Ever since 1979, the chant of “Potvin Sucks!” has rained down from the crowd at Madison Square Garden during every New York Rangers home game, after a playing (or fan whistling) the Let’s Go Band theme music. This was the result of one check in a game on February 25th of that year, when Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin hip checked Ulf Nilsson, who suffered a broken ankle on the play. Because Nilsson was one of the Rangers best forwards at the time, the MSG crowd voiced their frustration for the rest of that season with that chant.
But it did not end at the finish of the 1979 season.
The chant has become a tradition at the Garden, and although Potvin retired in 1988, the chant lives on. In lieu of recent struggles that the Rangers have faced, the chant is becoming more and more ridiculous. Not only is out severely outdated, but half of the fans in the stands do not even know what the chanters are yelling.
Listen closely after every chant; you will hear people asking amongst themselves, “What is a pot-man?” The young Ranger fans have no idea who he is, nor do the casual fans. And most of the older people seem to think it is as equally ridiculous. My dad has been a Ranger fans since the early 70’s, back when he worked at the World Trade Center and they had a group of four seats in section 317. He too admits that at the time, it was a good idea, but now, it has outlived it’s time.
The Rangers fans now need to come up with something new, and ditch the “Potvin Sucks!” chant entirely. If you ask me, it should have died out in 1994 with the Rangers Stanley Cup championship. To continue after that is not so smart.
Instead, fans should direct their anger at more appropriate, and current, figures or teams. The New Jersey Devils fans chant “Rangers Suck” after the theme music is played, and although I would not want us to stoop to their level and yell, “Devils Suck!”, it would definitely be an improvement over that Pot-man guy.
How about voicing frustration at Sidney Crosby? Every time the Penguins come to town, that chant rains down. It comes more often than the Potvin one does at regular games, and I always end up telling myself, “They should yell that more often.”
However, the best choices, and more fitting ones for this season would be anger voiced in the direction at the team. I am still a Sather supporter, but “Sather Sucks!” has a nice ring to it, as does, “This team sucks!” or inserting the names of all two-syllable Rangers such as Drury and Redden.
So think about it Rangers fans– do you want to continue in the shadow of 1979, voicing frustration at a player who has been retired more than twenty years? Or is it time to pick something more current? I’ll go with the latter. But the Potvin chant can still be used when the Panthers come to town, because last I heard, Potvin was the color announcer for their TV crew…that is, unless he’s been arrested for spousal abuse, again.