When the Rangers “forgot to show up” for their game against the Caps on Saturday, many people panicked. How can they win in the playoffs if they don’t show up for what amounts to a meaningless game? How dare they not show up on the final game of the year! The prize wasn’t the President’s Trophy. The prize is the Stanley Cup.
Quick…who won the President’s Trophy for the 1997-1998 season? No Google allowed.
Ok, who won the Stanley Cup? The Red Wings, their second in a row.
That’s the point here. No one remembers who won the President’s Trophy. Everyone remembers who wins it all. John Tortorella knows that, and he gave regular shifts to everyone on his club. Only Michael Del Zotto and Marc Staal came close to 24 minutes of ice time, which is a good sign for Staal. Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh played 21:17 and 19:50 respectively, roughly 50 fewer minutes than they usually play </exaggeration>.
Sure they lost the game and the President’s Trophy, but there are far worse things in the game of hockey. Derek Stepan played 20 minutes after almost losing a limb on that Brooks Orpik hit, which is probably the most important thing to come from that game. Reiterating a point from above, Staal played close to 24 minutes of ice time. The Rangers will need him to be able to handle that workload throughout the playoffs if they are going to succeed. That’s two great signs for the Rangers.
The Stanley Cup is the prize in June. No one cares who wins the President’s Trophy.