“Can Kasparaitis return and become president of your country?”
“Well . . . ” says the Lithuanian reporter. We both look at Kasparaitis, gamely answering questions in Russian, his black eye from the broken nose in Buffalo almost, but not entirely, gone. “He plays for the Russian national team. So I don’t think so.”
After listening to the dulcet, Canadian-inflected press conference of Coach Renney, I wander back into the main arena. The lights are already off, the ice is empty, the whole place is littered with beer and popcorn, everyone has gone home. The empty Garden, transformed on game nights into a total entertainment environment, has afterward no majesty, no magic. I duck my head back into the locker room. It is empty save for Kasparaitis, the Rangers’ multilingual bruiser, speaking into a microphone, at great length, in the ancient tongue of the Lithuanian people.