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.