A Brash Welcome.
That is exactly what Donald Brashear received last night at a “friendly” meet-and-greet with the Garden Faithful last night. With the sour taste of Brashear’s brutal hit on Blair Betts this past spring still lingering in their mouths, Rangers fans let The Donald know that they had not forgotten about it. However, the Donald quickly won over the crowd with a well timed joke: "Those fans that are booing, I'll take you one-by-one”. My money is on Brashear!
But this brings to the forefront a question that I have been asking myself ever since Brashear signed a 2 year, 2.8 million dollar contract with the Rangers on July 1st: “How do I feel about this?”
When I first heard the news I couldn’t stand it. It was like as if someone had just told me that my best friend just ran over my dog! I couldn’t comprehend how Glen Sather could sign a guy who less than 2 months prior did something so vicious to a guy like Blair Betts. He may not score, he may not lay out the big hits; but any Ranger fan worth their salt will tell you how valuable a player Blair Betts is.
As the summer went on I started to put my emotions to the side and analyze the situation from a hockey standpoint and the more I thought about it the more it made sense. The Rangers gotten beaten up physically on more than a few occasion. Signing a tough guy like Brashear will help in that regard. Plus he will keep all those people that like to run goalies at bay. Which is also a good thing because Lundqvist is the Rangers greatest asset and needs to be protected. But I still couldn’t shake the sour feeling in my gut.
They say time heals all wounds; but it wasn’t the time that healed my wound, it was understanding. As I was perusing the web one day for something hockey related I came across this article:
The article describes Brashear’s violent upbringings including an alcoholic abusive father who would make him sleep in a trash bag so if he wet the bed it wouldn’t damage the mattress. And a mother that gave up on him and put him in foster care.
This is what changed my point of view on Brashear. I still don’t condone his hit on Betts or any of the other incidents that he is now infamous for … but I understand.
Hopefully the team will be able to forgive him and I’m sure the fans will too the first time he drops the gloves to protect his new teammates.
Welcome to the Rangers Donald!