Marian Gaborik

The FUN In DysFUNctional

There’s this great saying, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

There’s also another great saying.  That the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.

And there you can interchange “Glen Sather” with “insanity.”

Yes, this is in response to the firing of John Tortorella as head coach of the New York Rangers.  I guess like many, it came as a surprise but it was not exactly shocking.  One cannot fire a whole team, so you fire the coaches.  And unfortunately, with Torts, the buck stopped with him many time.

Most notably, now, with the recent ousting of the Rangers in the Eastern semis to the Boston Bruins.

Well here is a novel thought, Slats…GET BETTER PLAYERS YOU FUCKING MORON!

I haven’t yet finished my Rangers season wrap-up (and it’s coming, don’t you worry), yet, I’m already getting agita from this bullshit going on into 2013-14.

Yes, this was a shortened season.  Yes, I wasn’t crazy about the prospect of the whole “half a cup” thing. But goddammit, if I didn’t get excited about the playoffs this year.

Yet, I don’t think it’s Torts who failed his team.  Rather, the team failed Torts.

Give the guy some credit.  In a big media market, Torts took the pressure off his team and put it on himself.  Never a media darling, the fans loved him because he could separate the emotional from the professional.  Or at least the fans who liked him.

The fact is, whatever gave him his relationship with the players was his folly this year.

Dan Rosen of NHL.com wrote about the Seven Reasons Why the Rangers Fired Tortorella, and one of the reasons was that his top guys underperformed in the playoffs.

Yeah, no SHIT.  But here’s a swell idea: How about we actually BLAME the players?

What a novel fucking idea.  Instead of playing to win, they figure skated their way through round one, only to realize they can’t do that when the stakes are higher.  Right?

What’s more, is Torts had every right to scratch Brad Richards during the playoffs.  This is the same guy who underperformed ALL season…and he actually has a GOOD relationship with Tortorella! This is also the same guy who dormant during the lockout.

Sure, he may have kept in shape elsewhere.  But the reality is, he underperformed the entire season.

Not to fucking mention, there was a BIG spot missed without Marc Staal healthy.  Add that to the rising shit, and the Rangers were fucking lucky they made it TO the playoffs, let alone make it out of the first fucking round.

Yet, I have to ask, besides Sather basically solidifying future Stanley Cup runs in Columbus, what has he done that has made him so untouchable?  James Dolan has been in rehab: clearly, there must be some kind of damning evidence that Sather has on him that warrants him to be the GM forever and ever.

Could it have been a fluke that the guys he got in the Marian Gaborik trade were hurt? And where the hell was Rick Nash?  Did he NOT realize that yes, your goals count just as much in the playoffs as they do in regular season?

At the end of the day, Torts wasn’t out there NOT scoring on the power play.  Torts didn’t tell Brad Richards – hey, put your job AND mine in jeopardy by forgetting how to play.

To get canned after a half season when it seemed like the team ran on its moxie and mojo from the year prior is an insult.

 

I’ve only been a Ranger fan since 1989. I’m one of the lucky ones, that I only had to wait five years to see my team win a championship.  Like my dad and Kranepool Society, many other fans have been through some dysfunctional times.  To see the team get so far and to fall short.

I’m not sure if Sather, like many people, expected John Tortorella to turn water into wine, or turn the shit that Sather throws to the wall and see if it sticks.

I can only hope that next season the Rangers make it TO the playoffs.  Because Tortorella’s tenure brought back a legitimacy that hasn’t been seen since 1993-94 season.  And remember how Mike Keenan left, and subsequently, cursed the team.

As long as Glen Sather is in charge, we’ll have fun watching these teams, but we’ll be watching a shitload of dysfunction too.

Parallels

I hate when I do this.  I start to compare my sports teams.  I start to compare seasons, that shouldn’t really have anything to do with one another.

Besides being a team sport, what exactly does hockey have to do with baseball?

They wear uniforms, they wear jerseys with names and numbers on the back, they have a common goal (to win) as a team.  Each have a rabid fan base (unless you are in Miami).

When I start to find eerie similarities with a team not only across sports, but historically too, I get a little scared.

What’s more though?  You know, than just comparing one shitty ass season (one, by the way, the Mets STILL have not recovered from quite yet) to another in a totally different sport?  It’s the expectation level associated with it.

NotGlen thinks that last year was the fluke.  I disagree.  They were built for the future, but when you have to part with guys like Dubi and Prust, the chemistry might be a little off.  The scoring was supposed to be strengthened with the addition of Rick Nash (you know, the very thing that killed them in the playoffs last year).  Oh but Nash is hurt…an undisclosed injury.  Sounds like 2009 for the Mets, right, when Jose Reyes got hurt and was out 15 days to the rest of the season.  And don’t get me started on Carlos Beltran that season.

Here’s the other thing that bothers me about this team.  Hockey guys are preternaturally tough.  Yeah, yeah, haha, they ice skate, how tough can they be?  I call them Smurfs on Ice sometimes.  But then I have to question their toughness…it wasn’t just me.

Marty Biron, a backup flippin goalie, questioned the team’s toughness when they didn’t avenge what seemed to be a dirty hit by Max Pacioretty on Ryan McDonagh in Saturday night’s game.

Funny.  Reminds me of when former Met Alex Cora called out his team in 2009 and 2010…a backup flipping shortstop.

Toughness. Seems like John Tortorella has a problem with it too.  He pulled the plug on their practice the other day, but it could go one of two ways.  One is he made them do push ups till their arms fell off.  Two is that he might have seen a malaise and pulled a Davey Johnson right before Game Three of the 1986 World Series…saw his guys were fatigued, and gave them the confidence to rest.

Either way, there are several red flags for this team.  One is their inability to score on a power play.  Even with a ramped up offense, they still can’t friggin score.  It’s sick.  They should just waive it off.  It’s more of an advantage for the other team, clearly.

But there’s also the underlying element of toughness.  They have skaters standing around holding their dicks while their own go down.  (Where’s Doug Glatt when you need him?)  They show no aggressiveness during a Power Play, and make it too fuckin pretty.  They almost seem afraid to score.

Oh yeah and the whole idea of them clicking on all cylinders, or rather, lack thereof.

So Torts tells us it’s not time to panic. In a shortened season, when every win or every loss is amplified. When losing a three goal lead in the fucking third period along with a shootout win is considered a moral victory, they may need to reevaluate where they stand as a team.

There are no moral victories in a season like this.

So Torts, I won’t panic just yet.  But it does give me pause about what, exactly, you are training these guys to think and do.

So Glatt (remember: it’s Hebrew for “Fuck You” according to Goon) to the 2013 Rangers, and the 2009 Mets.  I’d like to not watch a game with dread sometime this season, ok?  Thanks, bye.

Death, Taxes, Rangers Power Play Sucks

Why is it that the Rangers just can’t click on all cylinders?

Like last season, Marian Gaborik couldn’t really play his way out of a paper bag.  Yet Brad Richards’ first season was decidedly a good one.

It was critical during the playoffs last year, as we saw other teams’ forwards come through, and the Rangers did not.

So now that the “missing piece” in the name of Rick Nash is around, guess what?  Brad Richards is sucking wind.

But hey, Gaborik is doing well, right?

Then there’s the Power Play.  Or as my husband likes to call it, the Power-LESS Play.  I disagree.  The suckage continues.

You would think with the strong forwards the Rangers are sporting that the PP would at least be a tad better.  Feh.  It still sucks, and even in Tuesday night’s game, when John Tortorella decided to make it interesting and make a routine 5-on-4 power play a SIX-on-4, with an empty net.  This is what I said.

And guess what???

We can wax intellectual about the last streak, and even the strong games against the Lightning and Islanders (of course, their win, and not the shootout ugly loss), but the reality is they blew two critical leads, especially a three goal lead against the Bruins a few weeks back.

I’m sorry, but I’m not buying this shit show.

And then the cherry on top?  They can’t score on a fucking power play.  When you can’t score, you can’t score.

Hmmm.  Sounds like the coach in American Pie.

As with everything Rangers, if they can’t score on the power play, they can’t expect to win.  That’s what doomed them last year, and that’s what’s dooming them this year.  They better fucking figure it out before it’s too late.

P.S. Rick Nash sat Tuesday night with an undisclosed injury.  Of course he did.

Holtby Sheepshit and Balls

Because the Caps lost in triple overtime, does that mean they suck?  Does it mean Braden Holtby sucks?  Does it mean Henrik’s better?  If the Rangers lost, would they have sucked and Caps would have been world beaters?

It’s one of those existential thoughts, I think, akin to that tree falling in the forest and whether it makes a noise or not.  Although, I do have a few regular readers of this site who would agree with the last question, after all they’re nothing but no-good stinkin Devils fans who take glee in rooting against the Rangers. (Meanwhile, I’m rooting for a meteor).

But I digress.

Last night was one for the ages.  It was really a play of mettle and fortitude, mostly from the goaltending aspect.  Which I guess in baseball, there’s the pitcher’s duel.  What is a tight game that goes into multiple playoff OTs called?  A goaltender spat?  I mean, after two overtimes, I was seeing double and I wasn’t even playing, yet someone like Ryan McDonagh played almost a full hour in nearly 120 minutes of playing time.  Then there’s Stu Bickel, who watched about 114 minutes from the end of the bench.

But this was one not of outlast versus outplayed.  Neither team particularly outplayed one another.  In fact, it was a lot of hitting posts, crossbeams, deflections, but the biggest show of them all was from the goal posts themselves, and who was manning them.

King Henrik was making me shout “Oh My Henrik!” and Holtby made me utter a “HOLTBY sheepshit and balls” during the game.  In fact, one of the sweetest things during the broadcast was seeing Holtby’s parents in the stands, with his mom covering her face and looking through her hands, like I would while I’m watching Dexter or a Mets game.

But my question is simple.  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?  And if the Rangers lost a game in triple overtime does that mean they suck?

And the answer is, no.  In fact, I think for Saturday’s game, they really will need to up the ante.  Because this Holtby kid is special.  He’s got something good going for him, least of it being having two of the coolest parents on planet earth.  If anyone knows them and if they’ll be in New York for Game five, tell them I’d like to buy them a drink! They were class acts all the way, and even as Marian Gaborik decided to grace us with his presence with the game winner, Holtby’s mom cheered the effort.

SHE CHEERED THE EFFORT.

How cool is that?

In a night of bizarro sports, where Jered Weaver held the Minnesota Twins to as many hits as Albert Pujols has home runs, and where I saw every hockey fanatic on Twitter talking about the triple overtime game — the first of its kind this year — with gusto…no matter who their team affiliation is…I just have to say…

Holy sheepshit and balls.

Only the Names Have Changed

Back then, the names on the jerseys were Messier, Leetch, Graves, Richter.  There might have been a Gilbert or Ratelle jersey in the mix.  I might have even seen a Gartner jersey.

Now, the jerseys say Gaborik, Callahan, Richards, Lundqvist.

This, of course, is my trip to TGI Friday’s on 34th St and 8th Avenue, a few blocks north of the Garden.

Gabby the Ranger bear anxiously awaits the opening faceoff while dining at Friday's.

It’s sacrilegious you know, since I do live in New York City, to go to of all places a chain restaurant that merely serves to set itself up as a tourist trap.  Well, bear in mind that once upon a time I actually was one of those…yes, I was a tourist.  I was also 18 years old, not of legal drinking age, and when the Rangers won the Cup in 1994, my dad and I wanted to be near the celebrations.  I could only imagine what places like Mustang Harry’s or Blarney Rock were like in 1994.  All I know is, when I walk past this Friday’s, I get the warm fuzzies, knowing my dad and I were there for the final three games of the series against Vancouver which led to the moment that would last a lifetime, as Sam Rosen called it.  (And by the way, I will miss him for the rest of the playoffs, which are of course to be determined to go as long as they do with how the Rangers perform.)

So Dad and I got a chance to go to the playoffs.  We went last year, to a crushing loss in overtime to the Capitals, and I was thinking this may deja vu all over again.  See, we went to home game two (which is what these are labeled as on the ticket), and I was also coming down with a cold in 2011.  This year, I had a full blown cold, but I’m feeling better now, thank you very much.  The Rangers lost that game in overtime, when Henrik Lundqvist did his best impression of a closer in a non-save situation, as he was fronted a three goal lead, and still managed to give up four unanswered.

I hemmed and hawed.  I wanted to go to a game, but for all I know, it could have been a sweep (it won’t be) and tickets to game five would be moot.  So I threw caution to the wind, and invited Dad and we went.

Dad and I were joking around during game seven in the last series, when I said I should go back to Friday’s for old time’s sake.  Try to get some good energy.  When I told him we were going to game two, I said we should go there for a pregame.

My dad hasn’t touched alcohol in years, but he feels at home at a bar.  It’s odd because he just gravitates towards people, and well, where do people congregate?  A bar!  I drink, as you all know, but since I was under the weather, I wasn’t feeling it.  So we split an appetizer and two soft drinks.  It didn’t break the bank, but we got a kick out of the $19 cheeseburger.

Shit.  Don’t people know you can walk like eight blocks up to Shake Shack for a fraction of cost?  And it’s a far superior burger?

Dad was pretty anxious to get in, about an hour before.  He needed to get his game face on, and so did I.  I also introduced Marian Gaborik, aka Gabby Bear, to playoff hockey.  She was born in December during a game in the Team Store, so this is her first experience.  As we walked into the security bag check, the usher said, “Oh I see we’ve got our mascot here.”  He lifted her out of the bag, and she yelled, “YAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” as she’s wont to do during a game, especially after a goal.  She’s a wild one, all right, like her mom.  She loves junk food, especially french fries and chips (of any kind), is a brawler unlike her namesake.

 

The 50 or so minutes we had to kill before the game went quickly, as before I knew it, John Amirante was out psyching up the crowd during his rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

   

But I guess the rally towels they handed out as we walked into the arena were only good for show, as the Rangers quickly found themselves in a 2-0 hole.  That literally should have been a 1-0 at best deficit, but Henrik decided to get fancy at one point.  Do what you do best, Henke: guard the fucking net.

But they managed to tie it up by coming from behind, only to lose on a bullshit call with a bullshit penalty.  It was like the refs wanted to keep the Capitals in the game.  Although they were in it.

I didn’t think of this as a wrenching or crushing loss.  It was just a loss.  Not like last year as I sat there, with a bad chest cold coming on, wanting to die as they went into OT, where they shouldn’t have been anyway.  I knew the series was over, although technically, it took the Caps a game to finish that deed off.

Tonight was different.  I guess after such a stressful first round, you don’t sweat the small stuff.  You’re going to win some games, you’re going to lose some games.  Shit happens.  Both teams played equally well.  The Caps may scare me, but I think the Rangers can take ‘em, and let last season seem like a fluke.  In fact, it only shows this won’t be nearly as easy as we thought.  It will be interesting.  It will be a challenge.

It will be what hockey playoffs are supposed to be.

Yet, I’ve come a long way, because I didn’t have to stay at Friday’s to watch the game, I was able to actually go to the game.

Fridays might not have changed all that much, though.  In fact, my dad pointed out the brass rail that some crazy homeless dude who got into the bar almost tore off the wall during the Rangers wins.  “He Shoots! He SCORES!” the guy kept yelling, as he was falling all over the place.

But instead of “TGI Fridays” it’s branded as “Fridays.”  The names on the jerseys may show Messier, Leetch or Richter, but there are Callahan, Gaborik and Lundqvist.

A new generation, but same old Rangers fans.  And only the names have changed on the back of the jerseys.  The excitement and the heart of playoff hockey still rings true 18 years later.

Running on Rangers

We’re hitting the home stretch of regular season hockey games, especially for the Rangers as it seems they are playing a game every other day.  Originally, I had two games to go to: Sunday, March 11, and Friday, March 23.  Also odd because I rarely do two games in a month, much less miss a month of live games.  That’s what happened this year.  I had tickets to the Rangers/Devils game in February at home, but I sold my tickets for a hefty ransom.  Hey, if I can make some money off the supply/demand issue at those games, I’ll take advantage of it.

But then I had a friend who came into town this weekend.  Our story is kind of funny, like many in this world.  We went to school together.  We had a lot of the same friends, but I don’t remember hanging out with her solely.  (If I did, I apologize, ha ha).  I didn’t know she was a Rangers fan till a few years ago, when we reconnected on Facebook, as many are wont to do, especially due to our mutual friends.  Another layer that added to our friendship was that we were long distance runners; I’m still a novice, she’s definitely more experienced (not to mention, faster!) than I am.  She gets the intensity that goes into both the fan perspective and being an accidental athlete.

This is my friend Aimee. When she found out she was chosen in the NYC Half lottery, like I was, she needed a place to stay.  ***HI!!!***  But it’s all good.  I love having guests and if I can help them save some money and stay in a cool neighborhood, that works for me (they also need to like cats though but that’s no problem for Aimee – she has three).

Anyway, a few weeks before the half, Aimee realized that the Rangers were playing a home game the night before the race.  She decided that though we like to keep things low key the night before a race, she rarely makes visits to the city anymore for games, and she couldn’t give up an opportunity to go to a game when she happened to be in town.

So then, there were three.  Three games, for me, in the month of March now.

Originally I had planned on writing about this recap after the game on he 23rd.  Yet, the two games had such differentials that I felt the need to go over it now.  The first game was a dramatic overtime win with the help of the RUN-BMC line (Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Carl Hagelin) and most specifically an almost literal last second goal in sudden death by Gaborik.

 

The game on Saturday was almost a killjoy.  Former Washington Capital goalie now on the Colorado Avalanche, Semyon Varlamov, absolutely stupified Rangers goal scorers.  I forget the exact amount, but it was like 41 shots-on-goal to the Avalanche’s like 20.  I am not joking.  Henrik Lundqvist had a bad game, by giving up two goals.  The Rangers offensive unit was worse and couldn’t help their goalie.  Turns out this wasn’t the first time Varlamov has done this to the Blueshirts.  During the game Aimee had asked that question, whether he had given us trouble in the past.  Well, the answer was yes.  And the worst part was that Mats Zuccarello’s first goal was almost forgotten because of the unprecedented performance.

We didn’t let that bad news get us down for our race Sunday morning.  We had to be at Central Park before 7 am, so for runners with rituals, we need to be up earlier than THAT.  By 5 am, we were up and at ‘em, George McFaddam.  And you know, the Rangers loss didn’t translate into a grumpy run for me.  My friend Chuck always says that he likes when I run angry.  I don’t know if I’m necessarily an “angry” runner.  I know when people piss me off on the course, I get that way.

The corral took over 40 minutes to even get to the starting line.  By 8:15 I was heading to the first mile.

Roughly, the first half of the course takes place in Central Park, killer hills and all.  I train there, though, so I feel like I have an advantage to some who don’t train there.  Of course, if you’re a good runner and fast, then you have all the advantage in the world!

The course brings you through the heart of Manhattan – Times Square, then runs downtown to South Street Seaport.  I admit to dragging but I knew my husband would be meeting me at designated places on the course, with some words of encouragement and photos.  Mostly, with bears.

If you don’t follow my husband on Twitter, or on his blog, you should be.  He’s one of the most generous and creative people I’ve ever known.  I often say that he serves as my personal assistant, water boy and photographer for my races.  If the shoe was on the other foot, I’m not sure I’d do the same thing.  But he brought along three bears to cheer me on — Angel, a Mets bear; Nicky, the running bear; and Gabby, the Ranger bear.

Gabby greeted me at Mile 12 with this sign.

 

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw it (hence the picture next to it).  Needless to say I had a big smile on my face, and I knew even though I was dragging, getting to Mile 13 would be a piece of cake because I had the back wind and momentum to power me forward.

I run to a music mix of Paul McCartney’s greatest hits, Abbey Road, Sgt. Peppers, and usually it brings me to Paul McCartney and the Wings’ Band on the Run.  The second song of my music mix is Jet, and the second song on the Band on the Run album is the same.  So I hear some of the same songs twice.  Not to worry though, as these songs are welcome and I don’t get sick of them.  But I was being guided into the finish line by Jet once again.

When I saw my husband and my friend snapping my pics at the end, I was inspired.  I was inspired by the song, by the runners, by my sports affiliations.  Before each Jets game, some of the players go out, looking like planes and zooming onto the field.  So I do that.

Sometimes my teams disappoint me.  Yet I believe in momentum and that power that carries you forward into the finish line for every season, every day, in every part of our lives.  The Jets gave me a bit of inspiration, the Mets have shaped my life, and the Rangers have made it possible for me to be thankful that I am a sports fan at this point in my life.

There are things in life that give you momentum.  For me, the running has given me a distraction from the daily stuff in life that could keep me down, like rejection.  Other times, sports have given me the opportunity to connect with people I never would have, or reconnect with people I’ve known for a long time but on a different level.

 

These pictures represent the fact that sports has brought to me some of the most special people I’ve ever met, or brought me to another level with others.  Both of the women in the pics with me were brought together, on some level, from sports.  Sharon for baseball, Aimee for hockey.  Then all three of us are runners, and we are each others own support network!

Thank you New York, and thank you sports!

NYR: Foursquare Mayor of The Penalty Box

I have a feeling that this start to the season, in Europe, then coming back to the Eastern Time Zone, to the West Coast of Canada, then gallivanting over the Canadian countryside, might come to haunt the Rangers at some point.  Chances are, they’ll get their act together and they’ll string along a few wins, and I guess the silver lining is that they’ll be visiting Lose-a-peg in another week, so that could be promising.

Yet, I’ve seen some things that really kind of get to me at this point, so early in the season.  The taking of stupid-ass penalties being one of those things that are like a day ending in “Y,” they happen WAY too often, especially three games into the season.  The Islanders wasted no time in capitalizing on the way-too-many five-on-threes during the game.  I have to be honest, that John Tavares…he’s a rock star.  And it’s not very lightly that I take giving an IceLander a compliment, so I covet him officially.   Ugh.

So what has stood out in this short season is that the Rangers are the Mayor of the Penalty Box when they play…in fact, I hope they keep their check-ins modified because I’d really hate for them to not get their mayor points for being residents there.  /sarcasm

This was also one of the first games I watched that John Tortorella really annoyed me.  I actually was a fan of him, even gave him a pass (whether rightful or not) because it seemed like they had a shoestring (yes, don’t get me started on “shoestringing” a big market team with a large overheard…I’ll get to Village Idiot Dolan in a minute), so I figured maybe Brad Richards would be the rug that tied the room together.

I saw him SMILING when the Rangers were just getting their asses kicked on the power play and even penalty killing.  I just think he’s severely out of touch, he knows that Jimmy Wilpon, erm, DOLAN, and Glen Sather holds onto their “guys” for way too long.  Meaning, they don’t like admitting to their mistakes.   Torts though seems to be losing the team.  Really, it’s pathetic, when I know someone like Mike Keenan (back in the day) and Roger Neilson would have had those guys doing pushups for the stupid ass trips to the penalty box, in multiple games this year…and we’re only THREE GAMES IN!!!

Then there was the questionable move of taking Henrik Lundqvist out with almost TWO MINUTES left in the game.  Uh, why?  I get the empty net situation, it was sort of necessary…but I guess I would rather have our guy manning the net till about a minute left in the game, especially with the way Tavares was all over the zone like white on rice.  I mean, was Torts even WATCHING the same game I was??

Then there’s the question of the schedule.  I was at Game Four of the first round last year, and MSG was going through some construction then.  It was hellish getting around and walking in the concourses there.  It was hot as Hell there, and you couldn’t maneuver there as well.  I thought it was a combo of it being a high-ticket game, and the construction.  I was also sick with a head cold, and it just wasn’t pleasant.  So being that the Garden is still under construction, I had to wonder if this several games on the road is to help with the construction.

Now, I get that MSG needed a makeover, I know Dolan gets what Dolan wants…but it’s asinine that a majority of this couldn’t have happened in the offseason of both the Rangers and the Knicks.  I think a lot more could be done or at least, do it in small portions.  See, when you do a gut renovation, you start small, so that you can inhabit parts of it and have minor inconveniences here and there.  Clearly, Jim Dolan has no clue.  But what else is old?  If the renovation of the Garden is causing the delay of the Rangers season, trust me, it will come back to haunt them.  You heard it here first.

In the meantime, I hope the team has their Foursquare account current.  After all, with all the traveling, border crossing, and restaurants in the locales, they’ll be earning some serious points till they return to New York.

PS I also thought I would have a chance to go to this game…20/20 hindsight, I’m glad that I didn’t.  But I have to admit it was kinda cool to see the bells-and-whistles for the Islanders goals…and then basically 85% of the arena going nuts whenever the Rangers scored.  I must go to a game at the Mausoleum one of these days.

If Grandma Had Balls…

I famously turned down a business trip because of baseball season.  I got married to as big of a baseball (and Mets) fan as I am (he’s probably a bigger one though).  It’s probably an understatement to say that I am a big sports fan.

One of the big tests of a fan is each pre-season of any sport they follow.  For me, it happens three times per year — in the late summer (football), in the early fall (hockey) and of course the late winter/early spring (baseball).  And a tried and true fan goes through the hopefulness, reality and high hopes each of those times, and that’s prediction time.

On my podcast, the Kult of Mets Personalities, we went through the motions of doing predictions for the Mets.  Most of us said they would be a .500 team (they are below, right now, with nine games to finish), one of my other co-podcasters kept saying “NINETY WINS!”  Yeah, right.  But it goes to show what our feelings were, where reality crept in and somewhere in between.

So now, the predictions are filtering in for hockey teams, including mine, the New York Rangers.

To be honest, I have no idea where to lump this team.  In 2010-11, there’s a reason why Henrik Lundqvist was the league leader in shutouts…he couldn’t afford to give up any goals per game.  Because they didn’t have a “sniper,” as my dad would call that missing link to the Rangers being a more successful team.

The Rangers also have 7th & 8th Avenues littered with bad contracts and players who came to the team only to never quite live to their potential.  Wade Redden?  Eric Lindros? (On that note: ugh).  This year, we are expecting a lot from two players: Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.  Gaborik was brought in to be “that guy” and had a clear drop-off recently.  As for Richards, I am not sure what to expect from him specifically.  He has BUST written all over him given my history of rooting for this team, but I decided he’s the player I am giving the benefit of the doubt to in 2011-12.  My dad even said to me that he’s a nice addition – big ass guy standing at goal crease.

And I wonder where I get it from.

Hey, all I’m looking for is for them not to figure skate when they need to start shooting.  “Smurfs on Ice” is this phenomenon which I’ve coined with my husband, when the Rangers tend to dance around and look pretty and not looking to spare Henrik from having to stand on his head to make plays.

As for predictions…well, I was inspired by a preview over at Ranger Nation, a very definitive Rangers site.  They profile TSN’s 30 teams in 30 days predictions and sum it up with “If the Rangers fire on all cylinders, they could dominate in the East and even win the Atlantic Division.”

Isn’t that akin to saying, “If Grandma had balls, she’d be Grandpa?”

I hate to sound so cynical.  Each year, I have a high expectation level for this team, and it never truly comes to fruition or they fall short.  I had the misfortune of going to the playoffs last year, which they promptly were out in first round.  I wasn’t expecting Stanley Cup of course…but I certainly would have liked to see more fight.  So this year, I’m supposed to think it’s all different.

Look, I’m gonna be as hopeful as I can.  But I think predictions are funny.