OK call me whatever name you wish but after watching the New
York Rangers rally from down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, I can say I do
believe this team can defeat the Montreal Canadians and whoever they face from
the western conference.
I can say that because after 40 plus years rooting for the
Rangers that this team is actually different from Ranger teams of past days. In
the past this team would lead the world in how to break the hearts of their
fans. Whether it was Bobby Orr’s goal in 1972 or JD’s wonky groin in 1979,
Ranger fans got used to seeing hearts break and dreams burst.
Go ahead and call the Canadian the favorites if you must but
I am going to dare to dream that 8 wins from now the Rangers will be raising
the 2014 Stanley Cup. It goes deeper than a red hot Henrik Lundqvist or a
rebirth of 34 year old Brad Richards.
As much as you might not like to say this but the unexpected
passing of France St. Louis did more for the Rangers than any words out of a
coach or on a blackboard could ever do. It united the team in a way that you
don’t normally expect to see happen.
The unexpected death of a parent in many ways was a wakeup
call for a bunch of 20something players and how quickly life can throw you a
terrible curve. One thing when you have talented young athletes is that for the
most part they haven’t had to deal with the realities of life. Most still have
mom and dad around so to see Frances St. Louis pass away at 63 was a first for
many of them and odds are that it was also one of the biggest shocks they as
young men have experienced.
If we think about the tragedy and how Marty St. Louis has
handled himself has been a great life lesson for his younger teammates. And as
we all witnessed we saw a change in how the Rangers played, presented
themselves and looked out for each other.
In the Army when you work for a leader who you love and
respect then you will go to hell and back for him. You do that because you know
that he isn’t the guy who is next to you or behind you. He is the guy who is in
the front encouraging you to follow him to victory.
That is why the Rangers won games 5, 6, and 7 because the
younger Rangers watched 39 year old Marty St. Louis get out on the ice and lead
by example. The other Rangers already respected St. Louis as a player but what
he did and how he acted in the face of a tragedy raised their respect of him to
Comcast TV Runs the NHL (But you already knew that)
As many of you may have known the St. Louis family had
scheduled Mrs. Louis’s funeral for Saturday and when the NHL first scheduled
Game 1 it caused a conflict so the Rangers requested that the game be moved to
nighttime. Of course NBC showing how much they care about their players, their
fans and the traditions of the sport said no.
Why you ask? Why so NBC could have a hockey game to use to
promote the running of the Preakness Horse Race. NBC needed a game they could
jerk around so they can tell you hundreds of times that the winner of the
Kentucky Derby California Chrome is attempting horse racing history.
Want to bet they will even get Doc and Pierre to show their
puppet strings and talk about the horse race. Ranger’s coach Alain Vigneault
called the decision stupid and thanks to the NHL they have given the folks in
Canada yet another reason to dislike us.
How hard would it been to schedule this game for the
nighttime? For the folks in Canada it would give them their traditional “Hockey
Night in Canada” Saturday night game. After all those silly Canadians all they
did was invent the game in the first place.
But no some stupid horse race in the USA is more important
than Canada’s only playoff team playing on a Saturday like they have since the Stone
Age. Alain Vigneault wanted to know why they couldn’t show the game on NBCSN on
Saturday night and I know why.
NBCSN was going to show the fight between Tomasz Adamek and
Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov during that time spot. Boxing ratings vs
Hockey ratings who wants to see which one is lower?
So the Rangers will play game 1 Saturday, attend the
services on Sunday and play game 2 on Monday. Thanks NHL.
I Dare to Believe
I dare to believe that once again the Rangers will be
playing a more physical team abet thankfully one that doesn’t have a rep as
being dirty. But to a kid who always watched the Rangers lose to the Canadians
in the playoffs now is a different time.
In the past the Canadians had the legendary players and the
all-world goalie but that is the past as the ghosts of the old Montreal Forum
are not going to win this time. Henrik Lundqvist is going to brush aside all
those supposed demons about he can’t win in the Bell Centre.
Carey Price? Really what has he ever won? Give me King
Henrik any day. PK Subban has been outstanding but Montreal has used the “we
get no respect” card for the first 2 rounds. That is not the case but I believe
that Brad Richards and Marty St. Louis realize this might be their best chance
to win a 2nd cup.
I believe the Ranger’s checking line led by Dom Moore will
shut down Montreal’s scorers like the Bruins did. I believe that the Ranger’s
Brassard line is going to give Montreal fits as they don’t know how to defend
And if there ever was a time for Rick Nash to shake whatever
is wrong with him then now is the time. The biggest difference between good
players and great players is that great players find ways to make plays. A Rick
Nash scoring goals is something that Montreal has no answer for.
I say the emotions of this weekend will get the Rangers a
split, then time off to rest before Thursday will charge up Ranger fans. Take
the home games and maybe drop game 5 but at home in game 6, the Rangers punch
their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.