The hockey news flow has come to a grinding halt in mid-July, but on Thursday a couple of non-game related stories attracted the attention of the online fan community.
The first was extremely negative, as quotes emerged from an online radio show recorded on Tuesday in which New Jersey enforcer Cam Janssen made several disparaging remarks about gay people and also discussed his eagerness to injure opposing players. The second involved Rangers forward Chris Kreider, who had participated in a charity hockey game in Connecticut and spent an hour signing autographs and interacting with fans following the event.
One story involved a Ranger and the other involved a Devil and while it may seem like this is just a potshot at a rival player, to me it’s more about pride in what this current group of Rangers represents both on and off the ice.
Though Janssen has been know to run his mouth in the past, his public remarks this week may be an all-time low. Janssen, who has since apologized, made explicit homophobic comments and joked about hitting other players in the head in the interview, which you can listen to in its entirety here.
Meanwhile, Kreider joyfully skated with NHL colleagues, gave a huge chunk of his time to fans long after all the other players had left and even asked the rink manager to let him practice alone purely for self-satisfaction.
The reality is that there are a lot of jerks in sports similar to Janssen, even if they aren’t stupid enough to spit bile on public airwaves. But one of the things to really be proud of with the New York Rangers is that by all accounts, the group of young players that have quickly transformed the team into a winner on the ice are also terrific citizens away from the rink.