New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
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John Buccigross of ESPN recently listed his New York Rangers Mount Rushmore. He deserves a 10-minute misconduct for his efforts here.

By Ernie DeFalco

John Buccigross of recently published his Mount Rushmore for all 30 National Hockey League teams. If you are not familiar with the term, a team’s Mount Rushmore would consist of its four best players.

It is quite a nice read, and certainly leaves room for debate, especially regarding The New York Rangers.

Buccigross lists the following New York Rangers as his Mount Rushmore of the organization:

  • Mark Messier
  • Brian Leetch
  • Mike Richter
  • Henrik Lundqvist

There is really no arguing Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Mike Richter. The Rangers retired all three of their numbers, each won a Stanley Cup, and will all certainly be remembered as three of the greatest Rangers of all time.

Where Buccigross deserves 10 minutes in the box is his inclusion of Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist is a tremendous player and a great Ranger. He is beloved by fans and is a fixture in the city. The man is a Vezina Trophy winner and his career numbers certainly support his consideration.

All-time in Rangers history Hank is first in wins with 339, first in shutouts with 55, and his 2.26 goals against average ranks him first among any Rangers goalie who has played more than 350 games.

But he is missing one thing, Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Yes, a cup is a team award, but when creating a Mount Rushmore and the other goalie on the mountain has a cup, no way can a goalie without one get up on there as well. Perhaps it’s unfair, but when an elite goalie does not win a cup, it is always viewed a blemish.

So to recap, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Mike Richter are there. But who will make up the fourth spot?

Well, Rod Gilbert of course.

My Rangers Mount Rushmore:

  • Mark Messier
  • Brian Leetch
  • Mike Richter
  • Rod Gilbert

Rod Gilbert absolutely must be on the Mountain. If any one player epitomizes being a Ranger it is Gilbert.

The man played his entire 18 year career as a Ranger. He first stepped on the ice as a Ranger at the age of 19. Gilbert ranks third in games played as a Ranger with 1,065; places first in goals with 406; second in assists with 615; and first in points with 1,021. The next closest Ranger is Brian Leetch with 981 points.

He also performed well in the playoffs scoring a respectable 67 points in 79 games. In addition to his great overall numbers, Gilbert still works for the organization selling the Rangers to anyone who will listen. He has been a face of the organization for over 40 years.

There are some similarities between Lundqvist and Gilbert.

Gilbert is still the greatest offensive home grown Ranger while Lundqvist may arguably be the greatest homegrown Ranger Goalie (Mike Richter in the coversation). Each played as Rangers on the losing side of a Stanley Cup Final.

Rod Gilbert, however, has an aura about him. One that even Lundqvist’s larger than life persona cannot over shadow. Maybe it’s because Gilbert has been retired for some time, or maybe because his No. 7 hangs in the rafters, but Gilbert, not Lundqvist, deserves that final spot.

Gilbert is a Ranger, maybe the greatest Ranger. He belongs on the mountain. Unless Henrik Lundqvist can one day change the ending.

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Administrator of New York Hockey Discussion Group, IT Professor by day, and lifelong Rangers, Mets and Jets fan by night. If he had to pick one, the Rangers would top the list. Second on the list would be the always loveable NY Mets. If he could spend all summer sitting by a pool, girly drink in hand, music playing and the Mets on TV, he would be a very happy man.