When July 1st arrived, Ranger fans waited with anticipation to see what the team would do with all the new cap space they had found by trading Scott Gomez to Montreal. All day fans scoured the net, refreshing free agent trackers on every site, on the edge of their seats waiting to how the Rangers would spend the money.
About midway through the day, they had their first answer:
The Ranger Nation Collective went berserk. How could the Rangers sign Donald Brashear after his late hit on Blair Betts in the playoffs, for which he was given a 6 game suspension? How could the Rangers let fan favorite Colton Orr walk, and sign Brashear?
The answer from the Rangers was simple, and truthful: Brashear is a better all-around hockey player. While his style of play will sometimes cross the line, he simply has dimensions to his game that Colton Orr will never have.
That statement, combined with the big Marian Gaborik splash made later that day, did seem to calm some fans down, and many understood that as an enforcer goes, Brashear is an upgrade over Orr. The more pragmatic Ranger fans also realized that while there were still ill feelings towards Brashear, it probably wouldn't take long for him to endear himself to Ranger fans with his style of play.
At a Town Hall-style meeting for the newest Rangers at Madison Square Garden over the summer, Brashear was booed by some of the fans. Brashear was able to laugh it off, and quite frankly the fans looked a lot worse for it than Brashear did.
Brashear began to bridge the relationship during preseason, with two fights against Brandon Sugden of the Capitals. Fans booed Brashear in the first fight, after his lunged at Sugden and lost his balance, but in the second fight, after Brashear wore Sugden down, he came away the victor, and the boos quickly turned to cheers.
But still the dissenters made themselves known. Comments like "it will take more than that for me to root for him", brings me to this question:
Why do some Ranger fans feel like Donald Brashear owes them something?
All Donald Brashear owes the fans is good solid play as a New York Ranger. Chris Drury has said having Brashear won't be a problem, and that is because he knows Brashear makes them a better hockey team. If that is all that matters to Ranger players, then the same should go for fans.
This thought that some Ranger fans have that Donald Brashear should be on Broadway handing out $100 bills to everyone and helping old ladies across the street is just nonsense. The past is the past. Donald Brashear is a New York Ranger, he wears the sweater. If you support the sweater, support Brashear. He is one of us now.