I wanted to give myself a few days before fully addressing how I felt about the New York Rangers’ 2014-15 season. I’ve gone through the emotions of of sadness to anger and being pissed off and near tears at the same time. I saw a guy wearing a BLUESHIRTS playoff tee in the supermarket, and I got all choked up. A friend of mine told me (not a Rangers fan, to say the least) that this is the most upset he’s seen me as a Ranger fan yet. And it’s true. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about this team, and it’s not even disappointment, though that’s part of it.
It’s not even my wanting the Stanley Cup – damn, how I wanted that fucking trophy this year – it’s more of a squandering an opportunity kind of thing.
This is the year I realized that it’s getting close to the later years of Henrik Lundqvist. Glen Sather and James Dolan have dicked around to the extent that they could have possibly wasted his best years as a top flight goalie. Guys like Henke don’t grow on trees. He’s a one of a kind player and goalie, someone we’ll be rare to see in our history of Rangers greats. And believe me, there are more players who were *great* but never got the championship than special players who actually did win a championship. But I also think of losing guys like Darren Turcotte and Tony Amonte in 1994, great role players who were traded away for a “win now” attitude that did “win now,” yet ultimately set the team back decades.
Yes, I do realize that they won their only championship that year those two guys were gone. They could’ve forfeited years of multiple titles had they held onto them too. We’ll never know.
So my tears after the last horn sounded, signaling the end of the season, was not because of a loss of a game or a series. It’s almost something of a loss I felt, like it’s the end of an era. I don’t think things will be as storylike as they were this season. When they lost in OT to the hated Devils in the ECF in 2012, I was optimistic. Sure, I hated losing, especially to that team, but I was future thinking. They had the goods, finally, it seemed. Then 2013 rolled around and the abbreviated season just seemed like a wash and the team knew it. Last year, that was a special year. Though I was disappointed in their performance in the Stanley Cup Final, I knew they could hold their head high by being so close to elimination and never gave up till they ran out of gas.
See, THIS was supposed to be the year they had the axe to grind. Losing this game and series, in my opinion, was nothing to be proud. The same old, “Blah blah just to play there is an honor.” Anyone who says they are “just proud to be nominated” is a lying BITCH. My friend Will says that he hates losing more than he likes winning. I could see on the faces of some of the players that the loss got to them. So they could get that emotion, hated losing more than loving to win. That loss last year was supposed to make them hungry for this year. Then backs against the wall and turning it on against the Capitals this year. Every fan I knew was confident that this was the motivation they needed (not, you know, the motivation of accolades and a championship and being beloved by the best city in the world).
And this was just more than how I felt after, say, the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl earlier this year. It was more than a loss of the season or a championship, especially they way they lost. A Seahawks blogger by the name of Ramona over at Dave Krieg’s Strike Beard summed it up eloquently after SB 49: “The sadness I’m feeling isn’t just from the defeat in XLIX, but also from the sudden absence of this wonderful team in my life.”
I felt exactly the same for that Seahawks team. But the absence of the Rangers team from this season…yeah, not one I’m particularly endeared to right now.
I know it’s incredibly difficult to “blow the fucker up,” with salary caps and being able to move guys easily, but if there’s anything close that can be done for the New York Rangers to get Hank some players who aren’t treating GAME FUCKING SEVEN of the ECF like it’s a Tuesday night game in December, or as Will likes to say, “Get Hank some real bitches who can play.” Because the lack of killer instinct or wanting to win or PLAYING NOT TO LOSE (I am a Mets fan…I have enough to deal with regarding that shit), that’s what gets to me.
We live in a world where Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman or Brad Richards all have a chance for that crowning glory. And we live in a world where Henrik Lundqvist may join the pantheon of great players who may never have an opportunity like this year to win it all. And that just sucks.
If that doesn’t anger you as a fan, I hate to play the “you are not a real fan” card, because that shit pisses me off when it’s said to me…but it should make you upset at the very least. Or as another Twitter buddy Cristina likes to say, it should make you feel as though a part of you has died. Because I know that’s how I felt this year.
I’ve been through a lot of things, being a sports fan. I got over the 2000 World Series pretty quickly. The funny thing was, I felt like that Mets team was on the precipice of something great, then they did a complete 180 and by the way, fuck Steve Phillips and Mike Bordick (hey, my blog, my rules). Yet, most fans would tell you that the 1999 team was the one that fell short and was disappointing. And I will always maintain that losing John Olerud was the hit the Mets should not have taken. And I’m about to get all worked up about what an idiot asshole dickface Steve Phillips was, so I’ll just stop while I’m ahead.
So back to this year. LAST Year was the “rah rah feel good get-em-next-year” year. THIS was the take no prisoners, winner takes all year. I almost threw a shoe at my computer when I read that Martin St. Louis said something to the effect of being proud and waiting till next year. OH FUCK NEXT YEAR. NEXT YEAR WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THIS YEAR. My goodness, I am so angry right now. I could probably throw something else in addition to my shoe.
And the regular season was a feat in and of itself. They lost Henrik for a spell, and the team really stepped up their game to give Cam Talbot, who really has endeared himself to most Rangers fans for his performance in Hank’s absence. It was really a lot of fun to watch them in the regular season. No one seemed to pass the memo onto the team that the President’s Trophy means dick if you can’t bring home the real trophy.
My friend for over 20 years, NotGlen Sather handled it all in stride. Like many, though, I want it to be just more than the 1994 Rangers. But he takes comfort in it, saying that it’s something many generations of Rangers fans ONLY have too. I was also kind of hoping that the year he expects his first child to coincide with a championship for his favorite sport.
I can’t say it wasn’t meant to be. It could’ve been. And that’s what makes me still so angry, two days later.
This one is going to sting for awhile.
It is not easy
the war within us
but it gets easier
the more we learn
I don’t need to win
You don’t have to lose
We can choose
happiness is an option
I bought a small bottle of Prosecco for the Super Bowl this year. Needless to say, I did not open it. While I had entertained using it for mimosas on a lazy Sunday morning, I decided to hold it for what I felt to be a formality in getting to the Stanley Cup this year for the Rangers. I will be moving in a few weeks, and it looks like the Prosecco will be making the move as well.
I’ve always used sports as a form of escapism, and this hockey season has left me void of something. The Chicago Blackhawks won their game seven last night and will be advancing to play the Lightning as well. But I will always believe in my heart of hearts that this could have been the Rangers’ season. You can’t even say they got beat by the better team. They got beat by themselves.
That’s the worst loss of all.
My dad said he’s been a fan for over 45 years and bleeds Ranger blue. This one sucked, but he said losing games like that doesn’t get easier over time. I could choose happiness as my option, but the reality is, I’m too angry to even consider being happy. I guess come back to me when the season starts again. But I’ve learned to not get my hopes up with this team, ever. And that, my friends, really sucks.