Okay, I am going to apologize once and exactly once here. I am not fully responsible for all I am going to say. I still love the Rangers but sometimes you just have to let a bunch of random thoughts fly. Therefore:
-To start, the Rangers are not a good team. Anyone - ANYONE - that was fooled by this at any time (and I'm even including me in this because surely at certain brief moments this season I was indeed fooled) deserves to snap themselves with a rubberband - hard! They are NOT a good team. NO WAY!
- This team has no defense. They have no offense. And if anyone was lulled into a false sense of "okay, sure, that makes sense" by Tom Renney's solid defense will transition into good offense excuse, is severely dellusional. They are - at best - half a hockey team. At worst - they are not a team at all!
- I am not going to sit here and claim that Hank or Vali are the BESTest goalies ever - but to say that either of them are at fault on this team would be an injustice. They are maybe at fault less than 5% of the time. I'm not even looking at bad goals let in so much as I am looking at them being the sole reason that the team loses. Because, face it, most of the time it's the other 18 guys doing it for them.
- Wade Redden - almost suddenly it seems - has become public enemy #1. At the Garden, boos were never louder than today. The media is now taking extra time and space in their columns to point out this fact. I want desperately to say HELLO! I was sick - physically ill and revolted - on July 1st of this past summer when the Rangers signed him. Signed him at all, let alone to this disgusting and immovable deal. For all those just figuring out how horrible he is - they should have figured this out 30 games ago! The guy's career ended 3 years ago. I'm sorry to have to break it to you all.
- The only hesitation I have in saying that Wade Redden's is the worst contract of recent history by Sather - although I admit that it undoubtably is - is the fact that Wade Redden was once, not even that long ago, truly a really good, big name defenseman in this league. He was. He is no longer, but he once was. But Chris DRURY and Scott GOMEZ were never, ever - NEVER, EVER - exceptionally good or big name anythings. They were pieces to the greater puzzle of championship teams in two very different worlds. I'll give you that. But Drury's Mr. Clutch routine was running thin even in Buffalo, and Gomez apparently can only play with two people in the totality of the National Hockey League. So...Redden might be horrible, horrific, and an embarassment, but at least at one point he was marquee. Drury and Gomez are merely two are-nots and never-have-beens, who are both making an amazing amount of money for it.
- Together, those three, along with the collection of other smaller name, smaller players with no distinction what so ever, make up the horrific situation known as cap suicide. The Rangers played that game, summer to summer to summer. And they lost. Badly. They are screwed for any forseeable time in the future. It will not magically go away. I don't see how. Unless the league, as we know it, fails to exist.
- Guys like Prucha - even though it was great to see him play because goodness knows it was beyond time and well desereved - and Avery - even though I am counting the days til he arrives - are not going to fix this team. One or two guys cannot fix this team. What's embarassing is - after tonight - there are only a small, small handful of guys I'd want to keep around - Staal, Prucha, Callahan, Korpikoski, Mara, Naslund, Zherdev, and our blameless goalies. Other than that. Blow the whole damn thing up!! Nothing good will come to this team at present with the amount of salary tied up to so few. It is impossible. The best thing to do is blow it up. I sadly came to realize that today. What's even sadder, I realized how impossible that would actually be to do.
- I remember, not that long ago really, how fun Flyers/Rangers games were. How back and forth. How competitive. Unfortunately, the Rangers have sunk so hard, so fast, that this is no longer possible. When the Flyers went up 2-0 it was bad. When they went up 3-0 it was scary. Then they went up 4-0, it was impossible to comprehend how the Rangers would even try to come back. That - in itself - is so saddening to me. How far have the Flyers risen from 2 years ago. How far have the Rangers fallen in that same time? As much as you can shred and tear apart - justifiablly - Glen Sather and Tom Renney, you have to give mad props to Paul Holmgren and John Stevens. Worst in the entire league one year to Eastern Conference finalist team the next. They did well. They are still doing themselves proud.
- I will continue to watch the abomination that is the Rangers, if not all the time, then from time to time. But do not confuse the watching with interest. Call it what it is - blind devotion. Devotion because I am loyal as anything to this team, despite its glaring and painful faults that I will, unapologetically, call out here. And blind because you'd have to be loving them on blind faith right now if you were loving them and watching them with a blind eye if you were indeeed watching them. They are a team that only a confused and hypocritical coach and a senile and stubborn GM could love.
-My country for Jaromir Jagr.
-My country for Martin Straka.
-My country for Sean Avery.
-My country for anyone with heart. Anyone with passion. Anyone who knew what it meant to wear the sweater. And anyone who left it all on the ice any given night.
That is all. . .