18 December 2009
It's been nearly 31 years since Denis Potvin layed a hit on Ulf Nilson which ended his career and created a chant that has been around for three decades. "Potvin Sucks" has been a staple at every Ranger-Islander game and can be heard at reagular Ranger games once in a while. The chant that was born from that 31 year old hit has in my mind officially run its course.
A hit that by many accounts was clean and Nilson himself did see the hit as dirty or blamed Potvin for any wrong doing. "The ice was never great in the Garden because they had basketball and other events. My foot got caught. It was a freak thing. The Ranger fans were so frustrated,” Ulf Nilson told the New York Times back in February of this year
Even though it was a clean hit fans of the Blue Shirts either have no idea why they chant "Potvin Sucks" or they have a completely distorted view of the events that evening. "It was a dirty hit, a total cheap shot!" a group of Ranger fans told Sports Illustrated. One fan even admitted that he did not know why or where the chant came from. With most that's probably the case, a tradition that was passed on from one to another. Much like the pure hatred for the Islanders or Rangers no one really knows why we truly hate them other than the fact that they are so close together.
The fact is, Denis Potvin was one of the greatest NHL defenseman, scoring 310 career goal and the first defenseman to reach 1,000 points. "In a sort of backhanded way, [the chant] was such a big compliment to Denis,"Neil Smith told Sports Illustrated. "You know, the fact that one player, after 37 years of the team being in existence, that one player has come to symbolize the franchise now." The Chant has turned into a joke for the Islanders greatest defensman and former captain, who jokes that the Garden faithfull have been chanting "Potvin's Cups" for all those years.
Joking aside, the "Potvin Chant" has run its' course. It had 30 year run, 15 of which should have never happened. It has been 21 years since Denis Potvin laced up his skates and threw on an Isles uniform and still Ranger fans dwell on something they know nothing about. The time has come to officially retire a chant that makes no sense to chant. It would be like if Islander fans still chanted 1940, it's outdated. "Potvin Sucks" should go the way of "1940" and "Crack Head Theo," right out the window. "Potvin Sucks" was fun while it lasted, but to quote Phil Esposito, "Get over it already."
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