I’ve been a Rangers fan my entire life. I don’t tell you that to brag, I tell you that to set the tone for what I’m about to tell you. Every Ranger to ever put on the jersey has a memory etched into my brain.
Ironically enough, these memories sometimes don’t have anything to do with the player’s skills themselves. For example: Marek Malik did not have the best career in New York, but the first memory to come to mind when I think about him is that between the legs shootout goal against Washington. Or that the first memory of Sandis Ozolinsh I have is that own goal he potted in Game 2 against the Devils back in 2005-2006 even though he had a really good rental stint in New York that year.
I have a tougher time pinning down memories for current players. I don’t know what my lasting memory of, say, Henrik Lundqvist or Chris Kreider will be until they’re gone and I have to pick one. It wasn’t until Martin St. Louis retired that I was able to etch the memory of him scoring on Mother’s Day in stone (he gets two memories, since that Game 6 bar-down OT winner forces itself into the conversation as well).
Now that Dominic Moore has moved on to Boston I know it’s time to carve out a memory for him. But to be honest, I don’t know what that memory is going to be.
Is it going to be the look on his face as he turns towards his teammates, moments after scoring the eventual game-winning goal in Game 6 to send the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years? Is it going to be him coming back to Broadway after taking a year off to deal with his wife’s tragic passing from a rare form of cancer? Is it going to be the little things? The smart plays? The thousands of times where he puts a fire out on the ice that you never really appreciate because they happen so fast and so often?
I don’t know what to do with Dominic Moore. The guy is a warrior. He deserves so much better than what he got in New York. 2014 was truly him in his element, with a competent fourth line around him. Moore, Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett were literally the pillar that team leaned on as they marched to the Stanley Cup Final.
Things changed. The Rangers removed the parts that made that group successful and saddled Moore with inferior teammates who couldn’t keep up. Ever the warrior, Moore trudged forward and did his best. Actually, he did better than just his best, as he was really the one consistent in the Rangers bottom forward group who could be counted on to do his job.
Moore should hold a special place in your heart. He’s a home grown player who moved on and, in his most emotional moment, came back home. The Rangers are sometimes really bad with stuff like this (Brian Leetch anyone) but they were smart enough to give him the second stint on Broadway. They were better for it. They were also better for letting him walk this year. And — as with Dan Girardi -- that has nothing to do with the person he is. It just has to do with the logistics of a cutthroat business.
So maybe that’s how we should remember him. Someone who, in the face of literally the most devastating moment in his life, wanted to come back and be a Ranger. And when things went sour once he returned, he pushed forward and succeeded anyway.
Thanks for everything, Dom. Best of luck in Boston.