Chris Drury of the New York Rangers has been a winner all of his life. Since the age of 13, Drury has followed a seemingly paved path to victory. Destiny has never seemed more pronounced than in the footsteps that Drury so carefully and quietly places behind him.
Some hockey fans know that Chirs won a Little League World Series, giving up 5 hits and driving in 2 to help his team to the trophy. This tale is often regaled by announcers or analysts that want to show knowledge of Drury's "clutch" abilities. A fact that is often overshadowed, however (at least I'd never known), is that earlier in that year, 1989, Chris helped his pee-wee hockey team to a first-place finish as well.
Chris later attended Fairfield College Prepatory School, and just happened to help guide the hockey to team to a championship as well. His superior play and leadership lead the school to retire his number (along with brother Ted) and hang it from the rafters.
If the story ended here, it would be happy one. Chris Drury would have gone down in the record books, relatively unnoticed, but definitely secure in his childhood greatness. Very few people had or will have the kind of winning success that Drury has had in the early years of his life.
But the tale doesn't end here. It continues. It is continuing, as I write this article.
In 1994 (a hallowed year for Ranger fans!) Chris Drury was selected with the 72nd overall pick in the draft by the Quebec Nordiques. Drury began getting into NHL form with the Boston University Terriers.
He kicked off his freshman year with, you guessed it, a national championship. Although the Terriers wouldn't win another one during his tenure, Drury would go on to win the Hobey Baker Award for best NCAA ice hockey players his senior year.
1998 saw Drury's entrance onto a Colorado Avalanche team that had enough fire power to rival the esteemed Red Wings. With help from Captain Joe Sakic, Drury garnered enough attention and points to win yet another award, the Calder, designated to the NHL best rookie. Drury finished the season with 44 points.
As the Avalanche continued to dominate, Drury continued to pour in big plays. In four postseasons with Colorado, Drury scored 11 game winning goals. He was later traded to Calgary, where he had a rough stint, but was then moved to Buffalo, where he once again stymied the hopes of other teams, this time setting his fated playoff killing goals on two New York teams.
After putting away the Islander with two game winning goals, he decimated the Rangers' hopes with a heart-attack inducing game winning goal with 7.7 seconds left in the game, and swung momentum in favor of the soon to be victorious Sabres. I, for one, will never forget that game.
Last season the Rangers realized that they might want to follow the old adage, and indeed got Drury to join them, rather than continue have him to beat them. He signed for just over $35 million over 5 years, along with newly acquired Scott Gomez.
After a nice 58 point season, and the departure of Rangers vets Jagr, Shanahan, and Straka, coach Tom Renney decided to name Drury captain of the 2008-2009 NY Rangers.
Drury has been the epitome of winning. He has succeeded in every single phase of his life, including a Stanley Cup in 2001.
And for some reason, I still cannot hop on the bandwagon.
I can appreciate Drury's quiet demeanor. He is rarely interviewed, and never finds himself in the news or even the tabloids. He can lead by example, and keeps an even keel, no matter the circumstances.
And for some reason, I miss the bandwagon.
I think it may be a lack of spark. Where is the fight that a captain should possess? Where is the passion that inspires others to claw back from a 3-0 deficit? Where are the physical drives to the net, warding off players with one hand and sticking with the other?
I guess, what I'm trying to ask is, Where is the Mark Messier in Drury? Is The Captain inside the captain?
This season, we find out how long destiny is willing to go.