I’m going to concede defeat right here. I’m not bailing on my team – I still think they can pull out the series and I’ll go as far as saying they will. Still, if they don’t, this may be the most crushing playoff exit since the Giants watched TO catch pass after pass & draw penalty after penalty to erase a 24-point deficit in 2003. So I have to take pre-emptive measures because, if their season happens to end tonight, it ends tonight. Not 5 minutes after, not the following morning. I gotta cut the cord immediately.
There’s certain years where your team makes the post-season and you just try to make excuses for how they’re somehow capable of pulling off a monster upset. I’ll be posting an example of that in about a week when the Knicks’ first-round matchup is set. Then there’s years like this one. The NY Rangers played at/near the top of the NHL for the duration. There are no post-season locks, but they were deservedly Eastern Conference favorites along with the Penguins (sayonara). Whatever deficiencies they had (I don’t know what it takes for teams to learn that, if you don’t want NY to score, put them on a power play) were made up for by effort. Guts. Heart. Whatever you want to call it, it put them at the top of the league in fights & hits, 4th in blocked shots. This was the first time in a long time this sort of camaraderie existed on a Blueshirts bench. So where’d it go?
35-5-3 regular-season record when scoring first, yet they managed to piss away 1-0 & 2-1 leads in Game 2 along with a 2-0 first-period lead in Game 4. Why? Because they got outworked. There’s no other excuse. The Blueshirts are the obvious better team against a Senators squad who may have been the worst entering the playoffs. Don’t blame that fluky goal off MDZ – there was still half the game left. I was amazed when reminded the Rangers led every second of every game until Ottawa notched the first tally of Game 5 (obviously outside of their 2 OT game-winners). But that’s a tell-tale sign. It hasn’t been the same team as soon as the “post” prefix was added to their season, which is seemingly a common theme in the NHL. Later, Penguins. See ya, Canucks. Bruins & Devils may not be far behind. And if Gaborik continues his ‘Invisible man’ shtick while the rest of his teammates continue to make Craig Anderson look like Patrick Roy, New York may sit atop that “bust” list.
P.S. – Speaking of Craig Anderson – if there’s a better goalie with AIDS, I don’t know his name. I don’t get how this no-immune-system motherfucker doesn’t get tired. I will say this though. If the Rangers purposely lost the series to a dude with AIDS as part of ESPN’s next “My Wish” series, I still won’t feel any better about it.
P.P.S. – 6-0 vs Philly, 3-1 vs Florida, 3-1 vs Boston. Those are the Rangers’ records against the teams that, as of now, are the favorites to advance. Just saying…