Retro Rangers: Book Review – Unforgettable Rangers, Games & Moments from the Press Box

New York Ranger fans are very lucky, regardless of the current plight of the Blueshirts, a veritable All-Star cast of broadcasters and journalists cover every aspect of their seasonal roller-coaster ride.

They are the best in the business and although we hear and read their words on an almost daily basis, in reality we know very little about these trusted voices. But now author Matthew Blittner has taken a step towards rectifying that oversight with his new book, Unforgettable Rangers, Games & Moments from the Press Box

Blittner, who has written for The Fischler Report, MSG Networks and NY Sports Day, has interviewed many of the top hockey broadcasters and writers in the New York area to find out about their Ranger roots, how they broke into the business and what their favorite Ranger memories are.

The main subjects of the book are: Kenny Albert, Rick Carpiniello, Howie Rose, Dave Maloney, Stan “The Maven” Fischler, John Gianonne, Allan Kreda, Don La Greca, Joe Micheletti and Pat O’Keefe as well as Hall of Famers John Davidson and Sam Rosen. Each of these well respected voices share their stories, from their introduction to the Rangers, their own professional journey as well as their most memorable Ranger games.

Blittner also skillfully blends in additional commentary from Larry Brooks, John Dellapina, Rod Gilbert, Adam Graves, Sal Messina, Mike Richter, Dan Rosen, Jeff Beukeboom, Derek Stepan and Al Trautwig to produce a fine collection of memorable Ranger games from many different perspectives.

And perspective is indeed an important part of this book because, coming from the same era, some of the subjects share the same memories. But they describe them in very different ways. For example when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, Larry Brooks was covering the Devils, so his perspective is much different than that of Rick Carpiniello who was on the Blueshirt Beat.  And although Howie Rose and Sam Rosen both chose to talk about Game Seven of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against the Devils, otherwise known as the “Matteau” game, it’s still interesting because they describe what they remember from a different point of view. While each talks about their disappointment when the Devils tied the game with 7.7 seconds remaining, Rose’s description of Matteau’s overtime goal from his vantage point in the radio booth close to the ice, where he could clearly see the puck and Matteau is much different from Rosen’s from his perch high atop the Garden.

Another interesting aspect of the book is the revelation of some of the behind the scenes tidbits, like Rick Carpiniello’s memory of Mike Keenan’s closed door off the record meeting with the Rangers beat writers during the 1994 finals. And I for one was very surprised to find out why Kenny Albert, of all people, was such a big Vancouver Canuck fan growing up.

Unforgettable Rangers, Games & Moments from the Press Box is about the memories we share with each other and with the best broadcasters and journalists in the game. It also sheds some light on those personalities that bring the games into our homes. It’s a very entertaining read that would be a great addition to any R