I know, it's the guillotine for me for putting Jags ahead of Mess and Mike, but I just loved Jagr. Maybe it's because I was older when Jags was around so the whole game just had more gravity for me, I don't know.
Honorable mention for Tikkanenn. He will forever be the #1 boss in history.
Alexei Kovalev - I remember being totally stoked when he was drafted even though I had never seen him play. You always expected that he would have that big breakout year with the physical talent he had but we had to settle for a tease here and there.
I've always been weird with my favorite players. Back in the day I liked Beuke, Ulf, Richter. Then I add some guys who I liked throughout the league become Rangers like Robitaille, Courtnall, Kaspar....
Since the lockout, my favs have been Jagr, Nylander, Hank, Toots, Prucha, Shanny, Betts, Orr, Rachunek, Rosey(he was really nice to my gf), Girardi, AA....
My next fav will be Fasth... I read all about him as soon as we drafted him and I saw his facebook-esque picture. Then he lit up everything. Hoping he's in Hartford next year.... I'll show him around since I live here...
It makes me so very happy to see so much love for Kovalev!
Kovalev is #1 all time.
That 1994 Richter playoff performance save got me started in net, and he just made it look so exciting.
...and then when the lockout seems to coincide with the worst depression filled time of my life, in came the King to save the day. He really gave me something to smile about when I needed it most. My first game at MSG after the lockout was the 15 round SO against Washington. Got me playing, taking care of myself again.
I can list an easy 20 more names. I love this team so much my eyes can go Messier, easy.
Some favs I have had over the years: (by favs I don't necessarily mean "best player")
Not in any order...
I have to give top honors to Mess, not only because he brought us the Cup, but because he was such a complete player in every way. I loved watching him. He had it all: speed, skating ability, hands, shot, see the ice, toughness, agressive, leader, and on and on.
One of the things I love about his career most is that he was very much a diamond in the rough early in his days as a pro. He did not have the refined skills right out of the gate, and worked his entire career to continually improve. When he got to NY, it was a natural progression of his development to take on a task as huge as bringing a Cup to Broadway.
When I explain my Rangers fandom to people I just say that I was the PTBNL in the Messier trade, because the day he was traded to NY was the day I became a Rangers fan. It really angered & upset the 14 year old version of myself that the Oilers dismantled the team. Messier was always my favourite & his trade was the last straw. Got my 1st Rangers jersey for Christmas in 91'.
While Mess was my fave, I quickly came to love & appreciate everything about Leetch.
On the current team I gravitate towards & go back & forth between Cally, Staal & Lundqvist.
I had the fortunate pleasure and honor to have watched majority of Brian Leetch's career.
Since about 91.
Love Leetch. Grew up practicing out on the street in my old Rollerblade brand skates (same exact ones the guy from the movie Airborne wore) and on ice on the weekends for hours everyday for years to be like Leetch.
Still have never met him, though unfortunately. And I REALLY hopes do get to meet him oneday so I can thank him and talk hockey and life with him.
I've met Graves.
And got to skate/play with Rod Gilbert when I was 10 years old. Ill never forget it. At a clinic at Mackay in Englewood, NJ. I came in second place in a shootout tournament. He skated with me with his arm on my shoulder talking hockey.
But Leetchie is my favorite player of all time.
Gilbert is one of the single nicest people I have ever met as well.
Gartner, Erixon, Thomas Sandstrom, Brian Mullen, Jhonny O'Grodnick, and of course the beezer! Graves really kind of goes without saying.
I still have my O'Grodnick jersey from when i was a kid