Rangers Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 at 11:34 am and is filed under Hockey, Rangers Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Is there anything new you can say about this team? Let’s recap the season: The first month they shot into first place by working hard, controlling the puck, forechecked aggressively and had great goaltending. In phase two of the season, their total game slipped, but Henrik Lundqvist was there to cover up their mistakes. They were still winning games, but all the warning signs were there. And now they’ve just completely fallen apart. They can’t score, their defensive breakdowns are numerous and they don’t play with any heart or passion. If they fall behind, they give up. And they’re sinking like a stone in the standings. Playoffs? Who are we kidding?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s give a tip of the hat to Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell. The two Hall of Famers deserve to have their numbers retired (somehow I doubt we’ll be honoring Scott Gomez or Chris Drury like this some day). The Rangers are doing the right thing with all these recent ceremonies honoring the greats of their franchise, but what about Jean Ratelle? How did he fall through the cracks?

Ratelle played for New York from 1960 to 1975 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. It took him a few years to get a permanent spot on the roster, but once he did he was the team’s best all-around player (with Brad Park) for almost 10 years. He centered the ratelle1great GAG line with Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield, and they were together longer than almost any line in the history of the NHL.

If we look at No. 19’s stats while he played for the Blueshirts, he’s as deserving of the honor as anyone who’s ever played for the team. On the all-time franchise list, he ranks second in goals (336), third in assists (481), third in points (817), fourth in plus/minus (+168), second in game-winning goals (42) and sixth in games played (862). Gilbert and Brian Leetch are the only Rangers ahead of him in goals, assists and points. And they, of course, had their numbers retired. He had the team’s single-season points record (109), set in 1971-72 (while missing 15 games with a broken ankle), until Jaromir Jagr broke it.

Ratelle played in four All-Star games as a Ranger and was the second-team center on the 1971-72 All-Star team. He won the Lester B. Pearson Award (most outstanding player) in 1971-72, Lady Byng that same season and the Bill Masterson Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) in 1970-71.

He didn’t finish his career with the Rangers (through no fault of his own, in the trade heard round the world), but neither did Howell, Adam Graves, Bathgate or Eddie Giacomin. He also never won a Cup, but neither did Howell, Bathgate, Gilbert or Giacomin. Here’s hoping the Rangers do the right thing and retire Jean Ratelle’s number. He deserves it.

Now back to our regularly scheduled debacle of the 2008-09 Rangers . . .

There are currently 8 responses to “This Week in Rangers Hockey (Jean Ratelle Edition)”

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  1. 1 On February 22nd, 2009, Rob Abruzzese said:

    This article is going to make my dad’s day. Although he’s still riding high because he feels totally vindicated after saying Arod was on steroids since his days in Seattle.

  2. 2 On February 22nd, 2009, Manny said:

    TOTALY TOTALY AGREE!!! Jean Ratelle more than deserves this honor, especially now that the Rangers went back and added Howell and Bathgate. One of the nicest guys to ever wear a Ranger jersey. Had he not been so quiet he would have had his number retired long time ago. Great job of showing his Ranger statistics but I’d like to add one more. Jean Ratelle is the highest “true Ranger” (started career as a Ranger and played the majority of it in NY) on the NHL all-time scoring list at No. 34!!! No doubt the Rangers would have won the cup in 72 had he not broken his ankle. Not his fault the he was traded to Boston in the worst trade the Rangers ever made. I don’t want the Rangers to retire numbers like crazy. It must be reserved for the true greats and clearly Ratelle fits that definition.

    Well done Jeff, I think there are few of us who think that way.

  3. 3 On March 6th, 2009, craig said:

    There is no question this superb athelete deserves, and this should have been done along time ago, his number retired. I remember the first time I saw Ratty play, back in 1967. He captured my imagination and I became a lifelong fan. The man is one of the few superstars that were equally great offensively as well as defensively. In Boston he was as taken for granted then as now. He was appreciated by the fans but because of his quiet manner and stylish play, they never really appreciated how great he really was. Ask Ken Hodge, those are his words, not mine,though I totally concure. It’s been said that Jean didn’t skate, he floated over the ice. He was that smooth. Textbook hockey player, an example for anybody to emulate.I could wax eloquent about Jean forever, suffice it to say, he was the professionals/professional. Class on or off the ice. A final thought, how many players can you name that played at such a high level and had so few penalties, no majors/no fights, and is universally respected by the entire league. I’ve never seen a negative comment about the man. Jean Ratelle the player and the man was and is pretty hard to beat.Raise that number 19 New York Rangers.

  4. 4 On April 2nd, 2009, Scott said:

    Not even close. The greatest ranger ever. And that includes Gilbert, Messier, PArk, Giacomin, etc. Graves? Nice player who won a Cup. Ratty? Great player who didn’t. Good luck playing in the Orr era.

  5. 5 On July 11th, 2009, John Cassagne said:

    Long overdue to retire # 19. I wrote to Sather about this some time ago.

    Ratelle should have never been traded. A Class Act and truly a great Player .

    Rangers need to do the Right Thing on Ratelle.

    True Ramgers Fans know how good and cvaluable he was.

  6. 6 On September 17th, 2009, ruben strunk said:

    Why have The Rangers forgotten this great player? It’s almost as if his name were stricken from the history books. It’s time for The Rangers to do the right thing, whether or not Ratelle is willing to participate at this time.

  7. 7 On November 6th, 2009, Ken said:

    As an NHL Hockey fan,Jean Ratelle was the true athelete.A man who enjoyed playing and not exploiting his celebrity or bandwagoning with goon hockey of the 60s&70s.Knowing exactly how he fit in the system.Performing so consistantly.He was a gifted skater and playmaker.Backchecked in textbook form.A lost skill.Played the sport the way it was meant to play.Why he didn’t take up behind the bench is a total loss to hockey’s future stars.Retiring his number is the least the Ranger organization owes to such a loyal and unparalleled player.

  8. 8 On January 30th, 2010, Ben said:

    Jean Ratelle was not only a gentleman on the ice but off it as well. Living in Long Beach, I grew up with the Rangers as my neighbors and Jean was always happy to give the local kids sticks and pucks so we could play in the street. His time with the Rangers was the golden age of hockey. I saw him fight only once and even that he did like a gentleman. No one has ever had such a long an graceful reach for the puck as he did. The Rangers should absolutely hang his number from the rafters.

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