New York Rangers

When Did We Become Such Cold Weather Crybabies?

I think it started during the football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Green Bay is not exactly known for its balmy weather and tropical beaches. It’s the midwest.  It’s frickin cold out there.  Even fans of the Packers joke about how many layers they need to wear.  I wish I could find it, but the point has been moot for me, there was an article in the New York Times a few years back about a fan who wore several layers in preparation for late seasons and playoffs games.  It’s a ritual, and something accepted amongst football fans in cold weather climates.  Think: Buffalo, Green Bay, Chicago.

Prior to their playoff game on January 5th, everyone was beside themselves.  OOOOOH, it’s gonna be freezing…in Wisconsin…in January.

I was surprised.  I mean, isn’t it a given that it’s an occupational not to mention a spectator “hazard” that if you work or watch an outdoor sport, unless you are in a dome, you’re going to be exposed to the elements?  I mean, shit, football doesn’t even have postponements or delays related to rain (unless, of course, there is lightning).  You play through that shit.

The beginning of 2014 hasn’t exactly been boastful of an unseasonably warm climate, especially in the northeast, where we’ve had the phrase Polar Vortex become an essential part of our lexicon.  It’s snowed quite a few times, and I’ve even joked around with my friends about how the cold isn’t so bad, but factor in wind and snow elements, I’m over it.

We chat about the weather with total strangers.  We joke about not wanting to be outside in the elements.  People buy dog booties for their dog walks.  We get bundled up to walk to the corner store or even to drive somewhere.  It goes with the territory.

But I draw the line at people complaining about it being cold at a voluntary outdoor sporting event.  Really?  I mean, REALLY, guys?  It’s January, and it’s in the northeast.

IT’S GONNA BE COLD HERE.

I will give fans who attended the game credit: I didn’t see many people complaining on that end about the Stadium Series on Sunday.  Most of the folks there are die hard.  They do get the fact that one needs to bundle up to enjoy the game.  Yet, I see tweets like this that get my blood boiling.

Every single person in that stadium yesterday was there voluntarily.  Each person presumably bought a ticket, and attended on their own free will.

The players, however, get paid a very handsome salary to play these games.  The night before, a game was played in Los Angeles, not exactly a hotbed (pun not intended) of perfect outdoor ice hockey activity.  We didn’t hear one problem with the “ice.”  But in the Bronx in January by the goddamn Harlem River, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur blames the ice on his poor performance (The Rangers scored 6 goals against him before he was taken out of the game…mind you the Devils also scored 3 goals in the first period…no one had a problem with the ice before then??)

Oh, but there’s more.  This week, Super Bowl XLVIII will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  Now, all the cold weather crybabies are reporting on the nonstory that “WAHHH! It’s gonna be COLD and elemental in New Jersey IN JANUARY. WAHHHHHHHHH!”

Bite me.

This time around, it’s not Uncle Daddy or any of the players crying about the weather or potential hazard of it.  It’s mostly the sportswriters who all of a sudden have a sympathy for the players who get paid millions of dollars to play on the big stage…in the snow, rain, or sleet.  Shit, I’ve seen frickin beautiful days here with low temps.  Has anyone considered that the Super Bowl could be played in something like THAT??!

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks kind of corner the market on playing in the elements.  Denver gets snow.  Seattle gets rain.  The only people I see “inconvenienced” with the weather are people who have to sit in the stands (who are paying around $2,000 for an upper bowl seat) and the writers who are subscribing to some of the laziest journalism I have ever borne witness.

Their headlines are akin to chatting about the weather.  Is this the state of sports writing today?

I just have a tough time believing that when New York/New Jersey was chosen as the Super Bowl venue, that no one considered weather factors.

It’s January in the Northeast.  Guess what?

It’s cold here.

The Prom

“My girlfriend always has that feeling that something’s missing. She checks her pockets, checks her purse, counts her kids, but nothing’s gone. She decided it was side effects from not going to her prom.” – Iona, Pretty In Pink

iona2I stayed up till 1 a.m. on Wednesday night to finish the triple overtime thriller Stanley Cup Final game with the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.

Did I mention that it was still just Game One?

True story.

Truth be told though, it was truly the first night that I realized…that the Rangers weren’t coming back this year.  I know that sounds pathetic.  But for a good two weeks after the blueshirts were eliminated, I kept feeling like I was missing something.  I’d checked my keys, they were still there.  I made sure I paid my bills on time. I double and even triple-checked my calendar.

But no, it was true.  The Rangers weren’t playing anymore in the 2013 season.

I had all but given up on hockey after the lockout that got rid of 2004-05.  I didn’t want to come back.  Plus, the Mets were good, and I had more than enough attention bestowed upon them, even in the offseason.  The Rangers didn’t deserve my attention, and neither did the rest of hockey.

So fuck ‘em.

Till of course, the Mets collapsed in 2007.  Then what was I to do?  I needed another outlet.  I had gone from not feeling anything, to suddenly wanting to go to games again.  I went to three games that season.  I was back.

Last year was the first year I felt like this could be it, this could be OUR year.

Then there was another lockout, and a shortened season.  I tried to convince myself that this season, despite what happened, didn’t matter.  The Rangers could win, but now there would be ammo for that whole “half a cup” business we’ve been saying for years about the 1995 season.

And then…it mattered.

As opposed to the 2007-08 season when I returned to the Rangers, the Mets were still a competitive team.  A good team, even.  In the year 2013, I have no respite.  The Mets are simply awful, hard to watch and the games are ennui.  Yet, you’d think I’d be used to it, being a Mets fan for 30 years, since good years are few and far between.  I don’t feel the excitement I used to, going to games.

So I stay up and watch three OTs of playoff hockey, for two teams I don’t care much about.

Like Iona’s friend in Pretty In Pink, I didn’t go to my prom.  Yet, I never exhibited an absent-minded professor side effects that her friend did, in skipping mine. The only time I do that these days is when I was looking for a Ranger game that didn’t exist.

The closest thing I had to a prom was the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in the summer of 1994, the year I graduated high school.  The amount of celebrating I did in honor that team lasted me a looooong time.  I was 18.  I was headed to college in the fall.  I would be on my own for the first time.  I didn’t give a shit about my prom.  I gave a shit about that Cup.

So I stay up till 1 a.m. (EST, 12 a.m. in Chicago, 10 p.m. in California) to watch a game that I wish my team was playing.  Guess I gave a shit after all about this year.

I do now know that the Rangers aren’t playing anymore this season, and that another year has gone by that my team is not in the big show, the Prom.

Once this series is over though, I’ll be able to watch the Rangers again in just a short few months.  Baseball season will be ending at that point, and I’ll probably be thankful that the Mets season is mercifully ending.

Till then, I’ll be searching for the keys, counting my kitties, and wondering if I’ve misplaced my phone.  But I do know that I didn’t go to my prom, and I chose hockey instead.

I’d still do it, almost 20 years later.

The Lido Shuffle

“He said one more job ought to get it/One last shot ‘fore we quit it/One more for the road”
- Boz Scaggs

Chris Kreider As usual, I found myself ready to hang up my skates, hang up my Ranger jersey until the start of the 2013-14 season. I found it difficult to believe that a team that has seriously looked overmatched and borderline unprofessional would ever come back to tie a 3-game deficit, let alone come back at all.

I only had one wish: that the Garden Faithful would give the boys in blue a send off in a loss.

I had a discussion with a friend about it.  He had mixed feelings about the idea (and he’s not a Ranger fan at all).  He wasn’t sure if he could take another team celebrating on his team’s home ice. I guess I could understand that one.  But it’s not a Cup game.  It’s not like the Bruins would have paraded the cup up and down the ice.

I felt cheated last year because we couldn’t give the Rangers a send off in their season last year.

So last night, I had a few posts in my head, mostly about what went wrong, about Brad Richards’ healthy scratch, about how Rick Nash was “supposed” to be the difference maker (clearly there is an operative term in there), etc etc.  But I also wanted to talk about how the shortened season was doomed from the get go.  Nobody on the team seemed to get in a groove.  And how Henrik Lundqvist managed to nab a Vezina nomination, because I didn’t think he had as close to a dominating season as usual.

Just found themselves behind the 8-ball quite a bit.

I’ve been saying all along that I was comfortable with how this series ended. Win or lose, I had an eerie calm that the chips may fall where they will, and I’d be okay with it.  I don’t have an emotional dislike of Boston, after what they’ve been through this year as a city, it might be nice to see the Bruins give them a feel-good story.  But as far as a rivalry, Original Six or no, I continue to be fine with however the series goes.

Yet, like another Boston/New York series, oh about nine years ago in the fall, when a certain team came from three games down, and managed to win a game in extra innings when the odds were against them.  Then went on a roll to win the ultimate championship.

Of course that was baseball, and Boston Red Sox coming from behind, but it was against the Yankees, so it was all good in my book (apologies to any Yankee fans reading this right now).

The Rangers could very well be ousted in the next game.  Yet, the fact they went out with a fight, and not a whimper, is what the fans needed.  Not some kind of moral victory, that “Well, they made it this far with a shitty ass power play, and with Brad Richards sucking and Rick Nash underperforming and Henrik not having some of his best moments, let’s cheer! YAY!”

No.  I was sorely mistaken.  That crowd needed a home game win.  Something to give them hope that this team was everything they thought last year, and more.

I’ll say that an overtime win was something that I needed to see.  For once, I got to see an overtime work in MY team’s favor.

The New York Rangers gave us something last night, they gave us one more for the road.

 

Family Ties

I went to my first ever Ranger game in 1989.  It was a Sunday afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I went with my dad.

Five years later, the Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.

The year after that, I met my friend Rob, who posts as @NotGlenSather on Twitter.  Sometimes, it seems like yesterday that I bummed a cigarette off him at the grease trucks at Rutgers.  But it was 18 friggin years ago.

We lost touch for a few years.  But it was only telling that when we did reconnect, it was at Rangers Opening Night in 2000.

We managed, since 2000, to go to a game or run into each at a game once a year.  Then after 2011, I sat in his seats, but didn’t see him.  We also never attended a playoff game together.

That changed Monday.

I get a message from him this morning: I have an extra ticket to the game tonight.

I was hesitant.  In fact, when he did his playoff “lottery” for his tickets (where those of us who buy tickets from him during the season get playoff “rights” in a sense), I was secretly glad that I missed the first round.

Not because I don’t appreciate the first round.  It’s just that I have a HELLACIOUS record against the Capitals.  Not just any games, but specifically playoff games.  I’ve been two Rangers playoff games in my lifetime prior to Monday night – both losses to the team from our nation’s capitol.

I was apprehensive.  I don’t consider myself the most superstitious person, but when it comes to playoff hockey, I’ll do what I have to do in order to ensure a win.  If that means I have to sit in the bathroom and follow the game on Twitter, I’ll do it.  And NotGlen and I usually have a ritual to meet at Cafe 31 before every game we attend together.  But even NotGlen wanted to change things up.

Anything, I suppose, to ensure a win.

He asked me to pick the meeting place.  Foley’s on 33rd St was my first guess.  After splitting some nachos and beers, we headed to the Garden.

Funny thing was, NotGlen started to number what he did differently that day.  Instead of Cafe 31, he went to Foley’s.  Instead of carrying his jersey with him, he had it on when we met.  He even admitted to taking a different set of stairs at the train station.  I don’t have a ritual for games.  I just go.

So off we went.

The playoffs are really a night for star sighting.  It was also high comedy from two friends who have known each other forever.

NotGlen and I met after I bummed a cigarette off him.  I was a teenager.  I’m a firm believer in the family we choose.  We’re children of the ’80s.  We’re like brother and sister.

We grew up with ’80s icons like Michael J Fox, John McEnroe and even Tom Hanks.  They were all in attendance at the game.  Matt Harvey from the Mets was born in 1989.  I guess that technically makes him a child of the ’80s.

I don’t remember a lot of the game.  That’s because it was mostly a blur.  I also probably screamed some obscenities, but I also hid for the last 1:40 or so of the game.

I guess the superstitions started in the ’80s, when I became a Rangers fan.  Back then I was only going to about one game a year.  I would do things on game days, wear certain shirts or clothes.  I would always be disappointed if the Rangers lost.

The stakes are higher.  They went into Monday’s game down 2-0 in the series.  They are now tied 2-2, winning two critical home games.  Both not without its hiccups.

Since I had attended two losses in the playoffs, I didn’t want to see what would happen if I went.  NotGlen, well, his superstitions certainly surpass mine.  And I guess he wanted to throw caution to the wind, getting some good karma in the Garden once again.

And I’m so glad I went.

 

Every now and then, say, what the fuck. What the fuck brings you freedom. Opportunity makes your future.

The Rangers need a little bit of “what the fuck” on their team right now. Maybe, just maybe, our familial tie got us to that point.

Here We Go Again

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the cusp of playoff time, as NotGlen Sather calls it, “The Second Season.”  Again. Heck, wasn’t it just like three days ago that the L.A. Kings were celebrating their Cup victory?  Okay, fine, it was almost 10 months ago, but still.  Is it me, or does time go by way too quickly?  Yes, I’m old.  Deal with it.

Yet this hockey season was curious.  The Flyers and Devils are out (and let me take this time to remind you that every single Devils fan I know gave us SHIT about the Rangers losing the first three of four games this shortened season…hope you’re all enjoying your tee times), and as death, taxes and the power play sucking, the Rangers are facing the Washington Capitals in the postseason.  (See my video from the first round last year below)

And I’m not sure how to feel about this.  It was tough for me to get excited about this season, be the prolonged start, and abbreviated season it was.  Talking to fellow Ranger fan, KB, the other day, she was kind of nonplussed about the team making the playoffs.  I can see that, but I can basically say one thing.  That once they start to win, or advance out of the first round, we’ll start to get the bug, the itch that it may OUR year.  Even if we have given SOME OTHER teams grief over winning “half a cup.”

(And yeah, if it comes to that this year, I’m not sure how to resolve my feelings either on that one.)

Of course, this means another sport will be neglected, and that will be baseball.  With good reason too.  To say the Mets have been lackluster is an understatement.  I keep telling my husband, “IT’S ONLY APRIL.”  Yet, by their effort this month, it’s evident that it will be a LONG ASS season.  Until, of course, Zack Wheeler is called up.  And who knows, his start has been below par too out in Vegas.

But it makes me happy that I can shy away from baseball, though it is my favorite sport, I don’t feel bad about not giving it as much attention as I do the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Now, if you want a good laugh or be entertained while watching hockey, be sure to follow my sports tweets @Coopz22.  I have a heart attack with every pass, every shot on goal, every Henrik save or close call, and every goal scored by the Rangers is the BEST GOAL EVAR.   Or I threaten myself with bodily harm.  Just myself.  You don’t have to worry about yourselves.

It’s a do or die situation.  Whether we’ll be invincible or not, remains to be seen.

Trust me, I operate on a different plane during this time of the year.  Apologies in advance.

Let’s Play Two

Opening Week  Rangers Win!

The last time I had a day like this was in April 2011.  I had been invited to an afternoon Rangers/Devils game, and had a Mets game that night at 7:10 pm. The night game was critical, as it was the night Scott Hairston ended up on my ass’ Wikipedia page.

The day game was also a good one where the Rangers beat the Devils, in what I believed was the last home game of the regular season, if my memory serves me correctly.  All I know is a few weeks later, I went to a brutal playoff loss.  And the night game stood out as well, not because of the ass situation, but my husband couldn’t go with me since he got really sick.  Then he ended up giving it to ME, and I was really pissed off the Rangers lost that game…otherwise I should have just sold my playoff tickets since I was miserable sick AND the Rangers lost in a brutal fashion.

I digress.  Everything that could have gone right DID go right on Monday, April 1st, and that is no April Fool’s joke.  The Mets won, the Rangers won, and everyone was happy.  Well, I was happy.  My husband was happy.  Our various bears were happy, since they were well-fed and their teams won.

Joey & Iggy  Joey and Gabby

I could end it there, but I won’t.  I’ll start from the beginning.

I’ve often said that Opening Day is mostly fun, but stressful.  Friends make the trip especially, and we have pressure to see everyone. It’s the one game a year there is a sell out, and a cell phone signal is usually a rarity.  There’s excitement, but we are grumpy cats with long lines and poseurs who come to their only game a year.  It’s also the one day a year that every single person I know is tailgating.  The good news was that two of my friends who have notable tailgates combined their efforts and had a megamerger of tailgating.  So it saved me a lot of running around, and I could sit and drink and eat at my leisure, without worrying about offending anyone by not showing up to their party.

Plus I could sit and enjoy the two plus hours before the opening ceremonies without running all over the parking lot.

More Cowgill  Real Housewives of CitiField Coop, Alvin, Kelly Section 22 Mezzanine

I’ve found that at CitiField, it’s easy to keep track of the game without sitting in your seat.  I guess in a way that’s good because I can get a little antsy sitting around the entire time. So prior to the game, I was able to see friends and visit people, and during the game it’s the same.  On Opening Day, it’s become sort of a ritual to have a Shea Bridge meetup in the 5th inning.  Yet, in the midst of celebrating the present of the Mets, and talking about the future, a big part of my past hit close to home.

As I was waiting for various folks to join us on the bridge, I saw a familiar looking black Mets jersey, with the name and number “WOODSIDE 7″ embroidered on the back.  Oh, holy sheepshit and balls.  This was the old Woodside crew from Shea Mezzanine Section 22, Saturday plans!!!  The Woodside 7 was worn by Kim, who hadn’t aged a day in a decade (which HOLY SHIT IT HAD BEEN TEN YEARS SINCE I SAW THEM LAST), and there was Tommy, her husband, and the ringleader, Frank, who was still the same.  I nearly cried.  These people gave me some of the best memories outside of the Mets themselves at Shea, including terms that I use to this day, like, “Fuck these guys, I’m going to Donovan’s.”  In fact, I was introduced to Donovan’s by this same crew.  Also, a podcast that has been recruiting me to be a guest, Mets Bhoys, turns out that Frank is a regular on the show too.

This world has just gotten smaller.  But to me, a little bit of home was brought to me on Opening Day.  Besides seeing the Mets, I saw a big part of my past. It was great.  My past and present collided for sure on that bridge.

And just like old times, the Mets won on Opening Day.  My boy Jonathon Joseph Niese won the game, and then I was able to see both of our favorite hockey team, and my boy there Henrik Lundqvist, get the win that night.

Jon Niese  Henke

Everyone contributed to the Mets victory, from the ball boy on up.  The same could be said for the Rangers win. We got to see a grand slam from Collin Cowgill, and we got to see the Rangers score 4 goals themselves. We saw a shorthanded goal by Captain Cally, and we saw efforts from Brad Richards and Rick Nash, and a solid effort from Henrik Lundqvist.

The Mets are going through changes, and we look to their future a lot rather than the present.  The Rangers are living for the present, as Wednesday rolled around, and they parted ways with Marian Gaborik.  I had a happy Gabby bear on Monday, but a disappointed one come Wednesday…until they played that night.

On Monday night, I saw a team that gelled together, and even had a contribution from Brad Richards who hadn’t been consistent at all this season.  One nonperforming entity was Marian Gaborik, and as I like to say, the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  A deal had to be made, and Gabby was collateral damage.

Yet, the Rangers idea of playing two is a world of difference in two nights. They played a very tough — albeit Crosby-less — Penguins team, and won definitively with contributions from everyone new and old.  This was the type of win that we need to see going forward, and the type of play to see going forward.

I’ve seen two Ranger games since Monday, and three Mets games. Contributions are made from the littlest person on up, but that’s how a team is built.

For the next few weeks, at the very least, I’ll be in the mood to play two, to follow my teams till they no longer overlap.

Down Cycle

One of my favorite movies is She’s the One, starring Edward Burns and a cast of stars like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston.  A line that keeps repeating is the idea of a “down cycle,” during a relationship, where one doesn’t have “relations” for a block of time.  The idea is that we all have them, we can’t perform at a totally up-up-up level 100% of the time.

I guess we can say that Brad Richards is in what we call a “down cycle” in his playing.

Well, technically, it’s a Ranger problem, but it’s basically an epidemic that’s stemmed out from Bradley.

“I’ve never been through anything like this in my career,” the 12-year-veteran said. “I’m trying to cope with it, I’m trying to learn from it but I’ve never experienced anything like this.  When you’re an offensive guy, you have to produce.” (From today’s NY Post article by Larry Brooks).

Some athletes go through a down cycle.  Remember when, as an example, Jason Bay hit one for like THREE SEASONS?  Sorry for the exclamation, but I mean, I’m a Mets fan, so I’m used to hoping for best, but expecting worst.

My Rangers and friend-in-real-life @NotGlenSather warned us last year that Richards, the big free agent signing, could be a blessing or a bust.  Considering Ranger history, and length of the contract, we kind of figured he could go either way, but mostly hoped for the best case scenario: that he’d give us a few good years, then fizzle out on the back end.

Fizzle isn’t even the word to describe him now.  Ranger Nation had a fair assessment of Richards today, mostly a glass half-full post:

I guess I should address the elephant in the room: the comparisons of Brad Richards to Chris Drury. It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. One year ago Brad Richards was one of the best free agent signings in franchise history, yet today Rangers fans think of Richards as being just as big of a bust as Chris Drury. (Adam Garabedian, Brad Richards Struggles Doesn’t Mean He’s In Decline)

Valid point.  I mean, with the passion surrounding the fan base, and the crazy reactionaries there are in ALL teams, it’s easy to think of Richards as a drain on the team.  Heck, Richards is even cognizant and acknowledged it in the Larry Brooks piece. Yet, something else that the Ranger Nation piece actually acknowledged is that Richards did not keep current during the lockout, didn’t actively play.  That’s a big red flag, to me, that one of the best offensive guys wasn’t working on that very aspect.

You’d think one of two things would happen during a long layoff: that he works out and crafts his game and gets better; or sits and gets stagnant.  Guess which happened to Richards?

The worst case scenario is that he gets in his own head.  Athletes are famous for doing that.  The weight of the world is on their shoulders, and by pressuring themselves when they can’t perform, leads them to more underperforming.  Then it can go one or two ways from there.  It either gets into their head for season after, or they make themselves better.

On the Mets, David Wright was having trouble “performing,” and led to a down cycle for a few years where he struck out routinely with men on base. Yet, when he got out of his own head, and started to concentrate on hitting, period, again rather than hitting home runs, he had a resurgence.

Yet we’ve seen this story before with the Rangers.  Perhaps the Ranger Nation post made a decent comparison with Drury, but I have another one that hits closer to home: Marian Gaborik.  In 2010-11, Gaborik had a noticeable decline, though he missed several games, yet that didn’t quite account for his fall off the cliff.  Certainly didn’t show up during the postseason either, when the Rangers got eliminated all too quickly that year.

Gaborik had a bounce back year in 2011-12, but is having a similar decline to Richards this year.  Which kind of sucks because one of them on a down cycle is bad enough. Yet you’d have someone else to pick up the slack.  At least Gaborik had a somewhat valid excuse for his slow play: he was hurt and wasn’t projected to come back midseason anyway in a regular scheduled year.  So Gabby couldn’t play if he wanted to.

Richards is a curious case. He seems to have enough of a cerebral type of play that he can bounceback.  He’s aware of his down cycle, and wants it to change.  Yet the time to change already took place: during the lockout.  Now we’re into the season, and it’s not getting any better.

Mostly, I’ve been nonplussed about the Rangers play this season.  A couple of wins that are close, with a smattering of close losses or playing a game of catch-up, like they did over the weekend.

Without a full effort from the two top offensive guys, it won’t matter that Rick Nash is owning the city.  They won’t make the playoffs after a season that they should have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and it won’t even matter about who gets hot at the right time. Without the help of Brad Richards, this team will have far worse problems than worrying about playoffs: it will be for him to get out of his down cycle.

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.

HNIC: Hockey (Date) Night In (New York) City

What a difference a week and change makes.

A little over a week ago, I remember people were calling for Glen Sather’s head, to void the “big trade” with Columbus Blue Jackets.  That Torts has lost control over the team.  That Henrik has lost an edge.  I had fans from other teams trolling me (and other Ranger fans).  And even tried to discount the win against the Leafs last week.  Which, I mean, a win is a win is a win, right?

Then there was the game against the Flyers in Philadelphia last week, which was a close, hard-fought and super-intense game in the last two minutes especially.  Like many teams down in the count in a very close game, the Rangers had an empty net to get an extra man on the ice.  The intensity was in ten cities, but they fell short of tying the game.

Not to worry, they made up for that last night in the Garden, winning 2-1 against Philly with another super-intense ending with crowding this time at the Rangers’ net and suspense to the last second.

And boy, was it fun.

About a year ago, I became twitter buddies with Miss J To The K.  She was a Jets and Rangers fans like me, but we differ on baseball teams.  That’s cool.  We got involved, inadvertently, in an Islanders argument, about the origins of “Potvin sucks.”  Then we realized we were on the same team.  It was all good.

Not Glen Sather sold me three tickets during this shortened season.  I asked J to come with.  She accepted.

So it was Date Night in the City.  A Hockey Date Night.  I was psyched.

It’s different going to an event like this with my husband.  He’s not as into hockey as I am (though he did admit to not being able to pay attention to much else while the game was transpiring).

It was my first game of the 2013 shortened season, also my first time at the Garden since the playoffs.  When I attended the playoffs in 2011, construction started, and it was unbearable walking around.  Like death heat due to the construction.  Then in 2012, I sat in the 400s and loved the Skybar.  I knew more renovations were upcoming.   Now the 200 level stretches up to basically where the 400s used to be.  The old “Blue Seats” are no more.  Though they haven’t been the “Blue Seats” truly in some time.  The Dancin’ Larry does his dances now in the aisle at Section 224ish, right by where Not Glen’s seats are.

The sections are steeper.  But I had a great experience with the seats.  Center ice, great view.  No complaints from this hockey chick.

Sec225

The food at MSG has changed, too, and not for the better I’m afraid.  Everything is now overpriced shee-shee food, and how can a Carnegie Deli stand NOT have their blintzes? (Maybe not the hockey friendliest food…but still…make Coopie happy).  And how do you upgrade food and not bring back easily the best thing sold at MSG…the delicious waffle fries???? Dang.  They were really really good.

I will miss them.  But I do love the new set up.

We sat in the middle of the 20th row.  J struck up a conversation with the women next to us…actually, a mother and daughter team.  Turns out, they knew their shit about hockey, the teenager even had a fantasy hockey team.  I’ve done fantasy baseball before, but I generally lose interest by the end of the season.  Fantasy hockey, though, is a whole ‘nother level.

Not much to tell.  We were still waiting to get to our seats when the first goal was scored by Michael Del Zotto.  We were in our seats for the second goal, and it was fabulous.  The Garden still can rock.

I also saw that the team seemed to play more together, if that makes sense.  Any rust they may have had prior to Tuesday’s game seems to be all but gone.  Henrik was back to being Henrik, but Ryan Callahan looks to be out 10-14 days due to a stupid and unfortunate shoulder injury.

What was fun though, was the bonding.  I have many friends who happen to be guys, and I can go to a game with them.  But I dunno, I think girls have more fun, and the fun is brought to an entirely new level when we go to games together, like when I go with KB or any of the others I have met via Facebook.

“I’m glad we did this,” said J.  “I know we’ve been buddies for awhile, but I really feel like we’re friends now.”

I often say that I hold my “real and in person” friends behavior to a higher standard on social media.  What I mean by that is I expect more from the people I had established relationships with prior to the whole social networking component.

Yet when J said she felt like we were “really” friends after we parted at the trains, I felt truly fortunate to have my life enriched by so many people via social networks.  I hold them in a different standard, perhaps for better or worse, but those who I have had the opportunity to meet in person I connect with on a different level.   And I understood what she meant.

It’s tough enough to be a hockey fan in this town, let alone a female hockey fan.  To find a kinship with not just one, but many is a real gift.  One that you cannot quantify.

It’s easy to get carried away with a win this early in the season, but the game had a playoff vibe to it for sure.  It’s easy to get verklempt too when you make a friend for life.

How great sports can be!