Thursday, July 30 marked Christopher Higgins’ first official appearance as a member of the New York Rangers.
Traded to the Rangers this offseason, Higgins was acquired in the packaged deal that sent center Scott Gomez to the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers dealt Gomez, Tom Pyatt, and Mike Busto to Montreal for Higgins, Ryan McDonagh, and Pavel Valentenko.
Higgins was a success in his Comix debut, as the main event of the sports comedy show 12 Angry Mascots, hosted by Scott Rogowsky (The Onion) and Neil Janowitz (ESPN the Magazine).
The show was great, the perfect blend of sports and comedy...can you really ask for anything more? The comedians were funny and the sketches were very entertaining (especially the Fernando Escobar and Tony Bernazard skits). As the show went on, there’s no denying it got even better when Higgins arrived on stage (though it should be said that the beautiful Julie Alexandria, who is the host of Mets Weekly on SNY, was a lot of fun and full of energy).
Higgins talked about his childhood, growing up on Long Island. His father was a Canadiens fan; so naturally, he grew up as a Habs fan too.
As one of the newest members of the Rangers, Higgins has yet to meet his new teammates, with the exceptions of Sean Avery and Aaron Voros. Though, he did mention that he received a phone call from Rangers' Captain Chris Drury, after the trade to New York went through.
The two hosts then talked with Higgins about the first goal of his career, which oddly enough, came against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Kevin Weekes was in net for the Rangers and when Weekes' name was brought up, it got a nice laugh from the crowd. Higgins described that night, as one of the craziest nights of his life.
It was obvious from the moment Higgins came out on stage that he was excited to be in New York, later adding, "It’s great to be back home…hopefully, I’ll be able to score a couple of more goals in a Rangers’ jersey."
Higgins sparked some friendly controversy, when he described playing in Montreal, which is one of the largest and loyal hockey cities in the world. Higgins said, "Being in Montreal is insane…it’s bigger than being a Yankee in New York. There’s no comparison without a doubt."
When the night came to a close, he left off with a message to Rangers fans, "Come down to the games and give us your all. We have a really great team this year...I’m super pumped up. We got a bunch of new guys, new faces."
He also paid tribute to New York’s King, Henrik Lundqvist, stating, "I think he’s best goalie in the league. With him between the pipes, you always have a chance."
After the show, I was able to get a brief interview with Christopher Higgins, before he left the club:
When you first heard that you were being traded to New York, what were your initial thoughts about leaving Montreal, after being drafted by the Habs and breaking into the league with them?
I was excited. I mean, I grew up in New York, so to play for the Rangers, it’s a dream come true. I mean, I grew up a Canadien fan, but you always want to play in front of your home town...and I’m just so excited.
Were you a Ranger hater growing up? [I asked this jokingly, but hey, he grew up in LI, it had to be done]
No, no. I wasn’t a Ranger hater. I mean a lot of my friends are Ranger fans and I watched the Rangers more than any other team in the league. So, definitely not a Ranger hater, but I wasn’t a Ranger fan, I’ll tell you that.
For Rangers fans who may not be too familiar with your career, what can they expect to see from you in this upcoming season?
I’m just a worker. I’ve done well, putting the puck in the net, but I pride myself on work ethic. I’m a worker before anything else. I like to leave no doubt in people’s minds that I’m working my hardest every shift. That’s what I can bring to the table.
What do you look forward to most playing in New York?
Play at the Garden. I love playing at the Garden. The fans there are great. I can have my friends and family there at every game, so it’s going to be great.
I want to talk a little bit about injuries. Should there be any concern going into this season about any injuries?
I’m 100 percent right now. I’ve started skating the most, this summer out of any other summer I’ve ever skated. So, I think I’ll be ready to go.
Do you think the groin with hold up?
Yeah, everything will be fine. Everything will be good.
NOTE: Rob Cristino is the New York Rangers Examiner on Examiner.com. This story was originally published in the New York edition of Examiner.com.