Ryder will forever be remembered in Boston as the player whose glove saved a sure goal by Montreal's Tomas Plekanec in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last spring. He's now a resident of Dallas, where he leads the team with 14 goals through 36 games.
One of the realities of sports is that our heroes often end up elsewhere, whether through trades, roster cuts or free agency. Ryder is not the first — or the last — to enjoy a legendary moment in Boston before hitting the road.
Jonathan Papelbon reminded everyone of that this winter when he signed a reported four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies. The riverdancing closer who struck out Seth Smith to clinch the Red Sox' 2007 World Series title will be closing out games in red pinstripes in 2012.
Papelbon's signature moment came in victory, at least. Former Patriots tight end Ben Watson is immortalized for his show of effort in a loss to the Denver Broncos in the 2005 NFL divisional playoffs. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey appeared to have a sure touchdown after intercepting quarterback Tom Brady in the end zone. Bailey took off with an armada of blockers in front of him. When Kevin Faulk's dive fell short and Troy Brown ran out of gas in the final 10 yards, everyone in the stadium assumed the Broncos were about to score six points.
Then Watson, who is now on the Cleveland Browns' injured reserve, came out of nowhere and knocked Bailey out of bounds at the 1-yard line. The Patriots lost the game, but the play stands as the signature moment of the Patriot Way.
Glen Davis knows how Watson feels. Davis' nine fourth-quarter points in Game 4 of the 2010 NBA Finals — better known as the "Shrek and Donkey game" for the exploits of Davis and Nate Robinson — temporarily saved the Celtics' title hopes. "Big Baby" is now a member of the Orlando Magic, but Davis' spastic, drooling performance helped even the series at 2-2 and put the Celtics on the road to nearly winning their 18th championship.
Ryder. Papelbon. Watson. Davis. All four will most likely end their careers outside of New England, but decades from now they'll be recalled for the moments they brought to the Boston area.