What has changed in the last few months? What has changed since Brendan Shanahan gloriously took over as the NHL’s disciplinarian, promising much stricter action? The only noticeable one has been that things have not gotten better or even stayed the same, they have gotten worse. Blindside hits and cheap-shots never seemed to be a problem until the last couple of seasons, prompting a change and an ushering in of the new era of safer hockey. Suspensions would be handed out like candy to children at a carnival, and because of it, dangerous hits would stop, and the offenders would gradually find themselves out of a job. Well, as most teams near the 50 game mark in this safe hockey haven, thanks to the tireless efforts of Shanahan and league officials, do you feel that the status quo has changed at all? When your favorite players skate near the boards, do you feel any safer watching them?
Mike Milbury, an in-studio analyst for NBC and their newly formed network NBC Sports, has long been a critic of the New York Rangers. For years, his slanted, biased pre-game, intermission, and post-game anti-Ranger tirades have polluted the airwaves and have come with such regularity, that normally, they do not even upset or surprise me. Coming out of the lockout, Milbury never ceased to amaze, as he tore into then-Rangers superstar winger Jaromir Jagr all season long for being soft or not having what it takes to be a leader, even in the midst of his franchise record-setting 54-goal, 123-point season. One would think that the bias shown in those years bordered on xenophobia, but thankfully, we have Don Cherry up in Canada for that. More recently, before last night, that is, during the pre-game show of the Winter Classic, when describing the Rangers and using their nickname “Blueshirts”, he just so happened to leave the “r” out of the word, causing him to call the team an expletive. Accidental? Probably. But a Freudian Slip? Most definitely.
This morning, it was Tweeted by Larry Brooks of the NY Post that it will be the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers facing off in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. The game will be played in the City of Brotherly Love, but to my knowledge, the venue is still not know. Rumors had been circulating about this matchup for months, but now it has been confirmed. This will be the Flyers’ second showing in the popular New Year’s Day game, that will actually be played on January 2nd this year. They took on the Boston Bruins in the 2010 game that was played at Fenway Park.
Though I suppose most people wanted to see the New Jersey Devils or New York Islanders in there, a game involving the Rangers on this stage needs a team that is actually relevant to the league and has a fan base. The Flyers will bring that, and perhaps the rivalry between these two teams is even greater than the ones against the Devils and Islanders at this time. The Rangers make sense being in here, and probably should have been used earlier. No matter how successful they are, New York is always an attractive market, and it is a shame that they could not have the game at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, because this event needs the lights of New York City.
Nevertheless, we got what we all wanted here, as this is sure to be an intense matchup. But that is not all. The Rangers and Flyers will also be participating in the acclaimed series 24/7, which began last year on HBO, and went behind the scenes into the daily and gamely lives of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. The show was a smash-hit, made even more so by a certain profane tirade by Capitals’ coach Bruce Boudreau. With John Tortorella, and presumably Sean Avery, if he is still on the team, for the Rangers, and the slew of enforcers under the helm of hot-tempered coach Peter Laviolette, this should make for some good entertainment. I suppose I will have to order HBO now; combine this with To Appomattox that is supposed to be out next year, and this channel is going to have some nice programming.
One last item regarding 24/7, and that is how shocked I am that the Rangers are actually involving themselves with this. It is well known that their PR department are a bunch of control freaks who like to present a pristine image to the hockey world, and this series could put a damper on that. I would not be shocked if they ask the production team to censor certain parts. Not trying to be negative here, but it’s the Rangers so who knows…
These last few days have provided horrific flashbacks to last season for fans of the New York Rangers, because just like last year, the Rangers had their fate in their own hands. In game 81, the Rangers needed to win the two final games of the season, both against the Philadelphia Flyers, and they were able to accomplish only half of that. With their final home game just two days before the season finale, the Rangers came through in the clutch, with a hard-fought 4-3 win that had Madison Square Garden rocking, giving a resounding cheer for the Blueshirts who then had to travel to the City of Brotherly Love to clinch a playoff berth. The scorer of the game-winning goal? Marian Gaborik, capping off a fantastic debut season on Broadway. Then the last day came, and after another well-played game that headed to a shootout, the entire Rangers’ season rested on the shoulders of Olli Jokinen, who flubbed the chance, and sent them home packing, without a playoff appearance for the first time since the lockout. Two games were all they had, two wins were all they needed.
This season, the Rangers had three games remaining, and found themselves trailing the Boston Bruins 3-0 in the second period of a game on April 4th. The crowd booed, and rightly so, but then the Rangers woke up, and scored five unanswered goals against one of the best defensive teams in the NHL to keep the season alive, but not only that, to keep it in their hands. This is more important than anything, because when you have control of your fate, all you have to do, as a team, is win. You do not have to scoreboard watch or hope for help from others. Unfortunately, last night, the Rangers ruined those chances against the 11th place Atlanta Thrashers. All they needed was a win, to get two points, and they failed miserably. There was no aggressive forecheck, no glaring scoring chances, just all around stagnant play. When the Thrashers exited the building with a 3-0 win, you can be sure that visions of last season were floating around the locker room. There is only one difference: the Rangers are not in control of their fate anymore.
Should the Carolina Hurricanes win their next two games in regulation, the Rangers season is over, even if they win tomorrow afternoon against the New Jersey Devils. There are also a bunch of other scenarios, but I will not waste time going into them because all of it should have been for naught anyway. There was no reason for this, the Rangers needed to win last night, and they failed. Just like last season, coming 0ff their biggest win of the season, they fell flat, and that will cost them.
There is no place to direct anger at, if the Rangers fall short, other than the team itself. Part of me says not to get angry, because this is a rebuilding year. The other part of me says, this team was in playoff contention all year long, has the highest paid goaltender in the league, and another $7 million goal scorer, so of course I will be angry if they come up short.
Just think, what if Lundqvist had not let in a slew of soft goals early in the season? What if Alex Frolov actually produced after signing here? What if Vinny Prospal wasn’t injured for most of the season? What if Martin Biron did not suffer a late-season practice injury? What if Sean Avery was just half as good as he was a couple of seasons ago? What if Marian Gaborik actually played like he gives a shit?
That is probably the most important of these “What if?” questions, and that is what happened to Marian Gaborik? He goes through months of being invisible, has a big game and gets everyone excited, only to disappear again. Well, Marian the Magnificent has now gone eight straight games without scoring a goal, and he only has 22 in 61 games, which equates to about a goal every three games, as opposed to last season when he averaged a goal per less than every two games. It might not seem like much, but in the long-run, they add up. It is one thing to slump, but it is another to just fall off the map and not care, which is where Gaborik is right now—skating around in circles, shooting from the perimeter, and just coasting. On the bright side, he may be due for an explosion tomorrow, since that’s what he does. After all, he hasn’t scored since March 20.
The Rangers powerplay is also to blame, even with the acquisition of Bryan McCabe who has only two goals and six assists in 18 games. After seeing him QB the powerplay, I am convinced that he is not the problem. He is not a bad player, in fact, he is the most skilled player out there who happens to be surrounded by players who are not on his level of thinking. His passes are hard, his shots are even harder, but when is someone ever in a position to do something with them? Take last night for example, with McCabe on the point and Gaborik in the right faceoff circle. McCabe released a hard fake-shot pass right to Gaborik, but the puck bounced over his stick. How is it that a player as skilled as he cannot handle a simple pass? Did he forget how to play hockey all of a sudden? Does Tortorella need to hold a fundamentals practice? These idiots skate around trying to make plays, the puck goes to McCabe, and when he passes it back, they seem like they have never seen that shiny, black, rubber disc before—it’s like they are shocked.
The shining of all examples of this ineptitude of course came on March 31 against the New York Islanders, in a game they had to win. To be honest, I don’t think anything thought the Rangers were going to lose that game, especially since they always play well on Long Island. The Rangers took a 1-0 lead despite playing sloppily, but then they somehow managed to give up six straight goals before adding one late, to fall 6-2 in their most embarrassing performance of recent memory. The killer in this one? Going a mind-numbing 0-9 on the powerplay. That’s almost the equivalent of spending an entire period with the man-advantage, only to score zero goals.
No matter what happens in these next two days, the Rangers can look at that matchup against the Islanders and say that is what did them in. For the second straight season, the Rangers can get eliminated by a division rival; first the Flyers, now the Devils (which is worse?). Even if they do lose tomorrow, the Rangers can still get in if the Hurricanes lose their last two games, but I would not count on it. Carolina is playing well and actually deserves to make the playoffs. The Rangers deserve absolutely nothing.
The Rangers just have to go out there and win tomorrow, then pray for some divine intervention. I can see the Rangers winning tomorrow, even though the Devils are going to come out firing on all cylinders since this is their playoff game this season, but what I cannot see is the Hurricanes losing their next two games. Either way, it is out of our hands. This season will be known as the one that got away, it’s that simple.
If Alex Frolov was fifteen years younger, perhaps an Amber Alert would have been sent out. Teams of policemen would have been assembled to talk to the family about where young Alex may have ventured off to by himself, or worst case scenario, may have even been kidnapped. But this case is a little bit different—Alex Frolov is alive and well, and is making pretty good money to play a sport that he loves. My only question is, where did he go?
After strongly opposing his signing during the summer, the preseason gave me something to smile about as Frolov showed great chemistry with Marian Gaborik. But even when he was playing without him he still looked good. With Gaborik going down to injury, I did not bat an eye because I figured he would still be able to maintain his play. Maintain what, exactly? I do not know, because in the two games he played with Gaborik he did not look so hot.
The fact is, Frolov has been a missing-persons case since opening night. He started the season registering an assist in each of the first two games then went silent on the score sheet for two when he scored his first goal of the season, which was on a lucky bounce in itself. Frolov came down on a two-on-one in a game against Colorado and by the time he was near the crease he attempted to pass the puck and it hit off the defenseman’s skate and went into the net past Craig Anderson. Fluke goal #1.
His next goal came two night later in a game against Boston. With the puck bouncing all over the place, Frolov would get lucky. A shot was stopped by the Bruins goaltender and bounced up in the air, and with a lucky swing, Frolov batted the puck out of mid-air and into the net. Fluke goal #2.
Those are the only two times this season that Frolov has found his way onto the goals section of the stat sheet. He has not once shown anything at all that would make me think he is worth being on this team. I am not going to complain about his $3 million salary, because what he got was fair at the time—fair if he scores 25 goals this season, something the Rangers need him to do. But there is not one thing he has done this season that could not have been matched by a cheaper, younger forward from Hartford, such as Dale Weise had he not broken his hand.
Frolov is currently on pace for around 15 goals and 40 points. The Rangers can only live with those 40 points if 30 of them are goals (not likely), and if 15 goals is all he nets this season, then the Rangers are going to finish right where they did last season, out of the playoff picture. Comparisons have been drawn between him and Chris Higgins. These can be looked at partially, because both struggled to score. But at least Higgins had decent speed, a good work ethic, and was great on the penalty kill. Frolov’s skating ability has not caught my attention, his worth ethic is (obviously) questionable, and he does not kill penalties.
I think better comparisons can be drawn to Nikolai Zherdev, as in he is a player who has a tremendous amount of talent but only uses it from time to time. But so far this season, aside from two lucky goals, what has Frolov really shown us? Has he even created scoring chances? What we have here may be another case of a reclamation project gone wrong. The 30-goal scorer who the Rangers thought they were acquiring only put up 19 last year, yet we automatically expect him to correct it. Maybe it’s our fault. Nevertheless, I am not expecting 30 goals from him and never did. But 25 is not too much to ask, and if we don’t ask it, then we might as well not even bother watching this season.
Saturday night when the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins squared off for another intense game of Original Six rivalry, there was an incident that ended up not being as bad as originally thought, thankfully. Towards the end of the second period, Brandon Prust had the puck behind the net when he was accidentally high-sticked by the Bruins’ Gregory Campbell.
The stick caught Prust above the eye and no one knew how severe the injury was until after the game was over. Though his actual eye was fine, Prust was sent to the hospital to get it checked out. His eye is now so swollen that he must wear a visor for the immediate future, and the coloring is off as well. This injury came after yet another hard-fought game by Prust, who got into a fight with Milan Lucic in the first period.
It has now been three days since the incident that no one has really given much thought to because it was an accident and not a dirty play. But today, Andrew Gross and other sources are reporting that Prust told them that Campbell called to apologize for what happened and said he needed to be more careful with his stick.
This is a very classy move by Campbell, who obviously did not have any intent to injure and has never been a dirty player throughout his career. This is just a brief post, but I wanted to say hats off to Mr. Campbell for showing that class and sportsmanship is still alive and well in hockey.
Due to the injury, Prust will obviously not be able to fight any time soon, which is a major part of his game, but he will continue to kill penalties, something he has thrived at doing so far this season.
For a rivalry nearly as old as the sport itself, the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins reached back into hockey antiquity tonight for a gritty, hard-nosed, and old-fashioned game, as the Rangers hung on to defeat the Bruins by the score of 3-2.
The game would get off to a hot start, when Mark Stuart delivered a hard check on Ruslan Fedotenko just over four minutes in. Sean Avery rushed right over and fought Stuart but was given an extra two minutes and a ten minute misconduct for instigating. Nonetheless, this was what the Rangers needed—they needed some team toughness, even at the risk of putting the team shorthanded. The Rangers would kill the penalty, and nine minutes in, would score their first goal, on the powerplay, when Artem Anismov batted the puck out of mid-air and past Tuuka Rask. Assists would go to Dubinsky and Rozsival on the play.
Less than thirty seconds later, the Rangers would add another goal, when the puck took a weird carom off of Alex Frolov’s skate, and bounced over Rask’s glove. Michael Sauer would register his first NHL point on the goal, with an assist, and Erik Christensen would get one as well.
The first period fisticuffs would not be over, though, as Derek Boogaard and Scott Thornton would scrap. Boogaard would never get settled in the fight, and Thornton would get a marginal victory. This is now two fights in two games for “The Boogie Man” after not fighting all during preseason and the first four games.
Unfortunately, the Rangers could not end the period well, when Zdeno Chara blasted a slapshot over the shoulder of Lundqvist on the powerplay with four seconds remaining.
On to the second period, Marc Staal would give the Rangers the dreaded three-goal lead on a breakaway shortly after killing a penalty. Ryan Callahan would get the play’s only assist. The Bruins would counter with eight minutes remaining in the middle frame to get the score to 3-2, but that is how it would end.
Through six games this season, Michal Rozsival looks like the team’s best defenseman, as much as fans will hate to admit it. Dan Girardi has also been very steady, even though I am not crazy about him or his contract. The worst two defenseman on team have been Staal and Del Zotto.
There is also still no word on the status of Brandon Prust, who was high-sticked in the face at the end of the second period. It appears that he was holding near his eye, and he did not return after heading to the locker room. We can only hope that it is not serious.
All in all, the Rangers played another solid team game tonight, even though it was more wide open than the game against Toronto. It was not pretty, but until Gaborik returns from injury, they will have to try to win games any way they can.
Had Jacques Lemaire not brought this franchise their first Stanley Cup back in 1995, fans of the New Jersey Devils would have thrown a ticker-tape parade when the defensive-minded coach announced that he would be retiring after last season. Lemaire, who became legendary for instituting the neutral zone trap, a smothering defensive system, took note that the style for which he became famous was no longer relevant in the new NHL.
But even as fans sat back and complained, the Devils made their way to yet another division title, playoff appearance and recorded the most wins in their franchise history with 48. Imagine that as a coach, leading your team to their best season ever and still the fans want to boo you out of town.
So desperate for a change of style were the Devils that they did something Lou Lamoriello had never done in his twenty-plus years of being a General Manager—do something stupid. It may sound ridiculous, but any way one spins it, the Ilya Kovalchuk contract is going to bog down this team for the immediate future. Don’t believe me? Check out the roster for the Devils game against the Penguins on October 11, when they dressed only three forward lines. They did this because they had injuries and could not afford to call anyone up. The NHL even investigated it because it was against the CBA, which stated that a team cannot play unless they have a minimum amount of players.
Conveniently, higher paid players Brian Rolston and Bryce Salvador are injured, so the Devils barely escape the claws of salary cap death early on this season.
Still, it was all worth it, right? Kovalchuk, the two-time fifty goal scorer was going to put fans in the seats, set career highs, and get rid of those two evil words forever associated with New Jersey Devils hockey…defense first!
Getting back to why this move was just plain stupid (putting aside the 15 year part, that is just laughable), the Devils had 27 games last season to see what Kovalchuk would bring. The team did not experience any dramatic increase in attendance (Newark is still Newark), and the Devils were not much better with him than without him. Sure he scored a point per game while he was here, but points are not all that matter. Kovalchuk is everything the Devils have not been in their 28 year existence. He’s flashy, offensive minded, careless on defense, not a terrific teammate, and has never done anything in the playoffs (not really his fault when you consider the team he played for prior).
The best part is he loves to overstay his shifts. This is important because we can all look back at a time when the Devils rolled four lines equally, sometimes with the fourth line getting more than the first, especially if the team was winning and they went into trap mode. During the end of last season and playoffs, if the Devils had a four-minute powerplay, he would be out there the entire time and look lethargic by the time it was over. The reason why this is important is because what effect will this all have on Zach Parise?
Before Kovalchuk’s acquisition last season, Parise saw that he had only one full season in front of him before reaching restricted free agency. As this team’s franchise player, he was going to make out like a bandit, sign a long term deal, and be content with the fact that the Devils were his team. But now the Devils will never be his team, because of Kovalchuk. Just think, you were going to be the team’s go-to guy, the player everyone looks to for the clutch goal late in the game—the hero, and now, that is all gone. No matter what kind of contract he signs, he cannot out-wait Kovalchuk because of the immensity of that contract.
Other teams may recognize this and try to poach Parise next season, and given the Devils financial situation, they may not be able to retain him. Either that or Parise signs a short term deal and then bolts when he hits unrestricted free agency. Either way, I do not see Parise being on this team a four years from now. You may think that players can put aside their differences and harmoniously play together on the ice, and be friends in the locker room, but more often than not, that is not the case. After all, hockey players are people too.
So now the Devils are six games into their new era, with the gun-slinging John Maclean as their head coach. The Devils began the season playing what was probably the most fast-paced hockey in the franchise’s history, and where did it get them? They lost a close one in overtime 4-3 to Dallas on opening night, got embarrassed in Washington 7-2 causing Brodeur to get pulled, lost to Pittsburgh 3-1 when they dressed only three forward lines, tightened up for a 1-0 win in Buffalo, fell to Colorado 3-2, and last night, played well in the first period to take a 1-0 lead on the Bruins before giving up four goals in the second to lose 4-1.
The Devils are not sacrificing defense for offense here, they are simply sacrificing defense. One could excuse the poor performance on a new system, if the team was actually scoring. But they have only scored 10 goals in six games, and have allowed 21. Martin Brodeur has looked awful, and he has been the goalie of record for all six games. Backup Johan Hedburg, who relieved Brodeur in the second period of the Washington game, did not look to hot himself—he allowed a goal on the first shot he saw and gave up another one shortly after.
It is because of all this that I give John Maclean until the end of October before he is reverting the team back to their old ways. Perhaps not a trap, but a defensive minded system. Lamoriello will insist on it because I have no doubt that he was not the one behind Kovalchuk, and wants to say, “I told you so.” to Jeff Vanderbeek. Brodeur, meanwhile, will insist on it because all he cares about now are what the stats will look like on the back of his hockey card. Should one look out of place towards the end of his career, we may have a catastrophe on our hands. That and the fact that Brodeur just cannot handle the work load he normally gets. Let’s face it, the 77 games he appeared in was the Devils post-season death sentence last year, but he still was playing behind a trap defense, and did not get as much work as other goaltenders in the league. Now he is going to want to play the same number of games, but because he will now have to face scoring chances like a real goalie, he will whine until the Devils change their system.
If John Maclean does not change this Devils style back to defense in the next two weeks, he will not be coaching this team much longer.
Every year, Joe and I sit down to make our predictions for the final NHL standings. Here is our selection for the Eastern Conference in the 2010/11 season:
1. Washington Capitals*
2. New Jersey Devils*
3. Boston Bruins*
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Montreal Canadiens
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. New York Rangers
9. Toronto Maple Leafs
10. Philadelphia Flyers
11. New York Islanders
12. Carolina Hurricanes
13. Atlanta Thrashers
14. Ottawa Senators
15. Florida Panthers
1. Washington Capitals*
2. New York Rangers*
3. Montreal Canadiens*
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Philadelphia Flyers
6. Tampa Bay Lightning
7. Boston Bruins
8. New Jersey Devils
9. Buffalo Sabres
10. Toronto Maple Leafs
11. Atlanta Thrashers
12. New York Islanders
13. Ottawa Senators
14. Carolina Hurricanes
15. Florida Panthers
A 50th anniversary is something special, and the gift to be given is usually gold. After all, 50 years is quite a long time for anything, whether it be marriage or the amount of time a company or franchise has been around. 75 years is something even more momentous, and can be awarded with gold as well. 100 years is something that is monumental, and can be awarded with a 10K diamond. But 85 years is something that goes right between the last two major anniversaries.
According to About.com, the 85th anniversary is something that can be commemorated with diamonds or sapphire. The New York Rangers will be commemorating their 85 years in the National Hockey League this season, and have only four diamond rings of their own to show for it. That is roughly one championship every 21 and a quarter years. Why is there a celebration of this?
The Rangers are not the only team obsessed with nostalgia. The Montreal Canadiens seem to be honoring someone every season, and their schedule is chock full of games with pre-game ceremonies. But they can, after all, they’ve only won 24 Stanley Cups. They can honor the equipment manager from 1946 if they want.
But the Rangers never seem to let go of the past. In the last 85 years, just look at the names who have donned the Broadway Blue: Andy Bathgate, Eddie Giacomin, Brad Park, Phil Esposito, Harry Howell, Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, Wayne Gretzky, and Jaromir Jagr, to name just a dozen. All those marquee names, all that firepower, and only four measly Stanley Cups to show for it.
In 85 years, the Rangers have had 39 coaches behind the bench, 57 Hall of Famer’s lace up skates, and they have only reached the playoffs 52 times, not to mention a recent seven-year stretch without one single playoff berth.
No matter what team they assemble, whether it be a team of greats or scrubs, there have always been complications. Good offense-bad defense, good defense-bad offense, great team-bad goaltending, great goaltending-bad team, great team-bad coach, great coach-bad team, too many stars, not enough stars, no voice in the locker-room, too many voices in the locker-room; the list just goes on and on.
Again I ask, what is there to celebrate?
The Rangers have the right to honor their history; pay homage to the “founding fathers”, so to speak, and of course, pay tribute to the 1994 heroes. But giving respect is not the same thing as ramming ’94 down our throats, the last great achievement this franchise has reached, and essentially the only one of note in the last 70 years. All this talk, all this rehashing of the same events over and over again from 16 years ago, at the same time as waiting more than thirty years to retire the numbers of Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell.
Out of the “original six” teams, let us look at the amount of years they have been in the league, the amount of Cups they have, and how many championships per season they have won:
1. Montreal Canadiens- 24 Stanley Cups in 101 years (1/4.21 years)
2. Toronto Maple Leafs- 13 Stanley Cups in 94 years (1/7.32 years)
3. Detroit Red Wings- 11 Stanley Cups in 85 years (1/7.72 years)
4. Boston Bruins- 5 Stanley Cups in 86 years (1/17.2 years)
5. Chicago Blackhawks- 4 Stanley Cups in 85 years (1/21.25 years)
5. New York Rangers- 4 Stanley Cups in 85 years (1/21.25 years)
The Rangers are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for lowest amount of Cups won for an “original six” team, as well as Cups-per-season ratio. The Blackhawks are coming off a championship this season, their first since 1961. That distance of 49 years is just shy of what the Rangers went through from 1940-1994, their longest Cup drought. The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, have not won since 1967, the longest current streak in the NHL.
The Blueshirts may have won 16 years ago, but if you look at the broader picture, it is one Stanley Cup in the last 70 years.
The only reason I can think of for the Rangers picking such an odd year for a commemoration is because the older Rangers legends are just that– getting older. The Rangers have been very lucky to have some of the franchise greats live into old age, and still be capable of coming to Madison Square Garden and even appearing on television and radio from time to time. Emile Francis is 84, Eddie Giacomin is 71, Andy Bathgate is 78, and Harry Howell is 77. In my grim assessment, it is reasonable to assume that the Rangers are going to choose this year, rather than wait until the 100th anniversary for some fan fare, because those aforementioned players are in great shape and are still able to appear and revel in the team’s history. Fifteen years from now, will these greats still be around for the century mark of this team’s existence?
I can only hope that in the next fifteen years, the Rangers will add at least another Stanley Cup championship. As teams around them continue to get better, and the Rangers evenly tread water, how would it look for the one hundredth anniversary, to still have only four Cup banners raised to the rafters? The Rangers could then have a very even one championship for every quarter century they have been in the league.
The Rangers have many bright young prospects in the minors, and perhaps the best farm system they have ever had. The Rangers will be under pressure in the next few seasons to put a winning product on the ice, but not just one that can get it done in the regular season, but one that can thrive in the playoffs and push for a championship.
So as the Rangers unveil their new shoulder patches, jerseys, and center ice logo, I hope they will not only look to honor their somewhat disastrous past, but strive for greatness in the future. The fans of this team have stayed loyal all these years, and with prices never decreasing, they deserve to see a better product on the ice, and be proud of their New York Rangers.