Thursday, November 11, 2010

TheNYRBlog Reader Hangs with Graves

TheNYRBlog reader MZ sent me this amazing recap and photo of his day hanging out with Ranger great Adam Graves...

At the Rangers Garden of Dreams Casino Night benefit in February, I was the winning bidder for a day with Adam Graves at the Rangers practice facility (the casino night was a ton of fun with unbelievable access to the players and I plan to go again).

What a great time. I arrived at the Tarrytown facility at 11:45 a.m. with my dad and checked in. Five minutes later out walks Adam with a friendly smile. Right from the start, he was so gracious and made us feel completely comfortable.

We chatted for a few minutes and he led us into the practice rink. Practice was already going strong and pucks were clanging loudly off the glass as we walked in. The proximity to the action was surprising – the rink essentially took up the entire room, surrounded by glass, with a little sitting area. We were at ice level, leaning into the glass watching the guys practice literally inches away from us.

Players were wearing different color jerseys: red, blue, green – not sure what these meant. But I noticed right away Marian Gaborik was still wearing yellow and I know what that means (note: MZ wrote this before it was announced that Gaborik was playing tonight).

One by one, the press arrived, and I was standing with (who I believe were) Rick Carpiniello, Andrew Gross and Larry Brooks (who I immediately recognized) as well as others.

Adam starts talking to someone with a cap on and I hear him ask who we were, Adam explains and he taps me on the shoulder and introduces us to Dave Maloney. We talked for a bit – he was extremely friendly (as was everyone). Sather was there as well although I did not speak to him.

Interesting to hear to chatter among the press, Adam and Maloney as they discussed last night's game and various topics both related and unrelated to hockey. Overall, I got the impression the current feeling within the organization is very positive.

After an hour of practice, the three of us headed to the cafeteria. Chatting with Adam was literally like spending time with an old friend. We talked about the Rangers old and new. So interesting to hear Adam’s insights and stories about life, players, his career, the cap, etc. Always so gracious, unassuming and humble.

I didn’t realize it but part of his job is to spend time with developing players. He just got back from a visit with Dylan McIlrath. Adam is very high on him, says he is progressing beautifully, and sees him as a Beukeboom but a better skater.

After an hour I told Adam that he’d given us enough of his time but he insisted that he loved this type of interaction. Even as we were leaving, standing at the exit, I start looking at “Richter’s Net” (a full size goal made of silver with every player’s name engraved with whom he ever played with). We spent another 10 minutes talking about various ex-Rangers.

As we left, I thanked him profusely – not only for the special day but also for the great memories, how the team’s success in the 90s made some hard times for me just a bit easier and, of course, for 1994.


...unreal. I thank MZ so much for sharing his ridiculously awesome day with us. So jealous.

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KD said...

that's a really amazing story. I loved it!

Although, I MUST know what his Bid was for that day. 2 Kidneys and his first born?

Fleisch14 said...

Awesome... Was graves pissed that you dressed the same as him?

Dave said...

"Beukeboom but a better skater"


Nick said...

Awesome story, thanks for sharing.

That Beukeboom comment caught my eye too... we can only dream right?

LOL Fleisch... great catch

MZ said...

Funny - the pic makes it look like we are dressed the same but it didn't look like that in person. They had a "no jeans policy" which surprised me.

Look at his hands compared to mine - huge.

Kevin DeLury said...

It's all first class with the Rangers. Accept of course the product on the ice.

LI Joe said...

kevin you might accept the product on the ice but you would be the exception

Kevin DeLury said...

I can't get away with anything on this blog can I?

Host PPH said...

He did a great job and excellent picture. I hope that you can have more of these kind of posts.