If you listen to the Rangers tell it they’ll say how much they respect the franchises history and lineage and the greats from years gone by. However, the fact that they’ve yet to have a “Brad Park night” at MSG calls out their hypocrisy loud and clear for anyone willing to pay attention.
Now don’t get me wrong, when the Rangers choose to honor franchise greats they do it extremely well and possibly better than most teams in the league. When you look at the rafters in MSG there’s a lot of history hanging there and rightfully hanging up there but there’s two glaring omissions to the hallowed group. Brad Park and Ron Greschner are two of the greatest to ever call MSG home and yet their names are glaringly missing from hanging from the iconic Garden ceiling.
Park played for the Blueshirts for parts of eight years and put up some terrific numbers as a pivotal part of the Rangers revival under Emile Francis. In 465 regular season games on Broadway Park put up 378 points which is good enough for 4th all-time among Rangers d-men, which has him one spot higher than Harry Howell, who already has his number high atop the MSG ice.
Park was also widely considered by many of his era as the best defenseman in the NHL not named Bobby Orr which is quite impressive considering how most NHL historians believe Orr is the greatest defenseman to ever play. Park’s departure from Broadway wasn’t exactly under the best circumstances as many in the Rangers organization believed he was past his prime and overpaid, which no doubt led to hard feelings on both ends.
No matter how it ended though, Park played well enough as a Ranger to deserve a Brad Park night, that a few of his former teammates who never won a Cup on Broadway, have received over the years.
Ron Greschner, much like Park, has seemingly been forgotten by the organization to the chagrin of fans like myself. Unfortunately I wasn’t old enough to see Greschner play, but I’ve watched videos and combining them with his numbers it’s insanity to me that he hasn’t seen his night on Garden ice.
After playing all 16 years of his pro career for the Blueshirts and playing in a total of 981 games and amassing 610 points it’s unreal to think that the club has ignored him for so long. Greschner’s point total has him ranked 2nd all-time for Rangers defensemen only behind Brian Leetch, which should come as a surprise to nobody. Greschner was also a captain for the Blueshirts and helped to set a standard and carry the club through some of their less than fruitful seasons.
The Rangers have built somewhat of a shrine to the 1994 club, which to a certain point is understandable, but it’s also slightly infuriating. For a club with so much history and some terrific players they’ve seemingly cherrypicked their history to try and look only at some of the most favorable years. The problem is by doing that you’re choosing to ignore some tremendous players who helped make the franchise what it is today.
How you can have the number two and four franchise d-men all-time not acknowledged by the organization is utterly laughable. Granted, they played on some bad teams but that isn’t their fault, the same way it’s not Henrik Lundqvist’s fault that none of his teams won Cups. If you’re going to acknowledge some of the great players in your franchises history, that history can’t be written without the numbers 2 and 4 finding their way to the Garden rafters.
And just remember number 9 is retired twice, number 2 should also be up there twice as well. If the Rangers were smart, Brian Leetch would’ve had another number hanging in the rafters because number 2 should’ve been up there the day Brad Park announced he was stepping away from hockey.
It’s time to do the right thing. Have a Brad Park Night. Have a Ron Greshner Night. Put two Ranger greats right where they belong, high atop The Garden ice where legends are remembered.