For some reason my recollection of the early years is far more concise than the seasons in the 70's and 80's. The loss of Andy Bathgate was devastating to me. Why get rid of the top gun for a load of garbage? In my mind, anything short of Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, would have been garbage for Bathgate. Go get the role players that would have helped Andy and the team. Instead Andy immediately helped Toronto to a Stanley Cup championship in 1964. He had 5 goals and 4 assists in Toronto's 14 game Cup run that year. Andy won the Hart Trophy in 1958-59 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
The 1970's, The Almost Years.
The 1980's, The Spectator Years.
The Rangers were spectators in the 80's as the Islanders with four straight Cups and Edmonton with four out of five Cups vied for supremacy. The Rangers vied to stay relevant. They went through six coaches in eight years. The Rangers were doing nothing while two teams, the Isles and Oilers, controlled the decade. One 1986-87 highlight was coach Phil Esposito, yes I said coach, decked out in a tuxedo for a New Year's Eve game. Yes, the Rangers were spectators in the 1980's, but dressed to the nines.
The 1990's, The Messiah Arrives and the Drought Ends.
The 2000's, Back To The Past.
The Rangers sank back to the past with the arrival of the Stealth GM who ensured the failure of the team with a succession of bad trades and free agent signings. Lindros, Bure, Fluerry, Robitalle, Nedved, Kaminsky, Gomez, Redden, and ad nausem... If once they were great then the Rangers wanted them. There were four playoff appearances in the 2000's with two first round wins. We progressed from a clueless coach to a disagreeable coach with very little progress.
Right now we are riding high. However, the tough part is still ahead. We currently look like the 70's teams. Talented, gritty, but just not tough enough. Tough is what you need to make a playoff run. The good news is that there is still time to get the role players needed to make that run. That's what is needed to make a strong run. Let's see if the Stealth and disagreeable are up to it.
So I (we) will move on. The beauty of this blog is that friendships are still developing. Since I've been blogging I have touched, and been touched, by the likes of Section 335, Scotty Hockey, the Dark Ranger, the Hockey Rodent, My Blue Heaven, Garden Ice, Hockey Talk, and Inside Hockey. Also, I must thank Down By The Seaside, Wes, jb, the many anonymous commenters, and the thousands of others who have stopped by and partook of the pundit. Again my sincere thanks.
But, it won't end soon. There is another 1,000 posts still to be published. There are a thousand more faceoffs, shots on goal, hits, saves, losses, wins, and testy news conferences to "enjoy." And we, here at the Pundit and the other Rangers blogs will keep all the participants honest, something the blame stream media won't do, or refuses to follow up on.
So thanks for the memories people, sorry Bob. It's a fun thing to do and it is more fun to exchange barbs with each other. The Rangers are not my life, but they have been a big part of it. Exasperating at times, but always entertaining and interesting. Keep those cards and letters coming and Let's Go Rangers!
Down Memory Lane (Part 1)