Backstage with Chris Higgins of the New York Rangers

Last night I was at Comix Comedy Club in New York City for Chris Higgins' appearance in 12 Angry Mascots, and had the good fortune of being one of 4 or 5 "members of the media" that was able to talk to Chris after the show. Before we get to the interview let me tell you a little about the show.

The show was very funny with guests Julie Alexandria (Mets Weekly on SNY) and Chris Higgins doing small interviews and some playful jabbing. At one point while Higgins was on the stage they offered one fan to ask a question. He asked "can you beat Brashear in a fight?" To which Higgins looked down and in the deepest voice he could went "uhh yeah."

They brought out a 16 year old "Met prospect" would could play every single position, and they tried to interview him. But they couldn’t get far into his interview because "Tony Bernazard" came out and challenged him to a fight. Then "Bernazard" ripped the Mets to shreds over the course of his time on the show—it was very funny.

My personal favorite moment was when a Tour De France biker walked onto the stage looking for Paris—and time was of the essence because he needed to finish the Tour. When asked how he got to New York he said he went from "mountain stage" to "boat stage" because Lance Armstrong told him to follow him onto the boat. I don’t know why but it tickled my funny bone.

Anyway onto Higgins: During the show he admitted to only having met two Rangers in person—Avery and Voros. Also in the interview—which is below the jump—Higgins also said he hasn’t met Tortorella yet but they have spoken on the phone. He also said that Lundqvist was the best goalie in the league and they would always have a shot with him in the pipes.

His dad was a huge Canadians fan and that’s how Higgins became a Canadians fan because "you can’t go against the old man." We then learned that his father was part of the FDNY in Brooklyn and his brother is part of the NYPD in Manhattan. Then Scott Rogowsky of "The Onion"—one of the main writers for the show—told him that he was the [pansy] for becoming the hockey player.

There was also an incident when a Canadians fan—wearing a backwards Higgins jersey—went "Go Habs!" To this Higgins replied: "Yeah Go Habs!" then without missing a beat said: "not anymore!" it was pretty awesome.

I found it funny that Higgins had developed a slight French Canadian accent which he admitted he was "trying to get rid of." He was a super nice guy and had no problem giving me the time of day. On the way out of the club my girlfriend noticed him on the street--apparently because he has a nice butt (stupid professional hockey players)--and he was happy to chat with me again. We can definitely say he is the new Blueshirt Banter favorite. So without further ado here is the interview he did with all of us in attendance, after the jump. (PS, mad props to our buddy Steve at for a brilliant question on Higgins' attire for the evening)

So I guess you are easing you way into the New York media: I guess so yeah I mean I met The New York Post and the Daily News and have done stuff like that but it’s a little something different. And it’s pretty cool, it’s a little bit of a different outlet [doing the 12 crazy mascots show] you know these guys are pretty hilarious you know I’ve known them beforehand done some stuff with them before so to get on the show I was pretty excited.

Are the Rangers going to be a good team to watch this year? I think so, yeah, I’m very optimistic I always found the Rangers one of the very hardest teams to play against when we played them during the year so to join that team its great. And on the show he reiterated that the Rangers have the best goalie in the league and have moved in the right direction.

How do you think you will fit in: I just like their up-tempo style because it benefits how I play. I’m just excited to come and play for the team and come back home in front of the fans at MSG and my family and friends. It’s going to be a little added bonus for me a little added motivation to play well here.

On Tortorella: And Torts too he is pretty intense, I haven’t met him yet I talked to him on the phone a little bit .

What it will feel like to play in front of his family and friends night in and night out: I mean if there is one place—without a doubt—that I would want to play in besides Montreal it would be New York with the Rangers. To get traded to them out of 28 teams it’s an amazing feeling—I always wanted to play in New York at some point in my career. And to end up at the prime of my career with a team that I think is going in the right direction it’s just a fantastic opportunity for myself and New York in general.

Since you obviously were a Canadiens fan and you got drafted by them, is there a level of disappointment to be traded away from them? Like I said if there was one team I would have wanted to get traded to it would be New York and then I got traded to them and obviously I was disappointed to leave Montreal but I can’t be disappointed to come here. I mean I can’t tell you how excited I am to play my first game in a Ranger jersey. A lot of my friends are Ranger fans I grew up watching the Rangers probably the most out of any team.

Were you’re friends more Ranger or Islander fans? No I had more Ranger fans than Islander fans so I went to more Ranger games.

What is the anticipation level for playing in Madison Square Garden at every home game? Oh, I just can’t wait. I knew when I was playing on Montreal and we would come in [to the Rangers] and play in front of their fans it was pretty intimidating it gets pretty loud in there and the fans get pretty riled up. So to have them on your side now it’s a pretty big boost when you’re playing in front of them.

You were hit by the injury bug last year; do you think that is all behind you? Yeah I feel great. This is the most I’ve skated in any summer ever—I stared skating in late June actually, and before this season I have never started skating until August so I want to be ready for the year and I want to be 100% healthy. I think the injury problems are behind me and I am just super excited.

What do you think is the best thing you bring to the ice? I think just my competitiveness and my effort, I pride myself on my work ethic I like to be moving the entire time I’m out there. I want to leave no doubt in people’s minds that I’m giving it my all every time I’m on the ice.

Obviously last year one of the Rangers biggest flaws was the power play, do you think you will help the power play: Yeah I played a lot on the power play in Montreal, I have been pretty successful so far on the power play. Hopefully I can help out, I usually get stuck in front screening the goalie, that type of position on the power play. So hopefully I can fill that role with the Rangers. I’ll be right in front of the net all the time scoring the "dirty" goals but those are the most fun goals to score.

Do you think Avery would approve you’re floral shorts? Oh I don’t know I mean they are probably not as expensive as something he would wear but we’ll find out I mean I have only met the guy once in person so—well we will see what happens.