Sunday, April 24, 2016

One Cup In 76 Years!

So were you surprised? I wasn't. Counting since the famous "1940", you remember the chant, bellowed in every NHL rink, the Rangers have won one Cup and that one was won when we brought in the "gunslinger" Mark Messier and his band of desperadoes. It was 1994 and if the Rangers continue with their ineptitude and mismanagement and poor coaches that chant may be revived in about 5 years by Islander fans, who will enjoy a Cup before we do.

One Cup in 76 years!

The Ranger organization's mismanagement is legendary. Yes, I know the Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 but the Cubbies seem to be lovable, the Rangers laughable. The fourties started it. Following their '40 win, World War II broke out and the Canadien government in their infinite wisdom drafted almost the entire Ranger team, they were all Canadiens in those days, assigned them in Canada, and allowed them to play hockey for the Canadien teams, at that time Montreal and Toronto. The Rangers were decimated and spent most of the 40's in the basement of a six team league.

One Cup in 76 years.

In the 50's the Rangers ran into another obstacle, Ringling Bros, Barnum and Bailey Circus. The Circus visited the Garden every year usually in April so the Rangers had to play the 1950 Stanley Cup finals against the powerhouse Red Wings on the road. The kindly NHL gave the Rangers two home games in Toronto and five at Detroit. The Rangers get credit for taking the series to a seventh game and losing in OT on a goal by Pete Babando, after "Bones" Raleigh hit the crossbar for the Rangers. This to me, was the greatest Ranger team anchored by goalie Chuck Rayner.

One Cup in 76 years!

Having been treated unfairly by fate and the hockey Gods, the Rangers took matters into their own hands and put in place corporate heads and bench coaches that would keep them down trodden for years. Yes, occasionally there were bright spots. Emile Francis's teams of the 70's that were not quite good enough and the 1979 ill fated Cup run. But that was it until 1994. We still live in 1994. The rafters are filled with the stars of that team. The Garden exploits them at every turn, Mark Messier is the Messiah... bringing us our one Cup in 76 years.

And then, 'til 2000 and the great wrecker, the Stealth GM, Glen Sather. Fourteen years of ineptitude and mismanagement. Picking up older players at the expense of prospects. Being invisible to the press and public. Never answering to the fans or press his many inane decisions. Fourteen years. Fourteen long years of poor coaches, weak and inconsistent play. Oh yes, we made it to the finals in 2014 and even then fate stepped in and gave us a raw deal, incompetent referees who took the series away from us. Slowly the team began to deteriorate. A conference final loss to Tampa Bay and this years first round elimination by the Penguins.

Why, just one Cup in 76 years?

Why? Why did we let a speedster, PK specialist like Carl Hagelin go? Cap problems? A good GM would have been creative, worked something out and let one of the other players go. Why did we trade hot prospect Duclair for a so-so D-man like Yandle? Why did we let Stralman go and sign an over the hill, expensive Dan Boyle? Why does the coach play the higher salaried players over the rookies. D-man McIlrath should have gotten more playing time in the regular season over washed up Boyle and tiring, beat up Girardi. Game coaching? Our coach constantly gets out coached, whether it's a bad time out or getting the wrong guy on for a face off or not wisely managing Lundqvist's off days.

One Cup in 76 years.

Finally, Lundqvist. He is no way to blame for the Rangers poor performance. In the last game I counted three Penguin goals where a Ranger defender was not within five feet of the Penguin goal scorer. I heard the news conference. Sorry Henrik, not your fault. Get that monkey off your back, the team collapsed. Too many aging players, making too much money being under coached by incompetents.

One Cup in 76 years!

This year I missed a lot of games because of personal issues. However, the coach and some of the players missed more. I don't wear rose colored glasses. I call them like I see them. I predicted in one of my first post's this year the the Rangers would not win the Cup with this coach. Look it up. Little did I know they wouldn't make it past the first round. I've seen a lot and I see how this franchise is going backward. A lot of people in the Ranger organization are making a ton of money and it's at the expense of the fans. The fans are shelling out big bucks to see an inferior product, bigger bucks to drink watered down beer and top cuisine prices to basically eat fast foods.

One Cup in 76 years!

Will it end? No, because corporate America, at least New York, has the place sold out every night. That's why the last four years I drifted over to watch my Grandson's high school team and am pleased to say that for the third year in a row he won an award, this time a scholarship award. Keep up the great work kid and let's hope I see a turnaroud in the Rangers fortunes in my lifetime.

One Cup in 76 years!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Rangers Rebound For The King

It was only a stick near an eye. So he was bleary eyed for a while. Who knows, he may even had been bleary eyed last night but this is the King and when he wills his way he usually wins out. Last night an injured Henrik Lundqvist helped carry his team to a series tying 4-2 win bringing the series and home ice advantage back to the Garden.

Think of it. Henrik Lundqvist has brought home ice advantage to the Rangers. It's now three of five with three games at MSG. Sure he had help. Yandel had his best offensive game of the season. JT Miller gave a Wayne Gretsky imitation with three big assists and was assertive all night. The two young D men were terrific. McIlrath got a little over 9 minutes while Brady Skjei got about 19 minutes.

You think a baseball player would be back after a ball near the eye? Probably would have made the DL. But this is hockey and more important this was Henrik Lundqvist, the King. He may relinquish his crown but its not going to be taken away by a puck near the eye. The Pens have to step up their game to take it away and besides their goal tending problems are bigger than pucks near the eye.

This is now a dog eat dog series. Best of five. Go Lundqvist! Go Rangers!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ranger "Limp" Into Playoffs

Well the Rangers are in the playoffs again in a season that while they compiled 101 points they didn't seem to play to their potential. Actually they have limped into the playoffs. Ryan McDonagh's presence is in doubt due to a broken hand he suffered against Columbus on April 4th. Also lesser injuries to Girardi, Zuccarello and Eric Staal, and Lundqvist leaving the practice on Monday didn't send waves of confidence through the organization. So welcome to the playoffs.

To add to the miseries the Rangers get the Penguins, the best team in the NHL, who finished with a 14-2 run. We get the Penguins thanks to the Islanders, who went into the tank against the Flyers. May the Panthers sweep them in four games. The Penguins have injuries of their own. Malkin has been out since March 11th plus forwards Bryan Rust and Beau Bennett. However, the biggest injury may be to goalie Marc-Andre Fleury out the last six with a concussion. The backup goalie Matt Murray is also out and that leaves Jeff Zatkoff as the Pens goalie. All these haven't slowed the Pens a bit.

Do the Rangers have a chance? Of course they do. These are the NHL playoffs where many an 8th seed has shocked the hockey world. The Rangers need Nash and Eric Staal to step up big. They still haven't found the right partners for Staal. Here is a guy who has averaged a point a game in the playoffs, 43 pts in 43 games. Only four others have averaged a point a game and two of them are on Pittsburgh's roster: Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin.

The Ranger D will be tested. The coach will have to decide between rookies righty McIlrath and lefty Skjei to see who gets the sixth spot. Too bad these guys, both good, didn't get more ice time during the regular season, but we coached to the higher salaries hence the inexperience we face. So the Ranger D must play disciplined and tough, helping Lundqvist not hindering him.

Finally, the biggest key: Lundqvist. He is not getting any younger, like all us mortals.  Hopefully, the illness that forced him out of practice was not serious. I love the Rangers, but we may be in this over our heads. However, we have Henrik Lundqvist and with Lundqvist all things are possible. Let's get it to a seventh game and watch Lundqvist do his magic. Wake up Rick Nash and Eric Staal, keep it going Krash Kreider and JT Miller, step it up McIlrath and Skjei, God Bless Lundqvist and Let's Go Rangers.

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