Boston Bruins

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.