State of the Rangers

The day after sports stopped, a thank you to the 2019-2020 New York Rangers

Exceeding expectations, this team gave the fanbase hope

The coronavirus outbreak cancelled or suspended all major sporting events. For the first time in the modern sports era, we will go an entire month without watching a single sport live or on TV. We will not hear a sporting event on the radio. The outbreak has stripped us of one of those singular events that unites.

The timing couldn’t have been worse, as March is one of the best months in sports. March Madness. The playoff push in the NHL and NBA. Season openings for MLS and MLB. All of it cancelled or postponed. Yet the decisions were the correct and obvious ones. There are no complaints. No objections. Just disgruntled acceptance.

Sports have a unique way of uniting populations. It doesn’t matter where you grew up, what you do for a living, where you live. It doesn’t matter what religion you follow, where you went to school, or how much money you have. All that matters is that everyone loves the same team.

The 2019-2020 Rangers were a rare team that unified a fan base starving for a competitor. The rebuilding Rangers were not expected to compete this season. They were expected to be a bottom-feeder, one that would finish with a top-ten pick. They would be a fun team to watch offensively, but they just simply wouldn’t be good enough to make a difference.

Through the first two months of the season, those predictions were on point. The Rangers struggled defensively while proving to be an extraordinarily talented offensive team. But then in December, everything changed.

The Blueshirts all of a sudden figured it out. They were scoring and they were playing defense. By January the goaltending caught up to the Baby Blueshirts and the team started to win games. And boy did they win games. In just one month, the Rangers went from near bottom of the division to fighting for a playoff spot. But as it stands today, the Rangers finished the season on the outside looking in.

The NHL hopes to finish the season. But even if they can’t and the season ends, the Baby Blueshirts gave this fan base some semblance of hope that the rebuild is going in the right direction. Despite all our differences and arguments, the one thing we agreed upon was this team was trending in the right direction. They had talented kids making strides. They had elite level talent carrying the load. They had leadership and goaltending.

Perhaps cancelling/suspending the rest of the season is a good thing, a blessing in disguise, for the Rangers. They saw this team at its absolute worst, then watched them turn it around to their absolute best. This team was fun to watch again. After two years of watching them flounder, the Rangers mattered. They will continue to matter next season too.

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  • I won’t give up hope yet, I can’t! I was finally going out of my way (again) to watch every game. You can’t take that away!!

    What a year, but please don’t be over yet.

  • Hope everybody is healthy and taking this stuff seriously. Bettman did the right thing by suspending the season, and in doing so showed real leadership.

    It was a fun year while it lasted. And the Rangers have shown massive improvement overall. Stay safe.

  • I don’t think the season is over . I bet in 30 days we will resume the season but if not, this was the most fun I have had watching this team in 4 years!

    Still work to be done with the roster but having 2 first round picks in a strong draft should definitely add to the forward depth that they so desperately need.

    • Omg finally someone who isn’t being dramatic you are 100% correct! We will be returning in at most a month probably less the that.

  • Ok no playoffs.
    But since they ended up outside looking in doesn’t that mean we are in the lottery?
    If so just imagine the No.1 pick???

      • That would be tooooooo obvious. We can’t let Mario Le Wimp get another #1 over all pick again!!!!!!!! They have to dive next season to get any good picks again……….

  • this is unfortunate but necessary. That said there are a lot of implications from this issue beyond the end of the season. What happens to the cap? what happens with the draft? How about the teams who were buying UFA’s at the trade deadline?

  • I hope that everyone is well and taking precautions to make sure that they and their families are safe. I am hopeful that we will get through this soon.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Rangers play this season. They have so many good young players who are developing before our eyes. It is easy to forget, but Mika Zibanejad was pretty young when the Rangers obtained him and wow, look at him now. Panarin is an amazing hockey player and I believe that Trouba will eventually be regarded as the foundation of their defensive corps. Add to them DeAngelo and Fox and Lindgren and Chytil and Kakko, and hopefully Kravstov, and the Tsar in goal, and a healthy Chris Kreider and a sometimes smiling Buchnevich, and there is a lot to love about this team.

    I am thankful to have been able to watch them this year even if this is the end of their season. I look forward to watching an even better Rangers team for years to come.

    • Peter

      Well said, and I for one have been waiting for years watching this team, and now seeing a group of young kids starting to develop into a very good team. The best is yet to come from these kids, and I hope to be around for the next 8-10 years of watching a terrific young team become a Cup winning team!!!!!!!!!!!! What’s not to love about this rebuild??????????

        • Peter

          LOL!

          I’m not ready just yet to take my spot at the dinosaur display , by rushing things along!!!!!!!!

          Be good my friend………

  • Dave, you may have expected a bottom feeder. I expected a bubble team. It’s been a fun ride! Hope it resumes soon.

    • And as always thanks for all your great work this year, BSB staff!

      If anything, the posts have been even more engaging during this rebuild as we got to step back and tackle big picture issues instead of spending millions of pixels debating who should play 4th line wing! (TG15 forever)

  • Nice article David.

    Stay safe and healthy everyone. Never seen anything like this in my life. Crazy happenings everywhere. But we are a strong people and we will get through this, as always.

  • Something else will go wrong next year and they’ll keep rebuilding. Its been 26 years since the last cup. When does the rebuilding end and the winning start?

  • The NHL is paused not suspended or cancelled. They will be returning fairly soon. The Rangers will have a chance to make the playoffs. People have to stop being dramatic.

    • Looking at the current trends, I really have my doubts about things returning to normal “fairly soon”. I certainly hope they do, but that’s going to require a sudden drop off in the number of cases reported each day, and there doesn’t seem to be anything out there that would cause that to happen. There’s no vaccine, we still don’t have enough test kits, and people are just starting to take the concept of a “self quarantine” seriously. I figure at least a month for all of the existing cases to run their course (for better or worse), then another month so that anybody who’s gotten infected during THAT month to get treatment, then another month for everything to settle down and people to become confident enough to start congregating again.

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