New York Jets legend and Rangers fan Nick Mangold wasted no time in taking his usual spot behind the opposing bench at MSG.
The concept of an “enforcer” may be outdated in today’s National Hockey League. But the New York Rangers welcomed back one of their most reliable agitators on Tuesday night in Manhattan.
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) March 3, 2021
Mangold’s Rangers fanhood has been well documented, as he and his Jets teammates would often situate themselves behind the opponents’ bench for big Rangers games. Notably, Mangold’s taunting of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2016 playoffs became so boisterous that security had to ask him to tone things down.
With MSG welcoming back Rangers fans on a limited basis, Mangold wasted no time in reclaiming his usual spot. Clad in a jersey bearing the name and numerals of legendary Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, he was right behind the Buffalo Sabres bench.
— Nick Mangold (@nickmangold) March 2, 2021
The center documented his in-game experience by noting there was no glass behind the bench for him to “bang on,” showcasing both his modern vantage point and images of his prior antics to MSG visitors, including the aforementioned postseason incident.
— Shawn (@shawn2186) March 2, 2021
NHL arenas have removed the glass behind the bench to allow for more circulation as they stage their seasons amidst the ongoing health crisis.
— Nick Mangold (@nickmangold) March 3, 2021
The Rangers were sure to send Mangold and the rest of the Blueshirt-clad fans home happy on Tuesday night. Pavel Buchnevich and Alexis Lafreniere each scored goals in the opening minutes of the game, while Chris Kreider earned another in the second period en route to a 3-2 victory over Buffalo.
In addition to taking in the Rangers’ modern endeavors, Mangold has likewise weighed in on what the Jets have been up to in the new decade. Joining Jake Asman on his eponymous show per Sports Map Radio, Mangold praised the progress of one of his blocking successors, Mekhi Becton, and spoke about the offseason ahead.
“I saw a lot of great, raw talent,” Mangold told Asman. “This is going to be a big offseason for him. That first offseason after being in college, playing your rookie year, especially in the (coronavirus) world, I have no idea how those rookies dealt with it.
“After that final exit meeting, he’s off until whenever they get back together … that’s a lot of free time for a young man with money. I struggled with it a little bit, that instant sense of freedom. I think he really laid a great foundation in his rookie campaign and I’d love to see him build on it.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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