In part two of our look at New York Rangers nicknames, we’ll explore the monikers of some of the greatest to ever wear the Rangers jersey as well as some of the best scorers to play on Broadway and more.
No one is exempt from a nickname. In the NHL today you have the creativity of “Syd the Kid” and the mundane simplicity of “Ovi” or “Geno.” Sadly, we have seen a decline in creative nicknames. Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Erik Karlsson are just a few of many without. Some of the Rangers greatest players (Brian Leetch, Mike Richter) never had a nickname bestowed on them, but there are still a few worth singling out.
The Rangers have had their fair share of hockey immortals. Many of them have interesting sobriquets to go along with their Hall of Fame credentials.
Mark “Moose” Messier – Messier earned the Moose label while starring for the Edmonton Oilers. It was pretty descriptive of his bullheaded, physical play. Once in New York, he became “The Messiah” after he delivered a Stanley Cup to the long suffering fans. He was also known as “The Captain” by his teammates for his leadership and withering look if a player failed to exert 100%.
Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky – Gretzky got his nickname when he was still a prospect and it never went away. Does anyone need an explanation for this nickname? Of course not and it is perfectly appropriate.
Phil “Espo” Esposito – Not particularly creative, it became his brand when he was top scorer with the Bruins. A prolific scorer with Boston, he led the Rangers to the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals. Perhaps “Garbageman” would have been more appropriate since he scored many of his goals on rebounds and deflections from in front of the net.
Jaromir “Jags” Jagr – Similar to Espo, this one fit perfectly. In his later years, he also became known as the “Ageless Wonder.”
Guy “The Flower” Lafleur – Before there was Marc Andre Fleury, there was Guy Lafleur, well known as a top scorer for Montreal. In 1988 the Flower made a brief, successful comeback with the Rangers after three years of retirement He only played one season in New York and scored 18 goals. Oh, and if you speak French, you know that Lafleur means “the flower.”