Little positive energy around the Rangers is understandable

Call it sour grapes, but the officiating fiasco in Game 2 changed the series

There will come a time when Rangers fans look back on this season with mostly fond memories, but it is not this day.

Not when the team was so close – four measly wins from attaining the sport’s ultimate prize – but now faces the very realistic prospect of an embarrassing sweep. And not when that prize was seemingly lost as much because of atrocious officiating and because of pucks’ recent tendency to find every which way to bounce off Blueshirts into their own net, while simultaneously finding every which way to bounce away from the opponents’.

Years ago, Wayne Gretzky famously said, “there are three seasons in the NHL: The regular season, the post-season and then the Stanley Cup final.”

Never could a statement ring more true with this fan base.

Let’s not pretend the Rangers haven’t enjoyed a little bit of good fortune on their own to even get to this point. Despite Dustin Tokarski’s best effort, New York was lucky not to face Carey Price. The Blueshirts have been similarly lucky to avoid any major injuries during their improbable playoff run. Many have pointed out that the Rangers got to face the relative cupcake slate of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Montreal, as opposed to San Jose, Anaheim and Chicago. And – as morbid as it sounds – they stumbled upon a rallying point in the form of a horrible tragedy when Marty St. Louis mother passed away.

One goal was the difference between the Blueshirts facing the Kings and the Blackhawks – undoubtedly a much more favorable matchup. Then again, one goal was the difference between New York advancing past both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to the Conference Finals.

That’s hockey. Only one team gets to win the Stanley Cup and the Rangers have gotten as close as you can get without (in all likelihood) winning it.

There’s blame to go around for the team’s failure at the summit of the mountain, but the Kings are just the better team. That much is very clear, but it’s massively unfortunate that bad luck and poor refereeing prevented New York’s chance at a mini miracle. You can hear the frustration in the players’ voices, and it’s hard to blame them in this case.

27 Responses to “Little positive energy around the Rangers is understandable”

  1. Walt says:

    The only thing I ask for is that the Rangers come out tonight with a fire under their seats, and play the best they can. Win, or lose, put on the best show you know how!!!!!

  2. SalMerc says:

    It is a sad day; not a day to reflect on past positives just yet. I hope they show some heart and passion as well, although a collapse would be understandable. Someone must have touched the Prince of Wales trophy, no other explanation.

  3. Gary says:

    Townie: “Oh no, we suck again!”

    Later: “You can do it Waterboy!”

    I think they’ll win tonight and I think they may win again in LA. Then the cruelty of the sport comes due.

  4. Dave says:

    The Kings are the better team, it is what it is. Then again, if the Rangers take one of those overtime games (mostly coin flips at that point), we are having a different discussion.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      This series is eerily similiar to the Kings vs Devils SCF in 11-12. My brother is a die hard Devils fan, so I watched that one pretty closely.

      Kings took Games 1 and 2…both could have gone either way, especially Game 2 which the Devil’s lost in OT after squandering a few good chances to end the game themselves. Kings then took Game 3. The Devils staved off elimination in Game 4, but ultimately fell to the Kings in 5 games.

      What I really need here is the Rangers to win tonight AND Friday. I would love just 1 more weekend which I can bask in Rangers Playoffs optimism. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, all I’m asking for is a few more days to ride the wave. Cause it has been a hell of a good time.

      Also, getting swept is friggin embarrassing. Let’s get it done tonight boys. 1 at a time.

      • Scully says:

        I think that series went 6 and in the 6th game someone on the Devils got a BS boarding penalty and a game misconduct in the 1st period which changed the whole games. I’m pretty sure the Devils won games 4 and 5 of that series.

        • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

          Correct. It was a game misconduct on Steve Bernier I believe, which then led to 3(!) Kings PP goals. It was a questionable call.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Good call, Scully. 6 games it was.

          • Scully says:

            Hey, I’m wrong sometimes. If bounces go different ways we could be up. Also, what kind of a fellow Rangers fan likes to tell another Rangers fan “I told you so” when our team is losing? You need to have some good s*x brahh and lighten up.

            I’ll tell ya who I could see them going out and getting even with his massive cap hit (somehow)… Dion Phaneuf.

            • Scully says:

              Woah really sorry! Thought you were going off on me because I had predicted the Rangers would win in 6 (which I did). Sincere apologies about telling you to lighten up. Still hope you’re having some good s*x though :).

  5. BrooklynVic says:

    All positives from me, however, I just don’t understand how a goal, of any kind, penalty induced or not, is not reviewed each time in the NHL Stanley Cup Final.

    I am still feeling in from Game 2. I don’t even play hockey. I am just a everyday fan. That call will stick with me for the rest of my life. We are still to blame for letting up multiple 2-goal leads but that call really hurts because you are left with the ‘What If’ it had been called the right way, incidental contact, if not goalie interference.

    Heart isn’t going to win this game. Its grit, focus, capitalization and execution.

    I expect this game will at the very least be the game the Rangers play in which they shot the most out of every game this series. High shot total, means we are in their zone, means we are around their net, means bounces COULD and hopefully WILL start falling for us. Lets go Rangers… It ain’t over yet

    • Chris A says:

      Vic, if you are talking about the interference goal in Game 2 that was a call that cannot be reversed by replay.

      Unfortunately, a goalie interference call has to be made by the ref on the ice, not by the War Room in Toronto. I don’t agree with it but that’s the rule.

      And I feel you man, I was fuming from Saturday night into Sunday afternoon after that non-call.

      • "The Original" Rob says:

        Also, not to mention, there were at least 2 if not 3 blatant infractions the Kings committed early in the third period that weren’t called, and the delay of game non-call in OT.

        Well, we’ll never get those calls back! It happened, life goes on and we have to focus on game 4 now, 1 shift, 1 period and 1 game at a time. LGR!!!

  6. joe719 says:

    You never know!. Maybe collectively the Kings eat some bad clams, and the Cup is ours!!!!! Play the game! Note to Girardi: keep your big feet away from Hank!!!!!

  7. Sally says:

    Oh for gosh sakes! Quit moping around and go down fighting.

  8. Scully says:

    I’m super proud of this team. The main difference between us and the LA Kings is, like Gretzky said on MSG last night, when you’ve scaled the mountain (or been defeated at the top of the mountain in the finals) you understand the even higher level of play needed to win the Stanley Cup.

    Three years ago, before the Rangers made the similar run to the Conference Finals and signed Brad Richards, I said that based on the previous year and the team’s development, we were about three years away from being a legitimate long-term Cup contender. I was spot on with my guess, albeit with a decent amount of roster turnover.

    If they do lose the cup this year, the best part about this season will be the amount of anger and determination this young core of players will have all summer going into next season. This Rangers team was not a 96 point team this year even if that’s what we finished at. If we’re salty as fans, imagine how salty they’ll be especially given how these loses have occurred. Remember, The Oilers lost to the Islanders in ’83 before winning it all. The Penguins lost to the Red Wings in ’08 before winning it all. Those same Red Wings got swept by the Devils in ’95 before winning it all two times in a row. You have to taste defeat. It’s like heartbreak. Once you know it, you know all the warning signs and you fight like hell (talking about hockey here not about avoiding romantic relationships) to make sure you don’t experience those same feelings again. To be close enough to glory reach out and touch it and to have it yanked away is a fuel that will burn all next year. Aside from MSL, and assuming Richards is bought out, Lundvist will be the oldest member of this core at 32. We’re a young, hungry squad just first learning how to make a run for the cup.

    On December 12th after a loss to Columbus, the Rangers were 15-7-1. After that point, the Rangers went 30-14-5 and then made a run at the cup. That’s a big reason as to why I’ve been so positive this season. Yes, we need some tweaking. Richards needs to be bought out, but I don’t necessarily condone buying out Richards to sign Stastny for similar money because he is in my opinion a #2 center who’d be getting paid #1 center money. What I actually believe oddly enough is that we need a bigger, tougher, defenseman to play with McD and to be able to move Girardi back down to play with Staal where he belongs… as one of the best #2 defenseman in the league. Of course, finding a big dude who can skate is next to impossible. I’d even try Klein on the 1st pairing. He’s very steady defensively.

    With all of that being said, this series ain’t over until it’s over. Just win a shift, win a period, win a game, and go from there.

    • Scully says:

      err they were 15-17-1 … 2 games under .500

      • Chris F says:

        I’m very much in favor of giving Klein top pairing duties and dropping Girardi to the second pair where the matchups would better allow for him to truly be a shutdown defenseman.

        Assuming Stralman is retained:

        McDonagh – Klein
        Staal – Girardi
        Moore – Stralman

        • joe719 says:

          I’d go for that. Put Girardi back with Staal; thats where Staal played his best Hockey. I’d like to see them go out and get, somehow, a really stud, physical, stay at home defenseman to pair with McD. Then we could see if McD really can be the offensive force that he has shown flashes of. But its gonna cost Sather to do that.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Scully/Chris F… I am also very much in favor with changing some things on D, but I’d like to see something slightly different.

      We all know how McDonagh’s numbers improve when he is not on the ice with Girardi. Roughly his corsi% climbs by a staggering 7%.

      I think an interesting experiment to try out next season would be to pair Staal and Girardi as our top shutdown pairing. Both players, we are told are capable of playing such a role. If they could do it effectively (and that is the key here), it would allow us to roll McDonagh out with, say, Stralman to expose other team’s weaker roster depth. McDonagh and Stralman are our two best possession defense-men and could probably do some damage offensively against other teams. If Staal/Girardi could neutralize the oppositions top unit, and McD/Stralman could take advantage of weaker competition and translate that on the scoreboard, we really could be looking at something special for next year. Under this model, Klein and Moore would remain a more than serviceable 3rd pair.

      I am a bit surprised that we haven’t seen this experiment at all earlier this year. I’m not advocating we try it tonight, but I would have expected AV to get some different looks prior to this post season.

      • Chris F says:

        That could be quite interesting.

        McD/Stralman could be a monster possession pairing especially if getting 2nd pairing matchups.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Not a bad idea, but may be a bit too late as it seems a longshot that Stralman will be back.