Too much to type on Twitter right now, so the blog lives for a night.
Tonight was the first night, for sure, that I thought the Rangers were done. Over. Finished. Kaput.
No lack of credit to St. Louis, but there was no reason, to me, the Rangers couldn't have gotten it done. And had they come out big after Drury's criticism of the team's "maturity" level after Tuesday's Habs diabacle, I thought maybe - maybe! - they'd have a shot.
But they didn't.
Hank looked shaky. The team failed to score 5 on 3. The team scored 3 goals and did not win. And after they scored their 3rd goal to tie, they gave up the go-ahead goal less than 2 minutes later.
A tale too often told at the Garden.
And one fans just do not want to hear, see, live.
And yet, they do. We do. I did.
I don't know what to say to it. Hank has kept the Rangers in games they should not have been. But tonight, he wasn't sharp.
The Rangers woes are the same they've had most of the season, save a few games. They can't score when they should. They can't hold a lead (or in this case tie). Their defense is pedestrian, at times.
I want this team to make the playoffs, surely. But they HAVE to win. They HAVE to do something about it. They CAN'T LOSE their way to the playoffs. They don't have that LUXURY this year.
So the NYRs wait until Sunday when they face off against the team they are trying to displace - Boston.
A very, very interesting and IMPORTANT matchup Sunday has turned out to be.
Look, I'm a Rangers fan. I will always hope they figure it out and find a way. I just think the chances got a lot slimmer tonight. I just don't feel there is any magic left. Sadly.
Which brings me to - the Phoenix Coyotes.
I know some people probably have no idea why I am so happy for this team. Although to me it's very clear. My favorite player got exiled there. Exiled to a team that had an uncertain future. But a team that, we have seen, is a very VERY VERY very legitimate team.
And as much as I root for his team because it is HIS team, I have grown to love this team. I think I respect Shane Doan more than almost anybody in this entire league. I think Bryzgalov got over-shadowed in Anaheim and finally - finally! - has been given his own true chance - and lived up! I think it's BRILLIANT - (and feels like it was done once, once, upon a time in New York. Cough 2005-2006) in New York?) - to have a plethora of Czechs on your team.
I also think they are a true example of a team. They never quit. They can be down 4-0, 3-0, 4-2 late in the game, and they keep going. They believe they can, and very often, they can. They rally around one another, in defeat, and in glory. They have unlikely heroes - like Aucoin and Korpikoski in the shootout, Lee Stempniak - the guy who just joined the team at deadline and has contributed significantly to their offense after it.
They do not score a ton - they score as a team. They display amazing puck support in a pack mentality way, and they make up for one another's errors. They have one of the most defensively strong games I've ever seen - and yet they are anything BUT boring.
Sure, the Coyotes have lost games 4-0, 3-0, but those are the extreme minority. They've shown they can win in almost every way - tonight's come from behind 4-3 SH win, as an example.
This team is 33-3-2 when they score first. (Read that again please). 33-3-2. Anyone in any phase, stream of life, wishes they had that type of consistency.
The Coyotes do.
And I'm proud of them.
I am a Rangers fan, promised in my heart years ago, and I will not relent.
BUT, I have never, ever, been the person that cannot hope, want, wish, and enjoy good for other teams. And if there is any team that I get to do that for - it's that team in the desert.
The team that since one Pete Prucha got traded last March, I followed more closely. The team that I followed even when he didn't play. The team that has now stopped being made up of Vernon Fiddler, Taylor Pyatt, Radim Vrbata, and NOW, to me, is made up of Fiddy!, Py-Py, and Vrby!
I do love this team. If Pete does not remail after next year (although I hope with all my heart he does, because they love and appreciate him) - I care for this team and know more about this team and its players that ANY team I've followed during the last 16 years save the Rangers. And the NYRs have left a lot of room for following other teams, especially come playoff time. This is the closest I've ever gotten to another "love."
Again, take nothing from New York. I'll love them forever. But loving the Coyotes too - means I get to feel more of that passion. And I need that. I love and appreciate that.
Tonight, the Coyotes set a franchise record for wins in a season with 44. Congratulations to them. A team that I, even despite the love, didn't think had it in them, even though I hoped and (biasedly) felt they maybe did. They are amazing, and wonderful, and I am proud to have followed them 99% of the time since March of 2009.
Bandwagon? It's been said.
Us Prucha fans jumped on before their was such a thing.
And we love #16.
But we LOVE them all! All those in maroon and white. All those in the desert. We support...and we believe.
P.S. 1 - Why - Why? - does it seem all these young college basketball athletes get it. Get the fleeting joy, the startling defeat, more than the hockey professionals. The joy, the sorrow, on their faces. That is what I love about sports. I miss the innocence. I really do.
P.S. 2 - I am sincerely and with extreme regret, sorry this blog has been so dark. I won't make promises for this season. I've been very busy, and very distracted. But...I am sorry. And I hope - hope! - going forward into the summer and next year, that it will be regularly updated once again. Who knows? Way things look, it may be an unofficial Coyotes board come playoff time! ;)