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The Pain of Being a Ranger Fan

April 12, 2010
By Tony Grater

You knew it all day Ranger fans. From the moment you woke up on Sunday morning, until the time Brian Boucher made that last heart breaking, nail in the coffin save on Olli Jokinen in the shoot out. You knew the Rangers just didn’t have one more miracle up their sleeves. Not after Friday’s thrilling 4-3 victory at the Garden. Not after a 7-1-1 run, that made this season come down to one game. The Flyers had this game won before it even started, and I think most Ranger fans will admit that. I am, and it sucks to say it, but it’s just reality.

But the sad part is, we allowed ourselves to be sucked in. I did, you did, we all did. We always do. I tried not to. I said I was done with this team, after they beat the Devils back on March 25th. That was the high I was willing to go out on. All they had to do was just tank the rest of the season after that, and I would’ve been just fine.

But noooo, they had to start winning after that, didn’t they? Had to start gaining ground in the standings. Henrik had to start playing like a man possessed. He couldn’t just crumble under the pressure of missing the playoffs, for the first time since the lockout, could he? No, he had to have this thing called competiveness, and basically put the team on his back, like he always seems to do. Too bad the rest of the team didn’t pay him back for his efforts, which they never seem to do. And that's a real shame.

But that is the pain of being a Rangers fan, people. We all saw this coming a mile away, but like that flaming car wreck on a freeway, we couldn’t just drive on by. No, we had to stop and stare, wondering if somehow, some way…a live body would emerge from the smoldering wreckage.

Am I saying the rest of the Rangers didn’t play well down this stretch? No, of course not. They played valiantly, actually. Erik Christensen, Brandon Dubinsky , Ryan Callahan, Jody Shelley, even Aaron Voros, were all key players down the stretch for the Blueshirts. The forth line of Shelley, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Prust were the best line for them yesterday, contributing to the only goal of the game for the Boys in Blue.

But that’s just the problem. In game 82, with a playoff birth at stake, your fourth line should NOT be your best line. Where was Marian Gaborik? Where was Vinny Prospal? Where was our Captain, Mr. Clutch, Chris Drury? Where were our 2 overpaid defensemen, Michael Rosival, and Wade Redden? Oh, that’s right, they were invisible...as usual!

Which brings me to my next topic, CHANGES:

It is very simple. In order for this team, to make NECESSARY changes for next season, (let that read: secondary scoring, a REAL power play quarterback defenseman, and a punishing defenseman to clear the net in front of Lundqvist), Drury, Rosival and Redden, need to be off this team...PERIOD! And I don’t just mean releasing them, and the team eating their contracts, cause that will not help. They need to be traded for someone else’s headache, but for not as lengthy a time.

How will they accomplish this? Beats me, that’s Sather’s problem not mine. He hamstrung this organization with those 3 contracts, he needs to find a way to get rid of them. He’s the one who said, with the Rangers money, he could win a cup. Well, we all know that you will see lightning strike a dog in the forehead, before he accomplishes that. Let’s see him perform a real miracle and get rid of these 3 albatrosses. Come on Glen, you sorry excuse, for a sorry excuse of a GM…GET RID OF THESE CONTRACTS!!!

Oh, I’m sorry…did you people think I was actually going to call for Sather to be fired? Lol..yeah, ok…think again. Sather’s not going anywhere, and we all know that. I have screamed and ranted and raved since 2004 for that waste of a life to be fired. But our Fat Head owner, in the only time he has ever acknowledged that the New York Rangers Hockey team actually exists, said he wasn’t firing him. Not then, or anytime soon. And that was in the mist of the team going 7 straight years without making the playoffs. So does anybody really think Dolan is going to suddenly awaken from his coma after one season of no playoffs, after they’ve made them the last 4 year a row? Please, Lebron James is going to be a free agent this summer…THAT’S MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THEN A TEAM HE BARELY KNOWS EXISTS!!!

Sorry for getting off track here, folks. I have just grown very tired of the lack of accountability within this organization. You have a team that plays across the river, that year after year, makes the playoffs, wins Stanley Cups, and does NOT accept anything less then success. You would think that the Rangers would want to compete with that. You would think.

But all that really matters to this organization is being competitive, and the over the top, glorification of the past. You can’t look at anything Rangers related nowadays, without 1994 lurking somewhere in the shadows. From the 20 different specials on the MSG network, to all the paraphernalia in the Garden, to Mike Keenan being a host on Hockey Night Live, all this organization cares about is the '94 team, and sellouts. And Ranger fans buy into it. We talk about ‘94 to the point of nauseam, we buy the tickets, and we buy into the hype of the Garden being, “The World’s Most Famous Arena”. Do I love the memories of the 94 team? Yes. Do I love the fact that we pack the Garden almost every night, and that we have some of the most diehard, loyal fans, in all of sports? Absolutely, I take pride in it. Do I love the Garden, and the aura it gives off every time I walk into it, even after 25 years? You better believe it.

But I'm sorry, at this point in my life, I need more then that. I need NEW memories. I am sick and tired of ‘94 being shoved down my throat, 16 years later. It honestly feels like it was yesterday, that’s how often it’s brought up. Almost as if the organization wants to ingrain it into our heads, that that is the best they will ever do, and that we shouldn’t expect any more, cause it took them so long, just to get that monkey off their back. I mean, is this what Sam Rosen was referring to on that hot summer night in 1994, when he said, “This one will last a lifetime!”?

I am proud to be a Ranger fan. I wear it like a badge of honor, as most Blueshirt fans do. But I need more reasons to be proud of them, then one Championship in 70 years, and then just sticking with my team no matter how bad they are. I need to justify helping to pack that building night after night, other then because I’m a Ranger fan, and that’s just what we do. I need another reason to love walking into that building, other then the fact that it’s called the Garden. Does anyone not hear what I’m saying? Or are you too distracted watching the Richter documentary, that’s probably on MSG right now?

Glenn Sather has been here for 10 years. He has won nothing in that time time span, and will not be fired for it, anytime soon. I may not like that, but it is what it is. So with that in mind, if he is not going to be fired, then he needs to get rid of 3 contracts this summer, and set this team up for a REAL run at the Stanley Cup. There is actually a nice nucleus in place here, with Lundqvist, Gaborik, Staal, DelZotto, Dubinsky and Callahan. I would include Girardi in that mix, but I lost all respect for him after he sat by and watched Gaborik get humiliated by that thug on skates, Dan Carcllio. He should be part of a trade for something that can help this team get out of the salary cap hell that they are in.

Whatever the case, enough is enough. I'm tired of screaming about the same things over and over again, so I will make it very simple for our GM and our owner:

For Sather: Fix this mess of a team, or get the frig out of here.

For Fat Head: Acknowledge that we exist, demand more from yourself and the entire organization, or sell the team.

And while you're at it:

Stop with the World’s Most Famous Arena crap.

Stop shoving 1994 down our throats.

Look at the team across the river.

Take note that they don’t accept failure, and that you do.

Be embarrassed by that fact.

And freaking do something about it already.

1 comment:

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