Craziest New York Rangers season ever isn’t what you think

So this simply must be the craziest, most eventful and most traumatic season in Rangers historical past, right?

I imply, the Tony DeAngelo fiasco that was organizationally self-inflicted; the Artemi Panarin matter of Russian intrigue, through which he departed the workforce for a self-subscribed depart of absence after being focused with unsubstantiated assault expenses towards a younger lady from a decade earlier leveled in what was believed a political hit piece.

Then the Tom Wilson matter, through which Panarin was rag-dolled and body-slammed to the ice twice within the aftermath of a goalmouth scrum. That was adopted the failure of the NHL to droop Wilson, the Rangers’ assertion excoriating the league and George Parros, and the six first-period fights that adopted two nights later on the Garden.

And proper through the coronary heart of the Wilson Madness got here the seemingly out-of-nowhere firing of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton because the membership’s two chief government hockey officers, which prompted cries of betrayal from a fan base that had grow to be hooked on a rebuilding course of the franchise may need bought too properly.

Anything else? Well, the teaching employees lacking six video games in the course of the season was noteworthy, however each workforce within the league needed to endure anomalies created by the pandemic, in order that turns into simply certainly one of many asterisked footnotes to the season.

So, was this probably the most eventful and traumatic 12 months in franchise historical past?

Only if you will not be aware of 1975-76.

Because by way of the primary 4 months of that season that includes a collection of hockey earthquakes adopted by unrelenting shockwaves, and all the Rangers universe spun off its axis.

Goalie Ed Giacomin waves to the Garden followers upon his return after touchdown with the Red Wings in 1975.
Frank Leonardo

First, Ed Giacomin was waived on Oct. 31. Then, on Nov. 7, the legendary Jean Ratelle and Brad Park have been traded to Boston for the despised Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais, and immediately followers have been pressured to simply accept the enemy who had been dropped into their midst.

And you know what, three days earlier than Giacomin was despatched away, so was Vezina-winning and Jack-O-Lantern-mask-wearing Gilles Villemure.

Now, Villemure’s exit was foretold by the summer time commerce for Davidson, and he had not performed a sport that season, however the deal yielded Chicago defenseman Doug Jarrett, who grew to become one of many first of a flock of pale veterans to affix the Rangers and provides them an expansion-type really feel for a 12 months or two.

Come on. Bill Goldsworthy?

The shockwaves subsided off the ice for a spell, however there was that 7-3 humiliation by the Red Army workforce on the Garden on Dec. 28 within the first sport of the NHL-USSR Super Series ’76, which three nights later featured some of the celebrated worldwide matches in historical past, the New Year’s Eve 3-3 draw between the Canadiens and Red Army on the Forum in Montreal.

Of course whereas that sport was being performed, the Rangers have been being crushed 8-1 on the Garden by the Atlanta Flames.

Less than every week later, Emile Francis, who was the Founding Father of the franchise’s trendy period, was fired. He was dismissed on Jan. 6, 1976, together with head coach Ron Stewart, whose workforce was 15-20-4. The guys The Cat had employed to educate the workforce between his personal gigs behind the bench, critically, Bernie Geoffrion, Larry Popein and Stewart?

And in got here John Ferguson, one other mortal enemy off his days as a Canadiens policeman who tormented the Rangers, within the twin function of GM-coach the next day. He continued to torment the workforce by altering their uniforms and making them the style antecedents of the Winnipeg Jets.

So, inside 10 weeks: Goodbye to Villemure, Giacomin, Park, Ratelle and Francis. One. Shockwave. After. Another.

And in contrast to every other season. Even 2020-21.

Lost within the uproar created by the enfeebled Department of Player Safety’s failure to droop Wilson, alongside got here one other instance of inexplicable leniency from Parros’ workplace, which gave teh Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere only a two-game sentence for his cross-check that despatched the Penguins’ Mark Friedman into the top boards after the Pittsburgh winger had scored an empty-net purpose.

George Parros
Getty Images

The puck was within the web. The play was over. Friedman started to swing away. Gostisbehere, certainly one of two Flyers chasing, then delivered the gratuitous cross-check/shove. Not solely was that harmful, it was a breach of hockey etiquette, if not fairly in the identical territory because the 1993 Dale Hunter-Pierre Turgeon episode, however nonetheless fully unacceptable.

Gostisbehere ought to have gotten 15 video games to hold over into subsequent season. Instead, he acquired two. That apparently was Parros’ assertion.

And the NHLPA stays silent.

So you know what was some of the underrated horrible trades of the Francis period? The one on Nov. 30, 1973 through which the Rangers despatched Mike Murphy, Tom Williams and Sheldon Kannegiesser to the Kings for Gilles Marotte and Réal Lemieux.

Marotte, referred to as Captain Crunch — really, I’m undecided if that was his nickname or simply the nickname by which he was identified, and derisively so, in Section 419 — was on the incorrect aspect of three of probably the most lopsided offers in NHL historical past.

The defenseman went from Boston to Chicago within the deal for Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield that merely enabled the Bruins’ Cups in 1970 and 1972, then from Chicago to Los Angeles within the commerce that introduced the nice Bill White to the Black Hawks. And then this one.


The Tom Williams the Rangers dealt within the Marotte deal is just not the Bruins’ Tom Williams of the Nineteen Sixties, whose title carried the compulsory suffix of “the American boy,” when he was the lone Yank within the NHL.

Maybe that was only a Win Elliot Saturday Night Sports Special factor.

Question: Did you have to sit down in Section 419 to know who had the nickname of, “To the boards, Billy, to the boards?”

You know, I bear in mind writing poorly about Nick Beverley’s efficiency as Kings’ GM, and I’m now hoping that it was not as a result of I held it towards him for being the participant who got here to the Rangers in trade for Vic Hadfield.

Finally, upon studying that the Rangers’ assertion generated assist for Parros amongst NHL normal managers, I’m reminded that was the august physique of gents who as soon as gave VP of officiating Stephen Walkom a standing ovation.

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