NEW YORK – After retiring three numbers this season, the New York Rangers have announced another ceremony scheduled for 2010, when they will raise former Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin’s No. 5 to the rafters.
“Denis Potvin may be the most remembered player in Rangers history,” said Rangers president Glen Sather. “Every game you hear his name chanted, so we feel it’s time to give him the proper recognition.”
Throughout most games at Madison Square Garden, the fans chant “Potvin Sucks” in remembrance of the hit he placed on Ulf Nilsson back in February, 1979. Although he never played for the Rangers, he is part of the lore of the team.
A former first round draft pick and captain of the Islanders, Potvin led the Isles to four straight Stanley Cups, while tormenting the Rangers under coach Herb Brooks. His play prevented the Rangers from breaking the 1940 curse, which lasted to 1994.
Potvin retired in 1988, but his name has lived on, which took pressure off many a Ranger team.
“I think it’s great,” said Ranger captain Chris Drury. “When the times are tough the fans chant “Potvin Sucks” and don’t boo the team. He’s been an MVP for us during losing streaks.”
“I never heard of Denis Potvin until I came here,” said goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “He should be thankful these fans remember him.”
When reached for comment, Potvin, 55, said he is touched by the gesture, but doesn’t want to say anymore until he speaks to Sather.
“I wish they asked me first,” he said. “I don’t know if I will get an outpouring of love like Mark Messier or Adam Graves. I have to speak to Glen.”
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