me a ton of money that Lou Lamoriello wasn’t stupid enough to match.” At least Scott Gomez showed some sign of caring about the Rangers’ history and the city of New York and bringing a winning culture back to the organization.
Holik was decent with the Rangers for two seasons and actually led a (completely miserable) 2003-2004 team in points with 56. But the only moment I can even remember from Bobby Holik as a Ranger is when a Devils fan decided to throw money at him as he walked to the dressing room. Not quite worth 18 million dollars.
And now for a somewhat off-topic rant. You might have noticed that I was MIA for a few days recently. I came down with a pretty brutal tonsil infection that rendered me incapable of doing anything productive and I was prescribed medication to deal with it. Unfortunately, CVS pharmacies are about as organized and competent as the Columbus Blue Jackets’ scouting staff. It took multiple phone calls, visits to two different CVS pharmacies, and an hour wait total just to get a basic antibiotic. And about 15 minutes of that time was spent by me contemplating whether I should just rip my tonsils out with my fingers while multiple pharmacists huddled around a fax machine attempting to figure out how to use it. It was like watching BP handling an oil spill. Never get sick.
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