Ranger star Gilbert was originally from Canada where ice hockey is such an ""obsession that it's not uncommon for season ticket holders to provide in their will for children and grandchildren to receive their tickets after they die."" The son of a French blacksmith, he practically skated out of the crib, was a peewee leaguer at age eight, played with twenty-year-olds at fourteen and was tapped as a teenager by the Ranger scouts. He almost didn't make it. Just before his initiation into the big league, he crashed into the boards and broke his back (a fact he did not know until two games later). For a year he played with a brace, a condition that stopped him from sitting but not from scoring as he became a feature attraction at Madison Square Garden. He enthusiastically endorses his sport and its players even unto the fisticuffs (""fist fighting on ice is much more difficult than you would imagine"") and for the old time rinkster there are enough anecdotes to make them puck-er up. For the new fan, there is a rundown on basics--rules, strategies, etc. A ""slapshot"" Goal.