I can’t believe tonight’s game against Carolina will mark the halfway point of the Rangers season. The team has really come together and we are all looking forward to success in 2011.
Looking back, 2010 has been a whirlwind for me, both on and off the ice. First, I received an “A” on my jersey earlier in the season (for "alternate captain"), which was pretty unbelievable. I showed up to the locker room before a game and the jersey was hanging up there waiting for me. It was a pretty great feeling.
Another memorable moment for me was a few months ago, when I joined past and present Rangers to help unveil our 85th-anniversary team jersey, which I’m sure you’ve seen us wearing on the ice (we wear it at home games against other Original Six teams). Personally, I love the look of this jersey, and every time I put it on, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be playing for the same Original Six franchise as so many of the great players in the game who have worn this jersey.
There was no better way to close out 2010 than on a personal note. On Christmas Day, I asked my girlfriend — whom I’ve known since high school — to marry me. I’ve had a lot of practice dealing with my nerves when we take to the ice, but nothing in life can prepare you for asking someone to marry you. I was definitely sweating, but fortunately for me, she said yes.
Looking toward the New Year, an event I always look forward to is the Rangers' Casino Night, which is always a great time. This year, it takes place on Feb. 15. I love seeing all the guys dressed up in their tuxedos and getting to mingle and interact with the fans. The entire team comes out for this, including the coaching staff, which always makes for some great stories!
The event is held at Gotham Hall, and we play casino games throughout the night, which all benefits the Garden of Dreams Foundation. Do you think you can take me and some of the other guys on in a game of blackjack? If so, make sure to check out this event!
Marc Staal, who turns 24 on Jan. 13, plays defense for the Rangers.